Even though this blog has a readership of only ten people or so, writing in it is still really stressful. Part of it is that I'm admittedly very, very self-conscious about my lack of formal education, and I think women especially are constantly told that their own thoughts, feelings and ideas are Not Important. Or at least, Not Important Enough to stand on their own. It's hard to fight against that, and to make myself believe that I actually am articulate enough to talk about the things I experience and place them in a larger context. I'm always afraid that I'm simply stating the extremely obvious, and that that has no real value. I'm always sure that someone else has already said it, and said it better than I can. As a result, I lapse into silence.
I'd like for us ALL to believe that talking about these issues is never a problem. We can't talk too much; we can't talk ENOUGH. There is no statement too obvious and no idea so simple that it isn't novel for SOMEONE out there.Or maybe it just needs to be said by us, FOR ourselves.
So I'm just going to write. I am just going to say what I think and feel and believe that it is good enough, and that I am an authority on my own experience. It's sad to me that this is such a radical act. So many women internalize the notion that they haven't the right to speak authoritatively. We are all supposed to believe that someone else, maybe someone smarter or more experienced, more educated, can say it better than we can. HAS said it better than we can, surely. We are always so fucking careful to qualify our voices. 'But that's just what I think.' 'But I don't think I'm expressing this the way I want to.' 'I might be wrong.' God help us if anyone ever thinks we are wrong. I want to know why. Maybe it's because we understand what it feels like to be annihilated, and so we take extra pains not to crush anyone else with our words. Maybe it's because being socialized as female in our misogynistic culture means never, ever, ever, EVER being good enough, no matter what. Maybe it's because, when we raise our voices and demand some fucking space, we're suddenly no fun. Negated, just like that. It happens so fast. Maybe it's because we know how much it fucking hurts to realize that people you care about are more invested in having a good time than in addressing the things that are killing you slowly every single day. Maybe it's all of that, and more. Or maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm not articulating this as well as I'd like...
Listen. Please, TALK. Please, demand space. I will if you do, and each of us will make the other person's existence feel a little less lonely. 'Cause aren't we all terribly, terribly lonely? I am. I feel myself getting more and more radical as my peers are, for the most part, growing less and less so. We get older and we're supposed to have more of a stake in maintaining the status quo. But I don't, and I WON'T. And I feel fucking alien. Alienated and alienating. I'm shutting my mouth, and maybe you're shutting your mouth, too, and maybe we're sitting side by side without a damned clue that we're on the same side.
Please, give yourself permission to get upset. I don't know about you, but I'm very fucking tired of forcing myself to shut down my emotions when I get upset. Like right now, I am upset. I don't let myself write or talk to people when I'm upset, usually, and I've been thinking about why that is. It's not that I'm afraid I'll say or do something I don't mean. It's just that when you're a woman, getting emotional is one of the ultimate sins you can commit. It makes you feel like JUST a girl. Just a girl. Just a creature who can't be logical, whose emotions are something to be embarrassed by because they run so deep. They get in the way, we are made to think, of logic and reason. But it isn't true. They don't. And I am tired of trying so fucking hard not to feel anything. I am tired of retreating from the thing that makes me feel most human and vulnerable. I'm tired of the burden of macho pressure; the burden of proving I can be more than JUST a girl. Sometimes I think macho pressure is harder to deal with as a woman than it would be if I were a man. I am expected to do the impossible- to transcend my sex. I can't and I won't and I don't want to. I don't.
I don't want to believe that I don't matter because I'm a woman, or because I am radical, or because I am queer, or because I sort of kind of fit into any number of tiny, inaccurate boxes. The energy I expend shutting my mouth for the sake of keeping the boat on an even keel is fucking wasted. Every fucking day I bite back so much. Don't you? Every day these small barbs get under my skin. That fucked up thing your friend said that I heard. That fucked up thing my boss did that I had to witness. That fucked up person who invaded my space or your space or anyone's space and this fucked up culture that encouraged and allowed it to happen and all those people who looked the other way. The things I never, ever, ever talk about because they're too awful. I'm swallowing them every day, and every night I lay awake forever thinking about them. I can't sleep for all the times I've bitten my tongue.
And even while I'm writing this I'm thinking, do I sound unhinged? Is this too emotional? Should I do what I usually do? I write so much. So fucking much. I write until I can't anymore, and then I go back and read everything through the cold, critical lens of every possible detractor, and I whittle away. I pare down every thing that might possibly be stupid or obvious or too revealing, until there is nothing. Until I believe I have nothing worthwhile to say. Someone else has said it better. But you know, it must still need to be said, I think. Because I still can't sleep at night.