Monday, March 25, 2013

This Knapsack Here

The other day I was trying to be supportive in a chat room discussion about the issues that many black and brown women regarding feminism in general, particularly first and second wave feminism. It was a great talk and it seemed to me that folks were able to express discontent freely and talk about how intersectional feminism was still not enough of a force to reach them, let alone include them.

I really wanted to talk about how the disabled were right there too, in line for forced sterilization in the beginning. And later. And still now.

I wanted to talk about how bisexual and lesbian and trans and queer women have struggled for recognition in the women's rights moment, too. How we were institutionalize and lobotomized in this country (US). 

I wanted to reach across the room and connect on how poor women are still struggling to get recognized in an era where they are still ignored and pathologized. Where the poor get lost in the shuffle.

It is hard to say that you are supporting someone's right to express themselves without interrupting them. So I stayed quiet, offered reference points as to which wave of feminism could be fairly characterized as doing what (human footnote machine!), and otherwise reading and learning and feeling what other people were writing. They hit a lot of the problems I have with the feminist label, too. Maybe I did the right thing, maybe not - and there is not always someone that will tell you. I did not have one this time, and I do not expect anyone to take on that job, but I appreciate it when someone does.

For all my sympathy, for all my intersectional connections to issues inside of the movement, I have a distinction: I am white. I am a whiter shade of pale. I am Whitey McWhiteson. That whiteness shields me, even with the shield seems pretty pathetic. As a white disabled woman, I am at an advantage over an Asian American disabled woman. As a white bisexual, I am at an advantage over a Hispanic (Latina) American bisexual woman. That is my knapsack, even if it is sometimes pretty useless feeling, it is always in effect.

I would not fault the folks that would never have that conversation in front of a white woman proclaiming feminist tendencies. There are some disability issues that I do not share with the TAB unless they are family and need to know. There are some bi experiences that are pretty exclusively understood by other bi folks. Poverty is a very specific way to try to live, and those that have never struggled with money seen to have a very hard time even understanding the basics, given the rare occasion that they seem to try to understand at all.

I did not feel left out of the conversation. I felt honored to be there. With all of feminism's problems, I was honored to see it, glad to offer what little I could and otherwise bear witness with no let or hindrance. 

(The links are kind of disjointed, and I am unhappy with them and just stopped using most of them. I am just going to leave my thoughts here and let them stand as they are.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mixed Week

I am glad to see the end of this week. I am happy that you and I have seen more of each other than usual. I was very happy to be on The Black Guy Who Tips. I have some cool new makeup. My hair is a silver white that I really, really like. I have semi-rimless glasses for the first time, and they have my first progressive lenses for the bifocals I will probably wear the rest of my days. I can see well, for the first time in a minute.

It was not all good. Shannon Larratt died. I am having some difficulty writing about him right now. A couple of folks were unhappy about choices I made. A few were loud and mean about it. The money situation is looking bleak. We have to mess with health coverage again - although I am hoping this will be one of the last times the family will get screwed over in this particular way thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Whenever a friend leaves, it is painful. Unless you were not committed, when one prunes itself, it hurts. You bleed. I was reserved to just let it happen by the time it reached self-parody. Seriously, the engagement had reached a point at which I was accused of martyring myself for telling my own story. This was aside the fact that when you tell a story of a wrong done to you, you tell a story of a wrong done to you. I threw up my hands. What do you even do with that? The very act of expression on my part was delegitimized. Of course your decisions are correct in your own narrative: otherwise why would you have made them the way you did? The conflict had turned around and started eating itself. 

I told you a tale of being triggered. I am still working on that, and I know I will be for quite some time. By being present, though, by experiencing it real and raw, rather than needing to suppress it or deny it - I feel okay. 

I hope you feel okay, too.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This post is not about triggers. This post is not about trigger warnings, although I will talk about them.This is about one trigger. My trigger. My hidden trigger that got pulled yesterday.

I am using terms without much 101 today - I need to get this out now or lose it.

Trigger warnings are good in visual and audio media, I support their use. In written media, I find the genesis of them in lazy writing. If you, as a writer, hit even three of your Ws (I count six: who, what, when, where, why, WTF?) the reader should be able to tell if the piece is safe for them. Now they have become de rigor for most folks of conscious out here in the wilds, including me, but I do stand my original opinion.

I had grown, developed, been imbued with by circumstance, a trigger. Sexual assault touched our family recently and has caused rifts and deep harm. I had not done the usual self analysis that would have let me know I had a trouble button waiting to be pushed. I had been busy, you know, living this out and doing what I could for my family.

There is no shame in having a trigger. Life is life, and sometimes life is just fucking hard. It leaves it's marks, and sometimes when coping we develop these fetid warts of damage. With good self-maintenance, some folks can reduce or remove those warts. Not everyone can, or should be expected to, and the advancement of trigger warnings in media is a boon to the folks that are dealing with triggers at any stage. (I have noticed that they have a great side effect: teaching those new to the ideas of triggers what the whole thing is about when they hear "trigger warning" from a trusted source.)

In a discussion of rape culture on a podcast, I was participating in the chat room and my trigger got pulled. I started typing one phrase repeatedly, and until some called it a trigger I had no idea I was doing it. #ShoutOutToTheChatroom, there were wonderful about the whole thing, never ridiculing and being exactly the sort of folks you need in that situation. Thank you, Chat Room. The show runners were great, checking to see if they had done something to provoke it. They had not, and I thank them for asking. If I did not see it coming, I do not know how anyone without a knowledge of what me and mine were going through lately, could have seen it coming.

So, if life is hard, remember to check yourself for untended damage. Get help if you need or want it. Do not be ashamed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Have You Seen Me Lately?

Yes, I am trying to be back here more often. This is a quick note to let you I had a good time hanging out with Rodimus Prime and SayDatAgain on their show, The Black Guy Who Tips. We talked about me and disability, about being pervy and poly - it was one of the better conversations I have enjoyed lately.

You can, and should go see it here: Spreecast, iTunes. You are missing out if you do not!

I was really happy with how Rod and Karen interviewed, they have a good touch on the ebb and flow of a conversation - a lot people really struggle with that, but not these folks. They talked about the topics with curiosity, some study (wow, rare, thanks, hurrah!), and an overall respect that made me feel really comfortable for the hour we talked! I hope that they feel I respected their home turf and treated it well.

Again, I apologize for not being able to hang out after, I had to get some sleep (I had not before the show, Rod knows what I am talking about!). I listened later and it was all fun!

(I tested these links, but my cache may keep me from seeing some errors. Let me know if you have any issues!)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Good from Bad

Because I am me, and I have an odd set of values and priorities, I have a particular fondness for occasions when good comes from bad.

Months ago there was a big dust up in my life, and a lot of relationships and ideas of who people were were changed - some for the worst. I lost a lot: time, effort, good will, ties with others... But it was, in the scope of the real world, a small thing, and my hurt feelings and frustration and feelings of betrayal matter very little. Even in the dust up, which I think it is fair to say actively involved at least two dozen people, I cared less about my aggravations than helping others express themselves so some sort of common ground could be found.

In the end, no real common ground was found for the majority of folks involved, and wounds were left to fester. An uneasy truce seems to exist now, but a lot was lost. I think I will eventually detail the story, at least from my perspective, because there is a lot to be learned from it all around.

In the middle of all of that, one person took a chance and reached out. Then I took a chance and reached back. We were both surprised I think, to find the other far more reasonable and reachable than we had thought and were led to believe. So we kept communicating, and started talking about other things besides the dust up. Eventually we had to come to an inevitable, unavoidable conclusion: we had become friends!

Because of some of my interests and past, my new friend thinks I will be a good guest on the pod cast that he and his wife run. I was hesitant - hell, I have a hard time believing that you read this, let alone that people might want to listen to me ramble on! But here you are, and I thank you for your attentions.

So I have a new friend, and will be chatting away on a podcast here soon. When the details are nailed down, you will be able to find them right here, and every where I inhabit! Peace and love to you, Gentle Reader. Peace and love.