0

Social Justice Activism

I read this article today and a lot of it really rang true to me (other than the second section): Kin Aesthetics – Excommunicate Me From the Church of Social Justice.

Two bits that stuck out:

There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical….  I self-police what I say in activist spaces. I stopped commenting on social media with questions or pushback on leftist opinions for fear of being called out. I am always ready to apologize for anything I do that a community member deems wrong, oppressive, or inappropriate—no questions asked. The amount of energy I spend demonstrating purity in order to stay in the good graces of a fast-moving activist community is enormous.

And…

Scrolling through my news feed sometimes feels Iike sliding into a pew to be blasted by a fragmented, frenzied sermon. I know that much of the media posted there means to discipline me to be a better activist and community member. But when dictates aren’t followed, a common procedure of punishment ensues. Punishments for saying/doing/believing the wrong thing include shaming, scolding, calling out, isolating, or eviscerating someone’s social standing. Discipline and punishment have been used for all of history to control and destroy people. Why is it being used in movements meant to liberate all of us? We all have made serious mistakes and hurt other people, intentionally or not. We get a chance to learn from them when those around us respond with kindness and patience. Where is our humility when examining the mistakes of others? Why do we position ourselves as morally superior to the lowly un-woke? Who of us came into the world fully awake?

I understand the desire to dismantle the systems that have held down anyone not white, straight, male, upper class, cisgender, etc. for a long time. That is my goal as well. And I understand that people are angry about being oppressed and I will never tell them that their anger is not justified, because, as student of political science and history, I damn well know it is more than justified.  Hell, there are a number of things in our society I am very angry about.

I am really tired of the ideal of the perfect “woke” social justice activist.  Someone who spends all day and all night participating in marches, protests, calling their congresspeople, and preaching the word to the “un-woke”.  Someone who puts all their time and energy into fighting for all social justice causes.  I remember commenting the other day to someone (…don’t remember exactly who…) that that term seems to exist exclusively to other people, to split the community apart, into the “woke” and “un-woke”.  Anything that rips us into smaller and smaller groups makes it less likely that we’ll be able to accomplish anything.  The whole “house divided” thing.
I am (in a minor way, becoming more major day by day) disabled and neurodivergent.  I learn in different ways than other people.  I take in information differently than other people.  I am particularly sensitive to being rejected from communities and friend groups.  I cannot participate in all the protests, marches, and rallies that people put together for both physical and mental health reasons.  I despise the quiet implication that I am not as good an activist because I am not a loud activist.  Or because I can’t really afford to take time off work (ya know, the work that pays for my insurance and medical bills, so I can stay sorta healthy and sane enough) to attend events during the work week.  I go to what I can, I participate where I can, I spread the word where I can – but I can’t go everywhere or say everything, and sometimes I’m just exhausted and can’t do much of anything.  And I don’t think I’m in the minority here, in the slightest.  Expecting perfection sets you up for failure.
Yes, please feel free to call me in if I’ve said or done something offensive to you.  Hell, I encourage it.  Not going to learn any other way.  But if you try to shame me because I’ve erred, tell me that I should or should not do something – I am not a child, you are not my parent, and if you try to tell me that I “should” do something, then I am not likely to react well.  Suggest it, make it a condition of participating, fine.  That makes it my choice what I do, whether I choose to participate.

I am exhausted of staying silent for fear of being seen as lesser-than.  Un-woker-than, one might say.

I am afraid of posting this.

0

Pride Challenge: Day 15

Your favorite LGBT quote

Image Source
This one really struck me the first time I saw it.  To me, identifying as queer is important because of the reclaimed aspect of the word – you used this word against the LGBTIA community for so long, now we’re taking it back.  There is power in our language and this quote really goes there for me.

3

Enough?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this afternoon as I was driving and they were talking about expanding sexual orientation in relation/response to non-monogamy.  The idea came up about not being queer enough to claim queer.  My first response is to call bullshit on this, but I know that I have internalized a lot of the “not enough” bullshit.

I do not feel “queer/bi enough” because I am currently a Kinsey 2.  I have a female partner who I have sex with, and might be interested in having sex with another female partner, but am otherwise not really interested in pursuing any other women.  In the past a great majority of my relationships have been with male or AMAB people.  Am I queer enough?

I sometimes do not feel “poly enough” because my saturation point is fairly low and in the past I have chosen to only have one partner when I was not mentally stable.  In that particular case I began doubting myself – not my identity, but myself, as being poly is rather central to being me – because I was not sure I would ever fall in love again.  Fortunately, that did not end up being the case.  But that still remains in the back corner of my head (more quiet than not these days).  I am not loud and proud about being poly, but don’t make much effort to keep it any bit of a secret.  Am I poly enough?

I sometimes do not feel “genderqueer/genderfluid/non-binary gendered enough” to claim that identity or to claim being transgender.  I tend to look lazy femme or just tomboyish in my presentation.  My dysphoria only flares up occasionally.  I do not have any issues with how my genitals look or work or the fact that I have visible breasts and other curves that may not be easily disguisable.  I strongly prefer they/them pronouns, but am willing to accept she/her in some contexts.  I am not out about this identity to anyone except friends.  Am I trans/NB enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “mentally ill or neurodivergent enough” to claim those.  My depression is cyclical and my anxiety is, in at least half of cases, controlled enough not to show.  Yes, I have sensory processing issues, but those tend to just come across as being a little weird to most people.  My ADHD is moderately well managed and also just tends to come across as a bit odd or flighty when not.  Am I mentally ill/neurodivergent enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “physically ill” or in pain enough to claim being a spoonie.  But the truth is – I have an autoimmune condition that I will have to take medication for for the rest of my life and does have an effect on my energy levels.  However, that’s under control and my migraines have mostly abated.  My joint pain is getting worse and I’m starting to think it might be something other than the barometric pressure shifts to that pain (the remaining migraines are definitely just that though).  My pain levels do affect my energy levels.  Yes, there are many people who have it worse.  It is hard to remember that my pain is also valid.  Am I physically ill enough to be a spoonie?

Am I enough of a partner for my partners?  The idea that I was defective because I was not the only partner a partner has, that they were looking for someone else because I am not enough never was an issue for me.  Instead it is a matter of other measures.  Am I available enough, physically or mentally?  Am I stable enough (physically and mentally) to be in a relationship with them?  Am I pretty enough to keep their attention?  Am I satisfying enough in bed for them to still want to sleep with me?  Can we build enough of a relationship to weather the years (can I contribute enough to the relationship to this building), if that is indeed something we want?

Am I enough?  To myself I can be, that I know.  And I am very glad that I am at a point in my life where this matters most.  It was not easy getting here and sometimes I slip back into old thoughts.

0

November Write 6

I went to a class today…it used up basically all of my emotional bandwidth. In a good way, but that and the joint and migraine pain I’ve had today have left me very drained, so I’m not sure how much of a blog post I can manage today, so I may just delay any significant writing until tomorrow, when I may be able to tackle one of the few things in my head. I’m not quite ready to write about the class yet – I have some processing I’d like to do, both on my own and with at least one other, before I feel ready to take that on. But I did take notes to refer to later, so I will likely be able to reconstruct the day.

For now, I’m signing off until tomorrow. Hugs and loves.

0

A few years perspective…

I have never been sure whether poly is an intrinsic thing to me – that I could not ever live well without it – or merely something I have chosen that continues to resonate well for me. I’ve been doing it for about 7 years now (non-monogamy for about 10) and I’m still not sure. At this point I’m not even sure if it matters – I will not go back to being monogamous.

But, for a taste of a different time…

Minx died three years ago, early in the morning on August 4th. I wasn’t seeing anyone other than Tryden at the time.

I spent more than two years out of the dating world. Almost out of the poly world. I spent that time trying to figure out what to do with myself – what do you do when a love of your life dies suddenly? How do you put yourself back together?

I tried by myself for about a year – tried to logic myself out of depression, out of grief. And that was, to a small extent, that worked. But I needed help, so I got a therapist, who gave me the tools to help myself out.

The one thing I couldn’t shake – that I wouldn’t be able to fall in love again, hence I could never truly be polyamorous again. And that crushed me. How could I live without something that had made me feel so whole, so alive? What could I be?

The reassurance that, even if I only ever had one partner for the rest of my life, I would still be poly because that’s how I felt deep inside, was little comfort. I started doubting myself – who am I without this? What happens if/when Tryden decides that he has had too much of my mopey, sad, self-pitying self and decides to leave me? What would I do then?

So, with these questions lingering in my head, I decided that, whether love was going to happen or not, I wanted to spend time with my friends, and actually start to live again. So I put myself back out there, socializing, going to events, meeting new people.

Not long after, I met (and hooked up with) Gray Sky. And not long after that, I found something happening that I didn’t expect – I was falling in love with him. So I told him, he told me back, and for a couple months everything was fine. Then it wasn’t, and we split (well, he broke up with me).

But, if I learned nothing else from that relationship (which isn’t true), then I learned that I could love again. And that was one of the greatest gifts of all.

That break up, broke my heart. As they tend to do. But, after a few months, I decided to put myself back out there again, since that worked so well the last time. I went out to a poly round-up in my area in March, the day before my birthday, to meet people, to socialize – then, when I needed it, there was a place to spend with other introverts, other social exhausted people.

And there I met Diplomat. We spent some significant time talking about politics, life, and Shakespeare. I enjoyed his company, but didn’t think it would pan out to be anything more than fantastic conversation – which was fine.

But…yeah. Not just fantastic conversation, but so much more. And he helped me remember why I chose polyamory, why I chose to love over and over again.

So, I am back. Back where I was more than three years ago, older and wiser. And so much in love – with Tryden, with Diplomat – in a different sense, with Lola – and with polyamory. <83

1

Attraction

I was going to write a few days ago on my poly life, but I figured out that I wasn’t quite ready to say anything on that yet, but be assured, it is something I will write about soonish.

This is meant to be part of a two part series on attraction and attractiveness, both written close together because both are in my mind at this point in time.

As a bisexual woman, I find myself attracted in certain ways to both men and women. However, and this is a big part of me, more often to women. Big secret time: about 95% of the time, maybe even more, I do not find men physically attractive when I first meet them. Women I can be physically attracted to from the moment I meet them. With women that physical attraction does not often change–either you are or you aren’t. With men, I find that they grow on me.

I am usually first drawn to women by their looks. I think maybe this is not such a good thing–this is how society conditions people to view and judge women, on their looks first and foremost. I know this is not how I want to be judged by anyone–I’d rather people find me attractive because of my mind than by my looks. However I am starting to think that maybe this is a function of where I usually meet women, which is at bars. One of my friends I was drawn to because of her personality–I met her online and talked to her for a while before I ever met her in person, and the first time I met her it was at a board game night at her house. She is not conventionally attractive, but in my eyes she definitely is because of personality and appearance, in that order.

Men, I am drawn to because of intellect, usually. To get my attention as a guy you definitely have to be able to hold my attention in a conversation, which usually involves talking about something that engages my mind. What happens after a while is that I decide whether what a guy talks about is interesting enough for me to want to talk to him again and then I will give him my number. Looks usually don’t come into the equation until much later. After a while, usually a month or so, though it has been more and less, I start realizing that I am becoming attracted to them physically. However, with my boyfriend things were a little different. I was first drawn to him because of a physical resemblance he bears to someone I was thinking about at the time. Then the rest of the process unfolded.

I have been emboldened by reading Look Both Ways by Jennifer Baumgardner in describing my attractions. The book inspired me to not be afraid of saying that yes, I am attracted to men and women in different ways and for different reasons and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is all a natural (and fluid) part of human variation.