I took a break from blogging due to health problems. After awhile, I realized I didn’t want to come back. I’m crushed by the state of the world, by the way the women are forced to live. The amount of suffering and despair is overwhelming. Fortunately, I’ve been reading blogs, and you’ve all been getting to me.
Amy posted Despair, she wrote. The post is written in response to a question she received via email: “"I am wondering how you deal with despair...How do you stand knowing what you know, seeing what you see, feeling what you feel for womyn???? "
The entire piece got to me, but two things stood out. Her direct and honest answer:
Answer #1: I don’t. I spend quite a lot of time feeling crappy.
Ah. Other women go through this too. There’s no way around the fact that fighting for women hurts. I found this response freeing. It meant my struggles weren’t the product of me being “not tough enough”. (I have a lifetime of people telling me to “toughen up” and “get a thicker skin”.) The pain was part of the process. The work we do for women, for everyone, is critical. It is not, however, free from harm.
Amy also included a quote from Andrea Dworkin:
It is important to understand that we will live with a fair amount of pain for most of our lives. If your first priority is to live a painless life, you will not be able to help yourself or other women. What matters is to be a warrior.
There is no such thing as a painless life, but we seem to seek it out as if it was our natural state. Avoiding pain is arguably the strongest motivator for humans. What we need to learn is that it's okay to be in pain. We don't have to avoid pain at all costs. We do have to learn to find ways to deal with the pain so that it doesn't break our will to fight. Read Amy's whole post to see how she copes.
Sometimes painful situations in life paired with online hate become too much. An excellent and thoughtful writer, Amananta, has decided to stop blogging. I will miss her voice terribly, but I wish her the best, and hope that things improve for her soon. Elaina left a comment on one of Amananta’s posts that really energized me:
We are in a war here, Amananta. We only really lose if we stop fighting. Keep on screaming. Folks are still asleep; we all have to scream to wake them up before the sky falls.
Thank you for writing that, Elaina. Resistance can take many different forms. There will be times when we cannot fight in the way we want. But we must keep fighting, in whatever way we're able. Even small actions can have a big impact.
Finally, this morning I read a post by Biting Beaver, in which she said:
All of our fighting and screaming, all of our defending and begging and frustration, all of our anger and sadness will die, impotent and ineffective for we are battling an army, the likes of which we never could have comprehended. We are, for all intents and purposes, trying to empty oceans with teaspoons.
She’s right. Misogyny will not be overcome in my lifetime. It may never be overcome fully. But we fight so that one day, women will not have to live as we do. The outcome is uncertain. When and how will women be able to live as fully-recognized human beings? We don’t need the answers. We don’t need to know how it will all work out. We just need to keep fighting. We just need to resist.