Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm Back!

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.


beansa said...

I'm so glad you're back, and what a great post. Today I broke through my fog and depression and anxiety and found a well of anger I didn't know existed. When I found that anger, I knew I would be ok...that it will be the energy that carries me through.

Renegade Evolution said...

glad you're sticking around, SE, I'd miss you.

Amy's Brain Today said...

Yeah, it's a theme lately, isn't it? Maybe if we hang together some of us can take up the slack during the times others of us just can't get it together.

FallingStar said...

I'm glad you're staying :) You're right: we spend a lot of our lives feeling in pain, angry, and hurt at the state of the world, hoping that we will get through to someone. But it's important to know that we all have people who will be on our side if we don't feel like writing or talking about it.

I've found that reading other feminists' blogs has really helped me, and remembering those strong and courageous women who fought for us way back when (simone de beauvoir, elizabeth cady stanton, Mary Wollstonecraft, the sufragettes and so on) inject me with more determination and anger and give me the courage to keep writing and examining my feelings about things.

And knowing that young women like my sister need a world free of fear and a world in which they can feel safe about being themselves and achieving what they want to achieve, and where they own their own bodies and don't need to display their sexuality, where its okay to be a 'prude' if that means being happy with themselves and their bodies.

Justjuliefornow said...

I won't have time to read Amy's post until later, but in response to yours: yes, it is a huge struggle and always overwelming. BUT, if you can influence even one woman (you certainly have) a young girl, or a male, one at a time, to see things in a different light; to see and acknowledege the raging sexism and misogyny don't you think that is making a difference? I do, even though the "teaspoon - ocean" analogy is apt, I still feel if I affect one person at a time I am making progress. It will, most likely, never be enough to change the big picture, but that feeling is how I do not give in to despair.

I deal with my partner's cynicsm every day and I will not let it change my optimism that I am powerful enough to affect some change.

Acknowledge the despair, but please do not let it overtake you. Yours is a very powerful, yet quiet, voice. I am glad your are not silent.

sparkleMatrix said...

Thanks for this post SE. I'm on a bit of a melt down at the moment. It just comes back to bite you on the ass *bite* Pleased you are staying. ((hugs)))

Aishwarya said...

You're back!

Sly Civilian said...

Glad to see you back.

these breaks are oh so necessary. The pain is real, and maybe scariest of all, we're the ones who have to decide what the most we can do is. for as many fears as i have of giving up, i've been forced to get better about caring for myself...

the feminist, queer, anti-racist, anti-colonial, pacifist, world goes right in a day apocalypse hasn't happened yet. And it doesn't seem to be on the it's about figuring out how to be in this for the long haul.

Sally's Life said...

Thoughtfully and empoweringly said, thank you. Thank you for continuing when it feels the right thing for you to do. I love Bumble and you too.

Anonymous said...


Shucks. Thanks for quoting me and not going away.

And please give Bumble 6 pats for me, wherever you see fit.


Anonymous said...

Hello S.E, it is really great to see you posting.

I really hope you are doing okay.

What you wrote makes a lot of sense.

Take good care,


Anonymous said...

I am a person of white male privilege and can only speak to you as such, but, as a privileged white male, I have witnessed first-hand the psychological (and, sometimes, physical) cruelty common among privileged white males, both in the schoolyard as a youth and in society as an adult. I know all too well the feelings of insignificance, but I have learned that life is beautiful and worth preserving, no matter how depressing it can appear.

Your being here and sharing your thoughts and feelings indicates that you are one of the strongest people I know. Also, I am not the least bit surprised that many of the stronger people I know are women.

Thank you for allowing us into your world. As trivial as this may sound, when you are mired in a low, please remember that you're not alone.