Category Archives: Rants

I’m tired. I’m exhausted

There I said it.
Definition of tired

This malaise is more than normal.  It’s a sickness.  I’ve lived with anxiety for a long time.  It’s my not so friendly hyena.  The beast that hugs around my throat, neck, it’s fangs dripping and every now and again it tears a piece from my insides, slowly ripping, staring into my eyes and pulling and tearing, ever so fucking slowly.  That’s the anxiety.  That’s my hyena.
Lately events have been making me more sick.

I could pretend that this is all to do with my exams.  I could sit in that pre tense with rose coloured glasses and pretend that everything is normally peachy, but that’s simply a bullshit lie I’m telling myself.

I’m tired because it’s really tiring holding up the social justice platform.  It’s really tiring when you lose friends because of it, and they think you’re mad.  I’ve lost countless friends over my social justice platform.  There are some who would say don’t push it.  There are some who trot out maxims like “valuing the relationship over what you’re saying”.  There *is* some truth in that, I do not deny that.  There is also the sly undertone in that, don’t speak out, don’t make me feel uncomfortable because I don’t want my vision of reality challenged.

I’m sick because I do challenge things and I can’t unsee them.  There are days I wish I could.

At the moment in New Zealand we are going through our own Steubenville.  I won’t bother you with the details, but it’s horrific.  It’s nasty and it feels like someone has just shat another dump load of crap on my shoulders.  Why mine?  Well, because those of us who are social justice advocates are out there trying to pick up the pieces, trying to point out to those well meaning outraged people that more often than not they are propping up the very system that causes things like Steubenville to happen.

Once again I have thrust myself into the breach only to be called names.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been called a feminazi.  Although recently I did get a new one, apparently I’m a pedophile for suggesting that children should have sex education.  Oh the irony is not lost on me.  Me, pedophilia, it’s just so ridiculous it’s laughable.  It’s a joke, a bad one, but the most awful thing about it was that this person believed it.

I’m tired because so called allies cannot see the good that I do, cannot see when I challenge things, and think that, frankly, I’m a bitch.  I’ve seen it in their cold shoulderedness when they believe that I have gone too far.  They rally around the privilege distressed like you wouldn’t believe.  Again, another incidence where if it wasn’t true I could sit and laugh.  I remind myself it isn’t my place to coddle the privileged, frankly I don’t need to, because the privileged do a damn fine job of coddling themselves half the time.  Their whining of “but I’m not a bad person” is really not the point.  When you come from a place of privilege and expect to get cookies when you’re doing one thing good then yeah, I will call you out on it.  The sad part is when those bridges behind you fall, and they do.

Being a social justice advocate is damn hard.  It’s lonely.  It’s isolating.

It’s why I have a small, very small, select group of friends where I can take the piss online, where I have surrounded myself with the most amazing of women.  Where they have not put me on a pedestal.  Where they accept that I make mistakes, that I’m not perfect, that I don’t have to be held to a different standard all the time.

See the problem with being a social justice advocate is that others who respect you often put you on a pedestal.  It’s a dangerous place to be.  Why?  Because the second you act human and make an error they get upset.  They don’t realise they have put you on a pedestal.  They don’t realise they have put an “ideal face” on you, they just didn’t see the pieces that made you human.  So when your idealised self falls, to them, you have commited a mortal sin, whereas to you, you are human.

Those people, those people are not the people who hold me up, who keep me alive, who keep me going.  However even those people are not enough right now.

So, I’m going to reassess some things.  Going to take stock.  Going to breathe.  Going to look at the meaningful relationships, the ones where I am seen for who I am, the ones where I am “accepted” and I’m going to prune the others back.

Sometimes the social justice advocates need a break from holding up the world for others who frankly don’t give a shit about doing it, or would rather the rest of us hold up the load.

Right now I’m taking a breather.  I need to catch my breath.  I’ve been running so hard and so long for such a long time and doing the breathing for so many other people that I need to stop.  I need my own air.  I need my focus back.

Time for change.  Time for me.

Lastworditis or: The Need to Be Heard

This blog post is about the need to be heard.  It’s about people who cannot walk away from an issue, who have to have the last word, and how when I really thought about this “need”  it was then that I wondered whether “Lastworditis” is really about people who are suffering from a chronic need to be HEARD.

The-Last-Word

I can deeply relate to this, because I don’t think I was very “heard” as a child.  My emotions were repressed and my needs were certainly not listened to.  I don’t mean that my parents were abusive, and I love them dearly, and I do not judge them with the knowledge of today, rather I view them through the lens of context and realize that within their time and circumstances they did not know any better.   My not being listened to manifested in an extreme need to be heard.  I’m convinced that it did.  I am sure it shaped my teenage years where I railed against my parents in a desperate attempt to be heard, to be validated to have my emotions listened to.  It got so bad that I attempted suicide.  I despaired in my hospital bed when my parents had an argument over my bed about which of them was responsible for my state.  Before then I didn’t think things could get lower, but they had, they could not stop and listen to me even when I had screamed for help, I had screamed out for a listening ear.  I remember thinking, and to be fair it was a turning point, well, there’s no point in getting them to listen to me, clearly nothing is going to work.  I had no idea what the solution was, and it didn’t stop me yearning for them to listen to me, but it did push me full throttle towards a budding political activism.

Trouble was, I had not learnt when to shut up, because I hadn’t learnt what it meant and how it felt and what it looked like when someone listened to me.  So, I pushed forward, full throttle and spent about the next fifteen years offending people and hammering my point home, hard.  I had no idea when to stop, because to be fair there are few people around who actually know how to listen and I can be like a steamroller, so it would have taken an extraordinarily patient person to listen to a raging and painful storm.

When I had my son, my desperate need to be heard, and my inability to listen totally informed my parenting.  If you look at my post here, then you will see that I had no idea how to listen to my son and I was quite keen that he heard my plans by trying to put him on schedule.  I couldn’t listen to his cries, I had never been taught how to listen, it had never been role modeled to me.  However over time, my dear wee son, my baby, gradually taught me how to listen, and then his sister joined him and both of them started to teach me how to listen and when to STOP talking and start LISTENING.  Something my grown parents were unable to teach me.

Now, I have no scientific evidence, I have no research to lean on here, but I would bet that the need to be the last one in an argument, the need to have that final word has more to do with the need to be listened to, the need for your emotions to be validated rather than the need to be right.  I’m in a big hurry to learn all about listening now, and to deeply listen and pause when my kids talk to me, or when I hear something that challenges me.  I try to remind my children about this by saying, I can see that you heard me, but I don’t think you have listened to me.  I can already see it as one of those “Mumisms” that they attribute to me.

Have I been listened to, have I been heard?  I’ll tell you what, it’s like dipping into a pure clean pool of water when someone truly listens to you, and the more I listen to other people, the more they listen to me, I get what I give, and when I started to listen to my children, rather than merely hear them, I started to realize that I didn’t have to have the last word, my listening was enough for both of us.

Does this mean that I still need to have the last word in a debate, no, do I still feel the urge, absolutely.  But, it’s getting easier and easier to resist, because I recognise that it’s more important to be listened to, and sometimes the other person also suffers from “lastworditis” it’s just they haven’t seen it yet.

So do I have a last word?  Yes, I do  – listen to your children, so they don’t have to learn the hard way.

I’m having a rant today

Two things that have annoyed me greatly recently.

Being told, about heavily gendered toys, that “all things in moderation” is the best approach.  Like people genuinely think that feeding their children arsenic a small spoonful at a time is ok.

Umm… no, it’s not.

Your “all things in moderation” might be ok for me, but for me on a lot of things, your moderation sucks.  Yes, I’m being what some people might call all “judge” because today I’m just a little pissed.

The thing is when our culture does NOT do gender in moderation, nope not at all, then it behooves parents to teach their children that their lives can be a little less confined.   You think that the world does do gender in moderation?  Then I invite you to go into a mainstream western toy shop and not be assaulted with defined aisles of blue and pink.  I applaud shops who are doing it differently, but they’re few and far between at the moment.

So, that’s my first peeve.

My second peeve is a relativism that sees people accept absolutely everything.  It’s a big bloody copout.  See, I told you I was pissed.

I don’t tolerate everything.  I have bottom lines.  I don’t tolerate lots of rubbish.

Why?

Because there are some things that are intolerable, and if I tolerate everything, then I stand for everything, including intolerance.  And that is simply a position I refuse to adopt.

So, no, a big fat stonking great NO to “each to their own”.  I will defend some things till my dying day, with my dying breath if need be.  I will never stand by and say, as violence and hatred is perpetuated, “each to their own” – because the theme tune to that is the sound of marching jackboots.

See, I told you I was pissed today.
Tolerance

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