A friendly blog where feminists and their male allies can come together and discuss methods, tactics, and strategies for use in toppling White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.

7.06.2006

Lackluster Blog Entry #1, From Sunny Orlando

I was just kinda idly scrolling through my friend Stan's blog a little while ago, when I realized just how lax I've become in my militant feminism as I've "settled" into my new job, if you can really call it settling, and as I've had little or no access to the internet over the last month.

It's really pathetic. I shit you not. I am surrounded by really cool and intense people who are highly dedicated to the labor movement. Thing is, most of them are men, and they don't really see the need for said movement's infiltration by radical feminism. At least not in such blunt terms. So I've been just rolling along, and my attitudes, at least externally, have been warped by this wierd instinct I have to just act like "one of the boys."

No, I've not been out smacking asses or renting pornography. In fact, I've been pretty open about my opposition to pornography, and I haven't met any open hostility....yet. So I guess I've not been "bad" enough to flog myself or anything that irrational.

What I've done is re-adopted this whole, kinda competitive, kinda angry attitude that I find very "masculine." And I've not been able to really admit what's really eating at me, out of a sort of "take-it-like-a-man" sense of pride. I'm blaming my woes on shit like the stress of the job, or the newness of where I live, or the people that I work with, or my hormonal cycles.

Yesterday, which was my first full day off in a long time, I put on my bathing suit and I went out to the hotel pool. I was only able to splash around for a little while before it started storming outside. But as I floated on my back I was staring up at the clouds, watching them grow. The clouds are so big and fluffy and the sky is so white here in Florida. I've never been so close to such violent clouds. I was floating in the water, and the temperature was perfect owing to the impending storm, and I was watching those fucking clouds swirl and toss about, churning electricity and wind inside them, and a gigantic vulture flew across the sky so high that I couldn't tell it from a plane until it finally flapped it's wings and swooped downward. I felt the raindrops hitting my face when the thunder started, and the whole scene was so gorgeous and wierdly idyllic, and my gut siezed up with an urge to talk to somebody about it. When I came up to my room I started to call somebody back home, and then I stopped myself, 'cause who the hell in their right mind wants to hear about some clouds and fucking scavenger birds? Who??

And I guess that's when it really hit me. And this wacky aside really does fit into the larger non-scheme of this blog entry.

The truth is I'm fucking lonely as hell and I don't want to admit to it. I don't want anydamn body to know that I'm overly worried about what's happening with my family back home. I don't mention that I miss my friends, not anything more than a passing, fleeting comment, anyways.

I haven't felt like this in a really long time. Back home I had friends to vent to and to go to, physically, after work was over. These were people I had deep connections with and whom I'd known for a really long time. I still talk to them every week or so, but it's not the same when they're not in a physical proximity that allows me to look into their faces. Back home, if I was down or gloomy or whatever I could just hang out with my girlfriends, or my sister or my niece, and I could tell them all my crazy political ideas and they'd listen and they wouldn't tell me that I was crazy, and I could get the same feedback from them.

I've met some really cool people since I've been here. But nobody who's working on this particular campaign really knows anybody else who is, I mean closely enough that it would be a relief to talk and just let it all out, you know? And I DO have issues with trusting people. Especially when I know, I mean they haven't outright told me but I do have some sense and I've figured out that most of the people I've been hanging out with around here have a job, for the better half of the day, to ASSESS me. My career is in their hands. They HAVE to like me or I'm pretty much homeless. So yeah. I'm in a place where I don't have time to cultivate a "life outside," I have to always be on "good behavior," and it's a strange town and I don't know anybody here and I'm fucking LONELY, dammit.

And you know what? I've noticed that maybe 4 out of r5 of these coworkers of mine has a human lifeline outside of work, a "significant other," a person that they call and talk to every night when it's all said and done.

I'm realizing that my friends back home, they kinda had become that outlet for me, and in a way that wasn't damaging in the ways that a "romantic entanglement" or a sexualized relationship can be. I was in the middle of cultivating something really, really cool with a bunch of really, really cool women, and then I moved away and it busted. I ain't saying that my friends at home wouldn't talk to me on the phone at the end of the evening, but their lives are busy too. They ain't as sleep-deprived as me, they never really have been. So it's a sort of "you gotta be there" situation.

It's been probably two years since I actually dated anybody, and I haven't missed that until this month. I haven't wanted to admit it (another decidedly masculine trait that I've internalized) and I've tried to just brush it off, say that the work will fill up the space that's just sitting there, in the front of my cerebral cortex. And my sexual organs still WORK. They still jive up with my endocrine system to secrete hormones that make my body want to be close to other bodies. But I find myself actually being envious of my coworkers who go back to their hotel rooms or their apartments or houses and have some kind of "mate" there to talk to, to engage with, for cryin' out loud, to have SEX with if that's what they both feel like doing. Even if that person's at the other end of a cell phone signal.

I don't know how to be a person who's not a sexual hermit without doing it all the wrong ways, and now I find myself craving that kind of engagement with someone. I guess I'll have to admit that this thing, this wierdness, this isolation is actually showing me ways that I've grown. There was a time when I would react positively to a random stranger's tasteless, vulgar signals that told me that I'd be a fun fuck for the night. I don't do that anymore. But I'm not happy with celibacy anymore, either. I don't know what the hell to do, and to be perfectly honest and maybe a little bit vulgar myself, I sincerely DON'T know that the muscles in my left wrist can take the strain.

So I guess, for tonight, my energy's getting spent here, in my crummy ramblings.

I wish there were a training programme designed for the up-and-coming sexual automaton. Maybe there are and I just don't know about them. With my social network dissolved and my time eaten up, I'm kinda stumbling here. I thought that just ducking and covering from the whole "love" or "lack thereof" issue would be easy- and to be honest I don't understand why I'm so hung up on it, cause it's not like I have the time or the emotional resources for it if anything good DID come down the pike, anyways.

I'm just lonely. And it's cold in my hotel-room. I'll get up in the morning, have my coffee, and go to work, maybe listen to some Celia Cruz.

That's all for tonight.

9 comments:

witchy-woo said...

Gah. Shit.


((hug))

spotted elephant said...

It probably doesn't help, but your online friends are here.

cheryllindseyseelhoff said...

Ah, that's sad! It's interesting, I've encountered several radical feminist women, online and IRL, who are saying just what you're saying, wanting to make good connections. Yawning Lion (Feh-Muh-Nust) even put up a (great!) post about why she would make a good partner and a good friend, the latter, she says, being a more extensive list because friendships tend to last a lot longer than romances do.

Once in a while in my life I've had periods of time where I was just surrounded by women I felt so close to and connected with. For whatever reason, I sometimes took this for granted, as though I would always have what actually was such an amazing and rare gift, something I ususally didn't realize until I didn't have it any more.

Well, thanks for your eloquent writing, TTB, I hope the universe sends some good people your way.

Heart

TNTrash said...

Having an actual conversation with an actual human has helped me some with this. Sometimes you just gotta have the guts to reach out. Writing helps too, and all forms of writing, however apparently solipsistic or existential or whatever are forms of reaching out, albeit with the extra-added kudoness of having artistic merit. There ain't nobody that don't need somebody sometimes, one way or another.

My problem is, historically, chalking my need to reach out or my desire to do so to a lack of fortitude, or said guts. That's the rub, here. It's a very gendered way to look at it, at the base of things. But human connections are everywhere, and sometimes I guess we get all caught up in what we're supposed to have to be socially valid when we have plenty around us, even without those things that patriarchal society wants us to think that we want. If that makes any fucking sense whatsoever.

The grass is pretty damn green right here under my feet, even if the grass is a different shade of green in the neighbor's yard- and it's all grass. What you take from it depends on what you plant in it.

That's enough waxing for now.

But thank all y'all for your hugs and sentiments. It's always reassuring to know that you're not alone, no matter how wierd you think the thoughts you have are. Turns out that everybody has weird thoughts, and that generally thoughts are only WEIRD because the patriarchy says they are. So :-P to patriarchy, dammit.

Love y'all.

witchy-woo said...

Oh I so second that ":-P to patriarchy" and all its wierdnesses.

ethan said...

Hi, I stumbled on your blog after stumbling onto Stan's blog (which I found b/c he posted something about Alf Hornborg's "The Power of the Machine")

Wow...as a guy (it it matters, FWIW) I COMPLETELY sympathize and identify with the sentiments of your first post, and even more-so when you posted the "critical of the self-critical post" followup...I had a friend in music school who used to do a caricature of me thinking out loud about heftier issues: "Hi, my name is Ethan...or maybe it's not. Maybe we should go out for lunch...or maybe we shouldn't."

I don't think there was a single thing in them that I didn't agree with/haven't been thinking about on those same terms for a while.

Even though I have absolutely no fucking idea who you are, it's strangely comforting (to me) to know (or at least strongly believe) that there is someone else out there thinking the same stuff about their position in life...

...and even as I write this I think about the gender identity implications..."Watch it, Ethan! You're feminizing yourself again! You don't want anyone mistaking you for a fairy!" even though I tell myself afterwards I'm not even looking for someone who expects me to always be this society's dominant definition of "masculine"...which by extension means she would be the dominant definition of "feminine"

I still hold out hope that the sexes can meet somewhere closer to the half-way point in terms of gender identity...but I do think it makes socializing--not to mention getting a decent freaking date every now and then--that much more difficult. Heh, talk about being punished for your beliefs!

Knowing this, I can understand why so many people just end up trying to "fit in" to pre-existing conservative worldviews.

Spill The Beans said...

There's nothing like working surrounded by a bunch of men to make you rethink your more radical feminist ideas.

TNTrash said...

The setting I work in does make me churn and chew up all my different ideas about who I am, why the hell I'm doing what I'm doing, why the hell I keep on trying. That sort of thing. But it doesn't change my mind about radical feminism; true, it makes it harder to live up to. But it reinforces everything I've learned since I've bothered to sit down and figure out what "radical feminism" is in the first place.

Having to shout to be heard. Having men completely ignore what I'm saying- or what pisses me off even more, just start talking when I'm in the middle of a sentence or important idea, as if I weren't even there. Having men ignore instructions, when they come out of my mouth or the mouth of a female coworker, but listen when another man says exactly the same thing that I just said. Having a man step in and "take over" something that I'm already doing, or not giving me a chance to do something that I know I can do because the amorphous "he" wants to make sure it's done right. And the constant need for me to be standing up for myself, the eyes that roll at me when I tell a man to step the hell back and hush up and listen for a minute; the threat of losing my job if I'm "insubordinate" hanging over my head with a need, an obvious need for some kind of insubordinance to happen so that shit can really be fair.

I've never worked in a setting without men, who benefit directly from being men by having less accountability on the job, fewer tasks to perform, while still being able to take credit for "big idea" work that I've not had time to do because I'm busy with the grunt-work and the details. I naively thought that working in the movement would be drastically different, and I guess it is when you think in terms about what everybody talks about over lunch or coffee or dinner. But it don't play out too different in material reality.

That kinda shit doesn't make me think that I'm wrong. Not at all.

I was having trouble, and still am to a lesser degree, with slipping into stupid, androgenic behaviors without even thinking about it. It's like speaking a language you want to forget but are pretty fluent in.

And it's brought me to a point where I'm not willing any more to aspire to be like "one of the boys." I ain't saying that I'm perfect at radical feminism, by any means, but I do take the time now to examin why I do the things I do, and when I think I'm doing something that will hurt another woman or that supports the dominant epistemological mode, that supports the patriarchy, in a nutshell, I step the fuck back when I can and try and see why I'm doing it, and figure out how to move forward without doing it again, at least not intentionally.

I don't joke any more about women in that ways that I used to in order to engage the same ways that men do, to fit into their clique. That don't mean I don't succumb to other types of posturing, but I have taken a harder line, gradually. It don't necessarily make me popular, but it does tend to make good men who give half a shit about the world stop and think and sometimes they change the fucked up shit that they do. And that is what I can offer to the movement, that and the space here on this blog, and an eye to the future when I have more resources to give to it.

I know a lot of women who, understandably, choose to separate themselves socially from men, in order not to have to deal with these kinds of situations.

Yawning Lion said...

So, tntrash, why HAVEN'T I seen the girlfriend application in my inbox?? Hmmm???

:-)

I'm kidding, and I know so clearly how this feels. And I can relate to trying to deny how much being lonely stinks. It's the pits, and there really is no way to talk about it without sounding like a total whiny-ass. Sometimes it is those times when I KNOW I couldn't possibly manage a relationship because I'm so overwhelmed that I so want someone to JUST BE THERE. One of my friends and I joke about lighting "worthy girlfriend" candles, and next time I do, I'll light a "worthy partner" (I don't know if you're looking for a woman or a man, or if it matters!) one for you!

YL