The Undying Need To Scream

Tea lover

“Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.” 
― David Foster Wallace

What was your first thought this morning?

Sadly, the first thing I woke up thinking about wasn’t coffee, which is exactly what I think I should wake up thinking about on a Sunday morning.

I woke up instead thinking about some research and writing that I have been doing lately about the intersection of historical adversive childhood experiences and family estrangement. In fact, I was dreaming about that just before waking.

As I made my way downstairs to make some coffee, I moved from thinking about that, to thinking about a bunch of emails I had received from friends across the week about Atheist churches, asking whether or not the topic was something I’d like to write about.

By the time I was stirring my coffee, I had moved on to thinking about how I was going to find the energy to continue to advocate for myself in the insanity that is the healthcare system. Before I had even taken my first sip of coffee, I had been awake less than 10 minutes and I was already thoroughly burned out.

“Burnout is defined, and subjectively experienced, as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding. The emotional demands are often caused by a combination of very high expectations and chronic situational stresses.

Burnout is accompanied by an array of symptoms including physical depletion, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, disillusionment and the development of negative self concept and negative attitudes towards work, people and life itself. In its extreme form, burnout represents a breaking point beyond which the ability to cope with the environment is severely hampered.”
- Career Burnout – Causes and Cures

I’m pretty sure I was born with my advocacy and activist leanings. My mother would undoubtably suggest that my first words were “That’s not fair”. I spent my childhood resisting “that’s not fair”. My early adulthood was concerned with the intersection of my personal “not fair” with the wider social “not fair”. My adult life both personally and professionally, has also been concerned with the battle against “not fair”. I don’t think I have ever been without my “not fair” radar, humming away in the background of my life.

I moved away from psychology and became a social worker in part because I didn’t think it was fair that the clients who I was working with therapeutically were so often being pathologized for things that not only were not fair and not their fault, but also far exceeded their individual ability to change. I didn’t want to be *that* therapist, who made her living fostering the illusion that somehow people should individually think or feel that they were responsible for issues that are actually social or political issues. I didn’t want to make my living helping people resign themselves to “not fair”.

Because I realized that my clients and myself were so often living in the glare of “not fair” things, I’ve also made it a bit of a personal mission to confront “not fair” things, head on, with the resources / weapons I most readily have at my disposal; an unshakeable committment to advocacy, my education, my ability to articulate unfairness and of course, my writing. Across the years I’ve been involved in many social justice causes and across time have learned to pick my battles, not because I think any one issue is more important than any other, but because I am aware of the limits of my energy. Being selective, pacing myself then, is my often fragile effort to stave off burn-out.

If you regularly read my posts, you will know that I got sick in November, ended up in hospital and have spent my last weeks advocating for myself in the health care system; to somehow get a reasonable shake in a mega system that seems stacked against not only me, but the average Joe who is just trying to feel better.

At the same time, I have been preparing for graduate school and undertaking research about estrangement. My reading and thinking has had me doing more writing in this area; writing that has been personally challenging as I consider the implications in my own life – but also challenging in terms of the kick back from many of my readers who are struggling with the things I am talking about. My 9-5 day job is working with kids and families who experience a range of difficulties often stemming from complex trauma. Systems advocacy comes with the territory.

I am weary. I am sick, still in the grip of an autoimmune flare that will not quit in the wake of unrelenting stress. Not only have I not saved the world this week, I haven’t even been able to save myself.

The research about activist burnout is very clear. Burnout is a political and social movement issue. Every year committed activists suffer and drop out of their communities because they have burnt out.

Activists can’t keep moving without the support of their communities – sometimes this is concrete support,the recognition of effort, the liking and sharing of posts hard written, the emails I get from my readers, the ripple of conversation that happens when people truly tune-in. Sometimes the support is less concrete but equally as important; the friend who shows up every week without fail for good conversation and dinner, coffee dates with my daughter, cuddles and walks with my puppy or petting my cats, a good movie or book, keeping up with my meditation and yoga, extra sleep.

As much as advice givers would suggest that I, and other activists, unplug and tune out I am not sure that is realistic. For instance, acceptance of my personal circumstances within the health system will mean I don’t get the care or support I need. No one else is going to advocate for me. My best friend recently told me advocacy was in my genes and there was no way I could turn it off, or tune it out. Tuning out is not an option I would choose, although it may be an option I am forced to yield to simply because I run out of energy. The body always wins.

I believe that this long, slow (or not so slow) energy bleed happens every single day for activists. I believe oppressive systems bank on it.

And In Other Australian News, The Word “Secular” Causes Intellectual Melt-Down

You know how sometimes you read an article and get to the end and feel like …

no umm

Here is the offending article, ‘Secular’: an aspiration or a dirty word in Australian education?  First of all the article itself is confusing as fuck, which is a bit ironic since it’s writer, Audrey Statham, appears to be attempting to clarify the definition / use of the word “secular” and discuss it’s relationship to the issue of religious education in schools.

Let’s see if I can clear this up.

Secular

Secular means not connected with religious or spititual matters.

Statham takes exception with Donnelly’s apparent view that “secular”  means  opposed to – and even hostile towards – religion. She goes on to say that there is “a clear need for an Australian curriculum that is secular in providing opportunities for non-religious and religious students in state and religious schools to develop an understanding and appreciation of those with very different worldviews from their own.”

Which could be true, but isn’t really terribly relevant for the purpose of the discussion the teaching of religion in Australian schools.

Donnelly isn’t arguing for the inclusion of religious education (ie. a religious studies class which explores the history of religion, and looks at the diversity of religions) to promote inclusivity or diversity. What Donnelly is advocating for is for Christianity to be taught and included in our education system, and indeed in our political system.

Secular means not connected with religious or spititual matters.

I would argue as a parent, that it’s not terribly important for my kids to be studying religious diversity and inclusion in school, except as part of a larger and broader discussion of ALL forms of diversity. That is to say, if you want to add a class about anti-oppressive thinking I’m ALL for that. If as a part of that class you want to teach children that it’s not okay to marginalize, demean, diminish, attack or discriminate against other people because they have a different religion than you do – that would be cool. Let me add however, this does not mean that it is not okay to employ the use of rational thought, to question, or to otherwise explore those differences. And that is what education should really be about. Otherwise we start to look an awfully lot like …

crazies

If Donnelly and his sort were really concerned about adding religion to the education system to promote diversity and inclusion, we’d actually be starting the school day and our parliamentary proceedings with a prayer or a reading from a different church/religion/spiritual belief every day. We wouldn’t be seeing the push to make clear “the significance of Judeo-Christian values to our [Australian] institutions and way of life” as suggested by Education minister Christopher Pyne. You can read more about all that HERE

Secular means not connected with religious or spiritual matters.  Secular highlights  that the POINT of school and the POINT of our parliament is NOT to debate, include, and certainly NOT to promote Judeo-Christian values. It means our children’s education and our political government should not be connected, not in any way, shape or form with religion.

Teach religion at home (if you must), teach it at church (if you go). Start little nifty relgious education programs that can be attended after school, or on the weekends if you are so inspired to drag your poor children to them, but do NOT teach this crap in our schools and get it the hell OUT of our politics.

Secular. No religious or spiritual matters allowed.

Sunday Thought: Belated But …How About You Keep Religion And Politics OUT of Our Children’s Schools

Atheism - church and state

Ahhh I spent my Sunday out and about but had read an article, Critic Wants MORE Religion To Be Taught In Schools and had no intention of letting it pass without comment. In short, here in Australia “former teacher and ex-Liberal Party staffer Kevin Donnelly says Australian education has become too secular, and the federation’s Judeo-Christian heritage should be better reflected in the curriculum”. I will start this post by saying I appreciate the effort to “locate” Mr Donnelly’s background and views relative to his task of curriculum review. The bit of personal information that I thought would be helpful here, that was conspicuously absent was Donnelly’s religious status.

I don’t for a single moment believe that a secular or unbiased, thinking reviewer would have come up with this nonsense.

In addition, I am deeply concered that this curriculum review has been commissioned by the Coalition as part of their election promise:

The Coalition made a curriculum review one of its election promises, saying the school teaching material had become too politicised under Labor. It argued at the time that the curriculum required students to learn about the day-to-day activities of the trade union movement, while making no explicit references to conservative achievements in politics.

… and that the individuals selected to undertake the review were well known to be “strident critics of present curriculum”. Nothing independent about this review my friends.

As far as I am concerned this is a dangerous collision of the politicization and religious-ification of our education system. As a thinking person and parent I can only say, I don’t want people’s political agenda or their religious agenda determining what my children are taught. This issue is a double whammy. I’ll leave you with …

Sunday thoughts Indoctrination1

Sunday thoughts indoctrination3

Sunday thoughts Indoctrination2

 

Observationally Speaking, I’m Watching You

watching you gif

My best friend, who is a flight attendant, once told me a story about sitting at the front of the plane, facing her passengers, and watching while a man, directly in front of her, proceeded to pick his nose. We have also been driving together in the car, and looked over whilst at a red light, and again, saw a man with his finger far up his nose, blissfully picking away.

In both instances, she and I, averted our eyes and looked away. We joke about this a little – why it is that when we see someone doing something unspeakably rude, we feel embarrassed for noticing.

yuck

It occurs to me that people do a lot of averting of eyes / ears / conscience.

Like for instance, I have a friend who is married with kids, she and her husband come round my place from time to time. He’s a little obviously sweet on me, and its a little awkward as his wife seems to realize it – but she says / does nothing … and I again, avert my awareness, and try not to notice that this man is being inappropriate and rude.  I want to say something to his wife to reassure her, like, ‘honey I’d rather fuck a porcupine than your husband’… but somehow, I don’t think it would help matters if I make explicit the fact that her husband is a dick and more than a bit creepy really.

creepy man gif

Another case in point, my neighbours across the way;  a mom and her daughter and her daughter’s really young kids, a toddler and another slightly older, pre school child. These kids are continuously being shrieked at, called vile names, and on occasion hit so loudly I can hear the smacks from 2 street widths away. They also have acquired a puppy and that puppy is being terribly abused as well. The other night it was shrieked at and kicked, and possibly thrown. The puppy screamed and cried and cried.

I spoke with the other neighbours about it – has anyone tried to speak to these people, does anyone know their name? Is anyone else concerned? I tried to talk to the woman about the screaming, but she was pretty abusive so that is not going to go very far. The next time it kicks off, which will likely be tonight, as this is a nightly occurrence, I will be calling the police.  I am really aware of something called “the bystander effect”  where people are less likely to offer assistance in groups of people because they assume someone else will do it – only very often, they don’t.   So I will call the police every time I hear a child or a puppy being harmed.

My other neighbor says that he doesn’t feel comfortable phoning the police or Child Safety Services, or even animal welfare, as maybe the people will be investigated. He is worried that the abuser will work out who made the call and then target him or his family. He will keep on complaining about the abuse and tell me how he is concerned for the children, but he will not DO anything about it.

stupid that is

I don’t understand this. Small children and animals – they are vulnerable and they have only us, conscious, aware, concerned ADULT people to help protect them. How is it that we are more concerned for the abuser than the child or animal being abused? How is it we are more ashamed for the rude person, than the rude person is of themselves?

I cannot express how utterly painful it is to live in a community where you hear parents screaming and smacking their children and people screaming at and hitting / kicking their animals. I cannot express how concerning it is to live in a community where such things happen and its ‘business as usual” in that community — where we avert our eyes and avert our ears and life goes on. I cannot be a part of that.

How is it that attention, paying attention, noticing is a problem. Noticing is a bigger problem than the man who picks his nose, or kicks his dog, or the woman who screams at her toddler and hits her kid. Pay no attention because attention is rude but beating dogs, hitting kids, hitting on your neighbor when you are married and picking your nose is not.
I want parents and pet owners to REALLY hear me when I say — your neighbors are hearing you, they are watching you – many of us are caring deeply – we would help if we could. I’ll watch your kid for an hour while you take a break, I’ll walk your puppy if it’s all getting too much — I will not however, sit in my ticky tacky little box, next to your ticky tacky little box, averting my eyes, closing my ears or turning the stereo up enough to drown out screams. I will not listen to you abuse your kid / animals.

I'll be watching you gif

Sunday Thoughts: How Bout We Keep Your Religion Out of Our Treatment Programs

God is bigger

Last week I was talking about the intersection of community service organizations and religion [Sunday Thoughts: Get Your Religion Out of Our Community Services] and put forth a bit of an argument for why having religious organizations providing supports and services to vulnerable people can very easily lead to a variety of social justice issues. This week I am going to carry on with that theme and ask my readers to consider a story that came out of the U.S, California, about a man who refused to submit to a 12-step program, and consequently was jailed for an additional 100 days.  I’d ask my readers to think about all the reasons (and there are many) that this is a problem.

There are a lot of people who still believe the best treatment resource we have for addiction are the 12-Step programs; Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-anon, Narcotics Anonymous and heaps of other off-shoot programs which look at everything from Co-dependents Anonymous (CoDA), to Food Addicts Anonymous, to Sexaholics Anonymous .   What they all have in common is 12 ‘spiritual’ principles that are considered fundamental to recovery.

These are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

No god talk there … right?

smells like bullshit1

Across time the language of these steps has been tweaked to SOMETIMES remove gender biases and to try to convince people that AA programs are not religious, but are rather, spiritual. I think right here, we start these programs with a lie. The 12 steps may endeavour to be non-denominational, ie. not promoting any one religion or god over the other (though it smells a lot like Christianity to me), however, it most assuredly promotes the need for us to believe in something – you can dress it up as “higher power” but, the programs are still wearing religious knickers, even if you never see them. Read the 12 Steps. Carefully. Do you believe this is a religion free zone because if you do …

stupid that is

The 12-Steps, don’t work for atheists … not even a little. We don’t believe in god(s) or higher powers – we aren’t waiting for someone or something to listen to our “wrongs” let alone forgive us. We aren’t waiting for a god or higher anything to remove our “short comings” and we are very damn sure that if we are going to change ourselves or our lives, the effort to do so will need to be our own. We don’t have a god or a higher anything to blame our relapses on. If we fall on our asses its our fall. And we don’t believe for a second that if we relapse it’s because we don’t believe in god or a higher power.

Again I will use my experience as a clinical therapist / social worker who spent years working with addictions and addicts – that the 12 Steps never sat well with me, even when I was not calling myself an atheist. I appreciate that many people have successfully managed their addictions with participation in 12 Step programs, however, I would say that is in spite of the god shit, not because of it. I have also seen many people get a grip on their addictions without so much as a single muttered prayer.

Sooooo … why does this all matter today? Well, back to that news story: Atheist Jailed When He Wouldn’t Participate In Religious Parole Program Now Seeks Compensation. In short:

Barry A. Hazle Jr., was serving time for drug possession in 2007 when as a condition of his parole he was required to participate in a 12-step program that recognizes a “higher power.” Hazle, a long-term atheist and member of secular humanist groups, informed the parole officer that he did not wish to participate in the program but was told here were no secular treatments available.

When Hazle refused to undertake the program he was arrested for violating parole and returned to state prison for an additional 100 days, prompting him to sue on the grounds that his First Amendment rights had been violated.

Anyway, personal / professional experience aside, as an atheist I think we need alternatives to treatment programs that are god focused, ‘spiritual not religious’, or higher power-driven. We do in fact have  such a beast, for example, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS )(also known as Save Our Selves) provides a successful and increasingly popular non-religious alternative to “Twelve Step” recovery programs. I think we need to actively call out this “sort of religious but not religious” shit .. which is just as problematic as openly religious shit. Yes I say shit. Barry Hazle’s extended prison sentence is a social justice issue – a man in the year 2013 spent over three months jailed because he refused to submit to a higher power (god) driven program.

How about we keep religion out of our treatment programs. How about we do proper research and undertake evidence based practice. How about we learn the difference between what works ie. social support versus god talk. How about we make people responsible for their behaviour and problems and how about when they successfully overcome their challenges we give credit where credit is due. We save ourselves. We save ourselves with the grace of community, social support and hard work. How bout that.

Sunday Thoughts: Life Is A Bit of A Foxhole

You know the expression, “There are no atheists in foxholes”? It’s an aphorism used to argue that in times of extreme stress or fear, such as in war, all people will believe in, or hope for, a higher power.  It’s been used in all sorts of interesting ways. 1) to argue that there is no such thing as an atheist, not really, as we’ll all suddenly have a religious epiphany or conversion experience at the point of extreme stress or 2) that atheists, if they did exist would be of no emotional succor value in a foxhole, because only god thought comforts. 3) ergo atheists (as the compassionless child eating bastards that we are) are not much good in crisis.

This photo has been making its way around the internet. It’s a photo of Army Sergeant Justin Griffith, American Atheists’ Military Director who said,  “With my first act as Military Director I’d like to take the opportunity to arm my fellow foxhole atheists with a weapon against bigotry. That weapon is humor. The next time a condescending theist uses the no-atheists-in-foxhole ‘gotcha’ slogan, it just might be their last. I didn’t have to debunk the saying in some long-winded fashion. “There are no chaplains in foxholes.” It was instant, it was brutal, it was absolutely cathartic.”

atheist no chaplains

According to Griffith, “there really are no Chaplains in foxholes (in the US military.) They are designated ‘non combatants’, are not assigned a weapon, and are not supposed to be on the front lines of a battlefield. If they somehow stumbled into a foxhole, it would cease being a fighting position. It would simply be a hole.” (you can read more HERE  and some more HERE)

Who cares you might say?

Well on the one hand, we have seen the suppression of an American Chaplain, Kenneth Reyes, article, ‘No atheists in foxholes’: Chaplains gave all in World War II.following the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, led by activist Mikey Weinstein, sending a letter to the base allegedly on behalf of 42 anonymous airmen who had complained about it. (you can read more about that HERE). The article was taken down, and there was some discussion about whether Reyes should receive further discipline regarding his article. The article was later restored, with no further action taken against Reyes (you can read about that HERE)

I’m a pretty hard-core atheist, and as such I see the problems inherent in Reyes article (see above) and: As an atheist, I don’t want to read about or hear about faith or heaven / hell/ divine intervention or the like,  in my times of stress or danger. It’s not soothing to me, it’s not helpful – it’s aggravating and demeaning and insults my intelligence. Wishing for a god to “save me” is not much different than wanting my mother to be with me when I am sick.  Neither of which are going to happen, and neither in my books is desirable.

At the same time, I don’t particularly have delicate sensibilities about what Christian chaplains say. I do have thoughts about censorship as in, anti-censorship. I hope some day in the not too distant future an adult writing or talking about god will have the same effect as an adult discussing santa claus. As a comment this is imperfect, as religion actually perpetuates harm whereas belief in Santa is pretty benign – mostly because we don’t really believe. I want to feel free to write about or discuss atheism where ever I go. Obviously it’s a damn risky proposition at work (yes, still) as a massive part of our “industry’ is still run by church based organizations (don’t even think of getting me started). Anyway … the censorship thing, the “discipline” Reyes thing for writing an article — does not sit well with me.

If the military are going to censor a Christian chaplain, one  who they appointed, for writing about faith — the military has a real problem on it’s hand.  Faith and religion walk hand in hand. If the military are going to impose a ban on religious discussion, is it not a bit hypocritical to hire Christian Chaplains in the first instance? As stated by retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, “A chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members. Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose?

Oh deary me, we’ve got a conundrum on our hands.

You just  know this is gonna kick off B-I-G debate from Christians (and other religious people) who will demand access to religious chaplains. And isn’t it interesting that the table turns here? Previously it has been other religious denominations, with a smattering of brave agnostic / atheists advocating for alternate religious, or non-religious support. Now its the religious folks who are having to advocate to access their religious supports.

Breitbart News legal columnist and a senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council, Ken Klukowski notes: “ because this growing wave of anti-Christian extremism has been exposed to the public, the U.S. House has inserted new religious liberty protections for military members in pending legislation.” Obama has reportedly threatened to veto it.”

Whoa man, anti-christian extremists (!? aka atheists?), don’t trip on that last step, cuz it’s a doozie!

oopppppps

But hey, with all this conundrumming, could the emotional support needs of military personal not be equally met by say Humanist “chaplains” … or for lack of a better term, counselors / therapists and their ilk?  Silly me.  No way man.  Have a look at this article, Atheist Chaplain Undermines Nature of Chaplaincy Itself. “Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) has sponsored a new amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would bar atheists from joining the chaplain corps. In discussing the amendment, Rep. Fleming said that an atheist chaplain is an oxymoron. ” 

O rly?  As a clinical therapist and social worker, I disagree with Fleming. If we needed religion to comfort people, give them guidance and purpose, help them come to terms with trauma –  then people like me would not be successful in the jobs that  we are. I assure you there is no religious hocus pocus up my sleeves when I am working.

How far will my argument take us?  Well maybe not too far when we have  ignorant asshats like Stan Solomon and Gordon Klingenschmitt spreading their hate against the effort to add atheist chaplains to the military, Watch this video to see how we really have not come a long way baby at all, what with Solomon claiming atheist chaplains would help implement health care reform by encouraging wounded soldiers to kill themselves.

We’ve got a long walk ahead of us.

Personally I’m supportive of atheist chaplains. I’m even more supportive of trained professionals, therapists and clinical social workers, being present for military personnel.  In my work with chaplains, very few of them have any clinical therapy education or training and/or skills and I think this is a real problem. Yes I know psychologists and clinical social workers are employed by the military, however, maybe we need to look at expanding their briefs.  Less god, more evidence based professional practice.

I’m Not Apologizing For My Feminism

I’m pretty irritated by my email box and have been pretty irritated for a good week. I don’t write about my irritation because I am pretty sure I will get even MORE irritated if I do. All that said I have a bunch of emails from anti feminists sitting in my inbox. They don’t like my posts, they don’t like my blog, they sure’s in fuck don’t like my feminism. Guess what? I don’t fucking care. Let me repeat that, in the famous words of Harry P,  for you.

I don't care gif

Let me also step you through a couple other things:

1. This blog is not a democracy. I don’t write it for anyone’s pleasure but my own.  You don’t agree with my opinions? Super no problem. You hate my blog? Also no problem. You hate me? Ok, a little personal, but whatever.

I assume you understand how the internet works right? You don’t like what you are reading? Click the little “x”on the right hand corner of this tab and go somewhere more agreeable to you. I repeat. I do not care.  It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am not collecting readers, or comments.

Do I look like I am fishing for blog growth?

no umm

Don’t get me wrong, I love my readers, and enjoy their comments when they are inspired to make them, whether on my blog or via email. But I’m not trying to build some mega blog. This blog is not a popularity contest sort of endeavour for me. I don’t write for you. I write for me. It’s liberating. If you’ve never tried it you should give it a go.

2. If you believe for a moment that I am going to release posts that are full of wanking criticisms about my personhood, right to think, breathe, exist and then argue them with you … um no. It’s not going to happen. If you think you are going to see me apologize for being a woman, with my own sets of thoughts, feelings and experiences being a woman – I do advise you not to hold your breath.

I enjoy my peace of mind. I don’t do conflict for the joy of conflict. Yuck.

I also like diversity of thought. I am generally really pleased to consider alternate opinions. All that said,  I will not release comments when they are prefaced with words like “You blah blah blah feminists should all die”. etc.  I won’t release and argue those comments because quite simply I am not interested in

bullshit

3. I know that you think that your issues and perspectives trump mine. This is becoming a real danger faced by anyone who writes about any issue.

If I have a headache, fuck man, you’ve got a brain tumour.

If I make a point about an issue, you’ve got 100 issues lined up that I haven’t thought about or addressed… and it’s a real issue for you because of the above point … your issue is way bigger and more important than my issue.  I’m going to tell you what I think of this with a little analogy.

Say I have breast cancer, and I write some posts about my breast cancer. Suddenly someone jumps up and says, “you have nothing to bitch about, I’ve got leukemia!” Then someone else pops up and says, “you bitches have no right to bitch about cancer, how dare you, my mother died last year”. Then someone else pipes up and says, “you’re all a pack of douches, and you should all be dead. You’re stupid, and leftist, and uniformed, because the ENVIRONMENT man!!!!””

So here’s the thing. I would commiserate with you about your leukemia, the death of your mother and the state of the environment …. if you didn’t shove it down my throat, and expect me to apologize for my breast cancer.

At the point you insult me, minimize, marginalize and dismiss my issue, my opinion, my lived the fuck experiences … suddenly there’s no room for a conversation, and whilst I will always acknowledge the legitimacy of your issues, I will not do so at the expense of my own. I will not want to discuss your issues with you because you are a myopic asshole.  Yes, that’s right.

I am not the asshole who is unaware that other perspectives and issues exist, I’m the asshole who refuses to pretend that my issue doesn’t exist in order that you can feel heard. It’s not either / or.

Get the picture? At the moment you stroll into my cyber living room and want to tell me I should die, or I am stupid, or my lived experience is less relevant that yours, or whatever your deal is, we have a problem.

Most elementary school kids understand this problem, its a basic communication / socialization 101 problem …

what she said

Now some bloggers like this hideous conflict, adrenalin laden attack and be attacked thing and are prepared to make nice nice chit chat, be an apologist for their opinions, and / or fight the good fight. They think it drives blog traffic – and maybe it does, but as I previously discussed, I don’t care about blog traffic.  I don’t release venomous comments and I delete those sorts of emails.

Once again, this is not The Democracy of WrongSide. I don’t write for your approval, I write for me.

4. Other good news about the internet: You too can blog. You can start your very own blog, in your very own cyber corner, and you can write about your issue. You can find your tribe, where you all agree that your issue is the real issue. Isn’t that great?!

You can make sure stupid, horrible, girls like me don’t come in with their idiotic issues and leave comments on your blog. You can do this because you know, freedom of thought, freedom of speech meets the right to decide who talks about what in your livingroom.

I wish you well on your blog, writing about your issues.

fazed gif

5. Here’s a weird thing I notice. If I did try to write about your very important issue that I don’t have any lived experience with, you’d be leaving me comments telling me that I am “misappropriating your issue”, you’d be telling me I was an ignorant bitch who has no business speaking to your issue because its not my issue. How very dare I!

If I don’t write about or carefully explore your issue, I am an ill-informed, ignorant bitch, who clearly knows nothing and should have my hands chopped off at the wrists to prevent me from writing about non-important drivel, aka anything you don’t think is important.

Basically I am fucked either way eh?

roll eyes exasperated

I dare say, the only sort of writing or conversation you will be interested in is me saying yeah, my lived experiences and issues just don’t matter, you’re right, yours are way more important. Fuck my migraine, your tumor trumps it.

I’m not interested in that sort of writing. Therefore I choose to write about whatever I choose to write about. See how that goes?

6. I think I make a great ally. I have very strong social justice leanings. If you approach me, and you make a reasoned argument about an issue, I am the sort of girl who will say, Ahhhh I see. Is there a way I can support you or help?

I won’t try to write about your issue (I don’t live it), I won’t shove my “help” down your throat or pretend to know what you need (because I don’t). If you think it best for me to to stay out of your way so you can fight your corner without my baggage (my issue) weighing you (and your issue)  down, no problem I can do that.

But when you insult the shit out of me because my issue just isn’t as serious as your issue and you go on to tell me I should be dead as a result. When you treat me like shit, belittle, diminish me, demean me, insult me.

I am officially offside.

At that point, I am not your ally,

I’m your, have-a-nice-life-enjoy-your-fight-alone girl.            I’m your, get-out-of-my-cyber-space girl.

So for those of you coming into my cyber-livingroom packing hate … let me end this post on a righteous, what a great Jack White song,  high note …

Meanwhile, Back In “Post-Feminist” Lands, Sexy Children Are Still Leading Grown Up Men Into Sexual Assault

One of the things I feel compelled to do as a feminst, social justice advocate and woman, is to make explicit my disgust for Stupid Shit that passes for law and social commentary.  Case in point thse two stories:

14-Year-Old Victim Blamed in Court for Sexual Assault While in Juvenile Detention and Judge Calls 13-Year-Old Girl Who Was Sexually Assaulted by a 41-Year-Old “Predatory

stupid that is

What do these two stories have in common? Well, despite all logic, reason and common sense, two girls are being made to be responsible for the criminal behaviour of the men who sexually assaulted, aka, raped them.  My readers know how I feel about bullshit like this, I have written explicitly to it in posts such as Observationally Speaking, It Would Appear Men Have Very Serious Hormonal Problems … Yeah part of it is this suggestion that poor menz just cannot control themselves, and part of it is that we still, in 2013, successfully make children / young women / women responsible for men’s inability to control themselves and FOLLOW the LAW.

It goes beyond even this, however, when we have a legal system that makes excuses for the “poor menz who rape”… because little girls are just too damn sexy.  If this type of legal argument can be made which makes victims of rape responsible for their rapes, then the law is BROKEN. If these types of sentences can be passed by judges, then the judges are BROKEN and clearly need to be sent back to school – because it can only be inferred that they lack education, training, basic common sense and decent judgement.

The fact that this continues to happen …

rolling eyes

FIX IT!