Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Male Feminist

"Empathy is not particularly elusive. It only requires an earnest quest to understand and act on that understanding. The problems women face in this world require the engagement of all the world’s people.“It’s very important for everyone to be a feminist.” "
I really appreciate the simplicity of this call to arms. In this moment in time, violence against women is on the minds of most Americans. For some of us, it has been on our minds for years, or longer. There is a certain amount of truth to be said of the soundbite above, and it is enticing to those who don't know how to move forward in chaos of the national media circus. But in reality, this is not much different from saying that the only thing needed to counteract privilege is to become aware of it, and while that is definitely the first step along the way, it is easy to overlook the depth and seriousness of the issue when everybody is telling you there is an easy solution. It is easy to say that you're not of those kinds of people, but really changing who you are comes as a result of dedication and discipline. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a new direction

I've been going about this all wrong. Its easy to get caught up in the appearance of, the show of, the communication of identity. Swept up in what I thought a gender-queer person was 'supposed' to look like.

Aesthetic principles have ruled my life. I like to think that I resist power, something I a have resisted because of my privilege. I could always tell that I was treated differently than other people. I used to dream about how when everybody else turned around they lost their human form. They would melt away into dripping sludge golem. Then, as I slept each night they would meet and discuss the roles they would play for me the next day; a math teacher, ice cream salesperson, my mother, my dad, and not but certainly not least my brother. He was the architect. My brother has always been to me the personification of /systematic/. When I first pondered on my own privilege as a male-presenting, white, well-educated human being I had the most incredible flashback. I was sitting at the counter of my house, except I was looking down on myself as my family came in one by one and upon leaving my field of vision transformed back into their 'true' selves, communicating on another level literally behind my back. Since then, I have been quick to incorporate it into my  conscious self, to be mindful of the connection I have to this idea. I have spent a long time realizing that I have done a lot better.
 That fear lives as deep inside me as my comparatively old hallucinations; an experience always brought on by fever or induced ~sickness~.  Exploding in scale, like a balloon, the pressure of the air fighting me back for each square inch, my chest seizes and I can't breathe.  The next thing I know, all the air has been let out. The air wins out, cramming my whole expanded self back into my self for just an instant before taking its sweet revenge. There is no baseline to return to any more, other than brief moments of lucidity, just a continuous cycling battle of pressure, sucking the life out of me.
That's why NOLS was such a life changing experience. I started to see the power of life; something that was not an artefact of humanity, but of all life. Still, in the human world, our social environment, defines a large part of who we are. Humanity, in many ways, has become obligately  social. It is incredible how strong an evolutionary force the company of others has become.

Anyways... Gender is more than appearance. Gender is about social interactions, and in our society people take their cues from appearance much of the time. I have always tried to downplay the importance of my appearance. I know this is a point of privilege, but it is not necessarily bad, I must own my privilege by giving it up, but I think that all people should be able and free to dress however they want, and I want to dress like me. Poorly fitting clothes, typically male, but not exclusively. I want to express my non-conformity through nail polish and eye-liner and lipstick and my hair style. If I were a female-bodied person, I would be a tom-boy. That is just me. Deal with it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is this how I get better?

It is 9:30 in the morning. I have already had more depressive, masochistic, suicidal, and pessimistic thoughts than I could bear, at least on most days. But there is something about today...
Each time my stomach started to turn due to the self-hatred of my current thought, I stopped it. I stopped everything really. I stood in place, looked around myself, actively remembered why I am here, what I am doing, the goals I have, people that matter to me.
It seems to be working pretty well. At the very least this technique will get me through the week. I might end up drinking myself 6 feet under then though, I don't know yet, I guess we will just have to see.

Friday, February 21, 2014

War Memories I'll Never Have

I really wanted to be a soldier.
I will never become a soldier.

Growing up I heard story after story after story about the brave souls who gave their lives for the freedom of others. That was pretty much all my grandfather talked about, oh and how he used to be poor. He was the last of the men in my family history to go to war for this country, a tradition that started 150 years ago. Stories of war heroes so firmly engrained in my mind, scenes from war movies play through my mind's eye as I laid awake at night. Only, it is me, I am taking cover as bullets fly over my head. Advancing up hills and through bushes, we charge toward the enemy position. Planes flying overhead dropping napalm and shells on nearby objectives. It all feels so real. The smell of the gunpowder, the rumble of the explosions, the deafening sting of gunshots, the pain, the blood, the screams, the death. All of seems so real to me, even at an early age I knew it. I knew an experience of war.

At first I thought this meant I should join the military, that I was destined to fight. But I realized that I didn't need to, that the war memories I'll never have taught me enough to mourn the tragedies of war, to mourn the sacrifice of my ancestors, and to hold them up proudly such that future generations well not need to.

I have always been a soldier.
I am just now finding my own orders to follow.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wow I had some stuff on my chest (a work in progress)

What is the self?
Does it matter at all if it exists?
tonight, i have been stuck in my mind, zooming in and out, from the experience of thinking my thoughts, to viewing them from way above. At the same time disjunctive and cohesive; continuous but with some 5th or 6th power variables.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mornings are a challenge

Is the smile put on and worn like a pair of heels worth the work? This morning I doubt I have the energy to pull it off today, sadly all to common these days. My stomach is oscillating between cramps and loud noises, and I can't get warm. This is at least partially due to my heat being off, but nothing is separate, it is all part of my self. A self that is self-destructive, in pain, uncomfortable, burnt out, and struggling to maintain movement.

But that is only half the story.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Feels Today

This is how it must end.
this must be what needed to happen all along.
I... love you so much but know that I am not what you need right now.

I don't challenge you, don't excite you, and don't help you anymore
You have watched me grow up as I have watched you, so now all that is left is to leave the home in search of the next phase of life. The phase of life where we are 'together' is over. It has to be. My heart is aching like it is over, and I feel like I've been dumped.

We got in over our heads. We were actually about to move in together, planning a life together. That was never supposed to happen. How did that happen?

All I know is that you are by far the most important person in my life today, while your life seems to be growing away from mine. I grew my life around you for a long time, and you grew yours tangential to me. You have told me many times that it bothers you how easily you can abandon your own life for the sake of another person's. I thought I was aware of it, but I was wrong. I didn't realize how integral you had become in my life. How much I depended on you.

So I sit here craving your voice, your touch, your mind. I am trying to not attempt to pull you back into my life. You deserve better than me. I know this. But my stomach is in knots and I am afraid. That I won't be able to move on, that in order for me to move on I will have to entirely give you up, I fear that I will give up myself in the process.

I want to dedicate myself to school. To fall in love with the process of doing work. I need a project, or many. All the notes and problem sets and journal articles in the world will never replace the support you gave me. I'm dubious that anyone or anything will ever.

I am going to make hard cider. I am going to make whiskey, I am going to create my window garden, I am going to sell my material goods, I am going to ace O-chem, I am going to think up an amazing thesis idea, I am going to write a really good ES paper, I am going to do a legitimately badass independent project, I am going to rock my qual. I am going to rededicate myself to friends. Eliot, Aaron, Elaine, Brice, Dwayne, Tim, Hanna, and Liana. I am not going to go insane, I am going to survive.

Am I self centred? probably yes. But I'm at peace with it. I need to realize how important it is to myself that I be able to see people for whole human beings and deal with them on that level.

But for now I just need to figure out how to deal with you. I need to figure out if we can be friends. I need to figure out how to be your friend.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mind Space Today

I'm taking a sledgehammer to my brain
nothing is exempt
nothing is safe
freedom at last!

taking one bottle down from the wall
i drink
red and hot it burns my lips


the heat starts down in my belly
powering my every breath
seeping upwards, beating against my heart
tasting its goal as it laps up against my brain,
filling my neck with heat

it is hard to swallow.

my only hope is that this one final levee holds
the great flood that beats against it threatens
no, promises
to sweep me away on its hemato-waves
into the beautiful darkness of the setting sun

night is where the devil lays in wait
so i carry my offering of green and glass
in a shaking clammy hand
ready to ignite my offering to the devil
"one more day, i just need one more day"

those words
painstakingly engraved on the walls of my mind

sledgehammer playing out the role of my will
too tired to go on

I set the tool down, wipe my brow, and look up
the levee stands tall and bowed, a testement
to convictions I once had.

red, hot, rage splashes my ankle
a wave had crashed upon the lip of the levee
dripping early warnings down into my socks
into my sole, separating me from the ground.

it is coming.
there is no time to wait.
i must get back to work.

with one last long breath
the sledgehammer is in the air again
back at the work of undoing

in hopes that when the bottles of rage
rise above that final levee's wall
there will be no lies left

in hope that when the flood takes me
down to the red hot depths of the night
i will be ready,
at last,
to say,
"take me"