Originally posted on my Facebook:
Last night I read a piece that comforted me in a really twisted way. It confirmed all of the terrifying thoughts about the state of the US right now that have been circling the drain in my head. The ones I’ve been allowing to trickle out in private conversations with like-minded friends, and sharing watered-down versions of on social media from diligently researched, fact-based, “legitimate publications.”
While my gut told me to share this particular piece immediately, that it was something that should be distributed widely, and read by every single person on the planet, I paused. I hadn’t visited all the links embedded within to make sure they were legit. I hadn’t double-checked the quotes by Trump and Bannon to make sure they weren’t taken out of context (spoiler alert: they fucking weren’t). I hadn’t researched the author. So I decided to sleep on it.
It was the very first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning, and I found myself wondering why I paused. Why was I afraid to post it? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I pause all the time. More often than not, I don’t hit that “share” button, even if something resonates deeply for me. More often than not, the things that I desperately want to write never make it out of my head and onto a page. More often than not, I weigh the importance of the subject matter against the energy I might have to invest “debating” it with people who are not interested in understanding, but silencing. More often than not, I retreat into the safety of my privilege when faced with even the possibility of that exhaustion. Because I am afraid.
I’m afraid that people won’t like me.
I’m afraid that people will think I’m some unhinged “SJW.”
I’m afraid that people will think I’m overreacting.
I’m afraid that my everyday experiences as a woman will be disputed and minimized.
I’m afraid that I will feel compelled to argue for the validity of my experiences as though they are not real, with people who do not live them, people who believe that my reality and the reality of others is something that can be disputed and debated.
I’m afraid that one day I’ll succumb to the onslaught of gaslighting, and I’ll start to believe that too.
I’m afraid that people will vomit racism, misogyny, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, TERF and SWERF bullshit, rape culture rhetoric, and other oppressive garbage all over a space that I try to keep safe for myself and people I love.
I am afraid of the doxxing, death, and rape threats that will come when and if the very people responsible for this clusterfuck read anything that I write.
Some of these things that I fear are already true, have already happened, or certainly will happen. That’s OK. Because I’m no longer more afraid of those things than I am of what’s happening to this country.
What I have to remember, without tricking myself into believing that my words and opinions carry more weight than they do, is that people have told me that what I say matters to them, and that I’m sometimes able to express things in a way that they understand.
Sometimes people tell me that my page is one of their first and only glimpses into intersectional feminist issues, and that because they know me personally, they consider my opinions more carefully than they would if they were coming from a stranger.
Sometimes I get messages from men who have questions about “women’s issues,” and want to know how they can better support people whose experiences they are incapable of entirely understanding.
Sometimes people ask me where they can find information about things like privilege, how they can share their thoughts meaningfully (or remain silent and listen to the experiences of those affected), as a white person, in conversations surrounding anti-racism.
Sometimes I get messages from people who have been sexually assaulted, thanking me for my willingness to be open about my experiences, because it provided them with some comfort and validation of their feelings.
Sometimes I get messages from people asking for my advice about addiction, because they know that I won’t try to force a solution down their throat, and they feel like I provide a space for them to be honest about it for the first time.
I want you to know that those are the moments I live for. Those are the moments that any emotional exhaustion is worth it. Those are the moments that I cling to in a culture that tells us that sharing deeply personal things about our lives publicly and regularly is divisive, inappropriate, and shameful. Those are the moments that make me feel brave when I want nothing more than to hide in my apathy, and allow myself be lulled into the intoxicating refuge of denial.
I don’t have even close to all of the answers about any of it (I will never claim to), and I fuck this shit up regularly. I welcome your criticism if I ever share something that speaks to your experience as a marginalized person in a way that is harmful or painful. I welcome any requests for content warnings. Please make me aware of it. I am not an expert on anything but my own experience, and I am learning the rest as I go, right along with most of you.
So if you are here on my page as a friend or a follower, I am going to lay some shit out for you: If you are tired of “political” posts, leftists, PC culture, feminism, “SJWs,” “snowflakes,” or those who have been and will continue to deny the legitimacy of this presidency, and you have been constantly lamenting the “good old days” of Facebook, when your newsfeed was a reliable stream of cat videos and cute babies, then you are going to be very irritated every time you see my name here. For some of you, the things I post *now* are already too much for your fragile ego to bear. This is your formal invitation to unfriend me, unfollow me, or block me, no hard feelings, because it is about to get so much worse. I’m tired of looking at pictures of your dinner anyway.
If you stick around, here’s my promise to you:
I will use this space to get really fucking honest.
I will share the voices and experiences of marginalized people.
I will keep this space safe for myself and all marginalized people experiencing the full spectrum of rage and fear right now.
I will not minimize or invalidate those feelings.
I will never tone police, call for “unity,” request that you remain calm and “civil” when discussing your oppression, nor will I allow anyone else to do that on my page.
I am tired of hiding out in comments sections, groups for like-minded people, and even in my own head, out of fear. I think that things have become far too dire, and it’s necessary for those who have the ability to do so to be speaking honestly and publicly about that. You are welcome to share anything from my page. I will post the majority of it, as I do now, set to “public.” I will, however, do my very best to keep this space a place where people can comment and share without fearing they’ll be gaslighted into silence. That means blocking and deleting as I deem necessary. I give exactly zero fucks about “censorship” or your “right to free speech.” It does not extend here, into my personal space.
We are past the point of “civil discourse.” Anything those of you who are still in denial want to “debate” has already been said ad nauseum, and broadcast a trillion times a day, on every major news network, television, computer, and smart phone from the racist, sexist, ableist, xenophobic, rapist, fascist you were brainwashed enough to vote for, and the white supremacist entourage currently leading the free world. You no longer have a platform here.
These are unprecedented times. When people believe that facts can be “alternative,” science and research are viewed as irrelevant liberal propaganda, people’s lived experiences of oppression are up for debate and then ridiculed as “divisive,” and a man can talk about grabbing women by their pussies and still be elected president. Fuck. All. This. Shit.
To those who stay here: I hope we can talk about some real shit and find comfort and support in each other. I love you. You are important. You matter. Please treat this space as if it were yours.
To those who leave: I hope the memory of your cat videos is enough to comfort you when the country crumbles, and you realize you were on the wrong side of history. And then I hope you’ll fight with us. I, for one, will welcome you with open arms.