To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

Hi, how are you doing? You’re probably doing well, you’re probably doing some good things out there. Fighting the good fight. Good on you.

I know why you’ve reached out to me. You probably do believe I’m a good friend and I do think that you’d like to see me as your equal. You’re all for fighting for gender equality anyway- teaching boys that they can have emotions, teaching them not to call women sluts (in public). I’ve seen you participating in numerous feminist discussions and brazenly announcing yourself as feminist in the right public setting (the RIGHT one, mind you).

However, my friend, we both know that there are a few reasons at the core of why you may have contacted me today:

  1. Validation. You want your feminist efforts to go noticed. You want to comment on how ‘terrible’ that guy was who commented on my status (because he had blatantly sexist views as well as hidden, learned behaviours). You want to tell me about all of the micro-aggressions you stopped happening today by being the macho man and stepping in for us. You want to send me a feminist article and say ‘thought you might like this’ (an hour later I see you tag your friend in a racist meme). Tell me about all the good things you’ve done for us poor women so that I can pour that well earned validation on you.
  2. Emotional Labour. After I’ve validated your brave efforts to keep the patriarchy at bay while simultaneously benefitting from it (thank you again), I’ll listen to you talk about all the issues you can’t discuss with ‘the boys’. I’m like a bottomless jar for your shit talk apparently, and I have no emotions or interests or life of my own. Fill ‘er up bud!
  3. Pity. You’re such a nice guy, why are bad things happening to you? Why aren’t you getting laid? Why is work so shit? Why aren’t you getting that promotion you deserve? Why didn’t she text you back? Why did she go home with Brad and not you??? Well, I could break down the fact that women aren’t actually here to repay your kindness (basic human decency…) with sex (why else would you try and be nice to a woman right? they’re not actually fun to talk to) but… the friend-zone myth it is.
  4. To subconsciously remind me that I’m inferior to you. Your dreams are bigger, your aspirations matter more, you take up more space in the world, you know more than me about well, let’s face it, everything! But, of course, women should get as many opportunities as they can- as long as it’s under the system that still allows you all of your privileges. We’ll have a peaceful integration of equality… mostly for white women… upper/middle class white women… upper/middle class white women that you find fuck-able.
  5. So that you can eventually fuck me (my personal favourite). Ooooh the ol’ does he actually care about women or does he just wanna get laid conundrum. I can see right through you and I know what you’re doing. Stop it.

Despite our interactions pretty much constantly following the same patterns, I would like to (actually, sincerely) thank you. I know that as a cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman, I can be a fucking irritating cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman. I have been really irritatingly privileged in a lot of settings, particularly social media, and I know I’ve pissed people off- even if they haven’t said anything. Thinking about interactions with my friends who are liberal, feminist men and reflecting on how angry they make me- not because they’re being outwardly sexist but because they’re almost patronisingly, subconsciously holding up the patriarchy- reminds me that I need to work on how I do this every day. How I hold up my own privilege and how, when we think we’ve learned it all and we’re the perfect allies, we’re not. Perfect ally-ship does not exist, just like perfect humanity does not exist. Being an ally is not a flashy badge that you should carry around, it’s helping to effectively shift foundations without a welling of your own ego. It’s about hurting your ego. Deflating it. We need to listen and shut up more. I need to listen and shut up more.

And you- my liberal, feminist friends who are men- I love you. I appreciate what you’re doing. You have a role in this fight but this is not about you. Also, you don’t plateau in this struggle. You keep learning. You listen. You de-centralise yourself.

It’s been nice talking to you, bud.

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To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

a reading

She asks you:

What are you doing here?

Dice click, rolling over her knuckles, candle light wanes.

You answer:

Learning how to love.

She lowers her hood, an unblinking bright blue eye, the colour of a summer with a girl who made you feel like you were not alone; the colour of an ocean that you nearly drowned yourself in when she left.

 

Try again.

 

She asks you:

What are you doing here?

A bird preens itself; there is the smell of lavender.

You answer:

Learning how to live.

She stretches out her wrist, black choked veins, the colour of a thick spew of oil and of lines in a balance sheet, the colour of a black out on a street with no signs occupied by people who have already seen apocalypse.

 

Try

Again.

 

She asks you:

What are you doing here?

There are mirrors everywhere, refracting light from different worlds.

You answer:

Learning how to die.

She stretches out into a smile, her body is a circle, the colour of the deepest winter sunset witnessed by all life upon beginning and upon ending, the colour of deep acceptance and of a battleground.

 

She says:

Continue.

a reading

RE:

Mum, I’m tired of painting myself.

Shaving my body until I am sleek feels like a self-harm

I love the furry down that grows on me and reminds me of how many years my skin has had

But tonight I am shaving myself sleek again

Before I paint myself to look like a golden goddess that you see inside glowing glass

My hands move around my chest in circular motions

I’m expressionless,

Preparing a corpse,

Mum, I look like I’m dying.

Did I get 100 likes yet?

 

Mum, I’m tired of chain smoking.

It makes me so fucking sick and I’m always coughing

But I’ve told myself that it is a stress relief because I need that

Do I need that? I probably need a one-way ticket to the middle of a forest, to be told

To create something in that solitude

Before I become part of a concrete block-

4 stories of artificial light and decaying human beings.

Mum, I feel like a blip of data.

Do you wanna talk about anything yet?

 

Mum, I’m tired of the circle of mould on the wall by my bed.

All this time we’ve been told that this life is an exciting journey

That one-day we’ll be understood as if we are all different

But life is, in fact, one dull grey sky after another.

It’s learning to wake up every morning at 7am and drink your coffee

And look at the sunrise bleeding bright pink and truly know

That this is the most beautiful thing you will see today.

Mum, you needed to teach us

To embrace monotony.

 

I’m

tired.

RE:

divine

We throw around the word ‘beautiful’ a lot.

As poets, as dreamers, as people moving about in the world.

Beautiful gives off a sense of purity, a sense of righteousness, a societal achievement.

I will begin to push away the beautiful for the whole sense of self.

I am whole.

I am not beautiful.

I do things that I know I should not do, things that will age me, make me ugly, make me unkempt, make me hated, make me self hate.

But I bring these things into myself to create a whole.

Whole not as in the common meaning of the word when a half and a half meet and they meet perfectly and become one.

But when you look at an aspect of your being and you think

Yes

This is me-

It is not perfect

But I am doing the best that I can.

I am a whole person.

I will self destruct, I will implode, I will love, I will be loved, I will hate, I will rage, I will write, I will procrastinate, I will be lazy and self hate for a month, I will run into a glorious sunset the next.

I will taste every broken shard of this existence and they may make me bleed and I will look to the sky and plead for more.

I will embrace the fractured parts of myself and love them enough to call them a divine whole.

divine

embers in april

You are a high-functioning human being.

Blink.

Pretty enough to approach, smart enough to succeed, balanced enough to

Blink.

-Roll an ember around in your hands-

-Roll-

-an ember-

Blink.

I have friends that slink around in the heavily pregnant shadows of a wet evening

They know me so well.

Sometimes they want to terrify me, sinking their burnt coal fingernails sharp into old memory;

Sometimes they pour sticky toffee sweet love all over me, huddling into my neck like lap dogs;

They visit at odd, disjointed times

To whisper and weave and cackle and growl;

I try to breathe deeply to find peace but they know

I want to fight and bleed and hurt others and be hurt

-Roll an ember around in your hands-

-Roll-

They know that I am bored.

-an ember-

Blink.

You are a high-functioning human being.

 

embers in april

’16

Sunday was a bright yellow thread weaved between two papaya trees

Their trunks are young

Your lips are mine

The sickening taste of last night’s argument distilled with 7am headache-

 

You say ‘I love you,’

I say ‘I know.’

 

How long should we lie?

 

Sunday was a bright yellow thread weaved by your cautious fingers

My spine has been arched

Toward your stomach

The cockroaches in the kitchen will stop feasting on Thursday’s mango-

 

Instead they will flock

To our rotting bodies.

 

How long will we lie?

’16