gonna have some of your
give it to me!
And why would I want that?
Oh, it is poison! Man as master, woman as slave, woman feels and man understands feelings through her, woman’s state is from upbringing so I can never be a woman- and the mutilation is so appalling! It’s six in the morning, and I lie in bed, my fragile sense of self reeling before your obsidian judgment of me- not a reflection! Not a reflection!
You wrote of this middle-aged porn user, “Jim”, who told you his wife did not know of his habit, and of your disgust at how this might affect his role as a father and grandfather, in such a way that he might be identifiable. Beware the stranger to whom you confess. You consider using my name in your writing.
and I fear, and come back to that desire. Attention. What good would that do me? Some make a career of it, successfully, but the motivation comes before seeing that. And I flee attention- Philip said I “wanted to blend into the background in the most eye-catching way possible”. Bad thing with bad words like drama queen- for male or female. Though perhaps a “drama queen” is one who seeks attention, inexpertly, as a “nag” is a manipulator who has been noticed.
It is a childhood desire. My mother’s story:
-What do you want to be when you grow up?
-A bus conductor?
-No, an orchestral conductor!
She loved the- contempt?- as I said it.
I know myself through other’s eyes. Or at least, I know myself but seek confirmation through other’s eyes, to make it real for me. I would prefer applause, and note the idea that children crave attention and act up to get it.
Children. Not mature, adult, independent- though humans are not independent- some are more than others-
you writing of me is tempting, even though you might- would- almost certainly- excoriate me more than- gosh, I hope “Jim” is a pseudonym-
mirrors- I need you to see me so I may see myself, rather than to be that I may see myself in you, which was how I understood that essay on Hegel. You know, as I write this I don’t know if I am extracting myself or digging myself deeper. I feel powerless, but powerlessness- to this Judge- is not an excuse. If I am flailing about seeking answers, I may heedlessly trample others-
I don’t want to hurt anyone. I want reconciliation before all else. I am soft, gentle, peaceful, and that opens me to this Judgment, as a deliberately cruel man might trample that too. It is not affirming of him so he ignores it.
It’s all about them, say the commenters on your article. Men confess. After too much porn, they can’t get an erection from ogling a short-skirted woman in the street! No absolution from these women- so trampling on them is the only way to self-regard.
I begin to understand Miriam Afloat. That’s the blog allegedly of a trans woman who parrots radfem rejection of trans women. Possibly, it really is a trans woman, accepting that judgment, for it is how she can be good.
What Jim the porn user wanted was absolution. Not priestly absolution with repentance and amendment of life, but liberal absolution- yes, you might think it a bit yuck, but lots of people do it, it’s nothing to be worried about. In the hippyish, liberal place you met he might have expected that. He did not get it. There is so much anger here: a commenter said, Given the level of sexist hate crime in families, it might be helpful to give his female family members a heads up so that they have informed consent whether he stays in the house or not …? It is possible “Jim’s” wife may be aware of the article and, because you used your own name, have identified her husband. You risk breaking their marriage.
I tend to feel my sweetness and charm will win people over, and if that does not work sympathy with my hard life and suffering might help. Not with these people, for whom I symbolise all they rage at.
I wrote to the break, then went to see Richard. “Of course you are a woman,” he reassured me. “Do not listen to her.” And as you might see from the writing, I am reassured. I always feel ill after meeting you, and yet I feel your particular perspective may help me know myself, which is my main desire. I want attention as well as absolution, as well as to hide away, and want to know what that means. I want to stop being at war with myself.
And I want to accept the hostility. I am arrogant for deciding how I dress, because that harms women, someone I thought moderately friendly told me. It is just there. It is from hurt, and righteous anger resisting the hurt even though I hurt too and do not cause their hurt. Just accept it. It is there.
Collage by Kathy Grieb Kennedy.