Maybe, since this is my fucking playhouse, a little self-indulgence is warranted.
This blog is three years old.
Starting this blog was a really big step for my mental health. It was an expression of confidence in myself, in my right to have strong opinions and speak my mind, in my ability to write things that maybe one or two people might like to read.
It still wasn’t that easy. After the first big scary step there was a regression, an attack of nerves, a clear case of Impostor Syndrome, a constant second-guessing. All those things still happen, especially when terrifying moustachioed dinosaurs launch an attack or several hundred comments on a guest post are dedicated to telling me I’m stupid and wrong and evil and ruining everyone’s good leftwing time.
This blog has been a three-year process of learning to not give a shit.
Not give a shit that the influential old men of the left don’t like my style. Not to give a shit that the kids at Newlands College think I’m a dumb cow. Not to give a shit that Ian Wishart wants to play spot-the-real-argument in my comments.
And above all, not to give a shit that I am angry, that I am foul-mouthed, that I am a woman unafraid to stand up, metaphorically speaking, and tell the world and its fucked-up gender expectations that I am not fucking modifying my soul for its fucking convenience, and I am not fucking holding people’s hands as their brains try to process basic fucking concepts like “mansplaining is bad” and “privilege is unearned” and “expecting women to “watch their language” is basically the definition of patriarchal restrictions on women’s lives”.
I don’t give a shit about those things because I simply will not waste any more of my life wondering if people aren’t going to like me because I say I’m a feminist, or aren’t going to take me seriously unless I talk a certain way* or aren’t going to pay attention to what I’m saying unless I couch it in terms they’re comfortable with.
This isn’t strength, really. It’s self-defence. It’s the only way I’ve found to protect my mental health and not go into a self-recriminating death-spiral of doubt and second-guessing inevitably ending in the conclusion that I’m wrong, wrong, wrong, and should just stop, and shut up, and quit making such a fuss because obviously I have no fucking clue what I’m talking about.
And you can fucking decide that means I can’t play well with others, I can’t work together even with other feminists, I shouldn’t talk in “safe spaces”** because I’ll just scare people, I’m everything that’s wrong with feminism, I’m the reason the movement will fail.
But I. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.
*And what’s fucking hilarious about that is that I’m a university-educated white girl who’s pedantic about grammar and often gets mistaken for an Englishwoman thanks to an upper-class Auckland education. And *I* fucking have to worry about people discounting me because I swear, because I’m loud, because I snort when I laugh?
**Spot the fucking irony.