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Where to find me

I seem to be getting a fair bit of interest on my posts about adoption even though I don’t write here anymore. If you are interested in reading my newest blog which is much more focused on adoption, family preservation and community weaving from a feminist perspective you can find it at
Communities don’t get built…

I talk about adoption a lot on this blog and will continue to do so. Its no secret than I am not an advocate of adoption and I think its really important that adoption is crtitiqued through a feminist and social justice lens but I find what often gets lost in anti adoption/adoption reform positions is the idea that we should also look at the reasons and the drive for people adopting through a feminist and social justice lens. The virulently misogynistic way in which women who want to adopt is talked about in some anti adoption circles disturbs and saddens me.(and it is almost always the women who are ripped apart, once again the men become invisible) Recently the improper adoptee left a comment on one of My previous posts that said

Unfortunatly, sisterhood was destroyed by another monster. The green eyed one. Infertiles hate fertile women, because they are so jealous, bitter and feel so put upon because they can’t conceive, that they throw all their morals out the window. The retreat into the state of mind of an enraged 10 year old child, who wants to do bad things because they can’t have what they want.

firstly I think calling women jealous bitter and childish for whatever reason is really misogynistic but this is is not just about this comment, I have seen the same things said elsewhere numerous times, I have seen infertile women bee blamed for their infertility because they are too fat, don’t look after themselves, are too old, have had eating disorders, or who have spent time on their career when they “should” have been having children.

and this all seems like a kind of victim blaming to me, No I don’t think infertile women have a right to adopt, but I also don’t think its their fault that they are infertile, this kind of rhetoric takes no account of the world we live in, that we live in a world full of chemicals that fuck up our reproductive system, that we live in a world where a woman cant, unless she is extremely wealthy, have a child and a career because good child care is way to expensive, and women in the workplace are still seen as expendable.We live in a world where women are incredibly disconnected from their bodies so we do do damaging things to them, we live in a world where women don’t have their own places to live until relatively late because house prices are so expensive.

We also live in a world that tells women that motherhood is everything, that sells the ideal of motherhood as what makes you a real woman, we live in a world that doesn’t tell women that their are other just as valuable ways of giving to the future and supporting the communities we live as having a child we can call our “own”. We live in a world that individualises child rearing rather than seeing it as a communal effort.

None of this is the fault of infertile women, these things are the fault of individualist capitalist patriarchy.
also something else that’s often missed here is that not all people who are infertile want to adopt and not all people who adopt are infertile

Being infertile hurts and for some women it hurts more than others and I think that should be acknowledged and there should be compassion for that. I’m infertile myself and if I wasn’t an adoptee i might well have thought about adoption because i wouldn’t have known otherwise.

I think people who adopt do by and large think they are doing a good thing for society, it isn’t their fault that they live in a society that tells them this, and there are ways of making clear this is not true without woman blaming.

Exile

Something I’m very, very sensitive about is the way feminists often talk about women in fundamentalist religions. You can’t understand a culture unless you have been inside it yet fundamentalist cultures are often unilaterally condemned by people who have no idea how they work.

I am an exile here, grew up in a different culture, with a different language, and different norms, and different dress codes, different morality and different gender expectations. And that’s partly why the world I live in now, the world that most of the people I love have always lived in, baffles me, why I move through it awkwardly like it doesn’t belong to me

This is not my mother culture or my mother tongue, and although I love it, I choose to live in it, I do not understand it as well as the country I grew up in. Its rules are too fluid, too changeable, too arbitrary.

The country I grew up in damaged me irreparably and rejected me or I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be an exile but I understand its internal coherence in a way that people who grew up here do not.

The people I come from are not stupid, are not by and large un(der) educated, they do not misunderstand the way the world works in the way you think they do. They are not selfish they do not not care about community, they do not follow rules for the sake of it, they do not hate women anymore than this culture hates women, they just hate them differently, but like this culture they do not see it as hate, they see it as the natural order of things.

Where I come from is irredeemable, there is nothing can be done to save it, so much would have to change in it that it would become somewhere else, but that doesn’t mean every single thing about it was bad.

Until I was seventeen it was possible for all the people I loved to be in the same room at the same time and that is never going to happen again while I am alive and there is a loss there.

When my mother was sick enough to need hospitalizing, which happened frequently, the women in my church made sure there was always a hot meal on the table every meal time and that we were washed and sorted and loved enough when bedtime came round.

The night I ran away there were hundreds of people out looking for me.

When I hear people disparage women in fundamentalist Christianity, they are disparaging the women who grew me up, who nurtured me, who did the best they could with what they had.

The reasons women do not leave fundamentalist religion do not amount to them being unenlightened, stupid or brainwashed. They may have a deep spirituality that is tied up in their community, their sense of community may be more important than their sense of individuality. They may feel safer in fundamentalism than out of it.

And contrary to secular opinion, women in fundamentalist religion are not all about the men. The religion I grew up in had women only meetings and retreats, as a matter of default, it wasn’t something that had to be argued about or fought for it just happened, it was seen as normal.

I don’t think Christian fundamentalism is healthy at all but I know how it works, I know the weak places and the strong places in it, I know what gets lost and what gets gained in the staying or the leaving of it.

Shministim

This is what activism looks like

Rape Follows Me

Rape follows me, the threat of rape is a deep bass refrain in my life, I do not fear mugging or theft or homelessness or beating the way I fear rape, every room I move through, every door I open conceals the possibility of rape, before we got the big dog I used to lie awake alone in my house at night worrying about men breaking in and raping me

I live in a world with no safety, no pychic silence from the noise the threat of rape makes

Men are not safe people in my world, they are half cocked weapons, potentially full of selfishness and violence, I have very few men in my life because the negotiations that are needed to go through between myself and a man, before I can even think about starting to trust him are so exhausting that usually one or other of us give up on the process before we get to a point we can have any meaningful friendship anyway.

Often in my interactions with men is a surface layer of boredom, irritation and apathy and all of those feelings are real but they are a shield for my terror that they will take me, invade me, annihilate me

And you know what, I know that this isn’t a particularly healthy way to live, or maybe evnn particularly sensible, and certainly not practical given that half the wollrd population is male.

But the thing is I am the way I am because men have hurt me. I’ve done a lot of healing, years of it and I’ve worked really hard at it but some things don’t heal because some things are true, my body knows that its at risk of invasion by men because it was invaded so many times

But men get angry with me about it, because I refuse to trust them, and I just feel, why are you angry with me, I didn’t give myself ptsd why aren’t you angry with the men that hurt me.

And women get angry with me when I’m not immediately and obviously accepting and open with their partners, friends, sons, when I shield my body or show no interest in connecting with the men in their lives, and I don’t understand this, I wouldn’t automatically expect anyone to trust either of the men in my life, why would I? a lot of the time I don’t trust them, (this is not the same as thinking that they are not trustworthy) but also just because i like someone, just because I conect with someone why should every other woman

And then theres the old tired refrain “not all men rape” I know that if I thought that this wasn’t the case I would be a separatist, but you cant tell by looking and in my experience you cant take anyone else’s word for it either, all the men that hurt me were loved by somebody. and really i dont have the energy to find out.

There is no conclusion to this piece of writing because there cant be really.

what I want, after everything i have, you know like food, clothes, a roof above my head, love and friendship, is to be taken seriously as a professional poet. and that takes luck, lots and lots of luck, but it also takes hard work, discipline, marketing, networking, lots and lots of poetry reading and you know, actually submitting stuff.

And there are tensions and anxieties there, about wanting to be come part of the establishment, about having to pander to the rules of the establishment to get this done. Also anxieties about the fact that because my name is coded male does that give me an unfair advantage in the publishing stakes of other women? Anxieties over my class and educational privilege. but at the end of the day, there’s this thing that I’m really really good at and not using it, not utilising it seems really really wasteful.

So I’m going to take big chunks out of my life to focus on this, big chunks out of my days, after my paid job (which i don’t have yet but I’m working on that) after friendship, relationship and home maintenance, after objectively useful political activism (which incorporates feminist stuff, church stuff and voluntary work) poetry is going to be the priority.

I’m going to give myself five years, three years to get stuff published in periodicals and magazines and competitions and then the next two years to try an get a book published.

I’m also setting up a blog elsewhere with my name on it to talk about poetry on and to make connections with other people talking about poetry. I’m not going to link it here because firstly its really important that its not associated with any of my other stuff on the Internet (poets are alowed to be kind of odd but not as weird as i actually am) but also there’s only one person who reads this that I think would be remotely interested. I’m going to try and get two posts up about poetry a week there , but they will be better putt together and less personal than the ones I’ve written here

And this is also a commitment to the boring bits, to the rewriting and redrafting to the email conversations with people who are willing to critique my work, to the writing of cover letters and working to submission deadlines, to the cataloguing of what I’ve submitted where.

And a commitment to networking offline by going to readings and festivals and performing at open mic nights (this is where I hanker for Swansea, because I know shit loads of poets and publishers that live in Swansea)

And then this means I have to spent less time fucking around on line, i spend a lot of my time at home alone at the moment and I just gravitate towards the Internet, when I could be writing or reading. And the Internet kind of bores me now anyway, or the places I usually hang out anyway. no one is saying anything new

I have lots of book I haven’t read. and a lot of them are ones i feel i should read, that other people feel i should read but actually I’m going to spend the next year just reading poetry and stuff about poetry, with maybe the occasional foray into fairy tales/fairy tale theory and Adolescent literature/ad lit theory because these are the things that trigger my creative brain.

I’m still going to be writing here, but just as kickback when I have time

Nobody hurt you. Nobody turned off the light and argued
with somebody else all night. The bad man on the moors
was only a movie you saw. Nobody locked the door.

Your questions were answered fully. No. That didn’t occur.
You couldn’t sing anyway, cared less. The moment’s a blur, a Film Fun
laughing itself to death in the coal fire. Anyone’s guess.

Nobody forced you. You wanted to go that day. Begged. You chose
the dress. Here are the pictures, look at you. Look at us all,
smiling and waving, younger. The whole thing is inside your head.

What you recall are impressions; we have the facts. We called the tune.
The secret police of your childhood were older and wiser than you, bigger
than you. Call back the sound of their voices. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Nobody sent you away. That was an extra holiday, with people
you seemed to like. They were firm, there was nothing to fear.
There was none but yourself to blame if it ended in tears.

What does it matter now? No, no, nobody left the skidmarks of sin
on your soul and laid you wide open for Hell. You were loved.
Always. We did what was best. We remember your childhood well.

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