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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…

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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.

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Shministim

This is what activism looks like

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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.

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It was technicaly yesterday and nobody reads here but i still think its important to mark it

Helen G has more

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i recently went to an oasis gig and it was an odd experience. I’ve not really been following oasis for the last ten years but when they hit the scene in 1994 they were really important to me.

This gig musical was good, but the audience was made up of drunk loud thirty year old men who clearly hadn’t got the memo that how you behave when you are sixteen is not appropriate in thirty year olds. i loath men like that, loath them, they make me feel deeply unsafe, they take up too much space and they are violent and rude, so going into and coming out of the venue was not a pleasant experiences

but the gig itself really took me down memory lane, being sixteen was an odd experience for me, as I pretty much think it was for everyone. It was a very split experience on the one hand I was slowly going insane from repressing serious amounts of recent trauma and violence and on the other hand the whole world was opening up for me

I’d just started at sixth form college and I met a whole bunch of people who were really different from the world I’d been taught existed

And in the years between then an now there has been a whole lot of heartache and healing, of losses and gains, and a lot of really hard work to get to the level of coherence I am today.

And this song? The first time I heard it I remember thinking, if i survive this, if I get though (and it was touch and go whether i would survive my life for a really long time) this will be the song I’m singing

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