fixing mistakes

My vagina is bald inside my underwear, inside my pants.  It feels everything and as I sat with you and your wife, trying not to look at either of you too much, and searching for perfect words to express my wrecked self and jaded worldview, I started my period.

The night before I was grooming my pubic hair and when I checked me out in the mirror, I saw that the right side was closer to center than the left.  So, I shaved a bit more on the left.  Then I had to shave a bit more on the right, working my way inward until I became smooth as a newborn.  It looks strange.

I woke up late the next morning, missed the bus, and was twenty minutes late to class.  There you were.  Waiting.  You were there with a woman who had long shining hair, a chunky necklace and Prada glasses- your wife.  She wouldn’t let anyone else talk about the material which was Black Feminist literature and criticism.  I was the only black person present.  It was a microcosm of society- male authority figure, white woman on a pedestal, a sister in the backround with a bleeding bald vagina.

Perhaps it began before the shaving- when a classmate fondled my hair?  I don’t feel safe and now I wear it all twisted up and hidden.  My whole life I’ve blended in with walls and shadows.  My hair brought me into the spotlight and I can’t handle the attention.  It’s just hair, for christ’s sake, and I’m just me.  But I’m fading again.

What  a relief, but sad as well.

Or maybe this started even before that, like with the move to Oregon?  The Bay Area?  Choosing not to go to college right after high school?  Not moving up a grade in elementary school when the opportunity presented itself?  Not staying at the hospital for the last week of Daddy’s life when I was asked?  Being born?

Anyway, I finally broke away.  You’d been gone for half an hour before I was able to get a word in edgewise to excuse myself because, like you and your wife, I’ve got other shit to do, like check out the damage in my underwear.  If it were you and me, I would have counted this as a special moment in my mental scrapbook of us I call “Milestones Bewteen Us About Which You’ve No Idea”: Started period in your presence.  There are others, like: I said the word pussy in your class, and my personal favorite thus far: you wrote that my paper was academic candy and I’ve got proof.

Instead, I have to add ‘I question your character’ to my twisted collection.  It’s not bad.  The wife is pleasant enough, attempting to connect herself with me, or check me, or whatever.  Honestly, it needed to happen sooner rather than later due to special powers I possess which make it possible for my thoughts to become reality.  This was inevitable.

And it should be noted that I ain’t that fucking great. 

I just loved that, for a time, you were no ordinary man for me. 

sluts and whores

Slut shaming is a horrific, spirit-damaging act most societies of the world have engaged in since the concept of civility appeared on mankind.  It is a way to control women, their bodies and their complaints about the lack of skill and compassion men possess.

You see, in this world of male dominance, the desires, natural desires, and pleasures of women must be controlled.  Because in order to maintain control, the dominant minority must have hands upon even the most basic functions of the lives of those who are dominated.  Take the joy from activities such as sex or sexual expression, or the ability to exercise autonomy over one’s own body, and therefore, one’s life path, and the controlled persons will more than likely be indoctrinated with the idea that one’s pleasure or experience doesn’t matter, is not important.

Our society is a trip.  With every tool at its disposal- media, entertainment, education, religion, politics, etc.- girls and women are told that in order to be regarded as good second class citizens, they must quash any natural, human desire for autonomy yet be sexy for their man.  It’s a type of schizophrenic tight-rope walk that can, and does, destroy so many women, creating in them guilt and resentment, while placing men in a position of power over women from their finances and social opportunities all the way to what they put in their bodies like birth control pills, french fries and cocks.  It’s like that saying about men wanting “a lady in the street and a freak in the bed”.  And even then, she must only be so freaky, and it must benefit him.  He doesn’t want to get down with that clit.  He’s jealous of our abilities to give life and our orgasms. 

How does one, a man, a woman, our society, attack a woman who is too independent, too honest, too real and resitant to the bullshit systemic and degrading classification of the female of the human species?  We call her a whore.  We call her a slut.  We are envious of such a woman and men want to screw her because they hate her so much.  A free woman doesn’t need a man to save her.  She has saved herself.  A free woman will not submit readily to the chains.  A woman on the pill is less likely to be burdened with the children of men and therefore able to leave whenever she grows weary of their bullshit, becomes bored or is just done. 

A supposed slut is isolated from “quality” men and women.  An isolated Being is much more susceptible to oppression, to the lies of male dominance.  God!  I feel so sorry for the women trapped in marriages to those who would judge women as whores or sluts or bitches.  The sex, I imagine, must be hideous.  The poor woman Newt Gingrich pours his mash potato body over at night must be screaming inside her head during the three grunts I just know must be the extent of their mating.  Mrs. Santorum ought to be fucking ashamed of herself.  I’m certain she hears a ton of stupid shit from that man to whom she’s married.  I wonder if she prays for death.  I bet she prays for his death.  Or the greater possibility is that she has been so brainwashed that she actually thinks his archaic, sexist, insecure-man rants shine with the light of morality.

Our society, for the most part, hates a woman unshackled.  She is the chaos factor.  A woman in control of her Self is dangerous to the status quo.  Her fingers, her vibrator, her softness, her breasts, her girlfriend(s), her boyfriend(s), her orgasms, her choosing, her living, her unwillingness to settle, conform to false doctrines and totally stupid ideas of good/bad are frightening to men because those aspects of living are, and should be, out of their grubby, grabby hands.

By slut-shaming women, by calling them whores, women and girls are often shamed into silencing their desires, needs, bodies, all forms of expression and passion.  It is the first step in breaking the spirit and reforming it in ‘his’ image.  Under the immoral guise of morality and the wrong idea of male authority, slaves- psychic, spiritual and sexual slaves- are created.  It all begins with the idea of being a good little girl.  It is reinforced by the idea that our bodies and their functions are dirty or mysterious.  It is the invisibility of our clitoris.  It is the shaming of our needs.

Don’t stand for it any more!  Do not refer to women as sluts because they don’t want to fuck you or be with you after they fuck you or they are honest with you or they are fucking other people and you, too.  Do not call women whores because they are having more fun than you or are more comfortable pursuing their desires than you are or because you are angry with them.  Do not call women bitches because they don’t want to have your nasty little offspring or need to regulate their periods or because they are thinking about sex and want to be prepared.  It’s none of your fucking business anyway.

How about instead, you work on what’s fucked YOU up so much that in order to create meaning in your life you judge the lives of others?

redifinition

I am a wife, mother, daughter and student.  I am black, low-income, uneducated and not too young.  I want to subvert these identifiers.  I want to subvert the system that makes such markers so meaningful and inescapable, not only to the world around me, but to the world within me.  But how can I do so when all the tools at hand are the system’s tools?  How can I speak out when my words are not my words and my thoughts are inauthentic and filtered through the indoctrination of the system?

After discussing Julia Kristeva’s Desire in Language, I thought of Audre Lorde’s period of silence, ending after what must have been the frightful discovery of corruption threaded through her thoughts.  I reflected on the unshaved women of the 1970’s, who though hairy, still gave themselves freely to men.  I looked into sensible shoes.  I recalled Valerie Solanis’ S.C.U.M. Manifesto which laid out the plans for a matriarchal society but did not explain how to get women to accept the differences amongst themselves and unite in order to achieve her vision.  I haven’t worn mascara in days.  I became mindful of the words I choose, attempting to avoid personal pronouns in my speech and writing- which is burdensome- and examine my thoughts for authenticity.  And I am exhausted. 

I decided to fuck with syntax and use the word fuck in a paper in hopes that the reader will understand what I am trying to do and not mark me down for it.  Realizing, then, that this is precisely how the system operates, how I enable the system to continue operation by censoring myself and collapsing under its oppression, I begin again.  I made a promise to be true to my Self as a human being, as a person unique.  Five minutes later I realize that there is no Self to which I can be true, or that if there is Self in me, it has been crushed into some tiny speck hard to find. 

This idea of Self is not only necessary to achieve genuine autonomy, but is the basis for daily living, for belief, navigating the western world in which Self and individuality are highly regarded and are necessary to live with integrity.  How disturbing to realize I have no foundation, or rather, that the foundation I possess was not built by my hands, but constructed by a society that hates women, blacks, the old and the poor!  I am curious as to what I have that hasn’t been handed to me by those with ulterior motives.

I considered body language.  Perhaps body language is the one true expression of a Self- even a hidden Self such as mine, but recognized the oppressive imprint of acculturation on it.  Who will engage with an unsmiling black woman?  Judgment will come.  I do it to other women!  I see their sadness and feel this almost junkie need to make them feel better.  I cannot allow a woman real feeling.  I cannot allow this for myself either.  I will lie or blame pre-menstrual syndrome for behavior which does not comply with the good-girl standard.  Good girls are happy smiling girls.  They are compliant, quiet.  We, as a society, men and women alike, cannot abide an angry woman.  Or a sad woman.  It is so unbecoming!

I once spent a year not using commas in protest of conventions.  No one cared and I wound up confused when reading my own writing.  I rearranged the order of words, attempting to give new cadence, sound, and therefore meaning, to my sentences and all I got was “Is English your second language?”  Language is such a tricky, subtle and pervasive way to control.  Words scar something much more delicate and meaningful than flesh.  And flesh exclaims to the world which words to choose when attempting to inflict serious injury on that precious thing- the Self.  And such words are with us from our earliest consciousness.  There is never a time without the influence of words, the tone of those words, and the meaning of those words.

I could take the route of reclaiming, as when, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, women began referring to themselves as bitches in the attempt to create a strong, positive image around the word, although, I do not see how that has been effective in that way.  However, I could create my own meaning; apply my own definition to words formerly scorned or ascribed negative connotations.  Rather than dodging She, She-the weaker, She the defective, She- the receptacle of Him, I could redefine She and embrace She.  She becomes the powerful, the amazing, a verb, a Being to be reckoned with. 

As stated earlier, I am a mother.  Mother is not only the female parent of an offspring, but the supposition of other, nonhuman, nonliving ideas.  Mother is hug.  Mother is being at home.  Mother is sustenance.  Mother is at one’s service.  Mother is mother- not a person who may, at times, want to be alone, who has desires apart from the offspring, who is interesting, sexual, alive, and thinking and possesses a Self like one, like men.  So, for me, redefining Mother as life-giver, leader, comfort, and deciding to retain hug because there is nothing wrong with Mother as hug, seems the best way for me to embrace me, strengthen me and recognize my Self in Mother.

The problem, then, may not be simply language itself, but also who speaks the language and how one hears the language.  Much like being “born again” or quitting smoking, one must realize the need, look with one’s own eyes rather than the eyes of others, and choose.  I choose to reject the system’s definitions and ascribed merits or disdain for certain words associated with particular  Beings.  I am a wife, mother, daughter and student.  I am black, low-income, uneducated and not too young.  And by deconstructing these words, then rebuilding them with my own hands, redefining them and embracing their new meanings, I find my Self.  And my Self is pretty damn awesome.

I need some body

My list of household duties has shortened up a bit.  I no longer have to make dinner, iron or vacuum.  That enables me to complete my others chores, the chores still left for me, more thoroughly, quickly.

Cleaning the bathrooms.

Mopping the floors.

Washing, drying, folding and putting away the laundry.

Taking out the trash.

Washing dishes.

The shorter list frees up some time for me to go to work, study and do homework, help others with their homework or work-related projects, spend time with my children, give sex to my husband, call doctors, call schools, look happy, write checks for rent and bills, listen to everyone else’s problems, good news or complaints.

Sometimes, while in bed late at night, I wish I had some body- some body to help make life run smooth for me.  I wish I could look in my closet and expect clean things there without having to be the one who made them clean, folded them beautifully and put them there.  I wish I could wake up to a pot of coffee, never wondering how it got there but simply pouring a cup and enjoying it.  Like a child, I wish.  I wish I could leave shaving cream and little hairs and drops of toothpaste all over the bathroom sink and counter then simply walk away.  I wish I could return to a blank canvas to mark up with my carelessness- never having to consider how I’d previously dirtied it up or how it got cleaned.

I need some body whose time and dignity I could ignore.  Some body who would stop slamming drawers shut, mumbling under her breath or smoking excessively when offered the ocassional thank-you. I need some body I could use as a maid, an ear, a hole, a pillow, a mop, a sanitation worker, a receptacle.  I need some body invisible, stealthy and good at picking up after me so I don’t have to think about it.  I need time to do things that make life meaningful like sitting in front of a computer all day or playing outside or reading philosophy books or watching tv or thrift store shopping or anything I feel like doing with all the free time I’d have because some body is doing everything else I don’t have to do because I have some body. 

I need some body whose life is taking care of my life.

I need some body like me.

letting go of other people’s eyes

This year has been about my striving to break free from the bondage of other people’s eyes, thoughts and ideas concerning, well, everything.  I am hoping to achieve my own sense of beauty, intelligence and ideology apart from the standards of others.

I am also working hard not to impose standards of beauty, intelligence and ideology on others.  This is hard to do, considering that I am highly opinionated.  Still, I want to possess my own standards for my self, rather than looking to the same old bullshit rule book for steps on how to proceed.

Can I have opinions and feelings and express them while not retaining some judgement toward others?  Can I call out what is unfair while claiming to let go of the standards of others?  I think I can, by not waiting for the validation of others regarding my ideas.

Then why blog?

being black in southern oregon

Being black in southern Oregon means that no matter how crowded the bus is, I almost never have to share a bus seat.

Being black in southern Oregon means I am often mistaken for others being black in sourthern Oregon.

Being black in southern Oregon means lacking any sense of community.

Being black in southern Oregon means finding hair care products is just about impossible for me.

Being black in southern Oregon means questioning every developing relationship.  Who benefits?

Being black in southern Oregon means that I will be referred to as ‘girlfriend’ at least once a week.

Being black in southern Oregon means my children have often come home upset because a teacher, classmate, or random person said something ignorant, hateful and hurtful about people of color.

Being black in southern Oregon is about being trapped.

Being black in southern Oregon means no professional hair cuts ever again.

Being black in southern Oregon means some other black people in southern Oregon probably won’t acknowledge me- no matter how warm my smile is.

Being black in southern Oregon means that when another black person does acknowledge me, and even speaks to me, I can enjoy that comfort for days.

Being black in southern Oregon is about unhappiness, loneliness, and anger.

why watching porn with me is not all good times

I watch pornography.  I’ve been watching porn since age eleven but my first encounter with pornography was at age five.  My uncle, who was eight at the time, and I, stumbled upon a magazine while playing catch in a field we were not supposed to play in.  Some of the images from that magazine remain clear in my mind.  From time to time I pull them from my memory to energize my organs.

While pornography, for me, does what it’s supposed to do- which is get me all saucy- it mostly gets my critical thinking juices flowing.  I’m sure many authors and thinkers have noted the beauty requirements of female actors in the industry while male actors can be fat, hairy, pasty, bony, greasy, etc.  Very rarely do we get a full view of a beautiful man in a vulnerable or physically painful position.  I’m sure many writers have addressed how casting average looking men in porn films gives average looking male viewers a sense of empowerment and invites him to believe that they could experience such an encounter.  I’m certain that many thinkers have noted how only showing viewers the male counterpart’s cock, balls and paunchy belly, male viewers are better able to fantasize themselves into the scene- imagining it is their cock, balls and paunchy belly getting all the action with a beautiful, lusty, uninhibited woman who is a contortionist-  always ready and waiting just for them.  I’ve read many articles regarding the difference in pay for male and female actors, and how porn industry terms have made it into mainstream vernacular.  If I hear that something is the money shot one more time…

The thing for me is that when I watch porn, the thoughts above come to me.  And I begin to wonder about the pain.  I once watched a gang bang.  It was very disturbing and didn’t turn me on at all.  Nine men and one woman.  I kept wondering why the men were allowed to penetrate the actress’ anus, then her vagina, knowing that was unhealthy for the actress.  The actress looked and sounded like she was in pain.  But the most disturbing part, for me, was watching the group of male actors standing around, waiting their turn, touching themselves to keep it hard.  Most of them seemed unsuccessful at their attempts.  I wondered if it was the realization of what they were a part of- the presentation of a woman as holes to be poked- that kept them flaccid, or the fact that they were sharing the same woman.  I also wondered how the woman got through such an ordeal.  It had to be physically painful.  Or maybe I am projecting?

The latest trend in thinking is the idea of female sexual empowerment that many women espouse in defense of pornography.  And while more and more women have become honest about watching pornography, I cannot believe that female sexual empowerment has much to do with it.  I watch porn because it is visceral, primal and as I said earlier, it turns me on.  But make no mistake.  Porn is filled with oppression, aggression and objectification.  I never forget that, even as I feel the pulse of horniness inside my panties.

Still, the idea of female sexual empowerment in porn is lost on me.  Yes, the women may choose to participate and make a lot of money.  And I imagine being regarded as a sexual icon can create a sense of power for a woman, but female pleasure is not the goal of most pornography.  Female fantasy is not its inspiration.  Foreplay does not exist in pornography.  I know porn is not intended to present viewers with intelligent dialogue or intriguing plot- that’s not what porn is about.  But with the female actors being held to a higher standard of appearance, having to do most of the performing and enduring the bulk of physical pain while getting less pay, the idea of empowerment is ridiculous.

I am a hypocrite, I know.  I watch and am aroused.  However, I am repulsed at the same time, just like the men in the gang bang scene.  I wonder why I continue to watch.  Then I wonder why I shouldn’t.