Perpetual pain internal and external
How am I supposed to relax my chiropractic skeleton
Create space between my shoulders
When this sharp pain perpetually drags me down
It’s deeper than what is gravitationally prescribed on this planet
It’s an inexplicable feeling that I am unsure I’ll ever relieve myself of
When I see her orange groomed foggy appearance
An archetype of strength and touchstone for knowledge
I fear verbal diarrhea will overtake me and our sixty minutes will expire
Before I’ve fully drained the emotions from my facia
The water is overflowing from within my weary body
It is a challenge each day to rise and place my arching feet on my slanted, $580/month, century-old wooden foundation that I will never own myself
Not this property, not this year, not this decade
Will I ever progress beyond this state of stunted adolescence?
Will I ever achieve enlightenment, confidence, happiness?
Will I remain ambivalent to my comprehension of my Grandmothers advice?
She wrote to me many times, and most salient message pertained to patience
She regretted her lack thereof
Perhaps she hoped I would live my life to its fullest though she may never had
Attribute this to her generational despondency
Attribute this to her emotionally vacant husband
Who only now in his shell-like state of fear and loneliness without her longstanding loyalty to his patriarchal regime, has begun to crack open his soul and expose his light
I’m going to step outside this realm of
Let me just start by saying, WOW. And promptly applauding, high-fiving and potentially buying a good strong shot of anything for the programming team at Facebook, Inc. this week. Something fantastic has happened that I am overjoyed about.
Typically, I glaze over each time Facebook updates something new, roll my eyes, mutter a sarcastic comment under my breath at a friend or colleague, and move on. This evening, however, upon dicking and clicking around my profile randomly as we all secretly do as social media-savvy narcissists (see: the year of the selfie?) I happened to stumble on a small, yet profoundly progressive change to their profile updates.
I’ve been preoccupied this week with work (just started on a client’s new inbound marketing plan and presently immersed in HubSpot webinars and attempted information retention, not to mention political activism, feminist non-profit commitments, social media management, and… wow I need a vacation). So I guess this would explain the fact that I’m only noticing this significant feminist news 6 days after the change was announced, and a day after the changes launched.
I guess you could say I sort of tripped into feminism, gender issues, sociology and identity quite unexpectedly and timidly (as I do many things; politics being another example).
In my second year of University here in Ottawa when the dust had settled, and for once I was actually becoming genuinely focused and invested in what I was learning (I went through a number of personal issues in first year which inhibited my performance), I found myself registered in a first year seminar on women and literature with a lovely and compassionate prof named Sandy Campbell (now retired).
One of the most captivating stories assigned, which I found myself moved and emotional reading, was one from the queer, trans community icon, Ivan Coyote. Ivan is a person who refuses to conform to gender identity or any conventional binaries whatsoever by way of activism, comedy, live performances, and many moving pieces of literary work.
A notable example of this activism would pertain to the fact that they (note the pronoun usage) lost their job at a publication a few years ago when the editors refused to publish their work using these desired pronouns. Ivan refuses gender identity not just in body, but linguistically as well; a triumphant and brave feat in a world obsessed with labels.
Ivan’s struggles moved me and really got under my skin. I think this may have been one of the first times I really started questioning my rather cushy world of privilege as a white women who (at the time) identified as straight. I’d experienced a number of struggles of my own of course as everyone has (mental health, body issues, low-income, alcoholism, abusive family members, disease, among others) but this was something completely outside my realm of familiarity at the time. I had no idea how to relate, or empathize, having known no one with such radical resistance to normality in my young life thus far.
Now, years later, I’ve had the great fortune to have befriended (even lived next-door to) multiple transgender and queer folks. Identity isn’t really a conscious choice or decision. We simply are who we are, as individuals. I would drop the whole “variety is the spice of life” narrative here, but it’s just shallow rhetoric. We hear it all the time in the public education system for instance… and it doesn’t really mean anything. Genuinely opening your heart and mind, committing yourself to living a tolerant and empathetic existence in our culture and resisting marginalization and oppression… now that means something.
Facebook’s change might seem like a small one in the grand scheme of things. That said, I would argue that this change is indicative of something bigger. A larger collective effort of folks like Ivan (and many, many others, cross-culturally) whose struggles and activist movements (both public and private) have been a hell of a long time coming. This has to mean something.
I hope this makes them smile this week. Kudos, Facebook.