So, that guide I wrote to feminist allyship went a lil viral on Facebook. And of course I wrote it so that it could be shared publicly, because I think it’s a potentially valuable resource. And like any post based in sensible feminism that invites men to be better people, it received a lot of abuse, disdain, and violent language.
I want to unpack a little bit about that here. Obviously the majority of the trolls who went rampant likely don’t know me or my work, and haven’t been following my story. They just saw some vague words about feminism and it bounced back off their critical factor. But for me, I HAVE been following my story, and I know the deep work I have put in to heal my relationship to the masculine, to release the filter of trauma I view things through that makes me feel unsafe, to reframe my view of what kind of treatment is possible from men. I have worked tirelessly at the ability to remain in compassion when I communicate, I have strived to acquire the quiet calm needed (even in the midst of triggers) to engage with those who threaten me in a way that might make them see my humanity and bring them around to my side. (I mean for fuck’s sake, I started an entire web series on that topic.)
I have really worked hard to expand my view of what kind of compassion and harmony is possible for me to experience with men, despite my trauma, despite all the men who have hurt me, despite the myriad violence perpetrated on me. I have put it entirely on myself to reframe my own confirmation bias so that I can feel surrounded by safety and support from the masculine. I am reprogramming my brain to see what it is that I want showing up for me.
And yet, despite all that, I was still attacked.
Despite my calm and constructive tone, I was accused of being irrational, angry, emotional, extortive, and a Nazi.
And it’s like… how much of my perception has to shift before this stops happening? How much do I have to heal before these dudes just all die in a fire somewhere? When am I not only going to feel safe, but actually BE safe? When is this going to stop?
I often think about how much easier it was when I was dissociated, when I ran around NYC clubs in my Agent Provocateur, when I thought assaults were just the price I paid for being desirable, when I made myself smaller in order to be more pleasing, when I just allowed my constant sexualization at all times. The patriarchy is a prison, and I was trying to be inmate of the month. I couldn’t feel my body; every bit of pleasure only a temporary relief at feeling assurance of my survival – societal Stockholm syndrome. But I didn’t know how bad I had it, because it was all I knew. And so I wasn’t conscious of my suffering.
A friend of mine speaks publicly about his experience escaping a cult. He spent 13 years under the thumb of an abusive guru, but the worst, he says, were the last 2 – because it was at that point that he was aware of the abuse. Without the spiritual drive to surrender anymore, he had to exist in the confines of the structure without the aid of his will to keep him there until he could find a way to safely escape.
That’s a little bit what it’s started to feel like for me since I gave up BDSM a year ago. I no longer have the sexual drive to surrender anymore. I no longer find it cute or comforting to play small, to disappear myself into the will of another, to obliterate my identity as a means of self-soothing, as a means of running away from the parts of myself that were too much in pain to acknowledge. And yet I have to exist in the confines of the structure. And as far as I can see, there is no escape.
I don’t see myself doing this work forever. I see myself in a partnership of equals, masculine and feminine, in a little goth cottage somewhere where I can keep a garden and a bat creche and cook every night and throw really fabulous dinner parties and coach people over Skype and write books and read tarot and make music. And maybe at that point I’ll just retreat from the bulk of the internet and live almost purely in my body, food and earth and sex and nature and ceremonies and fireflies and wine and friends and cats and coffee in bed in the mornings. Maybe I just won’t give a fuck anymore, because I’ll have solved my portion of it enough to make me happy, and from then on everyone can just refer to my archives if they need me.
Maybe that will be my escape.
But until then, I’m disappointed. Because given all the work I’ve put in, I had thought the response would have been a little further evolved by now.