- This is probably the scariest and most vulnerable thing I’ve ever published.
- This post is about me saying goodbye to Feminism and a dream I had for years. And it’s about… “failing”.
- I go on a bit about me, my past, my story and what I dream of for the future.
- This piece is most like… a collection of thoughts, rather than a coherent article. It is also very long.
- You should read it if you have ever had to let go of a dream, or if you’re trying to let go of a dream and would like some company and insight on what the process is like.
Sometimes you have a dream… but the dream doesn’t have you.
And there is nothing you can do about it.
You can rage (check!)
You can rant (check!)
You can jump up and down about the unfairness of it all (check!)
You can cry your eyeballs out (check!)
But at the end of the day, you have to accept what is.
Because reality is stronger than you. And clearly this thing that you want is not meant to happen. Clearly.
It hurts. It hurts like Hell. But… sometimes you have to accept it, because there’s nothing else you can do.
It’s what spiritually inclined people refer to as “surrendering”.
And it sucks balls.
You dream! YOUR DREAM!!! YOUR BEAUTIFUL DREAM!!!
That thing you want so much because it means the world to you! GONE!!! GONE FOR GOOD!!!!!!
How many exclamation points do I need to add for you to get a sense of the amount of pain involved here?
Trust me: if there was a shadow of an alternative, I wouldn’t be doing it. Neither would any of us.
We all cling to what we want, until the very end.
We humans are stubborn.
Even if something is hurting us, we still cling to it.
I wrote a nice post about this in head… It poured out of my grieving heart and into my brain.
That was hours ago. It’s lost now.
I was in emotional turmoil. My heart was… Actually, I have no idea how my heart was feeling. I could say it was “metaphorically bleeding”, and it would be kind of true. That’s how grieving is described.
What I actually felt was this constriction in my chest, and this “sense” of going “waaaah” on the inside… It’s like being on the verge of tears for a long time, never actually crying. Quietly going “waaaah” on the inside of your soul, without actually making a sound.
So I “faked sobbed”. That’s how I purge sadness. And I “silent cried”.
See, it has been painful (understatement). To close the door on another “career”.
First it was “Astrophysics”. Now it’s “Famous Feminist Writer”.
Can you imagine the pain of being 30, with “nothing to show for”?
I have spectacularly failed at both. I failed BIG TIME.
I have no money, no accolades. Nothing.
Mainstream opinion (aka: my mother) says that I should choose one thing and stick to it.
That’s because they can’t see the effects of sticking to something that doesn’t feel right.
With astrophysics, it was gut-wretching depression.
With feminism and politics, it was neurotic anxiety.
I am not like most people: I cannot force myself to do something that causes me pain.
I tend to see this as “I can’t be forced to do school homework”, for instance.
That’s how most people understand it: not being able to do what someone tells you to do, because it’s meaningless.
But it’s not like that for me. It goes much deeper.
I cannot force myself to do something that I TRULY WANT TO DO when it causes me pain.
Make no mistake, I wanted to be an astronomer. I packed my suitcase and moved to Britain on my own, having applied to University with no help whatsoever. I had no money and no idea what I was doing, but I wanted to study astronomy and that was that.
So I did.
And it nearly killed me.
Then I discovered Feminism. And the sensation of “finally, I can make sense of the world!” was intoxicating.
I was staring at the face of “Truth”. Of course I wanted to do that for the rest of my life!
I gave it 6 years. 6 years of my life, and not a single shred of success to show for it.
On top of the 4 years I spent studying Astronomy. With the exact same results.
The whole of my 20s chasing dreams that caused me pain. And that lead me nowhere.
Here I stand: empty handed, homeless. An eternal wandered having to face the truth: that this is what life appears to have in store for me, and there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it.
The word “failure” is tempting. And if I were to go with convention, I would use it.
But it doesn’t “feel” like failure.
Oh sure, I fail. But to write down the whole experience as “failure”?
No, something else is going on.
It’s as if there’s this internal “Guardian” inside me, relentlessly keeping me away from what I want to do.
“No, you are not going to make it as a feminist. I don’t care if that’s what you want, you are not meant for this.”
All I can do is hope it’s right.
This Guardian is probably my heart.
People write a lot of nonsense about “following your heart”. As if it was “easy”, as if it had no unintended consequences.
We all assume that our heart will lead us to what we know we want. Right?
Wrong. THAT’s why we don’t follow our hearts… Because we know it will lead someplace else. It has other plans in store.
And a will of its own.
It was my dream to write for the “Guardian”. The newspaper, that is.
I wanted to share all my feminist and political thoughts and have hundreds of people agreeing with me and tweeting my work and telling me how right I am.
Why couldn’t that be me? So many others see their work in the Guardian. So many others see their work passed around, with comments such as “this is what I’ve been trying to say!”.
I read their work and all I can think is “meh”. They are never saying what *I* am trying to say.
But their work gets passed around. They get followers. They “make it”.
They are “successful” and “popular”.
ARGH!!! Why couldn’t that be me?!?!
Well… It couldn’t. It isn’t. I don’t know why.
And that’s that.
Our culture tells us that if you choose a goal, go at it and never get there, you have “failed”. And you are a “failure”.
I don’t hold with our culture for most things.
And this is no exception.
It never occurs to us to consider that maybe we chose a goal that isn’t right for us.
It’s not that we can’t do it. It’s not that we can’t “work hard enough” to get it.
Incidentally, notice how people insist that everything is achievable in this world “if you work hard enough”? That’s “masculine” thinking, in my not-so-humble opinion. A lot more goes into “reaching your goals” than mere “hard work”. Like: letting your intuition guide you towards the goal that is right for you, the thing you are meant to do in this world.
How can it be “failure” to not reach a goal that was hurting you? How can it be “failure” to not succeed as something that wasn’t in alignment with your heart? With your “true purpose”?
Finding your true purpose is not easy. You may find out that you are doing “everything” wrong and you need to devote yourself to something you haven’t thought of before. Something that scares you.
Something you may not even like!
Letting go is painful.
So there I am, lying down the day after I cry my eyeballs out and “let go”.
And I know I’m hurting and I know I’ll heal. My heart was proverbially bleeding, but the ice shard had come out. It was now a matter of time before the wound closed.
I had let go.
“Mary Tracy… Feminist no more”.
Feminism gave me the intellectual tools to understand the world. It expanded my mind in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
AND it trapped me in a kind of mindset that kept me “stuck” in my pain. In all my self-sabotage and my programming of how men are evil and so is the world at large.
To be clear: the values supporting feminism, that make up the foundation of feminism, all that is worthy. And “right”.
And yes, I am keeping them. How could I not?
Equality, respect, justice, freedom. I’m keeping them all.
And I’m taking them further.
Because when you practice the qualities of trust, compassion, presence… You can’t but expand all the others.
Feminism has certain… “stories”, programming, “stuff” that keeps the qualities confined. Enclosed by walls of fear. Yes, fear. And anger.
I know all about the arguments in favour of “fear and anger”. And I also know that they ground you down and suck at your life essence until you are left with no will to live.
I don’t want that. I want to take the values and qualities of feminism and realise them, as best I can, in other ways.
But I’m chipping away at the walls of fear and anger.
Because I want to live.
After decades of being suicidal, this takes a LOT to say.
I will write about the qualities that lie at the heart of feminism… But I will no longer “bang my proverbial head” against the… “Feminist Industrial Complex”.
See… there’s a Big Dream coming. It’s a variation of the “old dream”, but it’s bigger, bolder and brighter.
It involves books, travelling, adventures, speaking to crowds, helping people be happier and healthier and generally ROCKING THE WORLD!
So yes. I am excited.
Thanks for being there.
PS: If you want to keep updated on my future adventures, you can sign up to my newsletter here.