Here’s a real life example of how you can use your “political” understanding of the world to work on your own “personal” stuff. It happened to me today.
I’m at this “Cabaret” event. The usual independent gig, with people on the floor and children running around the place.
Wait, did I say children? I meant boys. Boys, running around the place. Walking on stage, being bold as brass and getting complimented for it.
Inside, I’m raging uncontrollably for no logical reason
The “Thought” going through my mind:
“WHY? Why is it always boys? Where are the girls? Why is it that boys as young as 1 feel confident enough to walk on stage and out, to the delight of everyone, while girls never, ever do that? Why do boys feel they can own the space, do what they want, be who they want to be, while girls are shy and stay put and never break the “social convention” rules?”
The feeling: BOYS, I HATE YOUR GODAMN GUTS!!!
It’s not that little girls are told “no, this is not what little girls do”.
It’s not that they are simply chided for being boisterous.
No. Something far more sinister is at place. Something far darker must be going on.
Feminism won’t cut it. So I consider something even “more” radical
It’s as if… little girls learn what they have to do to be loved. And what they see adult women doing that earns them love is being meek, quiet, “lovely”, soft, gentle… beautiful… and blond.
Girls don’t just fear an angry “no” from a parent. Who fears that?
If saying “no” ever made any difference to a child, boys would behave much better.
No, what they fear is not being loved. Which is much, much more poisonous and traumatising.
This satisfies the “social critic” part of me. I can now… “Bringing it all back to me”
It’s clear that there’s some kind of old pain going on.
One of my earliest memories, at the age of 5, was realising that I’d never be loved because I wasn’t pretty and blond.
That was it. I was doomed. Forever.
I wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t blond. That-was-it.
No one would ever love me. No man would ever love me. It wasn’t going to happen.
So I did what any human in this situation would do.
Blame blond women for everything…
No, wait. What I did was “cling to the hope that something would change as I grow older”.
It wasn’t that I was hoping I would turn blond and blue eyed as I got older… Though perhaps I did? I don’t know. I was 5!
But I definitely remember clinging to the hope that I’d grow “prettier”.
“Har Har”, said the Universe.
Fact is, by age 5, your key features are already set. Which means that if by age 5 you are not “pretty”, then… you are not likely to get prettier.
Here’s the “pattern”
Clinging to the hope that somehow, some way I’d turn out to be “pretty”. This pattern is “still” operating in the background.
A few months ago I had a “professional photo” taken. Professional photographer, hair stylist, make up person. The lot.
It was expensive, considering I’m on no income.
It didn’t work. It wasn’t that it didn’t “turn out to be as good as expected”. Rather, “everything that could go wrong went wrong”.
I’m not ready yet to talk about it, such is the amount of pain this photo shoot session brought to me.
But I can engage with this “pattern”. At least a little bit. This pattern of “perhaps there’s a way I can somehow turn out to be prettier! Make up? Surgery? Something???”.
How? By acknowledging that it’s going on. And that it needs attention.
And by committing to engage with it as much as I can stand without inflicting any more pain to myself.
- At one point, my “turning the issue back to myself” could have taken another turn. For example, it also felt like I could have explored my relationship with “having space to move around”, which is something that probably got discouraged in me as a child. I’ve only recently become aware of how much space I need, and how little of it there is in mainstream society, especially for women.
- In this post, I am letting you in on how I “process” my “stuff”, my “issues”, in the hope that you may find it useful. This is not me preaching about “how the world is” or “should be”. It’s filed in the “personal”, not the “political”.
- Going from a “political critique” to “acknowledging that there’s some personal pain that’s been triggered here” is super difficult. It takes every ounce of courage you can muster.
- Please, if you know me in real life, no comments on my appearance, either positive or negative! This is me trying to work with a very painful and very old pattern. A positive comment will deny my feelings, which won’t help. And a negative comment will reinforce my pattern.