The Personal side of “intersectionality & privilege”: The “stuff” aspect
We all have “stuff” with regards to intersectionality and privilege. Because we are all… trying to “get somewhere” in life and seeing how difficult and near impossible it is.
The people who know about intersectionality and privilege, and who go on about them, are the people who, for whatever reason, want to be “somewhere cool up there” but aren’t there yet, and feel the reason is that they don’t look like those people “up there”.
Which reminds me… why do we have the concept of “privilege”, if it doesn’t help us change the world? Oh, right…
The reason why we have it is precisely so we can get mad at each other “with a reason”.
Too many people are angry and hurt and resentful because life is not going the way they have been raised to believe it would go.
“Getting somewhere in life” may have got much, much harder, but people’s expectations haven’t caught up. Which means… there’s a lot of people out there who see those who have got “somewhere” and feel frustrated that things don’t go the same way for them.
Getting mad at them for having “privilege” is far easier than getting mad at them for having something we want for ourselves.
This is when politics turns personal. Or rather, when we turn to politics for comfort with having our “stuff”.
Knowing that the reason why you are not getting to where you want to be getting might have something to do with the fact that you are “of colour”, or from a disadvantaged background may provide some comfort… for a while.
But it won’t heal your pain. And believe me, there is pain there and it wants to heal.
It’s not that you are “wrong”, politically speaking. It’s that politics is not useful in general when it comes to dealing with your stuff.
So let’s say that the reason why you are not getting “somewhere” is because you…
Actually, let’s use myself as an example. It might even be healing for me, and we can kick two birds with the same shoe.
Me and my “stuff”
For many, many (too many) years, I wanted to be a political writer. You know, I wanted to write about my weird, crazy, radical political ideas and make a living out of it. And have people learn about my ideas. And hopefully change the world.
For whatever reason, it didn’t happen. So, naturally, I did the only logical thing: hate Laurie Penny to kingdom come.
If you have doubts of the extent of my hatred, you can ask my friends. Who, by the way, are all feminists and “love” her. (I would like to point out that even though they claim to “love” her, most haven’t read a quarter of the stuff she’s written; unlike ME, ‘cuz I knew of her before she became a “Feminist Rockstar”. But whatever.)
I could have written nasty articles about how wrong she is and how I am right. This would have made me kinda famous, since the best way to become famous on the internet is to b*tch about someone famous.
Unfortunately, I’m too much like Granny Weatherwax: too proud to be anything but good, so instead of writing bad things about her, I would rant and rant to my long suffering Imo. (Bless him)
Alternatively, I could have got seriously angry about the fact that I’m being “discriminated against” for not being “traditionally white”, for not being “middle class” (even though I am), for not being British, for having an accent, for having approximately ALL THE MENTAL ILLNESSES IN A TEA COSY, etc, etc, etc.
I could have blamed my lack of “feminist fame” on all these things.
But I didn’t. Because something inside me was too proud, or too wise, or too strong, whatever… despite my madness I knew this wouldn’t take me anywhere, and it would just make me angrier.
And if there is one thing I don’t need is more anger. (I have that in spades)
So what did I do?
Well, suffer in the quiet, for one. And I suffered A LOT. If you don’t know the pain of having crazy, awesome, wonderful ideas and watching the world ignore them, then thank all the stars in heaven.
It hurts, a LOT.
I also ranted to Imo. A lot.
Eventually, my life got so, so bad I had to, begrudgingly and sceptically, plunge myself into the world of yoga, Buddhism, spiritual woo woo and the like to get my head and heart somewhat in order.
And now I’ve changed tactics: instead of being a political writer, I want to be a life coach for people who suffer from a similar “tendency towards being depressed and critical of the world”.
What’s my point?
It’s easy to get into the mindset that the reason why you’re not “reaching your dream” is because you are x, y and z, and the world discriminates people who are like that.
And politically speaking, it might very well be true. Discrimination is a real thing.
And at the same time, being caught up in this mindset has two effects. (well, many more than that, but I’ll only talk about two)
First, it actively stops you from healing your pain. Which means you stay in pain. YOU ACTUALLY STAY IN PAIN! And that sucks.
And second, it stops you from seeing alternative ways to get what you want.
Of course we should fight to end discrimination in all its forms. No doubt about it! But we can’t change the world very effectively if we are in pain.
And our priority should always be healing our pain.
Big Disclaimer to End all Disclaimers!!!
I am publishing this stuff because I believe it will help people.
If it doesn’t help you, makes you angry, has you throwing furniture at the wall and tripping over your cat, then please drop it. Drop all these ideas. Seriously, if tthey don’t help you, they are not doing their job. And your wellbeing is more important than any political theory.
This writing is very much a first “draft”.
It would take me a long, long time to write down all my ideas on these topics, then rewrite them, then edit them… and I have a life to live and a business to run. Also, it’s sunny outside.
These material would need a book to be explained fully and I don’t have time right now to write a book.
(But if you want happen to have one of them fancy “6 figure book deals” everyone talks about and you want to offer it to me, that would be lovely)
Point is: these ideas are not “polished” and not finished.
So if you don’t understand them, that’s ok. They took me a long time to absorb, I wouldn’t expect anyone to understand what the heck I’m on about in such short time.
If you disagree with me completely, then that’s ok too.
Again, you have full permission to disagree with me. I give you full permission to say “Mary is wrong!”. It’s no big deal. And again, if they don’t help you, just drop them.
I am practicing non-attachment to my ideas. So if people don’t find this stuff useful, I may just remove it.