Thursday, 11 April 2013

Adult adoptees speak

This post, Retrieving what is lost 40 years late, is amazing!
When I hear younger adoptees speak in pain about their adoptions, some of them specifically fraudulent, some just part of the wider picture of social injustice, I know I can’t be silent, I can’t just choose emotional self-preservation, I need to say something about how wrong it is to keep repeating this generation after generation and calling it beautiful. That you don’t necessarily save a child when you adopt them, you certainly don’t save their family (as a buyer you may in fact be a perpetrator of their heartbreak and life long loss), you don’t save the country from where they were born and it doesn’t stop cycles of poverty in poor countries. Saving children is about saving families, saving families is about enabling families to be independent and giving them skills as parents and providers, saving countries is about enabling its citizens so each successive generation can thrive. Taking their children does none of this.
It's long but well worth reading

Sunday, 7 April 2013

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 5

5) Dysphoria and how you manage it  (this post may be triggering for incest/sexual abuse)

 I don't have a lot of dysphoria and most of the dysphoria i do have is social rather than physical. Bra buying makes me cry every single time for reasons I haven't really unpicked yet

 I hate the reaction I get when I grow my hair. People make comments that think are really positive but are actually a form of gender policing. comments such as:
  • Oh you look so feminine
  • Oh doesn't your hair suit you
  • Oh you look so much more grown up (there's a really weird correlation in peoples minds between lack of femininity an immaturity)
  • oh your hair has grown out at last
And there is always this deafening subtext that is actually going "Congratulations you are at least trying to look like a girl, you are at least trying to be feminine"
And people give me all these tips on how to make it suit me better and by "suit me better" they actually mean make me look more feminine, or rather make me look like I'm at least attempting femininity

For me having long hair is dangerous, it sends me into a panicked tailspin, in ways that are not directly but kind of are about gender.

My father loved my hair, he fetshized it, in the actual literal sense of the word, he used it to get himself off. I wanted to get my hair cut short pretty much all the way through my adolescence but he forbade it then when I was seventeen he finally grudgingly relented (after he'd stopped fucking me, which is probably not incidental) He took a lock of my cut hair and placed it in an envelope which he kept, the idea of that always really skeeves me out.

 Having short hair is both about rejecting femininity because of what my hair meant to my father, because of what he did with it, but it's also a way of refusing his image, his idea, his concept of me, of being a person who is not part of him, a symbolic way of cutting the connections between us

In my adult life the worst dysphoria I ever experienced was  the period leading up to my friends wedding. It was an orgy of hetero-patriarchal consumerist lamp post pissing anyway so I was already deeply uncomfortable and I had to spend long periods of time with her crashingly middle class straightly mcstraighterson friends. I was a bridesmaid and there was a really big deal made by almost everyone about the fact the bride was "allowing" me to wear trousers, a shirt and a waistcoat. but even then I was expected to wear drop earnings, painted nails, a waistcoat with freaking ruffles "as a surprise, to make it more feminine" and get my hair cut much more femininely than I was comfortable with (which triggered the shit out of me)

and there was this really weird reaction of "well she could have asked person x who would have worn a dress" as if somehow there was some rivalry between  person X and I when actually I know person X reasonably well and really like her and know she would have made a much better bridesmaid than me and had a whole lot more fun doing it!

 It was like I was supposed to feel guilty for fucking up the perfect traditional wedding with my gender non normativity. The whole experience made me feel really sick, triggered me, and bought me to tears

Saturday, 6 April 2013


When are we going to stop cooing over creepy gross colonialist savior narratives and start paying attention to what's really happening

Friday, 5 April 2013

When you gonna love you as much as i do?

I was recently reading Love,Joy,Feminism. and the concept of JOY, (Jesus first, Others second, You last) came up and man did it resonate with me. We didn't call it that when I was growing up but that was exactly how we supposed to live, especially if we were girls. Except in practice what it meant was that I was taught never ever to think about myself, never to think about my own needs. I was never supposed to do anything nice for myself because that meant taking time away from serving others. And in this context "doing anything nice" wasn't just about treating myself it was about looking after and paying attention to my emotional and physical needs.

While growing up it was stressed time and time again that anything I did for myself was "selfish" or "thoughtless" or was a product of my "pride." So I never learnt that I mattered, that looking after myself was important, that using my time to do things that I enjoyed and that made me feel good was ever acceptable

And even after all these years I still don't believe it's okay to do nice things for myself or even look after myself. I eat things that I know will make me feel bad, I don't let myself sleep properly or on a proper cycle. I fritter away time watching crap tv or just mooching around the house because I still feel that actively doing something that I like such as writing or reading or eating good food or swimming or researching stuff I'm interested in or just sitting in the sunshine, or making crafts that are not directly connected to my job,or taking long hot baths, make me a bad person.I still somehow believe that wanting to do and doing these things is a product of my "self love" which in an evangelical frame work is a terrible sinful thing, because people, especially women and children, are sinful and fallen and don't deserve love, they are only loved through Gods magnanimous grace.

Leaving the evangelical community and finding feminism gave me a new framework to think about myself as a person of worth as a person who matters and deserves to look after herself but even so it's still emotionally hard to believe I am worth looking after by myself because those messages ran so deep. Even outside of an evangelical community we still live in a culture that expects women to look after everyone else before themselves, that thinks of womens emotional and physical needs as an unimportant afterthought.

And this is doing me no good, it leaves me unfocused, it exacerbates my mental health issues. Refusing to care about myself or look after myself reinforces those old messages even as I try to dismantle them Also there's an element of fear because somewhere inside I feel that really believing that I matter, will unleash all the rage I am holding back, because knowing I matter means that all the abuse I suffered was not okay, was not because I deserved it. But I have to do this. I have to at least behave like I matter and I think behaving like I deserve to look after and care for myself will help me start believing it on an emotional level. And I'm going to start with little things. I'm going to be in bed by 11 every night with a mug of Ovaltine, because I love it, and an episode of Buffy.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Things of interest

I was really happy to see this post on The F Word: Being a young mum: representation and reality. I'm really passionate about supporting young and disadvantaged mothers and think its something that feminism all too often fails at,so its good to see a popular feminist site engaging with the issue

The interviewee actually sent me a link to her website when I was writing my adoptee/reproductive justice/family preservation blog and I'm really pleased that it is still up and running three years later

This post: Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask, which parodies the relentless and invasive questioning that adoptees get from real kids, made me laugh till i hiccuped!
Are you grateful you were kept? Does it make you feel special to know your parents made you right there at home, literally between them, and waited nine whole months for you and gave you their name–that you were literally created by and for them? Are you grateful you weren’t aborted? How does it feel to know you belong where you are, that at least two people made or changed their life plans, sacrificing countless unlived lives, just for you? Does it make you feel blessed like this non-adoptee I met once and this one my friend knows and this one in this magazine and this one on the internet?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge: Day three

3) What’s your favorite ways of upsetting gender roles/genderbending/genderfucking?

....I don't have one? This question just reeks of both privilege and pretense. My genderqueerness is not an outfit i put on and off, its not a game I play when I'm bored, it's not something I do to shock people or to draw attention to myself. I live in the real world not some fantasy queer enclave where it's safe and unremarkable to draw attention to my already visible gender dissonance.

I can't afford several sets of clothes and accessories to wear depending on how much I'm willing to "genderfuck" that day

Monday, 1 April 2013

when you going to make up your mind?

I kind of had a revelation recently that my relationship with god replicates almost exactly my relationship with my father. However many twists and turns I make, however much I try to do the liberal progressive christian thing it always comes down to gratifying the needs and desires of a demanding male authority figure in ways that deeply, deeply damage me, while ignoring my needs and desires in return for a simulacrum of love and nurture from him. A refusal or even a reluctance to fulfill and gratify those needs and desires results in rejection and a refusal of love and nurture

And it's not like I made this up that description pretty much sums up the god of the bible, the god of the old testament and even the god of the new testament who planned for his son to die so his desires could be gratified

I kind of feel like on the one hand I'm engaging in trauma reenactment to try and change my history, change my relationship with my father and on the other hand I'm just hanging on to this Christianity thing for fear of abandonment or punishment. I was talking to a friend and our conversation made me realise that even if intellectually you ditch the beliefs in eternal damnation, emotionally it can still be there deep down in some part of you. I think my fear of hell is in the same part of me where the belief that i deserved everything that my father did to me is stored. The place in me that still believes that i am an intrinsically bad person who deserves to be hurt and punished and that believes that any goodness, any nurture that is given to me must be paid for because I don't deserve to be loved or cared about

And just as I understand that my relationship with my Father is unsalvageable I'm beginning to understand that my relationship with any form or portrayal of the christian god is also unsalvageable. I don't think I can heal from one without healing from the other

Sunday, 31 March 2013

30 day genderqueer challenge: Day Two

2) How did you grow up with your gender?

 Being a girl in the environment i grew up in was both undesirable and dangerous, attempting to be a boy if you were not one was sometimes undesirable sometimes rewarded and not dangerous till adolescence hit. (and in fact trying to be a girl and failing was somehow more problematic to the world around me than trying to be a boy and failing, maybe because I was somehow automatically supposed to know how to be a girl)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Andrea Gibson: i sing the body electric especially when my power's out

30 day genderqueer challenge: Day One

1) Do you use any other terms to define or explain your gender? Woman, Genderblended, Ambivalent, sometimes Butch depending in the company I'm in. I worked in a youth club where a lot of the kids called me a "Grownup Tomboy" which i liked a lot