suspend/resume

December 13, 2009 – 10:48 pm

Geez. Why do I have such a hard time publicly identifying myself with certain groups I know I want to and I know I should?

Like… like deaf culture. I’m still wimping out on going to events, or even signing up for an ASL class, or anything beyond checking out a “Learn Sign!” textbook from the library and then not reading it and then returning it and then repeating that process multiple times. I can’t bring myself to type the word “I’m” next to the word “deaf.” When I say or write anything, a mental sed swoops in and s/deaf/hearing impaired, and causes me to refer to that community as “they” instead of “we,” and such. At least I’m thinking it, right? At least I know that what I’m doing is a bug?

Or feminism. It’s been months – months! since Sumana first asked me to write a guest post for GF, nearly as long since I wrote (with no small amount of terror – and I still can’t believe I hit the “Publish” button) the “Hi, I’m female and feminist” post. I didn’t expect writing that to magically solve everything, and I said I’d probably backslide, and I did, and I know it’s okay, but… it’s not! But it is! But it isn’t! Gah! Why am I still afraid of minefields that I know I want to walk across? (I suppose that question answers itself, and points out the way my mind is framing things right now.)

Part of it, I think, is that all these groups I hesitate to pin on the front lapel of my jacket all have so much patience for my slow journey towards understanding and belonging to them. They’re so patient and encouraging and tolerant. And if I’m one of them, I’m going to need to have that patience, too. And I don’t have patience! I still want to punch things way too often! I’m young and I’m enthusiastic and I have a lot of energy but it’s not infinite and on some level I’m not sure I want to go down the route of spending it this way. I don’t know how much bandwidth this will cost me, I don’t know if I’m going to have to face an opportunity cost decision I don’t want to face at some point in the future, I don’t want to be a poster child nor give a unicorn talk nor be a representative for $group nor whatever else.

Even writing this post is time I’m not spending doing other things I should be doing, but I had to at least get this off my brain. Because I don’t run away from things just because they’re hard and scary – but that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’m wishing that my life was simpler, and pretending the realities that complicate it don’t exist, and I don’t like that; I can’t live with that, and something’s gonna shift soon. Again. Kind of excited to find out what that might be, actually.

Ooo, an opportunity for learning, says my optimistic brain. From this tension comes a fertile field of insight, if I have the tenacity to shovel the piles of manure into my garden and the patience to wait long enough for the crops to grow and the perceptiveness to see when they’re ripe for the harvest. And the space to breathe and think, which… well, I might not be doing the sleeping thing again while I’m in Chicago for the holidays. (Another skill I learned fairly early on in life: how to pretend you’re sleeping so that you can think.)

Ok, mental bookmark set; I’m good to run on other things for the next couple days and I’ll fg (resume) this process once it’s Christmas. It’s important for me to make that suspend/resume process a conscious one, because I don’t want to throw myself into work as a “keep yourself too busy to think about the things that bother you” strategy, I want to be able to do the things I do completely free and clear.

In happier news, I might actually be able to fulfill one of my childhood fantasies at some point – some very, very, very far-off in the future point when I’m not saving for grad school. But! Hey! Airplanes shooting things! What’s not to like? It’s possible! That’s all I need to know.

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  1. 3 Responses to “suspend/resume”

  2. You don’t like labels. Maybe they feel like walls to you?

    By Nikki on Dec 13, 2009

  3. This post poked me to write up something I’d been thinking about for a bit, so thanks!

    I think lots of people have more patience with other people than they might have with themselves. I’m normally so happy to meet someone who’s thinking about the things I wrestle with that I don’t care whether they’ve just discovered the idea that gender might matter or have been deep in activism for fifty years. Since I see understanding the world as a constant, on-going, evolving process, I have something in common with anyone on that path, whatever labels they use, and even whether or not I agree with them.

    On the other hand, I am incredibly un-patient with anyone who’s not even willing to consider that everything they know is wrong ;-)

    By Beth on Dec 14, 2009

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