Saturday, February 22, 2014

We Are All A Little Yo Yo - Part 2

So then this morning, this happened - a Twitter conversation between two women:

Assuming the plumber in question was male (or actually even if they weren't), this exchange made me uncomfortable.
I couldn't tell why. Like another itch I couldn't scratch.

Then I remembered something I recently read on The Last Cookie.
Please read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:

"The 'comedy' behind male abuse is a result of the patriarchy, which is exactly what feminism is trying to destroy. The patriarchy mocks weakness in men, so when men get abused, it’s not taken seriously. It’s a joke, it’s funny, it’s no big deal. 'You’re a man, suck it up.'
That’s not what feminists want. If you think that’s what we want, then you you’re not talking to the right feminists. It’s about equality, NOT just reversing the roles, understand?"


Self chatter: I have to admit that for a long time I've used feminism as a repository of my personal anger and shame caused by patriarchal forces. This anger and shame is real and needs to be addressed. But I now see how it's a mistake to blur lines between this redressal and the principles of feminism. Feminism can give me the tools to understand where the anger & shame comes from and to prevent its mitigating situations from being repeated - as far as possible. But feminism does not give me the right to debase other humans in its name.

I don't know what this means for my future as a lustful female that might wish to covet a man's body parts in a lascivious manner but I'm sure I'll figure something out...maybe the guys can help me out with this one.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baby Amte

"you are my baby amte."

This is the Skype message I get from my sister from halfway across the world, at 4 am. It makes me laugh at my situation for the first time in many days. After over a decade of dealing with bouts of excruciating pain in my lower back, I've finally been properly diagnosed with having a slipped disc - a scary sounding but way too common problem nowadays.

It comes in conjunction with other setbacks (ha ha - if only the back were set - ha ha) that have had me feeling most defeated. Unlike Baba Amte, I have not quite risen (ha ha - or laid down - ha ha) to the challenge and they will not be writing wikipedia pages about my courage in the face of adversity any time soon. I've spent most mornings weeping surreptitiously or watching episodes of Downton Abbey.

If there were a tagline to the epic sob story running in my mind, it would be: I am All Alone. Even as friends drop by in the middle of punishing schedules armed with truckloads of doughnuts & books on managing back pain, even if they send their drivers across town to deliver a pair of perfect walking shoes, even if people who barely know me send me messages inquiring how I am, even if loved ones take time out of their jobs to ferry me to doctors' offices, my standard refrain remains: I am All Alone.

This tragic heroine is a pain in my ass. (And it's not the kind of pain that my physiotherapist can banish with a round of delectable electric currents zipping across butt cheeks.) She's convinced that life is out to get her - an inconvenient fact since life is all around her and wherever she goes, she finds she can't avoid it. She is angry and thinks hateful thoughts. She feels sorry for herself constantly because everyone else always has it better. (Yeah, even that shivering kid that's approaching her car window, begging for a couple of rupees.)

She starts speaking of herself in third person and begins to realize the extent of her delusion.

Of all the stories I've told myself over the years the one that is least backed up by evidence is the idea that I lack support. Some books even suggest that my spine has given way precisely because of this belief (I think the terrifying speedboat ride I took a few months ago might also have something to with it but still...). Now lying here in bed, propped up on two pillows, I wonder if it's time to dismantle this thought once and for all. To question its logic every time it pops up and to blatantly mock it if it persists.

So last night, I tried with one hand to open a bottle of whiskey that I had a friend bring in. I was having a particularly tragic-heroine time and I kept thinking 'this bottle is going to break, this bottle is going to break' even as I dangled it over the bathroom sink (don't ask), trying to pry open the seal with my teeth, while hanging on to it for dear life.

this bottle is going to break this bottle is going to break this bottle is going to break this bottle is going to


I stood there for what seemed like forever, staring at my-only-friend-whiskey quite literally go down the drain. The strong waft of alcohol rose up to my nose along with a militant 'poor me' thought. Then as the golden brew slipped away from me, I thought: What would baby amte do? She'd probably laugh. She might even call her friend up and ask for another bottle. Then she'd get to work.