Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Julian, of course I want to talk...

Julian,

Writing with you means a lot to me. The longest relationship I have with a man was my violent brother who now lives on the other side of the planet. It’s been really painful remembering times with him. He was an awful person.

I was enjoying the posts between you and DD. I was happy because she is brilliant, tender, sharp, and intimidating to for most people, but you seemed to be really engaging, sharing ideas and feelings. I was like: Wow … this is exciting!

I was also jealous because I have gotten used to being the one who she connects with. But in truth, I have been intimidated by her and her thoughts, mostly because I choose to allow my programming as a straight male not to allow me to really understand her. I also let my large ego block a lot of my conversations and interactions with her.

I’ve stopped talking to her for a full day (that’s a lot considering we have 2 kids) just for the feelings that come up in me because of her challenging heterosexuality…

Holy shit! Why would I want to defend heterosexuality or mainstream masculinity? It hasn’t protected me, fought for me… none of it…

Freeslave, I struggle with DD constantly around patriarchy. I find it extremely difficult to break from this. I do. I find it almost impossible. I can relate to you being upset with DD. I read your posts and I’m like (to some degree): “That’s me! That’s me!”

I have said things and thought: “DD you just don’t understand me and you expect things to be a certain way – but I want to do it this way.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have demanded DD (very subtly) “Listen to me, or take in information from my perspective as a straight man.” I don’t quite say it like this: “You are now going to listen to me, because I am a straight man.” I don’t have to. It’s assumed because our society was designed for us. It is not accommodating for those who are women or queer.

But you know what I’m realizing?

Our society is also not accommodating to men like us. The sensitive ones (Yes man! We’re sensitive!) DD is an ally, not someone to discard because something has come up for you in the way you guys have been communicating.

So much more coming including why I understand your… and my behaviours…

Gotta go pick up Stinkapee from school!

seminalson

1 comment:

Maxjulian said...

I was enjoying the posts with DD as well until we reached point zero. We all need to grow - not just me, men, patriarchs. All of us do. In order to do this kind of work, I have to be around safe people and also teachable people. I need to be around loving, sensitive people.

When I got sober, if people had been coming at me like DD - with a lot of intellectual assertions, without a sensitivity to where I've been, where I'm coming from and what I need - I wouldn't have lasted a day. Recovery for me was a supportive environment. Most of the people who appealed to my drunk, weren't pushing people to think any particular way. They shared their experience, strength and hope. They encouraged us to use the tools of recovery. But there were no overlords who knew everything, who taught everyone, but who weren't teachable - who appealed to me. That model doesn't work for me, be it man or woman.

We typically don't point the finger at folks and indict them as alcoholics. So this process was doomed from the start. What was most disappointing was to open up about myself and have the tenor change to "you are a patriarch, dangerous, etc." It was like this switch: I went from being me, getting butt naked, to being the a choirboy for patriarchy. Everything was you-patriarchy this, you-patriarchy that and I'm like, "I thought I was talking to DD about myself.

Little too overthetop cerebral for my little boy's taste. And also, I have issues with the bravado: "you're not going to like me/some people call me a castrator" and then basically trying to live up to those boasts.

Now, to say that I guess makes me the ultimate patriarch. I felt reduced, in each disagreement, diagnosed, put in a box. And I felt completely unheard by her and I didn't feel a whole lot of heart/emotional stuff coming at me.

I want to heal but not on somebody's time schedule. She told me I took too much time today, so she was moving on. Well, that's some commitment; I don't respond in a day and bam. But that's all good.

Again, I bring up AA and believe me, I have BIG problems with the program; but, for people to change, particularly ones who want to change, show up to spaces where they can examine their shit, it ain't safe to be diagnosed by folks who don't even know you, reduced to a cariacature.

DD told me that she gave me a lot; which suggests I didn't give her shit, didn't teach her shit, didn't have anything to teach her because after all: Malcolm wouldn't know what to do with her. I'm like, okay, just fill me up with your wisdom since I don't have shit to say.

DD brings a lot of smarts/analysis to the table, but its hers and its limited to her experience, what she's read and thought about and experienced. The world is wider than that. So I don't concede that the conversation that she and I were having was just about patriarchy and my resistance to her tutoring me in it: it was also about her view of patriarchy and her methods of communication, her hurts that may or may not be completely healed, her persona, "Dark Daughter," living up to her name, bringing it hard, stabbing it deep into you. OUCH.

And either I bought it, or I'm a little bitch who doesn't want to let go of his male privilege. That's bullshit.

And I will say this: I am a sensitive man who has done much work and who enjoys sensitive people, especially in close proximity to me doing my own work. So, I'm not so enthused to be a part of someone's whirlwind that doesn't suit my temperament or pace, or tenderness.

As you've noted several times, men need to cry: well, hell yeah we do. But do you want to cry around people who don't care, people standing over you telling you "HURTMUTHAFUCKAHURT?!" Or, do you want to cry, feel, spread around someone who understands that for you as a man to do that is incredibly vulnerable, incredibly different - even if there is some "alleged" power differential between men and women. I want to emotional vaseline thrown on the steely dan before its jammed up in me. I ain't used to no rough ride and I don't necessarily like the site of my own blood.

Some folks in recovery like tough love; they want somebody to kick their ass and lead them, push them, think for them, berate them, ignore their essence. I'm not one of those people.

S2, it may be that "something" came up for me around my patriarchy. Maybe. And maybe something came up for me around real healing, what's necessary for it, what kind of approach do I need to take and who can my real allies be on that journey. I love strong people, but not hard people and there is a difference that many of us don't understand. I personally try not to hide too much behind a persona, a facade. I'm stumbling towards health and looking at my shit. Folks aren't going to move me except in the other direction, by using a club.

Partners in the struggle - I'm down with. People who can allow me my process, allow me to maintain my humanity, who don't reduce me to a patriarchal caricature, I can hang with. Otherwise, I can do my own work all by myself.

Sorry to lay all of this on you. I apologize for that and I hope you understand that I needed to say this to you if we were going to talk truly. And know that I know that there is much for me to learn from DD but in a manner that serves me, works for me as well.

Take care