gwen (gwenix) wrote,
gwen
gwenix

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When I first moved to SF four years ago, I was pretty lost. A lot moreso than even I'd predicted. I knew what it was to move, you see, I knew it'd take 2 years to get really socially settled, and to grasp my bearings. But, I thought, this time it was different, this time I at least know people here (unlike when I moved to SLC). I won't be totally stranded. However, I discovered that while this did provide some support and grew quickly to some great friendships (some of whom are on my LJ list), I was still pretty isolated the first few months. I also discovered something else... being one of the 33% of the population, and more like 7% in the office, provided challenges I really wasn't used to. Now, it's not that I haven't encountered misogyny in my life, but not really to that degree. And so, I felt pretty lost.

I am a fighter. I've always been a fighter. If I don't have something to fight, I don't know how to deal. Those of you who have even only been watching me this past year on LJ alone, never meeting me in real life, have probably even grasped this. But sometimes my fight wears me out, and I lose the underlying determination that holds me together. In such times when I'm more settled, I have a host of friends who can make me laugh, or let me rant, or whathaveyou to let me get my determination back together. Sometimes not even that is enough, and I feel pretty worn.

A long time ago, I came upon my dad's copy of Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex", which did two things. It explained why my famiily was very gender independent in the treatment of my brother and I, but it also gave me something else. Reading about the fight of other women provided some comfort, some relief, and would bring back my fighting spirit. Now, I was already a feminist, even at the age of 5 I walked away from the Catholic Church because a priest gave a sermon that women were inferior according to the bible, and thus I concluded I could never believe in the bible. But here I found a way to regain my fighting spirit. I am fighting not just for myself, but for the example I can give to other women. I'm not always perfect in that, of course, but it's something I cling to.

I bring this up now, because I'm once again feeling a bit lost. I do have friends here, wonderful ones, so I'm not without the social support. But I've grown very accustomed to supporting myself, being in the position of helping others; not needing the help myself. Knowing it is temporary does help, and I also keep telling myself that it will help me remember myself separate from the materialism I've gained despite my best efforts not to, but it's still wearing and overwhelming right now.

And so, I return to the feminist books. I picked up the story of the woman fighting to enter The Citadel, and I remember that my fight is minor compared to hers. I feel less overwhelmed. If she could get there, despite all the difficulties, I can make it through this year.

Oh, and ts4z, now you know why Matt Andrews found those books in my bathroom at my apartment in Sunnyvale. You know, when he returned ashen and accusing, "Gwen, now I'm scared of you. I just found The Second Sex, The Art of Revenge, and the Philosophy of Punk as your bathroom reading."

note: The Art of Revenge was a gift from cusm and was vastly entertaining. The Philosophy of Punk I got when I discovered one of my favorite places in SF, the Anarchist Bookstore on Haight. Mmmm, how I miss that store.

Anyway, I feel better now. I've gotten all that off my chest.
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