Hello, my lovely visitors! My absence... a kinda awkward topic. The funny thing about going through something is that no matter how many times you say your done and you have healed, it doesn't really count for anything unless those words are true. So I am done with the empty words. This blog is where I wanted to fearlessly speak about my truth and my experiences, and I was not holding up my end of the bargain and for that, I apologize. The truth. I honestly think I am still in the transitions of recovery, but I truly miss my safe space to write, so I am not yet committing to a schedule, but I am committing to communicating more often. There are more details about what that entails at the end, but I am already so late to women's month, so let's get cracking a series I am so excited for. I am going to do a three-part approach to feminism and my experience with it. I am going to talk about my past with it, my current, and where I see myself with feminism in the future. I think my relationship with feminism has turned into kinda a rom-com teen romance in my mind. How it swept in and saved my life is something that will lift my spirits on the darkest of days. So without further ado, my past with feminism.
For the longest time in my pre-teen/early teen years, I strayed away from the word "feminist". I came from a southern private school where all my peers were white, with the occasional mixed student two grades ahead or below. To say the least, I was already different. In my class already dominated by the male gender, I would look around at all these people that I "knew", but felt like I never actually knew them. I thought the divide stemmed from our difference in color. I thought it was because I couldn't relate to them due to our different experiences as different races. "Did that make me prejudice?" I would often think. " I am the problem?" When the adults in my life would speak about race and the racial divide and systematic racism, I would understand, but I would also judge. "Why are they being so extra? Yeah we are being treated unfairly, but not by the people we know. They need to calm down, it is not that big of a deal." Now, looking back I was in denial. I knew something was different, but because I was the only one experiencing it, I pushed it to the side. I disregarded it. My judgment was rooted in my jealousy for their bravery and growth to speak freely without the anxiety of what others would say following. Now, don't get me wrong, I had friends and good friends at that, but-this one but, something was always different when it came to my peers as a whole. I was different. I still am different. And at that time in my life, I was lost to who I truly am. Sometimes I think I still haven't found my true self, but that used to make me insecure. My insecurities started to turn into a form of self-hatred or denial. I stopped seeing myself as different, not because I accepted myself and loved who I truly was, so no matter what color someone else saw me as I was beautiful, but because I didn't. I didn't accept myself as beautifully different, and that is something that guts me to the core. Luckily, I have been blessed through family, life experience, and simply, self-love to grow out of that, and grow into embracing my truest form, and to embrace myself for who I was created to be. There are times that I struggle with how I look, how I rank amongst my peers, or if I do have a rich worth within my soul, but now I am aware of it, and aware of how to fight these insecurities.
I think I had a similar battle with feminism. What did feminism mean to me? Bully the boys back? Beat the boys at their own game? Force a comfort level between you and them so that you will be seen as equal to everyone else except yourself? As a middle schooler/ young high schooler, I didn't really know what feminism meant. I was confused, so again I pushed it away. All I heard about feminism is that it was for the weird girls who weren't able to be cool like everyone else. Oh, how I wish I was as cool as those girls. Those girls knew. Even if they did not have the entire idealogy of feminism down pact, they had the basic idea from a young age. This is because they were secure in who they were. They did not fear the "blue-haired-girl" judgment because inside of them they knew who they were and that made them more strong than anyone else in the room. They did not waiver when questioned or mocked about their differences. They embraced them to the fullest extent.
As a girl who was already different due to her skin color, I was not ready to adopt the feminist title. I strayed from it to please my peers. To make them more comfortable. I was untrue to equality and equity, so I would find acceptance. Acceptance is a weird thing. Even the allusion of it is so powerful. that it can cause people to abandon some of the things they claim to value the most. This was weak. It was lame. To this day I cringe at the thought of me writing essays and speaking about how we are all equal because "that's what I am supposed to say", but in my ears and head it means nothing at all to me. Those words drummed inside of a hollow head that had been so beaten down with denial and self-hate that it was unable to even register the words I was speaking through the brainwash going through my head. Unbelievable. I was unable to believe in feminism because I had belittled myself so much and made myself so tiny, that none of it really made sense. And there's always the easy path of, I was so small, there was no possible way I could understand, but for me it was I was so insignificant in my own mind, that I couldn't understand. How could I ponder equal pay and equal opportunity when I didn't even believe I could kick a kickball that was pitched by a boy.
I remember putting on this facade that I did believe I was as strong as the boys. This was pretty easy because most of the time I could run just as fast as them, lift as many chairs, and get as many answers right as them, but this, I attribute to my mother, not myself. I had been told from a young age that as a black girl, I was already at a disadvantage and that I would need to work harder than everyone else to get just as far. So, while my mother's words of wisdom were good advice in themselves, my distorted version led to issues for me. In my mind, I was working twice as hard to get just as far, so as soon as we grew up and these small caucasian boys grew into large caucasian men, I would be doomed. They would grow up, realize their potential, and I would never be able to keep up. Yeah, pretty heavy for a 12-year-old, but it was the reality. It still is. See, I was aware of the reality, but again, wanted to push it to the side for another person. "Maybe those brave girls will get it, I am too busy trying to keep up"
My mother gave me lots of room growing up. Don't get me wrong she wasn't absent or anything, but she more let me develop with experience-based learning. Which I think contributed in large part to who I am today. At some point, I would consider myself an anti-feminist. I would hoard disdain for the local girls who would speak out against the treatment they were receiving. I was pro-life because a man in the church told me I had to or I would burn in hell with all the other witch-feminists(how bad-ass is that- a witch feminist). And I believed him. He was a man with power. Why would he lie to me? The answer is to keep me stagnant. To keep me oppressed underneath his thumb.
This probably continued for way too long. I want to say until the beginning of my sophomore year if I am being nice, but truly the begging of quarantine if I'm being harsh. Funny, you never know you are having an awakening until you have kinda crossed the finish line. I think this came in small pieces. Seeing Trump win over Hillary, sitting through a slut-shaming visitor speaker at my school, seeing and experiencing sexual assault from both children and faculty, hearing and experiencing sexist jokes and bullying, and so much more. Again, growing up in a southern private school all your life, these are things you cannot be immune to, but failed prevention by one party will never equal acceptance by another. I matured. Through those years and moments, I grew, for in my past I had loved so many great women such as my mother, my aunt, my cho-cho, Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman, and so many more, but I had been unable to show that love and grace to myself. Feminism gave me that. It showed me my intrinsic worth in a way that no parenting, no religion, no book was ever able to. Parenting, religion, and society, yeah they taught me the words of self-love, but feminism gave me the meaning behind them. One of my worst regrets is not being one of those weird feminist girls in middle school. I would have loved to see what type of woman I could have grown into today, but for all of the learning and self-discovery I did, there is now a strong, loud, and proud feminist that writes to you today. Celebrate women's month, achieve what makes you happy, not because you are beating some boy or proving your worth, but achieve it because it makes you happy on the inside. Girl power.
Wow, okay. That was very therapeutic. I hope you enjoyed part one of my three-part series. I will have part two up on Wednesday of this week, followed by my final part on Friday, so subscribe to my blog so you don't miss it. Don't worry I will not spam your inbox with announcements and promotions. It will only send you blog updates, so you can stay up to date no matter what my post schedule is. You really don't want to miss this next part. I think it's a little more hot-goss and tea than emotions and storytelling so stay tuned in.
For the promised announcements regarding better communication. I have created a discord chat! And everyone and anyone are invited. I have channels for BLM, feminism, and environmentalism and would be happy to open even more depending on what you all want! Joi and send a message of your preferred first name(first name only), pronouns, and favorite emoji!!
invite code: https://discord.gg/gAwNB2g7qZ
Also, we have a tik tok! So go make sure to follow it, for more personal and interactive communication. There is not one comment I have not replied to(granted it is still very small), but I want to get to know you all in addition to you all knowing me. My tik tok is @avalindo. Go like my vid about this post and leave your favorite female emoji in the comments for a follow back!
Third, we also got a spoon account!! Wow, I know, March is really picking up. I will be streaming tonight on both spoon and twitch to read part one. If you don't know what spoon is, it is an audio streaming app, so I can kind of have a podcast without having to build my own with equipment and a crew, so tonight at 9:30 pm EST I will be on twitch @avalindo and at 10:00 pm on spoon also @ avalindo
If all of this seems like a little too much and there are too many links to keep track of, do not fret, I have compiled those and so many more into a singular link tree for your convenience!