Dear Readers II

Dear Readers,

I realize that I haven't explained this blog yet.  I suppose that I don't really need to.  After all, you've been to blogs before and all of this is pretty straightforward stuff.

You may have noticed that this blog is an epistolary blog.  I chose to write this way for a number of reasons, and I find that it helps me to focus my thoughts.  For me, part of being feminist means being angry and disgusted a lot.  It also means being determined and hopeful and demanding and a lot of other things, but the angry and disgusted parts can get nasty sometimes.  Writing to a specific audience helps me to direct my anger and stay on-task.  Otherwise I might go ranting off in all directions and every post would be a thousand-page tome of fury and injustice.

This ties in to the closing of each letter and the title of the blog.  When I sign myself with love, I'm not trying to force my affection upon you.  It's not even about you, really.  It's a reminder to myself.  I've been working out a personal philosophy of empathy, acceptance, understanding, and respect.  When I see awful things in someone, a part of me is tempted to write that person off.  My brain thinks, "This person is full of terrible traits!  What an awful human being!  Recoil!"  I don't want to deal with it.  It's tiring and it's scary and it pulls me down.

But my personal philosophy tells me that writing someone off isn't as beneficial as helping her.  If I can point out what's wrong and suggest a better way, well, every little bit helps.  Teaspoon by teaspoon, right?  Maybe that person will hear me and adjust.  Maybe a third party will overhear and reflect.  Maybe that day, or the next day, or several years later, someone will be better off.  Slowly, slowly pushing for positive change isn't always obvious or dramatic, but when I write people off I've given up.  I don't want to give up.  I want to believe that I can make a difference.  I want to hope for a better world.

As I said, I spend a lot of time being angry and disgusted.  I sign myself with love because I'm reminding myself to keep a kernel of compassion or a flame of hope in there somewhere.

Without the "with love" part, my letters would read: Fuck, you're an asshole!

With the "with love" part, they're more like: Fuck, you're an asshole!  Now shape up and be a better person!

When I write to some asshole and end with love, it's not because I love him in particular.  It's because I love people, I love humanity, I love what I think of as my community of feminists, I love my friends and family, I love the world, I love how great we can be and how much we can accomplish and what lives we'd all live if only we could get our shit together.  I desperately, furiously need us to get our shit together.  I love you, all of you, and I want only the best for you.  To keep my hope going, to keep pushing for more, I need to remain empathetic.  I need to remain loving.  I need to keep demanding better of people, more of people.

Sometimes I'm a disgusted, angry, humorless feminist.  (That's what makes me such a hit at parties!)  All of the time, I'm a hopeful, demanding, empathetic feminist.  I demand so much and expect so much because I care so much.  I hope that you care, too.

With love,
Frank Lee

2 comments:

  1. Thanks. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Something I need to remind myself of every day.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me.

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