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
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
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.