I'm angry because it doesn't seem like I'm doing enough, for myself and for those whom I love and for the world (which is actually a step-up from feeling miserable, as anger usually spurs me to action). Why am I feeling this way? Because of two things.
One, I just finished reading When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone, and two, I got on Twitter and got sucked into reading news about GOP's vote on replacing Obamacare with the new healthcare law which will neglect those who have preexisting health conditions, those who are poor, and those who are old, and will create tax breaks for the rich. This is what I glimpsed without diving deeply into it and spending time on understanding what the hell is going on, so don't take my word for it and read it for yourself. And this is why it made me angry.
To understand how this will impact me, as an artist, as a low-income earner, as a woman—I'd have to spend time away from writing and read about the laws that were passed on by a bunch of white Christian men who basically see me as a second sort—you know, fashioned from Adam's rib—and so that means I'm fucked—as an artist, as a low-income earner, and as a woman. I'm on Medicaid, and I'm not making enough money to be able to afford medical insurance that's being proposed (I'd have to read more about it to know for sure how it'll impact me).
And this made me even more angry, because these men, who act in the name of the religion that's based on shaming the very act of creating human life by calling it a sin—a bloody sterility cult, in other words—these men partake in politics that keep women in check by glorifying female virginity and double-standard female fidelity, to make sure that their money pass along to their children via a patrilineal line. This myth, this story that some very clever men wrote into the Bible, and made sure it's the first story one read, have turned nature inside out by proclaiming it was women who were born of men, not the other way around, and it was women who caused the downfall of humanity. Does this lie remind you of something? Bingo. Politics. The whole thing was designed for political reasons: to keep the wealth and the power in male hands.
I was weeping angry tears when I thought about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my father, and the neglect and the verbal abuse from most of my family (by being yelled at and told I'm no good and reminded that my eyes shift strangely which means I have prostitute genes—I wish I was kidding) which was the direct result of the political persecution of early female religions some six thousand years ago, when women were revered as the givers of life (as women were the ones who were bearing children) and the act of sex was worshipped as holy. Indeed it is—it's how we fucking get to exist.
I was so angry, I shook, because it seemed to me I'm not doing enough to bring about a change.
I immigrated from a country that oppressed women by forcing them to dedicate their lives to the state which was run by men, to the country that is poisoned with religious views that glorify the woman as the helper to the man (the Christian idea—the obedient wife, the good mother, the woman behind the man, all that shit—just look at photos of our government men and their wives). Welcome to America, Ksenia, 18 years later. As a woman in America I'm still second sort, still someone who can be denied the right to her body, to make an abortion, for example—which is somehow against the divine will because it's an intervention, and we're not supposed to break the flow of nature. Curiously, the intervention of medical professionals to treat a disease in a human body (wouldn't it be against the divine will?) is perfectly okay.
And this is where I live. This is where I write my books. This is the language I write my books in, the language that has been shaped by this false doctrine designed to serve males in power. Not that Russian is much different. The more I see this, the more I understand how the language we speak was shaped by these beliefs.
Then I wept some more, astounded by all this anger I felt. Because I thought that as an artist and as an individual what I do is insignificant—writing books. And I wept because every time I come up for air from writing and try to decipher what has happened in the world in the meantime, I fail. You know why? Because my ability to critically think and analyze and state my opinion has been impaired by years of violent upbringing that instilled the fear of speaking in me. I was told to be silent. Silence was my virtue as a little girl, silence was to become my virtue as woman. Silence is what cripples me still, this habit of pretending like things aren't there, this habit of keeping myself busy in the hope that somehow all of the bad stuff will blow over and I won't be hurt. This made me weep the most, this realization that I get to carry it to my grave—my fear of speaking up, of expressing what I feel without any inhibitions. Like writing this post, for example. I was scared out of my mind to write how it really is, then I thought, "What if I died tomorrow?" And so I wrote it.
I don't know if in my lifetime I'll be able to rid myself of this fear of speaking up. That is why I write. When I'm alone in my room with only my story for company, I have no fear and I simply say what's on my characters' minds, who are all in a way all part of me, only fictionalized. In that way I get to tell the truth.
So my questions to myself and to you is, what else can I do? I've been writing for five years full-time now, and yet it seems I'm so far away from achieving my dream of supporting myself with writing alone. I often cry silently, wishing I didn't need to sleep, then I could do more. Wishing I didn't need to eat, then I could do more. Wishing, wishing, wishing.
Then suddenly I understand that I am doing enough.
I'm doing enough for those of you who can't speak up at all. I'm learning how to speak up, to show you that you can do it too. That's what I'm giving to you and to the world, and that's how I'm changing it, one human at a time. So thank you for trusting me to do this for you, and thank you for silently reading my words. I will continue writing even if I'm half starved, even if I'm broke, even if I fail to loudly fight the systemic oppression of women because it hurts so much that I have to hide from people under my bed and lick my wounds and hibernate. I'll always write for you. That is my promise. That is my weapon. That is my life.