Welcome friends…

October 31, 2006 at 9:42 pm | Posted in body, Sisterhood | 1 Comment

I’ve recently moved here from another site, and am thrilled, excited, and feeling renergized.

It has been a while since I wrote much.

I am still here.

***

A shout-out to Eve’s Rib Clothing at left, who makes this t-shirt, among others with portions of sales going towards the National Eating Disorders Association in the U.S. of A. Support, wear the clothes, and love your body! For more on why this is on my mind right now read on sister…

***

The post below comes from a woman’s writing circle I went to.

It was beautiful and wonderful all at once. Our homework in advance was to “write a letter to our younger self” and bring it (or our notes) with us to an amazing woman’s house where we shared stories, talked about women’s writing, and ate amazing zuchini crab cakes (without the crab).

As we all sat and shared our letters, emotions came pouring out. Here in this space, with women that some of us barely knew, it was safe. A safe space to talk, to listen, to heal.

We cried as we shared our letters – and in sharing our letters our pains, our secrets, our shames, our joys.

We talked about women’s pain and oppression. In all the letters there were fears of body image here and there. What pressure does society put on us that each of us – 7 of us – none of us who knew eachother growing up, had similar fears and experiences? So many of us had binged and purged, starved at times, enjoyed doing it, some still struggling with it, some always and forever struggling with it. Needing to feel beautiful, punishing ourselves, needing control.

Knowing its wrong. Hating our feminist selves for doing so.

Warning our younger selves. Feeling pain for our younger selves.

What society are we in for this to happen?

How can we change it?

I ache for my sisters.

– Artemis.

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New site, new address!

October 30, 2006 at 3:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Woman Army is moving…

Please update your links. I’m very excited about the move – many new opportunities! All content is being transferred.

You can fine me here.

Hope to see you soon.

– Artemis

A letter to my (younger) self

October 30, 2006 at 1:03 am | Posted in moi | Leave a comment

What to say to you – to me – all those years ago?
Is there anything I could say that would’ve been heard? Would have changed who I am? Would I even want to?

The me of years ago once wrote that everything happens for a reason. That I could never be me, without all these things happening, and how could “me” be bad?

I will call my younger self “you” because she is a different person than I am now.

You were scared all the time. Scared to let people in. Scared of being alone. Scared of being different. Scared of being nothing.

I could tell you not to be scared. Or I could tell you that you were right.

That people will judge you. That people will be cruel and harsh, that letting people in is hard and sometimes you will get hurt.

I could tell you not to be scared of being nothing or of doing nothing. I will tell you that you don’t need to overcompensate for all those fears.

I would tell you not to be a workaholic.

I would tell you that you are your own worst enemy.

I would tell you that you will hurt and you will suffer and people will leave you again and again. That you might be alone at times and that the only person you can really count on in this life is yourself.

But I think you figured that out pretty early on in life.

I would tell you that its okay to be your biggest advocate and your biggest protector at the same time.

I will tell you that your need to not be alone, to not be hurt — will backfire on itself. You will be hurt. You will be alone. People will leave you.

But that’s part of life.

You can’t be afraid of life.
You can’t be everyone’s protector.
You can’t save eeryone – and in trying to save them you’re only trying to save yourself.

It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be selfish. Its okay to trust people.
It will take you a long time to be able to do that – if ever.

What can I say to you – the me of years past – that you don’t already know?

I could tell you about all the pain and hurt you will go through. How everything you ever worried about happening – and losing – will come true. And there is no preventing it. That you must hurt. You must cry. And you must be angry.

After all, everything happens for a reason, right?

I will tell you that me of age 12, age 15, age 19, age 22, and age 27 are all the same person. That you can imagine you are different. You can work towards it and strive and fight to make yourself different.

But you won’t change. You won’t learn anything at all. You will be teh same after all.

You will still be your own worst enemy, not trust, be your biggest advocate and protector, a workaholic and alone. You will be your own worst enemy.

And I can’t tell you that you’re wrong to be that way.

Maybe the me in 10 years will be different and tell her younger self that she was wrong.

I look at you of yesterday though, and all the things I could and would tell you – I can’t. Because you were right then. You saw it years in advance.

– Artemis

Roots

October 30, 2006 at 12:59 am | Posted in Home | Leave a comment

First published May 2nd, 2006

***

Lately I am at such odds.
I thought it was a passing phase perhaps, one that went away with the month of March. But I’m finding now that its still here, a restlessness that doesn’t seem to want to leave me.

Restless. To find something new, to find a sense of where I am to be, who I am to be, to plant roots but leave at the same time.

I am homesick.

I am living in this wonderful place I have come to call home, but I am intensely, bitterly homesick. I want to go home. To the place I grew up in. To my family. Friends. To the connectedness of history.

I can only develop so much history here. No one knows me. Knows my history. That is all in another place.

I miss it.

Just ASK me how I am

October 30, 2006 at 12:58 am | Posted in activism, Violence | Leave a comment

First published April 19th, 2006.

***

“Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown.

Just don’t ask me how I am.
Just don’t ask me how I am.” – Luka, by Suzanne Vega

Why all the silence?
I really don’t understand it.
We live in a culture of silence. It breeds it. Its in the air. It’s a climate where we’re unable to share, unable to talk, unable to take a stand.

And it’s leaving us helpless.
It’s leaving my sisters in pain, alone, hurting, unable to heal because we’re unable to share.

I wrote before about bearing witness.
About creating a community of healing.
In my thesis I explore the idea of bearing witness. I want to know how we allow ourselves to tell our stories. How we allow others to hear them. What do we choose to reveal and how?

How do we re-write our stories, to our self?

What are we able to admit?

What are we able to say to “it wasn’t my fault”?

Can we ever say that?

***
Here’s what I know:

I tell my story.
Another woman says “that happened to me”. She shares her story. She realizes she’s not alone. I realize I’m not alone.

Then someone else steps in, and tells her story. Now we have a community. And then someone else comes and says “that also happened to me.” or “I had a similar experience”.

“I was raped”.
“I was drugged at that bar too”
“I went to the police”
“I was molested”
“He hit me”
“I didn’t want to”
“I thought I was alone”

Soon it’s a community of healing. A community of stories. Soon we’re taking back our power. Soon it’s not just my pain, or your pain, but its our pain.

***

This is what I know.
No more silence.
The system might not always work for us. God knows I’ve regretted and even wondered if I should send someone to the police. I’ve regretted going myself. And yet… I didn’t. It meant I took a step. I told what happened. And when that didn’t work, I keep talking.

I tell my students in my TA class.
I tell my coworkers.
I tell my fellow classmates.
I tell my family.

And then they tell me their stories.

I am not alone.

This is how I fight violence. This is how I raise awareness against sexual violence. If there’s no awareness, how can we stop it?

– Artemis.

Blog to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence Day

October 30, 2006 at 12:56 am | Posted in activism, Violence | Leave a comment

First published April 2nd, 2006

***

The title says it all.

Femivist is hosting Blog to Raise Awareness About Sexual Violence Day on April 18th.

We’ve all got stories. For those who want to share their story but don’t have a blog, you can email Femivist directly to post your story.

I could write about a lot of things this windy afternoon. But there really is a need to raise awareness of sexual violence.

You hear about it all the time. There’s the statistics, the press, the support groups.
But for some reason, you don’t really hear it.

Or maybe we’re just not listening.

***

In my thesis, I write a lot about the concept of bearing witness.

It’s a pretty simple concept really. I want you to bear witness to my stories, my experiences. In bearing witness to them, you take them into yourself. It’s a collaborative process that affects both the speaker and the listener. You become a witness in my experience, and in so doing, become changed.

Similarly linked is the practice of remembrance. How do we go about remembering certain events, certain traumas, in our lives? Is our practice of remembrance a solitary one, or is it collective? As we bear witness to one another’s stories, what does that mean for collective memory? How can shared remembrances initiate change?

***
In raising awareness of sexual violence, it’s time to tell our stories.
To bear witness to one another’s experience, to create a culture of collective memory.

I want to hear yours. I want you to hear mine.

By speaking together, by sharing experience, maybe we can create change.

After all, we’re not really listening yet.

Perhaps we need a new practice of listening.

– Artemis.

Mid-life crisis

October 30, 2006 at 12:54 am | Posted in moi | Leave a comment

First posted March 22nd, 2006

***

I’ve had a sudden thought that perhaps I’m having a midlife crisis lately.

I’ve always had a tendancy to take on other’s emotions. Too empathetic perhaps.

Sympathy pains? No problem? Imagined tendonitis when my friend’s have it? You bet. Anxiety for my stressed-out best friend? Definitely. Pregnancy dreams, bloating and cravings when my friend got pregnant. Of course.

My mom would’ve been 50 this year. Chances are, knowing her, she would’ve been in the throes of a mid-life crisis. She was always having a bit of a mini-life crisis. But coming up to 50 might’ve just pushed her over.

For the past few weeks I’ve been questioning everything I’ve been doing. Am I happy? Do I like the work I’m doing? Do I want to continue it? Should I do something else? Is it right for me?

Today I’m putting in my nomination forms for another year on my student union. For weeks I’d debated throwing it away, quitting the student movement, leaving it behind. Too much stress. Not enough pay. Not enough respect. Interference with my thesis. Do I really want to do this?

I’d contemplated leaving the country. Quitting school. Quitting the union. Quitting my work at the Women’s Centre. Go teach English in the Czech Republic. Become an au pair in France. Win the lottery.

But realistically, can I do any of that right now? Is it worth quitting my program when I’m more than half way through and have $20,000 of student loans because of it?

I love being busy, if I let myself admit it. I love being too busy (most of the time).

Perhaps this has been another mid-life crisis, brought forth by a 5-year anniversary of my mother’s death, by her 50th birthday today.

Empathizing what she might’ve been experiencing.

Perhaps I need to start examining what I want, not what I imagine she might’ve wanted.

Artemis.

Happy Birthday

October 30, 2006 at 12:53 am | Posted in Home, moi | Leave a comment

First published March 22nd, 2006

****

To my mother, who would’ve been 50 today.

My mom was my soulmate, my nemesis, the other side of my self in many ways. She is who inspired me to become a feminist in more ways than I can consciously realize.

On today, her birthday, I’m at a loss to know what to do. How to celebrate someone’s birthday who is no longer here?

Like the capitalist spend-a-holic who loved luxury that she was, I’m going to get a facial and a haircut at a pricey salon in her name.

My mom and I didn’t talk much. This nemesis of mine, all she wanted for me was to succeed. Our goals didn’t match, necessarily. But I know she wanted the best for me.

What am I doing with my life five years after she died?

Have I succeeded how she would’ve wanted me to?

Or am I just sliding along?

Perhaps the best way to celebrate her today is to recognize my own accomplishments. Accept them for what they are. And determine to continue forward to be the person not only that she would want me to be, but that I want to be.

Happy Birthday Mom.

– Artemis

Feminist In-Fighting

October 30, 2006 at 12:46 am | Posted in Feminism | Leave a comment

 

 

“i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
and i do it just because i want to
because i want to”

– Ani Difranco, Joyful Girl


Women fighting women.

I’m tired of it. In this fight called feminism, we should be banding together, fighting for eachother and with eachother. Not against one another.

Tearing eachother down. Breaking eachother apart. Criticizing. Arguing. What good does it do?

Tekjani has a good little rant about this on Shrub.com:

“Stop it. Stop invalidating me because of my reproductive choices. Stop telling me what is and is not worthy of discussion. Stop calling me names because I have a different sexual expression than you. Stop discriminating against our sisters just because they don’t have the same naughty bits as you. Stop telling women that they should not be allowed to choose their life’s path. And, for the love of little green apples, stop trying to make the only valid path in life the one you want to take.

 

That’s what the patriarchy does, not us. Get it?”

She’s so right. And I’m sick of it. Sick of women tearing me down. Get it together sisters.

***

Academics seems to be a great place for tearing women down. Even in women’s studies, a place where we should be educating eachother about feminism and supporting our sisters. No ladies, women’s studies is one of the most rampant places for sisterly abuse.Perhaps its because its caught up in the patriarchal academic rigors still. Perhaps its because it has yet to find a home of its own. The world of academia as a whole is conducive to tearing down activism – seeing activism as unnecessary, unwarranted, and generally unproductive. What we ought to be doing, it might be argued, is publishing papers and articles and researching and going to conferences. Educating one another.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m sick of educating and being educated and researching and writing and interviewing. At the end of the day, I’m not seeing any results. That world is fine for some people, and I have no doubt that it has its place. After all, we need academia to produce lawyers and activists and politicians and teachers and doctors and nurses. But academia, stop dissing those of us who choose not to be academists.

In my own world of women’s studies, I find over and over again activism being devalued. Professors who once considered themselves feminists, now burned out, citing ‘the feminist movement is dead’. If that’s the case, what am I doing here? They reward those who stay locked in their homes, attached to a computer all day long and writing papers; while devaluing those of us who take a few extra years to complete a degree, working in the feminist movement, in women’s centres, in labour unions – as activists.

I am helping people. I work every day. I am exhausted. I have no time for myself. But every call I take, every women that enters a women’s centre, every time I design a protest poster or pamphlet or visit Confederation Building to argue with those in power – I am doing something good.

And I shouldn’t be devalued or have to explain myself to my fellow colleagues in women’s studies.

I shouldn’t have to explain myself to any of my sisters.

Just as I support them and what they choose, they should support me.

***


everything i do is judged and they mostly get it wrong but oh well 'cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged and the woman who lives there can tell the truth from the stuff that they say and she looks me in the eye and says would you prefer the easy way no, well o.k. then don't cry" - Ani Difranco, Joyful Girl
What are we doing here women? What's the biggest adversity to the feminist movement today I'd say it ourselves.

Stop fighting.
Stop arguing.
Or the feminist movement really will be dead one of these days very soon.

– Artemis

On these lips my words turn blue…

October 30, 2006 at 12:44 am | Posted in Home | Leave a comment

The mood of these absent weeks…

“are there no blinders on lights that glare
white noise on the eyes
from gas station lights and reflected ice glare
so that i can walk home by moonlight
alone

 

or can we go out to where the wind howls and stand to lean up against the trees
they’ve grown up so tall that you can’t see the house
it’s a fortress now but you know how it used to be
i can lie to myself
and say i like it
but i would love it if you were here

 

these words on paper smell like you
associated in random thought
on my lips the words turn blue
evidence i’m feeling lost
i can lie to myself
and say i like it
but i would love it if you were here
i’m just sad for myself
cause i know you’re clear
but i would love it if you were here

 

i can just see you show me your garden
i thought you’d grow roses and grapes on low vines
i wanted to know you when we were both older
i thought there’d be more of those wonderful times
i can lie to myself
and say i like it
but i would love it if you were here
i’m just sad for myself
cause i know you’re clear
but i would love it if you were here
you were here
yes you were
yes you were”

 


– Sarah Harmer, “You Were Here”

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