Our Journey

by allecto

One sister, new to this pain called feminist consciousness

for want of a scream to name it, asked me last week

“But how do you stop from going crazy?”

Monster by Robin Morgan

All of us start our feminist journey and awakening from a place of integrity. Some small spark of our true Selves has survived the violence, the hate, the belittling, the conditioning and the constant sexualisation that we are battered with from the moment we are born. The spark is a little bit of self respect. The spark is a little bit of self-worth.  The spark enables us to see our Selves and our situation a little more clearly than we did at first. We start with a questioning. Why? It might be a simple why. Why is it always mum that does all the dishes and the cooking, while dad reads the paper? It might be a hard and painful why. Why did the man that I love just hit me and call me names?

And from this questioning comes a no, another sparking, a resistance to the treatment of us as chattel, as objects, as property, as sex. And slowly there are more questions and more nos and more sparking and more resistance and we are led to a point of anger. And as our integrity grows so does our anger until our rage swells to fury and our eyes are irrevocably opened. A feminist consciousness is not reversible and the anger will not abate. It is at this point of true rage and integrity that we take action. It might be a radical life change: we pack the kids in the car and leave. It might be a small individual resistance: we stop shaving. Whatever the action, our lives have altered course and there is no turning back.

We are set on a path, a journey, a search, a quest. We are seekers. We have some knowledge but we are hungry for more. We have a yearning but it is difficult to know what the yearning is for. And then suddenly, just as we are about to give up, we find it. We might stumble upon it in a second hand bookstore, picking up a tattered copy of Gyn/Ecology and having our minds ripped wide open. We might go online with a purpose, searching out our sisters, finding a whole new world and being overcome by the Background.

In forming these connections, our internal and external worlds are exploded, and we come quickly to new understandings. Some of us are afraid. Some of us a jubilant. Some of us are disenchanted. And sometimes we are all of these things at once but we are all committed to the idea and the reality of loving women. And *this* is feminism.

We find out quickly that it isn’t easy. We find our Selves under attack from many fronts. The most painful of these realisations is that fact there is no easy unity or sisterhood between, even like-minded, women. Our friendships and relationships with the women in our lives are challenged as we are less and less tolerant of the intrusion of men into our lives. We find our political spaces rife with women blaming each other for men’s behaviour, the horizontal hostility which rears its ugly head in even the safest of women-only spaces. But despite the difficulties, we are more aware than ever of the cost of failure. And we are never giving up.

We will have our revolution. We are living it every day. We live it when we confront our oppression in the myriad of different ways that we resist. Although the world around us can sometimes feel like a black hole, with the vampirism of men sucking all the life and beauty out of women and our planet, there is hope. We will never give up because giving up would mean that we accept a world in which our mothers, daughters, sisters, lovers, friends are not as human as our fathers, sons and brothers. A world where our lives and our loves are owned, controlled and disposable. We refuse to be property. We refuse to be men’s garbage. The end point of this refusal can only be liberation. We will keep fighting till we get there.

We will have our revolution. We will remember that “we are the women that the men have warned us about” (Robin Morgan). And we will be proud of our status as Positively Revolting Hags (Mary Daly). We follow the footsteps of the millions of women who have fought this battle before us and we blaze new trails for the millions women who follow in our footsteps. The journey spirals and evolves. The women who come behind us will go even further.

Men have painted their world in women’s blood and built their world on women’s backs. Since we are the colour and the foundation of all that is, I say lets shake their world to the ground. We are building our world in the name of our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our lovers. And we will do so without shame and with complete integrity.

How do we stop from going crazy? Sometimes there is no way. The enormity of the task that feminists undertake is so vast that the inertia can be crippling.

But most of the time there is no other way that I would want to be and the craziness is par for the course.  As Robin Morgan also said, Sisterhood is Powerful, Global and FOREVER!

18 Comments to “Our Journey”

  1. That’s my favourite poem.
    Very powerful post Allecto.

  2. Thanks cherry. I really love that poem too. Robin Morgan can sure write. I have been thinking a lot lately about her essay “Goodbye to all that”, since the Occupy movement and all the crap that women have been going through in relation to that. Re-membering our feminist herstory is so important.

  3. “How do we stop from going crazy? Sometimes there is no way. The enormity of the task that feminists undertake is so vast that the inertia can be crippling.”

    Yes, I feel this sometimes. But I’m also inspired, especially by brave, wonderful woman speaking truths. Onward, revolting hags! 🙂

  4. Shake men’s world to the ground. 🙂

    I’m feeling inspired too smash. As for “going crazy” and having that be crippling, yes it can be. It helps to realize that all of those feelings are actually the sanity kicking in, its the opposite of insanity. Men read our words and hear us speaking our truths and they see and hear “wah wah wah” if they hear or see us at all. They see “wah wah wah” on the page, and they think its bc we aren’t saying anything, and if it disturbs them in any way, its bc we are crazy. This is the facade of men’s world being ripped away. They still believe that women fawn over and defer to men, and look at them lovingly bc we love and respect them, or need them or want them. The reality is that these loving looks and female deference is a combination of fear, contempt, and biding our time. This truth is incomprehensible to most if not all men, but it is the truth.

  5. Bravo, Allecto! A beautiful and inspirational post. You wrote: “We will never give up because giving up would mean that we accept a world in which our mothers, daughters, sisters, lovers, friends are not as human as our fathers, sons and brothers.” That is the reason I too will continue to speak and write. Men are severely diminished by this system too, because they aren’t able to access the full humanity of women, including our talent, inventiveness, and brilliance. For me it is about the future and the girls. Our social systems are changing more rapidly than ever before. We may all be surprised at the rapidity of growth of feminist consciousness in young women. There is a lot of suppressed outrage out there. And as you say, there are places to go, including the Hub, where women who are trying to figure all this out can go for support and understanding. FCM’s comment is so interesting too. It is correct. It is a tragic situation that most men are too deeply in denial to be able to objectively assess the statistics or hear the reasoning that goes on here. They live in a reality that is utterly obsolete, but they don’t seem to realize it yet.

  6. Wow, clap clap clap clap! This post is beautiful! We sure will have our revolution. 🙂

    “How do we stop from going crazy? Sometimes there is no way. The enormity of the task that feminists undertake is so vast that the inertia can be crippling.”

    I definitely experience feminism in a way that I don’t have a choice to go forward. Because the task is so enormous, I might just as well spend my life doing it, there’s nothing else i can do; we have nothing to lose. Either the revolution or we will die with this planet, I’m sure. Even though it can be crippling, every time I have a low I give myself a kick and stand up again, capitulating makes no sense, I can’t go back to non-consciousness, fragmentation of self, self-hatred now that i’ve started the “journey of integrity”. feminism is irrevocable and irreversible as you say. And yes, patriarchy is built on women’s blood.

    “They still believe that women fawn over and defer to men, and look at them lovingly bc we love and respect them, or need them or want them. The reality is that these loving looks and female deference is a combination of fear, contempt, and biding our time. This truth is incomprehensible to most if not all men, but it is the truth.”

    That is so well said. Men are deluded into believing that what they do actually gives them power over women, in endless attempts to imitate women’s true power, to achieve female deference and servitude. But this power is powerless because all they get is emptiness, destruction and death; contempt and fear from women – not love.

  7. A inspirational post,Alecto,i love it!

    “How do we stop from going crazy?Sometimes there is no way. The enormity of the task that feminists undertake is so vast that the inertia can be crippling.”

    Well,i’m very new to this but i believe we will win ,they can not continue to suppress.We’ll have to fight back.i will fight back.I won once(my abuser)we will have our victory.

  8. feminism is the way forward, being a raf-fem means that in your heart you are going forward because you have rejected the ‘pat-junkfood’, and are busy either through your daily acts or your inner life spinning what you know to be true.
    There is no escape from the reality that men have fucked up the world and their relationships to womon. Once you kick men off their pedestals and face them square on, seeing them for what they are you no longer feel fear becuse you know they are liars and the bringers of death.
    Yes men are fighting womon in all manner of ways but what the stark truth is , we survive in greater numbers despite the despicable outrgaes they heap against us. They think they have us, they think they are winning, but deep down they know they are losers and have lost because their only weapon is violence and the very fact that opt for womon terrorism is that they know they have lost.

    “you can’t kill the spirit, she is like a mountain,
    Old and strong she goes on and on and on,
    You can’t kill the spirit……..

    We must all without exception talk about the burning times……we must make it real and make it regular and we must re-member those womon and all the womon that have been tortured, abused and violated and cheated and comotosed because they were/are all our community all our sisterhood…..we must be radical enough to bear the shit that comes when we speak the ‘truth to power’, there is no other way but to challenge and re-mind….many womon want to hear and want to know….

    F False
    E Evidence
    A Accepted
    R Reality

    This is the Fear that men and womon who support them feel…..they want to believe that womons true experience is false evidence, that we as womon want them to accept as reality……

    we must as rad fems push our reality and question the mainstream versions that have dominated patriarchal discourse for thousands of years…..the evidence is out there we have it we know we experience it .
    There is nothing to fear but fear itself…….

  9. Thanks everyone for adding so much to the original post. The world that we are confronted with is horrific, most of the time I cannot bring myself to click on the links that are telling me about the continual slaughter of my sisters, the stories that come in every day as one woman after after another is lost to male violence. Despite this the women’s movement is more that anything else, a positive movement. We are re-constructing and re-membering our Selves and our world. We are rediscovering our ancient connections, reawakening and coming into our unique creative, life-affirming, spiraling powers. I find women who are active and engaged in the project for women’s liberation are so stimulating, interesting, alive, uncontained. They, you, we excite me, energise me. The world is painted in technicolour when in their presence. We will have our revolution.

  10. All women, I think, whether they’re conscious of it or not come to a crossroads; do I submit to the androcracy and the path of perpetual masochism or do I choose the path of mySELF. The latter path of course is arduous, perilous and replete with personal costs in both the private and public spheres of a woman’s life. But which path is more threatening to a woman’s mental health, as well as her spiritual and physical survival?…I’d say the former path. Submission and liberation have their own adverse effects on women’s psyches, but at least with liberation my anger and despair are due to the fact that I’m fucking awake, rather than anxiously dreaming of being the perfect handmaiden for the sado-parasitic patriarchs. And in order to have a revolution all women and girls must wake up, choose the path of liberation and get angry and weep only for the women and girls who did not experience such an enlightenment.

  11. Go, Allecto, Go! Just say it like it is, sister!

    We will not go down quietly or with a whimper. We will go out with a bang! We resist and repel the attempts to throw ice cold water on our fire, passion, laughter and rage. We resist the murder of our minds, bodies, emotions and wild spirits. We are the wild women who run with wolves, who strain against the leashes of captivity, snarling, growling, biting and growling. We cannot, will not, be tamed.

    The boys dubbed me Lykopis many moons ago. Lykopis means, “she-wolf.” Lykopis was an Amazon warrior and archer under Amazon Queen Andromache, which means “man-fighter.” I will share Lykopis’s Tale with you.

    The Unforgiven: Lykopis’ Tale
    by KM Kelly

    I am Lykopis and my heart is wild.
    I dream of forests and deserts.
    I dream of the hunt.
    The Moon is my companion.
    Wind walks beside me.
    I clothe myself in darkness and fire.
    My role is the Dangerous One.
    I am Fear Bringer.
    I am Reminder of Sin.
    I am Fury.
    I am Avenger.
    I ride Madness and Rage.

    You, who claim me as your child,
    hide in your houses,
    huddle together in guilt and loathing.
    You raise your voices in lamentation,
    at the twisting of my soul.
    From hate, you speak to me of love.
    From fear, you speak to me of forgiveness.

    I have only my sins left
    which you take from me,
    and heap them on your head.
    Covered in ashes,
    you mourn your role in my birth.
    To your love, I return pain.
    To your forgiveness, I return scorn.
    And to your claims, I cry out “You did not give me life,
    you took it.
    You did not create me;
    I built myself out of what was left to me.”
    I made myself out of pain, of blood and cracked bone,
    of dead hope, of despair and stunted promise.

    I am cold metal and molten rock.
    I am relentless current and blue flame.
    I am eternal.

    In silent joy,
    I will watch as you destroy yourselves.
    In still pleasure,
    I will watch as your limits tighten about your necks.
    In cool exaltation,
    I will watch as your nations collapse
    under the weight of your dead children.
    And as you lay there, a
    s twisted a wreck
    as I am now,
    as you cry to the heavens
    for release from your torment,
    I will say to you “This was your choice.”

    And then, I will smile.

  12. The One That GOt Away
    The Woman Who Made It [by Robin Morgan]

    We all know who I mean, even me.
    She is the one who slid like an eel
    from knowing any truth larger than herself.
    She wheezed orgasms through all her rapes,
    married well and joined clubs
    and married average and glowed in the perfect home and kids,
    and didn’t marry but “kept her freedom,”
    fucked around in a Virginia Slims imitation of men,
    never felt oppressed, of course,
    made it into the Senate or,
    the Weather Underground,
    impressed even corporation execs and cookiepattern Che’s.
    And she took up Zen,
    went back to the earth, wore ankle-length dresses
    and madonna mystical smiles,
    baked natural bread, did astrology
    and good works,
    got elected to the Board of United Fruit
    and the National Welfare Rights Organization Committee,
    became a famous artist/engineer/pilot/architect/doctor–
    “anyone can, I did; pull yourself up by your own G-string.”
    She played: matriarch with a sense of humour,
    tough broad, fragile flower, spiritual seeker
    Jewish princess, a real pal, earth mother goddess,
    tripper, capable unhysterical real woman friend,
    juicy cunt, boyish gamin, lyrical lover, chic swinger and
    “your equal”
    –and anything else the boys dug in a female
    at any given moment.
    She even “expanded” her straight consciousness into being gay,
    then bloomed into a macho copy of what is easier
    to confront in men than in a sister
    of what women in love never meant, not at all.

    And yes, we know why.
    We can pity the terror and comprehend the threat
    to her of a women’s revolution.
    We can understand that, until yesterday,
    there were no other options.
    We can even envy the heart-deadening rewards she seems to reap
    for placing women last, after everything, anything else.
    How she hates us in herself!
    How we detest her in our mirror!

    And she got herself killed, of course,
    trying to shout Black Liberation Now
    while her black brother’s foot was planted on her throat,
    and then too one too many middleclass pills, committing suicide,
    and after that had a heart attack at the
    Fashion Industry Convention Annual Awards,
    subsequently breaking her neck in a ditch, while stoned,
    at the free farm in Vermont,
    only to get her head blown off in a townhouse explosion,
    two days later hemorrhaging out from a safe, expensive abortion,
    afterward drinking herself to death or overdosing on smack,
    and gave up the ghost forty years later, children all married,
    while the other old ladies at the home,
    or the entire congregation, or commune, or college, or congress, or movement, or family, or firm
    Felt Her Loss Sincerely.

    She refused to understand she was doomed from the start,
    and she still doesn’t like being reminded.
    Too bad, sister.
    And there’s less and less time for her
    to find her own way at her own speed.
    She will hide behind our sisterhood, not hers.
    She will say this is an anti-woman poem.
    She will be the ultimate weapon in the hands of the boys,
    And I’ve just begun to realize
    that I must not only destroy what she is,
    but if I have to, kill her.

    And then cradle her skull in my arms
    and kiss its triumphant grin
    and not even cry for us both.

  13. my god cherryblossomlife… My god… I have to share this

  14. Awesome post, Allecto. 🙂 Yeah, I hate how men always try to break any bonds of sisterhood apart, but there will always be womyn loving womyn in any time and space. I think that, as soon as more womyn try to free themselves from the illusory fairy tales of heteronorms, there will be more of a sisterhood. Womyn first need to learn to prioritise other womyn over men, that would be a start. They need to think about other females first of all, that’s a first step towards freedom for all of us (womyn). Remember, womyn: men do NOT love you; they’re lying and they hate you (their whole patriarchal world proves that). Other womyn are your best friends (despite horizontal hostilities)…

  15. Women need to put women first. That is it, in one sentence. The key to our revolution.

  16. Loved reading the post, Allecto, and the thoughtful comments.

    By observation, research and experience: Men aren’t genetically women and as a global species of maleness with the mutated y chromosome (also as corroborated by statistically significant behavioral indicators), men do not connect or care about Life the way women in general do as a separate species.

    Many men are good pretenders, because males need to capture females’ attention to function in their globally normalized energy-vampirism. (The popularity of the Twilight books-and-movie series is telling. Now as if distant field research, I lived among men, trying the PIV/wife/mother experiment at an earlier life stage to my peril.)

    Andrea Dworkin’s writing inspired me immeasurably (still does) — and the analysis of how gender is socially constructed (and societally limiting) to women is vital to radical feminism. At the same time, there’s both nurture (or its absence, too often, for girls) and nature when it comes to the chromosomal sexes.

    I cannot discern any reason for maleness to be so abhorrently cruel and violent in general — male-invented and male-maintained nuclear weapons are for me a sufficient example — unless there is essentially a difference in the female and male genetics which xx and xy chromosomes explain. If male cruelty, narcissism and destructiveness is merely or mainly genetic, then the y chromosome and maleness could mutate out of existence. This could leave females (the original human beings in any event) on the earth. The inherent essence of femaleness without patriarchy would thus proceed in whatever form our consciousness and bodies might take. Call me a dreamer, but I look forward to the infinite energy of compassion and connection (femaleness) instead of today’s cruelty and corruption (maleness as genetic for males and male-identification as brainwashing by male terrorism against tokenized women).

    I’m not the only one considering these genetic and chromosomal ideas as I have been for many years. See, e.g., Sonia Johnson’s book, SisterWitch Conspiracy (2010) and another book, Demonic Males (1997), by Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham.

    Most of the publicly available research trail on parthenogenesis appears to disappear, because for us to believe that females would continue to exist without males is taboo by patriarchal impetus. For educational purposes, with a passing reference to parthenogenesis (and although the publicly available research trail usually disappears on the mutation-prone y chromosme of maleness), here’s a cryptic research nugget (still available online) from a female scientist in 1994:

    “Male mutation rates and the cost of sex for females

    Rosemary J. Redfield

    Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, and Program in Evolutionary Biology, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4

    ALTHOUGH we do not know why sex evolved, the twofold cost of meiosis for females provides a standard against which postulated benefits of sex can be evaluated1. The most reliable benefit is sex’s ability to reduce the impact of deleterious mutations2,3. But deleterious mutations may themselves generate a large and previously overlooked female-specific cost of sex. DNA sequence comparisons have confirmed Haldane’s suggestion that most mutations arise in the male germ line4,5; recent estimates of α, the ratio of male to female mutation rates, are ten, six and two in humans, primates and rodents, respectively6–8. Consequently, male gametes may give progeny more mutations than the associated sexual recombination eliminates. Here I describe computer simulations showing that the cost of male mutations can easily exceed the benefits of recombination, causing females to produce fitter progeny by parthenogenesis than by mating. The persistence of sexual reproduction by females thus becomes even more problematic.” [Footnotes omitted]

    Have a Happy Solstice Season, in renewal of Your True and Brilliant Spirit, Your Brave and Sustaining Body!

  17. Amazing, the comments are as fascinating as the original essay, and Allecto this in your follow-up comment, so well said: “… one woman after another is lost to male violence. Despite this the women’s movement is more than anything else, a positive movement. We are re-constructing and re-membering our Selves and our world. We are rediscovering our ancient connections, reawakening and coming into our unique creative, life-affirming, spiraling powers.”

    It’s really affirming to read so many interesting ideas on this blog, which is new to me.

    Also really good to have a place to come and vent, share ideas, etc., so we can act as if all is well (and hope to make it so) in our daily lives of activity.

  18. Again and again over my years I have confronted the ‘going crazy’ part, as I’ve gradually gone farther and farther out of the mind of the fathers. These “oh shit I’m going crazy again” moments arise as a result of various choices and sometimes external events that seem to shatter me, to push me falling, falling, into an abyss without bottom, to knock me flat with one crushing blow and leave me for dead. At the time this merely feels like ‘going out of my mind’–going stark raving mad with no hope for return to sanity–no purpose to it, only perhaps inevitable ‘breakdown’ as a result of genes predisposed to ‘mental illness’ combined with choices no properly-raised and self-preserving womyn would ever make, if she wanted to keep her sanity and have all ‘the good things in life’…..

    Yet as the waves subside (as they are doing yet again today), I always see so clearly, feel so deeply in my core, that what I am actually doing is coming INTO my mind. By taking ever-greater steps out of patriarchy’s mind, steps which shatter not me but the lies and taboos that kept me imprisoned, have I arrived more and more deeply into mySELF. It is fearsomely powerful work, unleashing the terror of annihilation with all its bound-up energy that contains us in supposedly ‘safe’ places in the mensworld…but it turns out that I am not falling through an endless abyss, no. It is ALL THAT which is falling away from me, because I don’t need it anymore.

    And always in the end, as I realize I haven’t actually died of taboo-breaking or the further dis-covery of the lies. I re-member myself once again and the blessing of standing on the Earth, simply taking another breath, and another. I claim the calm joy of going for a walk among the trees in the quiet, and I feel that power within me once again. That strength I was taught so fiercely to use to feed the fear that built the container that was supposed to keep me ‘safe’….that strength is mine, now liberated to use as I please.

    There is no going back, not once having gone out of one’s mind by the dis-covering of patriarchy and one’s real womyn-self. The lies cannot be re-covered well enough to remain out of sight and out of mind; the taboos cannot be unbroken; the SELF cannot be unseen and cannot be persuaded anymore to allow it’s own murder. There is only going further, forward, deeper…and in this is surely womyn’s only hope for sanity. And unless I (and we) are very much mistaken, it is also Earth’s only hope for survival. We DON’T ‘stop from going crazy’! We go there…oh my, sisters, do we ever go there.

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