Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Audre Lorde

Many of you know my love for Audre Lorde. Those who don't know her, should, and those who do, know exactly why i love her. After reading many of Lorde's essays and poems in college i vowed to live my life as she would, never silent and always working towards something. In Lorde's words, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

Audre Lorde's birthday was last week. I happened to miss it because i was interviewing for my top choice graduate program in Maryland. I thought she'd forgive me if she knew the work i intended to do if i gained admission to the program*. I also saw it as a good omen to be interviewing on her day of birth, symbolism like that is important to me and makes me believe in the interconnectedness of the world. I actually mentioned her to one of my interviewers, who knew exactly who Audre Lorde was. As soon as he and i connected on this, i knew this program was IT. I knew there was nowhere else i'd rather be.

After writing my last substantive post on my engagement and my ring i have been thinking a lot about silence and choices. I made the choice to "come clean" to the wonderful community i have found and fostered here on my blog, knowing i would face opposition. Since then i haven't written, i've stewed, i've considered, and i've gone back on forth on reactions/responses.

In another life i may have used silence to protect myself. I may have not shared my news and choice to get married for fear of being ostracized within the feminist community. Then i realized that all too often silence is used to maintain the status quo, to oppress individuals and communities, and to protect ourselves from progress and change.

There are many ways in which you "cannot" be a feminist, trying to fulfill all the requirements of a movement is daunting, exhausting, and takes the focus off the actual point: the issues, the activism, the community. I understand why several people were hurt by my post and I own my privilege/decision to marry. However, that backlash should not (and will not) stop me from further discussing my wedding plans here from a feminist perspective.

It will be a rough road to travel on, for many reasons including bruised egos and offended friends, but this is my story and i plan to share it as we write it. I want to keep my community involved in my life and disclose on here as much as i feel comfortable to. I think many feminists can relate to my insecurities of marriage in terms of patriarchy, sexism, and marriage inequity. For that i will continue discussing it and figuring things out as i go. I apologize if this offends anyone, but i do not apologize for not remaining silent as my partner and I struggle to figure out how to make a wedding and an egalitarian marriage work within a homophobic and unjust culture. We will work towards marriage equity in this country in our own ways, and work towards sharing the values of egalitarian relationships with anyone willing to listen.

*I'll be studying the effects of discrimination - racism, sexism, homophobia, etc - on mental health and examining empowerment and consciousness raising to decrease negative effects of oppression in a clinical psychology phd program.

1 comment:

Sam said...

i'm glad you've made this decision i thought your post on 'the ring' was an interesting one and it sparked a whole conversation. i look forward to reading the upcoming posts. :)