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Graduate School and #MeToo

I.E. Why I’m Going to Start a Personal Blog Again and Give No Fucks

I started graduate school a few months ago, and in addition to working, it’s been a lot. I was out on a run today and realized that I haven’t blogged in awhile. And then I got to thinking, should I pause my blog while I’m in school?

I immediately realized I absolutely should not, because, even though graduate school is helping me get the job that I want, my blog has helped me catalog my entire life thus far, and it’s kind of too late to turn back now.

So welcome to my public diary. Over the past few years I have tried to write more journalistic pieces, educational pieces pertaining to social change and activism as I have dove deeper into those spaces. And I wanted to bring all my readers along with me. Some of you stopped reading- which is cool. I know what you really love is the juicy drama of my vagabond life- but I was trying something different for the past few years. But now I’m back to writing out my own personal thoughts- because- even though they don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, it makes me happy.

I’ve also spent the past few years reckoning with my own white privilege, and realizing that I should give the stage to others instead of just constantly writing my own opinion. So I’ve tried to bring my writing out of the sterotypical self absorbed white girl blog that it most definitely might be, and tried to integrate a much fuller vision of what life can be.

However, I haven’t realized a good way to give this stage to others. And really, I’m not even sure it’s much of a stage. It’s more of a soapbox/ a laundromat where you talk to random strangers about the most intimate details about your life. Which I love. So I’m going to try to bring the blog a bit more back to that. I still want to include others voices- because sharing the voices of those not previously heard is the most important thing in life for me- but I’m also going to start sharing my own voice just a little bit more.

For the next few years on this blog- the pieces will be much less informative and less researched and more stream of consciousness to give me a break from academia and you a glimpse into the inner workings of my neurotic brain. These pieces will definitely contain a sense of humor about my day to day breakdowns which are sure to occur, and they will also be about the people I encounter in my life, with permission from those folks. Which reminds me, last week I had my last meeting with the man I had been visiting weekly in jail for the past five months. He mentioned wanting to write a book- and I should have asked then and there if he wanted me to help. Maybe I will if I ever see him again.

I’ve gotten away from personal writing in the past two years and devoted myself to engaging full time in activism. I’m still in activist circles, but I’m more sustainable about it now. I also realized that we must help ourselves find stability before we can pretend we can help the world at large. But its obviously more exciting to focus on world news than your own fucked up shit. But it’s just as important. Because if we all addressed our own fucked up shit daily instead of telling others how to live their lives — that’s the world I’m shooting for.

The past year in Syracuse can be characterized by me as: rain, snow, activism, disenchantment and outright disgust at humanity. I’m still working on the whole glitter on the other side of the rainbow thing- because from what took place this year on a local stage, a national stage, and a personal level I can say that I am personally disgusted with humanity. And by humanity- I’m definitely pointing a finger at entitled and manipulative men.

I’ve already touched on the abusive dynamics in the anarchist collective I lived in for the past year- but I don’t think I touched on the larger abusive revelation from the Syracuse community. While this is not my story as I was not affected directly by it, I was definitely still affected indirectly by it and would like to share a few thoughts.

Basically, I came to Syracuse and jumped headfirst into the activist community. One of my favorite community organizer leaders was a part of Black Lives Matter. When the Charlottesville murder took place and everyone seemed to be focused on the neo-nazis, he was at the rallies preaching storming city court and protesting police in the streets and dismantling the prison industrial complex- because that’s where the really powerful white supremacy and sexism lurked.

I loved his ideas, loved listening to him speak, and even sensed humility in him. Nine months later- Black Lives Matter came out with the damning statement saying that he had been systematically abusing women in the area- using his stature as a social justice leader and rape victim advocate to gain their trust and then manipulate them.

It was a local #MeToo movement, and it fucking ruined the social justice circles I was in. Or maybe they were already ruined. There was a clear split between people who defended him, and people who signed the letter in support of the many survivors who came forward to accuse him. Because this occurred within the progressive community, legal action was not sought, and the method of public shaming and banning this person from social justice organizing circles was chosen.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say in this article, except that a local #MeToo movement happened in Syracuse and I was pretty close to it. And I signed the letter saying I believed the survivors, even though I ashamedly took a few hours to think about it. And now that the Kavanaugh confirmation has went through, and half the country is professing their belief in Dr. Blasey Ford- it makes me wonder what they would do if a #MeToo took place in their local communities. It’s one thing to get riled up when it’s on a national stage, but will we get adequately riled up for local movements, even when the accused person might be a friend? Will we believe the survivors?

And I have to say, it’s made me shy from the whole activist community. It makes me cringe to realize all the unfortunate men I met in that community, but it especially scares me about the men that I didn’t suspect or catch onto until their secrets went public.

This local #MeToo took place around the same time that we were breaking free from the anarchist collective, and I was actually triggered by it all. It felt like leaving an abusive relationship when we were leaving the coop- all the shaming and manipulation from men that went on to get us to stay.

If I had to characterize this year in Syracuse as anything, I would say it was a fucking crash course in leaving toxic situation. All the shit came out of the woodwork, and I realized that what we’re trying to build a new house with might be rotten wood.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m the most balanced I’ve been in a long while. I think this has to do with now having stable jobs and career goals.

I guess I’d like to believe in heroes and utopias someday again, but I’m happy I learned not to this year.

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe — http://eepurl.com/cZoiG9

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