Sunday, August 1, 2010

But damn it, my thesaurus gives me paper cuts

When you said “crazy,” did you mean:



Without rhyme or reason?





Arguments arise over and over again in safe spaces for x group about how PC you ought to be with regards to y group. Did you know? If you’re a woman in a feminist space, that is your priority as a person. Thus, if someone is unable to talk about their recent moodiness, it’s completely cool to say “I’m so bipolar recently!” – right? It’s not like he or she said “I’m totally PMSing!” You are a woman and that is your identity and you can only be offended by one thing here where you stand and that is the patriarchy.

And I am not a woman. I am a person, just like all people in this world. My femaleness does not define me any more than my sexuality, my socioeconomic class, the color of my skin, or what my shrink thinks I can work on or through. And while different people may weight these things differently based on their experiences, it doesn’t detract from one very pivotal point: they are people too.

When I stand up and say that I should be held to the same work standards as men and non-binary gendered individuals, it’s because I can do it. They can do it because they are people, not because of their relative testosterone levels. And when I say I want to be making as much money as them for performing the same kind of work, it has nothing to do with my vagina. It’s because I’m a person, and the monetary value for my time is just as high as for the guy with the dick. And when I say I don’t want to hear you call something “nuts” when you really mean “convoluted,” it’s not because I personally have suffered from mood or anxiety disorders. It is because I am a person who is defined by others to be certain things that I cannot control, and you’re attaching additional negative connotation that I shouldn’t have to dispel. I am a person, remember? I have big, important, people things to do.

I am a bitch, the daughter to a couple of dirty immigrants who stole your job. I cried rape, and holy fuck am I crazy. How could I not be batshit insane? I told people about getting sexually assaulted and that guy told everyone I was a liar. Clearly I’m nuts. Nuts the way people without cognitive disruptions are when they don’t understand something that you take for granted as a truth.

I can’t tell people that I’ve spoken with a shrink because then I’ll get “that look.” It’s the one where you know they’ve bought into every myth about varying cognitive functioning. The “my brain is right; yours is wrong” look. And every slur, used however inappropriately, helps feed that mythos because people will invariably conflate the concepts. I’m not just "nuts" today because my neurotransmitters fire differently than yours, but today, I'm also "uneducated" and "unintelligent" because "nuts" apparently means that too.

But me? I am not just nuts. I am a person. But when I’m told I’m nuts, or bipolar, or ADD, or that people who aren’t liberal are “right-wing nutjobs” and that her moodiness is “bipolar” or that your overcaffeination is “ADD,” it cuts me. I live in a world where I interact with others and I (and my sentiments towards what defines that “I”) am not the only determinant of my identity.

My definition of my own personhood, however, determines how I go forth and interact with others. And at the very core, everyone is person just like me. And people do not like to be defined by loaded terminology, and they do not like to be hurt by blasé evaluations of what they should and should not find important. So when you go forth and call something “crazy” or “bitchy” or “ghetto” because you’re too intellectually lazy to run an internet search for words that describe what you really mean, remember that I am US-born and know that people have risked their lives for other USians to say what they want however they want to say it. But those same people risked their lives so that I can turn around and call you out for being the lazy sack of shit that you are.

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