Dangerous Compassions

vacation bible school day two: real pipecleaners, dissociation, gender anarchy

I was sitting in this crafts class, on an undersized plastic chair, doing the thing where I don’t really talk, and I’m there, but I’m kind of in another dimension.  I could say something, but it’s hard.  Nobody needs to know my name.  It’s nearing the end of the day.  I want to blend in or melt.  I don’t really want to be there, but technically, I am there, and could help if I needed to.

Kids were making bracelets by stringing plastic beads on pipecleaners.  I had a burning question.   Are pipecleaners ever used to clean pipes, anymore?

Two little boys with the same name were being praised over and over again by the teacher for working quickly.  The result was that they worked faster, making even more beaded pipecleaner bracelets, until they had around five each.  It was bothering me because…

1.  quality over quantity

2.  who cares how fast they can make bracelets? seems there are better things to talk about, in this world

3.  those two kids were the oldest in the class, probably, so why the surprise?

4.  the bracelets will probably end up in the trash–what a waste

5.  just seemed lazy

6.  what did this have to do with the lesson of the day, the theme of the week, or the day’s verse?

I believed it was inappropriate to bring up actual pipes in front of preschoolers, since pipes are to be smoked, and smoking is bad, right?  So I didn’t ask my burning question, so it kept circling around in my mind.

Then I had a vivid memory.  It was of this small packet of pipe cleaners I found one time in a cupboard at my parents’ house, when I was a kid.  The pipecleaners were all white and shorthaired.  The packet seemed old.  I think they were real pipecleaners, made to clean pipes, not for children’s disposable crafts.  I think the cardstock packet had words on it that implied such.  Maybe even instructions.

Lately I’ve been thinking how some feelings from childhood don’t even have names, these weird strong feelings that are so powerful, I almost fall over.  I guess they could have names, but others would not understand my personal “real pipecleaner feeling.”

Just like I kind of feel like there are tons of genders, like seven billion.  Some people are working hard at performing a particular gender.  But still, I think most people are their own gender.  I would like if we were all allowed to be our own nameless gender, no pressure.  Gender anarchy.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “vacation bible school day two: real pipecleaners, dissociation, gender anarchy”


You mention @. I am at this point where I have realised that we are bought and sold. Really in western society we have no rights. The state can take everything away.

I just feel like what do you do?

I’ve been involved in @ groups before but it felt like. I dunno. Hard to explain. Felt narrow. Narrow minded.

Yeah we are bought and sold. And now there is the internet they can spy on everything.


hey. I assume everything's being read, listened in on, etc. all emails, phone calls, browser activity, facebook posts, chats, blogposts. I've thought that for years. so it feels kinda normal now. sad, huh.

I feel like there's a performance of rights, but yeah, safety is a dream. I guess I accept that and hope I'm lucky. it's a gamble.

yes, @ists can be rigid and narrow and annoying. I like the gardening @ model. we can do it our own way.

lm x

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