I heard–our lives are how we want them to be. If you’re super busy, that’s what you want. If you’re rushed, over-committed, scattered–no one’s in charge of your life but you.
content warning: mention of domestic violence
I heard it to shame people who are in violent relationships. Like–if she stays even though the man is hitting her, it means she must like it, on some level. It’s sadly blamey. They say–eventually, she’ll have enough and leave him. It’s up to her.
That attitude is cold-hearted and yucky. Judgers pretend we have no community responsibility; no one can help her, if she doesn’t want help. In a way it’s true, but in another way, fuck you for blaming the victim. You helped make a world where people are violent, under supported, stressed by capitalism, racism, misogyny, ableism, queerhate.
If the battered person had enough money, logistical support, emotional support, love, freedom, free time, access to green spaces and nature, access to spirituality that works for her, empowerment…would she stay with the person who hits her?
We make choices about a lot of things, but I didn’t choose to hear voices all my life, live next to a toxic waste dump when I was a kid, or grow up in a family where I was taught every day that violence is normal and women exist to serve men. Of course those things affect me every day.
My life is somewhat how I want it. My desk is a world class mess. I have a sweet spouse, lots of friends, write for hours a day, ride trike, have a beautiful garden. I don’t have kids or pets, to keep my stress level low, and I live pretty poor, with no paying job.
Did I choose this? Well, yeah–mostly. There are 24 hours in my day, and if I really wanted a tidy desk, I could sweep everything into a trash can and have a tidy desk, I suppose.
I know people who keep themselves super busy so they don’t have to think. I can suffer when I need something from them and they’re too busy to provide it. But I know how their life got set up that way, and I probably know why.
I think about my own scatteredness. It got worse since my mom died, for sure. I promise people things and don’t always document that well or follow through immediately. Sometimes I find on my desk an addressed envelope and say, “Shit,” because I thought I sent the zine or whatever two weeks ago.
I have more ambition these days, and more social connections, which means more opportunities to let people down. My world is much bigger than it was 20 years ago. I used to let very few people in. In a way, that was better for me.
My projects are about love, but another way of conceptualizing them is community responsibility. The radical mental health collective is partly about prevention. If we can talk about how we feel, laugh and cry together, do mutual aid, and make friends with other people who struggle, maybe we could keep ourselves well enough to live. That’d be cool.