The manipulator, manipulated

This isn’t the only forum I frequent. I find myself (futilely?) trying to engage the mainstream political dabblers in debate about my pet issues. The problem is, and I admit it, that my past statements about myself and my positions often are radically different than what I say now. Hell, I’ve only had this blog for three months, and I can pinpoint a few posts in which my positions have shifted a bit.

I admit: the feminist identity is new. Many many people on the blogosphere have been feminists much longer than I have. I was addicted to porn, for shit’s sake, less than a year ago. I surmise that if I had kept a record of everything I posted five years ago to today, I’d have to delete comments about what a hypocrite I am.

Yeah, more so than usual.

But that’s the thing, really. I’m young, barely into my twenties. Jeez, can’t a girl have a change of heart once in a while? Six years ago, I would have voted for McCain. The funny thing is, everyone seems to recall those past me’s and ignore today’s me’s. Maybe some people never change their political opinions after the age of sixteen. I’m not that kind of person. What is so fucking silly about this whole changing-my-mind thing is that that the same people patting me on the head whilst exclaiming “you’re young, you’ll know better eventually” are the same to cry from pulpits about my hypocrisy when I try to know better.

Less than a year ago today, I was a porn addict. I lied about everything, sometimes for no reason at all. I invented scandalous tales about my supposed life because I did not trust anyone, not even my family, with who I was and am. I had more excuses than friends.

I’m still that same person, just older. I still don’t fit in with a crowd. I still have the same trust issues, and I’ll still (sometimes) catch myself in a ridiculous lie for no reason at all. I’ve always been better at being a chameleon than a revolutionary. I might be self-victimizing, to a point, but these roles were learned, not innate. There were several times that I learned that nobody liked me if I didn’t do and be what they thought I should do and be. Instead of making myself out to do and be that person, I just spun fabulous tales where I didn’t measure up. I knew that, deep down, what my parents, society, and my friends wanted me to be someone that wasn’t me, not really. So I withdrew, in order to save myself, and pretended I was someone I was not.

Then one day, those issues caught up with me. I fancied myself the manipulator. I thought that by lying that I could save myself from everyone else’s stupid opinions and mistaken conclusions. It, obviously, did not work.

I became, to an extent, who I did not want to be. I was manipulated so thoroughly by my own instinct for self-preservation that I was starving myself for love and affection. I had no idea who I was, what I thought, and what I wanted. I loved the me that was fake, and I hated the me that was real, whenever she accidentally got free. The me that liked books more than parties. The me that cared too much what people thought of her. The me that wanted nothing more from my parents than approval. The me that felt, deep down, I probably wouldn’t ever find what I wanted with a man. Not with my past and my trust issues.

Sometimes, like now, I hate that I’m too smart to delude myself. I really do. I figure that there is a point in everyone’s life where they either figure out how to stop second-guessing themselves, or that they just give in. I can’t give in. No matter how violent I was to my sense of self, that need to be free overcomes everything.

But there’s still a huge part of me that doesn’t want to be me. Public approval, the love of my parents, the respect of my friends–it’s like a drug. Who would I be without my fake friends and fake self and fake life? I’d be nobody. And everything I know about success tells me that I can’t make it anywhere by being myself. Hell, I can’t even tell my parents I’m bisexual (gay?). How the fuck am I supposed to put myself out there, as only me without the mask, and find people that like me for who I am?

It’s endless. I think about how I did this to myself, and then I think about how I wouldn’t have done this to myself if the social environment didn’t necessitate it. What’s to blame?

I suppose that’s part of why I’m such a radical Feminist. Such a big part of being normal was being feminine and heterosexual, and once I got rid of that, I was one step closer (finally) to being me, unrepentant me. It’s hard though. As a habitual liar, half-true-teller, manipulator, and charmer I can tell you that I feel like I’m lying when I’m not. Sometimes I feel like I’m not lying when I am.

That’s why I like blogging. I don’t have to lie here. I can just make sure that I only affiliate myself with positive people who are more happy for seeing someone succeed than to see someone fail. If there comes the voice that would make me lie again, destroy myself again, I can delete it and never look at it again.

Finally, here I am the master. This is my space. And I like it here, in my own echo chamber. I can quell my demons here, and air my thoughts, without replacing them with new ones inspired by hate.

I suppose that is why I find myself very ready to commit myself wholly here and nowhere else. Other places I get things like this:

You post overly detailed personal stories that function either as poorly disguised bragging (tell us more about your honors and chorus experience!) or as unintentional(?) hypocrisy (“Porn is disgusting, but have you heard how much porn I watch?”). You complain about narcissism but refuse to see its roots in yourself. You position yourself as a philosopher-in-training yet deny yourself opportunities to expand your mind by digesting some — any! — valid criticism leveled against you. You self-identify as an original, radical thinker but act as an unfiltered mouthpiece for feminist blogs. You claim to be poor because you drive a junky car when you don’t even realize the privilege of a college student owning a vehicle. You said your brother hastily took your profile picture of you, and we all know that’s a lie. You rail against the beauty myth but are careful, lest we think you’re one of those feminists, to explain your workout and hygiene regimens. You refuse to control your own destiny in that you seem to really believe that people here care that you’re a bisexual, Jewish feminist, and you use it as an excuse to go belly-up when your posts tank simply because they need more thought or direction. You think they vote against you because you rail against the tyranny of the white man, when they’re really voting against the resolve subject itself, your aversion to self-editing, your misguided anger or any number of things. But not because you’re a woman. Not because of your sexuality. Not because of your pet cause. You’ve ignored for so long everyone who’s tried to work with you, alienated them because you believe such is the luck of the extremist’s draw, and then you wonder. Really?

And I’m not strong enough for it. I know now that tough love is not love at all, because it loves me only when I do what it wants me to, and then it gives me another twenty things to change. I either capitulate, or I lie. That’s who I am: a master deceiver. I deceive myself almost as much as I deceive everyone else.

I’m weak because I’m nice. I’m too nice to do something as stupid as disappoint people. I can’t cover myself with armaments and character attacks. My morals, a part of me that I thankfully never corrupted, won’t let me. So I just lie and silently destroy myself.

Fuck it. I’m through. I’ll never ever be normal. The freakiest me is the most honest me. It’ll take everything in me to destroy the me that wants success and approval. Because I can’t get that without losing everything that I am.

I’m tired of losing. I hate that I can’t have a nice car and a beautiful family without making myself so utterly miserable that success doesn’t matter anymore. My life is laid before me: succeed and destroy yourself, be a bit successful and lie and hate and scheme, be an absolute failure and finally be free.

Fuck it all, everything that is, that I have to choose between loneliness, lies, and misery. I didn’t manufacture this game, and there’s times, late at night, when I think that I might be doing everyone a favor if I just destroy the game and erase it all.

But I still have my morals. A thin line between insanity and this reality. So I turn to Feminism, liberalism, religion, books–my opiates–in the hope that my actions today will create a tomorrow in which nobody ever has to choose what I did.


Posted on August 5, 2008, in Feminism, Politics, Ranting. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sarah Lawrence

    Nice rant.

  2. Sister, I know where you’re coming from. My wife was a strong influence in my growing to support feminism (this means the real deal, not the phony version).

  3. sounds like you are thinking a lot of things through! thanks for your post, I think you articulate the difficulty in finding a solid political position to stick with whilst trying to work out identity stuff. it’s hard work, and the shifting positions stuff is probably necessary as it saves us from falling into dogmatism.
    in solidarity,
    dredgirl :)

  4. We are all hypocrites :) I really believe that. I mean, we are human, and changing our minds is part of that package. I’m 31 now, and when I think back to the things I said at age 21, or 24, or even 27, I’m kind of embarrassed! But, it tells me that I’m growing, I’m learning. I’m not stuck in one place forever. So, I forgive myself for the things I’ve said and done, and I keep on trying to learn. This is hard work, a tough road, one most people avoid as much as possible. It takes strength to keep going, keep challenging yourself. It takes guts, to write about it online!

    This quotation is really how I’ve been feeling lately:

    “My life is laid before me: succeed and destroy yourself, be a bit successful and lie and hate and scheme, be an absolute failure and finally be free.”

    Damn. Yeah.

  5. Amen on that. You know I can posture and preach all I want, but somewhere down the line my opinion might change because I am not omnipotent. It would be nice if more people didn’t suffer that illusion, because I think that the world would be a lot easier to deal with.

  6. radfempornbasher

    Seriously, I think a lot of people- women and men- become anti-porn through an addiction to it. When you suddenly realize how much porn is affecting your interactions with others, when you realize that your sexuality has been manipulated and is in opposition to your views of justice in other arenas, when you realize what is in your head is just plain internalized misogyny- that’s when you are most able to see the intrinsic misogyny in porn and so many other places. There is a horror to porn that is like a magnet for people with prior histories of being abused, and I think what is most important when someone begins to realize that horror is that they examine why they feel the way they do and address it. Once you get to that place, it feels to me like self-respect demands that you turn your back on porn and do whatever you can to help educate others about what they may not yet see. It doesn’t mean a person isn’t still triggered by it in many ways, but I think challenging oneself to embrace radical principles is a healthy response.

    In other words, I think you are very brave to talk about your porn addiction and your beliefs about porn now. Some may see this as hipocrisy. Personally, I see it as growth and a sign of your willingness to become more fully human. A lot of people have become radicalized after they have disappointed themselves with behavior that goes against their true spirit.

    Gosh, you remind me of myself- ack- two decades ago! I really enjoyed your rant about being from the working class and how the economic downturn- and the accompanying complaints by those more privileged- looks from your perspective. Don’t stop writing or ranting!

  7. @Radfempornbasher – exactly. The biggest influences to my anti-porn stance are that I know exactly how deep that rabbit hole goes, and why I was encourage and tempted to go there. I really kind of hated myself, and most of why I hated myself was because I was failing to meet the image of “womanhood” I thought I was supposed to. Porn was my way of projecting my hate towards my inadequate femininity outwards on other women. I wanted them to suffer for being more “wanted” (at least sexually) than I.

    I’m glad that I, and many others, have people from around the globe to support us. It truly means a lot to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: