it’s hard to love people.
we think it’s easy. we think we meet someone, fall in love, boom, that’s it, we’re gone.
we think we love people when we hurt them.
we think we love people when we leave them.
we think we love people when all our actions point to the contrary.
to truly love someone…it’s the hardest thing you’ll do.
what’s easy is hate. what’s easy is vindictiveness, revenge.
hurting people. hurting people is easy.
especially when we dress it up in righteousness.
this will be the hardest post i ever write.
because it’s about love.
because it’s about choosing love.
and that will mean others hate me.
i decided this year was the year i was going to heal my trauma.
i thought that meant i would start at the beginning — my childhood. the abuse. the bike chained to me that i grew around, somehow learning to live with it even as it cut off my nutrients.
i thought i’d hit a wall.
no. i’d just been redirected. the trauma i need to start with is much more recent.
what do we gain from hating people?
a feeling of righteousness.
the safe, secure knowledge that we’re better than they are.
realignment with our chosen tribe.
(every time i start getting into this post, really trying to talk about this moving from hate to love, a loud noisy asshole car or motorbike roars by on my street, or some neighbor starts yelling about something. sensory overload. overload leading to rage.
it’s hardest to love those people.
i try to anyway.)
years ago i found amanda palmer. i found the dresden dolls, and girl anachronism, and coin-operated boy. those two songs were anthems.
anthems to how fucked up i was. anthems to how heartsick in love.
but i wasn’t allowed. because you see, amanda palmer wasn’t a Good Person.
and i had to fall in line.
part of choosing to hate is fear of being ostracized by your chosen in-group.
staying silent for years after you’ve stopped identifying with that in-group is just more fear.
you couldn’t be a Truly Good Feminist if you loved amanda palmer unapologetically. you couldn’t be Woke enough, an Ally enough, if you thought she was awesome.
she’d done all this stuff (bad stuff, stuff that made her a terrible person) (not mistakes that any human could make) (not art, because you’re only allowed to make art that’s Approved).
your fave is fucking problematic.
the church of i’m better than you
some of my friends still loved amanda fucking palmer unapologetically. i reveled in my hate of her, knowing it made me a Better Social Justice Activist than they were. knowing i was better at feminism, because i saw the Truth about their fave.
i guiltily listened to girl anachronism on repeat and sang coin-operated boy at burlesque christmas party karaoke, knowing that it was Wrong to enjoy those songs.
but if i balanced it out with posting about how she was a horrible person as often as possible, that made things slightly better.
so long as i never listened to the rest of her work, so long as i stuck to those two songs — the songs i’d found before i learned of what a terrible, bad, no-good not-feminist she was — i was okay. pure enough still.
i could rest assured that my hate had made me a good person.
love the sinner, hate the sin.fundie christians
you can enjoy problematic art so long as you do so while constantly acknowledging that you are wrong to do so, and that what you love is wrong.fundie sjws
(these neighbors are so fucking loud right now. jesus.
i love them. i love them. i love them.)
if you follow the Rules of your in-group, then you will be safe.
that’s the lie. that’s the lie we believe. and then we don’t even break the rules, and suddenly, we’re the problematic one.
we’re cast out to the cold.
we’re the horrible person who needs to be taught a lesson.
if there’s one thing i’ve learned, it’s never apologize.
because it’s never good enough. it will never be enough to apologize to people who have already decided you’re a Bad Person.
you will dig your own grave with your apologies. you will still be apologizing as they kick the dirt in your face and shove you six feet under.
hating amanda palmer was easy. it was easy because it made me one of the truly faithful.
there are always those in a faith who aren’t really truly of the faith. christmas and easter christians. twitter-dogpile feminists.
it’s easy to go to church twice a year or dash off a nasty tweet to this week’s Problematic Person. the second thing might be easier than the first. you don’t have to leave your home or put on pants.
but those of us who truly dive in — the ones who hated amanda palmer because she was not enough of a feminist, because she’d done problematic stuff, because she refused to apologize — those of us who hate the right people, the people we know it is righteous and good to hate, so long as we dress it up in love…
we are the chosen ones.
we can be secure in our knowledge that we’re better than those other social justice activists. because we’re willing to give up love for hate.
even after i started to question the tenets of my chosen faith-group, even after i started moving away from the church of the woke, even after i started realizing i was stuck in an abusive relationship with an in-group that was little better than a religious cult — i clung to my hatred of amanda palmer.
that hatred was a lifeline. it made me believe that i was still better than those social justice assholes who had decided i was so much garbage.
it made me believe i was still better than the bridesmaid who ghosted me before my wedding because i publically started questioning feminism.
it made me believe that even though the church had ostracized me…i was still a person of faith.
feminist jesus/xenu/insert-cult-god-here still loved me. just because their followers had decided i was wrong, didn’t mean i’d truly abandoned the faith.
the thing about leaving a cult, or an abusive faith, is that you’re picking out stuff from it for ages afterwards.
it’s like lint in your hair, or bits of pollen during a particularly aggressive tree-breeding season.
you think you’ve escaped, but then some learned behaviour rears its ugly head and you realize you’re still replicating hate models that nearly destroyed you.
because you’re still afraid.
what are you afraid of?
breaking off ties with my former faith-group completely.
finally losing the few friendships i’d managed to keep with people still with their feet in that faith.
what are you afraid of?
what are you afraid of?
that every time i speak my truth — that social justice is an abusive cult that i had a hard time leaving — current members of the faith do everything in their power to silence and discredit me.
i was afraid of that.
i’m not sure i am anymore.
because something in me has shifted. something has healed.
and i have amanda palmer to thank for that.
i read The Art of Asking recently. i read it because it was assigned reading from an author i follow and respect, Ksenia Anske. i put aside my hate of amanda palmer and tried to absorb the lessons Ksenia wanted me to get from the book.
i absorbed those lessons.
i also saw the person i’d spent years hating. truly saw her.
while i was busy calling her problematic and a terrible person and saying i couldn’t believe people still loved her when the evidence of her terrible-ness was clear, amanda was dealing with a best friend’s cancer diagnosis.
amanda was dealing with the full force of the internet hate and outrage machine pointed at her face.
amanda was making art and making mistakes.
and she was doing it all in public. in view of millions of people who didn’t actually know her. they only knew what they thought they knew, which was very little at all.
people like me.
amanda is human. i don’t have to agree with all her decisions. i don’t have to excuse her mistakes.
that doesn’t mean i have to hate her.
what did i accomplish by hating amanda palmer? who did i hurt?
holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.buddha
i loved amanda palmer, back when i discovered the dresden dolls. i loved her and i could have been part of her fanbase. her fanbase that helps each other out. her fanbase that’s a community.
today she has ~15k patrons on patreon.
so who did my hate hurt?
this is the brutal truth about an abusive faith. this is the truth we don’t realize until it’s too late.
we spin words from scripture to justify our hatred and use our faith’s tenets as bludgeons to hurt people into complying.
fundamentalist, evangelical christianity is no more or less abusive than the current state of social justice and feminism.
desperate to fill the spiritual void
so many of us are hungry for religion. we don’t want to admit it. we cast off the religions of our forebears, citing patriarchy and oppression and hate, stating we are above all that petty tribalism.
we cast it off and we dive right in to a new faith, because we were never given the tools to understand our own humanity.
religion didn’t crop up in every human society over the world because we were primitive, stupid assholes. it cropped up because it’s a human need.
and when you abandon a human need, a vacuum is created.
social justice is what filled that vacuum for so many people. myself included.
one of my favourite pieces of social justice scripture was this quote from Cornel West:
Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.
it was a beautiful quote, i thought, and it summed up how i felt about my social justice activism.
it made it easy for me to convince myself that when i hated others, i was actually loving them.
just like a fundamentalist christian handpicking bible quotes about love to support their hatred of queer folks and their fear of the different, i found bits of scripture to support my own hatreds.
it’s what you do, when you’re one of the SJ Chosen, the SJ Faithful.
you find a quote or some nonsense words strung together, and you repeat them like a mantra, like a meditation, like a prayer, as you beat people to death with them.
“words are violence”, they’ll say, as they doxx you and get you fired and ruin your life online and drive you to suicide.
“fuck your feelings” they’ll say next, as you ask them to put down the hate.
lucifer the liberator
social justice has become a religion. a cult. the church of the woke, where there is no rule that will save you from the burning times. they’re coming for all of us.
i got out.
and because i finally let myself listen to one of the heretics, one of the minions of the dark one that i was never allowed to like before, i am healing.
amanda palmer might be my personal lucifer. light-bringer. knowledge-giver. healer of my scars.
or maybe she’s just a person, channelling the numinous through her words and music.
maybe loving her means…not putting her on a pedestal.
maybe putting people on a pedestal is just another side of hate and fear.
whatever it means, i’m thankful for her. i’m thankful that her channeling the numinous has helped me heal.
i’m thankful she’s still creating. i’m thankful she didn’t let the bastards (among which i was one) grind her down.
and i’m sorry, amanda. i’m sorry i contributed to the hate that tried to destroy you.
and i hope i can take your lessons to heart when that internet hate and rage machine gets pointed my way again.
i hope i can rise with grace, and shed my fear. i hope i can continue to live the way i want to. shameless, and public.
i hope this rise of the church of the woke is an unfortunate blip in human history, and that we learn to choose love again.
i’m not healed yet. i still have more trauma to work through. and now i’ll be doing it with a target on my back and front, because i need to process publicly.
i thought hiding from the social justice inquisition would keep me safe.
maybe it does keep me safe from them. but it’s holding onto anger, and hoping the poison kills someone else.
holding it in is killing me. and i don’t want to be anything other than what i am.
i’m an artist that is loud and processes in public and makes mistakes and is healing from trauma and has been so scared, for so long, to truly connect with anyone.
because connection means vulnerability. and i’m still hurting.
but i can’t do my art if i don’t connect. i can’t do my art if i don’t live fearlessly.
so i’m hitting “post” on this blog post, even though i know i might lose some friends over it. even though i know twitter has already decided i’m a pedophile and probably an alt-right nazi because i don’t like to live in an echo chamber.
even though i know i have friends who worry about my political leanings because i question so much of what comes out of the left. even though these people never ask me what i believe, or accept that what i say is the truth.
even though it’s never been more dangerous to be myself.
even though i’m terrified.
i can’t live like this anymore.
i’m choosing love.