Some years ago I read (on one of my beloved ranting feminist blogs) a sentence that I can no longer find, which was basically: I will no longer waste my time faulting women for whatever they are doing to remain functional under the patriarchy. And I thought about that, and I thought: but lots of women do really crappy things, including to other women. They shouldn't get a pass because they are women. Which is absolutely true, but I kept coming back to that idea: how about if I excuse myself from spending my own time on that particular critique? And sometimes I fail, and sometimes my success involves some serious tongue mastication, but for the most part I'm successful at turning my time and attention away, and it has given me the opportunity to focus more on positive actions than on tearing people down and a greater ability to concentrate on my own actions.
I've been thinking about this a lot in terms of politics, especially in the face of the recent surge in activism and the horrorshow that is the current US administration. Some of my friends are still barely out of bed, where they have been curled and weeping for three months. Some of my friends were writing letters and going to town hall meetings and putting their money where their mouths were since they were old enough to walk and they've stepped up their game. Some left Facebook for being a soul-sucking corporate tool that contributed to this mess; some became more active as it's a great tool for coordinating things and encouraging each other. Some are digging in their heels to fight, some are looking into getting out of the country. And some are posting cat videos and jokes about hangovers, turning away quite leisurely from the disaster.
All those seem valid to me. What I'm doing: mourning the death of satire, reading the news as much as I can stand to, donating when I can afford to, intending to accomplish more than I actually do and berating myself for it. That seems okay to me too. I am trying to pay attention to the helpers (because Mister Rogers is my lifetime hero), to thank the people who are representing me and to not give any attention to the bad actors, and I am politely ignoring anything that is like, "marching doesn't work" or "you're wrong to pay attention to this, pay attention to that" or "you're expressing your feelings wrong!" because hey, if thinking that way, if shouting that from the rooftops makes you feel better, that's what you should be doing, but it makes me feel shitty so nope. I am trying to listen, but it's not a discussion I want to join.
Anyway. I promise to write a nice extended metaphor about a television show or something next. I just wanted to try to get this out first.