“Love” is a word that has been used in many, many different ways. We may choose to emphasize some meanings over others, reject some entirely, or bring different ones into focus at different times, but at each step of the way, I think it’s important to maintain an awareness that you are making a selection — a choice — out of many possible choices.
Content note: in order to cover a broad range of examples, this post discusses some heavy topics, including conflict with family, religious commentary, and quotes/links/examples including overt racism and attempted suicide. Mostly these are brief and possible to scroll past, but I want to give people a heads up that this post does touch on topics of that nature.
[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: Banana Peel by Glenn, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.]
You want to have a conversation about the valorization of “love”? Great — I hope you mean it.
[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Tristan Chambers, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.]
Some fragments on gender, neurodivergence, and emotion, inspired by the TAAAP Chats theme for July. This relates back to some other conversations from the past couple of years, but I’m unable to fully unspool all those connections at the moment, so for now, take this as just a personal reflection piece.
[ Crossposted. Preview image by Ninniane, CC BY-NC 2.0. ]
I don’t know if I’ve said it here before but I’m saying it now: I don’t adhere to or support any guideline for How You Should Live Life that’s based on feeling the correct feelings, whether that means feeling others’ feelings (“empathy” as a prerequisite for correct morality); disallowing yourself unhappiness (“staying positive” as a virtue); or pushing discomfort, risk, and unease as self-justifying mandates (in praise for “vulnerability” and “getting out of your comfort zone”). Dogmas of feelings have always been useless at best for me, outright detrimental more often than not, and I don’t want any part in them.
This declaration warrants some disclaimers, I know. But I’m not going to spend a lot of time on what this post isn’t about. This is a post that celebrates the most socially-devalued kinds of anger as potentially revolutionary, healthy, and brave. I love angry people — because anger is the emotional manifestation of resistance, because I understand that anger and reason are not mutually exclusive, and because we’ve been taught that angry is the worst thing we can be when it relates to our own oppression.
I come from a culture of stock narratives about anger: the stereotypes of the angry feminist, the angry black man, the angry black woman, angry queers, etc. The specter of these stereotypes is constructed to haunt the groups they target, pressuring them to swallow their words for fear of being slapped with the label and dismissed as irrational and out of line. It is a tool of preemptive silencing. There is no equivalently powerful stereotype in circulation for (angry) white men, for (angry) able-bodied cishets, for (angry) upper-class neurotypicals. I don’t have to tell you why.