Yes, I know.
Someday – maybe someday very soon! – there will be actual posts on Tiger Beatdown again. I promise you this much. What they will look like, whether you will like them, whether any of them will bring the many fans of Taylor Swift to my doorstep, equipped with paper bags full of poop and butane lighters and rage… these things, I do not know. But someday, someday soon, I will post on Tiger Beatdown again.
Not for a while, though. Not regularly, at least not for the next month. I’m going on semi-hiatus.
There are a few reasons why I have to do this. I’m hesitant to tell you all of them. Which is, in a sense, a major part of the problem. But, let’s start with Reason #1, the simplest and least embarrassing and most bloggable of reasons, which is:
I’ve been doing things for other people, typically not short things. I am basically working every day of the week. And, since Tiger Beatdown is the one area of my life in which no-one will be disappointed or mad at me (or at least not disappointed or mad in that “you’re fired and also I told all my friends you are the worst person in the world to hire and also I went and spoke to the people at the Dunkin’ Donuts and the H&M and the McDonald’s and the volunteer used bookstore where they don’t even pay their employees and they all said they weren’t even interested in hiring you in the first place but NOW THEY COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE PERSUADED TO CONSIDER IT” way) if I don’t post, it gets kind of shafted. Which is sad, since – as commenters have wisely pointed out – I’m sort of a guest at a party when I post elsewhere, and obeying all the Emily Post rules of etiquette and what have you, and this is more like my living room, where I can just hang out. But I’m never on my living room couch any more. I mean, not metaphorically. I mean, literally, I am on my living room couch a lot. I mean:
LIFE IS HARD.
This is the part I didn’t want to tell you about. Life is hard these days. I could cite contributing factors, but that would sound like whining. Mostly because I would be whining! But there was a really amazing post on Feministe, about vulnerability, a while back, and I keep coming back to it for what are fairly obvious reasons:
Social justice is about theories and ideas underpinning our actions, but if those theories and ideas are to mean anything, they have to be grounded in our real lives. They have to pay attention to what happens to us, and what can hurt us… A functional movement isn’t one like the one we have, where people burn out and drop out and vanish because it’s all too much and they aren’t being supported and they just can’t take it any more, where everything we do is met with all of us tearing each other apart and always always always going for the throat until we stop being people to each other and start being…adversaries? interlocutors? enemies? objects? Have you noticed who suffers when we build a movement premised on never admitting that we can hurt each other, on never admitting that we’re tired and limited and human and just aren’t up for it today? Who stops making blog posts, who stops showing up to meetings and town halls and community projects, stops putting their work out there and speaking openly and honestly? Who stops making friends? Who stops taking risks? Have you noticed what happens in a world where we do this?
Here’s the thing: I write this blog because the things that scare me most – things that are scary and wrong and painful – are a compelling force in my life. For some reason, instead of staying away from them, I want to chase down all that stuff and look at it and argue with it. But what this requires me to do is to look at the scary painful wrong shit every day. And after a while, it becomes overwhelming. After a while, the people you’ve been calling out on their sexism are still sexist, and the world is still what it is, and you’ve written one too many posts with headlines like, “Rape: It Is A Big Deal, Actually,” or, “Beating Your Wife: An Inadvisable Course of Action,” or, “Seriously: Can We Just Say That Rape Is A Big Deal And Stop Acting All Sophisticated And Chill About It, Because It Is A Big Deal, Actually” and you start to feel that if you had any power and could do any good then… well, the world would be better. So that’s one part.
Which is naive. If you were going to change the world in the first place, you’d need something bigger and more impressive than blog posts. But there are moments where I can’t look at the bad stuff and remain calm about it any more, where I get burnt out and fundamentally pessimistic. And, speaking of change: there are a lot of immediate, unpleasant things going on right now in my own personal life. I don’t feel good any more. I’m really sad and anxious a lot of the time. I don’t feel like I know where I’m going to be next week, or next month, or next year; I don’t trust that it is going to be a happy place. And all of that means that the chirpy funny friendly Tiger Beatdown voice is not as accessible as it used to be. And Feminism actually isn’t the answer to most of the questions that I’m dealing with right now. I wish it were! I wish it answered everything! But it doesn’t! The point of this – which does, as I feared, sound like whining – is that, when I think about scary and hurtful things, I don’t necessarily go right to the Bigger Social Issues any more. I go to me. And that’s not something I’m comfortable with writing about here. Speaking of:
I’M NOT SURE ABOUT TIGER BEATDOWN
I really like having a blog. My blog is a happy place. But I need to think about the whole project of this site. Neither the blog nor its focus hold the shine for me that they once did. Not because I’m any less passionate about it, but because it’s familiar. Tiger Beatdown is a year old now, did you know that? It is even older than a year! And if you read the archives you will find a portrait of me falling desperately in love with a subject, pursuing it obsessively, testing myself, going deeper, working for new insights, and then… well, and then what? I’m not saying that I’m never wrong; in point of fact, I have serious issues with much of what I have written over this last year. I’m saying I miss being in that place where being wrong always felt like an option, an acceptable option, because I was learning. The problem, I think, is that I believe I know what I am talking about now, and am talking about it more to share thoughts that are already formed than to work out new ideas. And I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like repeating myself. I’m actually doing this thing, now, on Tiger Beatdown, where I talk against myself – take things I thought I was certain of, and see if I can poke any holes in them – and while that’s annoying to witness, and makes me look like some wacky “post-feminist” person at times, it’s at least a quest for the new. I don’t want to know what to expect from myself. I want to go forward, into another place, a place where I might actually find some new idea to fall in love with. I want to be passionate about Tiger Beatdown again. But I need to figure out how.