Archive for ‘confessional’

July 5, 2011

The Magazine – July 2011

by d

Original photograph by mrhayaka // Flickr

Letting the sun shine in…

Summer is at last in full swing, and so are we. We begin July with our feet planted more firmly. Our schedule is coming together, and we are picking up new writers. We’re still tinkering with the site, enabling ratings on posts and comments and a front page that highlights content in a more organized fashion.

June saw a great outpouring of deeply emotive entries. We were pleased and outraged, victorious and shaken, in love and alone. The political sphere mirrored our ups and downs, with a nail-biting lead-up to New York state passing legislation to permit same-sex marriages, followed by a similar passage in Rhode Island.

We’re looking forward to more break-throughs and more soul sharing this summer. Join us!

Featured this July…

Beautiful

1106_beautifulI’ve heard you refer to me as your amazing girlfriend, and I have to admit I’m afraid of not living up to the hype.

 

Vogue Italia Understands
Plus-Size

1106_vogueplusPay attention, New York. This is how you do it.

 

I need a breath of Oxygen

1106_oxygenWhen I look at “women’s magazines” I see one message front and center, every time: buy.

 

Pulling at the Strings

1106_pullingatthestringsMy therapist says I need to keep a journal, a documentation of how my days go by so that I have a dependable source to look back to.

 

Eat Cheap Shit:
A revolutionary cook

1106_revolutionarycookWhenever I want comfort food, whenever I think about wanting comfort food, I grab Tarla Dalal’s recipes from an obscure kitchen drawer.

 

Preventing the Collapse Of My Mental Health

1106_mentalhealthI look at my point-of-view of situations in my life, and I ask myself, “Is it paranoia? Or is it real?”

 

Being Fired

1106_firedGetting fired, for whatever reason, blows. Blows chunks. The news is like a well-placed punch. It can make you reel for hours and days.


Mother’s Milk

1106_mothersmilkI’ve just finished watching an episode of a favorite show; and I’m… sad.

 

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February 28, 2011

Tearing at the Roots/ Dec. 2006

by feyruhan
Dust bunnies

Image via Wikipedia

Breathe.  Stop.  Let it sink in.

My room is a mess of small clutters.  Papers, cables, boxes filled to the brim but not yet sealed; never sealed. Could I ever seal them? I’m getting whiny and should stop.

Move-out is in eight and a half hours. Dad will come by with a truck from the store and give me an encouraging hug before getting to work.  I can’t expect much from him, but I can expect something, and it’s more than Mom will offer.

The walls are bare; painted a dusty light-blue, the wall along my bed–at my back–cluttered with small cards, a poster, train tickets.  I should take these down, but I won’t, not yet, not until the very last hour.  I will carry them with me, and these walls, and this dust, and this oppressive air, and the sourness between the woman who is my mother and myself.

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February 25, 2011

In Your Arms, I Am Home

by feyruhan
For Fey’s linked post, Waiting, please go here.
DSC06803

Image via Wikipedia

My home is in your arms. My home, is in your arms.  I am at home when I am in your arms, and when you are away I can’t help but be homesick.

How can a person be a home?  How can a person be a home, when a home is walls, and doors, and windows and portraits, and furniture, and so much baggage?  You are my home; you are my furniture, my windows, my doors, and my portraits.  You are the baggage I carry around, waiting to be found, by you.

The heart of it is that I’ve been lonely, a long time now.  Maybe I’m hungry, or horny; I could say I’m tired.  And, sure enough, all those things would be true.  I’m listening to a song that breaks my heart, because feeling my heart break is the best I can do.  It’s the most I can manage.  It’s hard to simulate solace when there’s no one around.

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February 22, 2011

A question of freedom

by f

Flickr, via Jim Linwood

My friend S’s hit a rough patch. On our way home from the city today, we talked a little about it. Then, she asked me a startling question:

“Which would you rather have,” she asked, “personal freedom, or financial freedom?”

I asked her what she meant by that.

“I have financial freedom,” she said, “and you have a certain degree of personal freedom. You can go and do what you like during the day when your folks aren’t around to interfere.”

“I guess I do,” I said, staring out into the highway abyss.

S has financial freedom, but work eats up her time. She’s on call throughout. I don’t have those constraints. I can tell work to fuck off. And often, I do.

But I don’t have any money. I am always at my parents’ beck and call. They can trash me, my things, denigrate me in public, and use me as a whipping post. They interrupt me constantly. On weekends and the days that I are home, I feel so miserable I can’t think. I have to beg for permission to do anything.

Often, my privileges are taken away on a whim. I am subject to an insane level of scrutiny because I live at home. I earn enough to have small bursts of spending money, but not enough even to afford a small room to myself, and that is how I fund my daily activities. Anything beyond that, I can’t help myself.

So what kind of life do I prefer? Uncertainty but day-to-day contentment? Or security and general dissatisfaction?

I often thought to myself that I’d trade the small bursts of free happiness for a life of security. Now, I’m just not sure what I want. I have no idea how to answer that question.

However, it’s made me think a lot about my daily activities and how I live my life. I know I’m unusual. I fill my time with people that I like and do things I want, but I have very little material freedom.

*

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February 1, 2011

The Power of Words

by subterfusex

We, the editors, take the activity surrounding the post “He’s Asking For It” very seriously.  We’ve taken several days to sort through our own feelings and prejudices in order to craft our responses.

Below are statements from our founding editors, D and F.

We request that comments on this post remain respectful and relevant.

F:

Dear Readers,

We’re sorry. I’m sorry.

I have so much to say, and I might mess up. I hope you can forgive me for any mistakes I’ve made, though I know that forgiveness must be hard right now.

We’ve seen that for the past two days, we’ve received a lot of comments on V’s post: “He Asked For It”.

(The answer is always, “no, he didn’t.” No victim asks for it to happen to them, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see us imply otherwise.)

Subterfuge was always a place where we could go to write about issues that felt controversial and uncomfortable for us. Our sandbox, our way to express our feelings, hopes, and ugliness.

We have found that many feminist communities start from a position of moral superiority and anger. Often, they do not examine their own nasty, ugly prejudices.

In her post V examined hers. We hated it. It was ugly. We discussed our decision for nearly a week. But we posted it because we thought it would help us examine the evilness of some deep-seated positions. Not posting it would not have made her feel it any less.

When it went live, we discussed it. I wish we had posted those discussions. You could see the side of the story we did not write.

The only way to fight our awful ignorance is to examine it, to personalize it, to understand exactly how wrong we have been.

As an editor, I should have framed the piece around a discussion. I would have addressed these prejudices in a way that made it clear that we did not endorse her position but that we acknowledged the need to have a discussion about it. As you have pointed out, this is not a lonely opinion. And we acknowledge that it is something that the feminist community does not understand.

According to Feminist Critics,

What is problematic with feminist discourse about male rape is not that they don’t discuss it at all – clearly they do – or that they don’t discuss it enough. The problem is that they [anomalise] it, that is to say, they treat it as some kind of anomalous variant of rape which, according to them, is something which normally happens to women. The latter is simply “rape”. Rape that happens to men in prison is “prison rape”. Rape that happens to men outside of prison is “male rape”. The word “female” is sometimes used as an adjective with “rape” to contrast it with male rape, but “female rape” is not used by feminists as a category designation in and of itself. It’s just “rape”. “Male rape” and “prison rape” sometimes get their own threads, effectively discoursive ghettos. But they are often excluded from threads about “rape”.

This lack of understanding doesn’t simply exist in the feminist community. It exists among traditionalist bloggers, too. The Thinking Housewife — supposedly pro-male and pro-patriarchy — expresses her view on male rape in this quote:

SPEAKING of rape, how is it possible for a woman to rape a man? As far as I know, it is physically impossible. Nevertheless, Lisa M. Lavoie, a Massachusetts teacher, has been convicted of statutory rape and will serve a three- to five-year prison term.

This is an excerpt of a comment from Ilion T:

[…] “rape” isn’t really about physical force or violence, it’s about taking that to which one is not entitled.

You ask in amazement how it is possible for a woman to rape a man. Obviously, mere overpowering force isn’t how it is accomplished; physical force is the male forte. Rather, if it is to be done, it must be by some means of which women tend to hold the advantage over men. I don’t know, psychological force or intimidation, perhaps?

Do you really imagine that the academic/Hollywood/Roissy protrayal of male sexuality is really accurate? Do you really imagine that all men are really always joyfully ready to “jump” anything which moves? Do you really imagine that a man cannot engage in sexual activity and all the while his psyche is crying out its violation?

This post — and its thoughtful and heartfelt response — shows that ignorance and the stupidity that governs our attitudes toward male rape is non-ideological. Feminists and traditionalists alike marginalize the issue. We, too, have perpetuated this insensitivity.

For that, are truly, deeply sorry.

We thank those who have commented. You have opened our eyes in an unimaginable way.

Readers, we invite you to submit guest posts. To write us emails at subterfugemagazine@gmail [dot] com. We will post what you have to tell us, if you will submit it. We want to understand you.  Please help us. We welcome anything in the way of feedback. It is a lot to ask that you show compassion, but you have already done so by your responses.

Yours,
F

D:

We do not support laws or organizations that advocate only for women who are rape victims, and only punish men who rape women. This is a fairy tale version of the world. Women are not the only victims, men are not the only perpetrators. Rape is a universal issue. Its frequency and permutations vary somewhat across time and culture, but the act of rape is no less devastating and it should be treated with the compassion and severity it deserves–no matter who is involved.

Our ideal future is one in which gender is not the issue in rape cases, in which guilt is not assumed, in which victims are not questioned and put on trial instead of their attackers, or shamed and mocked by their communities. These are injustices.

Women have fought long and hard to get the rape laws that protect them. They are still imperfect and imperfectly executed. This is why women still grouse and rage about rape laws.

But this in no way diminishes the state of male rape victims, who have even less protection, even less credibility in the eyes of society, and even fewer safe places to turn. This is the next great hurdle in rape legislation and how our culture views rape. The shift is long overdue.

We are in this together. We, all of us, regardless of gender, need to look after and protect each other. We need to educate our children about the dangers they face from others, and to fight the ugliness that can grow within them, and teach them ways to dispel that ugliness without inflicting it on someone else. We need to create safe spaces and encourage others to join us there when they have been hurt, so that they can heal. We need to legislate effectively and fairly.

This should not be treated simply as a male or female issue. It is a humanitarian issue.

January 12, 2011

I Was a Moral Coward

by V
Photobucket

via Roxy!

“Tolerance of intolerance is moral cowardice.”

This is a quote I saw some time ago as a message on someone’s AIM. I actually believe it was D’s! But, I don’t know who the quote originated from. That part isn’t really important, though. What is important is what it says, the message that it sends. And it is true.

Sometimes people feel its okay to give a pass to people who are older or who have spent their lives believing something that isn’t right or moral. Like the way your grandmother might dislike black people. She’s old, that’s how she grew up, it’s understandable. Just let her be.

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January 9, 2011

Coming Soon: The Menstrual Cup Review

by d
7. Don't Panic! (2005)

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve had requests to write about my menstrual cup, and I’ve wanted to for quite a while. Great, I thought to myself, I’ll take notes next month and write something good.

Next month is now this month. This month brought panic.

WHERE IS MY CUP!? OH GOD OH GOD WHY CAN’T I FIND IT!?

F can confirm for you, I was a real wreck Thursday night. Hormones combined with horrified realization do nto make for a fun evening.

It was then that I realized just how much I’ve come to rely on the cup, and how integral a part of my life it has become.

There were two reasons I was hyperventilating:

  1. The mess.
  2. The pain.
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January 8, 2011

Please stop breathing down my neck.

by f

I hate it when W comes over my house.

My parents like having him over because he does stuff around the house. Shelf to be installed? Brother to tutor? Opinion to be solicited? W’s their man. Whenever he makes his once-a-month weekend stay at our place, the family monopolizes him. That’s great.

My mother makes things very difficult for me while he’s here. I cannot talk to him or engage with him in any meaningful way. My every action is scrutinized. Not even a single moment of mine goes noticed, nor a single detail. My mother is meticulous and doesn’t let any of that go. It’s a blistering silent interrogation process so horrible I can’t even begin to describe it.

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January 5, 2011

Waiting/ April 2010

by feyruhan
She's Been Waiting

“Kiss me or fuck me, I can’t take it anymore.”

I did neither.

***

I watch my reflection in the windows of the bank as the bus drives away; I see a girl in a blue shirt, dark hair tied up.  We hit the second street corner and an announcement for tickets to this summer’s big event comes on the speaker, as usual.

“You go all the way around the state before you get to the point,” I remember my friend telling me.  She was laughing but, still, it hurt a little.

[Long pause in journaling]

“How do you know I’m ready?”

“Your body’s ready.”

“I’m almost twenty-three, my body better be ready.”

[Pause in journaling]

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December 28, 2010

Ask Agony Aunties: Grown Apart, But Not Far Enough

by d
Friendship love and truth

Image via Wikipedia

As we don’t have an advice columnist, we’ll do the reverse. Contributors can ask a question and receive advice from readers. This is a more structured call-and-response system that the usual comments.

The course of true friendship never did run smooth.

Especially since I’m not sure if this is a friendship anymore.

I have a dilemma. I have a friend I have known since the early days of elementary school. Now we only see each other once a year, and this was fine until recently. About a year or two ago, she did something I still cannot entirely forgive. It’s not something she did to me, but to people I know. It makes me angry to think of it, and I really don’t think I want to spend any more time with her.

If it were just me, I would let the friendship peter out, as it seems it one day will. But I cannot get out of this once-a-year meetup. Our families mesh well, it’s a group event.

So, what do I do this year?

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