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I’m doing a 5 k “fun run” today. I’m all anxious and stiff. anxious ’cause i hate running. my feet are all misshapen and icky, (bless them) and i’m asthmatic and you know, kinda…well whatever. I’m in good shape for lots of things, just none of them aerobic, really.

and i’m anxious because i’ve got no money and no work (well, a couple of on-call jobs) and I don’t want a job, I just want to write stories and play my accordion, but i don’t do either because i’m a student and so i go on the ‘net and I read shit i should not read because i’m supposed to be writing my ethics approval form and developing a research protocol and i’m about to leap into research, which i always say i don’t like, but in truth, i’m just afraid. I’m afraid that i’ll go interview all these women (i want to do a study about how the whole harm reduction ideology has entered the social services AND feminist activism–and learn more about how HR has affected women’s understanding of their work and activism especially in regard to violence against women-and specifically women in prostitution. And I want to show just how fucking harmful ‘harm reduction’ is, we throw it at these women, ’cause it’s just a sop, and not a very effective one at that. We are abandoning the beautiful people, drug addicts, the women, the poor, the women, those beautiful haunted women, my sisters, myself–we keep them down and dependent on the stupid and the thoughtless so-called services…and i wonder if there might be other women, who do the work i used to do, the cooking, the cleaning, the playing crib, the facilitating groups, the planning programs, the outreach the advocacy–are they troubled like I am? are they frustrated and sad? Do they cry on their way to work? and I want to come up with revolutionary alternatives that women who do the front line work can take up and make into something real and effective so we can achieve our liberation together) — and i’m afraid that half of ’em will hate me because i’m an abolitionist, and i’m afraid that i’ll come across as too rigid and self-righteous (i know. hard to believe), and i’m afraid that no one will talk to me. And then i’m afraid that if they do talk to me that i’ll get tendonitis from typing up the fucking transcripts and then i’ll do all this fucking work and no one will want to publish anything i write, and my dissertaition, if i ever finish it, will sit on a shelf with all the other fucking ponderous dust collectors and i’ll get a fucking job at the local coffee shop with those loud tatoo’ed creatures with the weird things in their ears, and never pay off my fucking student loans, and start drinking again because, why the fuck not?

oh my god. see? see what i have to listen to day in and day out? Even when i’m reading a really good book, like Rauna Kuokkannen’s Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes and the Logic of the Gift (2007), I can’t be fucking still and i’m sorry for all the swearing i’m doing here, i am a bit anxious, cause the run is coming up and i haven’t finished my ethics review form, and i’m afraid to start, and what if i don’t have the right idea after all, what if there is no possibility of change, and i really AM just tilting at windmills? But i’m NOT tilting at windmills, i’m stuck, i’m just standing here, one foot nailed to the floor, the other one wearing a groove all around. Give me a jousting stick and a windmill, it’s at least a little better than this spinning in circles wearing a groove in the floor…

Maybe when i get home i’ll take that tired old accordion out of her case and play a little bit. maybe i’ll do that. that might be a nice thing. even if i can’t really play, it’ll be at least a little more outside noise to stifle the inside noise.

the run will do me good. I’m sure.

About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, working in a field for which I am not yet trained, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. Radical feminism will be the roots of our shared liberation. Rejection of sex-stereotypes (gender) and male domination will give us wings.

4 responses »

  1. Please don’t give up writing, Erin. All that stuff about harm reduction (sorry, I get the gist of it and see the overall picture but not all the details)SOMEONE HAS TO WRITE IT DOWN! Someone has to put it in a thesis because it matters. It matters to me and it will matter to all those front line workers and it matters to all the prostitutes and it will affect my beautiful baby girl. So get out a claw hammer and rip out that nail in your foot and stop wearing a groove in the floor. I love love LOVE reading your blog. It’s like listening right to you! And who will teach us apathetic “o-that’s-just-the-way-things-are” people if people like you and Trish don’t preach it from the mountain tops?

    • Thanks, Joanna. The run certainly helped. Also i am pre-menstrual. which I very much enjoy, on the whole, but i am a bit more, um, sensitive–
      xo erin

  2. Number 1, you’re funny.

    Number 2, I am VERY interested in your on-going discussion of harm reduction. Though I have previously considered it a lesser of many harms, your analysis has me re-thinking…can’t wait for more!!

    Number 3, I’m especially interested in what conditions qualify as making life worth living vs. those that make it unbearable. Obviously, this varies from person-to-person, but I think it has something to do with whether/how we find value in harm reduction.

  3. Hi UP,
    thanks. ah. yes. what makes life worth living? good question. Great question. And how much DOES it vary from person to person? really really…mmmm.
    I am kinda reactionary about the notion of harm reduction–it’s become a trigger word for me. But there are some good things about it, there are some good things about reform measures in general–but the tactics have to align with a broader strategy to effect big systemic changes, and so far, they don’t. Not here, anyhow.
    thanks for your notes, UP. I’ll keep ya posted.
    xo erin


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