Letter to my ex boyfriend and others, TW ableism and sexual harassment/fragile masculinity mentioned here

The following piece is dedicated to Blake Tucker, with whom I spent 2 and a half years as a girlfriend, but I’d also like to give a shout out to Jessie, my messy and altogether very good friend from Miami, and thank him for letting me open my eyes. This piece should probably be in the feminist essay collections, and I was inspired to write this because of activists like Jessica Valenti and more importantly, there’s a Muskogee lady that wrote this brilliant essay on how women have been protecting each other in Native American circles. If anyone thinks I weaponized or did something wrong, please read below and feel free to be constructive, positive, and above all, careful what you tell me.

Dear Blake,

Last week was hell. And I couldn’t believe what you did to yourself. I’m not here to discuss a vibrator, sexual freedom, or God. I’m here to discuss you, and how you contributed to a very big problem here in America, got duped by Christians who are telling you that women like me don’t deserve to be heard, and you silently watch me get bitten up by bugs, attacked by heathen Ableists with no logic whatsoever about thee disabled experience on my end, and you don’t even connect with your Native American self. Like it or not, I think I need to tell yoou my story again and for the rest of the people reading this, especially activists, feminists, and others who are interested, I’ll explain where each of us has been.

the whole thing about vibrators is. just plain misunderstanding. Blake, you said to me shortly before we broke up something that absolutely was an affront to me being destressed in a time when stress was everywhere. I won’t write it here, you’ll only get mad at me and such. Blake, I care enough about you as a friend to say you should still go to your church, but I want to present a picture of God you never even drew, saw, or might not think exists.

Jesus, the Christ you report to for missions and so on, was an inclusive figure. Jesus was, however, used to mess up Native cultures to the point of death and nonexistence. The Spanish, particularly those in New Mexico and Arizona, used Jesus as a way to convert what they saw as “heathens.” But it has harmful consequences still today. In the ancient times, if you rolled with Jesus and the rich Eurocentric stuff, you got treated better. Is that fair? Jesus would never have said, kill the ones who don’t convert. I see a parallel between the 1500 to 1700 missions in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries and Muhammad the prophet’s weird and deadly fatwa, religious order, to “fight and slay the pagans where ye find them.” Muslims today have this issue with holy war, and among their so called missions is to convert everybody or make them pay with the tax or their lives. It has some rash consequences, including the genocide of the Coptic Christians, and the Jewish people have to contend with the power they are misusing. There’s a tribe in Iraq and Syria called the Yezidi that we have touched on, and because IS, or Islamic State, wants to make the whole world Muslim, you got Yezidi people dying or fighting. Nadia Murad, if you read this, I hope you see the same pattern I am about to describe below.

Blake, when the peoples you represent, all of these peoples, saw the Spanish and the pale faced white humans trashing their beliefs, going after the Native women, the men had little power to do with it. Do you know why the Trail of Tears happened? Because of a white idiot named Andrew Jackson, and the history books don’t tell you enough about it, only to whitewash it. Native beliefs were to be eradicated along with they themselves. There’s something about Natives I am drawn to, and let me explain what it is.

Muskogee activist Sarah Deer writes of a method of protecting women, an ancient survivor network and it whispers too. Deer says that “gossip is an English word” in her essay with the same words as its title. She says that women in the Indian country or first nations people would whisper that a man is dangerous, do things to protect each other, etc etc. Men would get axed not by death or killing, but there’s a whole healing process that goes with the whisper network. Would my white women friends like to try it out? I certainly want to, but Blake, here’s the deal: the tribes affirm women, LGBTQI+ and blind and deaf people. In ancient times, the Native tribes of the West, particularly tribes such as the Hopi and the Navajo, would integrate their deaf and they’d never, never seek to cure blindness. Sure, some babies lived and died as babies but it was never a shameful thing, and there was lots. of medicine to be had in the spiritual ceremony and traditions. There’s even a legend of the Cherokee tribes that affirms women’s power to give life as a weapon of sorts. When a woman in some tribes has her moon time, her menstruation, she would be allowed to go to this sweat lodge thing where she can recuperate and such, and she rests and stretches out the cramps from Hell. But imagine for a moment that this same feeling a woman has could be used to save a race of people. It did in this legend, called Stonecoat, where a stone guy tries to rob the people, kill them, etc., but seven “granddaughters” weaken him in a big show of badassery where they say, “I’m in the sacred way” each time he walks by. He’d try to convince the girls they’re dirty, but the badassery just threw him to the ground. It’s my favorite female legend of Native sorts. There are many others, and I can tell you that Natives had Romeo and Juliet in the legend of Mina-Sauk before we even had Shakespeare. These ancient traditions may not have anything with God or Jesus, but I can tell you this much: weaponizing Jesus as a way of dissing me is not going to work.

Native medicines and beliefs and ancient peoples did not necessarily have anything against a woman making herself feel good. I don’t see much of that, but regarding your comments to me before we broke, the vibrator was a doctor prescribed thing against what we used to call “female hysteria.” For disabled females, this is a common thing you might say back then. Today’s disabled female is likely to experience violence, I have, and isolation, which I have as well. I’m done trying to tell you that disabled women experience violence and you say, I know I know, but Blake, the thing is that America was built on an unfair and unjust patriarchal social hierarchy that has many layers to it. Here’s how it works:

You have cisgender, straight and able white males on top. Follow that with cisgender able straight females, then black straight cisgender males and females respectively, and then you have cisgender straight indigenous folks, followed by all manner of disabled people, black and white included, but then at the very bottom you have nonbinary and sexual minorities. This hierarchy is disgusting and I want it to stop. We don’t need cisgender straight males running things. Native American disabled males who don’t follow a big Evangelical megachurch or even a small one like yours are likely to face homicide, taunts from the higher up people, etc., so I know you would want to stay put in your church. Sure your friends are cool, but there’s something I’m coming up on that I’m not cool with.

It wasn’t Native women who told me you flirted too much. It was a male who, surprise surprise is a disabled Hispanic cisgender straight dude, but oh my god, we’ve been friends since who knows when. Note that I didn’t mention Hispanics in the hierarchy thing though because you have two or three different kinds, including black ones and white ones, so I just go by the black versus the white. NOt all Latinos are white and not all are black, it’s a mixed bag. This friend of mine is amazing, I call him Jessie the Messy, and he’s just plain cool. He’s got his own stuff, works and has a cool head on his shoulders. Jessie warned me about your tendencies, but I was stupid as usual and didn’t read into things because I’ve been taught not to. But sure enough, you get used by someone else, and break another’s heart. Or she broke yours, I don’t care how the relationship panned out. If any girlfriends you have know that you disrespected my beliefs as a feminist and didn’t understand why I was so deeply hurt by the people purporting to believe in Jesus, and I’ll tell that story now.

When you broke it off with me, the now former preacher at Sovereign Grace Community Church in Westminster decided to call me a whore. A whore for being with Trenton. I brought him there in an effort to solidify friendships and maybe even see how the people would react. But thankfully, years later, well, I’m glad I and Trenton haven’t gone. I have a buddy in chorus that recommended I not live in Westminster because of what she called a “scary megachurch” but there are plenty of those in Westminster. What Sovereign Grace did can still be felt today. I attend a UU church, Unitarian universalist, and have found that it’s not only Jesus that suffices for spiritual teaching and knowledge. I can’t subscribe to this notion of “sin” because it’s too flexible and it stings too broadly on a lot of subjects. Wearing a short skirt if you’re identifying as female? Sin, according to the beliefs you’ve chosen. Playing with your own hair if you’re female? Sin again. And the notion of sin is an excuse to make my life more expensive, so think about why your mom, aunts, sisters, all have to pay more for tampons. There is a luxury tax imposed because the government is sexist. The tax code for pink products, feminine stuff, is completely sexist. I only want others to understand that what you did to me represents a bigger problem with guys. Trenton tries to be supportive, and he is extremely cool, but you and anyone trying to attack me is not warranted in doing so.

Here’s what I want you to do. Stop talking to females who use you. I don’t use anyone, so stop it. IF you continue to be a flirt with girls after you’ve married, I’ll have to do what Sarah Deer does and warn her that this might not be the time to marry. I may not say your name, but still. Blake, I also recommend you reading Unladylike, a field guide to smashing the patriarchy and claiming your space. You don’t have to be female to read it, for real. Feminism is for everybody, and it benefits everybody. I do not hate men, as some will tell you, I just want accountability. You heard thee recent story of Josh Dugger, right? I was shocked and heartbroken because no man should be viewing child porn, but Trenton and I know that it’s illegal. We also know that Ashley Madison is not a good place to be if you’re trying to stay faithful. Vibrators aren’t the problem, and women aren’t the problem. Men are. Josh is highly unfaithful and abusive toward kids by viewing child porn. The victims who were used for this pornography are also being abused by Josh because in some way they might have been forced into it. Child pornography is something I know you could never see yourself doing, but if you were sighted, Blake, I wouldn’t be surprised if you went off and told someone that I didn’t look like your ideal woman, and it’s not your fault. Blake, you do have a good heart, but don’t get yourself dragged into conversations where you don’t belong. Lyn, one of the women who did the bad stuff on my community help post, has had nothing to do. She’s speaking from a class, race, and support privilege. I hate that, and data shows that minorities don’t just get subpar supports, they also get subpar commentary and subpar choices for schooling and other things. Your people are in trouble, and it’s not your fault. Why not summon the power of Wilma Mankiller to be your guide? Why not summon the ancestors to help you with some sort of realization of who you are? Jesus is great and all, but Jesus would never want you to label every woman’s desire a sin. The traditions that state that Adams are in charge and Eves are not do not apply to me and all of us anymore. I. can’t stand by and watch as women are sexually assaulted and no one believe them. The bedbug issue in this apartment complex scared my caregiver, and it scared the company, and yet the caseworker wasn’t there when she needed to be, and I don’t bllame her for it, but she needs to show up for me and do for me because I’m her client, and so should she do this for other clients. NASW clearly does put client safety in their code of ethics. I’ve written my local Senator for the state district 4, and I hope to have an appointment with her because the laws and policies that are in place are enabling Lyns everywhere to ruin lives like mine. Your friend Jennifer thinks she can get away with practically anything, and worse, both those girls spoke from a support class privilege. They had family support, I don’t have it, and they’re white, straight, etc. Lyn has a job, and she didn’t earn the employability. It’s all in the numbers, so look carefully.

Blake, please do some homework and get back to me. Jesus would demand that you apologize, and I apologize if what I said about you was hurtful, but what you did really wasn’t your fault per se. Though you chose this set of beliefs about Jesus and women, yu do have a choice to enact safer ways of interacting with the females in your life such that you don’t get ire from Jessies everywhere, or even your family’s women. Don’t subscribe to this notion that sin is everything, and it’s not sinful for a woman to read or write. Please read the Handmaid’s Tale and the Testaments, authored by Margaret Atwood, and she really has a lot of wisdom about why she wrote these books.

Beth

Author: denverqueen

My name is Beth. I'm blind from birth and enjoy the blogging atmosphere. I am a creative person, a musician, a writer, etc. This is me. Take it or leave it.