Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Four years!

Today is my fourth bloggiversary! That's 1264 posts spanning across 5 homes, 4 relationships, 3 jobs, a move across the country, and a massive refocus from "my vagina: let me tell you about it" to "my vagina: it is a tool for liberation." Also, 43 issues of Cosmo.

I'm looking back at my archives from the very beginning, and it strikes me, to the point of cringing, just how much I've changed. Changing minds is something I wonder about a lot--sometimes I worry it can't be done at all, that people who are now assholes will be forever assholes.

So it's good to see that I used to be an asshole. Not a complete one, but I used to be a very different person, and I learned and changed. There was no one moment where someone said something to me that made me go "holy shit, I've been wrong all along, and I must change everything!" Instead, it was water dripping on a stone; over time, though I often looked very resistant, I was changing bit by little bit until I'm so different I don't feel like the early entries are my own voice any more. (And not just because I used to throw out "lame, retarded, crazy" insults like they were candy. Sorry about that.)

I mean, look at this asshole:
I feel like sexuality has no legitimacy unless you're hot. If you're hot it's sexy, if you're ugly it's just ridiculous.
Sure, she admits that she's voicing her own insecurities, but those insecurities are leaking out into judgement of everybody on some completely unspoken beauty standard, and people who don't meet that... aren't allowed to be sexual? Christ, past-Holly.

Or, oh jeez, what was she thinking?
There's a well-known sex/BDSM club with a relatively low skeeve factor in town and I've visited a couple times. I suppose I should join but I just never make the commitment. Partly because the median age is kind of "hi there, dad," but partly because I don't want a community. I like being a little furtive, a little unhealthy, a little freaky. Nothing ruins the illusion of being an outlaw like going to a "spanking enthusiasts social."
Not only is she being incredibly snobby about age (and not even correct about the demographics, as it turns out), but she's so dedicated to feeling like an "outlaw" that she won't deign to talk to her own community and get actual friends and allies who understand what she's doing. Is her little fantasy really more important than learning anything or connecting to anybody? Cripes.

And then there's this post where she really gets going:
Call me a rich white het cis privilegebunny, but I don't feel very oppressed. Sometimes insulted, sometimes worried, sometimes concerned for the oppression of people in other places, but in my own life I just don't feel the boot on my neck. At work, at school, socially, nobody acts like I'm less than human or tries to enforce the Patriarchy on me directly. For me, in my daily life, I don't feel like being female is difficult or painful.
I still have my issues with the concept of "privilege," but I don't just disdainfully make fun of it and then deny that there's any oppression of women as well. I mean, we've got the vote and everything, right? What more could you need once they let you vote?

Overall, though, there's less in the old entries that's "asshole," and more that's just "ouch":
Sometimes I think that if I were strong enough to say "I'm not seeing you unless you treat me well, and I'm not fucking you unless you treat me like a goddamn princess," my relationships would go a lot better. But the problem is that I'm so damn happy to be seeing/fucking the guys at all, I can't stand to withhold it for any reason.
It's incredibly clear that she knew from the beginning that Benny was treating her horribly. I thought there was a "honeymoon," some sort of time when the relationship was going well, but there really wasn't. The first entries about him make it clear that he's a huge jerk but at least he'll deign to fuck her. That she stuck with him for years until he actually assaulted her is... a major source of shame for me and frankly one of the reasons I'm hesitant to talk much about it. I don't think she "should have seen it coming"--who does?--but I think she should have long since dumped him for all the other reasons.

I can't believe she went and just threw this in as an embarrassed little parenthetical (well, I can, but I feel terrible for her):
(Benny, always happy to be on the worse side of any comparison, once actually fucked me against a "no," and not in scene or anything--we were just hanging out naked in bed and he got on me and I wasn't really ready and said so and he started anyway. Again, it was mere moments until things got sorted out, but... I could swear I was audible the first time, goddammit.)
Holy shit, past-Holly.

I'm not here to lick the wounds of my past. I'm here to marvel at just how much growth and change and learning is possible. I'm here because what I said here was my belief and no longer is:
I've been a little wary of feminism, because my initial exposure was way too academic and way too unrealistic. No, I don't feel that my life is unbearably suffused with phallic energy, and no, I don't believe that the world used to be a utopian matriarchy, and no, I don't think that having sex with boys--including nasty filthy sex, including sex on camera--is betraying the Sisters.
So I stand as living proof that people aren't lost causes if they don't agree with you, and they aren't lost causes if you try to teach them and they spit it back at you. Change is something that happens on a person's own schedule and not on yours, and often when they do change you won't even hear about it, but it happens. People really can learn.

I hope that what I'm writing now will embarrass the hell out of me in another four years.


  1. "So I stand as living proof that people aren't lost causes if they don't agree with you, and they aren't lost causes if you try to teach them and they spit it back at you."

    Thank you. I really needed these words today.

  2. I really, really like this post. I've been marveling at my own growth lately, and your words resonate with how I've been feeling, too. I hope I am always a person who is excited for the changes in my future. Right now, I am excited to see who I become.

  3. Good on ya Holly - it takes guts to drag up your past self and air her out like that.

  4. "That she stuck with him for years until he actually assaulted her is... a major source of shame for me"
    Do I have to link you to your own post? You don't have to feel shame about being a victim.

  5. On my blog, I have a tag called 'one day I will eat these words,' to label all the stupid shit I said that later turned to be completely wrong. (Most notably, "I AM SO NOT GAY YOU GUYS REALLY NOT GAY NOT GAY NOT GAAAAY" and "I wasn't raped; I was just too stupid and weak and pathetic to stop him.")


  6. Happy Blogday, Holly!

    I think this is a reason many of us have journals, on or offline. So that whenever we feel like something is frustrating and stagnating and just not worth it, we can look back and see written proof that things do actually change.

  7. Wait, so you DO think having sex with boys is betraying the sisterhood now?

  8. Fnord - You're probably right. If it helps, it's only "wow, I was dumb" shame, not "I got what I deserved" shame.

    Anonytroll - Er, no. But I don't think very many feminists think that, either.

  9. Holly - here, have a good metaphor for the whole gradual change thing. Absolutely true, as far as I can see, and I try to remind myself of it every day.

    I remember reading your archives back through years, sort of cringing at things you've written (especially when they contradicted stuff you said later), then telling myself it was probably just younger you, and people can change their minds. <3

    Rogan - Sympathies, and *hug* if you guys will accept one.

  10. I think a very large part of growing up is realising "holy crap, I was a douchebag 5 years ago" - and I hope that I'll never stop growing as a person, even if it means that I someday will end up calling my current self a douchebag.

    But congratulations on the four years Holly :D

  11. Congratulations on four years of blogging!

    And if it's any consolation, I read that first quote as you being upset with societal attitudes, not you thinking that people considered ugly don't deserve their sexuality.
    I don't think I've read the post itself, so I guess it could come across completely differently in context, but that's what I thought when I read it here.

  12. An excellent post. It takes a lot of guts to reexamine your past opinions like this.

  13. I think you're blaming yourself because now you know how badly the relationship with Benny turned out.

    But you didn't know that then, so why would you expect yourself to? Even most assholes don't assault anyone.

  14. I certainly know who hard it is to evaluate who one was in the past. Kudos on doing it so well!

    Oh, and here's an article you may want to read/mock relentlessly. :)

  15. Kay - Oh for God's sake. I could do without yet another article analyzing women's behavior as if we were an exotic species being studied by intrepid explorers in pith helmets.

    Funny thing is, I do sometimes moan to encourage my partner and let him know when he's doing things right. But the article makes it sound like some craven manipulation. (And I also sometimes moan because OOOOHHHHHHH.)

    Also, men moan during sex sometimes. Can we recruit a researcher (a woman, of course!) to go out in a pith helmet and investigate the dark secrets behind that?

  16. Yay for personal growth! Boo for Benny!

  17. In four years, you will look back at your current views and wonder why you changed so little in four years.

    In six years, you will look back and wonder why you thought such crazy things, but it will seem difficult to recall much about your life before you moved into The Compound and became a Bride Of The Leader. Most of your time will be taken up in preparing for a mysterious event which The Leader and The Apostles refer to only as "The Inevitable."*

    *(Predictions carry no guarantee. In reality, some details may vary.)

  18. Happy bloggversay! I've been reading for a few years and definitely feel like I've learned from your posts. Here's to more happy sexy years!

  19. Sometimes I think that if I were strong enough to say "I'm not seeing you unless you treat me well, and I'm not fucking you unless you treat me like a goddamn princess," my relationships would go a lot better. But the problem is that I'm so damn happy to be seeing/fucking the guys at all, I can't stand to withhold it for any reason.

    As someone who is currently here, this touched me, and made me feel like there was hope for _life_ getting better.

  20. Congratulations on 4 years of blogging, impressive. And congrats on being brave enough to read your own archives. Whenever I have read my own diaries from years ago I always wonder "Who _is_ that person and why is she so clueless?!"

  21. Oh Holly. I am so grateful for your words. Passion for sexual justice flows out of you and is shaped by a kind heart. I look forward to reading about all the things you are learning and continuing to be inspired by you. Fergus

  22. Happy anniversary, Holly. Almost every blog worth reading is a work in progress. And your growth over the last four years has helped a lot of the rest of us grow as well. So congratulations, happy anniversary, and thanks!

    Take care,


  23. This post inspired me to go back through my own diaries. I didn't like myself very much back then...

  24. RE: Anonymous 2:04

    No worries. I've mostly moved past that line of thinking, except for the really low days.


  25. RE: Kay

    You know, it's true. As a man, I never moan. I just roar like a manly lion atop my Pride Rock, announcing my orgasm to the world.


  26. Hershele OstropolerAugust 25, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I'm afraid to reread my early Livejournal posts, I must have sounded like such a self-absorbed asshole.

  27. Hershele OstropolerAugust 25, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Not to say I don't now, I just no longer update my LJ.

    @Don: I LOLed.

  28. Honest, unflinchingly introspective. Reminds me of reading my journals from years ago...but your journal is public! Kudos.

  29. A toast to you Holly here's to 4 more years of awesomeness

  30. I found your blog 4 days ago and I love it bad. You're amazing.