Archiv für September 2014

To most of the men* I slept with (second thoughts)

hello friend

(mehr…)

To most of the men* I slept with

oh boy

(mehr…)

Feminist Love Letters for Anarchist Relationships [Part I+II]

… to my male* comrades.
I‘ve written quite some of them by now …
Have you ever received one? No? You‘re sure? You might not have recognized them as such. They differ quite much from what is usually expected from a love letter.

  • … Probably they don‘t include „you‘re my one and only“, but rather: „you are one of several persons I really care about“;
  • … they usually don‘t say: „forget everyone else, think of no one else but me“, but rather: „it is important for me that you keep stable relationships of any kind to several people, because I can‘t be your only social, emotional resource – be faithful to others and I believe you can be faithful to me“;
  • … you won‘t read „stay with me forever“, but rather: „I will go or let you go so we can lead the lives we decided – and if we will come back to meet, we will both know that we really want to be with each other at that moment“;
  • … this letter will not ask you: „promise to love me, only me and never leave me“; but rather: „let me know who I am to you and what you see in us; let’s be honest to each other, so we can work out how things are gonna be between us and with other people involved“;
  • … for sure there will be no „we will be one and never alone again“, bur rather: „I do have my own life, my own opinion, my own space. I enjoy being with you, but I will not give up myself, I am still an independent person“;
  • … don‘t expect „I long for your kisses“, but rather: „I like the [non]physical relationship we have“ or „I‘d like to change our [non]physical relationship [in one or the other way]“;
  • … there will be no „I‘d do anything for you“; but rather: „you‘re my comrade, my lover, my friend – our relationship is based on mutual respect for each other, so I‘ll do my best to respect your boundaries as well as my own; I want us to take care for each other on a consensual basis; also I will do what’s in my power to support you and to carry your struggles in my heart, as much as I ask you to do the same for me“;
  • … you won‘t find „your love is the only thing to me, my life and happiness depends on that“, but rather: „I like you; I enjoy to spend time with you, be close to you; you mean something to me or I offer you to be a meaningful person to me – but my life is of worth, no matter if you will accept or reject my offer; also my love will not be given without condition“.

This might be confusing, so I want to make it very clear: in contrast to a “mainstream love letter”, a writer of a a feminist love letter for anarchist relationships (the letter itself will not be called like that) will NOT promise you to be a convenient care taker, bed sharer and prestige object – rather she* will demand you to be a trustworthy ally, a supporter of antisexist struggles, the preparedness of reflecting yourself, of being willing to reconsider things, to get educated, to listen, to question your perception and finally to act according to that. Accepting you‘re not half as feminist as you consider yourself to be might be an appropriate first step.

Really, this is one main point: get educated! Learn how to act less sexist – yes, I said less, yes, I mean you; no, this is not obsolete for you, if you think it is, please go right back to step one: accept you‘re not half as feminist as you consider yourself to be. … I did fight with too many men* to make them aware of the sexism they inherit and the sexist structures they feed; I have put so much heart and soul, energy and time on educating men* … My love letters of these kind have rarely been written out of pure joy, but most often right in the middle of this struggle and quite close to giving up on it … I don‘t want to have to find out if a comrade, lover, friend is willing to accept this demands when it’s almost too late; so if you wanna be someone who means something to me, then let me know if you‘re prepared for this. If not, I‘d be glad to know, because it will spare me lots of trouble and false hopes.

When writing these letters, I always feel relieved and heavy-hearted at once: relieved because I feel I did the right thing and stated transparently and honest what I expect; heavy-hearted because I still have to write these letters, to explain all the basic things, to be the one starting this … and because they are most often not recognised as what they are, but mistaken as complaint or apologies, but not as an honest offer and a sign of my trust and effort.

What I would really want? I would really want you to thank me for these letters, even and especially if they sound like accuses and demands in your ears. I want you to read them twice, at least, before you reply to me and thank me for my time and effort and trust. And that you think about what you‘re gonna do. And let me know. And keep thinking about it. And read the letter again after a day, after a week, after a month, after a year – and reflect on how your view changes. I will of course not want to check on that, because you‘re gonna do it for yourself, not for me. I want you to talk about it with other people, with other men* (don‘ just bother other women* with it, please). I want you to come back to me when you finally understood some of the things I‘ve written. Let me know you care.

In anyway be aware:
I do not live for you. I do not live to please you. I do not live to make you feel convenient. I do not live to educate you. This is my life and my energy and my body and my time. I decided to give some of it to write this letter: to make you aware, to show you what it is I expect and what you can expect in return; to give you the choice either to commit to this and know I will be committed, or not to. Either to accept or to reject my demands and my offer of faithful companionship and honest friendship (or in other words: anarchist relationship) that I call love.

[dedicated to my loved ones who did read these letters, and the ones who got the verbal versions and the ones who might take my offers – weirdly enough they mostly start with M. or J. … ]

… to my female* and trans* friends.
I haven‘t written enough of them.
Because I can never write enough to thank each one of you for all you have done and about all you mean to me.
Some of you call yourselves feminists, others don‘t. Few of you call yourselves anarchists or anarchafeminists. But this isn‘t of much matter, since our relationships have mostly always been of feminist solidarity and anarchist structures:

  • … you are the ones who have always believed in me, who have seen my strength and my value when I couldn‘t and who reminded me of who I was when I wasn‘t sure any more;
  • … you have always shown basic respect to me, in matters of communication, agreements, physical contact, general attention, concerning the way I lead my life;
  • … you are the ones who have been honest with me, about yourselves, about me, about us, about other things and people concerning my life or our relationships;
  • … you have always respected other relationships, have seen the importance of several and different relationships;
  • … we have never promised each other ‚forever‘ and never expected to ‚freeze‘ our relationship as it is; we are always aware that it changes and we say ‚yes‘ to our relationship each time we transform it;
  • … we have always found a way to maintain our relationships, despite daily life, work and families, different towns or different rhythms of sleep, different interests, subcultures and circles of friends;
  • … we leave each other space …
  • … you are the ones who have always been standing by me; you have always been there when I was in trouble; you have tried to understand my pains, my sorrows, my fights;
  • … you have always been support and part of my struggles, through listening, sharing experiences, advice, emotional support, taking care of basic things I couldn‘t manage at times, reading what I write, cheering me up, letting me know my opinion is of matter.
  • You are the ones who taught me what faithful, honest relationships within a net of equally/individually valuable companions, lovers, friends look like – or, in a feminist and anarchist sense, what I call love.

    [Dedicated to R, M, J, D, L, C, M, P, S, E, L, P, A, L, T… just to mention some of them…]