Reclamation

I’ve spent this summer in bed. My already sickly body subjected to further atrophy as I struggled to heal from a broken bone, stitches and nerve damage. I’m not there yet but I can now type a bit. I’ve had a lot of time to think and connect with the truth of my life.

We all have a life purpose. Its easy to forget at times because that is the nature of the reality we live in. Everything is structured to make us forget. I’ve been wandering from myself for a long time and even now its hard to face some days. The traumas, betrayals, abuse and horror I’ve lived through don’t really mean much to me anymore. They’re facts of my life like where I was born or what color my eyes are. What really began to make me crazy was realizing how conscious I was through most of it. I’m not saying this universally as a woman, I’m sure other women are unconscious of the disturbing ways in which they betray themselves and their sex but for me it was always a choice and living with that, reintegrating and forgiving myself for it has been a real challenge. The day I broke my arm this year I chose to go against my own intuition strongly telling me not to leave the house. Here I am, someone who tells women to trust their intuition above all else and getting smacked with some serious consequences for not following my own advice. Ironic.

As a radical feminist who happens to also be a mystic I’ve been trying to understand why my path has led here and I wanted to share it with all of you. Radical Feminism is spiritually about reclamation. We are seeking the total connection to our authentic female selves which have been waged war upon by men.

Mary Daly talked of herself as pirate. She saw herself usurping the usurpers, giving us back the tools to connect with our own divinity and power. This kind of stuff is important to me. Not because I think you need to be spiritual or identify with it to be on this path but because we can’t properly do anything for ourselves if we can’t act from that place of trust and power.

Men fear women’s power, this is why they go out of their way, despite having us almost completely enslaved as a caste to reinforce terror in us. This is why they beat, rape, mutilate and slaughter us. The funny thing about it is that we don’t even believe in that power that makes them so uneasy. Without believing in it we are more easily trapped by them. We need to stop reacting to them and behaving in ways that tell them we are concerned with what they think. Its time to reclaim our role as agents in our own destiny as a people. We need to imagine what we would be if patriarchy had never existed and become that. We must love and cling to one another as if we’d never been hurt by anyone. We must go into the world and shape it as if she were ours to act upon. There is no time like the present to embrace the dormant amazon within.

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10 responses to “Reclamation

  1. I’m glad you are back writing again. As always, insightful and powerful ideas well expressed. xx

  2. Hi Terri, I’m sorry your summer has been so hard.

    Just wanted to say that this statement of yours can’t be repeated enough –

    “Radical Feminism is spiritually about reclamation. We are seeking the total connection to our authentic female selves which have been waged war upon by men.”

    My underlying interest in radical feminism is based on this reclamation. Liberation of women to me is about reclaiming our authenticity as full-fledged human beings. Our current existential position in this world is artificially shrunken. We do not “exist” to the same extent as men. Liberation to me is to become fully existent, bringing our full selves into the world.

    While it is important to struggle in the trenches against the details of our subjugation, changing our material conditions is not everything.

    It’s hard to talk about these things – I have no training as a philosopher – but Mary Daly did, and her book Quintessence helps me to keep the larger goal in mind.

    In solidarity

    Darlene

    • Its nice to hear from you. I spent the early part of my years of activism enmeshed in a completely material perspective. It ended up grinding me down. We need the sustenance and dedication to ourselves as well. I want freedom for ME too. Not just in some far off future I’ll never experience. Its been really illuminating to pull back what I was doing. It was the same female self-sacrifice. I don’t want women doing that to themselves any more.

  3. I feel as if I cannot do this reclamation of myself if I am in contact with, or dependent upon, any other members of the human species. That I need to have some completely feral existence. Material stress will make that difficult, but it will get me to where I need to go.

  4. I hear you, Mary. It’s that our beings are reflected back at us by other people all the time, but distorted by their preconceptions. To find out what our full-fledged being is, we have to be alone for a while so that we’re not constantly thrown back into the false narrow perceptions. This is risky because we do need human contact, but even a day a week not talking to anyone, just having solitude, helps me.

  5. wwomenwwarriors

    “We need to imagine what we would be if patriarchy had never existed and become that.”

    Oh gosh, how I could spend a lifetime doing just that part alone.

  6. I agree with wwomenwarriors, this is the key line: “We need to imagine what we would be if patriarchy had never existed and become that.” I

    think sometimes the language of “reclamation” and “authenticity” things like that suggests going back, back to some inner or past truth, and back to claim something we once had. I don’t think it is always bad to think in those terms, because it connects us to a history (our history, an alternate history to patriarchal/ men’s history) but I think it can also be misleading, because the real task is not to REdiscover something authentic, REclaim something, but to invent, to create, to struggle forward and to be dynamic in that process. Truth be told, there isn’t a pure past to which we could transport ourselves to find women existing freely, and even if there was, we would be driving ourselves mad to try to achieve it from our current location (the West, 2014, high globalized capitalism / neoliberalism, etc.)

    It is hard to think about these things, though, and being on an adventure of creation and inventing is a draining place to be; it is also good to have something to fall “back” on, so I think the part about trusting ourselves and our power is really key, too. We need to trust ourselves as women, trust our experiences, trust our instincts, trust that we can achieve something we literally cannot, at this point, from within this culture/world, even think or imagine. It’s all a process. It’s not following a blueprint, it’s a process. We need each other to fall back on, too. That is key. Community is key, and it’s hard. Harder than it should be.

    I think there is a difference between materialism and scientism, and I’m a materialist, but certainly not a positivist. I love how feminism has generally always repudiated the positivism and scientism of masculinist thinking. Women are so much less hubristic and insane than men; we haven’t had to spend our lives reupidiating the social and desire– the human’s magic– in order to dominate others/ the earth/ everything possible.

  7. I never get notices for your posts, so missed this. I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard time, but it’s good your mind is still strong and brilliance and that you’re recovering. And in spite of your pain, you give us such a hopeful advice for the future. You’re right: “. Its time to reclaim our role as agents in our own destiny as a people. We need to imagine what we would be if patriarchy had never existed and become that. We must love and cling to one another as if we’d never been hurt by anyone. We must go into the world and shape it as if she were ours to act upon. There is no time like the present to embrace the dormant amazon within.” Thank you.

    • Bev – how funny! I’m just reading your post right now as well. I’m glad you found what I wrote so hopeful. I do try, despite everything, to believe that things can be better.

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