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2021-04-21

06 Photographs

05 Walking

… melancholy, my prevailing mood this morning… melancholy underlaid with anger… i am annoyed that workmen are coming today and that i am curtailing my walk to be sure i am around… how early will they arrive?, they will need the car moved… they will need the man of the house… it is cold this morning, there are, were, freeze warnings… a silenced call comes in, who from?… i decide to call the caller back, it is the workmen who say they will reach us at 9 AM, i have a little time…

04 Gerry Johansson, Esker

… i love this man’s work, most probably because his work is on so many levels what i want my work to be… even the concept of Chap books, shorter collections of observations that are published as “chapters” of a larger body of work… i have been thinking of pursuing this sort of concept for a while now… i need to start doing it…

… another reason i love his work is that he never photographs people, just the landscapes and cityscapes and townscapes that they inhabit, the evidence of their presence, not the presence itself… it’s the same for me… i have arrived at this position because i am too bashful to ask permission to make a person’s photograph and we are long past the days when a photographer is generally tolerated making images of people moving through public spaces… there isn’t always conflict, but i am a conflict averse person, so i choose not to risk it…

Gerry Johansson, from Esker
Gerry Johansson, from Esker

… the work at hand is about the landscape of an esker, a ridge of land left, often between two bodies of water, by the retreat of glaciers…

… i think about ordering the book, which isn’t that expensive, but then you add shipping, which seems available only via FedEx from he one site i look at… i find a UK site where shipping is less than the cost of the book, i order it… the last book i ordered from the UK arrived pretty quickly, maybe this one will too… it will be good to see how he does things and contemplate my own doing of things…

03 Can Democrats Make Peace with Louis DeJoy?

… an interesting article making the case that DeJoy actually has good plans for the postal service… that many democrats like him… this may not be enough to stop his removal… it is unclear whether he tried to impact the election or not…

02 Girlhood, Melissa Febos

“I was very confused for a long time about who my body belonged to. So during the years of fifteen to twentyish, if someone wanted my body I tended to give it to them. I didn’t want or enjoy sex until I was about fifteen, and at that point I’d been having it for about three years. I didn’t even realize girls were supposed to, or could, enjoy sex!”1

… a girl becoming sexually active at the age of 12 blows me away…

… i am continuing the chapter on cuddle parties, which is more a chapter on consensual vs. non-consensual touch, and that women are subjected to the non-consensual type constantly… it is built into the patriarchy… they learn to laugh it off, but most (all) women are touched in ways they did not consent to numerous times a year at minimum Febos notes…

… women often consent to sex because they fear being raped if they don’t, that is, the way to maintain any dignity and control, is to consent (having some control), rather than be forced…

Here, I see two powerful imperatives that collaborate to encourage empty consent: the need to protect our bodies from the violent retaliation of men and the need to protect the same men from the consequences of their own behavior, usually by assuming personal responsibility. It is our shame, our embarrassment, our duty alone to bear it.2

My recurring dream, then, is a perfect enactment of this dynamic: to protect ourselves, we must protect them, devise a way to avoid ever rejecting them, ever forcing them to confront their own wrongs. Our bodies are often the only currency we have in this effort. It is not a matter of how to avoid compromising ourselves, but how to mitigate that compromise.3

… Febos describes how even in long term relationships, women often give empty consent to their partners as a part of maintaining the relationship… that it is part of the constellation of expected treatment of their significant other, particularly in heterosexual relationships…

As I stand in front of the mirror in the women’s bathroom at the college where I teach, one in a line of poised faces whose eyes meet those of their reflections, I think: if only Foucault could have seen the astonishing influence of social media, that coup of panoptical technology. Now we are never not posing, never not posting the evidence of our well-disciplined bodies.4

… i have been thinking a great deal about the physical power differential between men and women, and how it strongly impacts a woman’s desire to please man, to avoid hurting his feelings, making him angry… as long as men insist on using that power differential to gain the submission of women, it will remain a problem, and it is likely that it will remain a problem for a long time to come and that women will be fearful and submissive for a long time to come…

… as i read this chapter, it is hard not to think about the power i have allowed J to have over me… i am not alone, we all have given in to the tyranny, and for all of us it has meant less time with C, less love we can offer with our presence… it is sad, but something that will never change, never had a chance to change, we are locked into them in a most unhealthy way… i am very angry about that, there is little i can or will do about it, especially now that they are failing… in all my anger, i am unwilling to be cruel, a courtesy that has not been offered in return… i know the pathology of the patriarchy intimately, in ways similar to how women know it, though my maleness gives me the privileges of the patriarchy which mitigate the impact and sometimes, especially when i was younger, i abused that privilege, for that i am sorry…

… i often feel annoyed with young people who write memoirs… i wish they wouldn’t call it memoirs, i feel a memoir is something you write to recount the story of a life that has been interesting to others… it is a setting of the record as the memoirist wants it to be set… but with Girlhood, i see the need underlying the memoir for younger people, Febos doesn’t call her book(s) memoirs… it bares some similarity to the form but it wouldn’t be the right term… young people write memoirs to revisit trauma i suspect… it is therapeutic… it can be healing… it is good to honestly write our stories down, especially when there is a lot of pain contained in them…

01 Self

230.2 lbs

… waiting to cross down into the 220’s… two nights in a row, no alcohol…

  1. Febos, Melissa. Girlhood (p. 221). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
  2. Febos, Melissa. Girlhood (p. 230). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
  3. Febos, Melissa. Girlhood (pp. 233-234). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
  4. Febos, Melissa. Girlhood (p. 249). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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