by Furry Girl

05.13.09

Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s. The lover who was charismatic and creative and gave great handjobs, even though, in moments of clarity, you could see that the two of you had a very real potential for detesting one another some day.

She was dodging a couple creditors, yes, and you'd heard that many of her other relationships ended in dramatic failures. But, the two of you could stay up all night drinking Cooks by the beach and exchanging breathlessly clever observations about the world around you. He was theoretically down with the number of notches on your bedpost, but in practice, he could get all pouty, or even confrontational, about how your sexuality made him uncomfortable. She had a great record collection, could do neat tricks on her unicycle, and she always knew the days of the month when museum admissions were free. You were willing to put up with seemingly minor insults to your dignity, like doing his laundry and picking up the tab for dinner most of the time.

When something would go inevitably go wrong, you'd attempt to convince yourself that the problem wasn't really her fault, even to a point of ridiculousness that makes you cringe in retrospect. "He's stressed and afraid of losing his job right now since they caught him stealing company property and eBaying it, so it's not the time to pick at him about the fact that when it was his turn to get groceries, he bought only a 24 pack of cola and a can of blueberry pie filling."

You glossed over her problems and dismissed them as "that's not the real her" until the red flags just got too big to ignore any longer. You finally cut your losses and realized that even if he's only truly shitty some of the time, it's still too much.

After it ended, you resent them all the more not just because they still owe you two months of rent, but because you tried so hard to make it work. Years later, you can still get worked up about the relationship because you went out of your way to overlook their serious faults and only acknowledge their good traits. When she failed you and was clearly at fault, you blamed yourself for interpreting her incorrectly. You tried to fit yourself into his pre-existing framework, rather than finding someone who didn't require that you shuffle any part of yourself the first place. You're mad at yourself and a bit embarrassed for putting up with the whole thing for as long as you did. You despise the whole thing with an almost undue passion because you once cared about making it work so damn much.

In my mid-20s, I finally sat down and mentally wrote a dear john letter. "The thing is, feminism, it's not me, it's definitely you..."

And for what it's worth, feminism never even bought me a can of pie filling.





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