This is a really personal piece…..I need to get this out of my head. I need to write it. I need the people who care and what to know me to read this and to be aware of this.
A lot of people don’t know but, a few years ago I lived on a farm where a mentally challenged person set the house on fire in the middle of the night.
Because of this I have a hard time trusting people I don’t know coming into spaces where I am vulnerable.
I was in an emotionally abusive relationship a few years ago and because of this I have a hard time trusting people that I love.
I live in fear. I wasn’t always like this. I used to trust the strangest looking person on the street. Now I live in fear.
I fear my closest friends are manipulating me or secretly do not love me.
Because of this I get scared and angry about percieved dangers. I often go into emergency mode, I will talk really fast or maybe get demanding.
This makes people angry at me. They don’t know how to deal with me. They get hurt. I get more scared. I feel guilt for my trauma. I want to bury myself in the ground. I don’t know how to get out of this cycle. This cycle where I hurt people with my fears and therefore my pain gets exacerbated.
I wish people were able to deal with flashes of trauma based anger and understood that i am just terrified when thats happening and need people to be gentle, but I feel like that is maybe not fair? And maybe its too much to ask? I wish it wasn’t.. I wish people understood why I got that way… I just don’t know.
Sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything right. Sometimes I have this constant feeling of inferiority. The thought passes over me “not good enough.”
“The Separation” by Took Edalow (me) This painting is based on the Origin of Love from Platos Symposium, mostly inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s version. The image of lovers being separated. To be left alone roaming the earth searching for each other.
A few years ago I was in a relationship where nothing I did felt “good enough.” I was always met with disappointment and intense criticism. According to the one I loved I “needed fixing.” I had an “inferiority complex.” Perhaps they were correct about that, but it never failed to make me feel even more inferior.
They would compare me to other women. Tell me how much more reasonable those women are. My friends, his friends girlfriends and on our very first date he told me liked his ex girlfriend more than me.
Why did I put up with this?
I don’t know.
I have some ideas.
One is that my mother, who was a very excellent, but also very fearful mother, used to compare me a lot. Compare me to my female friends. A very vivid memory I have is her telling me one of my other friends was “just more aware of her surroundings” than I was and that was why I could not walk home from school alone.. in our Yuppie neighborhood.. at 3 PM.. when tons of yuppie moms with concern or children were out.
That is just one of my theories, but to tell you the truth I just don’t know why I am like this. I could go and blame it on the media. I am sure that plays a role, but that really just doesn’t help anything to continue blaming it on outside sources.
A segment of my painting “The Spreading of Fae” Oh how I wish I could be this zen Mermaid spreading the love and glitter with each fairy. Knowing each fairy, mermaid, leaf, star is beautiful and worthy of love.
I am in an open/polyamorous relationship with my central partner, whom I live with, handle finances with, etc. In theory I believe that love is not exclusive. One can love multiple people, in different ways, no hierarchy. I am an anarchist. I do not believe in one being more important than another. It is dehumanizing to look at someone and let them know they are “not as important” as their other partner. I do understand priorities. It can be hard to make long term life plans with multiple partners, yet I have still seen it done.
In theory and much of the time I want my central partner to have meaningful and fun experiences. I want them to lead a full life and to not be limited by me. I believe in autonomy. Being a couple does not make two people one. Exclusivity is what makes capitalism work. I do not love capitalism so why would I want to bring the lives and inequality of capitalism into my love life?
Yet, I still fear. I still fear I am not good enough. I have this overwhelming feeling of needing to be “better”. Needing to by the “best” compared to any of my partners or partners or even potential partners. I get into this mindset where I HATE them. Where I hate everything about them, where I think they have to suck at everything or they will steal my partner away. I think I have to beat them in everything or I will be alone. This jealous competition is unhealthy and will probably drive my partner away unless I work on it.
‘Growth in the Fall” by Took Edalow.. (again thats me!) This is not finished yet, but this is an image of myself learning to “open my third eye” and go with the flow of the birds. To grow and allow change in the fall.
It feels terrible. It feels unloving and it goes against my values. I feel confused and ashamed. Because I feel these feelings it perpetuates the feeling of being “not good enough.” Like, why can’t I be like one of those super groovy and open anarchists ladies. Why are they so much better than me? Why don’t I like me?
And thats what it comes down to. Maybe I just don’t like me, but I want to like me. Its going to be a lot of work, but I think I can do it. I can overcome the pain, the inferiority, the abuse and maybe I will end up alone… and maybe this will be okay, because I will love myself.
I love you.
Check out more of my art on Instagram and Twitter @2kedalow
The other night the Gentleman Scumbag John Murdock and I invited all of our friends, and various strangers to our wedding and comedy/burlesque/performance art show.
Marriage is a traditional act. Hetero-monogamous men and women have been getting married for hundreds of years. This is seen by many as the ultimate act of love. Marriage is the way one validates their love for another person in this society. Many of us can agree love is important, beautiful and meant to be celebrated.
Do people always grow, like flowers, in monogamous relationships? Barbra and Neil Diamond say they do grow.. once they end.
However, it is only recently that non-heterosexual monogamous marriage has become legal… in America. Thats kind of the weird part about it, isn’t it? That what constitutes marriage, the traditional act of ultimate love is decided by the fucking Government? What does the Government as an entity understand about love? All we do in politics is fight with each other and talk over each other. The point is that its awful that marriage has become so institutionalized and become associated with monetary agreements. And why the fuck is the Government listening to religion on what constitutes worthy love?
A man of tradition wears a balloon bow tie to his wedding.
And what about Polyamorous lovers? People who love more than one person? The Christian Influenced monogamous heterosexual blah blah blah love is limiting. It takes away autonomy in a partnership. When people get married there is talk of “two people becoming one” and “leaving their lives to be with one another.” Why must independence be taken away when one falls in love?
Why is love viewed as a sacrifice? Why is love made into a burden? Why do we force narrow definitions on love? Do we fear we may not be loved? Does it come from fear that we do this and not love?
John Murdock and I are very much in love. We know we want to be together for the time being and hopefully for many years, but we are non-monogamous. We are non-religious. We may be man and woman (maybe?), but we are not heterosexual. Where is the celebration of love for us? Why must we go into the religious and institutionalized boxes to validate our love in this society?
I pray to the Barbra Streisand I will not be unhappily married for the rest of my life.
Why is marriage so encouraged? We push people into marriage and encourage them so fiercely that marriage is the only way, that we must have a partner of the opposite sex and we must have children. We insist on people having children, yet people don’t want children around. We have yet to acknowledge that we do not accept families and the natural tendencies of children very often. The point is we do not always live in an inclusive society. Our traditions are a mess.
Its about how people deal with the subject of rape in real life after people have gotten off stage. After people have finished goofing around and not being serious. If you have not read my last post read it to understand the context.
When you make jokes about subjects that have traumatized many people sometimes people will have not so ideal reactions to your humor. This is what happens to me when I hear people make jokes about rape. I get angry and sad and in my head I become the defense for myself and many of the people I know and don’t know who have been victims of sexual abuse.
THIS. IS. NOT. ABOUT. CENSORSHIP. God fucking dammit. Predictably people who are responding to this post directly to me or hint to it in podcasts where they trash armpit hair for women and not for men (equality exists. sure.) are being like “oh feminists and stupid chicks with blogs want us to stop making rape jokes. They want to censor us! Anything can be funny.. BITCH. Anything can be funny. CUNT.”
She looks pretty beautiful to me…
Many people probably wish I would just be like “stop making rape jokes”, but that is not the point I am trying to get through to people.
My point is: If you are going to make jokes about rape on stage and people have strong reactions to it BECAUSE SOME FUCKED UP SHIT PROBABLY HAPPENED TO THEM and they ADMIT to you they probably overreacted due to some shit in the past. Why the hell would you keep mocking them?
What pisses me off is not that dudes want to make rape jokes. I do find it boring, unoriginal, old fashion, and kind of just lame, but I’m not going to say stop doing it. AGAIN NOT TRYING TO CENSOR.
What pisses me off is people are saying “its a joke. Its just a joke!” If it is JUST a joke then when you get off stage you understand the seriousness of the matter? Correct? If victims of the acts you joke about get upset why is that something to be mocked? The person who actually made the jokes I originally wrote about did not mock me, but the folks in his mostly male community did. Doesn’t this just prove they see victims of sexual abuse as a joke all the time? I am being framed as a whiny little brat for having an emotional reaction about a topic that is very traumatizing. This proves that when you make jokes that sympathize with the rapist rather than the victims (i.e Bill Cosbys still a great comic!) this perpetuates the cultural attitude around rape victims.. which is to minimize their experience.
Keep making your jokes if you want. Just think about how you deal with certain topics when you’re not making jokes about it.
In fact I like some rape jokes. I prefer ones that mock the rapists and make good points for victims. Check out Amy Schumers Football Town Nights Its funny as shit, insightful and actually kind of made me tear up through my laughter towards the end. Like could you imagine if we taught consent culture in schools?
A lot of people are saying, oh this stupid facebook activist…
The truth is I have done workshops and things around Consent Culture when I lived with a group of Egalitarian activists people who actively opposed Monsanto and did lots of other groovy things. Consent Culture is a response to the Rape Culture, where victims experiences are minimized.
CONSENT IS SEXY
Consent culture is a culture in which asking forconsent is normalized and condoned in popularculture. It is respecting the person’s response even if it isn’t the response you had hoped for. We will live in a consent culture when we no longer objectify people and we value them as human beings.
I wish we taught kid consent in school from a young age. Start with the basics, move on to the sexual aspect by the time kids are old enough to be given sexual education.. which should be WAY earlier than it is.
Besides the sex aspect of sexual education I believe kids should be taught extensively about how to respect their own bodies and other peoples. Kids are told now “Don’t hit” and they are left with the “but why?” There has got to be exercises, workshops, games, etc that can teach small children about why you should not lay hands on another persons body if they do not want you to. Another issue I see is that a lot of people do not know how to speak up when people are touching them in a way they do not like. Teach kids that if they don’t like how they’re are being touched it is completely valid to speak up and say “no”.
CONSENT CULTURE. YES.
PS: Armpit hair for men and not for women? Seriously are you from the fucking 50’s?
If you read this and want to know more about after I posted this and thoughts go to the home page of this blog and read the follow up piece.
“Everyones got an Uncle Bigot” is something my lovely feminist comedian partner John Murdock says in his act. The thing about Uncle Bigot or Senile Republican Grandpa is that they are old as fuck. Their time is done to really make a difference in the world. Most people brush them off as “crazy old asshole”. Because thats what they are. They hear no one elses opinion and refuse to even consider they may be wrong. Its hilarious. No one takes them seriously and if they do they are the people I am talking about today who are significantly less funny than Uncle Bigot.
If you know me, you know I am a comedian, performance artist and an activist. I often look to make a political and/or social points in my stand up and performance art. This past weekend I ventured out of my generally feminist artist circles to go to a comedy mic.
I had an.. um interesting experience. A comic went on stage and did a full five minutes of Cosby jokes that were like “Cosby may be a racist, but hes still a comedy legend”, probably said some funny shit like “No ones trying to go to a Cosby show now, tickets are cheap” and then ending on a line that was something like ” When women get raped its not funny, but when men get raped its funny.” Some comic in the audience was like “I’ve been raped, by a woman” as joke or something and the comedian calls him a “Faggot”. The entire room of mostly male comedians found this to be hilarious, the women did laugh too.
I was pretty disgusted that his whole set was about rape. I was just like why the fuck do male comics feel the need to talk about rape all the time. When I hear a male comic get on stage and say the word rape a bunch of times I tend to have a strong reaction. I have seen a ton of comedy where the subject of the rape is dealt with in a way feel is cheap.
I had my strong reaction and approached the comic and said what was definitely some harsh words. I think it was my pent up frustration at the misogyny and mockery of sexual abuse I see in comedy and everywhere else. I think it is not unreasonable to have an intense reaction to a set that is ultimately about rape. Other comics were pretty pissed at my reaction.
The comic who actually did this set I found to be a reasonable guy who seemed to hear where I was coming from. In a nutshell he told me he was going for “shock value” comedy. I may be going for social and political points in my comedy, but that is not what everyone is going for. The comic and I discussed that for me I react strongly to sets about rape and sometimes it is difficult for me to actually take in what is being said due to my frequent frustration. I did apologize for my harsh words and still do wish I had approached him more calmly, asked more questions, etc. I came to this conclusion and explained it to the other comic who was pissed at my reaction, explained to him my trauma surrounding sexual violence. He seemed to understand and gave me a hug. This Hugging Comic is no Hugging Saint.
What I find absolutely disgusting is that the hugging comic felt so strongly about what I said even after hearing where I came to after calming down the need to write about what happened and lie about the results. He basically proved my point that misogyny and irresponsibility around traumatizing subjects is alive and well in the male dominated field of stand up comedy.
Here is me picking apart his less funny Senile Republican Grandpa impression:
1. Referring to himself as a “sane person” implying I am an insane person for having a strong emotional reaction to a set that patted a serial rapist on the back for his comedic talent and carelessly spoke of man on man rape as funny. And saying men who get raped by women are faggots? Sure its not meant seriously, but its not insane to have a strong reaction to it.
You can say comedy has no effect on the behaviors and opinions of people in our society, but it does. I know men who have been raped and/or physically assaulted by people of all genders and feel they cannot speak out about it because our patriarchal society expects men to be macho and will not allow them to victims of such traumatic acts. Only women are allowed to be sad about rape which is a double edged sword because it implies the same old bullshit that women are weak. We may be allowed to be sad, but we’re still labeled liars way too fucking often. Another set I heard later that night referred to women as liars for faking orgasms. Great punch line. Not.
2. The multiple comments on my appearance definitely made him look intelligent and original.
– The body paint. He can say its not a cheap attack on my appearance, but it is clearly there to make a point that again I looked “crazy” or “insane”. I’m so sorry sir for being a crazy irrational lady… Did I look weird? Did I look funny? Are you surprised a comedian looks ridiculous? Are we trying to all look the same and cool? Yep thats definitely what comedy is about, everyone looking the same and trying to look normal. Oh and by the way I was out performing all day, on the streets, what did you do? Promote a racist piece of shits campaign? You definitely share the same views that colorful people are to be shit on and ignored.
– My armpit hair is fucking awesome and I can braid them and dye them if I want to.
3. “These People”- Who are “these people”? People who question? People who consider feedback and admit when they may have chosen to react poorly? Uncle Bigot never does that! People who have a different opinion than mainstream comedy? People who believe in the power of words and want the world to be a better place? Feminists? Feminism is supposed to be about the equality of all genders and races. Its interesting that my main issue with the set was the men getting raped “joke” so clearly this is not just some female righteous thing. This is about how topics are discussed.
4. Mentioning that he’ll pray for me because my parents are alcoholics? First of all, Christ would love the shit out of me because I stand up for equality and those who are less heard. This coming from the daughter of an over protective jewish mother and ex-southern baptist comedian father who make all their money off of art and inspired the me.. so uh fuck him. And fuck him for trying to be all paternal being like “well that doesn’t help” gesturing to my drink. Blaming my reaction on my first drink of the fucking night like the only way I could ever be upset about rape jokes is if I’m drunk . I think hes just jealous because society shames men who have feelings also and hes just jealous that I am not so emotionally repressed that I need to deal with my repression by lying on facebook. Jesus would pity him. Jesus would be disgusted at Trump for being a greedy fucking racist.
This jew believes that Christ would find the dishonesty in this situation appalling. I took his points about comedy and admitted I may have overreacted. He hugged me and acted compassionately, then chooses to go and frame me as the classic “irrational feminist.”
In conclusion, Kudos to the comic who actually did the Cosby set. He created quite the discussion and was open to discussing his act with me. I want to note he did not weigh in at all on Uncle Bigot Jr’s status, seems like he knows its some bullshit. Makes me think he is one of the reasonable ones. If your goal is to do shock value comedy be open to discussion and he was. He did a great job.
But, as far as the comedians that consistently put down women calling them liars, stupid, dehumanizing us into sexual objects, ESPECIALLY TRANSWOMEN and refusing to acknowledge that we live in a terribly misogynistic insensitive culture here is what I have to say to you:
I find you old fashion. I find you boring. If you want to keep doing the same old bullshit over and over as each misogynistic comic did before you then good for fucking you..
My question is what the fuck ever happened to being original?
Please share this post if you think I make any good points at all. Post it if you want to challenge any of my points. Post it if you want to mock me. Post it if you think I’m an idiot. Go right ahead. I want some discussion.
Also.. shameless self promotion: My partner, myself and many other hilarious comedians and artists do a show called Church of the Blacklite Leopard- a mockery of religious fundamentalism and bigotry.We are a mock service. If you want to see comedy that makes a point come check us out. August 7th 2015 @ the Music Inn 169 W4th Street. Facebook.com/loveyourspots #loveyourspots