It’s not a matter of fate, it’s just a question of time, and we all fall down (pt. 2)

5 01 2018


23. The ever-present dread: your struggles only matter once you’ve overcome them.

24. Camus, of course, reminded us both that the struggle doesn’t matter and that the struggle is life; there is no overcoming.

25. My struggle is that I’m not struggling: I’ve given up.

26. Of course, Camus might say there is no giving up, either: to live is struggle, to struggle is to live.

27. Of course, Camus is dead.

28. Well. I’m struggling with my struggle, which is nifty meta way to avoid engagement, which was Camus’s real point.

29. It’s not that you can’t contemplate the boulder or wonder about the plague: it’s that you can’t just contemplate the boulder or wonder about the plague. At some point you have to move.

30. That’s where I am, slightly suspended, barely moving.

31. This is my struggle-not struggle—with myself. And that’s what Camus wrote about, the assertion of the self in an indifferent world.

32. But what of this assertion in a mean world? What if it’s not just the boulder and gravity? What if someone or something is trying to crush you?

33. Kelly Stout, who wrote that line quoted in #23, also quoted Zadie Smith: I remember there was always a girl with a secret, with something furtive and broken in her, . . . I often thought I saw her again, this girl who lives everywhere and at all times in history, who is sweeping the yard or pouring out tea or carrying somebody else’s baby on her hip and looking over at you with a secret she can’t tell.

34. The secret she can’t tell: the harm and the hurt, inflicted. Not indifference; malevolence.

35.There are (at least) two struggles, then, which I’ve been collapsing into one: with gravity (too much and not enough), and with all that wouldn’t mind crushing us.

To be continued.

I’ll jar these mountains till they fall

15 08 2010

‘I am done.’

That was my response to a TNC post on his unwillingness to keep fighting battles he considers settled: I don’t want to die debating the humanity of the blacks, the gays, the browns and the poor.

Amen (or whatever the secular version of that would be), I said in response. I, too, am done defending my status as a human being, done even defending the notion that all of us are humans, and that that’s what, and all, that matters. That I am is settled, done.

But, alas, I am not done. After I said my pie/eace, I realized that there are some issues which are not settled and for which I cannot lay my hammer down.

There are the continued flare-ups, as with the issue of Islam in the US, and whether Muslims get to be as American, much less as human, as the rest of us.

And, of course, there’s abortion. A week or so ago I got sucked into another debate on abortion (also on TNC’s blog); against all better judgment, I couldn’t let the argument that abortion is an immoral and fundamentally selfish act.

Now, those making this argument stipulated that they believe abortion should remain legal, so I should have been able to let it be, right? After all, I do believe abortion is morally fraught, which means I ought to allow for those who agree with me on the legality of abortion to think whatever they want about women who do terminate their pregnancies.

But I couldn’t, because it seemed to me that even in their agreement on the law they diminished the status of those who would make use of the law. How dare a woman choose her life over that of the fetus? they argued. How dare she be so selfish?

How dare she choose herself.

So, yes, I am glad that these critics offer support, however tepid, for the legal right of a woman to make decisions about continuing or ending her pregnancy.

Too bad that support is not so much for the woman herself.

I am tired of this fight, too, am tired of defending a woman’s being, as a human being, and were it just pundits and blog commenters sneering about the decisions a woman may make, I might be able to walk away.

But as long as those with the power to threaten a woman’s ability to live as free human being continue to do so, I’ll keep my hammer handy.