On being young enough to know it all… nearly.

November 28, 2009

Sometimes over certain things, I feel long in the tooth.

When those much younger than me learn or discover and are convinced that the lesson is unique or the discovery new, despite it being obvious (to me) that’s not the case, it’s often difficult to hold back to just a knowing smile and remain schtum.

When I do hold back, perhaps it’s in recognition that we all, in our own ways, have to learn for ourselves; some things can’t be taught except by experience and sometimes not even then. So it’s not kind or charitable, simply realistic and encouraging.
Is it cruel or arrogant then to sometimes go beyond a knowing smile and gently rib or pointedly remark on long-made discoveries and old lessons mistakenly awarded novelty or even left unlearned?

Maybe not holding back is born of frustration at all the seemingly valuable stuff it’s not possible to pass down the years and so has to be, perhaps painfully, re-learned once more, sometimes at great cost. And maybe that strength of feeling is triggered in me only for those causes I care about or those in whom I recognise elements of a younger self.

The piss-take here, if harsh, is intended in that spirit and not by coincidence comes in at a rule-breaking 501 words.

 

Keeper of the Sacred Flambé

Guys, here’s lil’ ol’ me, inveterate sexy lefty, fem-anarcho, poly-curious empathist, hunched – on a Saturday night (no, really) – beneath a niffy blanket on the once sprung settee, feet tucked under me and sipping cheap sherry from a chipped china mug whilst my squat-mates are down the pub drinking next months’ gas-bill out of their £100 lottery winnings.

An opportunity for measured, calm, reflection; self-examination even? Not a chance (no, really).

Tuesday’s my deadline for The Pakora and Thursday for Literal Complicity – both awaiting 500 words of polished but edgy prose from the youngest, sassiest, political game-shifter out here.

Oh Karl Marx, how I do want to bash you: great intention, socialist credentials even, and on your day a fine writer of your time. But really, the old staple of “philosophers interpret the world – the point is to change it” simply fails to convey for my generation of young, brooding, self-assured, intelligent deviant, reprobate women, the compelling and challenging energy of “Don’t reflect or regret – rant”.

What really takes the entire gluten-free cake is the uncomplicated irresponsibility of our forbears- (that’s you, Mum and Dad, and others of your ilk) in failing to address or resolve the patriarchal, class-ridden mess that it’s fallen to me to deal with. I’m forced to find my place in a world of domination and subjection. To break these shackles has meant facing the unrelenting pressure to perfect myself.

Only selfless duty and plain day humanity have made me the literary serrated-edge, keen – in an enthusiasm matched by sharpness kinda way – to slice through the hardening crust of post-modern oppression.

To slice, of course, without leaving crumbs on the floor for some anonymous dyson-hag – paid below the minimum wage and weekly remitting half, by money transfer, to their estranged family in the shantytown periphery of a sprawling West African conurbation – to clear up after me.

No, really – this is NOT easy.

Perpetually positioning myself in solidarity with self-defining minorities, losing neither nuance nor integrity, is tough. Maintaining safe non-white, contra-male and counter-heteronormative ground in which the seeds of my better tomorrow might germ, flourish and be celebrated is tougher still.

Achieving these in the teeth of arcane, often bitter, debate within an atomised, confused Left, whilst simultaneously, and apparently unselfconsciously, disclosing sufficient of my own identities (sometimes fact, sometimes fiction, but ever heartfelt) to help cement the bonds of struggle – this IS not easy.

Slowly and carefully cleaning and dressing the suppurating wounds of webattle, wittingly enjoined against a bullying, invective-equipped, adhomortar-firing mercenary force that draws ample rations from the paymaster of witchuntery, actually hurts.

No, really, I am but ladyflesh.

Brought manacled to the dock, facing spurious charges of indefensible, unacknowledged, privilege from gross charlatans irredeemably ignorant of the percentage scholarship I qualified for, who gratuitously discount my work ethic, disparage my background and mistake my privilege for power: this hurts.

THIS is not easy.

Why do I do it? Well fuck, why do my mates always go down the pub without me?

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