LDO: Changing Course

Where lies the greater potential for radical feminist change: with the lone isolated radical feminist whistling in the dark, or with the radical feminist mired in a group of liberals, having the same arguments over and over? Ah, you say, an unanswerable, in the tradition of the sound of one hand clapping. Yep.

My provisional membership ends today, and I’ve decided not to go forward in the process right now. Struggling with this very difficult choice is part of why this blog has been so bare of original material in the last couple months. There are oh-so-many reasons why this is the course I’m taking currently, but the most important ones are:

  • Political differences with some members of the community I’ve been considering, particularly in our understanding of oppression and privilege, and how (or whether) to address inequality and injustice;
  • My dislike of a lot of tension and anxiety around food, the presence of this tension and anxiety at community events;
  • The ongoing conflicted relationships between other members of the community;
  • Some changes in my personal life that make my present circumstances more appealing than they seemed in May, most importantly a bigger, safer, quieter, cheaper apartment.

Let me be very clear that I am not at all sure I am doing the right thing. It occurs to me that day-to-day life on the land could be very different in content and character from what I have experienced there to date–many weekend visits, one rainy month sharing a small space with my girlfriend and two cats, a series of potlucks/meetings with people who don’t seem to be enjoying themselves, and two very homogeneous week-long festivals. The land itself is a wonderful place to be; this past weekend Kya and I walked to the canyon rim at sunset and looked over the surrounding valley, watched the sky stripe itself from neon pink to fuchsia, cobalt to dark blue, then wandered back to her house through twilit knee-high golden grass rustling in the gentle wind. My heart ached with love for the silent wild beauty of the place. We cut more wood, and read out loud to each other sitting by the glowing wood stove. We made simple meals and plotted revolution. So I’m at least as aware of how terrific it could be to be there, as I am of problems and conflicts.

At the same time, I have no illusions that life in the big city is in any way preferable. One of my neighbors has taken up customizing cars in his driveway, and for the last week or so I have been subjected to loudly revving engines at intervals throughout the day. We all know the stuff I hate about the city–the noise, the crime, the pollution, the absence of wildlife butts to photograph, the dearth of opportunities to go outside naked without risking ridicule or arrest, the skeevy white boys wandering around sneering. So it is certainly not for its revolutionary superiority over women’s land that, for the moment, I’m choosing to stay in the city.

My plan is to explore what the city holds for me. I want to finish my design program and acquaint myself with the political action of this town. It’s entirely possible there may not be any, or that what there is is based on the same liberal politics shared by most landdykes (and most lesbians, and most feminists). It’s entirely possible the radical feminist political community I want does not exist anywhere, and after a year or so, women’s land may end up looking like a distinct improvement over what I find or am able to create on my own here–not to mention the possibility that lesbian land may attract radical women in ways that a large mainstream city does not.

I also believe I see the beginnings of some positive change in the community, particularly in response to the challenges I have presented about food issues. I do appreciate that, and I will be curious and interested to see how the situation changes over time.

But, for now, it’s back to weekend visits and the occasional longer stay when circumstances and K permit. If nothing else, I’m looking forward to a break from feeling like the women on the tarot card below (which turned up as the passing influence card in a recent reading).

bull-leapers
Photo Credit: Bull Leapers: Balance, Two of Pentacles, from Daughters of the Moon Tarot by Ffiona Morgan.

Attempting to do handstands on the back of a running bull is an incredibly apt metaphor for the internal state of someone trying to create good relationships with six other women who’ve known each other intimately for at least ten years, with all their (and her) conflicting wants, wishes, needs, attitudes, shortcomings, gifts, strengths and character flaws.

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