Michelle Tea

i loved this piece by michelle tea. she’s slightly older than me, which made her ‘a generation ahead’ back in the day when we were all babies.

i love what she’s saying here about writing as a compulsive addiction. yes, buddhist enlightenment calls for an erasure of self but life is varied and there are moments where we need to process, and other moments where we’re called on to pursue enlightenment. there are times where we need to spew bile about Cruise Dude or Sara/ Emma, and there is a time to accept that this venom has lost its potency… or relevance.

i already sent this piece to my twin-flame cousin and i’m excited to read it again when i need a smart older woman to remind me about why i write.

i also realize that i did last week’s assignment wrong and was supposed to write out some actual notes rather than describe what i’m working on (lol :)))

today i am thinking about ‘charlie’, a white man at work who was hired as a project manager but seems only to schedule and attend meetings in which the other white men high five and make bad jokes. this morning, charlie put on his ‘i’m an authority figure’ voice – which he’s used on me before – to try and coerce me into taking on responsibilities beyond my scope as a writer/ editor. my sweet boss, who is five years younger than me and a ‘model minority’ (chinese), never speaks up against white men. instead, she urges me to follow the rules so that i don’t get in trouble.

perhaps because i underwent a similar queer-fronted journey as michelle tea, instead of fear i get filled with rage.

so here’s what i’m going through:

we live in a world of white supremacy. it’s ingrained in all of us, including me. my response is rebellious, and that confuses / disorients people who believe that my ‘place’ is to be fearful. so it’s not that it doesn’t occur to me that the normal thing to do would be to write directly to ‘charlie’ saying: hey man, sorry i got tense in the phone call earlier, but here – let me explain to you for the 40th time the thing that you seem too dense to understand without me holding your hand through it…

it’s that i know that while such an expectation – for me to act my place and obscure my own intelligence and do some extra emotional clean up work for the sake of a man’s ego – is heinous, it is also absolutely justified in this world of stacked values.

<– deep thoughts that i will integrate into writing somehow.

thank you catherine for bringing michelle tea back!

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2 Responses to Michelle Tea

  1. Sarah says:

    Ra, i like what you say about how potency can lose relevance. how fiercely we can write about an experience for a while and then, after writing it into oblivion, how unimportant it can seem. as Tea says “Times change and people change, perspectives shift and new information comes to light…”

    rage is a complicated feeling. but reading about your situation–completely understandable and warranted. you have zero obligation to handhold this man and i look forward to seeing how your thoughts about justification and expectation unfold in your writing.

  2. Hey Ra,
    I’m so glad this essay resonated with you! And I love how you are connecting thoughts stemming from your reading of the essay (e.g., why you write) to your response to someone at work (i.e., why you respond a certain way and the internal struggle that is a part of that).

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