The Personal is Political

So, I have problems.

Maybe that is weird to say.

But I have problems. And actually, since twelve I knew I had problems. I sat at the computer through my adolescence studying all the types of problems. I went to WebMD for mental health problems. I went to Tumblr for my adolescent girl problems. Eventually I went so far as Bell Hooks for my half white-Vietnamese problems (I don’t even think they even existed, but I was convinced they did, because Tumblr). And as I became older and more involved with the broader culture I went to Bernie Sanders for my female oppression problems and my impoverished, college student circumstance problems (which also didn’t really exist, but I thought they did, because Tumblr).

I had lots of problems. And I tried to convince others I was problematic. I called my twelve year old, twelve hour sleeping habits the problem of depression. I thought the solution was to go to therapy. They, too, thought I was problematic, but they called the problems laziness. They also called it my personality. They thought the solutions were to study more and go to school.

When I was a kid I had problems, but when I was a kid I did not know it (I also did not know I was being sexually and physically abused, for that was blocked out of my memory, only to emerge recently actually—which is common knowledge in the research world). When I see statues being defaced at universities in the face of perceived oppressors, I can actually relate. But I don’t agree, since now I am not that same kid who was unaware.

In school, they called my anger bad temperament problems. As I grew up they called my fear of authoritative figures my “personality”. Now, my suicidal jokes, my violent political outbursts, and my public conversations with extraterrestrial friends (they come to visit me when I am stressed) are called “socially unacceptable problems” and by the mental health industry “illness” problems, “please cover them up” problems, and “do not hurt others or yourself” problems.

Thankfully, though, there is an industry to accept my concerns in that I am not problematic and my violent desires are reasonable! They are called third wave feminists. I was part of an Andrea Dworkin’s local reading circle at the beginning of college, in fact. They recognized my problems and did not tell me I was being stupid like the political correct critics. But they also did not offer me solutions to my problems. So I switched to the anomalous Camille Paglia reading circle, where I find single individuals in various parts of the country to discuss her, online. Now the Andrea Dworkin clubs say I have problems.

The political correctness critics also call flag burning and Andrea Dworkin and intersectionality problems. But they call them political and social problems.

So actually, some of my problems are not even problems at all, you see. They are merely my political views. And I since I am 100% rational, I also know this before someone has pointed out what the problem truly is.

But before I became rational, I was a mess (and still am in other areas). I needed answers  and found comfort in different ways before I was strong enough to embrace Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia. In high school one of my friends told stories about how she she would visit her brothers in prison in childhood, being surrounded by Alcoholics Anonymous material and drug problems and family violence. As I got older I became friends with more locals, and since I live in St. Louis, where Ferguson is a municipality of, I hear stories about the influence of racial tensions and institutional hate. One friend tell me stories about how he would be beat as a child by the police. He posts statuses about justifying violence in the community (but does not actually do it). I grew up reading Chuck Palahniuk and in high school some of my social circle favored A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I read Running With Scissors, watched and read Fight Club with my friends. Even my high school English teacher shared with the class (weirdly) about her love for Palahniuk’s Choke. Everybody wanted problems. We all now write literature and play music and occasionally post Facebook statuses about our problems (but we do not go out and punch people and stop others from expressing). Most people say we are weird, so we do not hang out with them. And they do not know us.

Today, I work in the human rights industry as a volunteer. I am earning a degree in Psychology. I see the political and social issues that are on the topic of modern culture on the timelines of activists and citizens aware of the country’s modern issues of Freedom of Speech, changing university infrastructure, safe spaces, banning speakers like Ben Shapiro, and more—and not just in this country but worldwide. Everyone is saying that they are oppressed and the problem is the institutions in community, government, and law.

I don’t know if it is obvious, but it seems to me that I am not the only one that has problems. Call me crazy (which I already am, apparently), but I think people arguing on Facebook about politics and making Twitter accounts to attack politics reminds me of me also yelling at people online and blaming them for my childhood abuses when I have no idea who I am actually yelling at face to face. Sometimes I do not even realize I am yelling, though, or being weird. And human rights activists and their professionally acceptable friends message me saying they are agitated with my public internet behavior and that I should “stop being weird”. Sometimes I think of another Facebook friend who puts questions in the “comments” option on Facebook or on popular publication articles, which I think is the typical methodology to inquiring about problems (at least in the industries that actually want to solve them).

I wonder if I should also message them to tell them not to be weird in their political views, because quite frankly I also think I would like to have a say in what kind of behavior is expressed online and in public if we are to justify social conduct on weirdness. Maybe I will support third waves in that sense, so that we may block them off the liberal social platforms, since we also cannot have our own expression (even on our own Timelines). Maybe I think their containment is weird to my erraticism. I mean, there certainly is a large number of people who could relate to me. But we mostly find them in prison. Or as refugees.

But soon I hope more people will share my perspective, since more are predicted to become like me anyway!

Recently, I realized that I had problems, I suppose for the sixtieth meta level, and am realizing I may be blaming men and professionals for things they did to me in childhood, not now. Forgive me, as I am only human. I am only twenty three. Not twenty-five, twenty-eight, thirty-two, or forty—ages of many of my online personal critics. I am also female, which does not matter too much, unless it is the same critics who point that out.

I think I am aware I have these issues, and I even tried to write about it in public before I went to my personal Timeline. But apparently I cannot express in school newspapers or certain online forums about how it may be true that we, women hold ourselves back (I am too misogynist), or on my own Facebook timeline about how I am angry at the world (it is too weird, also apparently I need to go back to the psychiatrist so I do not make people more uncomfortable with my black humor jokes on my prior suicide desires). In the mental health industry, I am also not allowed to be violent or joke there (I need to listen to my feelings, actually, for ten years. Or ten hours, for them to ask me if I am going to hurt myself). So, I try to find the appropriate places for these concerns.

So as you can see, I have problems. And I am trying to look for places to help them. But they cannot be personal, you see (that is too weird). And my solutions to them cannot be political (or else I am misogynist). Maybe the only thing left is to confine myself in the jail on the internet (for my ideology, not my personal life) and my personal life to the mental institutions (where I would not be allowed to go to vote if an election were coming up, or be allowed to go outside, period, for that matter). Direct action is not really allowed in these places. They do not like for you to move your body at will at all, really. They do not let you go outside when you want. They don’t let you go to the gym to dance if you want either. They also strap you down with belts and also sedate you if you end up letting out your pent up extremity… which is really uncomfortable, or so my aunt tells me. Actually more accurately it is my father who tells me. She does not have teeth to tell me about the forty years she has been with these “hospitals” from schizophrenia, so I cannot understand what she is saying a lot of the time. I still have my teeth, but not too much rational explanatory energy left to defend myself either, so I can relate. I find it is enough to relate to, and avoid going to the prisons to learn more, where others like me are stored, because I do not know how to talk to them. Also I am scared. Also because they are in jail.

I have problems, and for the past decade I have been trying to solve them. I’ve seen a therapist off and on for about a decade now. I’ve been on various types of medication. I even volunteer for a local trauma education and prevention initiative, where they try to change the initial public health inquiry from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”.

This type of education is very new. In fact, self report questionnaires and measurement tools used to gauge and assess risk for disease is only a recent thing, major information sources birthing only in 2012. ACEs Too High is one of them, where ACE stand for Adverse Childhood Experiences and if you score 4 or higher you are at severe risk for mental and physical health problems.

I scored 8/10. I already said that I have problems. And I’ve been in therapy for a decade to solve them. I even am part of the most innovative health clinic in the region, and I work on my food and my diet to help my neurodevelopment (something I learned from the doctors and also at the Society for Neuroscience Conference I attended in 2016). I also tried to facilitate a panel discussion at my university on the fine lines between ideological debate and proper care for people with trauma. I did not get an email from them to reply, but I did, however, receive an email from them to advertise their panel discussion on the positives of Black Lives Matter three weeks prior. I also try to educate some political activists about the nature of my personal manner and its influence on broader social contexts, but it causes them too much agitation, so we have to stop while they take a break (I also have to take a break when I talk about problems in therapy, who I see at least once every two weeks). I understand, like my therapist sometimes, that politics and social criticism is much more important than one’s health.

There is a thing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder research (which I have, because I said I had problems, and also because, WebMD and Tumblr and psychiatry) where they say “Until they start to feel safe a survivor won’t be able to react to anything or anyone”. And I do know from my degree that some minorities are significantly known to have higher rates of exposure to child maltreatment. But of course, this does not mean all are like that. But I wonder what kind of reactions maltreatment survivors—from any age— would have when they are finally feeling safe? And especially when the teachers put them in the principles’ office, or the institutions put their friends in the jails, or the mental health industry confines similar individuals to the chairs, I wonder if it would be extreme violence that they would feel, or the inclination to have peaceful, rational discussion? I also wonder if America’s enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sexual revolution for women starting in the sixties is creating a national safe space for the anger to come out, which was first noticed in 1970, according to Paglia.

But since we are not trained in trauma education, no, we are all just crazy. And we have problems. Even in academia, it is true. So if I am switching to third waves, I also wonder if universities or therapy offices and Jiu-Jitsu training are or are not the appropriate place for anger? I know mental illness is a difficult topic, and perhaps not totally the only topic pertaining to this subject, but apparently blacks and  and Hispanics use the mental health industry at about one-half the rate of white Americans. And apparently there is a large stigma about it nationwide. Only 25% of people from a CDC sample in 2013 held the view that people are actually caring and sympathetic towards people with mental disorders.

Maybe I am not accurate in addressing my own problems. Maybe I am not the smartest in helping myself or attempting to solve them. But I know there are industries for them. And I know I have a brain that can criticize them, and not the institutions. For I also know, too, that many (if not most) university mission statements, say their purpose is to deliver a quality education “to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas” (University of Chicago), endeavors that “committed to free scholarly inquiry” (California State University, Los Angeles), and to “committed to intellectual honesty while being culturally diverse” (University of Pennsylvania). So I do not personally feel their are liable to taking care of my fear of men and all the oppressors (though I do use the disabilities office and change my course schedule or just take a break from the semester if I truly want to avoid the controversy).

I know there are problems within the mental health industry,  where the money goes to mostly medications, outpatient care. It is still really hard to access. But I try to write about it, or tell others about it. But others know most of the problems exist in the social and political sphere, which needs way more attention. So I can see how it is not appealing (though neither are Instagram suicide prevention campaigns). And that definitely helps the critics and academic leaders to substantially find beneficial solutions to help us recognize the problems and not conflate them with cultural issues or using us to leverage their business success. Trigger warnings, for example, help us out tremendously. Also calling us indolent irrationals, by the public, too help us tremendously. That is why we go back to the mental health industry and not further retaliate on campuses.

I know that I am very unskilled at labeling my problems. But I am just being political, frankly. This is just my opinion.

And they might not be the same kind as everybody else’s, but I can’t really tell, as I am not rational, you see.

Like I said, I have problems.

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