Jordan West

Nocturnal Etheria
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2001-07-01 08:41:47 (UTC)

i am not an angry girl, but i guess i've got everyone fooled. everytime i say something they find hard to hear, they chalk it up to my anger and never to their own fear"

all in all, i'd consider myself a bad person. maybe bad's
not the word, maybe just "less
good." "inadequate," "contradictory," "selfish," and "self-
pitying" are just a few more words i'd choose to describe
myself with. they probably all seem related by only a loose
string of meanings one might find in a webster's somewhere.
i'm not going to bother explaining why they all relate in a
very basic and thorough way to my definition of "self"
because you've never been in my head, and never will be, so
there's really no point in trying to understand; you're
probably better off for it anyway.

still, my point in this entry isn't to talk about why i
feel so bad all the time, but, rather, what i do to make
myself feel better. i'm an activist. currently i work 12
hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week (my summer job) for an
enviromental group in california, and soon i'll be working
for a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights
group. i walk door to door for 5 of those 12 hours every
day, talking to people i'venever met, to t ry to convince
them that its not necessary to pollute our air and harm our
children in order to turn on a light, or that gay people
really do get beat up and brutally murdered b/c some
closeted homophobe thought i'd be fun, and that this is
actually a bad thing.

are you impressed? yeah, most people are. i suppose its a
pretty impressive thing to do. to tell you the truth, i do
it b/c i'm impressed myself. it makes me feel good. i go
home at night knowing that, no matter what horrible things
i've done with my personal life, i worked hard for, just
the possibility that i might save a life one day,
indirectly. maybe, if the clean power legislation gets
passed, 50 years from now an underprivilaged kid with no
health insurance won't die b/c the emergency room doctors
turn him away because his mom can't fill out all the paper
work. and maybe, by working for hate-crimes legislation to
include sexual orientation, gender-identity and disability
status, gradually, over time, the nation's view on same-sex
relationships or transgender people will change. maybe, the
next time a transgender woman uses the woman's bathroom,
the landlord of the building won't evict the latino
AIDS/HIV clinic the woman was attending b/c he was a bigot
(check out www.aclu.org for the whole story).

i'll be the first one to admit that my 'altruism'
and 'dedication to the cause' is selfishly motivated.
apparently, i come off to most people (even my good
friends) as pretty self-richeous. i wouldn't say that,
necessarily. do i think the work i do is right? yes. do i
think what other people do is wrong? not always, but
sometimes. do i care if you sit on your ass all day,
rather than work your ass off for whatever cause you care
about? no, not really. but, the fact is, someone has to do
it. and it makes me feel good. when i lay in bed at night
and think about how many promises i broke that day to the
people i'm supposed to love, i know that at least i'm
working for a cause that i believe in. thats why i do it.
not because i should, or because you should, but b/c it
makes me feel like i deserve the oxygen i breathe, b/c
sometimes i doubt if i would if it weren't for my work.

i hate it that everyone at work knows i'm bisexual. i hate
walking around being the gay in the atheletic department. i
hate having a roommate put swasticas up in our room to mock
my efforts at honoring matthew shepard. but i do it because
it makes me a 'good' person.

what good does my work do? maybe none, maybe a lot. no,
women in this country aren't forced to mutilate their own
genitals because of an oppressive government. there are men
who do that for them because of an apathetic government.
imagine being jumped from behind by an unknown man who
proceeds to ram his 6 inch penis into your vagina and
thrust and thrust until your flesh is ripped apart and
bleeding and your reproductive organs are permenatly
destroyed. thats why i work for women's rights.

no, most people in this country aren't hunted by armed
militias and brutally beaten and hung by trees after
they're tortured. we leave that to individual citizens who
think its fun. imagine putting your trust in the kindness
of people, no matter how stupid the idea might sound to
you, to find yourself being dragged in the middle of a
field and pistol whipped, and then mercilessly beaten so
that you're entire body is covered in blood, except for the
two lines running down your face where the tears had
fallen, and left, tied to a fence, to die. thats why i work
for lbgt rights.

no, sweatshops aren't common in america. we merely force
people entering this country who have a certain skin color
to work for pennies a day only to see their children slowly
starving because the two jobs they work don't pay the
bills. thats why i work for racial equality and
redistribution of finances.

the issue isn't that one type of oppression is worse than
another. thats a counter-productive way of looking at
things. the fact is that people have certain human and
civil rights that shouldn't be violated, period. is being
persecuted for your religion "worse" than being called
faggot? well, quantitatively, i suppose, yes. but neither
should happen, and in my view, its equally necessary to
work for the eradication of both.

i suppose i need to add a disclaimer to this entry...by
giving you the reasons i do what i do, i in no way intend
to degrade anyone else's opinions or ways of life. one can
be an activist in many ways, and even if one is not an
activist, one can stil lbe a wonderful person. if you feel
attacked at all for your beliefs or actions by reading this
entry, its most likely because of some issues you have with
yourself, and is not from anything i've said here.

i think that 'goodness' is acomplicated and lengthy issue
that is not easily defined. maybe you're a badperson. but
maybe you did some ething nice for someone once, not
entirly sure what propeleld you to do so. so, maybe you're
not so bad afterall. maybe you're completely apathetic and
uninterested in anyone else's problems. bu tmaybe one day
you listened to a friend who had a problem. so, maybe you
care a bit more than you thought you did.

i guess my message is that judging oneself by someone
else's standards is an utterly rediculous idea, because
they don't live your life. unless they can see both sides
of the story, they have no place imposing judgement on you.
so, if someone thinks i'm self-richeous because i share my
beliefs with others, good for them. maybe they're right. i
don't really care. so maybe someone thinks you're apathetic
because you don't devote yourself to issues. maybe they're
right. but, really, who cares? i for one, don't. it just
makes my job a little harder. but maybe its supposed to be
that way. who knows?


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