to My World#6. I'm really starting to do these things quite a bit faster
now. I'm getting a lot more help in the form of other people writing
things for me. Living inside has been doing me good. Since I got clean
25 months ago I've gained about 55 pounds. On the down side, I lost
another friend in a drug related murder. His name was Chris, he was
from Arcata/Eureka. This makes number six in terms of just drug/alcohol
induced or related deaths within my circle of relations in the last
three years. I think I'm about done with the so called community here
in the east bay. It doesn't have much to offer me. It doesn't seem like
it has much to offer in general. Sure there's a lot of political stuff
going on, but what good is that if you are dead?
to move out of here next summer.
looks like the city of Berkeley is going to finally get away with criminalizing
sitting, sleeping and asking for change. Which definitely makes it time
for me to go. Follow up from #3, the Bart cop officer Crabtree that
murdered Jerold Hall for no reason was found dead hanging from his bedroom
ceiling in what his girlfriend described as a "weird sexual practice".
1.a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist
or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner
under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. b. The followers
of such a religion or sect.
2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony
4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator
to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
5.a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a
person, principle, or thing. b. The object of such devotion.
6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic
or intellectual interest.
read a book that got me thinking about what we call manhood. It's called
Refusing to be a Man, by John Stoltenberg. The basic premise is that
what has come to be called manhood is not a naturally occurring phenomenon.
I always thought that was the case but I never really thought about
how the whole thing was put into place. I couldn't really put it all
together in my mind until I stumbled onto the idea of putting the concept
of "manhood" into the context of a Cult.
was younger I was apprehended by a cult called the O.T.O. or Ordo Templi
Orientis. They did the usual cult things to get kids into their cult.
They gave out a lot of free pot and speed. They attracted guys with
the allure of sex from their women, and visa versa. They presented the
promise of being able to reveal the mysteries and secrets of magical
power and so on. Personally I was into the speed and the "free love",
so I hung out with them and they happened to move into the house where
I was crashing at the time. I was lucky, I was such an addict that I
was too interested in getting more dope in my arm, and I never ended
up joining them. None the less when I started to back away from them,
one of them tried to stab me. Every time I try to question them there
are more implied threats of violence/death, even today. The reason I
said that I was glad I never joined is because the penalty for unjoining
or resignation is supposed to be death.
way once I started thinking about my experience with them I realized
that it was basically the same experience as the one I had with being
socialized into my gender role.
in two stages:
of violence or actual violence for lack of compliance
was little they tried to lure me into the manhood thing by showing me
the advantages it held for me, power over the women, being higher on
the hierarchy ladder, etc. They told me lots of lies about why it made
sense to not have my emotions. They told me I was good and/or rewarded
me when I played with guns and trucks and dirt and sports equipment.
There are probably tens of thousands of examples but if you are male
I probably don't need to tell you about them cuz you already know. The
basic equation is that if you act in accordance with how they defined
your gender you get praise and encouragement.
other hand if I didn't go along with their brand of manhood a very different
reaction would occur. It would usually be something like, "when your
father gets home I'm going to tell him and he's going to..." or I would
get beaten with something out of the drawer of the kitchen or they would
laugh at me in a way to intentionally shame me. If it wasn't my parents
and it was my peers or my brother, they would call you a sissy and a
faggot and if you didn't immediately disprove that you weren't a sissy
then they took that as permission to beat you when ever they felt like
things aren't much different. Out in the world most of the "men " are
still out there trying to prove their "manhood". I've gotten pretty
good at avoiding them, but sometimes it's impossible. It's always the
same thing, they violate your space until you give some sort of reaction
to acknowledge their action, then they do the physical intimidation
thing to prove that they don't have to abide by any sort of agreed upon
social conduct. The stupid thing is that these are the same asshole's
who are constantly verbalizing the American worker's mantra "yes sir,
no sir, kiss your ass sir? oh, of course sir!", at work. They are probably
trying to prove their "manhood" all the time because they feel so powerless
it most difficult to call people on their sexism when they are people
inside the punk scene. I guess I still hold the fear instilled in me
that if I question them they will take back their approval of me or
that they will publicly question my "manhood" or that they will react
this other part of manhood I noticed. It is the structure called hierarchy.
once kings. If the king abused, taxed and violated everyone equally
no one would tolerate it, they would collectively kick his ass. However
if every man was told that he was the king of his own family then he
wouldn't have to redirect the abuse back to the original abuser, he
could just take it out on his wife and kids. This is the same way that
manhood resembles a cult, there is someone at the top who receives all
the benefits and privileges. This might sound a little weird but you
know what they say.
home is his castle.
it hasn't been until lately that some women aren't considered property.
Also children are still legally considered property until they are eighteen
I get kind of discouraged because sometimes it seems punk is built on
a foundation of "manhood" and not much else. It makes me wonder how
much I want to invest (emotionally, physically, intellectually) into
punk. It all seems like macho guys, subservient worshiping women, stratified
classes that include a "ruling class", arena rock star attitudes, etc.
been finding it increasingly helpful to try to define for myself what
manhood could/should be:
A man should
be emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually available
to his partner.
A man should
be emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually available
to his children.
A man should
be emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually available
to his community.
A man should
strive to nurture his family and his community.
A man should
be responsible for respecting his connection to the Earth and her inhabitants
by not harvesting resources beyond his own needs.
A man should
not only be present for his own children but also to the other children
in his community.
In a sexual
relationship a man should be primarily concerned with the new life he
may be creating rather than his own personal want for sexual release.
A man should
find himself a gender identity through the experience of being a responsible,
respectful man rather than proving it with sexual or violent conquest.
A man should
take responsibility for speaking his mind to the other men and not withholding
his opinions and feelings on the basis of their common gender.
A man should
act in defense of his family and community in a way that might include
violence but does not necessarily include violence.
A man should
abandon the notion of POWER OVER.
A man should
embrace the notion of POWER OF.
I thought I should reprint the page from John Stoltenberg's book that
set the spark in my mind.
time I was growing up, I knew that there was something really problematic
in my relationship to manhood. Inside, deep inside, I never believed
I was fully male-I never believed I was growing up enough of a man.
I believed the someplace out there, in other men, there was something
that was genuine authentic all-american manhood-the real stuff-but I
didn't have it: not enough of it to convince me anyway, even if I managed
to be fairly convincing to those around me. I felt like an impostor,
like a fake. I agonized a lot about not feeling male enough, and I had
no idea then how much
was not alone.
Then I read those words-those words that suggested to me for the first
time that the notion of manhood is a cultural delusion, a baseless belief,
a false front, a house of cards. It's not true. The category I was trying
so desperately to belong to, to be a member of in good standing-it doesn't
exist. Poof. Now you see it, now you don't. Now you're terrified your
not really part of it; now your free, you don't have to worry anymore.
However removed you feel inside from "authentic manhood", it doesn't
matter. What matters is the center inside of yourself-and how you live,
and how you treat people, and what you can contribute as you pass through
life on this earth, and how honestly you love, and how carefully you
make choices. Those are the things that really matter. Not whether you're
a real man. There's no such thing."
1. Are you afraid of your partner?
2. Do you
feel like you have to walk on pins and needles sometimes to keep your
partner from getting angry?
your partner ever hit, slapped, or pushed you?
4. Do you
ever feel like you deserve to be punished?
5. Do you
ever feel like you've done something wrong but you just can't figure
out what it is?
you lost all respect or love for your partner?
7. Is your
partner very good to you most of the time -- sometimes downright wonderful,
but every once in a while very cruel or scary?
your partner drive you crazy or make you feel like you're going crazy?
9. Do you
find yourself sometimes thinking of ways of killing your partner?
you believed that your partner would kill you?
you been told by your partner that he or she would kill you?
your partner threatened to commit suicide?
you abused as a child?
you been forced by your partner to do something you didn't want to do?
you lost all or most of your friends since you've been with your partner?
you feel isolated, like there's nowhere to turn for help, and that no
one would believe you anyway?
you lost a job because of your partner?
you feel emotionally numb?
you feel like you have to say that you're doing okay even when you really
you afraid to tell anybody about what's going on in your life because
you don't want your partner to get in trouble or go to jail?
you ever been in a relationship where you could have answered yes to
these questions, but right now you're past all that?
or a friend in that?
ago, I could have answered YES!! to all of these questions and that's
exactly what I did. About 8 years ago, I was living in NYC, enjoying
what I thought was a very grown-up life. I thought I was totally cool,
bartending, making lots of cash, meeting people everywhere, doing lots
of drugs and alcohol and living alone. One night I went to this club
and this guy offered to sell me some ecstasy. That was the drug that
was popular, and I never turned anything down. (The rest of this story
will demonstrate where addiction took me and the types of pitiful decisions
I chose to make.) So the x-dealer saw me as an easy target and hung
around that night--I invited him to my house--the drugs continued to
flow, etc. The next 36 hours is pretty much a blur but somewhere in
there, during sex, the dealer freaked out and tried to strangle me.
I was terrified...in a t-shirt and little else, I climbed out of my
second story window and hung from a tree, crying, scared and still deeply
under the influence. The dealer was quite a salesman--extremely good
looking, dangerous and an excellent smooth talker. He told me he didn't
know what came over him, and a bunch of other lies just to get me out
of the tree, back into what would be a den of hell for the next three
might think I was pretty stupid to stay with this guy. To tell ya the
truth--stupid is probably the last thing I am, or was. When I think
about it now, it was partly my logical mind that kept me in this abusive
relationship for so long. I thought I could change him, I could help
him analyze his pain, help him overcome the tragedies of his life. Later
on in the relationship, I vowed to not let him do these horrible things
to other women (this was my martyr phase)--What were some of the horrible
things he did to me? Aside from the near daily slapping, punching and
kicking, he psychologically tore me down, to a point where I was no
longer sure of anything. What little self- esteem I had left was completely
gone. While I was with him, I allowed my relationships with my family
to deteriorate--I lied to them, assuring them I was o.k., even though
I wouldn't call for 6 months at a time--I let the relationships with
friends and co-workers go away, or if I did hang out I would focus all
of my conversations around him and what he was doing (these times were
rare because for the entire time we were together he hardly ever let
me out of his sight). I was losing my identity, I was letting myself
be dominated, out of fear for my life. Things in my life during that
time hardly ever changed, I was eternally feeling stuck-stranded and
sorry for myself. I now realize that much of my situation was a direct
result of the fact that I am a drug addict and every time I put drugs/alcohol
into my body, I don't make good decisions for myself. I end up in places
I don't want to be and with people I don't want to be with.
finally came where I couldn't stand my life the way it was, I was sick
and tired of being treated the way he was treating me and my pets. A
kind of force came inside me that was completely centered in courage
and faith--that I could get away and I could have a better life. One
morning he tried to strangle me for the last time. I was able to get
away--to get free. I went to a neighbors house and called the local
battered woman's shelter-they took me in for 9 weeks. They helped me
get my life back together. I had to leave my faithful pets, my possessions,
my job and all of my friends, no one, not even my parents knew where
I was staying. It was the only way I could begin to find out who I was
again. I got clean and sober the day I left him because it was obvious
to me that my relationship to him was part of my addiction too. My life
since I left him has been a slow process of recovery. It is amazing
that even five years after leaving him I still sometimes hear his voice
in my head--making cruel remarks--making racist remarks--making sexist
remarks. My life is so different, my heart truly goes out to both women
and men caught in this distractive cycle of hurting one another. I am
sure today that the main ingredient in my leaving him was a gift of
COURAGE that was probably with me all along , but for some reason I
had to go through that horrible experience. The very sad part is that
some people don't get to survive domestic violence. Every year thousands
of women and children and men die as a direct result of this senseless
a way out of a bad situation--you have to leave! My situation with him
was never going to change until I did something about it--if I had stuck
around waiting for him to change, I might be dead today.
lesson was a hard one for me, it took not only years to learn, it took
many more years to recover from.
today are for the most part healthy. I have learned how to say no, to
say yes and to assert my hopes, needs and fears--there is a life after
learned that it works both ways:
1. Is your
partner afraid of you sometimes?
you jealous of your partner?
3. Do you
need to know where your partner is at all times and with whom and doing
you very protective of your partner?
5. Do you
consider yourself the ruler of your castle?
6. Do you
feel like sometimes you have to put your foot down to straighten things
out in your relationship?
you ever hit, slapped or pushed your partner?
you ever said "Don't make me angry!"?
you ever threatened your partner?
you ever said something that your partner might consider a threat, even
if you never really would do it or were just joking?
you ever said or thought "If I can't have you, nobody can!"?
you ever thrown things or hit walls during an argument with your partner?
you find yourself "convincing" your partner on a regular basis to do
things that he or she would rather not do?
you consider it important that things go your way?
you think that your partner sometimes deserves to be hit?
you think that your partner sometimes wants to be hit?
you ever found yourself smiling or laughing when your partner is hurt?
you ever intentionally harmed or broken something which was important
to your partner?
you ever been afraid to tell someone about something that happened between
you and your partner because you were afraid that they wouldn't understand
and that you would be in trouble (maybe even legal trouble)?
you sure that you don't have an abuse problem because you see people
around you doing worse all the time?
you ever followed your partner when he or she didn't want you to?
you ever physically stopped your partner from leaving?
it important to you that others, particularly your partner, agree with
you find yourself answering questions here with "yes, but..."?
When I was fourteen I started dating girls. It was pretty much all about
two people getting loaded enough to get through their anxieties and
fears about being in the situation in the first place. After the first
girlfriend, I ended up switching from the fear of being in a sexual
situation to obsession with being in a sexual situation. All of the
men/boys around me seemed to completely echo the sentiment. As much
and as often as possible. Talk about it a lot when peers are around.
I thought it was normal. Two days before I turned fifteen I was with
my second girlfriend and we got drunk and ended up having intercourse.
It was totally unplanned. It was my first time. Since it was unplanned,
we didn't have any birth control, we never felt like we could ask our
parents to get us some cuz we weren't supposed to be sexually active
according to them. Being fourteen and fifteen we didn't feel like we
could go buy some at a store, that was too scary a proposition. Needless
to say we got pregnant my first time.
showed me one of my big lessons. All the Christians out there who say
that kids shouldn't have sex until they're married and the folks who
pass laws that say kids can't have sex until they are eighteen are just
not sane. First of all, obviously our creator made us so that we start
procreating at 12-14. And for the legislators who aren't basing their
judgment on the idea of a creator, but instead on biology, kids are
biologically ready to reproduce at about thirteen. Not only are they
ready, the hormones create a very real urge. So irregardless of people's
legal or moral laws/codes kids will just start having sex at about fourteen.
The real problem here is the way life is artificially structured so
that your stuck in the situation where your someone else's property
until your eighteen, and not allowed to make the choices that are actually
yours. So when ever a young person has a child while still a teen, they
are immediately stigmatized as a bad parent. That's a pretty nice introductory
gift to parenthood right?
of you will be thinking that a teenager just isn't responsible or mature
enough to raise a child. Well I really want some one to show me who
is. Mature, responsible parents have been sending their kids to war
for thousands of years, telling them that their own aspirations are
stupid and to give up because money is king, encouraging them to get
drivers licsences and engage in one of the most deadly pursuits we have
going today, pressuring them into jobs that damage the body severely
over time. The list is endless.
you will still be thinking that fourteen is too young to have kids.
This could be easily solved with birth control. However they seemed
to start raising the issue with me in high school after I already had
a child. I think teaching about it in the sixth grade would be infinitely
more valuable. You would also have to annihilate the catholic church
which is so desperate for supporters and their money that they make
up lies about how god hates birth control just so their congregations
will give birth to more potential Catholics(donors). Lastly I think
that most people think kids aren't very emotionally mature at fourteen
and don't know how to get by in the world. Of course their not. They
were trained to be that way at school. The first two years at school
they teach you the basics of scholarly stuff. Then they repeat it over
and over until your eighteen. Then you can go to college and learn how
to get a job that pays more than the $4.25 an hour job that your high
school diploma gets you. So where do you get an education on how to
live in the world. You don't. The corporate run government that creates
the schools needs workers, not self sufficient people. They will never
teach kids how to not be dependent on their system. Do they teach you
how to farm, build a house, heal yourself, etc.?
think a person's age has much to do with it. Most of the people I know
who went through sixteen years of school only learned how to say "yes
sir" and how to pick up a paycheck. And those are the exact same "mature"
qualities they pass on to their own kids.
these things and experiences have brought me to a place where I spend
a lot of time thinking, how is the whole thing supposed to work? How
are families supposed to happen? I have been able to recognize that
marriage was made up so that there would be a cultural institution to
ensure that a nest is present for the future child to be raised within.
I have also recognized that the severe power inequality between men
and women has finally come to a head and the way marriage is supposed
to be(man is king, woman and kids are loyal subjects) no longer functions.
I don't know if it ever did (I'm not that old). In my life time we have
seen a transition from most of the marries lasting to 50% of the marries
lasting. We obviously need a new plan.
me the activists and punks all seem to think that since their parent's
relationships were sexist or tyrannical, anything that contained commitment
or monogamy would be the same thing. They seem to mostly decide to do
casual sex and serial monogamy. I can't seem to find a place in that
thinking where a child could be raised.
this issue is totally key to our future on Earth because I think our
assumptions of fault for the world's ills always falling on "others",
is false. There have been tons of revolutions (most notably the American
revolution) where the old tyrants were kicked out and the new governments
would be ten times as bad as the old. I think it is totally obvious
that this keeps happening because our problems are not just external,
we carry them with us and when given the opportunity we abuse people
and act out on them.
was emotionally unavailable to me. It was manifested in his "need" to
work all the time. I am similarly unavailable to my child on account
of my drug addiction. Punk rock would lead us to believe that it's OK
just because I'm not working all the time so it's not the same thing.
But it is the same thing. We constantly look at actions rather than
patterns which is why we fail to see the bigger picture and is also
why we can only change the clothes that our problems wear, rather than
doing away with the whole problem. I really hope that we can find a
way to give our internal problems the attention and care that they deserve.
The alternative of production and consumption, whether it's products
or drugs, just pollutes and destroys us and the Earth.
Recently some weird things have been happening at the Gilman street
project. People have been raising questions about what do we do when
people in the scene here are acting with misogyny or sexually harassing
others or even raping others. It's not really weird in the sense that
it's unexpected, cuz it's not unexpected to me. The first time it happened,
I instigated it.
I was told
quite a lot of stories about the singer of a band from the east bay.
The stories included threats of rape, sexual harassing, and the beating
of women. I made a flyer about the allegations and passed it out to
the audience at the band's show as they were setting up. Members of
the band confronted me in Berkeley a few days later and said everything
on the flyer was untrue. A while later somebody at a Gilman meeting
brought it up and the membership decided to ban said individual until
a committee could be formed to investigate the charges.
of opened a channel to more things being brought to light.
later at the next Gilman membership meeting a kid came forward and said
another member of the club had gotten him drunk and tried to rape him
while he was passed out. This was instantly a very heavy issue. The
person he named plays a very important, pivotal role in the scene here
in the east bay. The person accused is also a friend of basically everyone
who was at the membership meeting. We decided to do the same thing as
the last meeting, which was to ban the person from the club and form
a committee to investigate charges against the person. My self and five
other people have been appointed to collect facts. It's a pretty weird
position for us all to be in because we all have a personal and a business
relationship with the person. I'm not saying anything I've been told
is or is not true but one kid I interviewed told me that there are lots
of other incidents with the person and that a lot of people have sort
of known about it and not brought it up.
me to the point of what I'm writing. As a scene we say things that are
politically correct. We say that we do not tolerate sexism, sexual harassment
and rape, but we do. We are these things. The first show I went to in
1983 a woman passed out from drinking too much beer. Immediately two
guys grabbed her off the floor and put her in the back of their pick
up truck. As they drove off to rape her about 4-6 other guys ran after
the truck and jumped in the back. All the guys standing on the street
laughed like it was hilarious that this girl was going to be gang raped.
thing I noticed was when a roadie for Blast! locked himself inside the
side room of Gilman with a passed out girl, until some one kicked the
door down and found her with her pants around her ankles. Those are
the two severest things I witnessed.
I've seen countless guys in bands(including myself) use women interested
in a relationship, for "meaningless" sex. I've seen a member of NOFX
piss on a woman another member of NOFX was having sex with. I've seen
the whole band(NOFX) wake up a roadie and a woman he had sex with the
night before by applauding and then announcing that by sleeping with
the woman the roadie had won the "who gets laid the most times contest".
what I'm getting at is that we function in the same way as the society
we seem to be against. Certain men get huge power within the scene and
get away with anything.
this is being called into question within the forum of membership meetings
at 924 Gilman street. I sure do hope that we don't drop it or let it
A few years ago I read and heard about a group of women who were trying
to get the united nations to include the unpaid work that women do world
wide in the gross national product of all the nations. They basically
wanted to raise the issue that women's work isn't just underpaid in
the way we talk about the glass ceiling in the US(women are paid 63
cents for each dollar a man makes, for the same work). Most work that
is traditionally done by women in the world is not paid at all. Child
rearing. Cooking. House cleaning. The list is endless. I think this
has developed as a way to keep women economically powerless, so they
I had an idea. Since you couldn't really strike for wages, because it
would effect the children most, I thought it would be interesting if
there was a world wide strike where sex would be withheld until women's
unpaid work was paid.
be thinking that no one would be willing to pay women for there "domestic
labor" because there is nothing being produced. This is exactly the
problem. Women "produce" children, the most important thing there is
and we collectively decide that since we can't sell them (usually anyway)
that they aren't worth anything. What would it be like if we made people
build other things for free. If we didn't pay the doctor who operates
on you, do you think she/he would care much for the quality of work,
what about the people who build the cars and planes, those who build
the buildings we live and work in? Do you think that they would even
do it at all?
I don't have a date to start or anything I just wanted to raise the
1 in 5 adult women will be raped at some point in their lives.
4 out of 5 rape victims know their attackers.
1 in 15
rape victims contracts a sexually transmitted disease as a result of
1 in 15
rape victims becomes pregnant as a result of being raped.
of all rapes are reported to police. By comparison, the reporting rate
for robbery is 53%; assault, 46%; and burglary, 52%.
of women raped in 1994 is fifteen times higher than officially reported
in the National Crime Survey.
of college women raped in 1994 is fourteen times higher than officially
reported in the National Crime Survey.
Life's Lesson was written by Cynthia
All else was done by me