Resourceful Resistance

Hello all!

I know you missed me. I moved into my new place a few weeks ago. It’s very cozy, homey, and absolutely wonderful. I am now working part time at a bakery, which is very lovely, easily the most lovely of all the places I have been in customer service. The people are very kind, the food smells good, and I get some of it for free and discounted.

But it won’t sustain me financially for long, and I am increasingly aware of this. I am afraid to buy my family Christmas gifts yet this year because of it. I hope they like quirky, weird shit from the dollar store (Who am I kidding? This is my family. They love quirky, weird shit from the dollar store.)

I am getting better at cutting off negative thoughts and worries about my financial future as they come, but it’s still difficult some days. (Every single person I talk to regularly, in unison: “She’s lying. She has a mental breakdown about money at least twice a week, and I have to hear all about it.”) The Christmas cheer is definitely helping, even though I can’t afford to spend money on a tree or anything, so my little basement suite is barren of the holiday spirit. Except that I have white fairy lights, and I’ve been blasting Christmas music every minute I get, so there’s that.

These days, I’m either listening to Christmas music, Taylor Swift’s Reputation (10/10, exceeds expectations), or podcasts. And in the way of podcasts, I’ve heard a great one recently. I’ve been listening to Kevin Garcia’s podcast “A Tiny Revolution” for a few months now, since it started. If you’re interested in the queer theology or feminist Christianity sphere, I highly recommend it. His most recent podcast episode, #ChurchToo, featured Hannah Paasch, a bisexual Christian activist like myself. Hannah and her friend Emily Joy, another bi Christian activist and Twitter presence, started the social media campaign #ChurchToo on Twitter after the recent #MeToo campaign against sexual assault. #ChurchToo highlights the injustices, misogyny, and sexual assault promoted and upheld by and within churches everywhere. Take a look!

As someone who frequently thinks about the ways churches could do a lot better, I am utterly blown away by the attention this campaign is getting. I hope it sparks genuine change, and causes church leaders to reevaluate their stances on sexuality, purity, and sexual assault. I’ll be one of the many to claim that purity culture, and the views of sexuality perpetuated by the church, robbed me of my peace of mind and years of knowing myself for who I truly am.

Because of this campaign, I have been doing a lot of thinking about different ways in which stories are erased and misinterpreted. Just as sexual assault victims are often accused of lying, and their stories are erased, in completely different ways, bisexual people are often accused of “faking it”, of being gay and afraid to come out, and many other negative stereotypes. A third avenue I’ve been familiar with, as someone who was born and raised Catholic, is the negative views of Catholicism perpetuated by Protestants, and sometimes by other outsiders to Catholicism.

Now, I’m in no way saying that Catholics are oppressed in the ways sexual assault victims and bisexual people are. Definitely not. Catholicism enjoys more than its fair share of privilege as one of the major religions of the West, and a major player in colonization. I’m definitely aware of the history of Catholicism and all the awfulness that comes with it. I’d never claim that we’re except from that. We’re not. But I’m thinking about how Protestants are often told that Catholics worship Mary, that we believe everyone who isn’t Catholic is going to hell, that the Pope is controlling us, and a slew of other things.

I just think it’s interesting. It’s another avenue in which negative stereotypes have stopped conversations, and lead to roadblocks in understanding and growth. The thing is, for campaigns such as #ChurchToo to be more effective, we need to be challenging these stereotypes and binaries. We need to be engaging in conversations queer and straight people, men and women, and between Protestants and Catholics. We need to break these binaries and barriers, to be unafraid to ask questions when we don’t understand something, to compromise, to challenge our own viewpoints, especially from the positions in which we occupy privilege.

That’s what’s been on my mind lately: the many avenues of my life in which growth or connection between humans has been inhibited or discouraged by stereotypes, and the fact that growth, both politically and personally, is not linear. Rather, it is slow, staggered, and obstructed by many setbacks. But I am nothing if not resourceful and resistant. I am nothing if not scraping together every penny, word, and thought I have to do this world, and myself, a little bit of good wherever I can.

December is, for me, usually both a good and strange month. I hope it brings goodness and strangeness to all of you. And In case I don’t update again in time, because at this rate, who knows: Have yourself a merry little Christmas, or whatever other holiday you celebrate.

Joy to the world,

Vivian

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