The Emotional Labor Union
Our voices are power.

Commentary

The ELU is a safe space and a platform to talk about your experiences. Devoting time to critical thinking and interaction empowers us to sharpen our speaking skills and define the source of our feelings as well as reminds us we have voices that deserve to be heard.

Voices as Power

I am object, thought, idea for others - but not human

Human objects

TW: sexual assault, anger

I.

Am.

Livid.

Where are the fucking men? Where are the allies standing with us to shut this piece of shit, Kavanaugh, down? Why are we having to put in the emotional labor of teaching men, across social media and out in public, how to respect us? How to listen to us? How to be the ally we actually need in this moment? I honestly can’t even think straight. I got into a fight on social media with my high school choir director yesterday. He had posted some Fox News meme of Kavanaugh’s wife saying they have faith and know they are on the right path. THEN he had the gall to tell me that he’s weighing both sides and is going to wait to have an opinion ‘after all the facts are in’. Like, are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? As civilly as possible I told him:

“Now is the time for men to step back and listen to the womxn in your lives because I guarantee you know sexual assault survivors. Stop having opinions online and start caring for those womxn because this whole thing can be traumatizing all over again for them.”

My ex-boyfriend, now a cop in my hometown, thought it wise to put in his two-cents about how national debate has gotten out of control and how false accusations are devastating.

Am I like, WTF DID I JUST SAY?!

I’m just so so done.

Got a dude in my office who usually pops in once a day or so to shoot the shit. Earlier this week he brought up the Kavanaugh shitstorm for a second time. The first time he talked to me about it I got into a screaming match him.

“This could ruin his life.”

“AND WHAT OF HER LIFE, GREG!?”

He came in yesterday and mentioned it again and I was like I just can’t with this today. And he left.

This week is hard. How do we find the strength to tend to our own traumas AND teach people around us to be good people? To see us and value us and BELIEVE us? To hold space for the pain and emotional overload of this week? I feel like everyone just expects this to be any old week under Trump but it isn’t. And I know you all feel it too.

Maybe this is coming off as too angry. Well truth be told I’m fucking pissed and I have been for a while and I haven’t figured out a way to constructively channel it quite yet. One of my best friends created a ritual for her anger and I think that might be the best thing for me to do right now.  

___

Update! My cop ex-boyfriend wrote me a Facebook message this morning:

Casey, I've been reading and re reading your posts and your brothers during our conversation yesterday. I've reflected on it a bit and I want to apologize. After really looking at what you both are saying, I tried to re read them while taking emotion out of the conversation. Not that you need my justification, but who am I to try and push my opinions based on my life experiences onto someone else. I have no idea what your life experiences are, nor could I put myself in your shoes or any other woman's shoes. It's just not possible. Even if I were to try it still isn't possible because I've not had to live that way and to say that I could put my mindset into that perspective would be an insult. People often talk about white privilege when it comes to racism. A while back someone explained it to me in a way that clicked with me. Last night I thought about how that would apply to this same discussion and it clicked again with me. Someone else's perspective regardless of mine comes from something or somewhere, and it's a strong reality. I wanted to use the word belief there but it's not appropriate because it's not a belief, it's a reality for them and not for me because I didn't live that. Or had to endure it. A lot of things I said are true, I fear for my daughters, I started teaching them at a young age self defense moves to the point that my oldest took a boy down at school last year. I teach these to them because of that fear. Many of my arguments to you and your brother were based on small facts that in reality were distorting the bigger picture of your message. I didn't do that intentionally. I didn't actually realize it until later on when I re read them several times. You don't need an apology from me, but I wanted to give one.

And I’ll leave you with my response to him:

Erik - thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for taking the time re read our posts and try to understand what we were saying. This week has been especially hard and I'm VERY emotionally drained. I cried myself to sleep last night because I can't shake this feeling that I'll never be seen as fully human. I'm relegated to feeling like an object, or a thought, or an idea that exists for others. I think a lot of women feel this way. I was bartending last night and I have a co-worker who has worked with many top Republicans. Needless to say a 'Do you think Kavanaugh will get confirmed?' conversation started. After yesterday's Facebook tirades I just didn't have the strength in me to try to get anyone to understand how I and a lot of women are feeling. I told him politely that I thought the conversation was inappropriate for work and that I didn't feel comfortable talking about it. And he said, “But, did you hear what I said?” and proceeded to reiterate how he felt terrible for Blasey Ford because he believes her that something terrible happened but that he's known Kavanaugh for 20 yrs and doesn't believe that he would do that. And right there in that moment, I realized he didn't believe women either. (Of course he doesn’t believe women!) That a woman could go to such great lengths and have her entire life turned upside down AGAIN (once with the initial trauma and now again with coming forward) could possibly make a mistake or be confused about who her attacker was is just unconscionable. And it crushed me. Not only was he unable to respect my wishes to not have that conversation, he felt entitled to let me know how little he believes women. And that's all I am, a woman no one will ever believe. And it breaks my heart. And I feel like there's nothing I can do. So, as you can see I'm feeling quite a bit of despair. But, seeing your message this morning was a tiny bit of light in all this darkness. Thank you.

Today my anger has given way to a hollow sadness and I can’t tell if that’s a step forward to healing or a step back but it’s simply where I am. I wonder how we’ll feel tomorrow.