Monday, February 27, 2012

Trigger warning ahead...sort of...

I wrote this after an interaction I had that came out of me offering a video by Jane Elliot as fodder for conversation.

One of the wimmin who viewed Elliot's famous video where she transforms a class room into an experiment in racial oppression directed at white blue eyed university students, and decided that the best way to cope with any stress, emotional upset or recognition she experienced was to cry trigger. The whole discussion went to pot, of course.

I realize that there have been so many different situations I've been in with feminist folks where a much needed, mercilessly moving conversation about oppression was completely derailed by someone crying "TRIGGER!!!"

I thought I'd put something into the collective consciousness that might contribute to a shifting out, phasing out of this particular tactic.

This is what I wrote:

Yes, I'm a feminist.
With one caveat, though...

If you are one of the incessantly triggered feminists, often white feminists, who is constantly attempting to shift spaces occupied by many (different kinds of people with many different kinds of triggers) so that everyone directs their attention to ascertaining how best to make you feel more comfortable in situations where none of us feel comfortable because what's on the table, what is on the agenda being discussed in any given moment may be of massive significance and calls for everyone to find a way to responsibly identify, claim and deal with their own emotional, psychological baggage, either moving through it, or moving away from the group if that baggage cannot be put in perspective without copious emotionally care and stroking from people who are somehow managing to deal with their own emotional triggers...

If you have ever been in a conversation with a Black feminist or feminist of colour, or in a room where the oppression/s of people of colour was being explored in a particularly mercenary fashion and you had the impulse to start overtly talking about being triggered, thereby placing the onus on any/all people of colour in the room to immediately turn and see to your preshus fee-fees and boo-boos...

Fuck off.

Hard limit.

I should have explained this earlier, as I'm well versed in this particular load of crap avoidance strategy.
I don't mean being triggered.

Being triggered I get...because I get triggered.

But sitting your own trigger/s down in the middle of a conversation that is moving, that needs to move and expand, so that everything shrinks and recedes and reorients itself towards care of and protecting of you...that approach, that tactic I'm so well aware of.

As someone who does get deeply triggered multiple times a day, who does get trigger layered over trigger layered over trigger right here on fetlife and who does need to keep moving, keep functioning, keep unpacking, keep excavating, I think that triggers have their place and can be handled responsibly without turning into an all-out, act-out, "look at me" moment that turns everything around the triggered person on its ear.

This is called having healthy coping strategies and not compelling others to deal with your issues.
Go no further, if this sounds like you or like something you might be capable of doing if the conditions were right.

I don't think there are enough conscious, ethical people in most politically radical or feminist spaces who understand the basics of what triggers are, let alone how how these can be strategically and hierarchically (who decided that people who are triggered get to have every bit of the floor for as long as they need it or to destroy the floor as it were, the whole conversation if they so choose?) used to derail political conversations under the guise of making sure someone feels "safe".

Trigger is special.

Trigger trumps all.

Trigger automatically has the floor in any conversation.

Trigger is right.

Trigger must be heard and not questioned or challenged.

Trigger can never be held accountable.

Trigger must not be asked about if this is really the best time to have a massive cussing, bratty, tantrum because they do not feel validated.

Trigger, in the wrong hands, can be very useful in conversations where trigger would have normally had to be accountable.

Dry. Dry. Dry as biscuits. But disturbingly effective.

So, yeah...
If you're a white feminist who is easily, publicly triggered in the midst of weighty conversations that might be causing you and everyone else copious amounts of stress or if someone should ask you to come correct and not offer you any support to do so...if being triggered comes easily in these moments, much to the same privileged effect of how white cis wimmin used to swoon in the old days, fuck off.

I'm not interested in making fet-friends with you because you and your irresponsibly articulated, directed, utilized, strategically voiced triggers are dangerous to any discussion you might feel stressed about or any conversation that might have to do with your choices or with the choices of your peoples where you should reasonably be expected to come correct, come present, come honest, come accountable, come ethical.

Hard limit.
No body-checking trigger folk.
No booby-trapping "I'm so triggered right now, everyone please listen to me" mostly white, definitely privileged feminists.

All the spoons in the world would not be enough to give me the fortitude I'd need to help me process the kinds of shit storms that swirl around the public and very strategic announcements of the triggered folk.

I don't have any spoons.

I have mismatched and broken plastic knives and forks with which I do pitch battle everyday because I have no choice.

Thank you and goodbye.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.