My tweet earlier today provides as a rather apt prelude to this post.
‘The moment when you’re done feeling sorry for yourself is one of the most satisfying in helping you to move on. #LittleBitsOfPerspective’
Now, I know that for as long as I may live I may never find anyone quite like her again. That goes without saying about anyone we meet really. It’s a cold reality that I’ve had to grapple with and with great difficulty. It’s not even about wanting to find someone else but actually about wanting her. Unfortunately, even amid all the of the romance and our intense connection the realities of our lives and situation is something that we have to contend with… Distance… Family politics… Cultural politics… Lack of funds… Notice how nothing in the list about our compatibility.
It’s weird that of all of the articles and blog posts I’ve read about about love, romance, sex and relationships not one of them has ever looked at the intersections of the various oppressions we face and their affects on our love lives. Intersectionality as a concept is something which has been around since well, forever in various ways an understandings, in it’s term though, it’s been around since the 60’s after having been coined by Black feminists in the US. Intersectionality is about examining how discrimination on the basis of our identity interacts with other axes of our identities such gender, race, religion, culture and disability. By and large intersectionality is understood within academia and activism but I want to explore it within another context, a personal one.
Intersectionality is more than just an idea or a political action, for me and many others it embodies a lived reality, our lived realities and so it continues to baffle me at how I haven’t come across any writings discussing oppression and love. I’ve never written about this before myself so I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to explain my thoughts on this so please bare with me while I try and articulate my thoughts. Okay so here goes….
Here are my fears when it comes to love and relationships:
- Getting hurt.
- Being in an emotionally abusive relationship again.
- Not losing who I am.
- Family acceptance and love of and for my partner.
- Wanting a family and finding a partner who wants that too.
- A partner who understands me and the importance of my religion as being integral to who I am.
- My partner HAS to be a feminist!
I don’t really think that those fears and concerns are very different to what people want in a relationship and partner usually but wait for it…
Here are my fears when it comes to the oppressions I have:
- Being judged and scared of the backlash due to my activism and politics and really, who I am.
- Not being active and visible enough and subsequently being uneasy at times at my visibility and second guessing when I have the potential for more exposure and raising awareness because of the potential negative consequences.
- Acknowledging the many privileges I have despite being in many of the oppressed categories and feeling guilty about not doing more within my activism.
- Scared of not finding a sense of sense of belonging or rather at times being worried that I don’t have it especially while belonging to the LGBTQI community and being Muslim.
- Knowing the importance of visibility in helping people and changing society but at the same time wondering what potential repercussions this could have on the relationship with my family as well as the future relationship with my partner and children.
- Dealing with various forms of micro-aggressions on a daily basis… Sexism… Racism…. Islamophobia… Queerphobia… The list really does go on.
- Having all of these and many other worries and not really understanding how this is negatively affecting my mental health and how I deal with that.
Of these short and rather quickly compiled lists you can see just how many of the issues raised in each list overlap with each other. For me at least the fears I have about relationships and the oppressions I face do indeed overlap in many instances which is something I have been thinking a lot about recently. This little exercise was a way for me to map out both sets fears and allowing me to visually see and understand just how much the impact and fears we have about the oppressions we face do have an impact on our fears and indeed realities of our love lives.
Intersectionality is a reality of our lives and it is important to consider not only within activism and academia but also while trying to understand our love lives.
So, what are your thoughts on oppressions and love?
What have been your experiences?