Hey kid. How ya doin.



You don't have to be strong with me. You're waiting for the magic, right?



Waiting for the moment that you realize, hey, I'm not a fraud, this is gonna work out!

How long you been waiting?

Ouch. Really?



Have you peed since then? Shit, cap'n, you need to get yourself a glass of water or you're gonna pee bouillon cubes.

Nothing much happening in the ole noggin, huh?



Every tick of the clock feels like a second closer to death, huh? And because you can't write for shit right now, that's one second closer to a silent fucking death. Or worse, a death by comma splice.

Other people are writing pieces that you feel certain you could have thought of, if only you'd been thinking, goddamn it!

Listen. I get it. I get it. I'm right there with you. We've got what some people call writer's block.

I hate the term "writer's block," by the way. (Now would be the perfect time to explain why I hate the term "writer's block" and perhaps suggest a razor-sharp and hilarious alternative that reveals a deeper truth about the nature of writer's block. Any second now. It's coming. Here it comes. It'll get here. Just wait. Not too long though. If you wait too long you start thinking about how long it's taking to get here and then you're not thinking about the thing and where it is and what could be taking it so long and perhaps it's Godot and it's never really fucking coming and before you know it you've drowned the seed of a funny insight in enough words to fill a goddamn bathtub. Oh, hello.)

Anyway, here are some things I do when I'm freaking out about writing badly.

1. Sometimes when I can't write it's because there's only one thing on my mind and I've decided I don't want to write about that thing. 

And then when I sit down to write the voice in my head is like, "Don't write about your childhood. Don't write about your childhood. Write about cookies instead." But I don't have anything to write about cookies, so I sit there with my fingers on the keys not-writing about my childhood, not-sculpting an essay, and not-feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Go ahead. Give yourself permission to write about the thing you don't want to write about. Write about why you don't want to write about it. Why the fuck do you think I'm writing a post about not being able to write? 

It might never see the outside of your word processor, but if you have your own blog you can always post it there and then MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WILL READ IT! Hahaha jk, like 40 people will read this. And that's okay, because it got outside my head. Maybe now there'll be room for something else in there.


2. Sometimes when I can't write it's because I'm thinking about too much. Don't think too much. Thinking is a real bummer and often produces terrible writing. I genuinely believe in the "no backspace" rule when you're starting on a new project. Let your brain play.

What other people think about the shit you write in a first draft is none of your fucking business anyway. Just start.


3. Sometimes when I can't write it's because I need to hear some other voices. There is no writer in the universe good enough to write interesting shit all the time without also hearing, reading, and experiencing interesting shit. Nobody's imagination is (now would be a great time to use a word that means something like bottomless but isn't quite so cliche. Wait for it. Here it comes. It'll get here...)

I call a good friend who always cracks me up. I read a good book or article.

Side note, I've found that Twitter is NOT HELPFUL even if you follow funny, talented people on Twitter because so much of writing is about context. The one-liner genius of Twitter masters is a sight to behold, but when I'm struggling, especially struggling to be funny, I don't feel inspired by Tweets, only jealous of them. #NotUseful.


4. Sometimes when I can't write it's because my brain is on fire. Yep, I've got a touch of the mania. I call myself manic-light, Diet Manic, or Manic Tinge, which would be a good band name but also sounds like a weird Cockney name for a vagina. Doesn't it?

Sometimes things are humming along great and I'm staying up late but there's always coffee in the morning. I'm most energized when my day is full so I fill my days. It seems silly to not fill them, and then not be energized. I've got shit to do.

Sometimes I hit a snag and my brain catches on fire. A snag could be too many nights in a row with shitty sleep, one too many projects, a sickness, a mean-spirited but not inaccurate comment about the blog (I don't go on Reddit anymore), or really any major change in the schedule.

It feels like a wire lost its insulation and my head fills up with smoke. I get irritable and easily annoyed with small things that usually, ok, yes, still annoy me but I have the wherewithal to be kind in the moment and talk shit to my husband (or sister, if my husband is the one bugging me) later.

When I sit down to write all I can think about is the 19 other things I didn't get done. My brain is on fire and full of smoke and all I can do is grab for things I can't really see but think I might need.

When my brain is on fire I need to take the night off and put out the fire. Sometimes the fire extinguisher looks like an intricate to-do list, or a filled-out weekly schedule, because planning helps me stay oriented. Sometimes the extinguisher is a movie, a glass of scotch, and a piece of cake, because mama needed a break.



There are lot of other reasons I can't write sometimes. These might be the reasons I can't write tonight, or they might not.

This post is terrible but it was really important to write. I apologize because while it was important to write it was not necessarily important to publish.

Per my satisfaction guarantee, you may submit in writing a request for the last 4 minutes of your life back, please include self-addressed stamped envelope. Expect a reply in 90 days.

xoxo

Katie

PS, usually I put a link to my Patreon, social media links, etc. beneath my posts but I'm not going to do that tonight because let's be real: "If you found this post valuable, please consider supporting me through Patreon..." I AM THE ONLY PERSON ON EARTH WHO FINDS THIS POST VALUABLE. THIS IS BASICALLY A FREE THERAPY POST.

PPS - Thanks to Sam Seaborn for the gif cameo at the top. #SamSeabornForPresident #OfMyPants

WHO ARE YOU?

A 5-question pop quiz to determine who you are 
in the event you aren't sure yet.


1. How long have you been holding that wad of regurgitated carrot in your hand?

A) Ew what? No. NO. This is an exfoliating moisturizer I just made from farmer's market carrots and fresh ginger to energize my antioxidants and shrink my pores, which is really important to me. If a genie gave me 2 wishes, one of them would be to energize my antioxidants and shrink my pores, and the other one would be peace in Syria. And if he was a stingy genie and was like "that's 3 things," I'd be like, fine, I'm sure Syria will figure itself out.

B) OMG, just literally a second. I saw someone choking and I was like spit it out! And he did. I'm just so thankful I was here to save his life. Can you take a quick pic for me? I don't want to be like "selfie with the person whose life I just saved," you know? OK but make it look like a candid. Got it? Greaaaaaat... aaaaaand... posted! Ew, yeah, this is gross. I'm going to wash my hands. 

C) Long enough for the regurgitated carrot to cool in the ambient air, and then be warmed again by my own palm. Sooooooo... a long time. It's fine though. I can totally tie a tiny shoe, make a peanut butter sandwich, AND butter an English muffin one-handed. 

D) Wait, do you mean Trevor? This is Trevor, everybody. Someone tried to eat him but I got him back. PLUS some teeth!

2. What is this?



A) Bene, Orrrrrrecchiette Primavera! (said in an authentic Italian accent) (kisses fingertips) Bellissimo!

B) It looks like pesto pasta with peas and... is that arugula? SNAPCHAT!

C) OOOOOOOOH YUMMMMMYYYY cheesy shells with (spirit fingers) green fairyberries and magic leaves (Do not call them vegetables in this house. Do not even THINK it, motherfucker.)

D) Nice try, George Soros. NICE TRY. But I'm an AMERICAN and I KNOW MY RIGHTS.


3. You sleep through the alarm and accidentally wake up 5 minutes before you have to leave. What's your move?

A) My move? Double Nescafe, handful of almonds, throw mascara and blush in my handbag, pull on my slam-dunk dress and heels, and GO! 

Whew! I mean, not that it's fun to rush out of the house in the morning, but sometimes it just makes you feel ALIVE, right? GOD I WANT TO PUNCH SOMEBODY JUST TO FEEL IT!

B) My move? Text my co-worker and say I'll be a few minutes late. Pour a go-cup of coffee, grab a granola bar from the pantry, pick up yesterday's pants from the floor, then look at myself in the mirror, shrug, say out loud "This is what I look like now," (#SadAffirmations) and go.

C) My move? Say "fuck fuck FUCK" and then slap myself in the face. This is no time to panic. 

Throw apples, bananas, peanut butter crackers, and bags of Goldfish into two backpacks. Put empty water bottles in the mesh bottle pockets - they can fill them up at school. Pop toaster waffles in the toaster. 

Run into the bedroom to put on literally the first garments that will not result in my arrest when I appear in public. Raincoat with nothing underneath? FINE. It won't be the sweatiest my boobs have ever been, I promise you that. 

When I hear the toaster pop up, run back into the kitchen to slap down a second pair of waffles. Slather butter on the first waffles, then creep into children's room and snatch the older child from his bed. Carry him out with my hand pressed over his mouth. Grab pants, a shirt, and socks from the mountain of clean laundry. Pull them on while he's still looking around, confused. Put his backpack on his back. Hand him a waffle sandwich and an iPad. Repeat with the second child. 

Dash barefoot to the car and clip both children in car seats, then GO GO GO!


D) My move? It's kind of like a bellydance Electric Slide? But with Afro-Cuban influences? I call it the Samantha Bad-Dantha.


4. How would you describe your last pop-cultural experience?

A) I don't want to brag, but I was at the Oscars and Huma is seriously so pretty. I get it now. I totally get why George married her now.

B) My friend hosted an Oscars party and we all drank champagne out of plastic flutes and played Oscar bingo. I won a Sephora gift card!

C) I watched an Oscar highlights clip on Buzzfeed the next morning at 4 am while I made Pop-Tarts for the kids.

D) I smelled a guy named Oscar in a movie theater while he watched a matinee showing of The Shape of Water. Verdict: Oscar is a high-functioning alcoholic who uses Dove soap and baby fresh dryer sheets. And he's single, ladies!

In your world, what's a nooner?

A) When you meet your partner's eyes over the sole meuniere you ordered for lunch and he sort of cocks an eyebrow and you sort of quirk your lips and you beckon to Pierre to ask if lunch can be recooked in 20 minutes or so and Pierre smiles discreetly and says "Mais oui, but of course, and may I show you to the lounge? The lighting is, if I may be so bold, ideal."

B) When you give your fella a quick hummer on a Saturday before you snuggle up for a Handmaid's Tale binge, which is an upsetting combination.

C) When the kids nap and you eat something that you can't recall later but whatever it was, it was a lot.

D) A shot of vodka. Just to get you through.


5. Where did you take your last vacation?

A) Australia! We drank a bottle of champagne as we sailed a yacht around the Great Barrier Reef and the fish were all like "it's totally cool that you have just polluted and destroyed our habitat because you are beautiful and wearing cream sweaters and the sunset is catching the balayage highlights in your hair and girl it is working for you. You, my darling, you are all the food my soul could ever need."

B) Miami! We stayed in an AirBNB and got bed bugs but it was fine because after that fourth daquiri you can't even feel them crawling up your legs anymore. I got so many epic snapchats and like an amazing profile pic of me in a white fedora giving pennies to some skinny Cuban kids. OMG they were so sweet.

C) Disney! The 3-year-old vomited on Goofy and then broke out in viral hives but we paid for day passes and only a rookie turns around after the first barf, right?

D) I don't know where they took me.



Okay! Time to tally up your scores!

Mostly A's?

You're a monster. Switch lives with me?

Mostly B's?

You're 22. Go somewhere without the internet for a decade and grow a soul.

Mostly C's?

Hey girl. That's what I got, too. You okay? Yeah. Me neither.

Mostly D's?

You are bat shit crazy. Probably also pretty fun tho.



This has been a KatyKatiKate post.


This is my work
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with Ronit Feinglass Plank

I am Liz Lemon putting my 5-year-old to bed this week.


MONDAY

Me: OK, time for lights-out baby! Sweet dreams! I love you!

Chicken: WAIT! I'm scared of monsters!

Me: Oh yeah?

I go to sit on his mattress. 

This is one of those parenting moments that you know to prepare for, like the sex talk and "people come in all shapes and sizes" talk and that "don't put me in a home yet, son, I still have so much left to do." 

I have been waiting for the monster talk since I saw that first little pink plus sign on the pee stick. 

Chicken: Yeah when I close my eyes I see a team of monsters. There are 6 of them: a red one, a blue one, an orange one, a green one, a pink one, and a yellow one.

I beam with pride. My son has an incredible imagination. A rainbow monster team. There could be a children's book here. When I sell it for a million dollars (like children's books all sell for, right?) I'll make sure he gets his cut. He might have just paid for college. 



Me: A rainbow monster team. Wow. You have the most beautiful mind, baby. OK, here's the thing about monsters.

Chicken: What?

Me: The best way to feel less scared of monsters? Is to imagine them doing something really silly.

Chicken: Like what?

Me: Well... that blue monster? Maybe he's trying to sneak up on you, but he gets tangled up in a string of Christmas bells and now he jingles like Santa's sleigh!

Chicken giggles.

Me: And that orange monster? He is about to take a big bite out of you... but suddenly he SNEEZES instead and gets boogers all over his face!

Chicken laughs harder.

Me: OK? Make those monsters as silly as you can, and they won't scare you anymore.

Chicken: Thanks, Mom. You're the best.

I really am.

Me: Good night baby.

I close his door softly and swagger into the kitchen to read Ryan in on how to handle monsters like a fucking champion. 




TUESDAY

Me: OK, time for lights-out baby! Sweet dreams! I love you!

Chicken: WAIT! I'm still scared of monsters!

Awwww... he must have really liked that thing we did last night.

Me: Oh yeah? Remember what we talked about last night?

Chicken: No.

Me: Oh really, Mr. Beautiful Mind?

Chicken: No, I don't remember anything at all.

Me: OK... well... as I said last night... the best way to feel less scared of monsters is to make them really silly.

Chicken: I don't know about that, Mom.

Me: Well, it worked last night.

Chicken: The rainbow monsters are back, mom. Blue, red, orange, green, pink, and yellow.

Wow, did he remember these monsters in the same order as last night? What an incredible child. Okay, Katie, don't be so selfish. Dinner can be reheated. Just finish strong, you've got this.

Me: Okay... the blue monster. He... what... he trips on his long blue monster shoelaces and falls into a giant bowl of monster pudding!

Chicken laughs

Me: And... the red monster. He... um... he sneaks up on you and opens his mouth to roar a terrible roar... but all that comes out is a hiccup!

Chicken giggles and snuggles down into the pillows.

Me: Okay? Good ni--

Chicken: But wait, Mom, there are still 4 more!

I walk out of the room 15 minutes later, pleased with myself but also aware that somewhere deep inside the control room of my Mom Brain, a computer monitor has just powered on all by itself. The monitor has a sign above it that reads, "Chicken Bullshit Monitoring System." 



Oh well. Nothing a little pudding on the treadmill can't fix.


WEDNESDAY


Me: OK, time for lights-out baby! Sweet dreams! I love you!

Chicken: WAIT! Mom! THE MONSTER THOUGHTS!

Hm. His eyes are very bright. And he appears to be smiling. In fact, he's trying not to laugh.




This is starting to raise some red flags. Nuh uh. Nope. 

Me: You know what to do about the monsters, buddy.

Chicken: Please help me? I'm sc-sc-sc-scared.

Did he just fake-stammer. 

OK that was cute... but as Sherlock would say, THE GAME'S AFOOT! Quick mental math... how long will it take to hold your ground and not do the monster thing again and engage in a debate about the reasons why you're not doing the monster thing... and how long will it take to suck it up and power through the monster thing that YOU INVENTED. Nice one, btw. 

As with all elements of parenting, you did this to yourself.

Deep breath. Do these fast. Stick to malfunctioning body parts and forms of mucus. 

Me: OK, so blue monster can't stop sneezing and then he--

Chicken: No, monsters don't sneeze.

whatthefuck

Me: Yes they do.

Chicken: No they don't. I read it in a book, Mom. Monsters never sneeze.

Me: Fine. Sooooo then blue monster starts tweeting like a little birdie and--

Chicken: No Mom. Monsters don't tweet.

Me: Some do. #PRESIDENTBURN HEYOOOO!

Chicken: What?

Me: Nothing, yes this monster starts to tweet like a little birdie and that's why it's funny, because he's a big scary monster and he makes a cute little noise.

Chicken: Like a bluebird?

Me: Sure. Or a sparrow.

Moment of silence while he considers my offering and I realize that I am his little meat puppet, dancing, dancing, dancing to make him laugh, dancing until he grants me mercy.

Chicken: If it's like a bluebird, I'll allow it.

Me: OUTSTANDING. BLUEBIRD IT IS.

Chicken is good and kind. I am not worthy of this mercy.

Chicken: Now the red monster.

Oh fuck. 

I walk out of the bedroom half an hour later with a new list of things monsters "never do," according to "a book," and my suspicions confirmed. Chicken is fucking with me. 

I slink into the kitchen like a dog who ate the whole chocolate cake and is now spending a week shitting mustard puddles. 

Ryan: How'd it go with the monsters?

Me: IT WENT AWESOME RYAN. BEST PART OF MY DAY.




THURSDAY

Chicken: I told you. Monsters never sneeze.

Me: Well I looked it up in a book today and yes they do.

Chicken: No, they don't, your book must be fake.

Me: YOUR BOOK IS FAKE.

Chicken: NO IT ISN'T IT'S IN MY MIND.

No way to win this one. Keep it moving.

Me: Chicken-- okay, he doesn't sneeze, he gets the hiccups.

Chicken: Nope. Monsters don't hiccup either.



Me: GREAT! WELL then tonight we're going to do this a little differently.

Chicken: How?

Me: You're going to make the monsters silly and I'm going to eat a bagel.

Chicken: NOOOOOOOOOO MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

Me: CAN MONSTERS SNEEZE?

Chicken: ...

Me: Can they, Chicken?

Chicken: I guess so.

Me: OKAY THEN. THE BLUE MONSTER SNEEZED.

Chicken lays back listlessly against the pillows and the light starts to fade from his once-sparkling eyes. All he wanted was a silly storytime with his mommy. And I had to go ruin it... with my insistence that monsters can sneeze when really, HOW DO I KNOW? And where was I in such a hurry to rush off to, anyway? An encore performance of "The Cat's in the Cradle"?




Me: Chicken? I'm sorry I yelled.

Chicken: What about the red monster.

Me: Well... 

I emerge from the bedroom 45 minutes later, aged 79 years in my heart and eye skin, emotionally drained and certain that I have just destroyed my son's imagination, faith in reality, sense of wonder, and most importantly, belief that I am cool.





FRIDAY

Me, yelling:

STOP CHICKEN
NO
MONSTERS AREN'T REAL
WE HAVE JUST BEEN PLAYING A GAME
THIS WHOLE TIME
THAT I FELT LIKE I HAD TO KEEP PLAYING
TO HELP YOU KEEP YOUR SENSE OF WONDER
FOR JUST A LITTLE LONGER



Chicken, out of breath, as if he had just swum across a lake and run up a mountain to burst through the door and tell me that:

MONSTERS ARE TOO REAL
AND YOU DON'T SEE THEM
BECAUSE THEY ARE NOCTURNAL
AND YOU DON'T SEE THEIR FOOTPRINTS
BECAUSE THEIR BUSHY TAILS SWEEP THEM AWAY

Me, yelling louder but in that overpronounced, big-eyes way that parents do when they're trying to gaslight their children into believing that having a calm discussion instead of shout-fighting about the nature of reality:

ACTUALLY
CHICKEN
MONSTERS ARE NOT REAL
THERE IS
NO
SUCH
THING
AS --

Chicken, jumping on the bed with every word:

BUT!
WHAT!
ABOUT!
DARTH!
VADER!

Me, literally clapping every word:

HE!
IS!
MADE!
UP!

Chicken, stomping on the bed with every word and pumping his fists toward me, Tae Bo style:

NO!
HE'S!
REAL!
HE IS MY FRIEND AND WE BOTH LOVE OTTER POPS!

Me, instantly calm:

Really?

Chicken, also instantly calm:

Yeah. He likes purple.

I walk out of the room with no memory of closing the door behind me and Ryan looks over and sees



Ryan: Everything okay in there?

Me: Yep. You're on bedtime tomorrow.


This is my work
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support my work through Patreon 
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Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

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100% of proceeds go to RAINN
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with Ronit Feinglass Plank

First rule of booking flights with a toddler: there is no "good time" to fly. There are "bad times" and then there are "times you pray for merciful execution," so when you're booking your flight don't worry about choosing a "good schedule."

The best you can hope for is an "I will be drinking upon arrival" and the worst you can pray to avoid is, "I will be pronounced dead upon arrival."

The night before last time Ryan and I flew with the kids, we got in bed early.

Our 10 pm bedtime was good because we had to wake up at 5 for our 7:50 am flight.

Our 10 pm bedtime was GREAT because the fire alarm went off at 3.

jesus
get the kids
and the photo albums
why don't we have a go bag
where are my keys
unplug the computer
that's a fuckin mac
we're not leaving fifteen hundy on the desk to fry

Luckily, before we loaded up the car with our children and what would almost surely have been an indefensible assortment of random household items chosen in a blind panic, we checked the house and sniffed the air. The house was not on fire.

Once we determined that the house was not on fire we decided that the alarm itself was faulty and set about turning it off.

We finally silenced the device with the skillful use of a sword (not a real sword silly) (a solid wood sword) (like a samurai sword) (I believe it's called a bokken) (we keep it in the closet for home defense) (yes we are prepared to defend our home with a fucking sword) (tell me how that's any different from your baseball bat) (except that it's clearly awesomer) and returned to bed.

see
awesomer
because
it has a point at the end
sharp enough to penetrate
blunt enough to wound
but not kill

Then the carbon monoxide alarm went off at 3:02.

We knew it was the carbon monoxide alarm because between siren blasts a mean robot yelled, "CARBON! MONOXIDE! CARBON! MONOXIDE!"

Since the carbon monoxide alarm was connected to the fire alarm that we'd previously silenced by beating it to death with a sword, and since the fire alarm was a false alarm, we assumed that the carbon monoxide alarm was false, too.

And yet... you can't sniff the air or feel doors for carbon monoxide. How can you know that the carbon monoxide alarm is lying?

Ryan went back to bed. I moved out to the couch for a change of scenery.

- - - FAST FORWARD - - -

Ryan and I met in the kitchen at 4:30 am. Actual conversation follows.

Me: Did you sleep?

Ry: I don't know.

Me: Me neither.

Ry: I had just enough time to think about everything that's wrong with my life.

Me: I'm pretty sure I spent the last 90 minutes imagining everyone in our family dying of carbon monoxide poisoning except me. I was next to an open window so I knew I'd survive.

Ry: I catalogued all my personal faults, shortcomings, and failures.

Me: I went to lie down in the boys' room. I said, "Lord, you better take me too."

Ry: I'm pretty sure I would understand if you divorced me.

Me: I chose death with open eyes.

Ry: You want a bagel?

Me: Yeah.

Ry: It's gonna be a long day.



This is my work
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with Ronit Feinglass Plank
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to respond to readers who didn't like what I wrote about Rose McGowan, including this excerpt:


I thought this was a pretty even-handed evaluation...

Some readers interpreted my criticism of McGowan as a character attack.

Some misgendered and flat-out insulted trans women in an attempt to defend McGowan as their leader of choice, and felt disappointed in what they read as an unnecessary "takedown" or "hit piece" of a "feminist icon."

Some readers accused me of "caring more about a male sex predator than a feminist rape survivor."

I wrote four posts in response to these readers.

All were true. None were complete.

I won't publish all four in full because seriously, TL;DR.

But here are excerpts from each of the four pieces. They sum up and begin to flesh out how I feel about these readers, their comments, and what makes a woman a woman.


1. The Jesus, Please Just Be Nice Post


Imagine them as little kids. They're scared and confused. Not just because they're small, but also because they have to silence their instincts because they learn too early that who they are is not okay.

From the outside, we have no idea how hard that little kid had to work to figure out how to become an okay person:

What was expendable?
Not their parents' love.
Not their friends' acceptance.
Not their physical safety.

So what could they give up to become okay?

The only thing left was their loyalty to themselves, their self-love. That's something they could give up without getting abandoned or hurt. If they felt mismatched or broken, well, that was their own shit to deal with. Their parents didn't have to know and neither did their friends. They could be sad. Everyone's sad sometimes. It's okay. It's okay. I can do it. I can handle it.

I'm devastated to learn how many of my teammates have weaponized body ownership and narrative control against trans women.


Please try to recognize the voice coming out of your mouth when you tell these women that their experiences aren't what they perceive them to be, or that you know better than they do what their bodies should be.

You tell me that McGowan hasn't done anything wrong. Yet I can play you a video clip or a podcast recording of her dismissing and minimizing trans women and not only do you not recognize it for what it is, you tell the trans women who were dismissed and minimized that their perceptions of what it's like to be a dismissed, minimized trans woman are ACTUALLY WRONG.

Jesus H. Balls, you don't let Chad tell you that he wasn't mansplaining; you don't get to tell trans women that they don't understand when you're shutting them out.

If you are a cis woman and a queer ally in 2018, 
it's uncomfortable but mandatory 
to hold these two thoughts in your head 
at the same time

Just by existing as cis women,
we are oppressed by misogyny, 
and we are oppressors in transmisogyny. 

We are beneath and above at the same time.

(I think that's what the cool kids call "intersectionality.")

Yes, we are afraid of the guy in the parking lot. We are also, for trans women, the guy in the parking lot, too close to another woman who can't trust us yet.

We're not safe to trans people. We are a threat to people that we care about. That's a shitty fucking feeling to have among people you want to trust.

Transphobia and trans-exclusionary feminism show exactly how far our compassion goes, and it's not far enough to include some of our most vulnerable women. We can't be bothered to stretch our arms out enough to embrace one more kind of woman. Shame on us.

You might be upset when you see Caitlyn Jenner thrive as a trans woman who benefited from so much that the patriarchy has to offer, as a wealthy, famous male-appearing athlete in early life and middle age. "What, she just gets to... pick?" From the outside, it might look like cheating. To you, it might feel unfair.

I keep hearing this idea that trans women were protected by the patriarchy when they "were boys," so they can't join our club now. What, do we practice "last in, first out" feminism? Is that who we are? Did I miss a memo?

Quick question:
What if you were the expendable one?


2. The Call-In Post
aka
Hey Girl. Let's Talk.


Let's lay it out. Nothing left to lose here.

We agree on so much. But we disagree too.

You think I'm tearing down a leader for being imperfect; I think you're willing to sacrifice marginalized women's inclusion to give Rose McGowan's mythology fewer ingredients to digest.

Are those fair characterizations? I don't think mine is. Do you think yours is? I'm guessing you don't.

I want to slam the door on you.
Do you want to slam the door on me?
I'm guessing you do.

There we go, agreeing again.

Perhaps we should just part ways.

But what if we don't? 
I feel certain that the way through this
shitty, shitty place is not,
"I don't understand you. Get the fuck out."

I feel sad, and defensive, and disappointed. When I wrote the Aziz Ansari piece I worried that I'd be crucified as a fake feminist or assault apologist by people who didn't actually read it. But you liked it. You read it. You valued its nuance, and I thought that we found each other based on our common appreciation for discussions that don't consist of neatly checked boxes.

I imagine you feel sad and defensive too. You read a piece from a feminist writer that you were starting to trust, and that piece included a nuanced depiction of a flawed public figure that you love and admire. That piece identified that public figure as trans-exclusionary, which is not a nice thing to be called. Maybe you felt attacked by my point of view. Maybe you felt I was being too hard on her.

We agree. We disagree. Does that mean we're broken?


3. The Fuck This and You, Not Necessarily in that Order Post 

If you choose to read what I wrote as a mean-spirited character attack, and think that my piece was an impassioned argument to replace Rose McGowan WITH ANDI DIER whom I OBVIOUSLY think is a MUCH BETTER PERSON than McGowan is, then... well... 



I can only assume you have a raging case of "I only read the words I want to read-itis," and you should see somebody about that. After you've finished your course of anti-confimation-bias-otics (and you should take the whole pack, even if you start to feel more open-minded after the first 2 or 3), come back and read my piece again.

If you don't like what I wrote about McGowan, fine. 


If you want to unfollow my FB and unsubscribe from all things Katie, rock on. Live your life. 

Join the hundreds of millions of people
who share your lack of fucks to give about what I think. 
It's a big club.
There's a chapter in every city
ON EARTH.


But I am one woman with two kids to raise. I'm here to talk and listen and grow and learn but not here to have a tummyache internet fight with you 24/7/365.

Bottom line: if I have to choose between making my tiny little spaces on the Internet safe for trans women or safe for trans-exclusionary women, I choose trans women. I hope you aren't the kind of person who's going to force me to make that choice.

Catch you later, maybe. 


4. The "So What Do We Do Now" Post
aka
The Peek Inside Katie's Head Post

This is what goes through my head when I read a comment like,

Nice, way to pick a male sex predator over a feminist icon. SMH.

Do I delete the comment and ban the writer? Misgendering a trans woman is offensive. The comment isn't thoughtful and doesn't suggest that the commenter is open to a discussion. She's trying to pick a fight. Maybe I should just delete it.

Buuuuuuut maybe this person misunderstood my piece, or maybe didn't even read it yet, it wouldn't be the first time in the history of the internet that someone commented without reading. Maybe she's simply joining the comment chorus that has made the entire discussion about whether Katie picked Andi over Rose. Maybe I should respond to clarify that's not what my post is about.

After all, these conversations are as much about the people who read them as they are about who conduct them, so maybe I should engage on this comment, not just for this person, but for the people who will read it later. OK. so... reply. And say what?

I could explain that we are both disgusted by Dier's abuse of children, but we can be disgusted without falling back on transphobic misgendering. If she were a woman of color it wouldn't be okay to use a racial slur, either. If she were a cis lesbian I wouldn't let you use homophobic hate speech. We don't get to pick our messengers, and Dier's disturbing and awful past notwithstanding, she was right about McGowan's trans-exclusion. Fuck me, she's gonna hate that.

But the walls that guard our decency have to hold.

But does responding to a transphobic comment give a platform to ignorance and hate? Shouldn't I have zero tolerance? Plus, it's pretty arrogant of me to assume that I can change this person's mind. She's not an egg. I can't crack her. Maybe I should just delete it.

But if we can't change each other's minds when it counts, what the fuck are we doing here? Just... agreeing? Just saying "YEAH" to each other all day? At some point, we will run out of shit in common. At some point, we're all going to have to disagree. I don't know what to do.


Final Thought:

Did you see Remember the Titans? It came out in 2000.

based on a true story
of how a coach taught a football team
in virginia
in 1971
in its first year of racial integration
to work together
goddamnit
It doesn't reinvent the wheel as a triumphant underdog athlete story, and rolls along predictably: At the beginning, the team is dysfunctional and de facto segregated, with racial tensions running high. By the end, the players have learned to respect each other, work together, and win fucking games together. Also, there was a dance number with a practically fetal Ryan Gosling.

i call this piece
"gosling
as gosling"


So here's my question for you. 

Which team do you want to be on:
the one at the beginning of the movie
or the one at the end?

Because only one of those teams thought that there was some arbitrary demographic box you had to check in order to be considered worthy of respect and inclusion.

And it wasn't the team that fucking won.

Y'all might not like the people you find yourself playing alongside, but goddamn it if we're not all on the same team.  We win together or we don't win at all. Open up.

I wrote that piece about Rose McGowan. I stand by every word I chose to include in that piece, and I stand by every word that made it through the eleven edits I did on it over the course of six days. That's a lot of hours into a blog post. I don't fuck around. I respect you enough not to take your readership lightly.

When I published that piece I volunteered for this conversation. I knew it going in. I am fair game.

But I will not have or host a conversation that debates the value of trans women. I wouldn't have or host conversations that debate your value, either. I would delete a comment calling you a hateful name, and I will delete transphobic comments, too. I reserve the right to ban users from my Facebook page for using slurs and hate speech.

Trans women are women. It's not enough to just say that, like a password, like a flashed badge. You have to actually work to include their experiences of womanhood in your definition of womanhood, even if you can't personally relate to them.

A year ago if someone had asked me what makes a woman a woman, my answer would have included the word "vagina." But shit, is a woman still a woman
if she doesn't have breasts or ovaries?
I know a bunch of em.
What about long hair?
What about a pervy swim coach?
What if you're from a farm in Idaho
and she grew up in the Bronx?
What if she's skinny and you've got curves?

Is she still a woman
if her life looks almost nothing like yours?

What a stupid fucking question.
Of course she is. 

Trans is not a choice. Trans is not an ideology. Trans is not an agenda.

Trans women are YOUR TEAMMATES.

Nonnegotiable.

I have about 5,000 followers on Facebook and if 4,999 of them can't get behind the idea that trans women have as much of a right to be here as anyone else, then I will happily write blog posts for an audience of one until the day I die. (Hi, Mom!)

I'm certain that won't happen. Because far more readers reached out to embrace trans women than reached out to push them away.


As I wrote before,
it's ludicrous to think we could live through a seismic shift
without exposing fault lines we didn't know where there.

There are times I'm wrong.
There are times you're wrong.
There are times our leaders and figureheads are wrong.

If you want me to ignore any of those times,
then I guess you were right
when you called me a disappointment.
I'm gonna disappoint you.

What I'm not gonna do
is give anyone a pass
or a rejection
based on shit they didn't get to choose.

What I'm not gonna do
is excuse anyone from responsibility
for their choices. 

I reject Dier's choice to abuse children,
not her identity as a trans woman.

I reject McGowan's choice to exclude trans women,
not her identity as a survivor.


Agree with me or don't.
But either way, I feel certain that the way forward is not,
"I don't understand you. Get the fuck out."


This is my work
If you found this post valuable
support my work through Patreon 
or Paypal (katykatikate at gmail)

Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to RAINN
& Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

... AND CHECK OUT MY PODCAST
with Ronit Feinglass Plank
I'm offering to send every member of the #RoseArmy a copy of the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Because it's time to let go of Rose McGowan. She cannot be the face of #metoo.




She was exactly what The Purge needed early on to gain mainstream power. She's well-known and liked by the general public, attractive, articulate, available on social media and in interviews, and absolutely fucking done taking shit. She was unafraid to expose the power dynamics behind the scene that made hostages out of too many victims. Many of us saw ourselves, or what we wanted ourselves to be, in her: wounded, but powerful. Hurt, but defiant.

i mean
exactly
that's exactly how i've been feeling

but there's something about this
that gives me what my 5-year-old calls
an uh-oh feeling

In the early days (all of a few months ago, fuckin a, social justice time is what human years must be like for dogs), when we didn't know if this was going to end with Harvey, McGowan nudged the dominoes closer together, and by speaking up so relentlessly she proved that a person could publicly identify a powerful predator and literally live to tell the tale.

She contributed to an environment that rewarded, or at least punished less harshly, women's speech. It cost her to do that. I'm not ungrateful for that cost.

We needed momentum, and she erupted into the news cycle with laser focus: Break the silence. Annihilate the silencers. I'm not ungrateful for that work.

(And here's a personal complication: 
Some of you may have found this blog through Rose McGowan, 
who was the first famous person to ever share a piece of mine, 
this Next-Level Rage Stroke that she shared on her Facebook page, 
a single click for her that changed my career. 
I am not ungrateful.)

But that work is done. Unsubtle force pushed this vehicle of change into gear. We needed it to get going. Now that we're picking up speed, I don't want to ride in a car with this person behind the wheel. She's inexperienced but doesn't seem to know it, which makes her a dangerous driver of a very costly vehicle.

I want to be kind to her because I know how deeply she is hurt. 
But her pain does not qualify her 
to speak more loudly than anyone else,
and she seems to feel that it does. 

I have empathy for her pain; 
her pain does not give her license to inflict pain on others. 

If I have to explain that to you,
you are in too much pain
to be in charge.

It feels like she is so focused on achieving justice, or even vengeance, on a very specific kind of predator, who hurt a very specific kind of woman. That's understandable - she's lived with pain and shame for a long time.

What's not okay is that anyone who challenges the narrowness of that focused vision becomes an enemy, not an ally. She thinks that homogeny is a strength. That's how a survivor survives, by creating a community of safe, known people. That's not how a leader leads.

It's not that she doesn't want trans women to have justice; it's just that she doesn't really believe they need it as much as she does, and their insistence on inclusion is an attack designed to weaken her.

She is a survivor. She is not a leader.

In a recent interview, Tarana Burke, the founder of #metoo and a longtime foot soldier in the fight against sexual assault, said:



I think that what we have to do is be really proactive in our communities. Really drill down to the most basic in our communities. We have to find ways to interrupt sexual violence everywhere, every day, all the time.

What my lane is, is helping people to figure that out. And also finding real, legitimate ways to support survivors. As many organizations and advocacy agencies that we have across the country, there are still so many communities without resources. And so, part of my work is also teaching us, again, take what you have and make what you need.

Tarana Burke, a survivor, is also a leader.

A leader works to serve the cause of justice; McGowan works so the cause can serve her justice.

And if all she'd ever done was speak up, tell her story, encourage others to do the same, and write a book, that would all be commendable. As a survivor, she's publicly processing her trauma, and that experience is valuable.

But at some point her pain became her CV,
and she was a perfect fit for this new job:
Face of the #metoo movement.

And then she said that she was the architect of Weinstein's downfall, and okay. But that asssertion of responsibility doesn't take into account the decades of anti-sexual-violence work done by people like Tarana Burke.

When Rose says "I took him down," she doesn't acknowledge the high cost of speaking up for women who came before, like the Cosby accusers, many of whom were women of color who suffered public shame and cruelty, but who nevertheless dragged our collective awareness to the fact that it was possible for a man to be both funny and cruel. It was possible for our heroes to be monsters.

And then she said Time's Up is a farce and Alyssa Milano is a lie, and okay. We're all grown-ups here, which means that we are all fair game for criticism. Time's Up is fair game for criticism, and so is Milano. And so is McGowan, but she isn't able to hear criticism. That's not good enough.

And then she said that trans women don't know what it's like to develop in childhood, so they can't understand the experience of womanhood. Not okay. Worse than not okay.

And then this:




I'm speaking as a person who cares deeply
about her pain as a survivor of assault: 
No.
She can't help anymore.
She has to stop now. 

Not because she's being "abrasive" or "uncomfortable" or "rude" or "argumentative," or "crazy," or any of the other words that I've heard describe her and that I have to call out as straight-up weak sauce and the same kind of limp criticism that has always been used to try to get loudmouth dames to pipe down. Her volume isn't the problem.

The problem is that she's sculpting a movement of white cis women who only value white cis woman pain. And that's not good enough.

Anyone who needs to remind you to be grateful had not earned your gratitude.

That narrowness, that personal sense of having been wronged so intimately and so deeply, make her a fatally flawed leader of what must be an inclusive social justice movement for all people. We have to bring everyone with us, or it's just another racist, transphobic, xenophobic, homophobic half-measure.

Real talk: 
If we embrace Rose as our leader
we endorse her public statements
that diminish the value of women.

If we embrace Rose as our leader
#metoo is not a movement for women.

If we embrace Rose as our leader
#metoo is a movement for white, cis women.

And as a rule, I don't join whites-only groups.
As a rule, I don't cheer for groups that exclude trans voices.

I wouldn't go to a church that didn't let these people in.
I won't support a movement that closes its doors, either.

If we don't bring everyone - EVERYONE - with us, 
our movement is performance, not progress.

What if the #metoo movement had been driven forward by, say, Katherine Heigl. And then Scarlett Johansson and Amanda Seyfreid spoke up. And then Cameron Diaz and Naomi Watts stepped up, and all of these blonde women spoke in a single voice: "Women will not be victims anymore."

Cool. Cool cool cool.

But then imagine Natalie Portman said "me, too." And the whole #metoo gang said, "Well, okay, I guess, but what you don't understand is that blonde women are sexualized more than brunettes are. I'm sorry that something happened to you but blonde women are so vulnerable, like so vulnerable. It's really important that we all stay focused here so that we can make the world better for women."

Uh... do you mean blonde women? Because you just took a massive dump all over this brown-haired girl.

That would be absurd, right? To draw a line down the middle of the movement that divides "real survivors" from "pretenders" based on hair color? Ridiculous!

How is that example any different from drawing a line down the middle of this women's movement separating "real women" from "transwomen" based on whether or not they menstruate? Ridiculous. Ridiculous and fucking not good enough.




Rose defends herself by saying that she mentions women of color and trans women in interviews. She mentions that they exist and that they suffer pain like hers.

But what she doesn't say in those interviews is that those two populations are objectively more vulnerable to sexual assault than white cis women are, purely because when they consider coming forward, they must weigh not only the biases against their gender, but also the likelihood of being punished because of their race or transgender identity, two fucking awful, inescapable, and common threats that Rose McGowan and I have never experienced, and will never experience.

She can't acknowledge that trans women would have wanted nothing more than to develop breasts and menstruate, that trans women watched cis women grow more deeply into the bodies that belonged to them, and felt depair as they grew more deeply into bodies that did not fit. Not good enough. In fact, it's fucking awful.

One of the ways that I respect Rose McGowan is by telling her that she is wrong. She's wrong to try to lead a movement out of her own pain. She's wrong to claim ownership of progress. She's wrong to categorize only some women as worth fighting for. She's wrong to believe that her experience of womanhood is representative of all womanhood. She's wrong.

Unequivocally, she has value as a person and as a survivor, which is completely separate from the question of her ability to contribute to the leadership of this movement.

Rose McGowan is a valuable person;
she is a harmful leader.

It's time for her to sit down, take care, and make space for all the other capable women who could be doing this crucial work better than Rose is doing it. It's time. It's past time. #Metoo must make room for difference of opinions, but it cannot give space to disrespect and dismissal.

At this point, the greatest gift Rose McGowan can give the movement is the example of how people can become aware of their own limitations and begin to hold themselves accountable, no matter who they are, for the ways that they hurt other people.

And the greatest gift we can give her is our honesty and respect:

Rose, thank you for what you've done.

Your pain is not your CV.
Your pain belongs to you
but it doesn't qualify you for leadership.

You're hurting people.
We won't let you do that.
You're done. 



This is my work
If you found this post valuable
support my work through Patreon 
or Paypal (katykatikate at gmail)

Follow KatyKatiKate on Facebook & Twitter

Get an email when I post something new

I don't make a dime
100% of proceeds go to RAINN
& Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

... AND CHECK OUT MY PODCAST
with Ronit Feinglass Plank