So, I decided that I needed to take a break from blogging back in November. I really didn't expect for that 'break' to last seven months though.
Initially I stopped blogging because I wasn't able to enjoy it anymore. My posts felt forced, and reading them back was painful and slightly embarrassing. But after a certain point I wasn't able to write anymore. It started early last winter, I think in December. I wasn't able to concentrate enough to write or read, especially the dense, theoretical literature that I was supposed to be reading for school. I would look at a blank page, put a pen to it, and then no thoughts or words would come to mind. Or I would look at a printed page, and the letters would run together and swim in front of my eyes. It was terrifying.
My powers of concentration were destroyed by an emotional trauma that I am still dealing with right now, and that I will be dealing with for a really long time. It's been difficult for me to accept this: both to deal with the loss, and to attempt to move on and be and feel 'normal' again. For a very long time, I couldn't really think about anything else, even organizing and publishing new content here.
After a few weeks of being 'on leave' I read a blog post that Jessica Valenti wrote about the traumatic and nearly fatal birth of her first child, Layla. In it Jessica mostly describes the birth and how she and her family have been affected, but she does briefly mention her experiences in relation to her occupation as a writer: "It feels strange not to write something so life changing. Because truly, I am not the same person that I was before Layla was born…I think there's something about trauma that just shifts your consciousness."
After reading this piece I realized that I do want to write about what I've been through. Even if it doesn't have anything to do with punk and gender. Even if it's really personal and it's scary to even think about sharing it with other people. Even if it seems like a dangerous blurring of the private/professional line.
But it's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I just haven't been able to find the words to describe how I've felt for the past six months, and I get frustrated every time I try. So I've kind of been putting it off. The frustration makes me nervous; It makes me worry that even if I want to, maybe I shouldn't be writing here, or anywhere. Maybe I don't have anything to contribute anymore, or at this point.
But the problem certainly is not a lack of material. A lot of stuff is happening, both in my local community, and on a national, if not international level. In the past six months there has been a proliferation of punk feminist activity on the internet, on the printed page, and in 'real life': the release of the International Girl Gang Underground zine and launch of the accompanying website, the ongoing I Live Sweat blog series, the emergence of Permanent Wave, Girl Gang Gig Volume, and yet another Anti-Valentine's Day Riot Grrrl Cover Band Show are just some of the ones that I've been following or involved with. I know that there's a lot more out there; that doesn't even begin to cover actual bands or releases.
This is important, not only for its own sake, but also because it helps me to relax a little bit about all of this. There are other girls and young women paying attention to issues of female participation in punk and arts communities, and they continue to do something about it and also to invent new ways of facing these issues. There are other people documenting these phenomena, and the dialogues that I was interesting in opening up are happening in various places. As I sit here, struggling against a blank page and a cluttered brain, the scene thrives, and will continue to do so. Whether I come back or not.