Tea Reading and Tea Spilling…
Your favorite Moon Oracle finally dishes it out.
Part four of Social Justice Senshi’s performance art piece titled Meme Wars. These stories will be on display as part of an interactive art installation titled Receipts during First Friday in May.
And so I got stood up. Waited with tea and Girl Scout cookies for forty five minutes for the person responsible for bringing my business’s rating from a 5 down to a 3 and then back up again to a 3.7 — this target harassment backfired and brought about an out-pouring of love for Art Mart from people all over the world, overall bringing our ratings up to a 4.0 again in less than a week, thank you!
At this point I did not want an apology, I just wanted them to get to know my goofy self and for the world to see that I was no threat to their friend to begin with. I tried giving peace a chance and I felt disrespected though and so armed with memes, two years worth of tea in screen caps, tacos and a large soda I descended upon the page with flair:
The conversation that ensued lasted a whole Sunday afternoon. Back and forth me and the admin of the page went. Sometimes I was silly, asking to be made an admin or mod repeatedly. To double down on the obnoxious behavior, I even interacted from my sock account. No matter what I did, I kept at task asking about real threats to the community (this crew whom supports these known rapists) over perceived threats like reverse racism.
Since my whole person, my page, my life, relationships, business and even my mental and physical illness were taken as comedic fodder, I decided that only a few things were going to be off the table during this roasting:
I was not here to come for people whom deal with internalized isms: I experienced so much of that whilst going to a ‘cross cultural church’ with mostly white folks whom thought that you can marry your way out of racism. I have dealt with a lot of internalized self hate as a non binary person, and as someone whom falls in love easily, often and regardless of gender or orientation. I still deal with internalized ablelism and misogyny and despite all efforts sometimes I say horrid neuro typical bullshit, mostly about myself — I am still adjusting to the transition between being able bodied in my 20’s and running for fun and fitness to what I have working with now, where sometimes I cannot shower because it is too painful to walk or even stand under the water. Only in the past two years that I have been open publicly about seizures, depression, anxiety and PTSD and there is a million more things about my mental health which aren’t public. I want to live a life that is safe for folks like me to come to me and speak, knowing that I will not judge, instead offer help and support if needed, coming correct in speech and everyday praxis is so important to me and Art Mart itself is a place for healing through arts. I won’t cheapen that with pettiness over a less than fifty-like page on Facebook.
Understanding and going against the toxic social constructs at play is all a process and there is always room for improvement and self criticism. Personally I always welcome correction in the form of education and challenges to think before I speak.
I was going in knowing that I would have to do emotional labor and really moderate the discussion in a way that would yield good growth.
For one I like social media and the ability to screen cap conversations helps so much to keep us accountable to one another in our speech, and writing helps me (I think this is true for a lot of folks) get these ideas together and to stick more. From the get go, when I began engaging this person on their own page, one of the ground rules I sat was that there would be no deleting comments: I was screen grabbing every exchange to keep us both honest and if something was going to be erased it was going to be re-shared and addressed. This was agreeable and from there we were able to speak on a number of things openly. I was prepared to be banned from the page and have to use a sock account, Michelle and Justin had their own set of memes, in case I was shut out of the page altogether but none of that was necessary.
Besides having to actively reel in the derailings, it was easy to speak from my point of view, the person was pretty open to talking. I think we found our humor and personalities compatible and the conversation expanded hours and into Sunday evening. We got to know each other a little better and I even shared some of my Medium think-pieces on subjects that applied to the discourse, he even liked a couple of them!
At the end I asked him if all of this was worth it?
If he didn’t know me at all until now how could he pass judgment on me based on what a casual racist would say? Let us not mince words, using your POC friends to stand up for you in an instance when you are being called out on racism is well, racist. Me? My work speaks for itself, you can google what I do or read what I write and know where I stand on a number of issues. I hoped that he would see that I am far from the picture his ‘friend’ had painted of me. And truth is, we would probably be friends and working toward really weeding out problematic people in our town together, but instead he’s allowing this woman to use him, to put himself at so much risk over this, is it worth it? is that a real friend?
Discourse, honesty and Sailor Moon memes won out at the end, and the person behind Down With Art Mart apologized, changed the page’s profile pic from the Dark Mark to the Order of the Phoenix logo (Harry Potter nerd win!) and now we are set to have a coffee date to talk about sex worker’s rights, politics and of course the Pretty Guardian that fights for love and justice!