I found the tracks for the musical Hamilton on Spotify last night. They have been on repeat since then and everybody in my house is probably sick of my singing by now. I don’t really care. It’s that awesome. I love the whole thing but my favorite song is probably “Nonstop”. “How you do write like you’re running out of time/Write day and night like you’re running out of time? / Every day you fight like you’re running out of time.”
This is what I’ve been doing, writing, whether conversations, emails, or blog posts, it has been near constant writing with just as much urgency, though the reason for the urgency is not something I can quantify or explain. I only know that I have to write. Writing has never held this kind of energy for me, never. Maybe we are heading for a second Revolution. Maybe this urgency comes from feeling the gaze of history on the back of my neck. If we do see a second revolution I hope we don’t see as much bloodshed as the first time. My experience as the daughter of two soldiers says that it is very likely a pipe dream. I find it interesting that Hamilton, who was, and is, revered for his writing, spent so much of his time wishing to be something more than a secretary while never once denying that his skill in writing was formidable. I feel as though I may as well be looking in a mirror. I would never presume to compare my writing to his that be crazy. I feel as though I have similar motivations. I have named myself Valkyrie, and if my sword masquerades as a pen so be it. When you’re living on your knees you’ve got to rise up, every story is worth telling. You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story, but maybe by being the keeper of other people’s stories now someone will tell my story one day
My name is Rachel Kestner and there’s a million things I haven’t done but just you wait.
I don’t think my parents have ever been considered middle-class, the one plausible exception being the time period in which my mother was enlisted in the Army, but I’m not even sure of that. When people talk about feminism lately it all seems to come back to their annoyance with white, middle-class, heterosexual women and how they seem to ignore the experiences of women who do not fall into some or all of the categories they do. I think it’s time to stop putting labels on things every time we turn around, but in case you’re interested in my labels here the list. I am a white woman born to parents who have probably been classified as working poor for most, if not all of, my life. I’m a person living with a disability acquired at birth. What this means for me is that I require either a motorized wheelchair or a manual one to get around. I have gone to college but had to leave because of insurance cutbacks reducing the amount of assistance I was allowed to proceed. I am also bisexual and even though I don’t think that should matter a hill of beans to anyone who isn’t living with me apparently some people will make a big deal out of anything.
As you can probably tell I represent a minority of some form two or three times over. That being said I believe that all this focus on categories and labels is doing more harm than good for the concept of feminism. All women are unique and all our life’s variances are unique to us as individuals, because of that we all have important things contribute to the conversation. My younger sister spent 18 years in the same house with me and my parents but her childhood was different from mine, her school and work experiences are different from mine and therefore her perspective while it might be similar to mine is still completely unique to her.
Feminism shouldn’t be about which group of women have the most difficulties. We all have problems, some of the more unique to our particular circumstances than others. Instead of everyone claiming that they have it harder maybe we should all agree to stop shouting and listen to one another like reasonable adults. This means listening to man as well. Recently I’ve noticed that women are shying away from using the word feminism, in part due to the mandating connotations it acquired somewhere along the way. I think it is time to redefine and reclaim that word, even as we work to do the same for ourselves.
The woman in this photograph is my great-grandmother Betty Prophet. I suppose I should be completely accurate and say she is my step great-grandmother because she was my great-grandfather’s second wife but that is something I forget most of the time because his first wife died when my mother was still little, therefore she is the only great-grandmother I ever knew. I did not know until last week that my grandmother’s first husband and my grandfather were ever on speaking terms, but apparently at some point they were,in one of their conversations they were discussing World War II, which they had both served in a slightly different points. Grandma’s first husband had been a pilot and was telling my grandfather how he had been shot down and had to repair the plane by himself with only the verbal help of a man in the United States who worked in the factory where the planes were manufactured and sent back to for repair when they got damaged Before Sam could explain what had gone wrong with the plane, and what the mechanic had told him in order to fix it so he could get home my grandfather finished the story. Lo and behold, before my grandfather’s draft number came up he had worked in the factory that produced the plane Sam flew and was the very same mechanic who walked in the third of the repairs of his plane and made it possible for him to return safely run behind enemy lines and eventually return home. No one was more shocked them those two men The world works in mysterious ways and in this story lies one of its proofs
I have noticed in the past year that while I call myself a writer I lack consistency. I allow things like depression provide me with a ready-made excuse not to write. I tell myself that I am”too busy” to write that morning or what ever time of day it happens to be. I’m 25 years old, still living with my parents, without a job and most of the bills are not my responsibility. I’ve heard many people say that if only they lived my life, were one very similar to it, then they would be able to write to their heart’s content. The question that may occur to you at this point is why if I live in what some would consider a writer’s paradise why don’t I write more? The honest answer is… wait for it… I’m lazy. Well no more. Starting today, this the second day of January in the Year of Our Lord 2011, I commit myself to writing at least one post a day in this blog for the next year. I also promise that not every post will start off sounding like a English history book penned in a monastery!
I’m not proud of too many things that have happened over the past year, it has definitely not been the year I hoped it would be at the beginning. That being said the thing of which I’m most proud in the past year is my Little Man, he is the light at the end of the tunnel and despite a few rather annoying setbacks I know we will go far.