a response to Poor as Fuck Polytheism
So I am just going to jump right in, because I know my pagan blog is going to be a series of messy thoughts for awhile. I have a different blog under a different persona which is much more polished, but it’s also not about spirituality. In short I’m a little rough around the edges but I mean well. I’m a combo of paths and beliefs, I suppose, in that I listen to Whoever shows up. I tend to think of myself as an animist on a shamanic path. I’m trans, queer, disabled and probably a whole bunch of other labels.
Another thing I am is poor, so I am going to start this blog off with a link to Poor As Fuck Polytheism
It’s an excellent post. I am not surprised by the way people on that other blog are acting either. People in paganism apparently really don’t like to admit that we can all be racist, classist, queer phobic jerks. In fact part of why I got the idea to start this blog is because I’m tired of everything being so damn heteronormative and gender essentialist in damn near every Pagan space I’ve tried to participate in.
I’m not in to drama. I don’t care about witch wars. I don’t give a shit if someone said something meant to you ten years ago in a defunct coven somewhere. But I do care about including people of all different backgrounds and I do care when someone dehumanizes a vast swath of the pagan community. I don’t know who any of these people are beyond the words they wrote online. I’m not a big name pagan and for over ten years I have been a fiercely solitary practitioner. I tell you this because I have no dog in this fight as far as cults of personality go. But when someone says bullshit about inner city people pouring out 40oz and other crap, well I can’t abide.
So I figure it’s easiest if I just post the comment I left on the response post. Here it is:
This is a great post. I have lived on disability for most of my adult life. People seem to think I just sit around getting free money and not doing anything of value. Do you know how much that disability check was for? 700$ For awhile, that was the exact amount of my rent check because I live in a very expensive city. It is sometimes not possible to realistically downgrade your living situation. The wait list for section 8 housing in my city is FOUR YEARS long.
Recently the amount of my disability check went up to 1100$, which many people consider completely unacceptable hard scrabble living. One of the things people don’t seem to understand when they make ignorant comments about me having nice things is that in order to have any spending money at all I’ve made big decisions about what I will and will not have. These people often have more privileges than they realize. Maybe they chose to have children (as opposed to people with oppression that cuts them off from family planning and birth control). They chose to buy a traditional house through traditional means. That sort of thing. Here are things I have sacrificed: children, a house that I own and control, living on my own, contributing to a vehicle (I can’t drive myself), more than ten pieces of clothing, and so on. Because of the way I live–a way that would horrify most people in our affluent focused society–I occasionally save up enough money to do something nice. Eat a fancy dinner. Go on a little trip. Buy a piece of nice clothing. To be roundly condemned for that is madness.
I don’t deserve to toil away in joyless obscurity just because I am disabled and poor. It’s similar to how people judge a fat person for daring to eat ice cream every now and again. We’re still people, fat, poor, disabled, of color, whatever, and we deserve the comforts we do get. No individual has the right to tell me what I do with my food stamps, for example. I abide the rules set down for what you can and can’t buy for them, and if I choose to buy a steak every now and again that’s no one’s business. To make it sound otherwise is to dehumanize me. I don’t deserve to live in a way that takes my dignity just because I had the misfortune to be born in to more challenges than some.
And yes, I have an iPhone. My extremely generous friend pays for it. I own several nice coats and two nice bags. Here’s another secret: investing in well made items up front is a much more sound financial decision than say buying the same pair of crappy shoes twenty times because they fall apart within two months. Those bags will last as long as I do. Having an iPhone is often incredibly important to disadvantaged people, because it allows them to coordinate interviews, search online for job information, and a vast number of other things. Oh and if you have certain disabilities, the iPhone is hands down the most accessible phone you can get.
I ‘love’ how there seems to be so much -ism in the pagan community at large. Excluding trans people, gender essentialism, holier than thou spiritual pronouncements, denying racism. That last one is all up in the comments on that post. That’s not right. We need to investigate these things, ask why they’re happening, and hopefully make the general community as good and inclusive as it can be.