Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Transformative Blogging: A Free Write on Pregnancy, Feminism, and the Internet

Three years ago, I started blogging.

I was newly married, working at a university, confronting my disdain for the midwestern common, and beginning to fall in love with photography.

Today I am 4 months pregnant, working at a spiritual center, combing through my complex relationship with geography and identity, and am a freelance writer and photographer. My dreams are more realized, I can humbly admit to myself.

This summer has been a fragmented blogging experience. I've loosened my ties with the online world after experiencing an avalance of its toxicity. But I know of the power of the internet, the power of online communication and exchange, and I know that I will never completely sever my ties with blogging.

The frequency of my blogging came alongside the confidence to speak my mind about mainstream feminism, kyriarchy, and the destructive practices of dominating US-identifed feminists in the field of gender, sexuality, and "feminism." Somewhere, in the Bermuda triangle of my mind, online expression became necessary strength-training for my feminisms. Online exposure - seeking external information from strangers and "experts" - became one of the most frequently visited gyms to exercise feminist discourse. Until now.

Pregnancy has taken me inward. Deep into the reflective tissue of memory, trauma, joy, and motherhood. It has taken me into these far off places of security and fear, health and death, responsibility and loss of control. I've retreated into my body, less focused on the rest of the world and simply in the world growing below my belly button.

This event, for lack of a better word, has transformed me again beyond any trip, research, or moving poet could ever shift me before. At no other time in my life have I walked more slowly, spoke less with more to say, and allowed to open my life to truly not caring about the world whilst still loving it deeply, wildly from my corner in Cleveland, Ohio.

Early pregnancy was very much like discovering the internet - information overload. There was story upon story of miracle (once infertile now fertile) to the heartwrenching (still born stories that made me weep for days) and more "advice" than I could handle. It left me staring at my ceiling in bed, convinced I was sick, was headed into an unhealthy pregnancy, and needed more medical attention than any other person who had ever given birth in the history of baby-making.

I harbored no trust, particularly for my own mind.

My early experience of feminism and the internet was similar. Three years ago, my blog was somewhat directionless. It was filled with thoughtful entries, some humor, and candid glimpses into my life, but it lacked any true identity. It lacked the substantial stamp of SELF. PERSPECTIVE. AUTHENTICITY. TRUTH.

The exploration of how to effectively use media, the internet, blogging, and feminism to transform ourselves and our pockets of the universe remains an unchartered course, a hike for which an infinite weight of rations is needed. This might take a lifetime. But I have learned that while blogging has been very much a gift - delivering relationships, realizations, connections, and insight - it is also a place that can sometimes take you away. Away from your body, away from listening to your own authentic creations. I realize one of the biggest differences in my writing over the past three years is that I write less reactionary pieces and responses than when I first began blogging. I was exploding like a firecracker to a zillion commentors and posts that led me nowhere except away from truly reflecting and moving within my own consciousness.

This gift of pregnancy has not only given me necessary reflection and work to emotionally prepare for a new role as mother, but it has deterred and sharpened my eyesight to be selective in who I choose to read and listen to. It has taught me that more is not always better and reading an endless parade of memoir writing about motherhood will never grasp what the experience means to ME. What is happening to my body, my brain, my bones right now.

It has been through pregnancy that I see "Feminism" with new eyes and I see much more red than I ever saw before. Red bias, red intentions, red discrimination, red narrowness...I see red. Reproductive health rights are arrows pointing to the majority of heterosexual, young white women. Sexuality and spirituality are rarely explored as an interlaced relationship. The conferences change names, but still move in their same agenda. "Liberal" and "progressive" are thrown around without much depth and review. Blog wars still flare from time to time, roaming from appropriation to racism, but after a few months of quiet, you'll still find the same bloggers rowing in the currents of mainstream thought and contributing to US-centric, heteronormative rhetoric that alientates and ostracizes "unpopular" issues like the fact WE ARE STILL AT WAR IN IRAQ, WE ARE NOT A POST-RACE SOCIETY BECAUSE WE HAVE A BI-RACIAL PRESIDENT, and the violence of poverty and rape still choke the life out of womyn everywhere in the world.

Maybe the point is not for the blogosphere to be transformed, but for me to transform according to my offline life, my quiet purpose. And just hope and pray that others are doing the same. Maybe if we all did that, our blogosphere, our world would change. Maybe we could all go through something similiar to a pregnancy where we witness new life growing in some way and we are drawn inward to listen to the new beat of existence, a changed way of being.

Maybe if we listened more, talked less, we could actually hear something other than the deafening needs of our egos and more of the muted chants of our yearning hearts.


  1. This is a wonderful post, Lisa. I couldn't agree with you more. I am glad to hear that your pregnancy has been and continues to be such a positive experience for you.

  2. Anonymous12:42 PM

    truly touching, ALL of the pieces!! RED, I see it too! I feel it and I sometimes feel lost int it. But when I reflect I realize there is room for voices that are more inclusionary and less divisive. These moments have lead me to see myself first as a womanist and now as a humanist... I am grateful for your words

  3. Thank you for sharing this. It is beautiful and powerful reading your words as you reflect not only on your pregnancy but your life and politics all that is around and within you.

    I can't help but reminded of this Frances Beal quote that is very dear to me and led me to get the word "REVOLUTION" tattooed on my wrist and gave me permission to, while still being politically engaged, turn inward - To die for the revolution is a one-shot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day life patterns."

  4. Anonymous1:02 AM

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  5. good post...I understand and support your has always been, for me, a balancing act between nurturing my inner life with being a latest slogan is STRONG IN STRUGGLE...I have to say that I don't get caught up in the rage-o-sphere although I understand it and there's a place for know, I love the explosion of voices that the internet makes possible, but I would perish in the desert if I didn't read very seriously...great people at your library, for free...that's where I live...


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