Category Archives: open letter

Dear anonymous person on the internet,

You challenged me on Twitter. You told me that Occupy was dead and why should you care about some guy being tortured by the Police in Maine–it’s not your government.

Given that we live in a country where part of our civil war was based on the fact that some states were engaging in inappropriate activity and other states decided to stop them… I can’t imagine not feeling like part of the United States. Maine matters to me like California matters to other people.

Do you think that everyone else in the country watched the Rodney King riots and thought, “Good thing it isn’t my government doing this to someone.” Whoa. I can’t understand that thought. The militarization of the domestic police force is of enormous national concern. It quite literally keeps me up at night. How the police act in one city influences how they feel it acceptable to act in all other cities.

I have been thinking for days about how to talk about this subject. I have a strong tendency towards tl;dr so I’ve been struggling to find a pithy argument. It is quite frustrating that someone on the internet argues with me and demands a counter argument but I can’t count on someone to read more than three or four hundred words. That’s not an argument it is an exchange of theme songs.

For me, not caring about the police in Maine is like someone in Germany not caring about the first few train loads of Jews being abducted. I understand that I just lost this argument based on Godwin’s law. I spend my life living as if I am one of the first ones called. I can’t afford to think that the first few groups of people the police harass are acceptable collateral damage. My life won’t let me think of any situation like that.

I have had extremely damaging run-ins with police in my life. White trash whores are not really respected by local police forces–they decided who and what I was before I hit puberty. They were not interested in protecting me from rape or sexual assault from childhood. I live enmeshed in rape culture in a way that very few people can understand because very few people have more rapists than fingers.

I believe that a boy being tortured by the police in Maine matters because I have to believe that I would matter in his place. That it wouldn’t be ok for them to do it to me. I live in a time and a place where I can not have the hubris of saying, “Oh it wouldn’t happen to me so it is ok that they do it to someone else.” If they were going to do it to someone they just might do it to me. It wouldn’t be the first time I have had my rights taken away and I’ve been strapped down by government forces.

I understand that my life experiences are unique and unusual. My opinion intensified by one hundred after having children.

My then three year old marched with the Port Shutdown in Oakland. She remembers Occupy. We talk about it. I was one of the first people at the General Strike port shut down. I watched the thousands of people stream into the port. I watched what happens when people say, “It doesn’t matter that you say this doesn’t effect me and I should shut up–I have a voice and you can not silence me.”

I hear that Occupy is dead. I do not believe this. I believe that Occupy lives in the heart of every person who will not be silenced. This summer I will be painting a mural on a neighborhood fence because some kids keep putting graffiti on it. The elderly lady who owns the property is not up to maintaining a fence free of graffiti. I’m going to use neighborhood children to help me paint.

Occupy is not just about living in tents and existing to annoy city hall. Occupy is about seeing something in your community and trying to fix it. Maybe I would feel less personally connected to the boy in Portland Maine if I had not just mapped out how I would drive there a week before seeing this video clip. I was specifically planning on going to that city. In my country. In my car with my kids. How could I not feel like what happens to him matters to me?

Why should you care? I haven’t been able to figure out how to convince you. I ask that you be polite about my belief. I should get angry when the government tortures people because it is wrong. That is just how the world should work in my head. Ok, that’s as pithy as I can manage. You see why I didn’t respond on Twitter.

Doesn’t everyone hear voices?

Everyone is sleeping. I’m sitting in the living room. It feels really weird. The sun is coming up. It’s 6:34. Where is everyone? I could go wake Noah up–he wouldn’t mind. I figure he needs the sleep. I ate a blueberry muffin. Not exactly a breakfast of champions. I’m going to run twelve miles today.

Someone on the internet told me that if I was being harassed in my neighborhood I should drive to a better neighborhood so I can run there. That made me feel really angry. I felt insulted and disgusted by the suggestion. Noah asked me if I was looking for sympathy or advice. I thought about it really hard. I was pretty sure I wanted advice but not that fucking advice.

Then I got several other pieces of advice. I understand that other people feel comfortable with hand guns, but I’ve had one pointed at my head. I don’t think there are any circumstances under which I could really handle having a gun on my person. I don’t like the options it gives me. I was thrilled when someone suggested changing time of day, wearing a loud whistle, carrying mace, borrowing a dog to run with, or finding running buddies.

Ok. Now that’s a god damn list of suggestions that doesn’t bother me. It was a really strikingly different set of reactions from me. This is why I used to be fanatical that I didn’t want advice. Because I don’t have a lot of control over how strong my emotional reaction will be. When it’s generic people on the internet I will maybe/probably never meet it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m not a dick it doesn’t matter how I feel. That’s convenient.

People react to things based on a long list of complex factors. Everyone has a different life. I have a hard time when people suggest things that aren’t a good fit. I feel enraged by the suggestion that I should be a different kind of person. I do not want to be someone who runs away from difficult situations. If things got worse I might run with a big stick. I’m ok with the consequences of having that taken away from me and used against me. Unless someone is highly trained in martial arts they are unlikely to hit me any harder than my boyfriends.

I think a lot about why “women like me” don’t survive. I feel like my desire to do things in a way different from the herd makes me defective. But I’m doing the best I can. What is an acceptable life?

I’ve been yelling too much lately. Shanna is trying hard to learn to sneak. That’s a process I am struggling with. I used to do it. I feel kind of thrilled by having this mini-me in the house. I get to be so much nicer than I had.

Even though I feel like I am yelling more than I want to be yelling I have these tapes in my head that play over and over. I’m not like that. I don’t go on tirades. I make my point and I move on. I try to. I think I do. Am I ever allowed to be secure about this? Would it ever be ok for me to feel complacent on this subject? I don’t think so. So I am constantly wary. I must not go on tirades at my children. I must not go on tirades at my children.

I hear them in my head. When Shanna does stuff that I have done I hear my mother. I hear her screaming. I hear her choking and crying as she hit me and screamed at me that I was bad and stupid and how dare I and and and.

I’m having a hard time lately. I feel like a big part of the reason I want to block out this period of their childhood and be with them all the time is so I can experience what it is like to have a whole childhood that is safe. I don’t know. I have these terrible voices in my head. I am so afraid of being like my mother.

I am already too critical. I feel harsh lately. Overly judgmental. Really I feel like I should just shut my stupid mouth. When Shanna smarts off at me I smile at her and try to gently lead her tone and words in the direction I want them. In my head I hear, “You stupid little bitch”.  Sometimes I honestly wonder about schizophrenia. When I was a teenager one of the meds they put me on caused me to be “borderline schizophrenic” according to the psychiatrist I was working with at Kaiser. I hear a lot of things that are not going on a lot of the time. It is very hard to not have multiple memory tracks going at once in my head. Sometimes it makes it hard to hear what someone is actually saying to me. I know it makes me sound sharp and harsh. Someone is always being nasty to me in my head. But it’s not an excuse.

That’s why I speak gently to my children. They won’t learn how to treat me unless I model it. I want them to be polite and gentle with me. So I am with them. It feels important. I am not going to be a hypocrite in that way. I am not going to yell at them and hit them for “talking smart”.

I hear stirring.

Dear Amazon, my life is not erotic fiction.

To whom it may concern at Amazon:

First, let me thank you for making it such an easy process to self publish.  I really appreciate that it is easy for a non-technically savvy person to get a book published.  Well done.

There is just one small issue.  It was quite difficult for me to write this story.  There were many many hours of crying involved.  I’m admitting, in public, to some pretty horrendous happenings.  I feel very upset that Amazon has decided to categorize this story is “fiction” first of all, it isn’t–I promise, but particularly “erotic” fiction.

If you find my life story erotic I don’t want to know about it.  I feel great nausea at the idea that people might think of my life story as “erotic fiction”.  That is completely inappropriate.  Please put my book into the memoir section where it belongs.

Direct link:

Thank you.

Kristine Gibbs

They switched categories.  Huzzah!  Working with Amazon has been such a pleasure.