Monday, October 16, 2006

On Depression, Liberation and Outness

About a week ago I spent time discussing birth order and it's affect on personality - as a youngest child I am apparently the joker/ trickster entertainer - using humour and razzle-dazzle to distract from the serious stuff that is the chunky filling of life to the oldest child. I did spend quite a bit of time choosing bright feathers to wear before visiting my parents when we were still in contact. They must have wondered sometimes if they accidently gave birth to Liberace (I was considering writing a femme Liberace - but that would be redundant, really)

Discussing my costume took up at least 20 minutes if it was spectacular enough. Something to break up the safety of mundane conversational topics of the garden, recipes and my cats. Even more mundane was the guarantee of those topics that were off limits - my partner's transition to living full time as a woman, my sex work, my sex worker rights activism, the range of mental health issues present in my family, the fact that both my sister and one of my nieces were shacked up with dealers...

I wasn't ever the kind of person that could feel safe and comfortable in a closet. I'm a lousy liar, and better skilled at disarming honesty. Even though I was out about everything with my parents; the fact that everything meaningful to me couldn't ever be spoken about and that my mother was even angrier with my need to share my freakish perversion with her, rather than just doing it and never talking about it probably contributed enormously to my depression at the time.

Lack of responsibility is a huge label applied to the youngest child in the family, and in many ways, being diagnosed with depresson was so liberating, because it meant I wasn't lazy, unmotivated or irresponsible. In many ways, dealing with depression meant challenging my super-ego and it's limiting beliefs that sex working in order to fund my activism and fetish shoe habils, while off saving the world weren't as valid as being at university or some other more culturally supported activity.

I now feel pretty damn responsible, actually. I feel that some of the most responsible things I've done is to be fearlessly out and proud, and attempting to create community spaces for sex workers. I think occuping fringe areas is being very responsible, as it is the progressives and fringe elements that create change and move society forward.

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