June 24th, 2020

mom walk

when the news takes a toll

You know all the MeToo shit that happened in pop culture a few years back, it didn't really hit me personally because most of the people named, i either had no idea who they were, or they were people tangentially related to movies i liked who i never really thought about again after i watched the movie. Sexual abuse is awful, but just like with the church abuse scandals, most MeToo stories were about something far outside my frame of reference, so i could emotionally distance from it like i emotionally distance from history or war or whatever.

But this wrestling shit, SpeakingOut, some of this stuff i am just a couple degrees removed from the people being named. It's a niche industry and everyone knows everyone. Some people sharing their experiences are people who ran in similar circles to me. Wrestling is a form of entertainment where what you see on the screen is meant to be an exaggerated version of the personality that people are at home, so when people get named it's like "oh yeah, i can totally see that now in the character they play", and then it makes you wonder about the other sleazy or abusive characters. As a fan you will see the same people week after week, month after month, year after year. There is no off season. And even though you know that these performers are just putting on a show... there is a connection that develops. That's the point, that's what "getting over" means - it's about selling the fans on your gimmick, getting them to really care about you.

It's a gutpunch as day after day more people speak out. Not just to see people whose work you enjoy get exposed because, honestly, fuck those guys... but also to see people whose work you enjoy reveal the real-life abuse and trauma they faced getting there.

And, of course, it makes you reflect on your own life and your own experiences. Whether you have been a victim or a perpetrator or both. I was sexually abused as a child. I don't remember it in detail. I don't think it affected me much, but... you know, maybe it did. Looking back on my longest relationship with T, i for sure know i was emotionally abusive to her. At the time i thought it was a two way street, that we were both fucked up in different ways and hurt each other in different ways... but nah, i was a fucking asshole and there's no excuse for that. Not "oh, my mental health struggles..." Not "oh, but here's what she did..." I own it. I sucked. I got better. I'm not perfect, but i was a whole lot better as a 30something than a 20something, and at 40 i am better still.

So, i got time for some of these 20something kids who did or said stupid shit. I get it. Apologize, take your licks, think about it and move on.

But then i look at some of these people who have been accused of abuse going back 10 or 20 years and some of their non-apologies are offensively pathetic... Like, trying to make like suffering from depression is an excuse for domestic violence, or grooming children, or putting people into situations they didn't consent to, or using their position in the industry to keep people quiet. They have patterns of behavior that continued for years, and they're still trying to pull the pity card. How can these slimeballs live with themselves?

-o-

Anyway, because of all this wrestling stuff, i haven't been using this holiday like i planned. Not yet anyway. I wanted to try check stuff off my Guangdong bucket list, or at least do a bit more to plan my next steps. But i'm emotionally tired.

I can say that i am thinking more and more that Canada will be my next destination. I do really value what Europe is trying to do by reopening borders - definitely i think they are leading the world in not letting coronavirus-related xenophobia win over the spirit of internationalism... but even though ideologically i am down with Europe, logistically it's a massive ass-pain. It's still not clear how or when i can get there from here. Canada, on the other hand, there is a list of direct flights from different cities in China, there is clear guidance around the quarantine situation, the government has a support line for people quarantining without a network, it just seems like the least stressful option.

Getting out of my lease here is... not going to be easy. It's renewed a year at a time and now i am six months in to my second year. Fortunately my rent here is cheap enough relative to my salary that i can afford to pay it out completely, but that feels like a waste. On the other hand, i'm not going to be here to manage the paperwork of someone taking over my lease. I fucking hate rental agreements. They are essentially economic prison sentences. Forcing people to stay in one place for a year at a time should not be legal. It's really disappointing how many landlords don't allow month-to-month. Just another way for property owners to fuck over residents. I am already worried about finding a place to stay wherever i end up. I am so tired of being chained to a contract.

I'm tired, i'm so tired.