i told kendra that if she felt that strongly about not wanting to organize a lawrence hollaback group with me, i respected that. she replied, “fine! fine! so we never have to organize anything politically or hang out socially ever again!” i am pretty sure i did openly laugh at that, because…where the fuck was that coming from? prior to this ridiculous breakfast meeting from hell, kendra & i had been pretty good friends. we hung out socially pretty often. we’d had our rough patches, to be sure, but i had thought the worst of it was behind us & that we’d been getting along great for several months.
it also begs the question…why can’t you socialize with someone you wouldn’t want to work with politically? & why can’t you work on a political project with someone you wouldn’t socialize with? i have done shit tons of political organizing, often working shoulder to shoulder with people i loathed. but big fucking deal. if they do what they say they’re gonna do & can help me pull together a functioning political project, i don’t see why our antipathy about mutual friendship needs to stand in the way of that. similarly, i have been friends with people that i’d never want to work on a political project with, because they were fucking flaky & unreliable. that doesn’t mean they weren’t fun to hang out with. why the either/or mentality? it reminds me of grade school. “you don’t want to play with my dolls? FINE. i’m never speaking to you again!” *huff*
then kendra started getting into it with natalie, complaining that there were only three people at the meeting. “i thought there were going to be like seven or eight people here!” she said, “there’s no one here! why didn’t you get more people to come? this isn’t a real group. ciara doesn’t even want to do hollaback.” (i didn’t jump in & say, “um, i thought you had had my disinclusion a prerequisite of your participation?”) “i have friends that want to get involved in this & i’ve been holding off on telling them anything until i knew what we were doing! what the hell am i supposed to do?”
natalie was like, “yeah, invite your friends! everyone is welcome!” but kendra was gathering steam. “we don’t even know what we’re doing! we don’t even have a group to invite them to! i don’t have time to do these webinars! we can’t get this done this summer! we should push it back to the fall when i have more time!”
“um, okay, we can do that,” said natalie.
“but that means the hollaback lawrence site wouldn’t launch until december,” i said.
“yeah, i know,” said natalie. “that’s perfect! let’s launch in december!” said kendra.
“but, natalie is moving out of town in december,” i said, “so you’re asking her to do all the shitwork & jumping through hoops of getting a group off the ground, & then she leaves before she gets to do anything fun?”
natalie was all, “um, that’s fine. i don’t mind.” kendra was all, “yeah, that’s what works for me.”
um…what? if natalie is down with that, that’s her own jam & i support her in that decision, but goddamn. no way i’d want to work on a project with someone as self-involved as kendra was acting right there. here’s a little tip for any social justice activists out there: it’s pretty rude to force your fellow activists to change around their time table by several months at a time just so that you can be more easily accommodated. especially when changing the time table means that the other people you’re working with will essentially function as shit workers so that they can then leave town & you can bask in the glory of having your very own pet activist project. i mean, sure, maybe try to adjust time tables if someone is, like, having major surgery & or has been jailed as a political prisoner or something, but “i’m pretty busy for a while” isn’t really a great excuse. especially when you are simultaneously griping about having a whole army of people to involve in the project when you see fit to involve them. if kendra really has a whole crew of folks raring to work on hollaback, why doesn’t she unleash them to do the webinars & shit now so that the organization can get off the ground & natalie can enjoy it as a functioning group for a few months before she leaves? hello? am i just living in my own reality here?
i pointed out to kendra that she was being pretty rude to natalie, basically yelling at her for not having pulled together a more robust crew to get hollaback going when kendra herself apparently has a nation of millions just waiting for the green light. kendra was all, “i’ve been wanting to do hollaback for like a year & you’re not doing anything with it!” “what exactly prevented you from getting it going yourself if you don’t like the way natalie is handling things?” i asked. kendra just kind of spluttered at that, & then said, “if we do get a hollaback lawrence group going, ciara, i am going to need you to not write or say anything critical of hollaback as an organization in any public forums, like facebook or blogs or anything.”
“um, no,” i said. seriously? SERIOUSLY? this is a woman i have known, casually & as a close friend, for like ten years. she KNOWS that i am critical. i told her this & she said, “i thought you had changed!” i pointed out that we’d just hung out the night before, & i had been critical of shit. had she thought i’d changed in the last twelve hours? does she think that demanding silence from someone she had just pre-emptively ejected from the activist group she hadn’t even started yet (that she seemed to expect other people to start for her) was really going to fly with me? are we living in a goddamn cuckoo clock? what the fuckity fuck is happening? to be continued, YET AGAIN…