I looked at Tony and said "Sometimes, the person with the greatest strengths can also have the greatest weaknesses." and as the words came out of my mouth, I realized I'd had a flashing moment of personal brilliance. I don't think that Tony particularly noticed my shining, brilliant moment, but that's okay. My personal epiphany wasn't meant to inspire revolutionary thoughts inside of him. He and I were simply sitting on my stoop on a beautifully mild morning getting to know each other. Talking about relationships, about sex, about any idea or thought that we felt like talking about. I wasn't looking for a shattering epiphany or a burning revelation , I was just looking forward to getting to know a new friend. But once those words slipped through my lips, I knew that they held power for me. That those words helped me to explain a lot of the things I had lived through and things I saw in my day to day life. The person with the greatest strengths can also have the greatest weaknesses. Fuck yeah.
Okay, I'll give a personal example from my own life. As I've mentioned in another column, I used to sing for an all woman band called Spitboy. The focus of the band was on gender issues and we talked a lot about the negative role women are forced into by society and various ideas on how women and men could strive towards breaking free of sexism and oppression. Since I was sixteen years old, I'd always been consumed by rage in regards to issues of sexism and the oppression of women and men. I read any book I could get my hands on, took women's studies classes at school, wrote a fanzine called Too Far which was all about gender issues. I was a fanatic and Spitboy was a perfect outlet for all of my feelings of anger and rage and fear and hatred. So here I was, singing about sexism and doing interviews about sexism and writing articles and columns about sexism and standing on stage talking about sexism.
During the height of all of this, I got involved in a relationship. An abusive relationship. No, it was not a physically abusive relationship. I do have my limits. But the emotional abuse was fast and furious and even though I didn't have bruises on my arms or a blacked out eye or missing teeth, I was still getting broken and beaten and bloody on a regular basis. But all the wounds and scars and broken bits were hidden away inside. It didn't make it any less damaging for me. There are moments in that two year relationship that still stand as my lowest, weakest, most horrible moments of my life. And please, don't just see my as the victim in all of this. I'm ashamed to admit that I dished out my own kind of emotional abuse and did damage that probably still runs deep.
Being in that relationship didn't make anything that I felt or said or did for Spitboy any less valid. The strength and intensity I felt with Spitboy was as pure and real as anything I've ever felt in my whole life. Everything I talked about, wrote about, or sang about were the goals and hopes and dreams that I wanted all of us to strive for, myself included. And just like everyone else, I had my own weaknesses that held me back. My own battles that I had to fight long and hard. During the time of Spitboy, a lot of people perceived me as a very strong woman. And a lot of people were disappointed and judgmental that I would be in such a fucked up relationship. But sometimes, the person with the greatest strengths also has the greatest weaknesses.
If you scratch the surface of any person you know, you will probably find way more then you ever bargained for. The most confident, secure, sexy, vibrant, passionate, amazing people can also be the most insecure, scared, weak, uncomfortable, unsure, undecided people you will ever meet. If you're willing to embrace someone's greatness, you also have to be able to accept and love their moments of failure too. And if you're going to judge someone harshly because of something you perceive in them as weak, just remember to look inside yourself first at all of the nasty and hidden parts inside of you that you never want anyone to see.
My heartfelt thanks to Tony for inspiring me and hanging out with me and Norton. He also sings for Rambo, and they are punk as fuck. Punk is good. Also, a huge, warm thanks to Mike and Andrew from the band Kill The Man Who Questions. The fact that they both listened to my idea and were so kind and supportive means the world to me. With all my heart, I wish them the best and I can't wait to see them play again. They, too, are punk as fuck.