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Girl X Thoughts

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

Sharon has agreed to post more with Radical Second Things. I'm happy to say that her memorial of Jennifer was a ratings success here. This isn't the sort of blog that updates every day in order to get as many hits as possible. I've got two other writers here - Josh and Sharon. I hope to get more but that is the gammot of what I have right now. Both Sharon and Josh have brought in an impressive readership, which I hope could possibly, some day, lead to more sponsorship and advertisement beyond the meager ones I have now.

 I was nervous about this first anniversary. I knew, as a writer most my adult life, that I had to do something. I was weary of making it about me - I had some events and relationships, which all my close friends know about it, where what happened strained things quite a bit and I didn't want to write about those things in this setting. It's good that have Sharon on board, someone who understands Jen's legacy without feeling the need to judge something, and fortunately she was able to contribute something. I was genuinely worried that everything that could be said had been said too but by talking about Jen's favorite piece, Girl X, she got a new topic rolling.

It's true that Jen really loved Girl X. Like most of Jen's writing, however, I find it a bit hard to read. Jen, like a lot of hyper intelligent feminist women, had issues with men and even pursued women for big intervals of her life when the issues really got intense.

She was really hard on her dad. Her dad could be a bit of a pushover and didn't really stand up to her nonsense as I did (we got in some heated debates about her drug use, which she heavily tried to rationalize). Girl X is brutal as all hell and it's hard to see her dad as villainous like she did. He really has been through the emotional wringer, something I detected all too well when we met after her death:

My sister was born after my mom had two stillbirths and six miscarriages. They were obsessed, and claimed to be doing this all for me, so that I could have a sibling. The first stillbirth, when I was almost three, was the worst, because she was in labor, full-term, and bled in the waiting room in the ER and no one would help. The gynecologist on call was at a dinner event. Probably drunk. That was the first time mommy was supposed to die. They did almost lose her, too. Rather strange, to almost bleed to death in a place filled with experts on dealing with health emergencies, much more severe ones.

I only knew her for three years out of her 30 years of life. During much of that time, she was with others and not talking to me. I had been alone a lot in my life, certainly more than I think she had - I chocked up her rejecting me as just typical woman stuff and moved on with my boring private life. When she jumped back in my life, looking at me like the savior of her life, only to die and leave me as the person who everyone she ever knew expressed their views with, it was an experience that intensely changed my views of romance and how it operates, along with life itself.

Much of what took her in to hell happened after we first met each other late in 2011, shortly after she was with Richard. I am left wondering as she was in relatively stable condition for most of her life and began to surge in to heavy addiction the last few years of her life. I can't imagine what her psyche was but I have wondered if the extreme pain of endometriosis and then the humiliation of having her uterus removed is what sent her in to such a dark place.

She was left without a mother, after her mother too went through reproductive system purgatory. She has a sister but had no mother, just as I grew up without a father. Being a man, her dad was more than likely aimless in his attempts to help her as she went through hell, enabling her dark habits instead of effectively stopping them.

Girl X made me realize that my attraction to hyper intelligent feminist writers like her (and she was not the only one) reflected a strange mirror image of my own gender issues. I still have issues with the woman who raised me while still maintaining a level of regular discourse and sometimes dependence with her despite my issues. I don't think Jen really was comfortable when she felt rage at the men in her life, I found poems with her ex Richard mentioned in them after she died and she rationalized her not talking to me for close to a year with the actions of the guy she was seeing at the time (which I have doubts about).

She lit up when her dad called her, no matter how brutally she criticized him. No matter how angry I got at my mom for insulting me in front of people, keeping family history to herself and screaming at me if I asked or both treating people like I was mentally retarded and pushing everyone she knew to do it too, I felt uncomfortable when that distrust became projected on to women.

She was an extremely difficult woman. I'm not sure why I go after such difficult women when there's probably billions who are less complicated but I do, likely because I'm just as difficult and complex. I'm not shocked by the intense emotions she invoked of love and hate because I still feel both of them - but her very existence was against biological odds and her parting from the world was strange and against the odds in its way too. Shine on, Girl X.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things