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Dear Amy,

I have just recently started my path of self discovery and coming of age in a society that is not necessarily supportive of the stereotypical "me". I guess it all started when a began realizing the differences between myself and my friends on an intellectual level. You know the type, the one's who give you the third eye look when you try to have a passionate discussion on politics, religion and social injustices. What the hell was I thinking trying to talk about anything besides the degradation of our peers (teenage gossip) or how to get drunk tonight? As if this wasn't stressful enough, one day I came to the realization "Oh great I'm a lesbian too!".

I'm proud of who I am and every part of me, but its amazing after such a realization how much more you pick up on the ever apparent discrimination of others. Growing up in the armpit of america wasn't exactly welcoming to people like me, so I started my self awareness on my own. I guess it all started when I discovered Ani Difranco, and realized just how liberating self respect can be. I went on a mission, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about feminism and its movement which (there's a point and even a question here somewhere I pormise) lead me to your book the Manifesta. Hearing you speak of the diversity of your friends and peers make me hope that someday I can live comfortably and openly with myself. I guess my question is, does it get easier? Or even more liberal (When you can actually feel safe allowing others to truly get to know you or being openly allowed to love someone regardless of race or gender)?

My biggest fear is that I hang on to the hope that this will all changed in the fall when I go to art school in Philly, that someday I'll find and surround myself with others who believe as we do is only a dream, that no such place exists, that this whole country is as right winged and ignorant as my town. I feel like I'm alone, and as said as it is after all feminist has done to stop it, i feel like there's no one else like me around.

I know there was some kind of abstract question hidden in there somewhere, I apologize, writing is not my form of articulating, I'm a painter with ADD, a mix that never results in a structured text. I guess I've never had anyone else to talk to untill you ladies presented yourselves. Thank you for your words, your strength, and your compassion. If it weren't for women like you I probably won't be alive today.

Thank you,




Dear Megan,

I can't promise you anything, but I can say that my life has gotten better in terms of feeling like I am surrounded by an increasingly more supportive community. I think that there are two main reasons for this -- one, was going to Barnard College, where I felt like I was suddenly surrounded by others like me -- at first it was intimidating, I worried that I was no longer unique in any way, but then realized how much a supportive group of friends benefits everyone in the friend group.

The second thing that happened was that I no longer assumed that everyone was working against me, I just changed my perspective and assumed that everyone thought like me until proven otherwise and then I just rejected their opinons rather than trying to rationalize with them. I don't think I am describing it adequately, but essentially I stopped taking the bait and instead of trying to change minds, I just focussed on those who I experienced as allies.

I hope that helps and more important, I hope it does get better.

Take care,

-- Amy

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