I don’t know if I’m a good English major or not. I’m constantly worried I’m interpreting things wrong. Or maybe I am a good English major because I understand things need interpreting; that not everything can be taken at surface level.
My opinions are often not my own, usually formulated from intense rereads of long sentences and overheard conversations. I listen, dig deep and absorb but something in my brain has trouble processing so I sometimes stay quiet and let the world unfold with the battles between right and left (political or not).
Sometimes I can’t dig deeper than surface level. Maybe that’s also a part of being an English major, knowing when to stop digging and start accepting things for what they are at first glance. I often raise my hand to debate against the pretentious class asshole that rants about the fickle complexities of so and so’s acceptable accountability. I hate they’re fake intellectualism, the coffee mug they carry around and the way they pronounce Proust.
I only raise my hand once I hear an opinion that I extremely disagree with, and even then I back down after the next rebuttal because my anxious heart starts racing and I can’t breathe. I never thought myself a good independent freethinker.
Maybe everything is too confusing and I’m just not generally smart. Some douche-bag Finance major will probably say that’s why I’m an English major, but they will probably never read this blog, let alone a book.
In reading Mary Gaitskill’s Somebody with A Little Hammer, a strong-willed compilation of memoir and reviews, I find myself doubting my ability to both write elegantly about my opinions and additionally believe in them. Gaitskill writes her reviews with tactile resilience; she steps on the slippery stones, the ones less taken to avoid disruption. She writes about foot-fetish-based photography like the true art form it is, about novels with time-stopping sexual predators and, furthermore, sympathizes and even idolizes them. She isn’t afraid to talk about the raunchy, the obscene, and she does so casually, without consequences because there shouldn’t be any! She believes in her opinions like they’re valid and publishable. She doesn’t think about those on the other side that will disagree with her. Gaitskill among many is a writer that I aspire to be. When I doubt myself, my footing falls. When I step on those slippery rocks thinking I will fall, I fall. I’ve always been someone to let my insecurities stop me. I don’t want someone to hate me or disagree with me, so I let myself have someone else’s opinion or none at all. Or if I do have one, it’s only to shut down those pretentious assholes.
That is why Yikes? has a worthy and formidable opinions page. My opinions are valid and should be written. They’re coming y’all, whether you like it or not. Watch out for my thoughts. I’m gonna GaitsKILL the game.