"What I didn’t say on the phone was that it takes a particular kind of ego to make someone feel unwanted, then blame her for walking away. Well, what was the point. This wasn’t the first time I had loved somebody who would never know how to be my lover, not really, and what difference would come of teaching him, in the spring, just so I could leave in the summer.”
"I suggest that to counter the moral science of biopolitics, which links the political administration of life to a melodrama of the care of the monadic self, we need to think about agency and personhood not only in inflated terms but also as an activity exercised within spaces of ordinariness that does not always or even usually follow the literalizing logic of visible effectuality, bourgeois dramatics, and lifelong accumulation or self-fashioning."
— Lauren Berlant, “Slow Death (Obesity, Sovereignty, Lateral Agency),” from Cruel Optimism (2011)
At work, at home, at school, on the metro, on bikes, on certain streets, in parks, at sunset if alone, in my advisor’s office, on a downtown bench once, whereupon a homeless man from New Brunswick kindly offered me first a cigarette, and then money for the bus because he thought I couldn’t get home
On the train home, I exchange stares with a man. He’s tall and dark-skinned and handsome. He stands up to get off at the next stop. Mouths, “You’re beautiful,” I smile, I know, I saw in the train window, my hair a wild halo around my head, I started riding the bus in 8th grade, I’ve learned this ten years to trust the reflection in the dirty dark glass, anyhow why do I have to explain, yes, I’m beautiful, yes I’ve been told, yes I know, no I never believe it, yes I trust my reflection in the Subway windows.
"Such a bright girl so fucking BORED."
"(I hate that there is this role, the mad wife. And I hate when I play it.)
"A definition, I think, of being oppressed, is being forbidden to externalize any anger.
"I am beginning to realize that the patriarch decides on the form of communication. Decides on the language. The patriarch is the one who rewrites.
"How did you inherit such violence? he asks. He is laughing. It is the way he unconsciously defends himself from conflict. When I exhibit intense emotion.
"But he is violent too. ‘In masculine hands logic is often a form of violence, a sly kind of tyranny,’ writes Simone de Beauvoir. He tears me into rags and rages."
— Kate Zambreno, Heroines (2012)