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'Keep bleeding, just toward something beyond blood'

I wanted to finish my blogging challenge before July ended. I was honestly going to try and post twice a week but that didn't happen evidently.

The last challenge was to look at a quote and analyse its significance to your life. I picked a quote by Leslie Jamison:
                                       'Keep bleeding, just toward something beyond blood'

This is the quote at the beginning of my bullet journal for July. I want to say that I found this quote organically in an interesting book and after I read it, I stroked my chin thoughtfully. But that didn't happen. 

I was scrolling through Tumblr and it came up on my dash. I liked the post, and later, I put it in a Google Doc that I specifically created for quotes to decorate my bullet journal with. Whilst I do wish its origin was more romantic, the significance to me is not reduced.

The origin of the quote comes from an essay called 'Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain', which I had to look up. I haven't read the full essay, (though I'll be sure to that), but what it supposed to explore is the way women are wounded and abused in art and culture. And honestly if you know me at all, stuff like that is right up my street. Gender and blood go hand in hand in my head.

When I first read the quote, what I gleaned from it was that, in order to truly be alive, you must excavate what pains you for the sake of connection. If you desire intimacy or love, you must 'bleed' the bad parts of you. But the caveat of the second part of the quote is that you must move toward something 'beyond blood'. What I took this to mean is that there has to be something beyond your own trauma. That cannot be your only bond with people. You have to move towards something healthy. If I am to take the quote literally for a second, when you have no more blood in your body, you die. If you only connect with people's toxic elements, you die...figuratively.

I don't think that this interpretation is too far off what was in the original essay. What Jamison appears to be talking about is how women's pain is often portrayed and subsequently exploited in art and media, and how that, whilst it is important to explore gendered trauma, it is also important to move beyond how women figuratively and literally bleed on screen and on the page. That pain is not the only thing that bonds women and by centring the experience constantly, it is co-opted by patriarchy and used as a device for shock value rather than a complex exploration of trauma.

(Like I said, I haven't read the essay, but I have read academic articles in the vain of this one. If I read it and my interpretation in context is wrong, expect an editor's note turning up at the beginning of this post.)

I sometimes think it can be useful to view a quote outside of its context. I think it can be interesting to look at the way people reframe a sentiment, whether they put that quote as an Instagram caption or, like me, as an interesting sounding quote in my bullet journal. Where that quote began can be entirely divorced from where it came from. If you have a sad lyric in mind, you could put it on a picture of you looking the best you've ever looked and it changes the meaning of the quote...or the picture. 

Sometimes you don't have control over what the impact a quote has.