Be Revolutionary: Emma Goldman’s “Living My Life”

by Latina Fatale on 03/20/2011 · 2 comments

in Activism, Books, Feminism

Emma GoldmanMy life has been a contradiction, a whirlwind of subversive exploration. I was raised in a deeply pro labor, libertarian democrats (occasionally bordering on socialist) family of agitators & organizers. We spent summers fishing & camping at a co-operative collectively owned by “Red Finn’s”, a center of labor organizing in the north woods for almost 100 years.

I was also the prodigal daughter, in a literal sense… testing out of all available reading & literature classes by second grade… reading at a post collegiate level by age 8. While everyone else read Nancy Drew, I read the likes of Mother Jones, Karl Marx & Emma Goldman. Combined with Nabokov, Descartes, Kerouac & a heavy dose (pardon the pun) of Ginsburg and Capote.. it made for an interesting prepubescence.

Leaving home at 14 to live on your own as a model in New York was not the average catholic prep-school girl’s trajectory, but it was mine. I achieved financial independence, paid my way through college studying my passions, and not trying to get a job. All the while, absorbing and seeking out anarchical experiences… trying anything that interested me, no matter how taboo. I’ve been a social instigator, an organizer, an activist, an anarchist, a sexual more breaker… all at the same time, and separately. Above all, I’m a vigilant defender of the inherent right to live one’s life free of the limitations of subscribing to polite society because one ‘should’. Blending in, being complacent, lying down,’letting it go’ is simply not in my character. I do not question authority, I challenge and refute its validity.

Was discovering in fifty six pages that the status quo is not an option (more a terminal sentence) at the delicate age of 8 a harsh realization so early in life? Absolutely, but it was also remarkably liberating! For this I owe a great debt of gratitude to the story of a young, brave, revolutionary, anarchist, activist, WOMAN in the earliest of the 1900′s. Emma Goldman’s inspiring and life changing “Living My Life” touched me, it ignited me, before the world could beat me down with limitations, rules, whys or why nots. Long before Gloria Steinem there was a real revolutionary changing forever what was possible for women, whether they realized it or not.

As a child.. as a girl.. the life of a young woman leaving for New York and becoming one of the most revolutionary figures of the first half of the 20th century was beyond fascinating. That it was the story of a girl, barely a decade older than I made it both relatable.. and possible. Those 1000 pages, give or take, voraciously devoured in just two days of nearly constant marathon changed the way I’ve aspired to live my entire life.

Looking back, I’ve worked & traveled six continents… I’ve been wealthy, I’ve been homeless, I’ve heard the words “You are going to die”, and the latter 3 I’ve heard more than once. Yet I’m still here, I wake up and know that there is more left for me to do, I have more fires to set and many more boats to rock.

To hell with ‘suggested reading’… this is reading that should be mandatory, to earn perspective, not to earn a grade. If only so that more of us might be inspired to think freely, reject convention, pursue liberty, embrace individuality, and create a world that is newer, better, different… without limitations.

Living My Life: Emma Goldman

Be revolutionary.

MisTrix Ms E is a haute couture dominatrix from Northwest Indiana. She is currently touring the USA spreading subversive thought and intelligent kink.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

feministified March 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

This is so inspiring! Thank you for giving me a new badass to add to my reading list, and for sharing your story.


Latina Fatale March 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Oh girl, she is the bad ass of the bad asses! They practically killed her over her labor organizing! You will love her!


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