Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quizás [Perhaps]

I pulled a sad note out of the spectrum of responses I'd been provided
A bit sad, I said. I missed Germany.
But she was not one of those people who valued this small slice of sincerity
Her face fell a little
Next time, I told of her I was 'de buen humor', and she seemed happier
We have all been rewarded when we express positive emotions over negative ones
This happens constantly
I think of Martin, who joked that he went around telling people 'I was angry a moment ago...'

Agency. I have agency.
I can hire, and fire. I have the Australian government to thank for my small disposable income.
Without it, I'd have to be entirely reliant on my parents. And they wouldn't pay for language classes.

*

I'm looking to language exchanges now. They're free, for one thing. And perhaps I can find the words to ask for a language partner who is more my style. That niche description that opens up new worlds.

*

But I don't like the pressure that comes with being a writer, to always formulate sentences which are coherent. I'm not perfect. I, too, make mistakes. People are used to me expressing myself in a way that could be described as 'perfect', and notice when I occasionally fail. I'd like the freedom to sometimes get it wrong, and not have it remarked on. Even native English speakers make English mistakes, and I am not one of them. I pride myself on my writing and speech, but, sometimes it's more important to get the words out with speed and high accuracy instead of with pauses and a bullseye. Maybe even 'high accuracy' is an expectation which puts pressure on me. Though I seldom have anything but. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Exploring

["When you hurt me / You hurt yourself" - Beyonce]

Homesick. Home is where the heart is, and home is far away. I can't adjust my face enough / to please every passing soul / So I need to interfere with my intuition / Engineer a different song /
It's no good bypassing the sadness / I need its comfort now / I need all the comfort I can possibly handle / And I need it now
They say music can make the schizophrenic spring to life /
But have we really just forgotten how to relate
To ourselves and the other
I commiserate
Yet I'm chemically treated enough / to find the depth of despair implausible
I find it hard to relate to this stuff / Yet passing for 'normal' is impossible
Stuck in a biting algorithm / I'm opposed to my own success
I'm looking, always looking / For whatever happens next

Call me a traitor / I'd rather be hated than be numb
Gut(-wrenching) instinct / To pull the lever and jump
Out of the sombre madness / That streetlife in Sydney's become
I need to get out

A figure appears, and I want her so near
She's the reason I look to sticking around
A much needed conflict is found -
And she is a riot
Displacing what I knew
But I can't get lost in her
Because I've lost the incentive
To lose myself
In the end there's only me and you
(Okay, we're a few)
And when it comes to places, I make do

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I'm a white supremacist (and so are you)

My name is Epiphanie Bloom and I'm a white supremacist. Despite repeated attempts to dismantle this about myself, I find myself more comfortable when in the company of white people. I sign petitions advocating for the greater representation of people of colour - in boardrooms, in parliament, in modelling shoots. But I often struggle when I see people of colour where there weren't before. It's a deeply ingrained tendency towards white supremacy.
My white supremacy might be mild(er than most) or, if you like, a vastly watered down version, but it nevertheless there. I am confessing this because I don't think I'm the only one. In fact, I think it's possible that almost all of the people on earth are afflicted with the same condition. My former best friend, who is originally from China and now lives in California, offered me the "all lives matter" line in response to my interest in supporting the #blacklivesmatter cause. Keeping this in mind, I believe all of us have been taught from birth to value whiteness over blackness, and it's a rare individual who would be able to fully dismantle such overpowering social forces. Better get used to it: we are not just racist. We are White Supremacists.
There is a strength in admitting something so detrimental about yourself. You can only change yourself if you are willing to admit the extent of the problem. I would be causing more damage if I pretended my prejudices didn't exist; if I camouflaged my pro-white bias within a world of well-meaning people with the same insufficient commitments to racial equality. I could no doubt pass as "non-racist" to a large audience, since my first partner was Asian, my best friend for a decade was Asian, and I have had many other meaningful relationships with people of colour. I choose not to hide.
If you are also interested in dismantling white supremacist narratives within yourself and feel like directing me to useful articles or important petitions or protests, please go ahead. This post is about keeping myself accountable and keeping my efforts towards self-improvement on track. If it encourages you, too, to do some soul-searching, all the better.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Parent-free, Scandi-fied

My family timed our trips as such that I have now spent almost two months without parental supervision. These last three weeks at home have felt almost like an extension of my holiday. There is space where there wasn't space before. I feel free.

One half of the parental equation will be away until mid-September, so that may be beneficial. Still, I'll soon be back in a place where I feel suppressed and oppressed. It can't be helped, but I have reason to believe I'm getting better at coping. Seeing my psychologist is immensely helpful.

I am in the middle of a Nordic film binge... so far I've seen the Danish political thriller The Idealist, the Icelandic bitter-sweet romantic drama Reykjavik, and the Swedish crowd-pleasing A man called Ove... tonight I plan to catch the Norwegian Welcome to Norway, and the Finnish The Fencer.

Where to begin? I liked how (*Spoilers*) in ...Ove the grumpy, old protagonist was nevertheless openminded about people of different racial backgrounds and gays. This is not necessarily typical of most countries' senior population. The ad preceding the film (for Volvo) also featured a scene of a young lesbian couple smiling while holding hands in their car, further speaking of Sweden's ground-breaking love of all different kinds of love. Volvo winks at the audience with its slogan "Made in Sweden. Not in Hollywood."

Indeed, there's nothing like a Scandinavian film to speak to the aggression of a power-hungry America - this is one of the stories behind The Idealist. You may get critiques of the USA from Iran of Russia, but none is so convincing as the Nordic. Not that the Danes get off scot-free - in fact, this film is about the consequences of a deceitful government who was willing to sacrifice honesty to cling to power. Just don't expect lots of women in this particular film.

Reykjavik was both familiar and new at the same time - a charming script with charismatic performances and an alluring visual style. A must if you are a fan of film, like the DVD rental store owning protagonist.

There is much more to say about these three films, but I'm afraid I must leave you here, dear reader - I have two new films to take in tonight, and I must get ready. :)