Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Sanity Test

She said "I don't think
I could pass the sanity test,"
As she looked down
Not in guilt but in sorrow
Sorrow for me
And my hardline self-censorship
Overriding my
Long-cultivated rebelliousness
The kind that had me unafraid
To go out with uncombed hair,
Bra-less or with mismatched socks

Well, I did go braless
Just the other day
It made me so uncomfortable
I grimaced in self-contempt

*

What would it mean
To own a condo in Chiang Mai
It would keep me real
A reminder that most people
Do not live in developed countries
A base in between two continents
That are etched into my soul
But so is Asia
And Chiang Mai is one of its
Crowning jewels
And I miss it
Even as I yearn
For a European consciousness
Minus the racism

Grace emanating from charming art
Censored-censored, cannot start
A smile for every and for no occasion
Buddhist calm at every station

No amisulpride, but I can always import that
But the conditions which necessitate its need
May keep me from blooming in that lovely heat

Fight to maintain
My capitalist posture
But real concerns remain
Among them fears of enclosure

How close to Thailand can I get?
I had a friend, but lost her
I loved and lost without regret
And now I long for another

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Decalibrating

I was finely attuned to my astrological profile. I had trained myself to be passionate, yes, but also obsessive. It just occurs to me that perhaps Scorpios have 'the worst reputation in the zodiac' because Anglo-Saxon majority Western countries are deeply suspicious of intense emotions. Otherwise that archetype would be just as celebrated as any. There should be a place for deep, dark, turbulent, messy, overpowering emotional states. Instead, we have a cultural aversion to depth of feeling. It's not fair.

I've titled this post 'decalibrating' because I would manage my personality to be always in alignment with Scorpionic traits. I cannot undo the negative effects of this all in one go. I need to slowly get more ambiguous. Borrow from the different personality profiles that I always gravitated to, but never felt like I could own.

It's not all negative. I enjoy being deep, eccentric (Aquarius moon, hello ;) ) and aesthetically pleasing (hello to the Libra ascendant!). Due to chance, my personality profile as dictated by astrology was full of contradictions. I embraced the idea of contradictions from an early age. I even had a bottle of Calvin Klein's Contradiction perfume as a teen. "With a spritz of Contradiction, I'm off," I would say.

Here and now, I have the opportunity to diversify. To create different styles of relating to the world. To walk through the world with infinitely more power of choice. To know that I am responsible for wherever I take myself next. I have gone from an actor in a play, to the writer of the script. This pleases me. I hope other people, too, can appreciate what it means to be free of the astrology metanarrative.

I do not know who my audience is here. My girlfriends have never taken astrology seriously. Most of the people I know don't talk about it, so I assume they don't have an interest in the topic. I have two Facebook friends who I know are into it, but I feel uncomfortable approaching them with my views. I know I wouldn't have liked it if the situation was reversed and they tried to convert me to their view.

I remember reading chapters about Leos, and thinking 'I enjoy those kinds of people'. Perhaps because culturally I've been conditioned to heartily enjoy entertainment and good times, be the life of the party (even though I'm an introvert), or, at the very least, contribute to a festive atmosphere. Eastern European socialising is an exuberant affair. You see, we grow up shaped by a wide range of factors - cultural, social, political, and personal. I found an analogy floating around the internet: A Finnish extravert is similar to an Italian introvert. Often we see extraversion and introversion in oppositional terms, yet there are so many cultural renderings of these qualities to complicate such a theory.

I also find aspects of astrology very sexist. Half of the zodiac is associated with 'the feminine', and the other half with the 'masculine' energies. Feminine energy is passive, emotional... basically, all the stereotypes you've ever associated with a gender binary. This makes astrology built on conservative precepts. It makes sense, then, that the more conservative you are, the more likely you are to believe in it. It also explains why my belief in astrology didn't sit well with many of my other beliefs, such as the problematic state of all meaning-making systems. Over time, postmodernism, feminism and atheism combined to make me question my belief - to take previous doubts to the next level, and undermine them completely. Let's just say that it's been a long time since I did anyone's natal chart.

Yes, I'm bitter. But I'm also trying to be curious. What else can I let go of? 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nerd Chic

When I was younger, I didn't want to identify as a nerd. Sure, I studied a lot, and was generally thirsty for knowledge, but I didn't study as much as most of the people I knew in my selective school. On random occasions, people would find me 'cool', and I hung onto this with gusto.
Now that I'm 33, I care a lot less about image. Empathising with communities of 'nerds' has allowed me to connect with wonderful people who subvert the status quo armed with passion about written narratives.
It's hard to remember how long ago I first found Laurie Penny's work, but she was the first of people I truly admired to self-identify as nerdy, and, in me, a seed was planted. If such a fabulous activist could gain power from the word, then maybe it wasn't something to feel dowdy about. Maybe I could come to peace with it.
'Nerd' worked its way into my OKCupid profile a few years ago, was removed, only to be reinstated, this time as a way of describing my passion for languages. So now I feel more flexible in the ways I identify. Being a nerd is cool in its own way. Viva la revolucion!

*

Mornings with Jody, evenings with Sarah. Two beautiful musical geniuses and adorable muses. I still can't believe my good luck. 💜

*

Finding the space to be kind to myself and my loved ones
Deepening the space
Extending its sphere of influence
Emboldening my sensitivity's expression
Captivating un-self-consciously

If I can find a way to love myself
They then can follow that path
I must recover the map to self-rapture
Wonder and curiosity and all of that stuff

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Searching for the Start

Monday

Half the fun of travel is planning everything. It allows me to be more spontaneous, not less. So I'm tickling my mind by devising possible trips around Germany and beyond. Hannover is on the way to Hamburg. Leipzig is in the other direction, but equally enticing. Dresden appeals. Stuttgart is a bit far.

Tuesday

There's no way around it: I would be much better served by monetising my writing.

This blog is (and has been) a great way to let people know what I'm about, but today I am mindful of its limitations. I am also feeling gloomy, and unable to progress much further in bringing you a post as interesting as I know I'm capable of, because of the noise in my head. The chorus of voices that tell me I'm not really that arresting, or passionate, or wise.

I thought the best way to bring myself back to the present was to write about them. It becomes postmodern. Yes, I'm saving the word from the abyss of calculating disapproval, scrubbing it off and letting you admire its shine. If you will mimic my enthusiasm. Even if you don't.

My mind is constantly leaping all over the place, celebrating the diversity of viewpoints I can offer. Few people have travelled as intensively and extensively as me, and I aim to represent that tiny minority that has. We often struggle to find our audience, being detached from the traditional cultural gaze(s), and finding it impossible not to take multiplicities into account.

I read an interesting article about the phenomenon of selective schools in Sydney - the way they offered a high concentration of minority ethnic students. I personally felt ill-equipped to deal with broader Australian society after spending most of my time walking around in the headspace of immigrants. I'm still not sure I have much of a clue as to the typical Australian experience. So sue me. ;)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Alternatively gendered

I'm writing in a hipster cafe in Newtown where rainbow coloured street smart graphics adorn the majority of the wall space. I'm thinking about gender. My current ventures into bolder gender identities, to be more specific. I announced to my Facebook world that I wished to be known as 'they' and 'them', where pronouns are concerned. I am gender variant. I am gender neutral. I am agender. I am genderqueer. All of these, and none. I hold a unique gender identity, which changes daily. Sometimes even by the minute.
I noted that I would still respond to 'she' and 'her' but I'd love it if everyone saw that I do not wish to be confined to one of two mainstream genders. What I do want is to assert myself continually as a feminist who stands for gender equality, and embodies a new aesthetic. It's not that I want to be different; it's that I already am.
Four years ago I was in a more traditional environment or two, which taught me to fear my own tendencies toward androgyny. I covered them up and slid into an agonised, confining performance of femininity which haunts me even now, as I try to pick up the pieces. It may take some time before I feel comfortable with myself, and I'd like to thank my girlfriends and everyone else who is willing to be patient.


Monday, December 5, 2016

To Dwell

Congratulations
You successfully hid your emotions so well
That people were jealous of you

But the jealous woman
Was already a sociopath
What does that say about your friends?

I've been trying to not get angry
At how tenaciously
I clung onto you

I tried to fit
Where I didn't belong
Mainly because of your influence

Or so I say, but
I really know
That it was always my decision

We make do with the best of
What's around us
I fled to affordable places
Within my cultural knowledge
I failed

But in failing I have succeeded
Even though at times I labour to construct
A victorious narrative