BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


the fly by months
October 14, 2009, 2:59 pm
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for all the activity that is been going on in my brain it’s surprising i have not sat down for a second to actually put in into words. there are different kinds of busy, the one i am experiencing now is non stop from the moment you wake to the moment you close your eyes at night kind of busy. it seems impossible to always be doing something targeted and deliberate, but it is my present condition. i was thinking about the name of this blog, and how gender justice has been such a undercurrent for my life, i thought my involvement with social justice stuff would never change.
however i have to come to terms with my choices and what it is that i love doing VS who i would like to be in theory in my head.
the thing is i love making visual things. it is the space, besides music where i am the happiest and most satisfied. but i don’t know how to come to terms with what that life choice involves. i am going to one of the most elite schools in the nation for art, without paying for it, granted, but i still have to contend in how to orient myself with that privilege, and with the reality of taking up space and resources for my own happiness and fulfillment.
maybe i just lack imagination, but artistic practice seems so fraught with elitism, and intellectual prejudice.
incomplete thoughts for now, gotta go!



one more skin
September 10, 2009, 11:46 pm
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has been shedded, as i try to settle into my new life. figuring out where all the pieces fit, and also where they don’t at all. but that is not what i set out to write about. instead it’s the overwhelming response to my plead for money that occupies my thoughts.
that is what i did, in the simplest sense. i asked for money to everyone that would come to mind, because i have no means of procuring a needed service myself.

my daughter needs braces, she needs them badly, and i went through various stages of frustration and denial. i am angry at the exorbitant cost of the procedure, i am angry that i am poor, that i have always been poor, and i seem to not be able to get out of it. i am angry that other people have parents with money, they were just born with that privilege, and that is the end of the story.
i am angry at myself for having children with an asshole that has contributed nothing, and still contributes nothing, though he is very good at hurting and complicating. i tell myself i was 17, but i still should have known better.

one late night as all of this flashed in my thoughts i decided to swallow my pride and let people know that i needed their help, that i was not invincible, not perfect, and not an island. i don’t do that often.

it has been nothing like i expected. so many people i hardly know have helped out, and some to an extent that made me almost feel sick to my stomach. with surprise, and bewilderment, and confusion, and happiness of course. the real kind, the one that isn’t inflated but just makes it seem like what you hope about humanity might not be bullshit after all.



missed connections
August 14, 2009, 1:43 am
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being in a new city is making me obsess over how people meet and form relationships, because i am around people all the time, but they are perfect strangers, a strong unbreakable wall keeping us divided.

so enter the missed connections, my own attempt at understanding what draws people to each other, as a starter we have women for men, and my rendition of the desired person:

Macedonian Guy At Lincolnwood Produce – w4m – 30 (Lincolnwood)

Date: 2009-08-10, 12:56PM CDT

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You will probably never read this but I saw you last Thursday at Lincolnwood Produce and waited behind you at the second register since lane one was closed. I told you how nice your Orthodox cross looked and you said thank you. I buckled down to talk more but when I asked you for your number you looked at me kind of funny and said you were in a serious relationship. Maybe you were surprised that I was the one asking you for your number. Then you paid and walked off quickly. You had on a white cut off tee, tan shorts, had facial hair and cute dimples. I thought you were Greek when I started speaking Greek to you but you told me you were Macedonian. It never hurt anyone to go for some thrills but you are committed. I never got your NAME! I will probably run into you again. I will be there this Thursday!

 

Location: Lincolnwood

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We talked about a lizard while your son ran around – w4m – 26 (Shedd Aquarium)

Date: 2009-08-11, 8:02PM CDT

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You have long hair and were dressed kinda granola. You were with an adorable little boy about 3 or 4 years old and he was running in circles around us. I loved watching you play with him. I assume he was your son, but I didn’t see anyone with you or notice a ring. I wanted to talk to you more but your smile made me a little flustered. On the off chance that you read this and you happen to be an awesome SINGLE dad, I would love to talk again, not necessarily about lizards this time, though it was fun.

 

Location: Shedd Aquarium

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open fire
August 7, 2009, 2:11 am
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oona and florence came back from italy today, and they are enormous, overgrown children, smallish adults. talking different, walking different, but also the same.

they are exiting kid and entering the amorphous zone in which a lot of things feel uncomfortable, including me. florence’s body is changing already – bumps sprouting and all, and it is so scary, and also great. 

this week a man killed three women in pittsburgh in a premeditated murderous spree that he outlined on his blog, a morbid pathways to his mind, and a source of endless fascination for the sensationalist media in the past couple of days. he opened fire because he hated women. simple as that.

he hated women because they would not sleep with him or have a relationship with him. a relationship he felt entitled to have , an entitlement that brought him to believe that women were at fault from holding back what was righteously his.

this was going through my mind as i sat across the dinner table from my daughter today. not a kid anymore really, not protected by the lack of sexualization of childhood, but a very soon woman to be. a target.

thinking that i moved across an ocean to give them more space, to let them and me become more than just what an overly sexist society was allowing us to be. now i look at them, and i am not so sure that we are safer here, or have more choices, or freedom. 

maybe the acceptable roles are different, but american society is not one were equality exists, not for women, not for people of color, or poor people or queer folks. but sexism is what seems to be so pervasive that it becomes invisible. it is ridiculed and trivialized, co-opted by ad companies, ignored by the media, even though a man living in such society felt it was ok to kill women, because he hated them. he is dismissed as a maniac, a deranged individual, no matter the fact that gender violence is happening all the time. 

i want to take my daughters and find somewhere safe, somewhere i know no one will cause them harm, but it’s impossible. i know that the only way for them to be safer is to change the conditions that would bring someone to have a sense that women are less then, that they are disposable, and that they exist to fulfill men’s needs or else they deserve to be hurt.

i feel engulfed by it sometimes, i see it all around me, and i have to force myself to remember that so many people are doing so many things to create a less fucked up world. they just don’t make the news



doodles of a hard conversation
July 28, 2009, 6:18 pm
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rainbow at the AMC!!!
July 22, 2009, 6:34 pm
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beautiful rainbow outside of the AMC conference 2009 in detroitDSC02556



AMC 09-thoughts- part one: discussions onsex trade
July 18, 2009, 2:21 pm
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I am at the fabulous Allied Media Conference in Detroit, and are getting my brain bombarded by information, inspiration and getting a sense of all the amazing thing that people are doing around the country.

One of the workshops focused on sex trade, the history of $pread magazine and thoughts on selling sex. One of the shortcomings of the AMC is that sometimes one way of thinking about an issue become what is obviously acceptable, and any other discussion is self-censored.

nobody wants to be the asshole, of course, that says the unpopular thing, or draws negative attention to themselves. The dominant discourse I perceived during the sex trade workshop was that selling sex is a good thing, and that the media only tells stories of the “tragic prostitutes”. I felt conflicted. On one side I believe women ( and any person really) should be able to make whatever choice they feel is good for them, as long as they are not being hurtful to others.

At the same time it seems that the empowerment that happens through sex trade is one that happens within a system of disempowerment, of bodies being objectified, of one person holding a disproportionate amount of power in the sex trade relationships. saying that sex trade is good just seems too simple. even for the people that choose to sell sex, how much of it is a choice, when selling sex is pretty much the only way to make a livable wage?

People close to me throughout my life have engaged in selling sex at different points of their lives and for different reasons, but it was never simple, and for all of them, something that was hard and often left them feeling not so great. it might be just because of the stigma against trading, that i do not know. 

someone also brought up how divisive sex trading is within the feminist community, and proposed that such division is mainly a fluff story overblown by the media. It seems people have different views and feelings about selling sex, which is ok, i think. what is vital is that people that sell sex, whether because of choice of not, are not stigmatized and made to feel like shit about it. 

I still think i can be doubtful that sex trade is empowering, and absolutely respect the people that do it, accept and support their choices, and also support a society where people have more choices, and do not have to engage in sex trading as the only feasible mean to feed themselves, or pay rent, or afford medical care, or care for their kids.