Prague is cold and grey and hard and beautiful. Peru was warm and happy and noisy and dusty. Prague has a tint of communism, of a recent war, of a hard life. Peru had overtones of colonialism, of a people struggling to live past the past. I am between these two places. These two international homes. I am torn by them both. I see their pains, I see their truths, and I see reason to love them both. I am lost in these two places. I melt into them and don’t emerge, I let myself sink and feel and become. I miss my lovely and exciting and challenging Peru, I wander my new home in Prague and cannot find a trace of Peru. I come from neither and yet they both affect me so strongly. I want to cry from passion, from confusion, from loneliness. This life is lonely. This life is stimulating. This life is expanding. The expanse hurts. Why do I lose myself whenever I am new again? Why do I forget myself? Where did I go? Was I left behind in these moves? Must I empty myself in each new place, waiting to be filled like a bucket in the sand. I don’t want to float here. I want, I don’t know what I want anymore. I want me. But where am I me?
Hi. So I haven’t written in any consistent or dedicated way for a little while. I lapsed. I can’t explain why or how it just happened that I lost interest. But recently I’ve thought it would be good for me to get back to blogging. So that’s what this is. To kick it off I’m going to share something I wrote in an angry, frustrated frenzy a couple weeks ago. It’s rough and unpolished and simply a stream of consciousness:
When the Prague Jews were leaving for the concentration camps they believed they would be there for only a few months that hitler would not last that long. Let us not make the same mistake in the face of tragedy. Let us recognize the evil that those in the majority will do in order to maintain their privileges. Let us stop saying trump won’t last, that lost us the election, and it could lose us and those suffering in worse conditions than ours to lose their freedoms. Let us not underestimate what trump can do and what a republican congress can achieve when given unquestioned power. Let us revolt in the small ways, by showing kindness to those who look, believe, or love in a different way to the way we do. By showing that all American, all of humanity is not lost to the powerful, ignorant, prejudiced few. Fight through your words and actions and love for all people. But most importantly keep your minds hearts and ears open to listen to the stories, histories, and sentiments who have long been ignored. Recognize your privilege and if you can use it to embrace and enhance the voices that struggle to be heard.
The fact that mainstream media has categorically ignored rape allegations against Donald Trump says something about the value and weight we give to women in this country. We accuse him of supporting sexual assault when we hear him speaking about his own acts, but when women come forward about their experience of rape and sexual assault we say they are unreliable. Both are speaking about there experiences but only one is believed to be “trustworthy” enough to question and focus on. When I first read the news I expected it to blow up all over the media. Instead I have had to search it out through alternative media sources. Women’s voices need to be trusted. Women’s voices should not be ignored. Women’s voices should be heard and valued.
II am currently writing a paper about the representations of refugees in the media in relation to the ways they continue processes of postcolonialism and a politics of pity. In this paper I am looking at Humans of New York as a possible challenger to that construction. In order to make my argument I am comparing it to other media coverage of Syrian refugees. In this way it is almost necessary that I discuss the image of the Syrian boy and the problematic usage of the photo and consequences of its viral status. In researching it I found a suggested search of “drowned syrian boy meme”. I cannot believe I even have to write that. I cannot believe that was a suggested search. My heart dropped as I clicked the link, knowing that whatever came from it was not going to be good but that my morbid curiosity needed to know what was on the other side. It was bad to say the least. There were images that categorized the boy as “wasted” or as the attitude of someone on a Friday. Each photo ripped into me a little deeper. There are already so many issues with the image and its proliferation in the first place. But this? This was humanity at its lowest. I could never have imagined that someone would look at this photo and feel anything but heartbreak. This photo which was used in a way to appeal to the common humanity of the viewer and solicit pity and shock at the tragedy. This photo which captures every single issue of refugee representation, issues that surround the dehumanization, dehistoricization, and depersonalization that is thought to be necessary to get Western viewers to care. This photo which is the most emotion drawing and heart wrenching photo to come out of the syrian refugee crisis. Even as it is problematic this photo cannot help but pull such wretched feelings of shock and horror from a human being. But what human being can be so cold, so desensitized to these images that they see in it a possibility for humor, for comedy? How can someone look at this photo and see anything but a dead child. The actual embodiment of the death of innocence and purity. How dare they not feel even a shred of emotion and shame as they turn this boy into a joke. Today I am ashamed of my fellow humans. Not only have they problematically and hypocritically used this life as a form of sensationalism, they have taken a step further into depravity and made light of a tragedy and a horror.
Can I just pretend I don’t exist? I think
As I sit under my blanket, hiding from no one
A few hours later than an appropriate bedtime.
Once a month
I feel this way, or I should say I don’t.
I go numb.
My body, my mind.
I hate myself for everything I do.
Lose all faith in my speech.
In my thoughts.
I do all the things I’m not supposed to.
Moving like a ghost of a person.
The depression like a physical memory.
Taking over like it never left.
Its milder now, but I still feel it
For those six days
The hell before the bloodshed.
Once a month I become someone else.
Shy and skittish
Loud noises overwhelm and anger me.
Once a month the slight problems become gaping.
And all I can think is:
I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself.
Can I just pretend I don’t exist?
“No one will ever love me,
I will be alone forever”
Oh but I can’t think this way
I can’t fall down the rabbit hole
But the rabbit hole pulls
It looks so easy just to fall, no fight
The battle between the wolves
Wages in my throat
My heart beats faster and faster
From the exertion of balancing on the edge
Rabbit hole or not?
Good wolf or bad wolf?
I want to fight, I do
But these thoughts feel so real
They are backed by evidence
Concrete proof of my pitiful existence
I struggle to remind myself
That evidence can be used in any argument
It can be twisted to support the opposite cause
I must force myself to believe this is the case here
My mind has twisted the evidence
My pitiful existence is anything but that.
Who am I? Am I even someone if I’ve never had the chance to be in love To kiss passionately To feel body against body.
Will I ever feel that way. Because lately it seems like its not an option for me Every person has their pair Except me.
I am doomed to sit on the sideline Lusting after so many While they find their own love. I am always going to be alone.
And thus I can never fully be human In this world that expects sex and romance The question of my own love life Will forever be a knife twisting in my chest.
I liked him you see And I thought I had a chance Until I saw him with the girl at the dance And his arm around her waist
I held out hope But I knew I'd lost it I mourned his possibilities As I saw him carefully kiss her cheek.
I think these thoughts and feel this emptiness And I am alone because they are incomprehensible To the outsider. They are only mine to bear.
Because no one has this shit luck I have. No one has this forced naivety, This virginity that feels like a weight keeping me caged, No one knows how desperately in love I am with love.
Over the past few days my social media has been blowing up with sentiments of solidarity and support. It started with the racist threats at Mizzou and then with the tragic events in Paris. Many of my friends began sharing articles or posting statuses that were repeated and formed most likely by support organizations. I struggled with my conscience as I refrained from joining in. I of course believe most of what is being posted and even am heart warmed at the posts and articles posted by many of my friends but I couldn’t bring myself to copy the status and post it. I felt as though if I did it would turn my genuine concern and interest into something different, something twisted and selfish. As though by posting my support I was no longer silently supportive but that I was also only vocally supportive because I felt the need to show it to my friends. Even as I was aware that the people posting these statuses were in no way looking for attention and were only expressing their solidarity in a purely altruistic way. And thus I fought my conscience and questioned my own lack of participation on social media.
I couldn’t figure it out. And I am still not so clear on why my mind is so against supporting on social media. Wouldn’t I myself be heart warmed to see this solidarity if I was the one facing terror and feeling unsafe? Wouldn’t I want to know others were there for me, even if they were strangers? And yet I remained silent. And felt guilty, as if remaining silent over the Internet was the same as remaining silent while someone is bullied right in front of me. But I stayed silent. And I felt less guilt than I knew I would have felt had I given into the pressure.
So I feel a need to explain myself. And this is no reflection on those who did participate in the social media support, I know everyone who did, at least on my feeds, were doing so solely as a way to express their own pain and was in no way to boost their own appearance to others. I, however, could not because I knew if I participated it would turn my support in my head from something pure and angry and motivated to something passive and purely for show. Somehow, by expressing it, my anger and empathy would fade. I think that for me, unless I am able to have a conversation, or fully express my feelings, or be active in them, I become futile. I lose myself in social media support. Social media support becomes sudo-activism. But I cannot convince myself that it really changes anything. It informs those in my circle, but are they the people I need to reach? I want to express solidarity with the students of color too afraid to leave their rooms, but will they hear me behind the form status? I feel like posting a status would be the equivalent of staying silent. Both do nothing. Both still allow things to continue. I suppose bringing attention to the events at Mizzou shows widespread outrage, and I have seen the changes that positive participation in social media can incite, but I still cannot bring myself to participate. I cannot separate social media from artificiality in my head. I am so critical of it, and the millennials using it, that I find it hard to push away my cynicism when I see it used for good.
When the events in Paris happened I knew at first why I stayed silent. Because I had difficulty with the fact that while it was tragic and inhumane, it wasn’t new to the world, just new to the Western world. I silently supported those showing solidarity, but knew if I myself did I would be a hypocrite because I hadn’t posted about any other acts of terrorism in the world. I have to remain egalitarian in my activism. And that included the intensity of my voice on social media. Then people began addressing the Western view and bias clear in the social media, but I still couldn’t find my voice on social media. I found this poem (I’m sure you’ve seen it):
And it summed up my position. Yet I couldn’t think where I would put it. Had I been silent too long? Was that what was holding me back? But no, I still felt like I physically couldn’t put my positions on social media. It still felt fake, hypocritical. And this is where I am now. Questioning my hesitation. Questioning where these values are based, and whether I am right to even have them. I want to make changes. I want to see a world of peace. I don’t know how though. Is it in fact through social media, through participating in the voices of the world, even if it feels like a passive form of participation? But if I don’t participate through social media, will I participate at all? These questions are swarming my mind as I mourn the last few days when too many lives have been threatened and taken. I am not sure whether I am right or not on my position, or even if there is a right or wrong, but I will continue to question my own actions. I would love to hear anyone else’s position on this issue, and their reasons for participating on social media or not. I believe that it is important to have a conversation about the way we show support.
Over the past week and a half I have managed to get through the first two seasons of the Mindy Project. This is my second time watching this show and the first time watching it in the form of binge-watching. I didn’t think it was possible to love this show more than I already did but I was mistaken, it is possible. Not only is the show hysterical, well-thought and full of easter eggs of hilarity, it is also a great representation of how actual women behave and grow. Within the first season the main character, Mindy, goes from ruining an ex’s wedding, to being cheated on, to deciding to move to Haiti. This radical growth in a character has not been seen in many other shows. And it still manages to feel like a realistic timeline for the character to grow. She doesn’t wake up one day and become a new woman, nor does she stay the same way for too long a period of time. She slowly learns through life’s mistakes that she wants to be more mature, that she is finally ready to settle down. She has her setbacks yes, but she still grows. And what’s more she manages to keep her personality within that growth.
Her personality is another reason this show is an amazingly accurate portrayal of women. She says what many people think. She is awkward in front of her crushes at times, and she is at times selfish in the way she behaves. However, she never apologizes for being herself and feeling the way she does. She is often lying on the floor crying or being dramatic about something in her life. I like this. This is so refreshing to find in a show. The female character is neither overly strong without a single fault and nor is she breaking down every minute of every day. She has bad moments in which she needs to complain but they eventually get better with the help of some friends.
Additionally, her love story with Danny Castellano is the final moment when the viewer realizes she has successfully matured. She handles this with a grace and care that she hadn’t been able to use in her other relationships with men. She maintains control in the relationship while still managing to show her feelings and fight for it. When her heart is broken by Danny she decides to swear off men which leads her to even greater control in her life. And when Danny does try to kiss her when she gets back in the game she knows exactly why and tells him he can’t keep doing that and that she gets to decide when he can kiss her. This is not only a great show of casual consent but it also shows her growth as a human. At the beginning of season one she would have jumped at the chance for a romantic kiss and a little extra drama in her life, but by the end of season two she realizes that she deserves better and that she is finally ready to be in a fully committed relationship and she shouldn’t settle for any less than that.
These are the reasons for my love of the Mindy Project. It is not only a feminist show in certain overt statements, but it is also feminist in its subtle but accurate portrayal of the main female character. Her growth, internal strength, and dynamic emotions are all trademarks of a well written character, let alone a well written female character. There is so much more I can say on the subject but to understand all the intricacies, you will just have to watch it yourself.
Are there any shows that are like The Mindy Project for you?
My thoughts of her are anger, rage, contempt. But then some days they aren’t. Some days it is an ache and a clot in my throat as others discuss their “best friend”. I open a quiz about a best friend to remember we are on hiatus, a break, that could prove permanent. I don’t want it to be permanent. But I also know that if I were to be her best friend at the moment it wouldn’t be the truth. She has growing to do, and I have healing to accomplish. My wounds are still very much there from the last two years of a fake friendship.
I stalk her Instagram. I don’t know why exactly. It is a partial way to fuel my anger because if I am angry than at least I am not sad. I am afraid to be sad about her again. The last time I was, I barely escaped. I was in fact pulled out by the promise of a life far from home and the return of her. And the return of the safety blanket of a best friend.
I am someone who does not believe in marriage. I have said this since I was a child, hearing my parents yell in the room next door. It comes from a deeply held belief that I don’t want someone to feel contractually obligated to love me and come home to me every night. I feel the same about our friendship. As though the label of “best friend” has become so sacred we didn’t dare to admit when it was the only thing tying us to each other. If anything she has proven my point.
I miss her but I am angry. I feel a heartbreak like never before. And I know that though I may never have been in a romantic relationship, this two year breakdown of a nine year platonic relationship is more experience than 10 minor boyfriends and break ups. Life is hard without her, and I struggle to get by without the knowledge of my pillar standing me up. But I needed her and my pillar fell silently. So I have found that I will always struggle with or without her, until she has remembered how to be my pillar once again.