Here are some of this week's creations. I discovered layering tissue paper.
I also found myself laboring over some of my homework. One assignment asked me to define terms as simply as possible. This is what I came up with for the word "queer:"
Queer has different meanings to different people. It used to be a negative word for “homosexual.” Because of this older people who identify as gay, lesbian, intersex, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (GLIBTQ) may not feel comfortable using the word. Among younger generations, the term can apply to anyone who identifies as GLIBTQ or can go even farther by including all sexual orientations and gender identities including heterosexual and traditional societal gender roles. In this way, “queer” is a word that breaks down all categories of gender and sexuality.
We were then asked to create a persona for an adolescent who self-identified as queer. And decide how this adolescent would feel about various models for sexuality and gender including the Kinsey Model, the Klein Model, and the Gender Variance Model from gender.org. I decided that the adolescent, whom I gave the gender neutral name "Jamie," would not relate to any of the models because "queer" is by its nature uncategorizable. Instead, I thought that Jamie would prefer a collage and of course I made one in postcard form which I will mail to my instructor!
Here are the rest of the postcards I sent out yesterday. Arundhati Roy- I just love her. She totally inspires me. The quote is on my sidebar and the postcard is going to one of the women in the town where I live who has the most integrity, in my opinion, A. She lives across the street, but instead of just giving it to her, seeing if it makes it through the postal system is fun to me. As you may know, I bribe the local post office with thank you postcards. They may eventually have their own gallery. I have found that postcards that don't go through my zipcode post office take longer to arrive. Hmmm... maybe it's because I haven't sent them thank you postcards yet.
S. heard Eve Ensler speak the other day. She was quite the inspiration to me a few months ago and so I sent her one of my favorite quotes about accepting that which challenges us.
The one below is for L. We have been able to communicate again. After a jab of anger on my part and an apology on hers, I seem to have finally found my closure. When I was a child, we lived in Istanbul for a year during the height of the civil war in Lebanon. My mother and I went to visit the crying column of Hagia Sophia. I stuck my finger in the waxy substance and can only remember the experience from the eyes of a child. Did the Virgen really cry when the church turned into a mosque? What is the waxy substance in the column, really?
This one goes to my friends M, F, I, L, and A. They are from Guatemala, a country that is dear to my heart. When I first moved to where I live, I saw two young girls walking down the street in "traje", traditional Mayan attire. I stopped my car that I was driving, Maude, and asked if I could meet their mother. Despite long periods of silence on my part, we have been friends ever since. I love the fact that M hasn't compromised her beliefs or culture here. She still wears traje.
Oh yes, and Maya Portly is still demanding food. For some reason, the incongruence of her deep black, soft yet heavy, furry body sitting on my silver barely functioning "Made somewhere foreign and probably a sweat shop" cheap radio/CD/ cassette player makes me laugh.
I am just about caught up. I wish that I could say the same for my homework.
This is all I am able to upload tonight. Blogger trouble and I need to go to bed. I never did get my homework done. My definitions of gender and sexual orientation for people at a 5th grade reading level will just have to wait, and be late. I have been making postcards for hours- heaven. Plus, I rediscovered this CD I bought when I lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn back in 2001-2002. Latino Rock and Punk- WATCHA. I haven't listened to it in years.
The above postcard is for E. We had pancakes together today and I had fun.
Shit, I know the subject matter is a bit depressing. Sometimes I can't help myself since the reality is: LIFE IS DEPRESSING.
This is one I made for S. Libroculari: People who like to read in bed (or hammocks.)
I have felt a bit like a member of the Monkees today as I sported my new purple fair trade knit hat from Nepal. I LOVE IT!!! Thanks, S.
I love this one of Ms. Maya Portly.
More postcards and M. Y. photos but unfortunately not tonight.
I want to catch up... now that I have had it with my moping. While it may not have shown on my blog, moping has not been my fulltime occupation. I have been continuing to pursue my intellectual, political, visual, and creative interests. Here is a smattering...
I am suggesting that heterosexuality, like mother-hood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution... - Adrienne Rich
On a deeper level, "queer" suggests that we have a cultural blind spot. We "see" that identities (especially sexual identities) are singular and inherent and unchanging. So... what we are (gay/straight: male/female) determines what we want, what we do and who we do it with. What we don't see is that our identities could be, often are multiple, that they are always evolving. - I.P
The powerful contribution of queer theory to human sexuality has been to identify how we have "frozen" our sexual development potential and oppressed alternative sexualities through a combination of binary thinking, heterosexual privilege, and cultural fear and shame around any sexual expression. - I.P.
Our genders never shift, we're told. The genders we're assigned at birth lock us onto a course through which we'll be expected to become whole, well-rounded, creative, loving people- but only as men or women. From where I stand, that's like taking a field of racehorses, hobbling the front legs of half of them and the rear legs of the other half, and expecting them to run a decent race: it doesn't work. Gender, this thing we're all seemingly born with, is a major restraint to self-expression. - Kate Bornstein
I just reread some of my recent posts and have decided that enough is enough. Most of my recent posts have been pity festivals in one form or another. I appreciate my blogger friends for putting up with me, but I AM SICK OF IT!!
This is it. I am not going to mope for awhile. I am going to write about the complexities of life, everything that makes me mad, sad (except for my most popular topic of the last few months), and also happy. Tonight I am going to stay home and clean my place, do my homework, maybe write an article for our donor newsletter, and perhaps I might post about something that is in inspiring me in my reading.
Just because my dear friend B. sent this to me today and because reading is one place that I find inspiration, I will leave you with a quote:
Every intellectual effort sets us apart from the commonplace and leads us by hidden and difficult paths to secluded spots where we find ourselves amid unaccustomed thoughts. -Jose Ortega y Gasset
For about a month now, one of my colleagues gave me the task of coming up with a list of the qualities I would like in a partner and a list of how I want to feel in the relationship. At the time, I was in haste mode. I came up with two lists. The thing about them is that they were created in reaction to trying to get rid of my feelings of aloneness, not while accepting these feelings. There is a chapter in Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart that is all about embracing loneliness and reflecting on what about it you fear. I have read it many times throughout my adult solitary wandering life.
Because I hadn't accepted my feelings, the two lists didn't quite reflect one another. My colleague then tasked me with rewriting my lists and also reflecting on whether I even needed to be in a relationship to have the feelings. I grumbled a bit about this but went home and decided that I would do what she requested in the form of my passion right now, postcards! I made a cover for a postcard book that would contain everything that I was looking for in a partner and that would fulfill my assignment, "What I Am Awaiting, Wishing For, or Perhaps Living at Present..." The book has since remained blank. I haven't been able to fill it.
But then I started reading and journaling in the love section of Sabrina Ward Harrison's journal. For some reason this opened me up to answering my colleague's questions. I sat down and made two lists on scrap paper, making sure almost too literally that they match up. I didn't bother with color or anything. I just used my favorite pen and my handwriting. I love my handwriting. The list may evolve and change. It may cease to exist in its present form. This is what another one of my colleagues told me. I don't know if my lists will ever make it into my gilded postcard book. The cover seems too formal and static now. We'll have to see.
I am remembering to cherish and appreciate these wonderful moments and friends that I have. Delicious pumpkin soup, coworkers that I work well with, friends concerned with the state of the world, an overeating purring cat, ... I even have an ex who brings me chinese food when I am down and starts searching for dates for me on the internet! I thanked him for his support and said "no thanks."
I just got some more books in the mail and I decided that it was time to do inventory. Since August, these are all the books that I have bought. I think I have a problem. I haven't even gotten to read them all.
These two have been a huge inspiration behind my postcard making.
And I just splurged on this one.
This is the textbook for the Human Sexuality class that I am taking. Very interesting. This week's readings were on gender and sexual orientation. I learned all about intersexuality and what it means to be queer. I would like to write a post about it all later.
My readings inspired me to buy "My Gender Workbook" so that I can explore what my gender means to me and hopefully gain insight on what gender might mean for others. Plus, I love workbooks and quizzes :)
My interest in Dorothy Allison and Rebecca Brown was fueled by a desire to read lesbian authors. Rebecca Brown's writing is especially amazing.
I have already written about "Gifts of the Body."
"The Dogs" was recommended by my creative writing professor. I haven't gotten to it yet.
For the record, I am not pursuing a degree. I just like taking classes and working a 50/60 hour a week job. It keeps from thinking about how I am lonely.
I bought this one for work and for my future interest in possibly concentrating on peace education one day. This week I am going to co-facilitate something on diversity and privilege. I may pull something out of it.
The reasons these are piled up on my coffee table may be obvious to many of you. I started reading "Gandhi's Way." It has all kinds of practical examples from interpersonal conflict, to organizational, community and beyond. In terms of Palestine, I read a blurb on mainstream news about how Condoleeza Rice is talking about a Palestinian state but I haven't read any of the "real" news sources to get a better sense of it all. My cynicism makes me worried that it is not a good deal for the Palestinians and it is just one more attempt for the Palestinians to appear uncompromising to the mainstream Western world. If you have any insights, you are welcome to share.
As I work in a non-profit, I thought these looked interesting but between my two classes, my job, and my postcards, I haven't gotten to them yet.
I am not allowed to buy any more books until I get through more of these. I say that knowing full well that I have another one on the way.
Ok, Its time to make postcards, look through Sabrina Ward Harrison's book, and start figuring out my gender :) I have a busy night!
I blog about the amazing beauty and creativity that exists on this earth as well as the human idiocy that may very well destroy it. I spent nine of my childhood years in a country going through civil war, by the way. I have been a bit obsessed with this twist of fate ever since.
The only dream worth having... is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead... To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget. -Arundhati Roy
Those of us who grow in war are like clay pots fired in an oven that is over hot. Confusingly shaped like the rest of humanity, we nevertheless contain fatal cracks that we spend the rest of our lives itching to fill. -Alexandra Fuller
I have often wondered why the farthest-out position always feels so right to me; why extremes, athough difficult and sometimes painful to maintain, are always more comfortable than one plan running straight down a line in the unruffled middle. What I really understand is a particular kind of determination. It is stubborn, it is painful, it is infuriating, but it often works. - Audre Lorde
The views that I express here are my personal opinions and not the official positions of the organization for which I work. Please respect this and in your comments please avoid naming my employer or using my last name. Thank you.