The Solstice is Our Anniversary

The paradoxical thing about monogamy, for me at least, is that it took someone who doesn’t insist upon it to inspire me to live it so willingly.

Read on for two poems (one that speaks to the inevitably-ephemeral nature of relationships, and one that speaks to the phenomenon I described above), the story about how Scott and I came to find ourselves in a relationship the second time around, and a bit of Wendell Berry’s ever-inspiring wisdom. Continue reading

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Dancing with our demons: artistic perspectives on inner struggles

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There are a lot of things that art, broadly speaking, does for me. During tough times especially, I appreciate the opportunity to get beyond words and into something deeper, vaster, and paradoxically more accessible, if less explicable.

Here are four dance performances that illuminate the challenge of staying on one’s own path, which to me often feels a lot like going against the grain. The differences, gross or subtle, between what I believe and what I value, and how I live. The various arguing inner voices, the wrestling-with-angels, the sleepless nights.

I highly recommend watching full-screen with a good headset or speakers. I have to believe the third was inspired by the second, but who knows? The last one gives me the most hope, though I reject the implication that we need to buy anything in order to liberate ourselves, as it were.

I’d love to hear how you interpret any or all of these performances, how the lyrics resonate with you (or not – honestly I’m so moved by the physical performances it’s hard for me to pay attention to the lyrics!), and/or to see any art you’ve made to represent the struggle of remaining true to yourself when it feels like you’re supposed to stay within the lines. ❤

The view from “down there”

In the last coupla weeks I’ve managed to delete my Facebook account, get sick-and-then-better, demonstrate the high-level function of our relationship by making it through a 3-day power outage with minimal food wastage (we ate well!), attend a meditation retreat, and discover dozens of beautiful, brave people who are fighting the good fight(s) with regard to identity politics on Twitter.

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I’m working up the nerve to write (but mostly still grokking how to connect the dots, and deciding how much I am actually willing to share) something that somehow weaves together the male gaze, heteronormativity, my own internalized beliefs about fashion and fitting in, representation, aging, model minority stereotypes, growing up bi-racial in a predominantly-white, very privileged community, the tension between building a platform that “scales” and staying 100% committed to my own voice, the dangers women face for expressing any sexuality, one (or more) of my #metoo stories, and what it means for me, as a woman of color who has so often reported to white men (I currently report to a Māori man), to fully step into my power.

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It’s probably more like 12 pieces to write over the course of the rest of my life. Every other hour, I convince myself that I just need to keep meditating instead of attempting to make sense of it all, much less write it down for an audience.

In the meantime, I will share this stunning Janelle Monáe video, from which I have stolen the above screenshots:

I really don’t want to ruin it with any more commentary BUT (I can’t help it!) it gives me many of the same magical, tingly, “we got this,” “it ain’t all bad” feelings that this Bomba Estereo video also evokes:

May I one day master my craft to the point where I too can wrap the messages I’d like to convey in packages as powerful as these.

From Scratch: Heart’Heart

Last night Scott and I had the immense privilege of witnessing Heart’Heart, one of six sold-out Auckland Art Festival performances from the musical group From Scratch.

This Radio New Zealand video includes the first part of my favorite piece of the evening:

 

I really appreciate all the things that other people’s sharing of their creativity brings out in my own! Some things that have come up for me, both during and since the show:

  • What a joy it is to be part of something larger than ourselves! (I felt that vicariously through their performance.)
  • It is such a treat to witness the magic that occurs as the result of both individual mastery at a craft, and dedicated practice as a group.
  • Thank goodness there are institutions that fund exhibitions+performances such as this (egad, I can’t imagine trying to fund such a thing)!
  • While I’m excited to be putting myself out there with the vlog, I do have a sense that I need to further hone my skills so I package up my own work in a way that will make me truly proud. Working on it 🙂

From Scratch has played all over the world, though I’m not sure how much they’re touring these days? If you have a chance to see them, I hope you will!

Looping back around: music, memory, and meeting Scott

Every time Scott puts Wild Nothing on:

I remember that I had invited him (via the old-and-inferior OKCupid messaging system) to check out Bombay Bicycle Club at the Warfield as a first date.

As it turned out, neither of us ended up going to that show. We did meet in person to see Zakir Hussein at SF Jazz Center the following weekend, easily one of the best dates, much less first dates, I’d ever been on…

…but it was too late. I ignored his texts for a couple days. My stomach knotted with the decision I’d been mulling over, I called to tell him I had chosen to focus my energy into a different (also brand new) relationship.

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There’s much more to say, of course, about all the things that happened between then and now. But this afternoon we’re checking out the visuals from that Bombay Bicycle Club tour and trying to figure out the best way to get the album box set to our home in New Zealand.

 

Kiwi Californiana: Arthur Ahbez

We’ve been enjoying Arthur Ahbez’s album Gold. His aesthetic strikes me as decidedly NorCal folk psych pop, not something I was expecting from a Kiwi! Either way, I was excited to see his band open for the mesmerizing Julia Jacklin last Saturday at the Tuning Fork. Alas, he played solo, and was quite nervous (he said so several times) without his band. Definitely rocking a Devendra-esque look. And that voice!

But tell me Arthur’s song Gold:


…was not inspired by this:

It had to be. Right?!

All the ways I appreciate music

Haven’t been able to get this video out of my mind since discovering it last week. Such a moving example of the power of visual storytelling, as the video doesn’t actually match the lyrics to the song, except for a pretty brilliant bit of overlap at the climax:

Trying to explain why I like Pup so much — in a nutshell, because listening to them makes me want to *play* music like this! — has got me thinking about the very complicated Venn diagram that might illustrate the various ways that music affects me.

There would need to be circles to represent: Continue reading