Log in

No account? Create an account

Mar. 29th, 2017


lately I've been busy being busy and there's been a lot of threads started and ended. It feels like that a lot of the time, though.

Today I learned the term Bildungsroman. I went into the ONTD post about Michelle Pfeiffer's career and people mentioned White Oleander, which seems to be intense and well-loved by the comments, so I went to look it up, of course. Turns out the type of book it is (the film was adapted from a novel, you see) is a Bildungsroman. So I got lost on wikipedia for a couple of hours following wherever the tabs took me.

I have a list of books I need to find and add to my reading list (which is ever growing and never decreasing) and it made me think in that direction when it comes to writing about my own experience - and I think as a creative person mapping out and going over some of the shit in my past in a narrative approach might be a good thing for me. It would be a way to hone my own political leanings and ideals.

Speaking of politics - I am seeing class embedded everywhere. It's embedded in all the systems that deny freedom from racism and sexism. Turn each asshole against someone on their own or lower status and get away with theft of a nation's wealth. I haven't read any Marx yet, but Carlos seems to think I'm a Marxist. We'll see when I interact with that content some more. I wonder if like feminism I will encounter "white Marxism". How annoying when the white few get to impose their concerns on whole ideologies. That is why intersectionalism is so important. I still read too many books by white men and watch too many shows by white men. eh.

Still applying for work. Still working at the library 2 days a week. Still fat, but working on that.

Currently reading: Someplace to be flying - Charles De Lint (white male author fabulist incorporating Native American imagery and mysticism.) I'm reading it for the 3rd time, it's one of C's books from his shelves. I'm going to find a Native American fabulist author after this and lay down some money for the hard-back. I need to research some.

Currently Watching: Stranded with a Million Dollars - MTV. Millennials are stranded on a pacific island and the have a million but nothing else, and the opportunity to buy survival items at a hyper inflated price. Kinda hilarious. Good to hate watch.
& The Expanse. So much love for this as a television project. The books have too much Holden POV and I don't need it, tbh. The tv series has lots of pretty scifi pr0n. The launch of the Nauvoo in Godspeed was UNNFFF. So satisfying.

Check ya.

Mar. 15th, 2017

Researching Rotuma

I work in an academic theological library that is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. I shelve books and help with other projects - at least until I find an archives job. Yesterday after my shift I decided to do some self-directed research on Rotuma.

I'm keeping notes, but a short story I can confidently tell is:

Rotuma was the home of seven tribes, and each tribe had a chief. The chief from the strongest tribe - the tribe who had won each battle with the other six - became the chief of the island, and all other chiefs were subjected to the Big chiefs rule. This was how it was until the Tongans came.

The Tongans started warring with the tribes, but started with the weakest tribes first, and so on, conquering them one by one, and placing a Tongan at the head of the tribe - as Chief. It wasn't until the Tongans had beaten many of the weak tribes that the Rotumans realised that something was going bad. Then the Tongans came in force against the remaining Rotuman tribes and engaged in war and were victors. Some Rotuman men escaped into the forest, many were killed. Those who were in the forest met and tried to create a plan to roust the Tongans from the island. In secret they met with Rotumans from every tribe and told them the plan - when they saw a fire on top of the mountain, that was when they should rise up and kill the Tongan Chiefs simultaneously across the island, and then converge upon the Big Chiefs domain, which is where the Tongans had concentrated their fighting men.

One night, as planned, there was fire on the mountain. The Rotuman people rose in defiance and killed the Tongan chiefs and then converged on the Big Chiefs domain. The Tongans saw what was happening and knew they would be killed, so they took to their boats and fled in terror.

Mar. 7th, 2017

Whatever happened to Joan and Bette?

I watched the first episode of Feud: Bette and Joan. I haven't watched much by Ryan Murphy outside of Scream Queens so I'm not sure what to expect, but judging from e01 it's going to be a hit. The costumes, the sets, the hair are all so beautifully done. The wit is sharp and scathing, and the way Bette and Joan interact with each other very much displays the necessity for feminism in both their world and ours (the more things change the more the stay the same).

I looked at Bette Davis' wikipedia page, and there was a photograph from a 1936 film she did where her outfit looked like something from Madonna's "Like a Virgin" era. It spun me out, but then I realised I shouldn't be so surprised - the more I age and the more I learn the more pattern recognition I am developing, and it truly seems that we're in a infinite wash-cycle as a world and as a species. Not to say that's a bad thing to start realising, as it's given me some movement towards finding forgiveness. I forgive the world for being so fucked up. I forgive humans for being imperfect. The fight needs to be fought, and rather than being paralysed by the immensity of fuckedness and not able to do anything I'm now learning how to critically map a path through the F.U.D. for my own cognitive self. It's a better place to be in.

All in all, if you feel like watching something enjoyable for 53 mins, I recommend Feud. 4/5

Mar. 5th, 2017

John Candy.

John Candy passed away on March 4 1994, 23 years ago.

I love him in the Blues Brothers. I love him in Uncle Buck. I love him in Cool Runnings. I think Uncle Buck is my favourite role of his, because all young women need an Uncle Buck watching over them (that golf ball scene!)

I'm going to go and watch Cool Runnings in honour of the genius and pathos that Candy brought to his portrayal of the Everyman.


Mar. 4th, 2017

Representation, Culture and Genetics

Representation Matters because I am a Pacifica woman who grew up in white 1980's Australia, raised by a white family. I grew up tall and broad shouldered. I had PCOS kick in when I hit puberty. I grew body and facial hair and didn't get medical treatment. I was always one of the tallest girls in my school year from the age of 8. I have some real baggage about concepts of femininity/masculinity and cultural/racial identity.

And there were not very many people in the media who looked like me and that gave me some more baggage. Being in Australia the people who I saw who looked like me were Pacifica women like Vika and Linda Bull and Kate Cebrano, or Black Americans on shows like Family Matters and Fresh Prince and Sesame Street and the Cosby Show. Keeping in mind everyone in my family except from my younger brother were Anglo, you know, a girl gets some pretty messed up ideas. I remember thinking Barbie and Kylie Minogue were the epitome of beauty and I wished very hard (and prayed to God, even) that my hair would be golden blond when I woke up. How very awful, to have such a dissonance with one's whole physical being. To deeply wish to be what you are not.

It's so sad and small and ignorant, and as a child I didn't have any help or guidance. Which is what it is, no more, no less.

What I have realised is that I am a Rotuman Woman. My DNA grants me the right to claim that. I never before felt comfortable in the claiming of that, because I thought of it like a gift that was denied my by the rejection of my father and the lack of connection on my behalf that my mother could not offer to give me.

That I have not had the opportunity to grow up inside Rotuman culture means what, exactly? That my father is a piece of shit? Yeah, and how is that news?

I have tried to connect with my Rotuman family and it has been a journey of grief and a weird feeling like I'm out-of-step, or that I'm being socially gauche and I really don't mean to, but I don't know the rules and how am I expected to know the unspoken?

Not understanding the culture of Rotuman People doesn't disenfranchise me on the basis of genetics - that is a factor of the definition of my ~Beingness. Whatever 'Race' means, "Rotuman" is something I am entitled to claim, and I don't have to grieve the gift that was never given. I am the Esther I am because I'm a first generation Aussie, with one parent who migrated to this country with a visa and one parent who did not.

I am the smart-ass daughter of an English woman who represents a two-generation gap. It was akin to being raised by your grandmother. She had me at 36, having been in Australia for a few years, and grew up in post-WW2 Rural Britain, having been born in 1946. She's got really old-school sensibilities, and like it or not, they shaped a lot of the foundational stuff of my personality. But yeah, let's leave the Mum stuff because THAT is a whole other pandora's box.

Representation matters, because I didn't know what I was supposed to be for the longest time. I didn't know I was allowed to be who I was (a brown Pacifica woman) because I was entrapped in so much white supremacy. Not a white supremacy that was fueled by hatred, but a white supremacy that was simply the accepted given of how things are. My family are unknowingly racist, and they don't understand that they are, or what makes them that way. And how could they see it, when the entirety of popular culture/media also pushed a white supremacy agenda? I didn't know it, either, but learning about post-colonialism and racism has allowed me to come to my identity in a different way, and to process the things that I took for granted as simply a part of who I was and how I thought about myself. I no longer wish my hair would magically turn blond. My hair is exactly how it should be.

Mar. 3rd, 2017

2017. Even more of a dumpster-fire than 2016.

I've been lurking on ONTD since late 2011, and it's been a place where I've actually learned a lot about race and gender (and hilarious applications of reaction gifs).

ONTD introduced me to ways of thinking and engaging and questioning that expanded my understanding. As a biracial woman who was raised by my white mum I've never really known how to find a depth to my personal narrative that embraced my Heritage of Brown Skin. It was too closely tied to the rejection of my father and his entire cultural group. Growing up looking different and not knowing why leaves a person with a lot of self-loathing. I turned to my white side, because that was what I had access to, that was what my heart was comfortable with. I liked Celtic stories and art and I liked to watch weird British comedy that none of the other kids had heard of, and it made me feel special because I was from working class folks in the North of England. James Herriot books became grist for the mill of my idyllic fantasy. Being brown was pushed to the side.

Notice that during this I also pushed aside being an 'Australian'. Why? well, my mum disdain's Australians. She migrated here in the 1970's and has had a really difficult experience as an outsider. Not to say her own behaviours didn't contribute to her outsider-ness, but Australian's are a very "cliquey" bunch and Mum generally had too strong a personality and too much of her own self-loathing to keep many friendships. I've suffered from this - I don't consider friendships to be something I'm worthy of, or something weird like that. Messed me up in that area.

So, what is a Rotuman girl to do when she does not consider any of her "Rotumanness" to be worth anything? That her very appearance and physicality was a terrible mistake she had to bear the brunt of? That she had to apologise for being taller than all the other boys? I used to hate school photograph day because I'd always be assigned to stand at the back with the tall boys. Of course there were other tall girls, but none were my friends. Gah. What shite.

Well, that Rotuman girl grows up not knowing anything about her family (until the Story of Aunt Kalo, at least) and hates the fact that her father left her his DNA but nothing else that helped to tell me who I was.

I'd wistfully day-dream about being adopted by a Maori family, or a Tongan family. I was too shy to make friends with any of the Islanders. I just felt that I did not belong.

Learning more about the world has helped me come to a place of peace with my heritage. The frank discussions about racism and white feminism that are carried out on the posts at ONTD has encouraged me to think of myself as a Woman of Colour. I don't share a cultural context with my Rotuman family, but I do share a cultural context with other Brown Women, be they in Australia or across the world.

Tbh I can't even say if I'm Polynesian or Melanesian.

On the Wiki page of Rotumans as a Pacific People : On account of their location, the Rotuman people are often left uncategorised in terms of which Pacific ethnic group they belong to. Rotumans, by most accounts, physically most resemble the Polynesian people of Samoa and Tonga, the two races commonly attributed in Rotuman mythology as the true parent civilisations. But Rotuman musical tradition prior to European and Central Polynesian influence consisted primarily of chanting similar to traditional Tahitian or Maori styles (see Tautoga and Himene), both very distant cultures. In addition, many of characteristics of the Rotuman language distance it from Polynesian neighbours and align it more closely with Melanesian (particularly Western Fijian) languages.

This makes me feel a little bit better about not following through with getting to know my Rotuman heritage. I have tried a few times, but each time exposed some very hard feelings to process and challenged me. I'm still carrying a lot of hurt about some of the things that happened. And while I feel that a door has closed on one path of action I can follow through with some self-education and self-proclimation and allignment with my genetic cultural heritage. It's a part of me, and I'm tierd of being defined by an absence.