eumelia: (master politician)
If you follow international news about the Middle East, you will know that there has been an escalation of violence between Hamas and the IDF in the Gaza strip. You will also know, that there was an exchange of fire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights for the first time since 1973.

Very likely, this is spillover from the civil war and not actually intended for us, but you know, we fired warning shots back.

All of the above made think of the song "Love Is All Around" by The Troggs:


Only with alternate lyrics, which you can read under the cut.

Come on everyone, sing it with me. Consider this my pre-Local-Elections fanfare and transformative art, the prosody is a bit meh with my changes, but you'll cut me some slack on that one, right?

War Is All Around )
eumelia: (not in rome)
This week had been so hellish, I don't even know where to begin.

So I'll start at the beginning )

That was my week. I'm so glad it's over.
eumelia: (queer rage)
Today I was complacent.

I was too confident, thought myself too smart and now things will never be the same. For me, at least. I doubt anyone else will give this as much thought.

Part of my job is to watch videos.

A lot of these videos are sexist, cater to rape culture and just plain offensive to my sensibilities. I am not shy about saying this, after all, just because I have to work with the material doesn't mean I have to like it.

One of my co-workers (we'll call her [The Heterosexist]) tried to convince me of the merit of the obnoxious humour that is found in these videos. I said, just because something is funny (and your mileage may vary rather widely!) doesn't make it inoffensive. Especially videos that are about how to "get a man" and tips of "how to kiss", all of which, as you can imagine, are sexist, cater to rape culture and are just plain offensive to my sensibilities.

The conversation evolved from talking about these "how to" guides for dating, to actual woes about dating. Two co-workers (including [The Heterosexist]) complained, as women who are socialising often do, about the dearth of men to date, how they didn't like strong women, how they didn't like older women, how they didn't like women who took initiative, etc.

I, jokingly, suggested that there was a remedy for this. That would be to not date men.

A different co-worker (we'll call her [Laid Back]) replied that the lesbian option was becoming more and more appealing. I said, one just needs to try hard enough *wink-wink nudge-nudge*

Now, because I work in an extremely liberal and casual office, because I work with a boss who has said the word "sexism" seriously, because I work on a majority woman team, because two of the three men with whom I work are gay; I felt safe enough to be casual and jokey about this aspect of my life, seeing as everyone else was being casual and jokey about that aspect of their lives as well.

Never fucking again.

[The Heterosexist], in light of what I said and how [Laid Back] replied, decided to share the fact that she knows she's not lesbian because when a woman hit on her she had to quit the class they studied in together.

Yes.

[The Heterosexist] went on to say that this woman treated her like she was her "boyfriend", went with her to the bus, took her to meet her friends. When a third co-worker (we'll call her [The Comedienne]) asked why she didn't just say she wasn't interested, [The Heterosexist] said this lesbian woman wouldn't take no for an answer, that she just kept hanging around her.

Considering she said she didn't know how to handle a woman hitting on her, I'm disinclined to believe her regarding how she interpreted the behaviour of this woman.

[The Comedienne] asked if she felt this woman was harassing her, [The Heterosexist] she wasn't sure, just that she was annoyed by her. [The Comedienne] said that would make a great comedy, about the lesbian who couldn't take a hint.

As you can imagine, I was feeling my blood boil and I ended up saying: "I think we have enough predatory gay stereotypes we have to deal with."

Call me Mel, the conversation killer.

The thing is, she clearly thought she was sharing a funny anecdote about Lesbians because the topic came up. Never mind that she has an ostensibly lesbian co-worker (me) and she was clearly uncomfortable with the implication that if she didn't date men she might be, god for-fucking-bid, considered one, because otherwise she'd be one of those pathetic women who were hung up on straight women who clearly would never ever ever want to date another woman.

I'm sure she thinks she has no problem with gay people. She's not bothered by it. Unless it's implied that this is something that can actually touch her.

Well, I shan't be so cavalier like I was today. I was stupid to think I could be.

And what burns the most is that one of my gay co-workers (let's call him [The Assimilationist]) said the whole situation was funny, that it would make great comedy.

Nice to see where his loyalties lie.
eumelia: (mystique)
Trigger warnings are not for naught.

We are vulnerable people, we live in a world that is structured around power and that breeds a broad culture of violence, that (more often than not) men perpetuate and (more often than not) women are victimised by.

The culture of violence is something we live and breathe, we cannot avoid it, not really. We can, however, do our best to live gentler, more compassionate lives. We can do our best to empathise with those who have suffered under the tyranny of power disparity. Those of us who have been traumatised by events out of our control, whatever they may be, deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, not with indignation and ever so slightly veiled scorn.

When I read The Illusion of Safety/The Safety of Illusion by Roxane Gay earlier tonight, that's exactly what I felt.

Scorn.

Reading her post, it's clear she's been through a lot in her life, that she knows suffering and trauma.

She writes a long and relatively literary account about why trigger warnings do not work. Moreover, that they are, as the title suggests, an illusion in the face of reality and the way reality is conveyed via the media.

I hope you read the whole thing, but I want to focus on this one paragraph, as it had me bristling:

There is also this: maybe trigger warnings allow people to avoid learning how to deal with triggers, getting help. I say this with the understanding that having access to professional resources for getting help is a privilege. I say this with the understanding that sometimes there is not enough help in the world. That said, there is value in learning, where possible, how to deal with and respond to the triggers that cut you open, the triggers that put you back in terrible places, that remind you of painful history.


Where is the understanding that we are, in fact, different from each other? Okay, so trigger warnings don't suit you, who are you to judge if they are suitable for anyone else! That is what I want to know, because you know something? I need trigger warnings.

Not because I have a painful history that rips me open when I have textual reminders of something traumatising.

Trigger warnings tell me that this person is respectful of the subject. That they know what it is they are writing. It tells me that they understand the ramifications of writing subjects that are to do with the violence in our lives.

The quote above is a very condescending way of saying: "You who need trigger warnings are over sensitive, I don't need them and I've been through shit, so why should you."

Telling her audience that "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are illusions, empties out precisely why those concepts are necessary to begin with; they are reprieves from the brutality that is reality.

I do not expect to be accommodated by the culture of violence at large. My triggers are so specific sometimes, that I generally know what I can and can't watch at any given time (because my triggers are visual and aural), but you're side-swiped and it doesn't matter if you thought you were prepared for what was coming, sometimes your brain signals things to your body you know aren't true, but it feels that way any way.

However, when you are an artist and your medium is your message, what you want to convey isn't removed from the culture at large. When we write, when we create, we are part of a greater picture from which we take and return with not quite equal measure.

Feminist art used to be (at times still is) specific challenges to masculine supremacy and a type of in-your-face radical femininity. Now, for me at least, a big part of feminist art is approach to subject, and approach to audience.

Feminism, as a political standpoint, should be rooted in compassion, in the knowledge and awareness that we navigate and negotiate an environment that is hostile. Trigger warnings are a way to navigate through art. Does everyone need them? No. Should they be required? No. Should we begrudge those who use them? No. Should we question why people don't use them? Yes.

Roxane Gay also wrote:
Trigger warnings also, when used in excess, start to feel like censorship. They suggest that there are experiences or perspectives too inappropriate, too explicit, too bare to be voiced publicly. As a writer, I bristle when people say, “This should have had a trigger warning.” I think, “For what?”


I understand the defensive stance. I don't, however, believe there is such a thing as an "excess" use of trigger warnings, considering the discourse that even bothers to even talk about them is fucking tiny.

If you feel censored by the request of trigger warnings, I would suggest you ask yourself why? Do you want to add your voice to the culture of unaccountability when it comes to violence? Ask yourself if the mere thought of thinking of the effect your art has, as opposed to affect makes you rear and cry "censorship" in the face of criticism, what exactly your aim was.

We do not write, create, react, interact in a vacuum.

Those of us who have triggers, who have been traumatised, who walk this world hyper-aware and "over sensitive" don't need to be condescended to about being reminded of our painful history. We carry it with us, always.

It never goes away.

Asking and knowing that others know this, respect this and honour this, is a tiny and temporary reprieve.

Telling me that that reprieve is a childish illusion, is to me a show of extraordinary lack of compassion, a defeatist attitude when it comes to pushing back and being critical of the culture that enabled and enacted our trauma in the first place.
eumelia: (diese religione)
I was going through tags today, specifically the "spiritual" and "that religion thing" ones.

Because I've been thinking about religion a lot lately.

I was surprised to discover I was still writing about belief in 2010 and actively searching for a an active way of believing in 2008.

I had almost forgotten why I was doing that.

But I remember and I know why, because I am nothing if not overly critical of myself when I think I've been stupid.

Feeling small and insignificant is not a good feeling. Nobody likes it when your life in filled with circumstances and events over which you have little to no control.

Until I was in about 20 years old, I played around with neo-paganism and witchcraft, you all can blame Willow Rosenberg (of Buffy) for that one. My own journey into adulthood was a little too similar to Willow's, but that's a post for another day.

And for a time, looking back at my teenaged years, it was a small rebellion, I think, because I grew up in a secular household and through paganism I could get in touch with the gods and goddesses I preferred.

I think I could qualify the years between 15 and 20, the years I took mythology a little bit too seriously. I learned a lot, but there was a lot of unlearning as well, which is why I don't really regret that phase.

When I was 21 that changed, because I was traumatised and I wasn't getting the support I needed from the people I thought I would be getting it. This is a group of people I was performing magic with, or at least, I allowed myself to think I was - looking back, I had a great need for approval and camaraderie.

During the second Lebanon war I attended an evening with a bunch of New Agers, and we raised energy in the name of something or other in order to keep everyone safe and to make sure that the world wouldn't be scarred by the violence.

Bullshit, of course. I honestly can't remember if the man I helped blow up on the screens happened before or after than evening, but it was probably around that time that it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.

That was the summer of 2006. By the time I had started Uni in 2007, I had a lost a lot of friends over the fact that I was no longer who I used to be.

I honestly can't remember what my thoughts were with regards to divinity or deity, or anything like that, I'm pretty sure that I was clinging to the last vestiges that there might be something bigger, that there might be a scheme to all the crap.

But there isn't and like many others who turn to god, I was looking for comfort.

I'm a little too practical now a days, to turn to fairy tales for that.

There is something sad and poignant in letting go of the old thought processes, that's probably why it took almost four years for me to reach the real conclusion that I have no soul and that there is no god.

That the god in the book of my people as real as the gods in the Odyssey. The ethical bankruptcy that comes from all these fairy tales, once I realised it, made me reject the whole damn thing.

You can't cherry pick the good, any more than you can cherry pick the bad.

I was raised with religion, but not religious. I fully acknowledge that I was raised without a belief in god, but with a huge indoctrination of Jewish identity and sense of persecution for that identity.

It's really easy for me to be a Jewish atheist, but that's just me, because I've gone through a process of letting go. Being Jewish is belonging to a tribe, the way other religions aren't really about, I think that makes the difference.

The Religion Bundle #1
eumelia: (flog it)
I would appear that I hadn't posted for two weeks.

The first week of June 2012 will forever be missing.

I've actually just been on other platforms where writing short sentences and re-posting pictures don't take up too much brain power.

I've also been writing fic, so a lot of my wordiness has been focused on those projects, which mean I've been neglecting these spaces.

Truth be told I don't know what to write about.

I'm feeling things rather intensely lately. "Lately" being since January, and this intensity is probably going to continue until I move out (again) to a place of my own (again).

I'm temporarily permanently back to living with my parents and yesterday, after a month and a half of living like a transient out of boxes I finally cleaned and tidied up my room. And when I say "tidies" I mean I threw out all the papers in my cupboards which I hadn't looked at in almost a year and papers I'd had stashed away since high school. There were papers in boxes I hadn't even seen in over ten years. One wonders what I was thinking at the time when I thought, "Nah, I'll keep it, I'll get back to it one day." You never do. I also found a bunch floppy disks, all of them decayed. Now that was humbling.

My room now looks great. It'll also make it easier to pack up once I move out.

I had considered staying with my parents, but I'm going fucking bananas and my grandiose plans of going to plumbing classes on the weekends will have to be postponed. Why? Because while I'm not living at the place, I'm still paying the fucking rent on that apartment. My lease did not work in my favour. Though [Sexy!Roommate] may have found someone to take over in July, in which case, that means I'll be able to actually save some money over the coming months and tuck it away for better grandiose plans.

Like traveling. I have two destinations in mind, I don't know when either will pan out, but they must, because I haven't had a holiday without my family in almost five years and I need to do things at my pace in a place where I can do what I want.

This usually consists of walking slowly, visiting a museum or two, eating and sleeping in the interim.

But my holiday plans are neither here or there, they are currently pipe dreams.

Today is a lazy day, I hope. There are circumstances which make this day a bit nerve wracking, but right now I'm sitting in my bed, writing and reading stuff, because I have two for [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest fics that are due next weekend, one is currently in beta, the other rather ethereal.

I've also signed up for the for the [livejournal.com profile] h50_exchange, which is exciting! Gifts for everyone!

I still have the "100 things" challenge to do, which includes various meta posts I have kinda-sorta planned.

At the moment though, I'm just really pleased my room doesn't smell of cardboard boxes.
eumelia: (slayer)
Trigger Warning: Frank discussion of sexual harassment, breach of body autonomy and dealing with the above


Last week, on my way to work, I was sexually harassed on the bus. Details regarding the incident and dealing with it under the cut )

ETA: Cutting due to request. I'm sorry any of you were harmed by reading this.
eumelia: (compassion & kindness)
I'm sure some of a you are waiting for my thoughts on the Hawaii Five-0 finale. Without giving much away, and in a word? Wow.

But something even better happened this week.

I got a birthday present from one of my dearest friends who I never met off-line.

[livejournal.com profile] verasteine wrote me a story.

It's called Whispers and Blades.

I don't often rec fics in this space, but this was written for [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest and FOR ME! On my birthday!

She specifically used a prompt I submitted and wrote a truly magnificent story, her interpretation of it revealing an understanding on what it can mean to be gay in public.

Her story is a series of moments in Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams' lives as partners both at work and at home. They have to deal with people making assumptions about them, what they do and who they are, simply because they are gay in public.

One of the things which I think gets overlooked both in the media and generally speaking when it comes to LGBT people, is the fact that we are expected to accommodate people's curiosity and assumptions about us.

Snide little micro-aggressions that fill our lives and colour our experience of it that tells us, again and again, that we're off kilter, that we don't fit the proper continuity in society and that we make them uncomfortable and that we are accepted so long as we adhere to certain conditions.

The little micro-aggressions in the story are peppered throughout, some more over than others, but always elusive, because homophobia isn't always verbal assault and it isn't always violence as we are accustomed to know and see it.

But possibly my favourite part in the end, when Steve and Danny talk about these instances, because they get to Danny is a way that I recognise intimately. The frustration and anger of being exposed to other people's judgement for who you chose to sleep with and how it is made into an issue, as opposed to regarded as just another part of who they are.

Steve says: "Being gay means you're on the outside."

There's a truth in that, because when you're on the outside, your perspective shifts and you are positioned in a way that keeps you from denting the straight default, mainly by being there to be and be judged one way or another for not living up to an ideal that was never attainable for you to begin with.

Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] verasteine, for illustrating that position so well through these moments between Danny and Steve. Two men, who love each other and push each other, and push against the world.
eumelia: (get a job)
I wrote this entry last night, but due to LJ feeling poorly, I'm posting this just as I'm heading out the door.

Maybe one of you will read it.




My brother asked me how work was and why I hadn't been writing about it.

My bitchy reply was that I was tired (sorry about that, big brother!)

And I am.

It's been a while since I worked these kind of hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I worked these kind of hours was way back when, when I was in the IDF!

So, yeah, tired.

Also, annoyed, because it was Remembrance Day eve last night and I told my 6 year old niece I would come see her participate in her school's ceremony - but I was stuck in the most massive traffic jam ever because the entire country was on the move in an attempt to get home before the ceremonies and the air siren that marks the start of the day sounded.

I ended up having to stand in the middle of the street as the siren sounded. I hate that.

I have a big distaste for the whole atmosphere of this day, considering I despise the glorification of death that this day requires, the compulsory heterosexuality of the day - because the dead soldier, who is always a man, will invariably leave behind a mother, a father and a wife/girlfriend - and everything is so bloody war mongering.

In any event, regarding my job. I now work for a big international company, to be known henceforth as The Company (yeah, not that Company... but it does sound mysterious, doesn't it?) in the capacity of content editor and SEO (that's search engine optimisation).

Being a n00b, I'm not actually doing much other than being trained and going through the database and learning things. My boss, to be known henceforth as Boss, is a bit impatient, I think, because I'm not the only new person on the team, so she's a bit stressed. But she is strict and I'm asking so many questions and I like having boundaries and an authority figure who I can identify with.

The floor is amazing, I love my colleagues. One of my best friends works there and he pushed my resume to Boss and he's been absolutely charming and helpful and it's so much fun to be able to be me among these people, as we're all a bunch of geeks!

One of my colleagues is a little, how do you say, not really into the whole slaty language thing and spelled out "bitch" in lieu of saying it and I, in a moment of complete id and fangirrlism, said: "bitca?" A la Xander Harris.

This began a 15 minutes discussion about Buffy, Dollhouse, Firefly, Joss in general, Farscape, Stargate, Battle Star Galactica, Star Trek and even Star Wars.

Boss, who is not into tv or sci-fi or anything like that concluded our status meeting with "Okay, good, and live long and prosper. That's what you people say to each other right?"

I was not the only one to do the Vulcan salute.

So yeah, I'm having a good time on my first week.
eumelia: (bullshit)
Wow. I haven't updated in a week and it's actually been a very busy week.

I had this whole post written in my head about what I've been doing, where I've been going and why, but I'm just... out of spoons. I feel like I'm constantly out of spoons.

I doesn't help that my mother calls me a "pillar of strength" but ignores the fact that I'd really, really not go to the fucking Pesach seder tonight.

It's Passover eve tonight and everyone is going to a Seder. So obviously, I MUST go as well. It doesn't help that she's been zinging me about it, mentioning who will be there (people I don't give a fuck about), that it's traditional (pull the other one, mom) and that if I don't go she won't go (thank you, mommy dearest, for really making me feel good this holiday season).

So I'm going. I'll be damned if I'm going to be fucking happy about it.

Reading through the tags, I've been very quiet this time around, when usually I have lots to say.

I'm not really speechless so much as bone tired.

I'm usually much more verbose in general, but the words aren't coming out.

Stuff is happening in my life that I'd rather not talk about because they're in flux and really the only thing keeping me afloat is my involvement in fandom.

If it sounds like I'm bitter, it's because I am. Seriously, you could eat me instead of the maror tonight. Cannibalism though, is frowned upon in these parts, I hear.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
Language works against me.

I am different things in each vernacular.

There is a freedom in my bilingualism, but still both languages do not enable me to have the visibility I desire when it comes to my bisexuality.

It's easier to be gay (in Egnlish) or lesbian (in Hebrew), because those are clear cultural identifications.

There isn't much of a bisexual culture, not one I'm comfortable with at least.

Bisexual is not a word I like, beyond bad experiences with the word, unlike "gay", "lesbian" and "queer", to me it connotes a behaviour as opposed to an identity - possibly because of it's similarity to the overly medicalised "homosexual" (odd how "heterosexual" is not so medicalised, huh? Not odd, really).

But now, that I'm going to be speaking to teenagers about being LGBT, I need to make sure I have my letters in order and in Hebrew there is much less room to play around with the letters (In English I'm all the letters except the T, in Hebrew I can't be, because of the strict gender policing of the language).

I have to talk about being bisexual, as well as lesbian, because I am both, because despite the fact that I could be with a guy and probably be very happy, the assumptions of gender roles and gender dynamics within a different sex relationship is one that I feel utterly out of place in.

I am not one of those bisexual people who don't care about the gender of their partner. I do. A lot. It matters to me a great deal, it makes a difference to how I communicate and it makes a difference with regards to my needs and my desires.

But it's not just about who I have a relationship with, is it? It's about where I fit in, in the greater culture and I have always felt slightly out of place - wherever I was.

This is not a unique stand point. Is there anyone utterly comfortable where they are?

When it comes to sexuality and identifying with a sexual minority, because I am one and have felt the brunt of homophobia and biphobia, I don't think I can readily give up the moniker of lesbian - a woman who loves and desires other women. My bisexuality gives me the so-called flexibility to desire other genders as well, but I'm not flexible or fluid.

Language eludes me.

The words I know, and I know many, on this topic are not enough or they are not on the nose enough. They always leave something to be desired.

Maybe that's what being bisexual is about, in the end. Always running in circles that I'm gay, but not always, but I'm never straight, I was never straight, that has never been a part of my make-up.

Lesbian is also clear female sexuality, no questions, female centric and about female desires. That's also what I am.

Everything is so fucking vague. Or vaguely fucking (pardon my puns - it's a bisexual thing).
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
A lot of the choices I've made, throughout my life and especially the last couple of years, have been due to the fact that I've had the privilege to make them.

I chose to study the Humanities on my parent's dime, because I was able to do so with little sacrifice on my side. I took my time, four years instead of three, because I was not able to handle a year in which a lot of shit happened - so I let my studies go and had to re-do a year.

I still feel guilty about that.

I had considered taking a year off between BA and going on to an MA, because, well, obviously I'll be doing an MA. This is the way the life of a privileged middle class girl goes, right? But first, I should probably get onto a career path of some kind. I enjoyed the Library, I loved being in the Library and I had various Librarian role models that made me think that being a Librarian was a good idea.

Well, the studies made me want to kill myself and the more I thought about where I wanted to go with my life, the notion of being on that path looked less and less like the thing I wanted to be.

So I decided to drop out.

I feel guilty about that too.

It's "another" thing I started and didn't finish. It's another "phase" that fizzled out because I got "bored". Never mind that the studies, depressed me to a degree to which I hadn't felt in a long while, probably not the subject matter itself (though really, my brain felt like it was leaking out of my skull while I was in class), but the frame of being in school, again.

I enjoy learning. But studying...

I feel guilty about the choosing to veer away from this plan, without a backup plan. I'm still unemployed, living off my savings at the moment, working on the side for my father so that I don't sink utterly. There's not a bit of shame involved in that, despite it being a concious choice I made.

And wouldn't you know, I feel guilty about that, as well.

The thing is, my parents were paying for these studies as well and I just couldn't have that any more.

I'm 26, and moved out and still, my parents were paying for my life.

You know, I'd much rather suck up the shame and ask them for help with the rent, than have them help me coast through life just so I can be put on a career path that was numbing me out.

I'm still numb, because I am overwhelmed by death, disease and the feelings of failure that will probably not leave me until I get a job, because I am nothing if not a loyal subject to the economic system.

But ever since I made the choice of leaving school, I've felt lighter and more at ease with the my guilt. I feel guilty for letting down my parents, not for making a choice they think is a mistake - because it's not a mistake for me. I feel guilty for not being financially secure at the moment, but I know that's a dynamic situation that can and will change and it's less to do with me personally and more to do with the structure of work force.
I feel guilty that everything is coming to a head at a time where there has been a death in the family and we are about to begin to revolve around a disease which we thought we wouldn't have to deal with again.

But nothing goes according to plan.

So really, why feel guilty?

For now, it's an outlet for me. Feeling all my feelings through the prism of guilt. It motivates me to try and not feel guilty. Feeling guilty informs me that I am being manipulated, in one way or another.

Feeling guilty reminds me that it could be worse. It reminds me of my privilege, I suppose.

Yesterday though, a song came on my shuffle that really helped me put it somewhat in perspective:


Hand In My Pocket - Alanis Morissette
no one's really got it figured out just yet )
eumelia: (tosh is love)
I'm back from the training seminar.

To say that it was interesting would be the biggest understatement of the 19th, 20th and what has been the 21st century.

To say that it was empowering would be too simple, because there were times where I felt utterly crushed and torn to pieces.

I'm still not sure what to say about it. I don't think I should. The intimacy of the group and the dynamic was... I'm literally speechless... I'm amazed as to what I learned about myself and other people.

I will say this and I said this during one of the feedbacks for the activities - it was one of the few times in my life that while mingling and getting to know people, I didn't have to guess, hint or assume who was gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer - we just were, all of us, and despite all of our stories being different - that golden thread of sexuality and the fact that we are all queer in different ways - the sense of solidarity that I felt with the other participants, our guides, the activity and work shop guides - we didn't have to come out, except to clarify what type of queer we all were and to have a place to speak the complexity of being a lesbian identified bisexual queer was probably one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

I feel very changed, I don't know how yet, because things need to sink in and I'm not sure how processing the past two and a half days will feel or what will happen now. Everything feels new and unsure and I'm very content with that feeling, whereas once I think it would have scared me.

It was fucking cold and it rained endlessly. We were very isolated and the safe space of an LGBT focused workshop was beyond all my expectations.

I can't believe I actually had the guts to do something like this.
eumelia: (thinky thoughts)
It feels strange that we're switching the numbers again.

For me the new year really started way back when in September (around Rosh Ha'Shana) and my roommate and I started being proactive about looking for an apartment and registering for classes.

Along with having a nasty PTSD setback around that time it kind of marks that time of year as a start of something - I'm not sure where October and November went to, because all I can remember of October is the family vacation I went on and the fact that I moved out of my parents' home something like two weeks after that.

I'm really enjoying the independence, financial stress and uni woes notwithstanding. I mean, knowing I can handle (not well, but I can do it) multiple failings in an apartment in a somewhat dodgy neighbourhood is certainly nothing to sniff at.

The fact that this year I returned to writing seriously, one slogging word at a time, thanks to several inspiring fandoms - X-Men: First Class, you're a fantastic movie - pity your creators are asses and many of the participants in fandom are a bunch on entitled *mumble mumble*. Hawaii Five-0 who knew I could love something like that, this much and have it be such an inspiration to me. I know, gushing over pop-culture like this is kind of gauche, but who cares right!?

Looking at what I have planned for January it is certainly going to be a busy month, but I can't think of a better way to kick start the year.
eumelia: (get a job)
Where does the time go?

I've barely updated here other than fannish stuff and even then, I feel like I'm forcing myself, I'm just lacking in energy I suppose.

But today I'm feeling good!

The majority of my huge nuclear family came to visit me in my flat far away from their regular abodes and brought with them stuff!

Stuff like food, a carpet (rug, I guess, but I call it a carpet), a bookshelf (along with a bunch of my books!), a mini stereo system that I can connect my little mp3 player to and a red coat hanger! Finally, I can sit on the chair in my room because my bag, jacket, jim-jams and tomorrow's outfit are now hanging up there.

And then we went out to Wadi Nisnas where there's a festival going on and so many are decorating for Christmas! There was music, roasted chestnuts, kanafeh (which my nephews don't seem to like, te mind boggles), crepes and a mish-mash of people, which I love.

My sister commented on how mixed my neighbourhood is and yeah, I like that, even though it's less neighbourly and more everyone being equally racist towards each other, i.e. ignoring each other's existence - except when there is, you know, mandatory interaction like saying "excuse me" in the stairwell.

You have no idea how much this means me!

Oh, and my signed A Study in Emerald now hangs over my bed. Finally, my bedroom is more than a room with a bed.

It actually feels like things are coming together.

Other than, you know, a leak I discovered in our bathroom - I guess two people using it at different intervals wouldn't notice, as the toilet is situated right next to the shower so the floor there is always kind of wet, but with more than ten people using it before heading out for a few hours on the town...

Yeah, there's a leak. I mean, I thought there was before, but wasn't sure and as such didn't call plumbers or my landlady (I try, to no avail, to avoid speaking with her, but she calls, a lot, on a fairly regular basis).

Well, there's always tomorrow. *sigh*

And in other news, I have a job! I work in a book store! Where my fellow workers assume I'm studying for what I'm currently doing; stacking books.

Oh well.

But life, it carries on and I can only keep calm.
eumelia: (mystique)
My whole life it's been thrown in my face.

As an accusation, more than anything. As a way to deflate my arguments, my words and my own feelings.

I'm over sensitive, so I'm looking to be offended.

I'm over sensitive, so I imagined the teasing, it was meant as a compliment.

I'm over sensitive, so the disparaging looks and gazes hurled at me were imagined, in my head, actually want it to happen just so I have something to complain about.

What does it actually mean, to be called out as "over sensitive"?

It has always, always been used as a way to silence me. It has always been a weapon to cut me at the knees and make sure I know my place - silent and weeping in the corner.

And it's not even being aware that the world is shit and that bad things happen due to disparity in power dynamics and gross social injustices.

This has been my life since I was a child.

And now, as an adult, and I swallow the lump in my throat because everything I say is coloured by this prism of sensitivity.

It is flung in my face too often and getting tips by those who silence me how to deal with the silencing is a small comfort - especially when I'm told they feel sorry that I take things so personally.

My over "sensitivity" fuelled rage wants to take a chair and throw it over someone's head, but social programming prevents me from going feral in a house of residence, or, you know at all.

It's just, you know, this week has had a few wins against the patriarchy, what with Israel's rapist (ex-)president going away for seven years and participating in an event protesting the marginalisation of women in Israel due to growing religious extremism, but reading about the news about Penn State in the United States and that getting into an argument about the position of women in public and the symptom of street harassment and how people do not get that this is all connected, it makes me bury my face in my hands and wail inside my head.

Yeah, if I'm sensitive, I fear how numb so many other people in my life are.

Being called over sensitive is equivalent to being called irrelevant. I am too sensitive to judge anything fairly or have an informed opinion about anything because it the speech of an hysterical woman.

I regret to say I left the conversation. I often do. It is difficult for me to handle the assault over my emotions and my perceptions, because when I fight back I will raise my voice and my abrasiveness will overtake and being of small statue and round face, I do not look like an informed and factual feminist woman, but more like an angry teenage girl with a grudge against the world.

My body dictates the perception.

This is how it has always been.

I'll just sit here and swallow the tears that make my eyes shine and my voice catch, because obviously, it is useless to speak for too long about that which has forced me to grow a skin that feels foreign to me.
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's probably significant that I'm writing a navel gazing religion thing post-Days of Awe and Yom Kippur, which this year failed to move me as in previous cycles.

It may have to do with the fact that my outside world stress exacerbated my inner world stress. I'll (very very probably, but nothing is signed yet and until then I'm not willing to say live or die) move out by the end of the month. It's going to be the first time living outside of my parents house other then those six months in the US where I lived with my sisters (and had zero expenses).

I don't have a job lined up yet and university is starting... about the same time I'm setting up shop with my room mate (thank god for her, I don't think I would have managed to do anything if it wasn't for her holding my hand throughout this whole thing).

Add to that a "mild" brain meltdown and it's been fucking peachy.

What's all that got to do with religion? Nothing, really, but it seems a good opportunity to talk about things.

Those of you who read me on a regular basis know that I'm atheist, but I also that being Jewish is an important part of my identity. It's a cultural thing, a history thing... a people thing.

Due to the aforementioned life changes I can't say I felt the liturgy flow over me like it usually does. Not even the best Cantor on earth (the only reason I emerge once a year for Yom Kippur to go to shul - Bar/Bat Mitvahs and baby namings don't count) got me feeling that sense of belonging and history I usually feel on Yom Kippur when I stand with the rest of my family and listen to the whole congregation sing the dirge about removing the promises and vows we made the previous year.

Maybe it was due to being stressed about the fact that I'm a sleep away from sighing a binding contract, or that I'm going heading on an entirely new path, one I was not utterly convinced I was going to be on this year.

I've mentioned the brain meltdown, yes?

Not to mention the fact that politically speaking being Jewish puts me squarely in the bad guy's shoes this time around, what with Muslim and Christian graves desecrated over the holy day weekend.

I'm sure "G-d" approved of that bullshit.

So yeah, my "people".

Not feeling the connection that much lately.

Then again, in a new development The courts approve the registration of "no religion" for author Yoram Kaniuk, which would be grand, if religion was actually stated on our ID cards as "religion". It's not, it is stated under nationality - oh, didn't you know that there's no such thing as an "Israeli" nationality. I think if there was, or if there had been, it would have solved a whole lot of things.

But you know, Jewish demographic panic and all that.

I'm bothered that this is what my Judaism is reduced to, and that it's controlled by a Rabbinical court that, well, hates the idea of me.

Ironically, my Jewishness if far more diaspora like than ever, and me? I was born here and I don't really want to leave - despite the fact that some of my closest friends are telling me to join them when they leave.

*clings*
eumelia: made by <lj site="livejournal.com" user="quadratur"> (target)
Spoilers, Speculations and Pics from Episode 2.03 )

For people who read me and aren't in this fandom (or fandom in general), I know, I'm obsessing over this show, I hope you can wait a little longer for things of a different substance... Thanks in advance!
eumelia: made by <lj site="livejournal.com" user="quadratur"> (target)
** This post contains spoilers for episode 2.03 of Hawaii Five-0 as well as triggers for frank discussion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder **


It's hard for me to even talk about the content of this ep with any kind of analytic distance because it's all been overshadowed by the final scene.

I was in the military, the Israeli Defense Force, and it screwed me over.

Not to mention screwed me up.

The scene that triggered me in a way I hadn't been triggered in two years.

When I say the military screwed me up, I mean that I spent a month and a half in a situation room, similar in structure (though nowhere as fancy) as the Navy Intel the civilians just happen to invited to, watching drone footage and seeing a man explode to smithereens, while my fellow soldiers clapped and were oh so very smug.

You could say I went slightly crazy after that happened. And wouldn't you know, six months after the war I was diagnosed with a mild case of PTSD. Mild, because I could function "normally", my anxiety didn't cripple me, my hyper awareness didn't give me agoraphobia and my flashbacks were few and far between.

The screens, the night vision, the smug expressions of everyone's face (except Danny's) were all too much and my anxiety sky rocketed really fast.

So here I am, in my bed room, my eyes leaking a broken tap and I fucking hate Hawaii Five-0

The only thing that made me say "I'll watch this next week", after I spent an hour or so curled up in my bed talking to a friend on chat and calling another, was the fact that Danny, as he watched the fucking nightmare in night vision and gunfire, was freaked out.

On a more coherent level, I'm really not keen on the narrative of American Military might mowing down brown criminals.

Militarism is a destructive ideology and Hawaii Five-0, who has always been neutral when it came to politics, is taking a right turn here in a way I find extremely distressing.

Not to mention triggering.

Steve being morally ambiguous is fine, the military is often like that, my work with Air Force intelligence during my service has probably enabled the death of far too many people, but I don't think about that.

I think about the war I served and actually saw men die in – suffice to say my politics took a radical left turn after that.

I don't want to see my politics reflected back at me, that's boring, but must I have this fucking Freudian fetish of Military = Good?

One of the symptoms of my PTSD is rage. Like uncontrollable rage. My heart has been beating double time since this morning and it feels like my brain is trying to crack my skull wide open.

I am fucking pissed at them for showing operations like that noble and good and mighty. They are not. They are dark, murky, morally ambiguous at best if not downright evil.

When I saw that man die, five years ago, he was blown up by a drone; I was on comms with those pilots twelve hours a day. I spent four shifts in a row listening in to Pilot School drop outs, writing down and shouting out co-ordinates until my throat was raw.

Situation rooms are only calm when something explodes and then they are a flurry of activity.

Two years of not much more than hyper awareness and spikes of anger and now I feel like I want to trash my room and destroy everything.

Thank god Danny, at least, had the decency to look askance at what he was seeing.
eumelia: (queer rage)
It being the holiday season in my locale, it is a time of family and obligation.

Yesterday I was helping my mother arrange the place names for the seats, the name cards were a mess, so I quickly put all the couples and their children into smaller piles.

I was the only solo card.

Now, after an entire semester of studying the sociological aspect of singlehood and writing a 6000 word essay about the position of the single aunt in the extended-nuclear family for said course, you probably don't understand the feeling of sheer poignancy that came from seeing my name, alone, among the clumps of little families that make up my huge tribe.

I have no doubt that I'm not the only single person who has a family made up of couples and families and has felt this way. But I have been theorising about it, this position of mine in my family, the role I play of Dutiful Daughter, Doting Aunt (despite raising my voice a few times and having my cousin, a mother, come to make sure I haven't murdered her children) and Single Gay Relative.

I may be the only one who perceives myself this way. Who knows, maybe others do see me this way. Glass closet and all.

What has come to mind in my navel gazing about this, because I have been thinking about it the whole week, were the issues of "passing" and "flaunting" my sexuality in the context of my family.

My nuclear family are a paragon of harmony, support and TLC. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better family, really. My bitterness considering my coming out process and the crappy way I and [Southern!Girl] were treated when were together notwithstanding.

Being single and queer is easier than being queer in a relationship - man or woman. The invisibility I experience when I'm with a guy is painful because of the erasure of my identity and the culture I identify with. The all out double standard of being with a girl requires constant negotiation of what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour in so many contexts.

It is sheer kismet that Spark In Darkness wrote about this very issue on his blog, where he writes about living your life through a filter:
Every question has to be passed through it, evasions and lies considered, examined and discarded or adapted. And damn if that isn't tiring, even now when I largely shut the filter down and try to answer without it – it still fires up and activates the closet instincts. Before when I nearly always used the filter it was even more draining – because everything someone said to me or I said back had to be run through the filter to ensure that the BIG DARK SECRET was hidden.

[...]that's before we get to simple things like the awful crime of kissing/touching and the dreadful decisions of whether it's ok to sit next to him or not – can we go out to dinner together or do we need to bring more people so it's not a date? Am I stood too close? Whose watching, who can see is anyone upset/angry/sitting on a cactus expression?

So, yeah, here's little ol' me “flaunting” my sexuality because not “flaunting” is a lot of work. I just don't have the energy not to flaunt.

I emphasised the last bit, because that pretty much hits the nail of the head. Sometimes, most of the time, we're asked to "tone it down", or stop making everything "about being QuILTBAG".

There are worse things that happen to gay people than being told by heteronormative society that we're disruptive and should shut up and suck it up, because you know, being beat up and murdered because you weren't quiet enough is worse than being escorted off a plane for kissing your partner.

But the incident with Leisha Hailey and the Southwest flight, brings to a head how careful we have to be in order to walk around unscathed.

I mean, if you read the statement from Southwest Airline following the incident, you can't help but cringe:
Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations.

All emphasis is mine. It would be mind boggling if it wasn't such a typical framing of "gay behaviour" in public.

First of all, the passenger complaints? Really? You know how many times I've complained about a child running up and down the isles of a plane? Are you going to remove that child and its parents?! Boy that would be grand!
Never happen of course, after all, a child running up and down the isles is "natural". As is, you know, kissing and holding hands between a man and woman.

Two women, well, that's "excessive". Because it disrupts the "family oriented" flight, of heterosexual and nuclear clumps of couples and their children.

And of course one must not make the customers uncomfortable, I mean, it's not like gay people pay for services, or use the same methods of transport as straight people. *snort* of course not, we have our own airlines, our own cities, our own laws and regulations, you know... in those "clubs". We'd never imagine doing that in public.

Existing, that is.

Of course, despite Southwest's hypocrisy, they are a well known airline that discriminates against its customers.

Dorothy Snarker who wrote about this earlier this week mentioned that Southwest is the airline that kicked Kevin Smith (Director of "Dogma" and "Chasing Amy") off a flight for being fat and Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day front man) for dressing in baggy pants.

Obviously, Southwest feels very strongly about its well dressed, straight and thin customers. Everyone else just isn't up to par for this airline.

These are incidents that have happened to celebrities. Just ponder that one for a moment.

Reading about the above and planning out this post, well, it makes my own single status a thing of visibility and invisibility. I break the pattern of pairings in my family, but I am rendered silent because talking about wanting to date or going on dates is "flaunting" and "disruptive" and sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with that.

It's giving into homophobia.

And the homophobia exhibited by Southwest, by accepting the underlying assumption that a kiss between two women is disturbing to customers, but being called disgusting by other people is just something we should suck up, is so entrenched in the culture, practically every culture on earth, that I sometimes despair at thinking I'll get to see or feel, fundamental change in my lifetime.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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