Archive for the ‘ feelings and introspection ’ Category

On love and equality

Tonight I saw Tegan and Sara perform live for the second time in my life. The first time I saw them was in 2010, when I was crazy-obsessed with them (see posts here and here and here *face palm*). Three years later, I can honestly say the obsession has died down a little and has instead evolved into a strong appreciation and admiration for these out lesbian identical twins.

I was pretty deep in the closet back in 2009 when I first started listening to Tegan and Sara. I had been struggling to come to terms with my sexuality, especially with what it meant in relation to my conservative, religious upbringing. At the time, there was no one I trusted enough to talk about it with, no one who I thought would understand and who wouldn’t condemn me and see me as a freak. When I realised, whilst listening to the album The Con, that the sentiments of love and heartache that these women were singing about were directed at other women, I suddenly felt like I was not alone. I slowly began to realise that it was ok, there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I didn’t have to be afraid or ashamed about how I felt or who I was.

Four years later..

As I sit in my chair at the Sydney Opera House, watching the heartache on Sara’s face and listening to the struggle in her voice as she sings the lyrics of Now I’m All Messed Up, especially the part when she yells “go” to this person she is in a relationship with in the song when it is clear that what she really wants to say is “please stay”, I am struck by the knowledge that although our hearts may beat for the same-sex, our love is just like any other’s. We feel the same excitement and exhilaration of that first kiss, the same joy and ecstasy of falling in love, and the same pain and utter desolation of having our hearts broken. For any person who has ever been in a heterosexual relationship, we have felt that same love.

Having said that, Australia is still one of the places in the world that has not legalised same-sex marriage. Some people may ask why marriage equality is such a big deal. Why can’t we just be content to do what we want in our own homes? Why is it so important for our marriages to be treated in the same way that heterosexual couples’ marriages are treated? The reason is that the government’s stance on marriage equality says a lot about its, and our society’s, attitude towards gay people, as well as having real-life, practical repercussions on our lives. I hope that in time, these attitudes will slowly start to change and that people will start to realise that no matter what your sexuality, we all live and breathe that same love, as miraculous and heartbreaking as it is.

On honesty and acceptance

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Recently, I have only been in the habit of blogging about something that I believe is worth saying. I am not someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. Honestly though, I am exhausted from the effort of keeping everything inside and ignoring the giant elephant in the room. I’ve decided that I would like things to be out in the open.

I have never before felt the urge to make such a public declaration as I am making now, and as much as I don’t believe in labels, I feel it is important for me to admit to you that I am a gay woman and have suspected this fact to be true for several years, although it has only been within the last two years that I have had the courage to admit this to myself and to those close to me. This may come as a shock to some of you, but hopefully to others it will not. And no, one of my friends did not think it would be amusing to hack into my account and play a practical joke on me. In fact, I feel this very act diminishes and belittles the act of coming out for those of us who eventually find the courage and willpower to do so.

Realizing you are gay has many significant impacts on a person’s life. For me, it meant a constant fear that my friends and family would learn the truth and therefore a persistent need to hide it at all costs; it meant a pervasive feeling of shame and guilt, which would often lead to depression; it meant the end of a lot of things that I had believed to be true; it meant the loss of several friendships and an increased sense of loneliness.

Although some things have gotten better since I came out to a few of my friends and family, I must admit that there are a lot of issues that I am still dealing with, as much as I try to avoid thinking about them. Despite no longer being as fearful of people finding out, I often still experience the fear that I will never be accepted by my family and friends. Being told to keep it a secret for the sake of my parents’ reputation has not helped, and has only served to reinforce this fear and belief that I should be ashamed of who I am and that, by being truthful about it, I will bring shame to my family.

Often, I will also still feel like an outcast, especially when I am around a group of Christians, which is why I try to avoid being in this situation whenever possible, as much as I do love these people as individuals and know that this is not their intention. For me, being gay also means that I am constantly questioning whether I will ever be able to live a “normal” life – marriage, weddings, babies – everything most girls dream of. Although society has generally become more accepting in this respect, I think we still have some way to go before we can say that you and I are treated and considered equally and fairly as human beings.

I want to be able to walk down the street and hold my head high, knowing full well that I am a smart, funny, talented, and decent human being, without having to put myself down for the fact that I also happen to be gay. I want to be able to introduce my friends and family to my future-partner, if I am ever so fortunate as to have one, and to have them see her for who she is as a person and not just for her anatomy. I want for my friends and family to someday love and acknowledge me because of who I am, rather than loving me despite it. I want to be able to rejoice and take pride in myself, rather than be ashamed and depressed about it. Although I know that change doesn’t occur overnight, discovering the latent homophobia that is still prevalent within my own heart has made me realise that writing to you now is an important step towards this direction. Until I can say to myself, “Yes, I am gay, so what?”, how can I expect anyone else to do the same.

Chances are, I will not be the only person you know or will meet in your life that identifies as being gay or somewhere along the queer spectrum. I pray that you do not simply take the stand point that your religion or upbringing requires you to take, but that you are able to see our humanity and to sympathize with us as fellow human beings. I humbly ask your help in this because I am only human, and as hard as I try to hold my head above water, there are times where I find myself alone and drowning and in need of someone to tell me that they love me and support me and that everything is going to be ok.

Someone once wrote that love is the one thing that cuts across all our realities; it is the bridge between all our differences. I can only hope that we would one day be willing to walk across it.

On loss and acceptance

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said that there are five stages of grief. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. Most of us don’t respond well to loss. Whether its the loss of a loved one, the dissolution of a marriage/friendship, the loss of a job… none of it is pleasant.

I think we’d all like to think that most things in our life will last for a while. We never expect to lose the things dear to us. Maybe we should. That way, we won’t be surprised when we do. Not that loss is always inevitable or that we should expect it, but that we should also not expect not to experience it. Confusing, I know. None of us expect to lose our friends, especially the friendships that mean the most to us; the people who are most intertwined and involved in our lives. And although most of us would never choose to end these friendships when they are mutually beneficial and healthy, sometimes we get to a point in our lives where the mere desire to maintain a friendship is not enough to keep the ship afloat. Maybe it’s because you’ve grown apart, or things change and you’re not the people you once were, or you realise that your lives are headed in different directions and there’s no room to accommodate the other, or there is some kind of major disagreement that cannot be resolved even if you wanted to be able to resolve it. When any of these things happen, perhaps its time to let nature take its course. Of course, grief is a natural and normal response, considering that you’ve lost something dear to you and can never get it back.

Maybe at first we try to convince ourselves that it’s not happening: “He/She’s just busy; that’s why he/she hasn’t called”, or “We just need some space; then things will be back to normal”. Denial. Then, in time, we realise that something actually is wrong, and we start to feel angry; angry at the other person for all the ways in which they may have wronged you, real or imagined; angry at yourself for letting yourself get so attached and for being so neurotic; angry for the role that situation or people have played in causing this loss. Then, once the anger starts to subside, we try to reach a compromise: “We just need to set aside more time to work on our friendship”, or “You need to work on this and I need to work on that”. Then the depression sets in, as you realise that nothing you do can bridge the gap that now separates you; when you realise that the relationship has run its course; when you realise that things will never be the way they used to be; when you realise how great the loss you have suffered. Then finally, once you reach rock-bottom, you start to realise that the only way left to go now is up. You reach a place of acceptance. You pick yourself up and you move on with your life. This process of grief can be applied to any situation. The important thing to remember is that there is an end to the grieving process; the denial, the anger, the bargaining, and the depression… they’re all necessary steps to reaching that final goal of acceptance.

No one likes to experience loss, but we all know that  in most cases, loss is inevitable. We know that people die. We know that people change, relationships change, and that it’s not realistic to expect that a relationship can survive such trauma. We know that nothing in life is stable: jobs, safety, security, relationships, health – we could lose any of these things in a second. In most circumstances, nothing we do can stop us from experiencing such loss. And so we learn not to take any of these things for granted… the inevitability of loss makes us appreciate and cherish these things evenmoreso when we are fortunate enough to possess them. It gives beauty to life, albeit bittersweet and fleeting.

In the end, the road to acceptance is a rough and bumpy one. And maybe we all reach it in different ways: some turn to spirituality or religion, others to the people/things they still have with them, and still others to the promise of the future. But what does it matter what route we take, so long as we reach the goal in the end? We need to face up to our loss and move forward with our lives. Living in the past will get us nowhere.

on nostalgia and change

It’s lonely now the rain has started falling. I miss the friends we knew back home. I’m thinking of them now the storm is rising.

At sea there’s always tomorrow. There are ways to be free. We’ll work it out.

We’ll work it out.

At Sea by Electrelane

There comes a point in all our lives where we experience change – in our own lives or in the lives of the people we know. Sometimes change is exciting-  something new, something refreshing. Other times change is scary and saddening. And sometimes it’s both. Sometimes we are forced into it and other times we take the plunge willingly. Needless to say, change comes in all shapes and sizes.

How do you respond to change? Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty kind of person?

Personally, I’m not a big fan of change. I’m a homebody. A nester. I am the kind of person who will go to the same restaurant and order the same dish on multiple occasions (sometimes on consecutive days even).

Most of the time though, change is unavoidable.

When everything around you is changing, you tend to miss the things that you’ve lost. I miss feeling like I belonged somewhere, to a certain group of people. I miss the sense of family that I once had. I miss the way certain friendships used to be. It’s sad, knowing that things will never be the way they were. Try as we might, we can never go back.

But those losses, great as they may be, should not make our gains any less worthwhile. Sometimes all we need is time. Time to make new connections with people. Time to discover new places of belonging. Time to make and foster new relationships. Time to mend and nurture old ones.

Change will come, although it will not come easy. As we leave our old lives and move on to the new, where will our focus be? Will our eyes and hearts be fixed on the past or will they look forward to the future, scary and uncertain as it might be?

On human connection and missing someone dear to you

What shall I do with a life turned to memory? I tried to forget you. I tried to forget you. Where shall I go when I wake from a dream of you? I tried to forget you. I tried to forget you.

Saturday by Electrelane

Every now and then I hear a new song that completely captures me. It’s more than just a good beat or a catchy tune. Usually it will be a song that speaks to me on an emotional level; that depicts me as a person and what I am going through or have experienced at a certain time in my life. Why? I think it’s because most of the time we’re lonely; we’re lonely and we need to experience some sort of human connection in order to keep us sane. That’s what music is for me: a gateway to the emotions of another and to the reassurance that I am not alone.

I was listening to this song today from Electrelane’s “No Shouts No Calls”, which by the way, is swiftly becoming one of my most favourite albums, and the lyrics and music just completely captured me. It’s hard to explain how this happens or how it feels, but it’s kind of like being blind and then getting your sight back and seeing everything for the first time. Or it’s like being on drugs (not that I have ever done that but it’s like what I would imagine being on drugs would feel like). Basically it’s that feeling you get when you experience something so beautiful that it makes you want to cry. The words and the guitar and the bass and the piano and the drums and the vocals and, oh! Everything about this song just floors me. These women are so amazing and talented and inspiring and in the words of E. Page, “I am totally jealous because I will never be them”.

Listen above, read below.

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Saturday by Electrelane

I’ve got a photo from a long time ago
Hold it in your pocket
Hold it in your pocket
I’ve got a ring that my grandmother gave to me
Wear it on your finger
Wear it on your finger
I’ve got a letter that’s full of our secrets
The last one you sent to me
The last one you sent to me, oh

What shall I do with a life turned to memory ?
I tried to forget you
I tried to forget you
Where shall I go when I wake from a dream of you ?
I tried to forget you
I tried to forget you

I still see you
I still see you
I still see you

I turn in my sleep and I see you beside me
It’s your imagination
It’s your imagination
I go to the places we went to together
Find another countries
Find another countries

I turn in my sleep and I see you beside me
It’s your imagination
It’s your imagination
I want to go on but it’s another day without you
I tried to forget you
I tried to forget you

I still see you
I still see you
I still see you…

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on being thankful

I’m not a very optimistic person. I tend to be a glass half-empty kinda gal. When I consider possible scenarios and situations in my head, I usually imagine the worst case scenario. A lot of the time I underestimate people and I don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I write about dark and depressing things because that’s my way of dealing with my emotions.

Lately, however, I’ve been learning that it’s ok to be hopeful. It’s ok to be happy. It’s ok to hope that things will work out in the end. It’s ok to take risks, hoping for the best possible outcome. It’s ok to put yourself out there and be vulnerable, trusting that the people who care about you will not hurt you.

I don’t really like to get all mushy and sentimental.. honestly it makes me feel kind of gross.. but I feel so incredibly thankful right now to have family and friends who are so loving and supportive of me. I never let myself imagine that this was possible and I couldn’t be happier. Right now, I am feeling incredible joy and gratitude.

Yes, I tend to write about dark and twisty things because that’s what I do when I’m upset and trying to deal with my thoughts and emotions, but I don’t want that to be all I write about. I think it’s time to acknowledge that there are a lot of things that I am grateful for and happy about and that I don’t always have the dark and twisties. Sometimes life is great and fantastic.. and that’s definitely cause for celebration. Sometimes life is shit… and that’s ok too.

And sometimes, if you give people the benefit of the doubt, they might just surprise you in ways that you had hoped for but had never dared dream to believe was possible.

on being incapacitated

Right now I am feeling pain. love. anger. heartache. worry. loneliness. desire. sadness. fear.

I feel pain and unbearable sadness when I consider how something beautiful and breathtaking can be judged as being ugly and depraved. I feel pain and anger and sadness when confronted with the incredible amount of hate in this world.

I feel worry and fear for what the future holds. I feel fearful of being alone. I feel fearful of rejection. I feel fearful of disappointment. I feel fearful of never getting the chance to be happy.

I feel love and heartache and loneliness and desire because I am without.

And on top of all these I feel numbness. I feel numbness because sometimes it’s easier to numb the pain and anger and love and heartache and loneliness and sadness and desire and fear, than to let yourself feel it. Sometimes that’s what we try and do to survive. Sometimes survival is all we can do. And sometimes the power to overcome is just around the corner. And the hope that our dark time will someday pass gives us the courage to keep fighting for just one more day.