I am the giddy aphonic, un-cool catatonic, rubbernecked note-taker of this trip, propelled by the generous honesty of these raw-tellings from a heart that can roar because of how it was ravaged… My arrival as a writer – from 1995 and to date – is care of one storyteller, like none I have known or found anywhere … or in anything else…
Here, with trembling trust, the third in the Alanis trilogy for #WritingStoriesDifferently
Passion really is the outcome of both joy and pain.
The Universe is something else… the forumala-fantastic I have no doubt! Sceptics would say there’s nothing to it. That there is no chance. Let them… LOUD is how lovely the lessons are ~ albeit when we’re listening. A soul in shock sometimes just needs to see the shine of itself from another time to understand the true value of the vista. That rather rad TimeHop App reminded me, just when I needed it, of something I mused five years ago…
∞ ∞ ∞
Baskets of happiness
Your energy is a decision that has the strength to be relentless, immeasurable and unmatchable. Your naivety is beautiful and its innocence can be invigorating, illuminating and most of all pure. The only decisions we should be worried about, are those to be open and a willingness to engage, receive and appreciate that our inexperience is an offering rather than a crutch.
Building paper houses on the beach where the tide washes in is the same sense of fragility we negotiate everyday; a tight rope between feeling creatively good about ourselves while being subject to impulses, urges and the whim of those who share in our space and our time.
So… it is not always easy not to get involved… But… your senses are your God-given gifts that reward you with the prize of being able to be tangible with your surrounds and the personalities that you connect with daily. Collect only the good stuff that carries the glitter and the magic into your life and put it into your basket of happiness to take with you on your own snippets-of-life journey – to wherever it is you are going.
A little while ago on twitter, some men were waxing on about women and whether they should or shouldn’t have the right to choose abortion. My opinion on this is to keep whatever it is to myself, albeit if just to say to the blokes: Unless you’re the father of the unborn foetus – you have no place passing your pointlessness to that ‘debate’ at all.
It’s not your womb. It’s not your body. It’s none of your business.
This weekend, Gay Pride festivals happened around the States and most of Europe1. Apple’s CEOtook part in San Francisco, the Boy Scouts of America became first-time marchers in NYC, 26 000-strong celebrated in Singapore, and Celebrity Grand Marshal George Takei paved the parade’s path through the streets of Seattle. The occasion for people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way. Fundamentally, it is one day in the year that each and every LGBT individual has the choice, the forum and the right to be just who they truly feel to be – and do it just how they feel to do it.
All is fair in love and war
Yes, these events will draw commentary from both the pertinent and the peanut gallery, and Social Media gives everyone the platform to air theirs. Most of the time, it sounds something like oh my God they should just get over it and carry on with life. Carry on with whose life? With whose understanding of how life should be? Whichever way the challenging goes, it should be brave enough to engage in dialogue – not simply sprout monologue.
When it comes to (previously) persecuted ‘minorities’2 – the right to be heard must sit with them, first. This was Black people in an apartheid-era South Africa (and worldwide, still); Homosexuals throughout the ages (worldwide – and still); Jewish nationalities long before and since the Hitler era… and… sadly, too many other horrifying examples to mention here.
Enter objectioning about the need for Pride in contemporary society – by Straight people. This will send some frantic and fiery opinions into deliberation, just as it would were a White person to mouth-off about a Black-perspective on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of Apartheid.
Everyday enmity is a seriously lazy habit.
So on behalf of me and my jazz-hands horde, let me have a shot at why we still need Gay Pride:
With regards to what follows: I have redacted the name of the digital agency concerned – not because I think that they deserve to be sheltered from the naming-and-shaming (because they shouldn’t be), but because there are individuals that have worked /are working there that do not subscribe to the same views. These people should not– and do not deserve to be lumped in with the accepted behaviours of the body.
On my last day of working there – as had become custom – I sent the following farewell email:
** Responses: None.
Earlier that week, I’d written a shorter ‘farewell’ message on a window (where people regularly wrote with dry-wipe markers, erased and replaced as/when/where necessary).
** Responses: One.
Is this how an evolved sanity signs off?
Nah, usually not… But still, as a spectator, you cringe before leaning-in closer to see what happens next, right?
Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.
As I left the building with shames, shade, shame-ons and sads, I sent that pic to the company with the subject “PS” – and the body text: “Thanks for the memories.”
** Responses: One.
Now… wait— is this a sanity-evolved? Hard to say. And given my own manner for quick-mouthing, I couldn’t suggest this guy hold his thoughts until he’d collected some more. Still, I had hoped for more from someone I’d gotten to know a bit about (who had his own history of hurting as far as human relations go), and that maybe he might have held back a little longer than 24-minutes before so bravely hitting ‘reply-all’ — on a digital platform, at the country’s top digital agency — with such confident closure.
** Responses: One.
Mine – privately to him (yes, I get the irony in that none of this is private anymore).
No longer private indeed – and fittingly so. You see, bullies are only brave in a bunch. It was tacitly-thick there and bred like a bonfire. But when expressive about my upset, my deserting doubter said:
“There’s more to life than worrying about them,
and worrying about that shit!”
He wasn’t wrong. But I often wonder if he ever told any of them that, too?
Responses / acknowledgments (to date of publishing this post) from any of the head honchos? Nada
Rash responses: One (above)
Outpouring of disgust and dissatisfaction at such distaste from those consulted? Overwhelming:
a Partner at Fasken Martineau
Seniors at Habari Media
a Business Division Consultant/Head at Absa
my friends and family – and their friends and family
It’s seriously sad. Especially when I think that I wrote the new mission statement for this agency and how now, it’s safe to say that I went from: This is hot — to — uh… I kinda like it — to — Hold up! I’m a little confused here… — to — None of this adds up?!? — to — What a load of bullshit.
They’re about to announce their merger with one of the world’s most progressive agencies, and I have to wonder how the small minds will fare among the bigger ones when they Ogle all the different characters they will have to cohabit with… Fact is: the ratios are going to be reversed.
All the best.
And c‘est la vie.
Because you simply can’t win them all. On a random Monday, you may be forced to realise that the wave of the witless is wide when a complete stranger – so radically outside of my every-gay life – be so upfront in suggesting Pride be unnecessary because Gay people should ‘blend in’ rather than celebrate their liberties:
That would be a seriously lazy habit.
So thanks Laetitia, but no.
I am Gay.
I am 36.
And I have never participated in a Pride parade or any of the after parties.
But I could do if or when I choose to – and that’s what’s pertinent and poignantly important to me.
Because I am Gay.
It is not all that I am…
…but it is all that I am.
And there are lots of us.
Our differences don’t make us disgusting or deserving of defamatory vitriol or aggressive graffiti.
But it happens. Just like when gullible guys genuinely believe that their opinion on abortion is ace.
…with several deep breaths, I can say for sure that I know this: one man’s torment is another man’s tea break, and what’s sore to me may just be satire to you.
So the only merit I see in outsiders’ questions around Pride’s rightful place in contemporary society, is in why we waited to accept this anointed ‘permission’ by the other, just to go on, exactly as we were, with our blood pumping as it always has been?
Parched is the man whose passion to pump blood depends on the permission of another…
…and there lies that fine line between Worrier and Warrior.
Indeed, the occasion for people to promote and proclaim their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way… but it’s not that we don’t need to celebrate what we have always been…
…it’s that we shouldn’t have had to wait to be told when we could.
Okay… I’m only barely just in time… Sorry so late Boo! The Northern Line was up the pole and the buses were on diversion…
I thought I’d just paste this song to your timeline from YouTube… but… lo and behold: we are that special. We were one of few (read really, really ridiculously rare) folk who got that really, really ridiculously rare promo CD. So… I imported to here what neither Shazaam nor Soundhound will recognise. Ergo! Sealed, saved, scratched or astray, (almost) nobody but us will be able to button down these beats.
I hope you had a happy, HAPPY birthday! Here a ditty to dance to:
Was super-stellar-special to bump into you and Ang’ last weekend :-)))
My mindboggling of the moment is a catatonic cluster-fuck for a collection of cadavers who came to camouflage themselves as cool kids. Realising that things aren’t what they seemed to be isn’t anything new… So? Will we ever learn? Jury’s still out – but while it is, we get to witness and write… darn and draw… ingest and imagine… and sing to survive. No no, not only Musical Theatre mucks. Everyone. All of us! We do it in the shower, in the car, after sixteen drinks (but not the morning after sixteen drinks).
So here: a song I grew up singing. But because of current contentious cycling around the sun, it sounds different… albeit heavier and harder to hold.
Still, there’s always something special about someone else from another generation, on the other side of the world who creates something that collects your content or contempt…
“This was written for me! I swear!!!”
So here, visit them: veritable versions of life’s vicious from two virtuoso-veterans.
Seriously though – can I just say?! It will always be scary how the callow can conscript so covertly, to Can-Can cruelty with such confidence!*
Conclusion? It is the disguised douchebag that is most dangerous.
*I know I know. Most vague. But Huey, Dewey and Louie are catching flies. If they decide they feel the need to file-in, I’ll fill you in.
Everyone gets older. Not everyone grows up. As I am known for my meticulous maturity, I have to look far and wide to see this in practise. And then I remind myself I’m not and that I haven’t… and for it, I have this story to tell.
There is a sublime simplicity that comes with the springtide of salad days. Anyone with children of their own will know what I mean. It’s a fearlessness that few can feast on – I’ve heard about mine from my parents. They’ve told me of the heart-stopping times they watched me at, all of four, hurtle down a 45° driveway in a pedal car with no brakes (but for a very certain wall at the bottom). Crazy-courage saw me through each ride and my expert steers and swerves saw me laughing my live-it-up exhilaration every time I came to a standstill. Safely. Soundly. As scheduled.
Somewhere between the spirit of then, the gangliness of adolescence, getting the shit kicked out of your heart the first time it had to live-out a “no thanks” and the double standards of the many faces in the working world, we forget how to access our courage; the raw, non second-guessing kind that speaks before it thinks and looks itself in the mirror with pride after it has, rather than for them dozen rehearsals before.
This is not a gloat. I don’t live this way all the time. But I have. I did. Recently. It was 8rave… It was crazy courage… and it was fuckin’ awesome!
I substitute the B in ‘8rave’ because of what I find interesting in numerology for 8. Its most important attribute is balance. It’s a Karmic equaliser and creates as easily as it destroys. It is the number of ambition, leadership and does not shy away from confrontation. When you think about what it takes to be honest on the outside about what you’ve been keeping hidden on the inside, you visit the very archipelego of ambition. And then of course, if you lie this digit on its side (as I sometimes need to do myself), you get infinity – the very essence of courage and who we are before and after anything that anyone else knows about us.
It is infinite.
We are infinite.
It doesn’t have a tally.
It doesn’t know limits.
It just needs to be let out to play.
After ±365 nights of sleeping – and not sleeping – on it, explosion-point pushed me to get real with my feels and force confidence beneath a crush so to convert the convoluted into clarity – even if just for me. If not to create, it would surely destroy. So I wrote it all down (because that’s what I know) and shared it with crush – a la open book.
It was 8rave.
And I did it.
And it was fuckin’ awesome – because it is greater than great to feel.
(What’s the alternative, really?)
And then some.
Dream a bit more… and then have the courage to connect the dots between what you feel there and what you say here. Because it’s fierce to feel your feels. Try it. Just do it. Heart-sleeve who you are without the wrapping or the ribbon. It takes something you draw from somewhere you don’t visit often, but you’ll be so glad you did. And I’ll tell you this for free: courage like that is catching. Set the trend for 8rave – someone has to start it. And you will see that when you do, the spirit of your 8rave shows itself in sprinklings on the people around you who are looking to unlock a magic of their own.
If we took… just one day out of life… it would be so nice…
As are you.
And courage like that is catching.
So why this ^^^? Because being 8rave is something to ce-le-brate.
I will not waltz off into the sunset with him (and I knew that from the start).
But I felt it, so I felt I had to say it.
That immortal moment was the very spirit of what I felt when I saw this, if 8 metres away. August 18th, 2004. Earl’s Court, London.