Saturday, 29 April 2017

Cape Town Haiku

The mountain is cursed -
here poor black bodies lie strewn
while rich whites chink glass.


A Feminist Becoming (A Sonnet)

I sat down on the classroom floor
and beneath the desk crossed my knees
Burly, he burst through the door
and sat down across from me
Moulah, I asked, is it possible for a man
to rape his wife
No, he replied, how could he when
he has complete ownership of her life

But he owns her not, she has full agency,
I pleaded to reason for him to realise
Despite, my cries he could not see
that a woman her own man maketh, is no guise
In that moment, I could not breathe or see - I became numb
even though, I now know, I did a feminist become

Thursday, 27 April 2017

My lovers want to know if I will write blogs about them

My
lovers
want to
know if
I will
write
blogs
about them

Do you
have
the hands
of God
himself,
I ask

A light
touch
that can turn
silk to stone
to silk

Or illuminate
the crevices
of the
deepest
darkest
cavern

Or
perhaps,
like the ocean -
lap up
my ankles
and entwine
yourself
around them
weightlessly
as you crash

moving from
everything
to a soft
wet
nothing
in an instant

If so, I
will
write
every blog
about you

Dreams of ex lovers (Sex with yourself post breakup)

So it's been a whole month since the relationship ended and while it's not a long time in the larger scheme of life it somehow feels like it. With all the emptying out of my life I've been left with a lot of free time - to read, to see friends and to ummm get into some sexy self love time. 

The latter has been interesting. It's not the act of masturbating that has been tough but rather the process. After a break up you kind of feel horny but listless - like I would really like an orgasm right now but what am I going to think about, and who? It all seems like too much effort. 

In other words, being fresh out of a relationship there are no men appealing enough to me to be worth the effort of having imaginary sex with. And if it does happen it's more like the exception - for instance a sex dream could prompt it. At the same time more traditional channels like porn seem so vapid and like too much effort. So what's left then is all this time and these hormones and nothing to do about it. I mean I have my fair share of coming out of the shower, looking in the mirror and feeling myself, but this is really not an every day vibe. Real masturbation in single life is waking up super early in the morning, and with eyes still basically closed getting into some half-arsed clit play. 


Use those fingers honey. Get in there.       

This is where the memory bank of ex lovers comes in. Something I never thought I would be grateful for until now. In the process of being lazy and horny and heartbroken it's like there's a little chest in my head with a recorder that's there for me to push play whenever I want to make myself feel sexy. There are memories about dedicated lovers who would without prompting do almost all the work with so much fervor that it was like being a sex doll. Then there are the intense ones, the hot and heavy ones, the ones with special dick tricks, the ones who I almost wrote off because of their little packages but who I've actually had some of the best sex ever with because of their technique. There are the slow lovers, the quick and dirty ones and the kinky ones too. 

Obviously it is only the consensual respectable lovers who make it into the memory bank in the first place. No room for other trash. But yeah, in this lonely post break up phase who would have thought that all those old interactions would come back with so much life. The strangest part about it all, I suppose, is how real it all still feels even though some of the interactions were up to six years ago. I don't know if it's just me and the way I process things but it's like I've stored every little unique trait from each person and have dusted off the memories until they're as good as new. Each time. Even stranger is how I can be feeling myself and boom, something that someone did that seems almost impossible to remember pops into my head. Here's an example, the way one guy put the arch of my foot to his face and caressed it with his beard in the most sensual way during sex. Like I'm pretty fucking sure he doesn't remember it but somehow on the cusp of cumming, I do. 

Oh well. In any case I'm grateful for these experiences and never saw them coming in handy in this way. And I am pretty sure it is a really healthy way to process all my post-breakup post-regular-sex energy surplus. So hey if you're a single woman feeling herself on the regular, an ex lover or have made use of your ex lovers in the same way cheers to that. Here is to healthy lazy sex with yourself forever more. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Allure of Elusive Men


CN: cis-heteronormative language. 

I don’t know how many times in my life I have sat down with my friends to discuss why we find certain men attractive. You know the gut-wrenching, belly-flipping, holding eye-contact across the room type of attraction, where with every part of your being you feel like you want to devour this person - like lick their face a la chewing gum type of stuff. Okay maybe not that far, but you get it.  

At the same time we have kind of established that we don’t know whether men feel this way. Like I have never met a guy who has said to me that every time he thinks about me he gets butterflies, or that the mere thought of fucking gives him a semi.  Do men even get butterflies? Is that a thing? Are they even wired this way? If there are any cis-het men who can disclose the dynamics of how men experience chemistry and attraction please hit me up. 

This leads into what this post is about.  It is precisely because we don’t know how men work or what they are thinking that makes them so attractive to us in a lot of cases. It is the allure of the elusive man. You know the stereotypical trope about a dark and mysterious man, or a tortured writer, or a poet, or an artist, oh yes, who can forget the musician (bassist please, thanks). 



I am pretty fucking sure that a large part of what makes a man deeply attractive in the early stages of getting to know them is their elusiveness. For some women, the more obscure, alternative and different they are the deeper the attraction. For other women, the more unavailable they seem to the rest of the world, but available to the woman herself, the deeper the attraction.

No matter what the individual circumstances are these elusive men all fit the same basic profile. I would say that they are all poor communicators, a la the definition of elusive. They let on enough to know that they may be interested but not too much. They have an air of preoccupation, as if they are all about a purpose higher than themselves. Don’t be fooled though, this is not the case, the only purpose they have are themselves. There is an air of douche baggery around them, but then sometimes they seem so sincere that you can’t hold their offishness against them. Actually let me not romanticise it, they treat you like shit, but then don’t when they decide not to. A lot of them have a big ego, and at the core of it are hiding something, usually a large insecurity - perhaps some of their own childhood trauma. In any case it can all be really quite mind fucky and rationally it seems like a waste of effort, and it would be if we didn't have such a vested interest in it through this intense attraction. 

But this is the thing. I want to know why we find these elusive men so attractive. And I have been doing some research and reading, and the first thing that makes sense is projection. It is very intuitive, since we don’t know everything about these men, especially not their idiosyncrasies, we perceive them to be some way, a way that appeals to us, and we fill in the blanks with out own wishes and desires. And isn’t it oh so good…

Then there is this thing that Freud coined, called “repetition compulsion”, which means that basically we reenact (here in a sexual or romantic way) patterns of traumatic behavior from our childhood. So the hook that binds you to that man that doesn’t text back probably has some root to your childhood, for instance you may be a fixer.  This seems all too simplistic for me. But then again every elusive man who I have had a thing with, has had these strange dismissive tendencies, which I have overlooked all in quest for the thrill of the interaction. So maybe there is something to it, something like, oh if I just give this one more go it will be alright.  

The other thing it could be is an ego thing. This is the simplest version, and the one that resonates with projection a bit more. It goes like this, you meet an elusive man and you want to have some of that. You want to possess it. It’s natural selection and you want to win. And you don’t stop until you do, despite the costs, and there are costs.

To make it more interesting, I met a woman counsellor once casually, and we had a conversation about this type of eye locking attraction. I basically said that it is so bizarre that you have all these subconscious signals going off and that like in a split second you, with barely thinking, can pick out who in the crowd you would be interested in getting with. So we talked about whether this was purely physical, like, do women go for the strongest, tallest, toughest looking men, and it is actually not always the case. Then we talked about what it was. And it came down to some very Jungian type subconscious signaling going on. Basically there are stuff so deep down that we don’t even know that send out frequencies, and the person you’re attracted to emits the same frequencies, and then you connect. So this counsellor then says, wait for it… that this type of attraction is ALWAYS DANGEROUS. LIKE POISON. I kid you not. And I chuckled so hard. I was like, hold up, you go out to a club and have vibes with a person and those vibes are DANGEROUS. NO, NO, NO. NOPE. Sorry.

I mean I want to say I understand what she was saying, that given the fuckery that comes with elusive men these vibes can be dangerous. Or, perhaps it was that having vibes like that does not equate to love… But who said that they do? Or perhaps she was saying you can’t build something with someone based solely on those vibes, you need to get to know them first, so as to know that they’re not trash. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are hundreds of thousands of relationships that begin like this, people meet each other and fall into the most scandalous lust and then fall in love, and there are just as many interactions where the latter does not happen and that is okay. 

So then back to the question, what is it about the allure of elusive men? I really think it comes back to the projection thing, we are constantly on the look to validate ourselves. And this happens when we choose extremely attractive people upfront, since it says, hey, look at what I snagged - this Adonis, or really intellectual people, or really quirky, sexy, fun, edgy, alternative, people. You get it. But the key is that they need not just be this. They could actually be anything or anyone. The key is that we perceive their odd or hard to read qualities to be elusive. and this comes down to perception versus reality, in real life they may not be elusive at all. Think about how many times you have crushed and your best friend goes, “I just don’t see it, he’s so (fill in the blank)”.

So if I can conclude then, the allure of elusive men is not because they are truly elusive. It is that through the lens of our projections and desires for things intangible we perceive them to be that way.  And a take home nugget of wisdom would be to remember this when you feel bowled over and powerless by just how amazing you perceive them to be. No it is not “dangerous” but yes, it is an illusion. A delicious illusion. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Doctor's Visit

I spoke to my doctor about this affliction I
have. What is it, what is this thing, I asked,
that is contorting my insides, closing my gut
in on itself, distorting my organs by hollowing
them out until they are made up of nothing
but black ash.

It is a disease, she relayed, that is just beginning
in your belly, but is also creeping its way up into your
eyes and mind - you will see through a spotted
strained lens slit with deception and misperception.
You will think in circular fragments, which will
spread and mutate and continue to breed
enraged amoeba inside you.

She said that the amoeba would slowly fill out my
lungs. So that when I inhale, I will for a second
have the illusion of breathing, but I'll never be able
to exhale. Instead, I'll become a swallower of the
earth. It's pain. It's suffering too.

Slowly, it will make its way to my heart. Freezing
every sinewy tendon, so that each beat will become
tighter and every cord shorter and tauter. I asked her if
one day it would stop, and there would be a reprieve.
She said no. It wouldn't stop. At its worse the heart is
going to shrivel up, but somehow it will still sustain
life. Miraculous really, she mused.

I left hollower than when I arrived.
Noticing the cords shorten -
Even in death life wins.


Words

The words will come
  the words will come 
  the words will come 
to me

They'll flow out of the tips 
   of my fingers
and bring redemption 
   to the shame 

The words will come 
  the words will come 
   and I'll be deaf no more 

I will hear my soul
So loud and clear 
  that it will never again 
    be taken away

Perfect earth

In a perfect world,
   walks on the beach
would culminate in
   toes covered in sand
   and a soul raked through
   silken shores

In a perfect world,
    staring at the sun
would mean
    our glory being
    reflected right back
    to it
with equal splendour

In a perfect world,
   a baby's laugh
   would reverberate
   through every suburb
ringing the
   meditation bell of joy
   in every man's heart

In a perfect world,
   the leaf that falls
   from the tree at autumn's
   first breath,
would land so softly that
  we would all feel a feather
  dust the side of our temple

In a perfect world,
   the almost silent drumming
   of rains
would quell all our fears.
    For eternity.

Gulls

His heart
ran
loops
around his head

So that
he couldn't tell
the sound of the seagull
from the sea

Or the smell of freshly
baked baguette
from the charm of the
french woman
who handed
it to him
over the counter

He lived in
iterations -
of himself, of
his story, of his
perception
of the world

And so many times
seagulls had almost
eaten bread
from his
bare hands,
but didn't

Friday, 21 April 2017

Heartbreak (Part I)

I wrote a little piece of prose on this the other day. At that time I thought the worst of it would be the gut wrenching feeling on the inside that something has been unfairly taken away from you. That you would just suffer with pangs of intense pain every now and then, and you would be more or less functional, and it would proceed like this for a few months until you calibrate to normal, slowly.

I was wrong.

Yesterday afternoon a wave of emotional exhaustion, so large that it drowned me, hit me. It's frustrating. I wish I could say I knew why it was so intense. I wish I understood the psyche more. It makes no sense in my rational mind that the removal of one person from my life could have such dire consequences. Especially because I am happy with the decision, especially because I was finding it hard to breathe in the relationship and this ending should be like a coming up for air. Nope. It's not.

Today, I literally can't move. Every part of my body feels like lead. I can't think. Haven't been able to for weeks now, since it happened. It's guilt inducing skipping work, but even basic tasks like making food or a cup of tea have become impossible. Today holding up a book is too heavy. Literally. I can't carry the book, and thank God for my computer, because all I need to do to use it is move my fingers to get it to work, which is about as much as I can do without collapsing. Not that there is anything to do on it. Social media sucks the life out of me. All I can ingest right now is poetry.

Everyone else looking in seems to realise that this is normal. It certainly doesn't fucking feel like it. It feels lonely and isolating. It feels like an extended purgatory. I can't watch stuff to distract because it is all too mind numbing, and there is inevitably some kind of romantic undercurrent. I am selective about music too. Fuck all these indie artists with their hopeful lyrics, and fuck Sufjan Stevens for romanticising heartbreak. No Sufjan, it doesn't work like thank. Praise the lord for Kendrick on Fear pleading with God to let him know why he has to suffer, then for the line that is the closest thing to any kind of  sad redemption one can expect in this shit show: "If I could smoke fear away, I'd roll that mothafucka up." Hallelujah bitch, I'll be rolling up as soon as I can.



This is heartbreak. It is debilitating and alienating, for no other reason than it is a lone road to travel. And it fucking sucks.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lily

Her fingers
parted
the soft folds
of her
malleable molten maze

The warm
scent
of liquid
silk
radiated off her
finger
tips

She didn't know
at which point she
closed
her eyes
and felt

a thousand worlds collide
into a single
exaltation

all seven skies
compress
into
a pin prick of
splendour

a veil lift
from the
heavens

and a breeze
blow
over
her face

Spirals

So it ended. the relationship, that is. It's a tricky thing to write about without sounding self-indulgent and clich├ęd. It is a tumultuous space. One that liberates but confines equally. I found myself waking up to the prospect of a new life, a new-old life, that is boundless and infinite. I also found myself curling into a ball on the floor and wailing, expecting some kind of dramatic ending to the pain - a numbness - but none came. I can't write now. All the creative energy that was given birth to by the freshness of heartbreak has evaporated. Contaminated by the relationships I have tarnished. The men I've sought. The friends I've drained. It isn't beautiful. It isn't poetic - I'm sitting in my car during my lunch hour in a parking lot full of exuberant students, crying, then I'll go back to my desk and try to work pretending nothing happened. Nothing has happened. The clock is ticking, but time isn't passing. This is an infinity. There is circularity to the process. There is no catharsis. Only a returning to and a returning to the same point of departure. Forever.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mumbi (or Misskim)

She sat across from
me, her moon-lit face
glowing in the faint light
of a winter's day

A goddess incarnate. Made
even more radiant by the
fullness of her belly and the
second heart that beat
inside her

One could not mistake
her for feeble at her worst.
Divinity, she told me tales
about fate and choppers,
about love and kinship

Like an apparition from
the heart of the mountains
of Kenya, born
of a hundred generations of
strong, unbendable women,
she came to me as my saviour
and graced me with the
light touch of her
chi

She is woman
She is what
I strive to be

I kissed her feet





Creation

You tainted
my unbridled
creativity
with
your cynical,
abrasive,
arrogant,
outlook.

Who are
you
to doubt
my
fire?

These words
come
from
a place
so
holy.
So
sacred.
So
pure.
You
could never
imagine
its meadows.

This
manuscript
is mine
to
write.

And I'll
tread over
you
as I write
it.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Clay

He seemed like
the kind of guy
for whom
eating pussy
could have easily been
a chore
or his favourite pass-time
it was hard to tell

For that matter,
what gave away whether
a man ate pussy like it was
the last slice of cold
watermelon on a sweltering summer day,
or not?

Actually, perhaps it seemed
like it would be a chore.
He did speak in a way that
revealed enough, but not too
much. Was this calculated?

Everything about him screamed
tenderness. Except his hands,
they proclaimed presence.
What they were used for was
wetting clay and moulding
pots. But are pots not like pussy?
I wondered. I guess they aren't.
After all, they can't feel or respond.

Or perhaps they are, because all they do
is respond.
There is no pretense in pottering.
There should be no pretense in petting,
but petting is all pretense.




Your face is
like the moon
at its fullest.

Radiant and bright
in its scarred glory.

I can't look away.



Monday, 10 April 2017

Settler

What does it feel like
   to be so good at
   everything
   you do?
Paint, create, imagine, invent,
write, construct, calculate,
assess, read, understand,
analyse, synthesise, communicate,
articulate, and even gesticulate.

Success comes so easy
     to you.
You breathe it.
That wild hair, and those
     steel
     eyes don't hurt.
You were born
    for
    this.
You were born
    with
    this
    in your mouth.

This
cost
a hundred-thousand slaves
     lashed
and worked to
     the
     bone,
entire families
     displaced,
forced to
     wander and
     trek,
women - no girls,
barely fifteen -
     raped
and with child
    beaten,
families
    ripped
    apart,
men
    imprisoned,
children,
     left fatherless,
communities
     dispossessed.

You're so good at it all,
     that even you know
     this.

But tell me,
   does it feel good?

Thighs

They spread theirs
    like scissors
in every photograph
    and pose
not once
does does it cross
their minds
that the stick like stalks
holding up their
narrow
hips
have
so much
power.

Scrolling - it is the first thing
we notice
and our
hearts break into
a hollow song
we pine,
yearn,
cry
for ourselves
to occupy
so little room
but have
such immense
reach.

They
then
have the
sheer audacity
to shake
what they
don't have.
To try and
scintillate
the way
we
do.

At the end
we
are
left
empty.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Love and Whiteness (Part III)

When the choice
  to live
  - in this world -
  becomes
     an ultimatum
 between
    love
    and
    dignity

It takes
 only
\ a split second \
to realise
that
   love
is but
   a luxury.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Loops

Like a record on repeat
  life presents the same
  challenges
  time and
  time again
  except that each time
  it is never the same

You wonder, is it
  the record
  that has changed
  or am I different for
  listening to it?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Love and Whiteness (Part II)

So the last time I wrote a post on this subject it was more directly lamenting the difficulties of loving a white person and the ways in which they fail to see you on a one-on-one level.

But as we get deeper into our relationship big things keep coming up. And this is why it has taken me so long to get around to writing part two of that post. Put simply, loving a white partner is not simply about the one on one relationship the two of you have. It is about much much more than that. See, there are the interpersonal dynamics between the two of you, then there are the larger societal power dynamics.

Basically, what I have been coming to realise over the increasing course of my relationship is that deciding to build something with a white person is complex, because the advantages they have of being in the world slowly crowd out the little space you have.

As a pansexual person in a heterosexual presenting relationship, this is because of the role patriarchy plays - a woman slowly is expected to conform to the culture of her partner, and her partner's family. That is, assimilation. But this is compounded because of the settler-colonist culture in South Africa, whiteness is seen as the highest bar of existence for all, and so with whiteness comes a sense of supremacy and entitlement, and if you don't fit the bar, you guessed it, you are less than worthy of being a part of the family.

There are a number of challenges that come up when I think about the costs that being in a relationship with a white cis-het male have had on my psyche. And to speak frankly I am tired. In fact all the women in me are tired. But because it is a release, and because it may help someone else out there I am going to dish them up right now. So sit back, and enjoy (if possible).

1 - Privilege and the associated lack of lived experience. This is perhaps the biggest stumbling block in our relationship. If you are a black woman (or person) dating a white male, there probably is a phase where it is all hunky dory. But sooner or later, one day you wake up and have the earth-shattering realisation that:

"There is no way in which my cis-het, upper class, able-bodied, christian, male partner, has ever been systemically discriminated against in his entire life."

And this shakes you up because all you've ever known was struggle. As a woman, as a person of colour, as a non-hetero person, as a poor person, for me - as a survivor. And for a second you can't reconcile how it is that the two of you are together. For a split second you feel lucky, like maybe you won the lottery. You remember how hard it used to be when you were young, how you struggled through abuse, through trauma, through the vicarious trauma of those in your community, and you think "Ah, how did I get here? That all feels like a long and distant dream." Then you wake the fuck up and realise that you are not lucky. That the boundaries of the prison have just changed, and now while you are able to live and love and exist a lot easier than you were able to before there are constraints facing you that you would never imagine existed and these come in the shape of your partner's privilege. 

Obviously different people are woke to different levels, but white partners in particular tend to suffer from the white liberal affliction. They think that because you agree on the basis of morality and ethics there is no need to do extra work to be a good ally. In fact they may not even know what allyship means. And the burden of educating them is then defaulted onto YOU, the partner. 

Because they are an entitled white male, they get offended when you say that it is not your duty to educate them. They don't understand that you don't owe it to them. If you choose to educate them it is because you love them and you have committed  to your relationship. Educating them is a god damn privilege, not your job.  

In any case, privilege fucks with the power dynamics, and unless your partner is willing to put in the active conscious work, reading, listening to podcasts, watching stuff, reading and reading, he is not going to wake up. Not now. Not ever. 

2- Compounded with class and privilege comes family. In the case of my partner, he is half foreign, and half South African. And I always find that the half foreign aspect is what has saved him. Of the micro-aggressions that I experience at the hands of his family, those from his dad - a white South African apartheid era male - are the worst. To him I am not an individual, I am other. Whenever he talks about black people or indians, or black colleagues, he makes eye contact with me. Needless to say he thinks I am the fucking spokesperson for every Indian person in South Africa. 

And while the microaggressions from him are regular and particularly bad, it is not much better from the rest of the family. While the mum is less problematic she is not unproblematic, and the sisters are so couched in their own privilege that it suffocates me. This is the thing, when you relate to them (the whole family) it is on their terms. You do what they want and expect you to do and you do it in their way. They speak upper-crust english, and because I speak my vernacular I become a fucking cute little joke to them, "Oh, Anne*, did you hear how she said that?". Ha. ha. ha. Big fucking deal. I am sorry I am not a colonist settler who stole land, preserved imperial culture and went to the most expensive private school owned to man. 

So, yeah, white families. And guess what, you tell your partner about it and they accuse you of hating their family? It has actively started causing me anxiety. I can't go there and not get a tummy ache or headache, and a sinking feeling (Queue get out) in my stomach. Worst part is - they don't know it. My partner thinks he is between a rock and a hard place, and to date has only had a discussion with them about how problematic they are on one occasion.  And in this process I am villainised. It becomes me against the family. Well it wouldn't be if they weren't such passively racist human beings. 



3- Friends. I'll keep it short. This post is becoming taxing. The microaggressions are terrible. One of the friends also did the thing all white people do by referring to me as curry! Racist pig. There was no backlash from my partner who then went on the defensive and like a week later forgot it happened. Well, I didn't forget. Then, there are the extremely racist and misogynist friends. He has a friend who had a road rage incident and drove past the woman, rolled down his window and flashed a wad of cash in her face. Then bragged to me and my partner about it, and proceeded to say that he 
was sure that she wanted to fuck him. My partner sees this as a once off isolated incident, and his family says boys will be boys. My partner also thinks he is between a rock and a hard place. 

Don't they understand that these are our fucking lives - oh wait, they don't!

2 - Society. South Africa, and particularly Cape Town is the most racially segregated racist place in the country. It is worse because white liberals who live here go to church and think they are doing their duty unto society. They live in big houses on the foot of the mountain and donate blankets and money to charity but have never paid retribution and will not give back the land. They see no link between the exploitation of black bodies under apartheid and their economic success. And because they are colonist-settlers, they think they belong here and also behave as Gods. They don't make eye contact with you if you are not white, and do not acknowledge your humanity. When they do it is in a patronising way. They don't see black people as people, forget as their inferiors. They are entitled trash. Period. Now think about having kids, black kids, and this is what they aspire to. Nope.

3 - The lack of a reprieve. So, I go to work. It is extremely white, I go to therapy, she is white, I go home my partner is white. My family is scattered. I am alone in this city. My black friends have moved on from this mini-apartheid state to places that will feed their souls. My white friends mostly have the liberalism affliction, and I am isolated. There are very few public spaces that have black bodies in them, and it becomes suffocating.

Loving a white person, then, is not about loving that individual. It is about being able to live with the toll that that love takes on your psyche and the price you pay for it. But I've basically decided that I am no longer willing to pay this price for our love. I demand respect from his parents, I will not associate with his friends, and he has to graft for it. I mean I could keep writing about this, the anger, the erasure, but I'll stop here.

I love my partner. I really do. When it is just the two of us hanging, I see his soul and I truly feel that he sees mine, and I don't wanna end what we've been building. I dig it. I dig him. I dig our life. But add to the equation the expectation of settling down (I don't want to) and where (Cape Town? City of spatial apartheid?), monogamy (contentious one)  and kids (I am strictly adopting when I decide I am ready - too many abandoned lil puudin' faces ouchea), it quickly becomes a lot. Look, I don't have the answers. Being in a relationship with a non-white male could easily have just as many challenges, there is always patriarchy and religion. In any case, we're investing in something here and I will try to make it work, but the bottom line is this guy is going to have to put in some serious work.

I guess if I could speak frankly to him I would say:

I know you've never had to work for anything in your life. I know you are hyper-intelligent, so why don't you put some of that intellect to work and research concepts such as wokeness, allyship, feminism, intersectionality?  Oh it bores you? Well listen up... this is the lifeline of our relationship, and it is ALL up to you at this stage. You think that what I have displayed up to now is rage? You have no idea of the leaps and bounds by which it will expand if you don't do something about it.

Gone, are the tears and the fear. This is a fight for survival, and you are either going to step up to the challenge or not.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

I can't "Get Out" - This is my life.

Spoiler alert - come back after you've seen it.

So I saw get out this weekend and not only am I shook as fuck, it is hands down the best horror movie EVER - I mean within the first ten minutes the soundtrack featured Childish Gambino's Redbone. I mean COME ON. Yasssss.

More seriously, however, the reason it's so good is because of how real it is. I am no expert on film or the arts but as a PoC I can tell you that this movie is the track and redemption song to every PoC's life. And these are the reasons why:

The Micro Aggressions are so real. Such an integral part of the existence of being black is the emotional toll that microaggressions take on us. Microaggressions are ways in which people are racist but they are unaware of this racism, and it is this unawareness that makes it so difficult to bear. Microaggressions strike at any time and always tend to catch you with your defenses down making them all the more impactful at chipping away your humanity. Then, if you confront the perpetrator they can't see anything wrong with what they've said since they're ignorant, and you are erased further in your identity as a POC. Get Out portrays these so well, and in a way that we know resonates with all of us.  The main microaggressions that validated our trauma in get out are as follow (to be fair I'm working from memory because I don't want to read other critiques and be biased in what I write so this is list is by no means comprehensive):
  • When Rose's brother talks about how Chris could have been good at UFC because he's black, then goes on to say that jujitsu is a different game, because it uses strategy implying (1) that because Chris is black he is going to be a good fighter, (2) that Chris is dumb and only defined by brawn, (3) making the link that black men are intrinsically violent. NO. NO. NO. Can not. 
No. No. No. 
No more microaggressions says Georgina.
  • Related to that point was the consistent reference to black genetics as being superior for manual labour - linking back to the objectification of black bodies from the time of slavery. DISGUSTING. 
  • The overt sexualisation of Chris at the lunch party, and the implication that he may have a big dick but also the crude assumption that he will be into getting into a threeway with a horribly unattractive couple. This eroticisation and  fetishisation of black people is neverending. I mean come on. The movie couldn't have made it more explicit. We don't want to be your sex slaves, BLACK PEOPLE ARE NOT FUCKING NYMPHOMANIACS. 
  • We have all experienced this one to some extent: The comments on Chris's skin colour being a result of the turning of the tables of power dynamics changing. No white people, white skin was in power and will always be that way. Stop saying black is in fashion and in vogue, or that everyone will be beige one day. Stop denying how you fucked us up based on the colour of our skin.   
  • Wah, wah, wah. No microaggression is clearer than the policeman asking for Chris's ID on the way out of town, then being challenged by a basic white woman who commands respect just by the colour of her skin. 
  • The continual mentioning of Obama as if support for Obama automatically implies you could never be racist.
  • The unsolicited defensiveness the dad makes about having black people on the grounds and the way he feels the need to be a white saviour for giving the housekeeper and groundskeeper jobs, like he is a benevolent god. 
  • Tiger woods! Why you mentioning him yo? All black people don't know each other and don't care what you think of the one black person you know who is your only reference point to blackness.
  • The judgment of Chris's smoking habit, I don't know if this is reaching but it felt like they were implying he has control issues and is less of a person for that dependency.
  • The Gaslighting!! Rose unconsciously gaslights Chris by denying that any of these microaggressions are real and he is made to feel he is going crazy!
The Not-so-micro Aggressions: This was deep. The  extent of  the overt racism in this film was unreal.
  • There was the scene where the mum sends Chris into a state of altered consciousness without his permission. Can you tell me about something more violent, entitled than this? Chris then sinks into a deep state of helplessness
This is a metaphor for what it is like to be a person of colour living in a white society. You feel helpless, like you're sinking. You're not heard, you're not seen, you're not given the space to exist. You are floating in some kind of limbo, a fresh hell.
  • Then there was the scene where there are a whole lot of white people and one japanese guy, and the japanese guy, who you think would know better being of a persecuted minority groups asks chris to answer a heavily loaded question on the plight of black people in America? Like as POC tell me you have not been here? I was at a lunch date at a table of black girls a  couple of weekends ago when a white women steps up, doesn't greet and says "What do you all think is going to happen to the future of this country?" We were stunned into silence. One friend literally burst out laughing. Moral of the story - hold up and check yourself,  I am not the representative of all black people, the president of the association of blacks. Fuck sakes. Also, and importantly other non black POC can enforce microaggressions too.  
  • The part where the mother asks Chris where he was when his mother died!!! I was not ready. This bitch is implying that he may have had something to do with it, you know black kid and all. This isn't a microaggression to me. Its EXTREME racism. And what will a white person say to this, "you don't know that that's what the mother meant?". Well this is my lived experience and I think I know when I am being profiled. Thanks.
Other reasons that this movie is a stellar representation of the lived experiences of POC are:
  • The accuracy of the depiction of the  characters. Can we just talk about how realistic this all is? The dad is the classic intellectual white liberal who uses intellect to be "above" racism. The mom, who is passively aggressively racist and tries to protect her daughter from the black man. The brother who wants to assert to Chris, that he is superior, physically, mentally and intellectually - who wants to show Chris that he (the brother) will come out on top no matter what. 
  • The perfect depiction of the way in which white families treat black significant others! The constant undermining and double checking, and the piqued interest, trying hard to box you, and the innumerous and unpredictable microaggressions. The family members who won't stop pushing buttons no matter how much your partner asks them not to. 
  • The way in which whiteness is depicted in general. Especially with respect to Rose, the girlfriend  - at the beginning of the movie you are convinced that she is woke, and then just when you think you have a bond that transcends race, boom - race strikes. You can never transcend race in an interracial relationship. 
  • At the lunch party there is this way in which the numerous white people all merge into one. This actually happens when you are the token person of colour in an environment. The constant microaggressions and violence become too much to handle and you eventually can't distinguish between who said something worse and what's okay and what isn't.
  • Another thing I noticed, before the big plot twist at the end, was the way in which all of the grounds staff and domestic help was expected to assimilate to whiteness and not ruffle feathers. In so doing they lose track of who they are and become complicit in their own oppression. 
  • Linked to this, is the way black people have to constantly fucking play up to whiteness. You don't have the choice not to and it becomes exhausting.

God damn, I could write a thesis about the universal black truth about this movie.

It is a masterpiece. It is a validation of the literal horror of black existence, black beauty and black creativity like no other. What an excellent year for black cinema!

The social commentary is excellent too, for instance the way in which the role of police is seen. At the end as the viewer, you resign yourself to the fact that this black man is FUCKED when you see that cop car roll up! This is huge. If you are white, what you should be asking is, why am I scared for this innocent black man's safety when I see this cop car?

Other poignant themes, that were revealed later were the way white people prey on black people for their own benefit. This you see most clearly when Rose's modus operandi is revealed but also at the end when the grand plan of the family is uncovered.  We are consumable to them.

Speaking on the uncovering of the grand plan, there comes a point where Chris asks "Why us?", as in, why black people? The man answering says "it's not about race, it is because black is in fashion" but when in actuality we know :

That IT IS about race.

It's about BLACK LIVES DO NOT MATTER!!!!!!!!!!!

But you get to the end of the movie, and have the satisfaction of Chris killing every one of these mother fucker's off and then being saved by his homeboy. And this is our redemption. We are like "Yeah, Chris you made it!!" We were literally applauding in the cinema. 

No Chris, you're not good honey.
Not after that.

But then you realise that Chris is shook. Fucking traumatised. He's disturbed. And we are happy because there was a victory, he wasn't arrested, he SURVIVED. But survival is the bare minimum. He now has to live with the trauma of his experience forever more. 

And so, no. There is no escape. He can't "GET OUT"

We can't GET OUT.

This is our lives.