Wednesday, August 24, 2011

people in my life

the people in my life often upset me, in unspoken ways.

i never talk about it. part of me feels that it's a storm in me that will pass, and part of me feels that it's a storm within the other person that needs to be dealt with before i can pass judgment. i tend to think these that petty fights and unspoken tensions are transient, when in reality many of them are structural problems. 

to clarify, what i'm talking about is those points of contention that people who are close have, those points that they don't talk about. in my life, i feel like the healthiest relationships i have are with my brother and with that person- the person who was my boyfriend, but isn't anymore- or whatever you call it. 

the reason for that is that i feel i can say whatever it is i'm thinking to that person, and still have their respect, and their love, because i know that they will never question my essence, the fact that i'm inherently someone worth caring about. in that way, i feel that some people just lend themselves to being confidants. you feel like you can just open up your heart to and have them listen, and care, and you will know that they care because they don't get angry with you for feeling the way you do, but they will still slowly jolt you back to reality, toward what is right. you know that they care about you because they demonstrate the fact that they have thought of you, not in a superficial, i remembered your birthday type of way, but in a i noticed you sneeze when we go camping, so i brought benadryl just in case. 
but some people you could tell just about everything to you, but there will still not be the feeling of deep caring, of carefulness, and of thought. maybe you're afraid to get too close and realize it wasn't real, or maybe you're just two people living your lives away from each other, but still warmly. 

some relationships have space built into them. some people in your life maybe never got too close, or aren't close enough to talk about what's weighing on your heart with. some people, you might be able to tell about your worries and your joys, but you still can't admit to them that you love them.  some people can go away for days without you missing them or without them missing you, but when you see them, you enjoy each other. and some people you miss, and they miss you too, but for some reason, you've forgotten the words to be able to let them know it.

i wish i always had the courage to tell people how i feel without the fear of them judging me, or telling people when they hurt me without fighting with them, or expressing my love sincerely instead of through teasing and humor. 

i wish i could interpret distance as something other than a reflection of another's regard for me. i wish i knew if it was just stormy season or a stormy climate. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is a downtown thing.

So I was looking for this blog, and I made the wonderful mistake of using dot com instead of dot org and stumbled onto this sexy thing (

This is another one of those pieces of culture that makes me want to go to New York and live out my fantasies. Jelly Jells is a multi-tasking New York-based musician, who has his own record company and DJs weekly/nightly in addition to this project, as well as a band called the Harlem James Gang that was on America's Got Talent (  

Obviously the music is fresh, but the ambition is more refreshing. I guess being on holiday has made me long for something fresh in my home life, and I love the idea of someone taking a good idea and running with it-- I love the idea of building an empire up from the ground, fired by the fuel of one's own passion.

*Check out the incarnation of my passion, The Rose Lights.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

reflections on my ethnic studies

so i'm taking a class.

journalism 662: mass media and minorities not only fulfills my ethnic studies requirement, but also serves as a bridge over which I could amble toward journalistic study. it's really an excellent class, and i've been learning about stuff that i'm actually interested in in a real way. that is to say, i'm learning about stuff that i might have already given a damn about before entering the classroom. it appeals to me because caring about what the media does is often deemed a frivolous activity that should be cast aside in favor of studying subatomic particles or something, but this class gives it importance.

if you think about it, media portrayals are really important because they reveal how the power structure and the artistic elite view the world and its history (usually in a really racist, bigoted way). because of this class, more than ever, i feel like those responsible for the dissemination of information are among the most powerful people in the world. they have the surreptitious and sometimes insidious power to shape opinion by presenting sympathetic portrayals or stereotypes. this is especially true when there is little exposure to the group of people or subject being represented.

take for example, my changing views about sexual orientation, specifically "gayness" as i was growing up.
i remember my first exposure to homosexuality. my mom took me to her co-worker's house for a mary kay party when i was about 10 years old.
as we slipped in, my mom nonchalantly whispered to me, "oh by the way, ____ is ____'s partner."
"like her work partner? i thought you were her work partner?"
"no. they're romantic partners."
"WHAT? that's... gross..." i said, barely understanding what was going on. i had heard about gay men, but not gay women. i had thought they were fictional anyway.
"NO." my mom said, "it's not gross. they are in love, and they have a daughter."

i still thought it was kind of gross (even at that age not understanding what sex was and that people did it routinely,) but i shut up about it and played with her partner's partner's daughter from a previous marriage. i asked her if it was hard, and she said, at first it was hard to explain but now no one really cares, and i said, "that's cool." she had two moms, one of whom made good-tasting cheese-cupcake-looking-things and was really nice.

we spent the rest of the afternoon putting on makeup and my mom's co-worker's partner told my mom her eyes were sexy. my mom bashfully said, "oh, nonsense," but i piped up in whole-hearted agreement and then said something attention-seeking like, "..but we have the same eyes!"

i didn't think much of it later, except to whisper about it to some friend at some later date. i remember it being like a dirty secret i had to hide away. the whole idea seemed so austere, so unlike anything i'd ever encountered. it wasn't until i watched degrassi that the whole matter of gayness came up again.

say what you will about degrassi, it broke down barriers in the agni household. yes, it's over the top. yes, sometimes the dialogue is silly and forced. yes, their canadian accents are funny. but it also shed light on a lot of things that i would've been embarrassed to think about. like getting your period, or thinking about having sex, or whatever. they talked about condoms and bullying and cutting and a whole bunch of other stuff.

it was this show that replaced all the fuzzy cotton contained in my brain about gay people with solid facts and empathy. i watched as the character marco struggled with his sexuality, how he wanted desperately to fit in, to date this girl that he felt nothing but friendship toward, how he couldn't reveal this part of himself to his own family, and how he dealt with bullying when he finally came out. this show did more to educate me about human sexuality than any health class ever did. it humanized gay people, who had previously been reduced to some freak novelty in my childish mind. it wasn't my fault either. other than marco, there were no portrayals in the media i consumed, and no gays that i knew from my community.
after more portrayals and encounters... theatre experience and bend it like beckham in particular had effects on me ("but you're indian!")... questions of orientation just kind of brushed off of me, it no longer had great importance in my life.

it was later that i noticed gay people were all around me and i realized i didn't really care what sexual orientation a person was unless i wanted to get sexy with them. after having several people tell me they were bisexual, i just kind of stopped keeping track. i'm not trying to be insensitive.. it just seemed to me a fact of life that some people like boys and some people like girls and some people like both, and this fact is mutually exclusive of their gender. that is not to take away importance from the LGBT community at all.

i've talked to my brother about this too and he agrees that the sympathetic portrayal of a gay character marco on degrassi also made him understanding and sympathetic of homosexuality as a whole. i think people don't even realize how media depictions affect them. if you don't think that's true, think of what you know about native americans, and who they are. is your image accurate? would you even know if it is?

i know that i for one do not have any knowledge on the subject due to a lack of research and/or personal encounters with native americans, but i cannot say that every person with the same amount of exposure would claim the same thing.

a similar logic can be applied to africans and their media portrayal. i still hear left and right the racist sentiment that african conflict is fueled by some kind of primitive 'tribal hatred;' this is a direct (and absurd) result of rhetoric perpetuated by mainstream media stereotyping and stupid talking heads in the political arena that use such stereotypes to leverage agendas of inaction.

the problem with media is that it makes you feel like you know something about someone, when you don't, especially in this day and age where people feel like experts for having read an article on some subject. the best media can do is to portray any kind of minority in an individual, sympathetic manner, instead of reinforcing some negative stereotype that feeds directly into the minds of the ignorant and impressionable.

note: here i've talked about tv, but stereotypes are reinforced by the news, film, magazines, books, and advertising. (...duh.) even if you don't watch a ton of tv, you are probably still very affected by media portrayals.