Rethinking My Life

It was Chinese Lunar New Year yesterday – and the calendar isn’t exclusive to China, coz some other East Asian countries share the same calendar, but just saying it as a general term. And I’m more than half Chinese, so: “GONG XI FA CAI!”2014-chinese-new-year-of-the9

I wanted to start out on some form of happy note (i.e. the new year wish) because I just got the inspiration to write, because I was contemplating my life – yes, AGAIN. And y’all know it’s not happy thoughts overall. BUT I will tell you I have been proactive about these contemplation sessions. I’m back on antidepressants, guys, and it’s for the better. I used to be waist deep in depression – or maybe even higher up deep – when I first started taking meds. There was a point over the course of the previous semester where I was doing so much better I would think I can be off medication for good. Apparently that’s not true. I got back around ankle-deep, so I put on my heels and am medicating myself again. And I’m also in counseling, which helps. So … what have I been doing with my life – on a small scale and on a large scale? And what direction is this blog going in, since I am posting so sparsely?

Let’s start with the blog: I find it increasingly hard to talk these days. I can hardly express myself, although I constantly ask myself what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, etc. And with other people, our interactions and the things they/we get into, I don’t want to talk about those. There are worthwhile things that come out of the many many scenarios that flash past my eyes on a daily basis, but I don’t know how to pick and choose what to talk about anymore, and I don’t know how to be proactive about situations. I don’t write – or at least don’t want to write – when I’m in either of these mental states: angry or depressed. And I’m feeling either or both of those most of the time. I have mentioned that this school is far more conservative than my previous one. People do know about things like oppression and privilege but not in depth and breath, but they don’t understand things like intersectionality or umbrella terms. For example: (1) Diversity is only seen as a race and non-white/non-European culture issue; (2) Many people claim to be LGBT-friendly but they don’t even know what letters are in that 4-letter abbreviation. Although I know about these issues more than an average layperson would, I have been out of touch with current American or world politics, internet or periodical activism publications or further academic instruction since my last sociology course in Jan 2013.

So much happens that I don’t know what excerpts from daily life I should put here on the blog anymore. And I have resorted to reacting to these in inappropriate ways. Allow me to elaborate:

  1. I have started gossiping – but I am glad I have people to gossip with. I’m not gonna mention who I gossip with because I don’t want them to fall victim to public scrutiny. Basically, we’ve been talking shit about and laughing at “white people” in privacy, which we really shouldn’t. If there’s something wrong, I should probably just go and talk things out in the most amiable manner possible.
  2. I have been very passive aggressive. I do vaguebooking (posting vague statuses on Facebook) complaining incompletely about this and that. I once posted after a concert that the performers “looked good” – because honestly, I was ashamed that there was even a concert when the performers were doing so poorly as an ensemble – and as soloists.
  3. I have been silent and distant, pretending not to care and staying aloof. I hold a “diversity” position in a student organization. My input has been marginalized, neglected and discouraged from time to time – either intentionally or unintentionally – and I am very disappointed. I am either going to quit soon or fulfill my duties minimally till the school year is over. And I have quit my job at the LGBT Resource Centre, because I have scheduling conflicts and I’m not sure if I’m making a difference. When I came out, there weren’t resources that were helpful to  me. I’m not versed in the American LGBT culture, and should somebody come up to me for help, I wouldn’t be able to do much than refer them to somebody else.
  4. I have been outright rude. Once I got into this discussion on white privilege on Facebook (again, of course), stemming from a comedic Buzzfeed post on white people. I got called out on “reverse racism” by some folks. There was this girl who was telling me I should stop because, although she doesn’t get persecuted because of race (coz she’s whtie), she’s persecuted for being gay. I ended up saying to her something like this: “I’m sorry you can’t enjoy your white privilege because you don’t have straight privilege,” which was a sharp response – but it was too sharp to the point of bitch fight. That was rather uncivilized of me, oops! And the passive aggressive comment about the concert was also not ok. And I once used the word “anal” in describing an unpopular professor, with whom I myself have a love-hate relationship with. (After all, I’m rather anal myself.)
  5. I have been identifying as white myself – internally and with some close friends. Why not? I may be born Asian and raised in SE Asia, but hey I’m in the US: I endorse the arts, sing in choirs, play piano, go to symphonies, operas and ballets, wear perfume, participate in semi-educated political debates, drink wine/champagne on special occasions, attend large formal family gatherings, etc. I’m not the Midwestern white or the Northwestern Pacific white though; I’m the New England country club white. I see myself as a banana – yellow on the outside, white on the inside. I even dream of world domination from time to time, muahahahahaha! (Ok, I’ll stop.) It mainly comes from the fact that I am the token Burmese kid on this campus and I am a bad, bad representation of what Burmese folks are like – bad, not as in negative, but as in untrue. A lot of people hang out with me because I am the exotic “gay Asian friend”, and to negate being recognized as such. I adopted a white identity, Hans Kleinman, as a joke over the summer. But with this new white identity, Hanathan Archibald Zeidelmeyer, I’m sadly rather serious. My faculty noticed and even asked, “Do you not like being identified as a Burmese/an international student?” Another thing about this white-identification is, as an artist who subscribes to Romanticism, I have Weltschmerz and I am NOT happy with what I have – which is the male privilege I have coming from an Asian household. I feel so limited in what I can do and say as a foreigner, a coloured foreigner in America. I want more, MORE! GIMME PRIVILEGE!

You see, a lot of fucked up little things are going on in my life and in my head. And all this I’ve mentioned is mainly race-related. There has been homophobia, yes, more visible than I’ve ever experienced. BUT after the exclusion I felt when I was home for the summer of 2012 (the summer after I came out) – what came from “family and friends” – I can handle what’s been thrown at me so far. Something I’ve learnt is: Activism IS hard, guys. It’s easy to keep going when you’re angry enough and when you’re strong enough not to be beaten down. At this place, talking about race has a lot of odds against me. Although comments like, “It must be so nice to have grown up in the tropics. Snow is the worst,” hurt, I just have to smile and move on. Because you know why? I can’t tell you why my life isn’t perfect just because I’m under the tropical sun (because for all you know, I might have escaped from the hands of some tyrant who’s forcing me, my family, my friends and my fellow citizens to build pyramids under that sun that you so very much love and imagine us to have perfect lives under). I can’t tell you you have a pretty good life – on a global scale of life-goodness – when the worst you have to worry about in life is not to fall over and spill your pumpkin spice coffee, drop your iPhone5S and hurt your butt when you fall on snow/ice. Dammit, I’m stereotyping white people again! The point is: I am not educated enough to talk to other people about Diversity 101, LGBT 101, Privilege 101, etc. I’m still interested in those topics but what I know is more from personal experiences and encounters, rather than education. I used to be able to talk with more authority in these topics when I was taking classes, but I’m not keeping up with them anymore although they continue to haunt me in my daily life. The only way I know how to deal with them is by being overly defensive or being offensive whenever opportunity strikes. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt anyone. I just want to be myself and I’m just trying to shield myself.

And to blow your minds: I’m transferring – yes, AGAIN! My reasons are justified, so don’t argue. You probably know by know how done I am with Midwestern smalltown “liberal” arts colleges. This school doesn’t have a music programme like it says on the website – which counts as false advertisement and I am mad about it! I can deal with the daily microtrangressions; I’ve shut up when my family and friends came down on me about sexuality, and I’ve learnt from my previuos college how to bear people and fit in, the smile-and-wave method. I have started doing theatre because there is no solid music programme, and I love the theatre. I can be happy with working in the theatre the rest of my life, as a profession. BUT I WON’T be happy with NOT doing music. So I found a good music school in a nearby Midwestern major city. I have been admitted already and I intend to go there – once I figure out the budgeting issues. I’ll be in an 8-semester professional music training programme and I will be studying compositoin and vocal performance – and maybe conducting also. So I’ll be a freshman again, but who cares? I don’t – and it’s none of their business. I am very firmly decided on my musical career at this point and I won’t lie to myself again. A lot of the trouble I’d gotten into regarding college education stemmed from the fact that I didn’t/couldn’t admit to myself that I need music to BE my life and my work. So that’s the long-term scope of things.

For the daily, pitter-patters … I need to have human interaction again. I need to love and be loved again. I’m also looking for a relationship right now – which is another subject matter I should talk about. I have this complicated love-hate relationship with people right now: I want to be at the centre of attention, but I hate social interaction. Most of it is depression-induced. There have been days when I didn’t go to class because I didn’t want to see people. There were even days when I didn’t go brush my teeth or held my pee because I didn’t want to run into anyone in the bathroom or in the hallway. The microtrangressions also play a part, of course.

This used to be a real struggle for me. It isn't that bad anymore, thankfully.

This used to be a real struggle for me. It isn’t that bad anymore, thankfully.

As of dating life, I would really appreciate some doting and affection. I have a few problems in making that happen:

  1. I’m still waiting on someone. I’m not gonna justify my feelings for him again. I told him I’d only be friends with him for now – because he doesn’t have the time or the energy for a relationship (or for me) – but I can’t see him as a friend. Even when I was in my first (and previous) relationship, he was always on my mind; my then-boyfriend was aware and it was an agreement in our relationship that there’s a third party. And the waiting period is till about August 2014. Furthermore, I don’t think we’d be able to meet up until early or  mid-2015 and that is assuming he’s willing. We live like 3 states apart, you see.
  2. I am very high maintenance. A person of my background or a similar one to mine (say a third world male) would not easily be able to catch up with the things I love and the things I do. Somebody who shares my personal interests and such – say a first world citizen – would not be able to cope with or understand my background and upbringing.
  3. I can’t deal with yellow fever; I am a fetish item for some. White men have approached me coz I’m a dainty little Asian man. They’d like to take me places as their exotic trophy boyfriend, or they’d just like to fuck me coz I’m different and special. NOPE!

So …

Yellow fever

NOTE: Guys, check out the links I’ve added!

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3 thoughts on “Rethinking My Life

  1. Dear,

    First let me say that as your friend I love you. And because I love you, I’m going to lay out the “truth carpet” for you haha. I have numbered my points as you will see below:

    1) I’m upset that you quit your job helping the LGBT community. I understand why you did it, feeling as though you weren’t of any help to anyone. But I would argue that sometimes, just being there is enough. I think that, when I needed someone in college just to express my stifled-feelings about being a minority in a predominantly white college, knowing that they were there sometimes kept me going. And talking to them was even better. you just never know who’s heart you will have the chance to touch when in positions like that. Sometimes its not about the resources, it’s about talking and just “getting it out of your system”

    2) I absolutely HATE IT when minorities are scene as “rude” and “hostile” for simply saying the truth. White Privilege is real and the more we ignore it, the thicker the wool over our eyes become. It needs to be talked about! And watching BIll Mahr (I hope that’s how you spell his name lol) last night, I realized something they mentioned on the show was very true. There is no such thing as “reverse racism.” There’s just simply, racism. And just because you’re a minority of any kind, doesn’t mean that you can’t be racist. It happens! Then again, when you face racist people, especially the ones who are just “trying to understand” we need to talk to them not as if they are a member of the KKK but almost like they’re a child. When it comes to other cultures that are not of your own, we tend to have this “child-like” knowledge about them. “They’re black and they like rap” or “They’re Asian and the eat with sticks.” Sadly this is all that some people know about other races/cultures/ethnic groups. And through conversation, it’s not to help their childish knowledge become more “developed” and “Matured” for lack of better words.

    That being said, don’t tire yourself out trying to teach the world because the truth is, some people just aren’t going to “get it.” And if they really wanted to try and “get it: they’d take a class or attempt to have more than just that “token friend”…

    3) Identifying as “White” – This is common amoung minorities. In high school, I identified as being “white” not only because my father drilled into my head that my grandfather is a white Jewish man, but because I savored rock, alternative and classic rock music. I even went through this period of being goth. I got tired of wearing black every, so that was short lived hahaha. But even in this “identification” you and I are generalizing and promoting stereotypes. Why should I identify as white when rock music originated from blues which was derived from the African American community? Just because you like classical music, the arts and like to have a glass of wine every now and then, this makes you white? Like someone guy in Lebanon isn’t doing the same thing right now? Is he white now too? Should I start classifying Korean pop artists as Black because they know how to rap and love fried chicken and Black girls? NO! Not at all! hahahaha I understand your banana complex with my oreo complex. But there has to be a moment when you come out of that and say fuck it! I’m not white or Asian. I’m just me.

    4) If people assume that all Burmese people act like you, then their brain is the size of a pea and they are stupid and a part of the generalizing problem that feeds racism.. Plain and simple.

    5) “I want to be the center of attention but I hate social interaction” Honey, that is the story of my life ahahahaha But don’t worry, you’ll find your balance. ^_^

    6) Before you transfer yet again, I want you to find inner happiness. Because I honestly believe that no matter where you go, you will run into more idiots and you will have more trying times in your life BUt as long as you have inner happiness, things like that wont phase you as much. Speaking of inner happiness, stop letting white privilege keep you down. I’m sick of white privileged just as much as the next minority, but it’s not going away. So what do we do? We assimilate and create our own reality to the point where it doesn’t affect us. Those are the minorities that thrive in society. They became white privileges friend by abiding by it then bitch-slapped it in the face after rising above it hahaha. It’s ok. Just breath, keep calm, and continue on with the show.

    Oh God, I’ve said a lot hehehe, but I pray that my words have somehow helped you today. Remember, the secret to the world: there is only one race – the human race. Peace and love to you!

    • Honestly, about my job at the LGBT centre though, I feel bad that I quit – that I had to or that I decided to. Maybe I can go back. Being in the theatre makes it hard for me to schedule other activities on campus. I’m glad I’m still in 2 choirs and taking piano lessons. I should get back into the LGBT centre. It’s wrong to underestimate what I can do as a single individual and I can actual have more or less of a voice as a queer person of colour.

  2. Also, one last thing I forgot to mention about the straight privilege thing. Gay is not the new “black.” the LGBT community is suffered a lot and I don’t take that from them at all. However, at the end of the day, I can simply say that you can hide your sexuality, thus “don’t ask, dont tell”. However. I can not hide my color. SO in a way, straight privilege is no where near severe as white privilege. And traveling abroad, that white privilege crap follows you when you go abroad and it’s not always a nice thing… just being honest.

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