Monthly Archives: March 2005

We made bannock out of my Baby

When I was finishing grade four we got a letter in the mail saying I had been accepted into Actel, an accellerated learning program for gifted students. I still think it’s because I knew what a perambulator was.

Most of my children’s books were british, and they of course mentioned such things as perambulators. Being an inquisitive person with access to a brit dictionary, I soon found out it was the brit term for a stroller. Anyway, one day in class we were reading a british book, when we came to the p-word. What was it? I was the only one with an answer.

I must have done other smarty pants things, because the next year I began Actel.

It was a funny mix of kids, some of us wondering when the Dummy police would barg in and take us back to regular school. They all played Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiago? There wasn’t much plot to the game, beyond naming the capitol of Indonesia and things like that. Still, it was better than my educational game, Math Blaster. I was always weak in Mathematics. Oh yeah, and we all sat around playing Uno during lunch. Uno, I don’t even remember how to play it now.

Even in a class full of nerds, the nerd-popular dynamic soon showed up again. I once did a magic show with one of the popular girls. She would yell Presto-Chango and our trick happened. Her name was Stephanie. She dressed kind of like Madonna in the late eighties, which I guess it was.

There was only one other aboriginal girl in the class, and two years later she climbed out the window and never returned. We drew a picture of her legs hanging out the window on our whiteboard, an homage to the turbulent girl who had departed.

There was this other girl, Karen, who somehow straddled the boundaries of nerd and popular. We were best friends for a very brief time, until my longtime best friend Lyndsey came along. We broke up our friendship a year after high school, it was very sad. Karen was a red head, and in retrospect I think I had a little crush on her. I wonder what happened to her. She was in some religious group, Sisters of Job I think. I think it was a secret society.

There was this other guy, Jimmy, who was such a nerd and had bookish ways, that he was almost above taunts. I think we all instinctively wanted to protect him. He was socially stunted and brilliant, dressing in little cardigans. Now he’s a computer science graduate.

We had all kinds of wacky academic adventures, school was suddenly really fun whereas before it had been quite boring. I remember our first orientation together we had to make something to cushion an egg that would be dropped from a ladder. We covered our egg in foam and cartons and all kinds of material.

Later on, during sex ed, we had to carry around an eight pound bag of flour and pretend it was a baby. This was to teach us that having unprotected sex had consequences. Later we made bannock out of my baby.

It is a holiday

Brr it’s cold in here. Hmm, just picked at my hangnails. I was wanting to write something really amazing, but there’s not much to write about. It is a holiday after all. I have to pee. Watch the creative process unfold before your eyes!
Not that peeing is creative, although it does eliminate waste from one’s body.
I meant more as in, watch me ramble through ideas for a few paragraphs before ending today’s blog.
I had a pot brownie last night and watched Boogie Nights. That film is intense for so many reasons.
I like intense films. Some people don’t, some people get really annoyed by intensity, for personal reasons. I understand that I suppose. As long as they don’t impose their viewing choices on me.
I’ve decided not to finish writing today’s blog. It is a holiday, after all. Supposedly 2000 years ago a religious figure was nailed to some wood and left to die, which he did, and then everyone could point and say “see, he’s not the son of God.” Then he woke up on Sunday and let some dude named Thomas stick his finger in his wound. If that had happened today we’d expect him to wear latex gloves.
So the moral of the story is, always carry around some latex. You never know when you’ll want to stick your hand in someone.

Fascism in the Aboriginal Community

Today I went with a friend to the friendship centre in town. Friendship Centre, it sounds so warm and fuzzy, like a big Plush Indian is giving away hugs. Actually it was nice, got some free chow in my tummy, listened to a bunch of Aboriginal women debate with each other about who was preparing what food. Went to the bathroom and saw a little round sticker that read “Stop Racism.”

It’s an interesting thing, we want to stop racism from white folks, but so rarely do we look at our own communities and see the racism within.

Once in high school a friend passed me a joint, first time I ever put my lips to smokeable substances that weren’t ceremonial. I passed it back and she said “You nigger-lipped it!” I was speechless. For one thing, I had known this friend since the tender age of two, when we were both in Kakesate Daycare together, learning how to count in Cree. But this wasn’t the limit of her racism, she also had several choice words about Asian people, none of which I care to repeat, except to say that it was a mockery of Asian languages.

The reason I bring this up is that later on this evening (my date got postponed) I was channel surfing at a friend’s pad and there was news about the most recent school shooting at the Red Lake Indian Reservation. They say the shooter was a regular on Neo-Nazi websites, and expressed hatred towards Aboriginals who were not full-blooded. One might consider it a fluke, one errant Aboriginal boy with the means to express his hatred violently. However, if you ask any light skinned Aboriginal such as moi, this kind of hatred is deeply ingrained in our communities.

Canadians may remember David Ahenakew’s praise for the Nazi party back in 2002, and the shockwaves which rocked the country. Yes Virginia, there really are fascist Aboriginals.

I think the natural question is why. Why would a minority of Colour group be attracted to the dogma of an Aryan race? Why would oppressed people who have suffered (and still are suffering) genocide, like the granddaddy of all Genocidal leaders?

I think the interest in fascism stems from this idea of a disappearing (rather than continually evolving) race, and this desire to keep the race pure. It’s written in the legislation around being Aboriginal, and it’s something our leaders often spout without thinking of the consequences. The purity of the race. We have heard this phrase before. There are Aboriginals who really want to basically evict those of us who don’t measure up via blood quantum. We’re considered genetic traitors.

The irony of this is that in terms of cross-cultural alliances, Aboriginals and Jewish people have a lot of common ground, and have formed strong bonds. I’ve found myself feeling at home with Jewish friends as easily as with my Aboriginal friends. We both have horror stories woven through our ancestors plights, and we both like to eat. We’ve both been re-located and put through institutions to kill us and/or our cultural practices. And yet Hitler liked Aboriginals. He liked the idea of a pure race, a noble savage, fighting to keep our homeland, just as he thought he was doing.

As an Aboriginal community, let us not ignore this one school shooting as a rogue youth with some bad internet influences. Let’s take this opportunity to really, I mean SERIOUSLY, take stock of the lack of respect for cultural diversity, the racism towards other minority groups, and our own self-loathing of mixed race members of our communities. It’s time to admit that Aboriginals can be racists too.

Straight Takeover

Why is it that straight people take over queer spaces, yet queers never take over straight spaces? It’s like we’re always fighting to hold onto what little we have. New management is always a threat, and they ALWAYS tell us they won’t change a thing, then a few months down the road we’re looking for a new place to hang out.

Maybe it doesn’t sound so important to other people who aren’t marginalized, oh boo hoo, got to find another bar. Well it is a sad thing, even for me, and I don’t go out to bars that much. It’s like we’re being constantly colonized and re-located.

Whatever. I don’t know how to stop it, I don’t have money to invest in a bar. Currently the only quasi regular dyke bar in town is ridiculously small, while the boys have way more clubs that are huge and dedicated to being homo hangouts. Are there more gay men than lesbians? And where do you go if you want to find cute bisexual women?

It is a quandary, to be sure.

I overslept again today. I’ve been having these really vivid dreams, and they are more interesting than anything going on in my life right now. So naturally I choose sleep over real life. It looks like I am just laying there, but really I am sailing in dream land. Recently I dreamt that I kept choosing beauty over trust in relationships. I woke up and I was kind of like “That is so true!” In my dream trust was withering away and dying, all because I kept fucking beauty. Weird.

I have a date tonight. I haven’t had a date in years. I mean that very literally, YEARS! I think the official count is four years.

I want to eat a banana.

I’m a bit nervous about my date. I showered, found a clean shirt, found my old army pants. I still have to put some smelly sticky stuff in my hair. I took my medication, rolled a cigarette from butts (gross, don’t do that in front of anyone!), I q-tipped my ears. It’s such a late date, I’m a little nervous sex is going to be involved, and I am horribly out of practice. I never had much practice to begin with either. I am serious, eveyone thinks because I make work about sexuality, I must be scoring all the time. It’s so not true. Even when I was a slut, I didn’t have sex very frequently. With a lot of people, yes, but a lot of those people were one or two night stands.

Why is it called a one night stand when no one is standing?

File it under “This can’t be good for you”

I remember being a little kid in Montana, and on the television there used to be an advertisement for a Starving Artist sale, Rock Bottom Prices! They weren’t selling ACTUAL starving artists, they were selling mainly landscape paintings at Rock Bottom Prices! I often wondered about those starving artists. Like why wasn’t there a Feed the Artists fund? That being said, there is often food at openings and in recent times I have even scheduled my eating around the free grub.

After I pay all my bills, there’s pretty much diddly-squat left over for me to get essentials, like food and cigarettes. I’m trying to quit the ciggys mostly for economic reasons. I won’t DIE without cigarettes. However, without food I probably will die. So I’ve been trying to streamline my meals. Right now I’m down to about one meal a day, which is REALLY REALLY bad for folks like me with bipolar disorder. It’s a major trigger for another episode, no matter how dilligently I take my medication. So that’s pleasant.

My life has become a search for food, it really consumes a lot of my thinking. I know a place where I can get dinner for three dollars, if I only eat carbs I can buy a bunch of sweet buns for pretty cheap in Chinatown. And today I went through a really really long orientation for a Clubhouse in town which serves up a one dollar lunch and gives out sandwiches for fifty cents. Fridays you can get dinner for free there too. The food is pretty bland.

The other day at Stef’s she had this funny tofu chunk stuff that tasted very much like slightly moist dog kibble. People kibble. A lot of the food for poor folks in this town is just about filling your belly, not exciting the tastebuds or anything. Last night Stef ate kibble while we channel surfed Babette’s Feast. It was kind of sad really. I wanted to pull little quails out of the television set and eat them. Sorry little quails, you can’t help being yummy.

So it’s true, is what I mean to say. There really truly are Starving Artists. And (to shift topics somewhat) that is why paying CARFAC fees is so important. It’s not often that we get paid what our work is really worth, and when it comes down to basic living, telling someone “Well it’s just an honour to be allowed to show here at all” is not going to put food in their stomachs.

Usually when I get suicidal it has to do with the lack of food. A lack of food makes me panic, and then I think I should just take the death option because then I won’t have to worry about getting stuff in my stomach anymore. It’s probably a completely natural response, I’m sure in the wild it would be a good solution in the middle of a drought or scarce food supplies.

The thing that pisses me off the most about being a starving artist is that I’m fat, so no one really notices how terribly tormented I am by hunger most of the time. I don’t know why I’m starving and fat, I just am. Life’s full of cruel irony.

Violence against Queers

The other night I went out for drinks and dancing with a couple of friends. We were going to hit Celebrities and I was going to scope out girls. Anyway, life’s going fine, we’re stoned and on the sky train, blathering on about various things stoned queers talk about. Then this very straight guy with his girlfriend starts staring at us. Just looking with this really weird look on his face. And then all of us just shut up. We’re pulling into our stop. Nobody moves a muscle, we just all wait and then slowly, so freaking slow, make our way to the door and get out before it closes. And then once we’re all off and he zooms off into the night, we all say “Weird!” And it was. Like the beginning of a bashing. It reminded me of so many other encounters with homophobic/transphobic violence.

I think one of the reasons I left Saskatchewan was because of the amount of homophobic violence directed at me. Being queer in a Saskatchewan high school is really weird. I knew five queers in my school and that was it. Almost everybody was keeping it on the qt. Hiding your sexuality is a horrible feeling. It’s too much effort to worry about. I don’t know how movie stars do it. That must be such a troubled way to live.

So I left Saskatchewan. I was tired of people throwing pop cans at me and yelling dyke. I think being crazy made it harder, because then instead of just feeling persecuted, I really was. It made for a lot of being scared. And then there’s the whole being Cree AND Scots, in a racially charged city. Yeah, that was a lot of stuff to balance out. I’ve experienced racism from both of my races! And people thought I was a boy for most of my childhood. Actually, I got sir-ed again recently. So when I make work about identity, it’s for a reason. Identity just shapes you in the way you get treated in the world. Like having to watch your back on the Sky Train because you’re queerer than queer.

It’s scary and it sucks. And maybe if I had been stronger I would have stayed in the prairies. I think I was like a lot of young queers, like Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat, all leaving home to find a community in the big city. I think a lot of us also have this idealized image in our heads of this loving warm nurturing community, like a tribe, and then reality hits. It’s like any community, it has flaws too.

I don’t understand hate, just blind hate towards groups of people. Doesn’t make any sense.

The neverending search for love and meaning

This weekend I was a bit low, thinking about the long time it has been since I’ve been intimate with someone I loved, or even just cared for. I know it might seem as though in my years of bachelor life, that a relationship is just not high on my priorities. Sure, there are great things to being a bachelor. I can wear dirty clothes if I don’t feel like doing the laundry, there’s no one calling me to ask me where I’ve been, I don’t have to plan my life with someone else’s needs being weighed in the process. But it is very lonely. And over the years that I have been single, I’ve watched myself grow more and more stone, disliking physical touch by more and more people, except for the few special people who I trust enough to hug. I’ve discovered I need more than hugs these days though, something HAS to change, or I can see myself spiraling into complete stone butchness, and I really did like snuggling with girlfriends back in the day when I was cute and quirky, not old, crazy and cranky.

So I thought I would try online personals again. I went to this site where I already had a profile, logged on, and waited for something to happen.

What happened was the closest to an online stalker that I care to get.

First of all she comes on coy, asking me to tell her more and more about myself, all the while revealing very little about herself, besides the obvious fact that she likes sex. This makes me anxious. For one thing, I think it’s rude to pry into a strangers life if you’re not going to be completely bare and honest about yourself at the same time. “But Thirza, you post things about yourself online all the time and never ask us for anything.” Yeah, but I know the vast majority of my reader ship, and so in a way I do know about you all. Except for you, little lurker in the corner! Yeah, I mean you!

Anyway, then she starts asking me what I’m doing tonight, what I did today, what I did last night, what I am thinking about. When rats get angry with other rats they do this cute hopping thing. They look totally frustrated (and adorable). That’s how I felt, like a hopping mad rat. Where does she assume she can ask me all these questions while totally deflecting any questions I ask? Then I ask “So, do you make any art?” This is a crucial question, this is the question that makes or breaks any continued interest on my part. I’m an artist, it was what I was born and bred for, it is my passion, I think about it all day, I devote time in an institution learning about it, my social circles are all artists. Even those that don’t make art know they should at least be able to talk about films with me. Besides that, it’s a perfect “Getting to know you” question. It’s platonic, it’s general, it’s easy to answer. What does she reply? “I take that as a hint to change the subject.” WHAT! What kind of bloody answer is that?

Meanwhile this other girl comes online and we start talking about 80’s music, and I’m really wanting this other girl to go away when she’s all like “Do you want to play, are you playful?” And I respond with this gentle kind of “I’ve been burned and I just want to be friends with people first.” And she’s like “Oh, what do you want to know.” For god’s sakes, anything, just give me anything for fucks sakes! SOMETHING NOT RELATED TO WHAT YOU DO IN BED! So I say “Someone I can have a conversation with, someone who’s honest, blah blah blah.” Really trying to reinforce this concept of being able to relate to someone on an intellectual/spiritual level, not just a sexual level. Then she invites me over. WHAT! We haven’t even gone for coffee, I mean, that is like, the first step, it’s like some kind of social non-sexual face to face interaction HAS to happen before all else. So I tell her no, and I again explain I am looking for friends first. Then she says “Snuggling is not fucking.” SIGH. See above where I wrote about turning stone? THIS IS WHY!

I am not someone’s snuggle bunny until I say so. No cuddles for you. So I went offline, grumbled, that girl with the conversation about 80’s music was more promising.

AND FURTHERMORE: On the topic of becoming stone butch and having tattoos, here is my pet peeve. Once at a dyke bar, short short sleeved shirt baring my tats for everyone, so many women just assumed they could grab at my arms without asking any kind of permission. And being crazy, having a sense of personal safety around your body is extremely crucial. I mean, the last time someone grabbed my arms was to drug me and put me in restraints, which is pretty much a routine type of rape performed by the psychiatric system. It’s demeaning and it’s an issue of control. So when this butch dyke grabbed my arm, I nearly flipped out and punched her in the face. DO NOT TOUCH MY TATS UNLESS I TELL YOU YOU CAN. One of my friends with tattoos says he has the same problem with random strangers assuming they can touch him there, it’s quite weird.

Living, breathing, Aboriginals

So I’ve been secretly plotting to apply for this program out of the country, and I’m trying to figure out how to get the dough to go instead of counting on Lotto 6-49. Anyway, I’ve been researching grants and scholarships online, especially related to all the minority status I get which white people always cheerfully tell me to cash in on. Whatever, it’s like they think my life has been full of free money for being a halfbreed queer crazy pervert. I wish. I mean, that’s such an easy job, pfft! Just hide and make videos, alone, in the dark, in the deep dark. Oh, where was I? Oh yeah, grants.

Anyway, I will not name the organization, but one of them stipulates you must have a “living connection to the Aboriginal community.” Okay, WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN? Does that mean you’re an upstanding member of your tribe? Like doing good Aboriginal deeds? Like I’ve got all my Aboriginal patches. Or does it mean you actually spend your time among living Aboriginal people? Do you have to spend a specific amount of time with your Aboriginal friends and family? Do you have fifty percent cut off if most of your friends are biracial? Does it make a difference if the woman who taught you bannock was your Scots grandmother?

And this ‘living’ word, that troubles me. Because what does it mean to have a dead connection? Like the horrible moment your girlfriend hangs up on you, and in the buzz of the dead line, you realize you’ve lost her forever. Like you’re standing there with the reciever, bewildered and wondering “What happened to my culture? Why did she leave me? I said all the right things, I brought her flowers.” Well whatever.

I mean, I guess I have a living connection to the aboriginal community. I’m living, AND I’m aboriginal! Ha!

What about people who have a dead connection to the aboriginal community? Is that like they hang around with the Aboriginal Undead?

Very weird.

Race, le sigh. It’s completely evolving and people still can’t get beyond a binary theory of it. I don’t know where race is going, but it leaves a lot of us with these complicated meanings in our bodies. Like strings stretching from us around the world, holding us to all the places our ancestors walked.

I have the internet again!

Yes, it’s true. I’ve moved into my new place and got hooked up again. So now I’m set. But it’s funny, it’s been so long since I’ve had the internet at home, that I have forgotten what I want to do.
I spent most of today wrestling with my old/new computer desk. Here’s the story: I wanted a computer desk. They were out of stock of the one I really wanted. So I bought another one. Then a few days later a knock at the door, here was another computer desk, the nice one. So I really had two, but for a year I didn’t care to put the better one together. Then I moved, and threw away my other one. Then I couldn’t find the instructions. A week passed. I got the internet. Then I really wanted my desk together, because surfing while sitting on the floor is painful. Try it and you’ll see.

The problem throughout most of my attempts to get the desk together was the abstract concept behind the instruction booklet. 223306 in HA second hole from the left. Pound small plastic thingy into this slot. Three boards all of the same size were simply titled I, yet three other boards of a similar size were F, T, and SA. And none of them had convenient little stickers saying what they were, you had to look at them all and decide for yourself. And then there was a small tool which seemed to come into use quite frequently according to the instructions, yet didn’t exist, and was square, and looked like you dripped it into holes OR used it to cut something. Honestly, I feel like I should get extra credit just for getting the damn thing together. However there is one extra board, which is rather suspicious.

A suspicious board. It’s quite large as well.

Blah de blah. So anyway my apartment is slowly but surely turning into more of a liveable space. I have the internet, I have a small television, my bed is set up, Clive the hamster killing rat is back up on his little perch above the tee vee. The rug is slowly but surely gathering crumbs. When I first moved in I couldn’t find my medication for a couple days. Fly me to the moon! Then I found it, all shaky and quivery and ready to pounce on someone. Swallow. Yummy mood stabilizers/anti-psychotics.

Fuck it I’m hungry. I’m going now to find some food and stuff. I’m going to surf the net all day and revel in it. I think if you live alone especially, having the internet is kind of crucial to your well being. It’s entertaining anyway.
here’s some fun for ya all:
Tasteful (ha ha!) Cannibal Porn