Monthly Archives: September 2020

Questioning Racism and Dating

I am in a mood today. Not a bad mood. Just a feeling overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts mood. Not all bad. Some bad tho. I’m frustrated by feeling like I can’t let this one thing go that happened to me last year. I wish I could. It’s just a stupid girl thing. I can’t even accurately name what it is that makes me so upset about it still.

I think it’s being written off before someone gets to know me. I know I’m a shy reserved person when I first meet people. I don’t come across like a giant personality that’s for sure. So I guess people get to know me in other ways, like this blog or social media. I have trouble even with some friends I’ve known for a while because they seem to do all the talking and not give me much space to talk myself. It’s been a frustrating pattern in a few relationships. There are solid people out there tho, it’s just sometimes louder personalities drown me out.

Anyway, this one person didn’t care about getting to know me, and I dunno, for some reason that just rankled me. Like it’s really just that I think, that she never wanted to get to know me. And that I was ready to fall in love and she just wanted to use me for sex. I wish it didn’t bother me as much as it does. I guess I just feel like if she’d gotten to know me maybe she would have seen I have a lot to offer, and it hurts my feelings that she didn’t care. It’s weird too cause I can have casual sex, maybe not anymore, but I have in the past and it never bothered me like this does. I sometimes wish I never met her. It would have been easier, especially since she hangs out with friends and moved here this year.

And then I am trying to date again and I just don’t want something like this to happen again. And I can’t help it but whenever I get treated as disposable by someone, part of me always asks “Is it because I am Indigenous?” I honestly can’t help it, it’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot about white or white adjacent lovers. Especially when their next partner is white and they give that partner the serious relationship they refused to give me. I don’t want to say “my exes are racist” but I will say the majority of them have been Canadians and Canadians have racism baked into them. Soooooo… yeah. It might be unconscious. But there’s something going on there.

But yeah like if they have that much unconscious racism in them then it’s probably best nothing happened. Not to say this person is racist, or all my exes are racist. It’s just been a super peculiar pattern I’ve seen play out.

It might be that I come across super sexual? I dunno. I’m super into relationships tho. Like I love sex but I prefer all that emotional stuff to happen also. I don’t know it’s probably not me I just date the wrong people.

ANYWAY that’s just a downward spiral I shouldn’t get into. I mean the good point is I finally deleted her number today. It’s probably not even the same number anymore. I think I’m gonna block her too, just because it would be better for me. She wasn’t interested in getting to know me so she won’t even notice, and I won’t have the temptation to creep her profile and hurt myself anymore. Normally I don’t do this with exes, but she and I never had a friendship anyway, so it doesn’t seem like I should bother salvaging anything. And she was only ever a one night stand. I’m still shocked she did that much emotional damage for such a stupid thing.

There is an ex I am on a break with right now. Not like a “we’ll get back together” break, more like a “I wish you stopped telling me about your feelings we shouldn’t talk for a while” break. Like hopefully we will be friends again. I did really like her, she was probably the first date I had who treated me right, but it was so brief. BUT it did show me what I deserve, which was something I was unsure about after that negative experience. I mean in most of my relationships when I’ve told friends about them, they are kind of like “why are you even dating this person?” but with her when I told friends they really honestly liked her a lot and were sad for me when things ended.

Anyway ha ha. I do have good relationships with exes like they generally aren’t terrible people, we just don’t WORK I guess. Plus that question I always ask myself about my perceived value as a racialized person.

But then I also ask myself, why do I date so many white people? Like…I think it’s something I need to interrogate about myself. I’ve been getting more crushes on non-white people these days tho, which to be honest is a relief. But I think I have a date with another white person, though I don’t actually know what she is because we just met. And like, I am also lightskinned but Indigenous. So who knows. I won’t hold it against her tho! I mean really people have all kinds of histories and ideas about life. And like, another person of colour could also be anti-Indigenous, it’s not just a white thing.

There’s someone I casually play with and watch films with, and it’s really interesting because she’s Chinese and I have seen myself put my foot in my mouth so many times with her and I am not gonna really identify her or anything like that but I do notice even hanging out with non-Indigenous POC I realize there’s this huge gap I have in understanding cultures beyond white or Indigenous. And it’s not like they are particularly mysterious, I just never thought about it or something? I don’t know! It’s not like I’ve only had white or Indigenous friends. I sometimes wonder if it’s cause I was raised in Saskatoon when the major ethnicities were white and Indigenous and so I wasn’t exposed to more cultures for a long time. Which is kind of silly because then I spent my 20s in Vancouver where people come from all over.

LIKE OMG I don’t even know how to ask a non-Indigenous POC where their people come from because I know it’s such a bad question to ask “Where are you from” and they answer the obvious answer like “Uhhhh Mississauga?” or something. But like I am genuinely curious to know where people’s ancestors are from and I just don’t know how to ask in a way that isn’t offensive as a white appearing Indigenous person.

Anyway, even tho I probably majorly called out a bunch of white ex lovers in this post, I also know I have a lot of learning to do about all the people who have come to Canada or whose ancestors came here from non-white countries. And I want to date more non-white people, but I also don’t want to fetishize people for not being white. AND ALSO I might have a date with a white person or a light skinned person for sure so like obviously I haven’t shut the door on dating white people.

I just think being Indigenous and white and Canadian has made me see those two polarized groups so much, like that’s just what I know more and I kind of wish it wasn’t. I feel like even tho Canada was touted as this mosaic or whatever, we’ve still largely kept to our own communities and I think it can be detrimental. Like in the prairies there is this major schism between South Asian and First Nations people. And it’s hard to talk about because the accepted racist dichotomy is white/Indigenous, not South Asian/Indigenous. Like we just have a very specific story about how discrimination works in Canada and I don’t think we’ve figured out how to talk about discrimination between BIPOC groups. It’s complex.

ANYWAY now I probably sound like a jerk. It’s not like it’s HARD to learn about cultures I don’t belong to, it’s just that I need to practice it more. I also know there are continents I have never been to and assumed I could never go to because of being queer, but as I get older I am more curious about seeing the world outside of North America and Europe. Like, there is so much world out there. And so many people if I can stop putting my foot in my mouth.

NEW VIDEO GAME!

I’m not really a gamer, but I did finally get into Animal Crossing this summer.

Anyway, in 2016 I started making a video game called A Bipolar Journey. This year I got to revisit it and put on the last two levels that I’d wanted to include for ages. Four years! To be honest most of that time I wasn’t working on it. I would apply for arts grants to work on it, but for some reason I was too intimidated to go back in and relearn how to use Unity, and how to code in C# again. It just seemed like too much for me.

But this year DMG here in Toronto and the Digital Artist in Residence program at Mackenzie Art Gallery helped me finish it.

My goal ALWAYS was to end the story of coming to terms with having bipolar disorder with a level that described what it feels like to go back out into the community and have freedom and also try to stay stable on the meds they give you. So I wanted one pill that brought you up, and one that brought you down. It’s a simplistic look at my bipolar medications (I’m actually on three specifically for my moods, an antidepressant, an antipsychotic, and a mood stabilizer) but I didn’t want to get into having THREE types of meds fall from the sky. Plus I didn’t know what the third would do. So there are two.

Here is the final result!

I originally was gonna use the same bleeps that happen in the first level when antidepressants hit you, but this time around I wanted zaps in honour of the first side effect I ever had from psych meds. Paxil zaps are AWFUL and I don’t even know how to describe them to people who’ve never had them, but they really did suck. My medications now don’t really cause side effects, or if they do I am used to them. I am probably fatter because of them but it’s been almost 20 years and I don’t care so much.

I redid the opener screen for my game too, and renamed it. It is not A Bipolar Journey anymore, now it’s just Bipolar Journey. Why have an A?

I’m pretty happy that I finally finished, AND on time too!

The shoot a couple weekends ago was TOUGH and intense! I don’t really want to talk about it online, but I did learn a whole bunch of stuff which was pretty cool. I also got to work with a full crew for the first time, and driving scenes, and stunts, and pyrotechnics. It was pretty amazing in retrospect, although I remember the last night just being anxious to get through as much of the shot list before dawn. It’s pretty nervewracking when time is tight like that. I don’t know how directors get away with extending shoots into eternity, like those ones where people are supposed to shoot for six weeks and end up doing three months. I guess that’s what money gets you.

BUT we are gonna find an editor and do some amazing work with this amazing footage and I am pretty happy about that.

So far this year I have finished a two channel video installation, a short experimental film, a webseries episode script, a multi level video game, and if things are on track I will be done a feature film script and this dramatic short we shot by the end of this year. Not bad for someone trying to work during a pandemic!

I didn’t get a recent grant I applied for, so I’m a bit leery of my income these next few months. There are two arts councils I can apply to for individual projects, so I am trying to think of something good to apply for. I’ve also managed to qualify for CERB because I did lose income with this pandemic (some of these projects this year were non-paying!) so now that CERB is done I might try to see if I qualify for the next iteration of income support. I also want to get gigs though, but things are really up in the air.

I am wondering if when we can travel again, I can turn more of it down and do online versions instead. I was REALLY wore out from traveling the last couple of years, even tho I went to amazing places, and this respite from getting on planes and being able to stay home has been REALLY NICE. I do still want to travel one day, but the way it was going before was unsustainable for both myself and the environment. So I dunno, I think the arts and entertainment industry needs to take this time to look at the way we treated travel before and how we can limit it in the future. Because it really doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m in the New York Film Festival this year, and all their programs are geolocked to the USA. SO that kinda sucks, but they are giving me an Industry pass so I can see films that AREN’T geolocked.

I’m not sure what I think about geolocking. I understand the impulse, wanting to keep film festivals local and stuff. But at the same time some of these film festivals are international, and yet the international artists showing in them can’t watch from overseas/over borders. I imagine it’s probably about wanting to limit the number of people logging on to watch something. But then why not sell limited tickets?

Anyway, that is a larger question for film fests and filmmakers these days to grapple with.

I am pretty happy these days, which is good. I was wore out from the shoot, but seeing the footage and then going back to my video game has made me feel creative again, which is nice.

ALSO the short film is based on the feature I am writing. And seeing the actress embody that role made me see my lead character in a more emotionally full way. I don’t know, for some reason at some point I just started writing this character like she was basically constantly dissociated. But I don’t see her that way anymore. So that was cool to realize.

What else? Eh, I have a fun crush right now, but it’s not going anywhere. I always have crushes tho. I do feel like I am ready to fall in love though, like the way I felt last fall before I got my heart stomped on. Like I am ready! I am there! I’m picky though. And a little timid sometimes too.