Day 6 – Lizard Tail

These little guys detach their tails when faced with a predator. This confuses the predator and they can make their getaway.

Thoughts

  • what do I know about poverty? What does it look like? It doesn’t = misery but it’s weird to see holiday makers and expats next to people who look like they are having a hard or joyless time. What does joy look like? And do we need joy in our lives? Is it a right? Is it something to strive for and do we need to spread it?
  • the laughter and squeals of a wonderful woman at the eyelash extension boutique. Omg, what an amazing soul. You could feel the giggles radiating from her. I thought of her five year old daughter, Brenda, and felt a twinge of envy. Not that I know what she’s actually like at home. Like a walking smile, this woman.
  • a barista I met sent me an IG message which was a couple of really sexual riddles #notadirtyjoke. I don’t quite know what to make of it. Culturally I guess it’s ok here? But how do I know? Did I get sent it because I am a foreigner? Is it a sign of cool? I had to say something and he asked me about the reason I am travelling and why I am angry in the UK. My reply was, “Patriarchy and racism”. How to even begin explaining something to someone who is new to these concepts? I tried a little because I couldn’t not. I had to say that sexual jokes at the off are inappropriate. Weinstein and #metoo and how we are held in gendered behaviours is all over.
  • The day I left London I didn’t say anything to a man who exhibited threatening behaviour to a woman walking down the street. He hollered, “You’re beautiful, I love you!” and I said nothing. I could have checked in with her. I should have.
  • I do not feel as judged in this space. People talk to me in whatever language they speak, assuming that I am just like them, no matter I don’t have the same skin colour and I am dressed so differently (badly, for a local!).
  • I do not trust a particular kind of Asian hospitality of relatives or people I don’t know very well. Why? I am reacting against “should” – what should one do when X happens. I feel uncertain about how people feel about me. Does it matter? Yes, I guess, because I don’t know the social contract I am entering into. I want to avoid seeming ungrateful or ungracious when/if I don’t behave in the way they expect. I don’t want to disappoint or upset anyone. I don’t mind the hospitality of total strangers because it is to do with the time scale. We know that our relationship is a temporary one, or that we can step away. There are no expectations. I am uncomfortable when people want to connect me based on what I do, as opposed to based on what I’m like as a person. Perhaps I am thinking about this in a way that could be shifted.
  • In the same way, I don’t like bargaining in shops. Tell me what you want and expect, and I can decide whether or not to give it to you. The performance of bargaining, of display, of having to convince based on WHAT? makes me feel tired and dirty. Could we communicate with each other a little more simply? Charge everyone the same, fair price? Not have to perform for our pennies?

A few weeks ago, a white male director casting a big show asked me, nicely, could I imagine playing a character who is alone in a world which is xenophobic, surrounded by people with more privilege and above her in class, who performs on and off stage to survive. The only thing in life she has is the ability to amuse, and what happens when she ceases to be employable? When the people in privilege feel threatened? Could I imagine being anything like that?

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