sometimes, LA looks like soho, just sans the throngs of people, and it makes me homesick. in 32 days, i’ll be back home in brooklyn, and it’ll only be for a weekend, but i am so, so excited, especially because i'll be there for the brooklyn book festival, and i am very much looking forward to that. i've gone every year since i moved back to NYC in 2012, and i was worried i'd miss it this year, but i shan't!
but, ugh, where to begin — what a horrific weekend we’ve seen, what gross displays of despicable human behavior, from the privileged who lit up tiki torches and waved confederate flags and proudly toted the swastika to the ones at home who raise, love, and support the people on the streets and the institutions that enforce that privilege to the cheeto in the white house who’s been faster to call out women by name but wouldn’t condemn white supremacists.
anyway, hi, i’m having a hard time coming up with words, so here are some words i put up on instagram on sunday, words i've expanded on here.
the 2016 election has exposed and fortified a lot of the ugliness many of us knew still existed in this country, in this world, and the horrible reality is that that this ugliness is going to continue exhibiting itself in the near future. we're going to see a lot more fragile white [male] egoes exploding in irrational, hate-fueled rage, and we're going to see a lot more white privilege protecting itself in the delusion of "but *i'm* not like that," never mind that that statement itself betrays complicity.
we're going to get more statements from politicians but no action that supports said statements or moves toward change, and we're going to get more half-hearted, easily-appeased pseudo-disapproval from GOP congressmen over the mess that currently occupies our seat of government. we're going to get more senseless racist, bigoted, sexist tweets from the cheeto, emboldening the racism, bigotry, and misogyny that will further endanger the lives and livelihoods of POC, queer and straight, whatever our gender and/or our beliefs.
we're going to have days when it's easier to rally en masse and put up a fight. we're going to have days when it's easier to be diligent about keeping up with the shit our governments, whether federal, state, or local, are trying to pull to take away our rights. we're going to have days when it's easier to know what we're fighting for, to believe that change is possible, that the better future of equality we're hoping for can and will be the reality in which our children and their children grow up.
the other side is that we're going to have days when everything is simply harder. we're going to have days when it all feels futile, when change seems impossible, when the world appears to have progressed one step only to be regressing ten. we're going to have days when we feel small and insignificant, when we feel like we're just one human, one insignificant, scared, tiny human, and what can we accomplish when we're nobody and the whole of society seems to be against us, determined to see us as subhuman, to take away our rights but claim ownership of our bodies, our labor, our cultures?
but here is this: bravery isn't about super-strength or super-smarts or super-whatever. it's not about being an extraordinary human being. bravery is simply getting up in the morning and going about your day as best you can, refusing to fold over in the face of hatred.
bravery is being you, whoever you are, and existing because, sometimes, simply being here, being present, being alive in a hostile world is the most powerful form of rebellion there is because it's staking claim to your right to exist, to be seen and treated fairly, to be respected and known. it seems like nothing, going to work, taking your kids to school, paying your taxes, worshipping at your chosen place of worship, shopping for groceries and household supplies and clothes, but it's not nothing — with every act, you say, i have every right to be here, and the truth is that it's no small thing to be a POC, a queer person, a woman out and about in the world. that alone requires so much bravery, more bravery than we might even imagine we contain, although we do.
so i'm going to say this again: stay.
even in the face of all the hatred and violence and truly disgusting displays of human behavior we're seeing these days, stay. don't hide. don't run. don't take your own life.
stay. stay and fight, and, together, we'll make this world a better place. stay.
here are a few articles, some good reading amidst all the crap, because i spend a lot of time at work reading articles, and these are a few that have stuck with me.
01. missbish, “bringing heat in and out of the kitchen”
might as well start with something nice about someone who makes me smile, and i’m sure my crush on kristen kish has been well documented by now, so here, start with some kristen.
02. missbish, “the youtube who feels like a best friend”
i. love. claire. i secretly think about running into her in DTLA (or just, LA) and being her friend because the article title is right — claire marshall really does feel like a best friend, and her vlogs are my favorite. sometimes, i don’t know why they’re so fun to watch; they’re literally of her running errands and talking into the camera and doing boring day-to-day things; but i love them. i find them so soothing.
03. electric literature, "jenny zhang doesn't care if you feel comfortable"
jenny's been doing some spectacular interviews during her press tour for sour heart (random house, 2017) (just do yourself a favor and read this fabulous collection already), but this one miiiiight be my favorite so far. if i had to pick a favorite.
04. the white review, "interview with han kang"
han's human acts (portobello, 2016) is one of my favorite books about one of the most horrific acts in contemporary korean history, and the way han writes trauma is so visceral and intense and thoughtful.
05. the white review, "interview with jorge semprun"
also this from the white review: i first read this interview while doing research for a comp lit course in 2011, and i still think about it now, six years later. i love what he has to say about memory.
06. the new yorker, jia tolentino
tolentino has been killing it for the new yorker recently. i was going to try to pick a favorite, but i decided i didn't want to, so here's her archive instead. have at it; she's great.
07. salon, "kate mckinnon and hollywood's big gay test"
i love kate (who doesn't?), and her career is one worth watching, not only as that of a great comedic actress but also as that of an openly gay woman in a still-long-ways-to-go-as-far-as-any-kind-of-diversity-goes industry. i hope she continues on the rise; she's just too good.