A lot going on

I have a long list of people who want to be updated on my experiences in life. So I’m going to re-open my blog, and switch to vlogging when that’s convenient/whenever I get over the pressure to be a popular youtuber. To write or call all of you as often as possible would be difficult. I haven’t blogged consistently in a couple years, but what all that stated, let’s get started.

I’ve been in Chicago for a week now. For those of you who weren’t with me at the Free School, I spent the past 9 to 10 months interning at a democratic pre-k to 8th grade school. I might have reflections on that experience posted in the distant future, although I’ll say now that much of what I learned wasn’t so much about educational philosophy as it was about having my emotional health constantly tested. Interacting with kids in a setting in which they have near full access to their feelings and choices was bittersweet to say the least. I never studied child development, but it was interesting seeing the way kids learned and acted at different age groups. Being the youngest staff member made me unnecessarily self-conscious, and being at home alone most weekends was a feat of internal stamina that I would never want to take on ever again. But it was a powerful experience that I am glad I was chosen to have. I came at a real turning point for the school. I met many wonderful people and went to really great places.

Now, I am living in a queer punk stoner “2 flat” house. It’s an extreme relief not to feel attached to my gender expression as strongly I was before. People are on a they/them pronoun basis as a given for everybody, which feels like a breath of fresh air. I live with seven other people, and they are all really nice and cool to be around. I’ve explored the city with three of my housemates who really like to get out and about. Another aspect of the house is that it regularly hosts punk shows in the basement. There has been one show since my arrival, which I was too overwhelmed to go down and attend, but before I left to my room I noticed something remarkable. Most of the show-goers were people of color. This is because of a group in the city called the Black and Brown Punk Show Collective. I’m sure that for everyone else there this was normal, but for me this was surreal. To see a whole host of radical queer folks of color was very exciting.

I obviously couldn’t help but hear the acts going on beneath me. I don’t like punk music anymore, and haven’t listened to it since middle/early high school. The acts that went on that night had an enjoyable sound, but I don’t know how I will feel about future groups that play here.

Another major aspect of the house is the filth. I feel bad about posting this, because it’s not intentional, and they said that the way it is now is an improvement. But we are seriously only one layer above crust. Dishes pile high for days, cat litter (right by the bathrooms) gets changed sporadically, beer and soda cans are strewn about, and old food is caked on the stove like scabs. I tend to leave my room to clutter with clothes and paper, because I have foggy cognition. But when it comes to shared spaces, I try hard to clean and keep things clear for the sake of the health of people I live with and myself. It’s enough to have a messy room, but once the whole house falls into disarray, my mood goes with it. I feel even more foggy and confused than usual, and the worse things look, the more irritable I get. We will have a house meeting soon, and some people here are even looking to buy one up the road. I don’t want to rock the boat with a cleaning spree or complaining all the time. All I know if that it doesn’t change soon, I’m going to want to leave.

Lastly, there an issue between being “posi” and “negative” in politics that is strange. Again, everyone here is really nice and interesting, but there is little sense of inspiration or self-preservation. As anti-capitalists and anarchists, I understand how being mired in the society we inhabit now is jading, frustrating, and infuriating. The popular neighborhoods I’ve seen thus far have many elements of the worst aspects of our culture – yuppies, gay white/wealthy capitalists who only care about marriage and military service, rampant gentrification and cultural appropriation, leaving schools and communities of color to rot through institutionalized racism, and more I’m sure. But aside from establishing infoshops, and distributing radical literature during shows, the main response here seems like a deep-rooted and apathetic nihilism. Destruction with no hope for alternatives is their philosophy. There is no sense of purpose or meaning, and as an Atheist, I realize that meaning is not inherent in the universe; anything can happen, awful random things. But despite that, I want a sense of wellbeing. I have a dual power outlook on things, and I feel compelled to do something positive and constructive. To do otherwise has proven to be unsafe for my emotional health. But for many people here, being positive is stupid and annoying. They see no point in building alternatives because since “we are all products of capital, and only know capitalism” we will just end up replicating the same capialist values and hierarchies – only in a feel-good form.

They laugh at positivity. I’m not a reformist and can see that the current paradigm is far beyond repair, but I can’t get down with political/apolitical negativity. I feel like I might be too light for this crowd. Maybe it’s too soon to tell.

Other than that I am funemployed, and will have to get on food stamps as soon as possible. I’ve applied to many nanny jobs on care.com but my appearance is preventing me from getting a response. I have a long list of art projects that I want to get on, but I need to dip into my savings to buy the equipment necessary for that. Other than that I’m applying for dog walking, or maybe just unemployment benefits. I don’t really know what else I can do that leaves me with flexibility to work on my art daily. I’m working on a zine submission to TomGirl that is due soon, but I’m having writer’s block. Chicago is interesting, and I’m trying very hard to keep my head up. I hope to post things going forward that may meet your expectations of life updates; things that are fun and inspiring.

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Posted on June 24, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Looks great Zuleika! I’m with you there on both the cleanliness in communal spaces and also adjusting to living on my own after living in a crowded space. But it also sounds like having people to live with where you can express gender identities and expressions freely is a huge plus. You have a great voice and I’m excited to read more. I also might be revamping my Senior Project blog and I’d love to still keep in touch!

    ❤ Lily

  2. Thanks so much Lily 🙂 Keep me posted about your blog ❤

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