Passion – Exercise 1.4

Passion can get us all writing. Write a short list of things that get you riled. Choose from the list something that makes you passionately angry and let rip on this subject. Don’t think of it as a letter to an editor, or any other form of special writing. Write for yourself, to express to yourself what you want to say about this. Again, read through what you’ve written but leave it for now.

My list

  • Donald trump
  • Racism
  • People with awful bad breath who don’t use mouth wash
  • People with awful bad breath who do use mouth wash (fair enough, it’s better than without, but it makes me shudder)
  • Injustice
  • Inequality

Racism is disgusting. Its not an innate thing to be racist, we’re not born racist, it’s a learned behaviour. It’s something that all racists could change if they wanted too. To treat others as being inferior is beyond me. White privilege. Bollocks. We are all equal. I am a human being from earth. I value your heritage, history and culture.

Institutional racism is shocking. People from a BAME background are disproportionately stopped and search, are inmates in prison and are over-represented in the mental health system, including more likely to be sectioned and restrained. How can we live in a world in which we can have a prime minister who has spoken using racist language and who is clearly an islamaphobe? I don’t just feel angry, I feel sad. I have friends who are people of colour, who have experienced racism regularly over the course of their lives. It’s awful that any human has to suffer in these ways.

A Change Of Direction

A recent health event has meant I’ve had to reconsider the direction of my life on all fronts.

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I have a heart condition, which has suddenly deteriorated, and I’ve made the decision not to have surgery. It was diagnosed several years ago, and I have known that I would need to make a decision regarding surgery for a long time. Generally the condition gets worse gradually, and mine was following the usual path until last month. After a routine scan I was held back and the registrar asked to speak to me. I wasn’t expecting the news at this stage, so it has been a shock. Creating the space to speak with my nearest and dearest has been my priority.

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My spiritual beliefs have been the bedrock of my decision to allow my life to follow its natural course. I feel a deep sense of peace with my decision.

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What I want right now is to have the best possible quality of life for as long as possible. When I consider my future a few things are important to me. My friends and family, photography and study. I had planned to move on to studying for a degree in photography, but I no longer think that this is appropriate for my health and wellbeing, so I have decided to alter my direction.

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Naturally I will still make photography and continue with personal projects, but I’ve decided to study for an Open Foundation in Creative Writing with the Open College of the Arts. I like to write, and I combine photography with my writing, especially when producing photo-essays. Converting to creative writing will minimise the stress, and it also means that during those times when I’m less able to be physically active, I will still be able to be meaningfully occupied.

Quality of life is the most important thing whilst I allow the cycle of life to play out. Daily I ask myself “What can I do today that will bring meaning to my life, and give me the opportunity to create value and culture?”

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London Is Anti-Fascist

When right wing nationalists plan a march, the Liberal left counter-marches on the same day. It creates a massive problem for the police though, and many of London’s busiest streets become closed to traffic to accommodate the protests.

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I spoke with a lovely Chinese woman at a bus stop and she asked me whether the protests were legal. I’m really grateful to be able to say that in the UK we have the democratic right to protest. I’m also excited to be living in such a diverse and multicultural city.

The democratic process means that all citizens have a right to protest. I don’t agree with the nationalist movements, I consider them to be racist and discriminatory, but I believe that they have a right to protest as well. If we pick and choose which citizens and groups can demonstrate then we break away from being a democracy. However, the police must enforce the marches so that demonstrators do not participate in hate crime. There is a difference between free speech and incitement to violence and/or hate talk.

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I’m not a nationalist, I believe that all people were created equal, I value diversity, and I’m in favour of asylum, immigration and economic migration. So it was a pleasure to witness the anti-fascit groups marching today.

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Masks – Inspiration From The British Museum

With signing my new tenancy today meaning that I’m in London, I planned a gentle day at the British Museum.

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My project for assignment 5 is using self portrait and embroidery to explore the emotional States of anorexia. I visited the British Museum as a means of having a gentle day after signing my tenancy. I travel back tomorrow and then move here on Friday. Yay.

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It quickly became apparent that the museum has a collection of masks in most of the cultural zones. Masks being an important element of many traditional and indigenous cultures, religions and traditions. As I will be embroidering onto my self portraits for this assignment, then I see that I am creating masks.

I felt particularly drawn to shamanic cultures that use icons depicting animal spirits. Some cultures use masks to reveal hidden aspects of personality, rather than to hide them. This feels particularly pertinent to me in my process of recovering from my eating disorder.

Hidden or suppressed aspects of my character being revealed to aid me in my recovery, now that makes sense to me. Animals are important to me as spirit guides, and I’ve previously blogged about my connection with pigs, and their spiritual representation of abundance. I feel drawn to kingfishers, which to me represent both protection and rage. These are helpful and unhelpful aspects of personality. Kingfishers will fight other kingfishers to death to protect their territory. That fits in with my portrait depicting rage. Some native American cultures consider the rattlesnake (utsonati) to be a potent medicine spirit, which fits in with recover. This would work well with pride, my sixth self-portrait.

Today I’ve also considered that I could make a plaster cast of my face, and then use the decoupage technique to blend my portraits with Letinsky’s photography to add a different dimension to the work I am producing.

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My tutor recently gave me some feedback, suggesting that I be open-minded to the organic evolution of my ideas. Today’s trip to the British Museum has done just that. Is anyone up for making plaster casts of my face? I can’t remember when I last got plastered!