Who are we?
We are nodes. The ones that fill these spaces with our stories weaved within historical and experiential complexities. But at first glance, these nuances get lost in stereotypical assumptions, and we carry symbolisms that unfortunately become condensed into a one dimensional thought that so dangerously disregards the struggles and successes we breathe.
At first, I am defined by a couple of signifiers made easy for people to place their own value judgement. A few apparent ones: I am a journalist. To most, it is a glamorous occupation and one that many may envy because I get to do what I love.
Another, I am a musician. People love that shit; the whole one woman band because it means that I am highly talented and I spend my time engaging in creative, meaningful and cathartic activities and that I have something to offer the world.
Another, I am a Subang kid. Which mean to others that I am extremely difficult to get to because the jam towards Subang is impossible and it also means that I am a little pampered and spoiled because Subang kids seem to have it easy with such a self contained town: we have universities, schools, shopping malls, cafes and a hipster barber that sells very expensive pomade.
Another, I am Monash Arts degree graduate (and the valedictorian for my batch). Which mean to others that, I am brilliant and smart and I study so well it seems that I have everything going great for me and that I have found my one true calling which is in social sciences and humanities. I have made my parents proud.
Another, I am an ex-believer (Christianity). Which mean to most Christians that something has gone wrong, was it my beliefs? Was it that I had no time for church? Was it the philosophy I was consuming in university? Was it the people and the church that I hated? Was it that I grew up and realised that life outside of the church was better? Dear goodness. I needed to be prayed for and hopefully I will come back to church one day and serve again and be a testimony to others. And that would also make my parents proud.
Another, I am queer. Which to certain groups of people mean, this is an abomination, I am abnormal, what the hell happened, what gone wrong, I have ruined my life, I hope she comes back to the right path, no worries she is bisexual that means there’s still hope to marrying a man and having a family. Oh no, does that mean she is engaging with many sexual partners and drug abuse? Oh goodness, I hope she’ll be okay. I hope she comes back to her senses.
Creation did not merely happen in 7 days but through a very intricate, time consuming and evolutionary process to which humans take hundreds and thousands of years to discover, theorize, study and understand.
We are pretty much the same. What you see and hear of me today isn’t a product of a mili-second fallacious assumption-attribution-judgement process you so conveniently think of. I am not a valedictorian because I woke up one day and realised that I am a genius, neither am I an ex-believer because I made a hasty decision to leave the church. More importantly, I am queer not because I woke up one day and thought that I should try this new ~progressive~ life out.
All these seemingly important identifiers that contributes to my make-up is a result of a life long collection of experiences that are made up of almost equal proportions of joy and pain.
To say that I am lost because I am no longer in church, and to say that I have ruined my life because I am queer is a statement so ignorant, it is as if you are saying that ‘he is bound to be a criminal because he is black’, and these are baseless assumptions to which you conveniently forget to delve deeper and understand. Unlike your assumptions, we are not one dimensional.
Rather than first implicating negative values to individuals you barely know (or know superficially, but have not taken the time to listen to their stories and try to be in their shoes), I implore that you first take the time to see who we are as an individual and then you’ll realise in fact that if you were to put us both on a scale of morality or happiness, I really am no different from you. We are all merely people trying to make do with what we’ve got and striving to better our lives in the way that we deem is important to us.
Because of the toxicity of one dimensional thought, I know of so many who are afraid to be who they really are and to that effect, fall into detrimental insecurities and depression. It is when we live under the weight of self propagated stigma and fear that we become, in that sense, senseless and ruined.
I live by very simple principles and I believe to me, that to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life, one must first learn to live an honest life, that is supplemented by consistent critical thinking towards oneself and the world they live in. There is good and there is bad in the world, but those things have very little in relation to my religious stand (or lack thereof) and my sexuality.
I apologize if I have wronged you or if I have (which I have) made unpalatable decisions in life, but who hasn’t? Horrible people (and wonderful ones) exists ubiquitously and is a universal part of life regardless of religion and sexuality.
I am still learning. But today as I write (rather hurriedly, sorry if melampau panjang), it is because I have learned a couple of things which I hope will never leave me: The best kinds of kindness comes from the individual decision to want to be kind despite not having a guidebook god to tell him or her so. Also, age does not define wisdom. Also, if there’s anything we should strife for in life, it is honesty, love and happiness.
No god needs to teach you that, and no sexuality should define whether or not you can or cannot achieve those things. We are who we are because we made a conscious decision to be those things, regardless of race, religion, sexuality and gender.
I wish you love.