writing to re-wire

I’m writing up a storm at the moment. It’s research writing – concrete and structural, sensuality sidelined for the hard-line of text to motivate policy plasticity. I love writing research aimed at structural change. The tools of the oppressor, learn how to use them to break the system.

I used to think words were cement, pulling me down beneath the surface to suffocate. Written text is tortuously permanent and pedantic. That’s why the world is slow to change – words have too much power.

This week I’m writing an article that describes barriers to accessing equitable and quality healthcare for Māori who are transgender. So much about public healthcare problematises transpeople and looks for ways to fix us. The real problem is that society needs fixing.

I’m trying not to watch the news. I have been pretty good at filtering out all the faff lately, but since the election in Aotearoa I have been interested to gauge where things are headed. I shouldn’t waste my time because regardless of who gets into power I am still stuck living with an invader’s government. I can manage my life fine thank you very much. I’d be able to manage it a lot better if it weren’t so dictated by billboards, supermarkets, cars, roads, shops, footpaths, farmland, television and satelites – alien terrains terrorising my territory.

I heard a buzzing in the sky the other night. It was faint and because I am always listening to music through my headphones I almost didn’t hear it. When I looked up I saw the unmistakable front and back end lights of a drone. I stopped. The drone stopped. I walked. The drone moved again. I altered the direction I was walking in. The drone wavered with uncertainty. I threw stones at the fucker…eventually it went its own way. That’s the second time I have seen a drone hovering nearby lately. Next time I  get followed by a drone ima browneye the fucker.

I hate this surveillance reality, but I am not going to change nor hide.

I had a blast at a poetry slam last weekend. Betch got her legs out and turned up the heat a little. I laid down some deep shit, as I do. I was feeling shy and nervous, but people really responded and I felt good to deliver some rivers flowing. I was pretty tired though having spent the morning flying to Christchurch for a meeting to present some research and then flying straight back to Rotorua for the gig. This week I have been working from Hamilton and tonight I will spend the night in Auckland for a board meeting tomorrow. Next week is crazy, I’m home in Rotorua for kapa haka practice and a few days chill, then flying to Auckland for a panel on hidden priviledge, flying home again and then back to Auckland for the following weekend to facilitate an HIV community leadership workshop. I get a day’s rest at home in Rotorua before heading to Hamilton to install my final PhD work and perform my final creative work. The next day is my oral examination. Once I’m examined I’m publishing my entire thesis on this blog, which btw is one of the major works created for the thesis.

Dr. Mary-Legs is on huuuuuuurrrr way. Life is busy but somehow the makeup stays all day and the smiles keep on coming.

Fuck those drones – they ain’t got the battery to last my distance.

Horizon

Awaken afresh a fresh start, art is the awa through which my energy engages it’s flow. I flew a million miles to get here, neither a him nor her, a hermit heretic hell-bent on healing harm…arm myself with aroha.

The New Zealand elections were last night. It looks as though we will have the same government agenda continue and yet amplify it’s dangerous and colonizing intent. The decision-maker is a well known bigot and blamer of Māori, even though he is Māori.

It’s time for Māori to truly commit to the vitality our ancestors have gifted us over aeons and refuse this process to progress. We will see a regression in policies and a return to tactics that seek to wipe us out. We must remember the 70s and 80s when we protested this country the fuck out it’s reverie.

Battle strategy tactics on the streets, in boardrooms, in classrooms, in conferences, in courtrooms and in council chambers.

Challenge the process, deny it and utilise the wairua of te ao marama to bring back the light to our hearts in this world of deadened emotions!

I feel fuller than ever before in my life…so this is what it is like to feel good?

I have been flying all over the country lately, every week somewhere different spreading my art research.

I received my thesis examiner’s reports last Monday. They are both epic. I have my oral exam and final exhibition-performance in a few weeks. I am going to rock my art like never before. I have joined a gym and been training my body like the  beautiful androgynous muther-fucker I am, as often as I am able. Three weeks already and I look sleek and dangerous.

Swim fly run rings around the burning sun. Time to get up for kapa haka practice.

Everywhere

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Can’t you hear me calling out your name? The same song over and over catastrophes, super-novae, cataclysmic events, disaster, after effects and post-mortems.

Analysis.

Anal….why is this anything important enough to be an issue?

That’s my rhyming for the day. I’m well plastered. The faster the furious, the more frenzied the curious inquiry.

I have been trying out video and photo apps, so that it’s easier to make art on the go. It’s hard to steer the apps to do what I want them to do, but it’s just a beginning and I’m sure that eventually I’ll be able to find good ways to make art using them.

Regardless, it has felt good to be on a creative buzz again. I’m the type of person who makes art at a prolific rate. I need to make art or I begin to die…writing a PhD can kill that buzz – spoiler alert for anyone wanting to make art-making the focus of a long research project.

I’m still a long way from mastery of these apps, but new technologies change fast – by the time I learn them good they will function the way I need
them to.

I love to fly xxx

Emote

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I’ve been chilling lately – mostly because I have had the flu. It has been sucky to be sick, but at the same time I have been glad to stay in bed and read.

I’m getting over flu-ness though. Really, my body just needed time to get rid of the build up. Last week I started to train again and this week I have been getting into hardcore rehearsals for my final PhD performance. It’s really pretty good and I’m curious to see where it might lead.

It has been good to be feeling the creative feels again…my fingers itch to make art and my mind flips with formations firing fast.

Rather than get to making though, I’m wading – there’s time to kill at the moment and I’m making the most of it – things will change again soon and I’ll be busy as fuck, so I need to enjoy the calm ground.

I’m a media-slut and am in the national paper today. I feel awkward as fuck having been on tv twice over the past month and now having a profile piece in today’s online news. Racism, HIV/Sexuality and Suicide are the dominant themes thus far. Last week I got asked to speak on an upcoming panel for Auckland Musueum’s LATE series, on ‘invisible priviledge’ – I’m looking forward to that and am having a practice by talking with my nephews this eveing about their priviledge. They are good boys, but lately they have been typical teenagers and have forgotten how blessed they are to live in a safe village amongst whānau. They need to be reminded about the responsibilities that come with priviledge? and the costs when priviledge is abused.

Anyway, I’m hiding out today and being the chillest cos tomorrow I’m headed to Melbourne for work till Sunday. It’s work that I enjoy in the HIV sector, where as a facilitator of a peer leadership program, myself and others are updating the program we deliver. I feel like it can be so much better and I’m planning on being at my collaborative best to help toward good outcomes.

Time to fly.

Yayday

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Yayday payday making me queenly in my kingdom. Don the fanfare fashion and bare witness, the whiteness is just a wash and although awash through my thoroughfares, I am thorough enough to apply colour where necessary.

I’m on the other side of submission and it feels pretty fairy. Glittery glissandos of generous abundance…dance, it always makes me feel better.

I still have a few final performance works to prepare before examination but the seriously hard yards are done.

When I think of this PhD journey I want to cry for the extended pain of rebirth, but without it I was withering, wasted and just a watered-down version of reality. Sometimes you gotta feels the feels to fully feel again.

Since submitting I had a few job interviews scheduled, but after the first one realised I already have created the beginnings of my dream-life. I’ve reset from colonised circuitry and am now whole as the Māori person my ancestors intended for. I didn’t go to the second interview but instead committed to the projects I am working on which excite and fill me with hope…suddenly I have been blessed with more work doing what I live for.

I have taken myself out for brunch…the rosé is delicious. One of the men I dated during the first part of my PhD always gave me shit for eating out by myself, but I enjoy my own company…I am a pleasure to be with.

And so as I order a second glass of wine and some fries because the eggs, bacon and mushrooms I ate will not sustain me for the amount of research words I need to progress today – I enjoy the wintery sun, I give thanks to my tūpuna. I give thanks to atua and I give thanks to the many tāngata who have helped me on this journey and am excited for all that is to come.

XXX

Submission

I’m taking myself out to the movies tonight…to see Transformers.

I pretty much spent most of the day in  bed, after cleaning my room and burning some sage and then sweetgrass.

I needed some chill time to release the pent up PhD anxiety…which for the most part is over.

I submitted my thesis yesterday.

It is a beautiful thesis. I’m so proud for my achievement in getting it out. I was on TV the night before last and lots of people have been saying, “hey, I saw you on Māori TV the other night…amazing korero bro”.

My skin is hideous and I need to get my body back in shape after these years of not looking after myself properly to birth my research taonga.

Come back to the world.

Get up

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Wake up you

Get golden hued

Find the fitness

Meet the witness

Magic in the middle

You do the math

Cement the path

Time to solve the riddle

Today I’m doing things simply. This week has been dramatic but I’m firmly grounded regardless.

In 5 days I’m handing my PhD thesis in. Just a few little edits left and off to the printers on Monday. I gotta get some paid work done too, so that I can afford to pay for the printing lol.

The head of Native Studies in Arizona wants me to go there and help them set up a creative practice PhD program. That’s a job for this week, beginning that discussion and looking for funding. I’d like to go for a year.

I submitted a few abstracts this week. One was on barriers to healthcare access for transgender Māori, the other was on kaupapa Māori creative strategies to empower the HIV sector.

I have been cray emailing cuators and scholars all over the world during the past week as well. I think there needs to be a Takatāpui/Two Spririt gathering in 2019, with a focus on creative practice and relational strategies toward healing our land, communities and futures.

I don’t care that I’m a black, hairy, HIV positive fucking tranny who’ll never get the chop cos I love my dick.

I’m guna change the world.

Dreams

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I’ve been dreaming a lot lately. My meds give me vivid as fuck dreams that often would leave me tired all day because I’d been on such amazing nighttime adventures.

Smoking weed would make me dream not and so for years I was able to sleep in black silence, with no memory of twilight travel.

Once in Southern Puget sound my friend asked me what I thought dreams were and I told her I thought they were messages from tūpuna. She agreed, and we both talked about how our pot smoking might be blocking important messages from ancestors…three hummingbirds found us that day and flew circles around our heads before darting away into the distance. We ate huckleberries, blackberries and blueberries from bushes as we walked home contemplating.

I’ve stopped smoking weed for quite a while now and have been dreaming about the facial moko I want to get. Last night I dreamed of applying for a 50K public art commission. I’m making plans for both, and they’ll both be epic.

Time for my midas touch to morph between dream states and reality. Actuality rates right up there. Bear the weight of existence, the existential exodus between crisis and catharsis is carrying me to places beyond painful pasts.

Craft new futures and fly, flit like those hummingbird ancestors, like all those other birds that always drop their feathered messages from the sky. Collect the goodness and wear them in bundles around my neck.

What the heck, be that mermaiden whose scales turn to feathers…cascade between dimensions of fluid imaginings x.

Crackin’

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Yesterday I had the day off. I had a moment in front of my computer but then realised I couldn’t sustain any kind of work focus…instead I grabbed a ciggy and walked across the road to hang out with my niece.

Some days are meant for just being with whānau and switching off the rest of the world.

Winter is here. Normally this is the time of year to start winding down, but I have been in a slow dimension since January and I feel like now is time to begin upping the ante.

I really don’t know what lies ahead for me. It’s a disconcerting feeling to have worked hard toward something for four and a half years, in the hope that the task brings abundance, and then to be in a holding pattern conjuring and whispering a new life of plenty into being.

There is no Māori word for ‘being’ according to my creative supervisor in Hawai’i. Makes things problematic in some ways because my whole research project is about how to be happy just ‘being’.

I feel like really amazing stuff is coming my way but it’s all so intangible at the moment.

I’m activating a final round of edits before submitting this thesis.  Funny, I had been advised by my creative supervisor in Hawai’i to keep the theory and practice separate because that’s what you’re supposed to do with a creative practice PhD. The theory chapters are intense and powerful and then you get to these meandering descriptions of my practice…suffice to write the practice chapters are boring.

That’s fucked because my art is not flat and lifeless. Anyway, I took advice from my chief supervisor to theorise the practice chapters and then BAM, my whole thesis has come to life.

I feel like Dr Frankenstein bringing an assemblage monster into the land of the living.

Bits of this and that, lie flat and let me sew you together, feathers and metal tied to brick and nails. Hail, I see you towering above me and I submit to the power of your incoherence. With cowardice I die every day.

Nay, that’s no longer me. See these chains, they are but crumbling epitaphs to memories – constructs of fallacies fail when tested by the pull and push of wishes fulfilled.

She lives!!!