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!!!

Nerves of steely heels

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The weather has been warmer this week, although winter is nearing closer. I cast my mind back to the sweltering of Rarotonga…that was a time in my life I shall probably not forget, mostly because I did not enjoy being there at all.

The hostility of love when neither partner can fathom feelings, let them go and simply enjoy the surrounds. I can’t go back and change things though…maybe it’s all history forever.

I’d like to think not.

I’m fretting a little as a ready myself for a nighttime cigarette before an early night. I’ll be getting up early before the camera crew and interviewer arrive. Luckily I know the person interviewing me.

I’m a bit scared about opening up to a faceless audience, revealing my traumas. When I commit to talk story as research it’s always powerful. I definitely know my shit and I have aeons of ancestors within my throat, they can be heard in the resonance which bewitches. I lull minds to awaken with my talk-story voice…it’s ancient and lyrical.

But still, it’s me…people will watch their TVs and through the feature, people will know how fallable I am. I need to keep reminding myself I came back from the dead and have rewoven myself, and that’s a transformative tale to uplift others.

Sleep, sing songs of echoed anachronisms, like lullabys of words forgotten and out of their use by dates. Fates collide in the stillness of a body that sways between states.

Maketh me through mimicry, pretend my heart still beats, neatly folded away within layers of forgetting. The sun it rises and falls so slowly. I tamed it to give myself time to shine.

It’s all mine, a minefield of yielding but never stopping, bending but never ending. Begin again and again and again.

Otown news

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Tears of sorrow, joyfully trace soothing rivers upon my cheeks. They are ancient memories, like glaciers melting that set the past free.

In the wee hours of the morning as the heavy fog sets auroras alogow, I alight into the mist…I must dance in the haze.

Amaze me, every days and all of the nights, set sights higher and envision peace amidst the screaming collision of worldy chaos.

Adiós my friend, I love you.

Yesterday was the first day of a funded two day media training workshop I applied to attend. It was intense but I enjoyed that I’ve become fluid and adept in an interview situation, even in front of a camera. Today I’ll pitch my PhD research to a panel of journalists. I already know it’s newsworthyness.

My PhD is filled with so much anguish, negative experience, abuse, trauma healing and beautiful love. It’s so me.

I’m about to let my research fly beyond gender binaries and barriers to good knowledge about sexual identity.  

Adiós my friend. I love you.

Becoming me

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Pic by Roÿmata Holmes

Imaging pathways beyond, the fronds of overhanging forest leaves and branches no longer block momentum…no more hangovers.

I imbibe life, leaving me immune to the decaying past, which is all just memories.

Last night I had feverish dreams. I stood in the old house remembering the youth I had forgotten, my dead father smiling at me because he was proud. I see a good future ahead.

I no longer live and walk dead, I am the person who refused to be beaten and instead forced myself from the slumber of sedate sanity – normalcy and the nine to five fracas will never be my street party. I gave that vision up for the challenging existence from the margins.

I’m lying in bed today, and yesterday too. I have orders from the doctors that it’s ok to chill…I have been so busy. I sent my PhD thesis edits off to my creative supervisors. It’s fucking epic. I am excited to submit it and let it fly because it’s the most engaging artwork I have ever made – a self portrait of intense and honest change to a status quo of dying every day.

I have been working on a lit review to assess access to healthcare for Māori transgender people. It is part of a 3 year project to survey takatāpui wellbeing. The literature spells out an intensely complex web of barriers that will only change when someone is able to understand where the flaws in the system are entrenched and offer ways to strategically challenge them. That person is me.

I got news yesterday that another project I supported to survey and account for transgender people in Aotearoa New Zealand just got funded. I can’t believe that as soon as I am about to submit my PhD thesis on tradtional Māori weaving processes, and the ways they can heal historical sexuality and gender trauma, opportunities to practice my theory arise.

I applied for a job as a curator.

The universe is goodness and fair x.

Zzzz

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I can’t sleep.

It’s raining.

My mind races.

I’m getting up to smoke a fag.

Let the storm pass soon.

On a positive note I’ve had an epic week. He Manawa Whenua conference was on and I got to spend good time with a lot of the world’s brightest and staunchest Indigenous scholars. Seeing them and hearing their words was empowering. I love the company I keep. I love having deeply transformative conversations with like minds. I intensely adore the realness.

I have found a good place to be and grow.

Who was that guy I used to die as all the time? I’m sad for all he had to go through to become me. I loved him for all his trauma and his happy smile.

Time to live for us both!

But I’ll smoke that fag first.

Pākehā new yeah

This is a Pākehā new year apparently -we have to go by the new dates that some random megalomaniac in Italy devised for y’all a few thousand years ago. It’s a fad that won’t last cos it’s out of synch with the reality people are finally starting to wake up to.

There’s no such thing as time.

In writing that, I’m glad that one phase is coming to a natural conclusion. I’ve been focussing on finishing my thesis…I mean, for the past four years I have been saying that I am focussing on finishing my thesis, but now I’m nearly finished…26 more days and then I am sending it off to my supervisors for final feedback – print and then submit.

These past few months have been intense so I am enjoying wiping some slates clean and moving on with life, it’s time to let go and be free for a welcome change.

I have started doing some very low key performance artwork in Rotorua, where I live. An old man physically abused me even though I was only writing a story about our polluted lake with chalk on cobblestones…he even tried to push me in the lake before I turned into an angry Māori betch. Really, this series of performance works are the winding up of my PhD creative works. I’ve realised that my PhD project has been a process of stripping my artwork back the essentials, where my voice is no longer trapped and enslaved by the expected layers of thinking demanded by academentia in contemporary art. Screw ‘contemporary art’ and ‘art theory’. Fuck art, I’m into the creation of taonga. I enjoyed making taonga about taonga yesterday…it made me free again.

Anyway, back to the thesis at hand xxx