Find what you're looking for

Sunday, 25 February 2018

On Trying To Fly With Lead Feet

Goodness, two posts in two days, this is a bit radical.

Being in a spring season (as I am), you tend to think a lot more about dreams. About all the things that you want to do, new things to try and start - it gets rather exciting. Because, you know, I don't have enough happening at the moment.....

Let me give you an idea of what I'm working on already.

I've got an album that I'm working on the recording for. Slowly getting a band together, but still looking for someone on cello and someone on sax (in case you know anyone). Doing the practice tracks in the little time that I have.
I've got Septimus, the board game that I made, that I'm working on improving. Looking at changing the system quite a bit, while keeping the key ideas of seven factions, and the encounters in a maze-type thing.
Then I also came up with a new idea for a game that I'm calling Squared, which I'm also working on.
Then I'm trying to do bits and pieces on my language, Aiyæthron, when I can.
Then I've got a play I'm involved in, with rehearsals about to start once a week.
Another play that I'm doing sound/lights for, which I need to start working on.
And a third play happening later in the year that I'm Assistant Director for.
Then I've got Youth Group with the Campbelltown Theatre on Thursday afternoons, and with church on Friday evenings.
And finally, I'm running a tabletop gaming night every week.
Oh, and work. XD

Needless to say, I have a lot on my plate. But my dreams - they're much bigger.

There's the musical that I've written with Mozart, The Narrator's Mad-Em, that I want to get out there. I think it has incredible potential - I want to see it opening one day at the Capitol Theatre, or the Opera House - heck, going overseas. Schools doing it as well.
I've got the book, Son, Brother, Bride, that I want to see helping men to understand themselves better - and helping to solve some of the massive struggles that men today face.
I want to start a creative space, where creative people can connect, inspire each other, and express themselves. Where there is freedom to collaborate, grow, and learn. To see that sprout up in other places as well, and grow well beyond me.
I want to build a community around the ideas of Crux - life, love, light, and truth - and see what flows from that. A community that wants to explore the ideas of identity more deeply, understand who they are, who others are, and who God is.
I want to start a songwriting ministry in a church - to the point where most of the songs that we sing have been written by those in the congregation. Not to be insular or exclusive about it - but rather recognising that the songs that we write are written out of what we are experiencing here and now, and therefore will be that much easier to connect to by those who are in the same here and now.
And I want to share my music with more people. I don't want to go travelling around the world with it or anything, getting to the stage where I'm doing shows day after day, or doing shows with thousands of people - but, say, regularly sitting down with a hundred or so people and sharing my songs, sharing my story.
Oh, and I want a family, of course. Wife and kids, that sort of thing. But that's a different sort of dream, that I've already waxed lyrical enough about before.

The difficulty is bi-fold. Firstly, if I even wanted to make one of these happen - the amount of time and effort required to get it happening would be more than I have to spare. I would probably need to finish up at one or both of my jobs to make it happen - and if I saw any return on the project (which is a massive if), it would take quite a while. And secondly - I couldn't do just one. That's not me, not how I work. I can't do just one thing. I need to be doing lots of different things at once. Which means, of course, that I can't really give anything the attention it needs to get to the stage I'm talking about above. At least, not while I have work.

And there's the rub. Because the cost of living these days, as I'm sure you're aware, is not fun. Many people find it difficult to get by. I'm quite fortunate in the work that I have - but even with what I have, I worry about finances. That worry would be rather exacerbated if, instead of having two regular jobs, I was trying to pick up bits and pieces from various creative endeavours. (Which, by the way, have insofar, throughout my life, earned me about as much as a few hours of work, maybe.) That's my struggle. It's also, by the way, why I'm rather keen on the idea of a UBI. (You can read my post about it here.) It would mean that I could actually do some of this - rather than having to choose between that and my job.

I've always been a big dreamer. But the world isn't very good at letting dreams happen. It's rather a heavy world that we live in, unfortunately. Flying is next to impossible. But maybe, one day....

Friday, 23 February 2018

The Slow Reveal Of Masculinity.

This is probably going to be a longer one. Just letting you folks know. I've wanted to write it for a while - finally getting around to it!

There's been a phrase gathering a bit of traction these days, which is 'toxic masculinity'. Some people hate this phrase, some people love it, some people don't understand it. I love it, because it means that people are starting to get the picture of what masculinity actually is. For those who haven't seen it or who don't get it, let me try and explain. It might be by a somewhat circuitous route.

masculinity and femininity (it looks strange, but that's the right number of Ns) are often thought of as opposites that are slowly getting closer. You get the picture of the yin and yang, or the spectrum of gender where male and female are at opposing ends. There's a bit of overlap, and it's starting to overlap more, but it's not much. Traditionally, male and female are mostly separate.

But this isn't the case at all. Instead, it's better to think of masculine and feminine as two mostly overlapping circles, that just have different centres. And unfortunately, our cultures have traditionally emphasised their extremes - the Rambo and the Barbie - when that's really not what masculine and feminine look like at all. (Thanks to Peter, one of the talkers on Impart, for that nugget of wisdom.)

In fact, this is where we get into that toxic masculinity. Because that's a big part of what it looks like. It's male behaviours that are toxic. And the problem is, these have often been encouraged or championed by Hollywood. To get an awesome understanding of this, I very heartily suggest The Pop Culture Detective Agency. He looks at this quite often, and in a really clever way, that's also quite in-depth. He also gives some great examples of what the opposite is. So I'm not going to go too much into examples of what toxic masculinity is, because he does that really well. But you don't have to have much imagination to find easy examples; like Weinstein, Trump, or our own Don Burke. They're the more extreme examples, though, and it's not always that obvious. For instance, PCDA lists many of Harrison Ford's characters (before you rage, have a look at the video for yourself); and James Bond is another common one mentioned.

Moving on, though - earlier, I said that I loved this. I do not mean that I love toxic masculinity! But I love that people are starting to call it out, and describe this. Because it means that people are starting to recognise that masculinity is bigger than just Rambo. That masculine doesn't have to mean macho.

For me, this is something that's so important. When I was younger, I had an extreme disassociation with traditional masculinity. Not all of a sudden, there wasn't anything that triggered it - just in who I was. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a particularly "guy"ey guy. And I very much knew that, growing up. I wasn't physically strong, and I certainly wasn't violent. I didn't get into fights, and I didn't want to. I didn't really get angry. I didn't want meat, meat, and more meat. I didn't like sports. I didn't like fast cars, or cars in general. And I didn't brag about girls. Admittedly, I had no girls to brag about, but still. I wouldn't have anyway.

Yet these felt like mandatory things to "be a man". That, because I preferred the library to the sports field, I was somehow less of a man. Or maybe even not a man! It didn't help that some of the things that I enjoyed or did were often seen as "feminine". Like music, or drama, or poetry, or skipping (not the rope kind). I didn't really mind, because to me that was better than being seen as like what a "man" seemed to be.

But now - that's no longer the case. Now, more and more, we're coming to understand that masculinity can look like many different things. Yes, it could be the strong man, or the sporty man; but it could also be the smart man, or the musical man, or the sensitive man, or the romantic man, or a million other things. And it's the same with femininity! There's just a bit of a spotlight on masculinity at the moment, because we tend to make bigger asses of ourselves, regardless of what type of men we are. I'd say it's a special talent, but I don't think it's particularly special....

Changing tacks for a moment to a related, but perhaps more controversial issue. At some points, I've sat down and reflected that if I had been born to a different family, brought up differently, I might well have decided to be a woman, because of some of what I've said above. That's the degree of separation I felt from the traditional masculinity. I sometimes wonder if that's what has happened with some other people - and if we were a bit better at letting people know it was okay for them to be a man or a woman in the way that they wanted that to look like, maybe people wouldn't feel the need to change. Not trying to say it's a bad thing! I think many have found it really helpful and freeing, and that's awesome. (Though not for me.) But I think we have made it hard for people.

However, I'm glad that that's not what I ended up doing. Not because I think being a woman would be bad, or anything! But because now I have an opportunity - to help define what masculinity should look like. And I think that's pretty cool. It's a big responsibility - but thankfully, it's not just up to me! :)

Sunday, 18 February 2018

On Watching Pots.

You're probably familiar with the expression, "a watched pot never boils." Well, I may be a professional pot watcher....admittedly, I tend to use the kettle when I actually want to boil water. But, of course, it's a metaphor for a reason.

There have been a fair few times in life now where I get to a particular goal along the way, and kinda sit back and relax. Nothing I can do about it now! Not up to me! I've done all I can do!.....but that's really not the case, of course. And it's not in the sense of passing the blame, or offloading chores and the like - though I'm sure I've done that now and then.

No, it's actually in regards to relationships. (It's me. Of course it's going to be that.) I feel like with every time - whether it's in telling someone how I feel, or meeting/catching up with them for the first time (with online dating and such) - once I do that, I almost palm it off to them. Okay, what now? I leave it up to them. As if people should know that sort of thing this early on, or have reached some sort of conclusion this quickly; because that makes sense....

And I just watch and wait. And hope. And then get all surprised when it doesn't work out again....

I think I need to get better at giving pots some space and time - but also being better at not needing an answer right now. Not having to ask where they're at so early, or where to from here, or however I want to put it. I don't know.

Still figuring all this out feels weird. I get that I didn't have much say in that - yay, Asperger's! - but it's annoying being so behind. Feel like I've got enough stacked against me without that as well.

Ah, well. We're getting there. Slowly.