Even knowing the alternatives and distractions, I turn them down to stay in and wallow in the ego-satisfaction of indulging my self-pity.
And then I remember Grub Hub exists, and I can have a hot bowl of egg noodles and shrimp wonton at 2:30 am, and the self-pity become self-satisfaction.
Then self-pity again.
Then I go to bed and hope to wake up in a better mood.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m awesome and hella cute. And that if someone doesn’t think I’m awesome and hella cute, then that’s their problem, not mine.
The summer heat has finally arrived in the city, fashionably late. I’m already a warm-bodied person to begin with, and as the balmy air heats my veins, my desires boil over, and every guy looks like a potential mate/date/meal. It’s an exciting frustration, to want to peel off whatever light garments they have on, touch their skin, sticky and moist, kiss and lick the salt, dirt, and sweat.
I then wonder if anyone is looking at me and thinking these thoughts. I desire desirability. I want to be someone’s object of affection. Someone’s mental image to masturbate to. Sometimes I want to be fetishized, just as I fetishize thin pretty educated bearded white boys.
I’ve told my friend, “I want to date more men of color. I’m thinking of going off the white meat.”
For me, sex and intimacy with white men are always fraught with undercurrents of power and subjugation. As much as I want to separate myself from these ideas, to say that I only value the person in front of me, and not everything else - all the cultural signifiers and the challenge or impossibility of attainability, these things always come into play on the street and in the sheets.
Can I see someone else just for who they are, who they’re trying to be, and how they’ve constructed their reality? I see myself as a product of socialization, as an embodiment of Philippine history, of colonialism, and diaspora. How can I not see others as such?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am worthy of love, most of all, from myself.
It’s easy to blame white culture, white supremacy and western beauty standards. It’s easy to realize that these social constructions are discriminatory and dangerous. It’s easy to see that they are the result of colonialist, capitalist patterns of behavior, and they have a long histories of enslaving people, cultures, minds.
I’ve been wanting to free myself from this, to say that these constructed notions of desirability have nothing to do with me. That I don’t need to follow them. And yet I find that I instinctively use them as well. I’m not as free as I’d like to be.
But I’m trying. The more I remind myself that I’m fine, I’m great, I’m whole, I’m beautiful and magical - the more I begin to believe it.
I’m at the airport waiting another hour for my flight back to Chicago.
This Toronto trip has been one of the most productive, rejuvenating, and enlightening trips I’ve taken in a long while. I got to meet some amazing people (thanks to Kyol & friends), eat great food, sing karaoke, dance with my fellow Chicago queers, and see lots of inspiring art.
The past few weeks after graduating from art school have been full of ennui and despondency. But now I’m coming back home with a more open heart and a forward-looking frame of mind.
Thanks, Toronto. You’ve been super cute.
It’s hard not to think like a star has imploded in my galaxy, vanished, leaving a scar on the night sky.
The sun comes soon as it always does, they say, but a part of me will shut the blinds and curl into bed alone, sleeping through the daylight, waking up in the afternoon with only a couple precious hours left till its night again, and the night will be a little bit dimmer.
I will write poems about you like a high school child, using cliche’d metaphors easier to chew, swallow, regurgitate, encapsulate the complexity of us in past tense: did, had, were, was.
What do I even want from you now when I think I’ve heard it all and it was hard to hear and I don’t want to hear it again.
A part of me knows no one is at fault, and a light that’s dim is still a light and your eyes can adjust in darkness.
And a part of me will put on high heels or Cowboy boots and dance into the wee hours, night be damned.
This is considered the largest wooden structure in the world, last time I checked. It’s in Sevilla, about 30 mins from Rota, a small village where I was stationed with the US Navy in Spain for 3.5 years.
I went to my storage unit today and pulled out a bunch of Polaroids which I’m installing and selling for 2nd Friday at the Greenhouse. A lot of the photos are from my time in Europe, and I got nostalgic for that period in my life.
There was an innocence about that time. I was blessed with youth and a paycheck twice a month. I traveled anywhere in Europe as I pleased. If I wanted to go to London for the weekend, I could. I visited Paris and Barcelona at least 4 times each. The friends I kept around me were wonderful and supportive, for the most part, and also loved to travel.
Nevertheless, there was a prying dissatisfaction, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be there in the military, that every fiber of my being was telling me I needed to be making art and being around more like-minded people. It felt suffocating. The first quarter of 2011 was a long waiting game for my separation on May of that year.
During my last year in the military (and consequently, my last year in Spain), I took on a project in which I photographed my life with Polaroid cameras. I called it Placer Instantáneo (Instant Pleasure). Each day I designated a Polaroid photo for that day. Today, I went through some of those photos, looking at a life I lived so long ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed. I’m not that person anymore. I still have similar hopes, dreams, but I’m much more affirmed of my place in life. Though times are harder now (I rarely travel, as I’m just barely getting by with rent and food and art supplies), I’m much more confident in my skin, I feel much better supported and loved by family, friends and lovers, and so much happier in every sense.
Changed my Facebook language settings to Filipino. I had it on Spanish for a few years when I was living in Spain and immersing myself in the language. Now I hardly speak Spanish, though it does come in handy when I teach yoga, or randomly in the street when someone asks me for directions.
I realize I need a language partner or a friend here in Chicago I can speak Filipino/Tagalog with. Maybe even Ilocano, since I think I’ve pretty much lost that tongue (though I still understand it perfectly - my mom often talks to me in Ilocano, and I respond in Tagalog).
I also want to get back to learning French, as I’m visiting my lover in Paris this summer.
And then I wanna try learning Mandarin. And work on reading and writing Sanskrit, which I was introduced to in Yoga Teacher Training. I found out recently that Sanskrit was a big influence in some the indigenous alphabets of the Philippines. When I was trying to learn Sanskrit, It reminded me of when I was learning Hirigana in elementary school, another phonetic alphabet.
My lover mentioned once how he feels displaced through being bilingual, that it does something, not just to one’s mind/thought patterns, but also inter-relationally. I wonder what it’s like for other people who speak multiple languages, or has had exposure to a wide variety of ways of expression.
This has been an intense couple of days, channeling people’s conflicting energies, and seeing destruction and desperation in people I care about.
But as the dust is clearing, a few things have begun to make sense again: that community and friendships are paramount. That providing for one another, and trying not to expect too much in return, make for good, solid relationships. That sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone suffering is to be honest, and still hold room for kindness.
I’m also beginning to deconstruct my own patterns, or at least assess them. I am a giver. I get by giving. But just because I find satisfaction in providing for others and giving them room to be themselves, does not, or should not, exclude my own needs. I’ve found that I have a limit to my love and the energy I can give, and that’s OK.
I am, and have always been, very independent, and very selective of who I let in, or keep, in my life. And I guard these individuals fiercely, and love them with all my heart. Until today, I’ve never asked anyone to do that for me, to confirm that I have a special place in their life. And I asked, and it was one of the scariest things I’ve done. But it was met with kindness, and the realization that I, too, deserve to be loved.
Are most friendships this complicated and, for lack of a better word, “deep”? Perhaps it’s a queer thing? Whatever it is, I’m glad to experience it. And I’m glad to have the people in my life to experience it with.
Oh, winter. The blues you bring. I’m eagerly awaiting rebirth.
So, I’m on Winter Break until Jan 25. YAY!
It’s been hard to get myself to sleep early and get out of bed before noon, and sometimes I think, why should I have to? It’s cold outside, and if I decide to stay in and watch documentaries and Chinese movies on Netflix and order Grub Hub all day, I have every single right to do so.
But I’m usually kind of a go-getter, and so I set to work today and applied for 6 different artist opportunities (juried contests, exhibitions, and performance proposals), and contacted 4 different project collaborators.
Also picked up my groceries at the neighborhood Co-Op, and cooked myself a delicious vegetarian brunch and dinner.
I’d say today was quite a success.
Now off to get ready and dance my heart out at Chances Dances @ the Hideout! YAY!
Kiam Marcelo Junio, 2012
Kiam Marcelo Junio
Untitled (Long Distance Lovers)
Bad news is, I may not be able to go to Vancouver and San Francisco over winter break as I had intended.
Good news (though it doesn’t quite balance it out) is the laser cutter will be available at my school starting Jan 2. Which means I can make more mirror art!
Another good news is, if you’re in Chicago and you’ve been hoping to schedule a photo session with IAMKIAM Photography, NOW IS THE TIME. I have all the time in the world, and a brand new awesome camera to shoot your lovely faces.
A/G/A is a collective I’ve been involved in since this summer. I have performed with the group in monthly Cabaret Cabaret shows, held at the A/G/A HQ (1619 W 16th St) in Pilsen. It’s always a crazy night with bold performances, music, and readings. Come check us out sometime!
This Saturday, we debut durational performances throughout the home-gallery space. Come by and see some crazy and relevant, but rarely pretentious, art! I’ll be performing select actions from a current piece, Actions for an Asian Immigrant in the A/G/A basement space.
Are YOU that somebody?
It’s back! LOVERS & COVERS is here to let you croon & make you swoon. What do you need to do to get in on the action?
1) Send juicy (anonymous, if desired) emails, letters, texts and the like from your loves & exes for dramatic interpretation by TIEN TRAN & KIERAN KREDELL of Lady/Watch. (Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on FB.)
2) Hit me up if you’d like to sing a song! There’s room for a couple more tunes, but you’ll already be dazzled by the voal talents of KYLE CASEY & SARA KERASTAS, KIAM MARCELO JUNIO and VAJAQUEQUE BROWN!
3) RSVP here for access to the hosted bar from 8-9pm (and ignore the info about the BEACH PARTY, which had to move to another date but is coming soon!):http://do312.com/event/2012/07/09/salonathon
Be there tomorrow (Monday) night, July 9, 2012, 8:00 pm
Beauty Bar is located at 1444 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622
Facebook event page:http://www.facebook.com/events/201064890021238/