Gok-Lim: Becoming Theyself

As always and also, I find myself in the middle of finding myself in the middle of a collaborative art project on a deadline responding to multiple good people who deserve my time.

I lay down sheets of paper in a grid to be the days, hours, minutes of colonial time. Which is the time by which I live and die, and the time under which I try to understand its construction.

Look, they’re imperfect, they jostle. One moment in time shifts the others out of joint. Think of the systems that collapse in the face of a pandemic. Or think of the system that have always relied on entering the space of another. Or think of how, like Ruthie says, Capitalism requires inequality to function, and racism enshrines it.

To be clear, the only generative thing I’ve done is listened over the past six months. And to make that listening generative I try to do so with others, and to do so in a way that inserts me into the narratives as one who may hurt and who may commit hurt to others. Thinking of myself not as my body but as something that lies between the gaps.

What if I want to take time to rest and grow? What if I want to be silent, plantlike? What if my reply is stillness, a pause? It hasn’t felt like I’ve paused in so long. it’s felt like I’ve tried to reply to respond to answer calls of injustice. Bla(c)k Lives across so called Australia, Yemen, Hong Kong, West Papua, Philippines, disabled lives. It helps to think of these as linked. It’s hard to think of the links through the art that I have seen, because they fall back on a concept of humanity. And in the face of what is happening, what does humanity have to do with it? I don’t know if I just haven’t been listening though.

Pictured: A scrolling instagram feed showing posts from instagram.com/sjfinchee from January to July 2020. Pictures of Black Lives Matter activism, Weitou and Cantonese disaspora artists, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, First Nations activism, Men’s healing circles, Animal Crossing, a small white fluffy dog, Matt Chun video essay on police brutality, Prison Abolitionist dialogue, Marxist memes, Indonesian LGBTQIA+ activists, Gender Fluidity is Ancestral memes, pigeon memes, photos of their partner, Community Care images, Hong Kong activism, mutual aid, poetry from Ellen Van Neervan, Abolish Australia on the Aboriginal flag, an image from Princess Kaguya of a small child playing with wild boar, images of food, Indigenous Poetry Prize, Policing is an inherently violent institution, Collective Care is our Future, Mutual Aid is our way of life, Working through internalised racism, There is ancestral trauma but don’t forget Ancestral Joy, Colonialisation is the longest Pandemic, We have a sacred responsibility to imagine our futures, The law would never hold the white supremacist state accountable because it would have to destroy itself, images of pietro from Animal Crossing, Model Minority histories, Miranda Tapsell monologue written by Nakkiah Lui, Anti-racism for Asians, Capitalism needs Racism to function, Let a thousand Autonomous Zones bloom written as street art, Racism in the Arts, Rewrite the stories you told yourself, before you knew yourself, illustrated images of Women of Colour caring for one another, Quotes from Audre Lorde on not giving up on creating your future, the history of slavery in the US, images of Rachel Ang’s artwork about coming out of lockdown, Protest Live Stream, MCA’s institutional racism, working on internalised racism, the link between overt and covert white supremacy in Australia, Angela Davis lectures, Racism is still the biggest pandemic we face, How time functions as a colonial project.

I’m in the process of changing my name, accepting my non-binary identity, accepting my cultural identity, changing from being someone with no boundaries who only serves others, to someone who has healthy boundaries and is able to understand and help others in a way that doesn’t let them down in the middle of a global pandemic where everyone is suddenly waking up to the racism and white supremacy that we are all saturated in and I want to hear you. I want to reply in a way that listens to you completely.

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