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June 5, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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It’s 2am.
A drunken sprawl of words and clothes on the right hand side of my bed. I lay on my bed, feeling like I gave myself excuses for incoherency. Another night with full intention but no method of actualising said desires.
I knew all too well what I wanted to write about, how I wanted to articulate it. But when it comes to pen on paper it’s not that I can’t, I simply won’t. How can you articulate this feeling and assume that someone will feel similar? I go over this in my own head every single night. Is this feeling true? Is this feeling going to be represented accurately anyway? Even this piece as my work will be judged, likely edited beyond and outside of the scope of what I intended to write till my words are slurred beyond the point of reason and intellect. Is it enough to justify doing something about it? What if I’m wasting someone else’s time? What if I’m wasting my own time? At what point is it just safe to say enough is enough?
The point here is not something that transcends race, gender, religion, or otherwise. Affecting us in a myriad of ways, it has followed us, and the recent social revolutions have done something to upturn the stigma, but in what circles? At what point will it be as normal to feel like this as it would to feel any other way?
It’s challenging to provide someone with info you immediately impart knowing the expected impression of prejudice. When discussing myself, I feel an ever-present sense of fear. How will they react if I say this, will they tell their mates? Will I be tormented behind my back? Will I be judged and alone? I experience a fear like nothing else of being blacklisted from any environment. When I was ten a family member said he liked the way I speak my mind. I learnt to stop that pretty quickly, so as not to stick out. We’re not to unsettle others or make them uncomfortable with words, decisions, or actions. What does it take to make someone else uncomfortable? Is it my tastes, my choices, my clothes, my home, my finances? How can I know? Am I entitled to know? What really is at the core of someone being uncomfortable and what, if anything, can be learnt from the squeamish feeling of guilt, lust or otherwise?
I worry about these things, because I catch myself having the exact same considerations. I catch myself thinking I’m better than this person, despite thinking I’m not worth shit. Or that I’m smarter, better looking, better dressed than them. And when some people talk to me, I notice they’re thinking the exact same thing, and I’d never feel as incompetent as I do in that moment.
I can’t think of how many times I’ve told people to never go back to that person who was fucking with their heads, or to have patience and be rational and I’ve lived my life having done the complete opposite in excess. Can I really afford to judge others in this way when I myself am making mistakes that are clear to others? There’s a disconnect here. Even if I was following all the rules I set for others, does that earn me the privilege to play the age-old game of “I told you so”? How can I, even if achieving my own expectations, feel validated to chastise people for their failures? It seems right to practice what you preach, but what benefit comes from shadowing those in guilt with your own bullshit preaching? Do people’s own mistakes connect with them most, or do they really learn best through others experience and advice? Do they need a mix to concoct their own understanding of where they want to sit on the spectrum of societal norms?
But are these really mistakes? Or is this just my character? Am I judging others on the preconceived notions I’ve been taught, though not applying those norms to myself as I subconsciously realise they’re stupid anyway? What really indicates who I am as a person?
What did you think I was talking about? What made you think that?

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this