I’ve been thinking a lot about my race lately, namely, what it means to be mixed.
I’ve always been aware that I’ve been ‘other’ to my mostly white friends. My olive complexion always being remarked on, what a “lovely colouring I have” and how I “must get a great tan.” Before people even read my last name, they tilt their heads at me and I can see the cogs turning in their heads as they try and figure out the most sensitive way of asking where I’m (or my parents are) from.
It didn’t really occur to me just how obsessed with are, as a society, with the idea of love, being loved and being in love. Earlier this year, I became single for the first time in two and a half years, and suddenly, I felt my worth being diminished by 79% (a very accurate and scientific guestimation). I wasn’t part of a couple anymore, so I was less valuable, less desirable, and less interesting.
“We need to know about other’s lives to know that we’re okay… you need to live bravely to encourage people to live bravely in their own lives.”
Laura Jane Williams on Fiona Barrows’ There Are Other Ways podcast
I love sharing my life online. I don’t know what it is about it, but I do find something truly cathartic about getting my thoughts and feelings out into the world. This is especially true when people really respond to it, saying that they too feel that way, or they also struggle with this certain thing.
I got accused recently of sharing too much of myself online, particularly the bad parts. Someone close to me said that my social media presence was taking too much of a ‘negative’ turn, particularly on Instagram. That sharing certain parts of my life – such as struggles with mental health and loneliness – was not something people wanted to see. “Instagram is where we go to escape,” they said, “we don’t want to be reminded of the sad things in life.”
All artwork featured in this post is by Ayqa Khan. Follow her work here.
Let’s talk about facial hair; in particular, let’s talk about facial hair on women.
Over the weekend, I posted a selfie to Instagram. I was having a good day, trying out some new makeup, and was feeling myself. It occurred to me, after taking a few shots, that my upper lip hair looked more pronounced than usual. Which is not uncommon in the winter months, as that’s generally when I tend to notice my upper lip hair, as there’s not as much sun around to do its natural bleaching.
I woke up two hours before my alarm. It happens sometimes, usually when I’ve had too much caffeine the day before, and my body can’t fully relax. Lately though, I’ve been waking up earlier due to a sinking feeling in my chest. An emotional anchor, a grieving.
I put the feelings to one side and began my morning routine of social media hopping. Logging on to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – in that order – to catch up on the world’s events while I’ve been asleep. I only ever spend the briefest amount of time on Facebook where possible, as it has become overrun by memes and clickbait videos I’m not interested in. But that morning, I came across a video that compelled me to stay.