The meaning and value of places really do change through time.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at a library computer from where I spent 3.5 years of my life studying and trying to make sense of the world. Traditionally, computers at possibly any tertiary institution are arduously fought over, where demand exceeds supply to the point where having access to these exacerbates a primitive ideologies and behaviours due to irritating scarcity which make any territorial dispute look completely tame in comparison. Generally that means at least 26 out of the 52 weeks of the year, getting access to the computer is a political mine-field more ridiculous than any western political system and the spin doctors that work for them.
But today, on what was meant to be student holidays I’m sitting here, although slowly growing in numbers; had absolutely no problem getting a computer. In actual fact, it shocked me how much choice I had in the matter although none probably mattered with consideration to the long start up times and the incredibly slow internet. The atmosphere is sparse, distant and even quite lonely where those who sit alone type away with full focus at the task at hand or those coupled with another mutter away in their own private corners gregariously at what in my mind probably is the latest cat video or what I hope, humorous satire that deconstructs the meaning of life and why honestly this generation feels the need to get hypersensitive over every sort of detail that they come across. It’s social hypochondria, an outrageous and rambunctious spiral into the abyss where those give too much credit to everything like an English major seeking meaning from the lyrics of a Jennifer Lopez song and likening it towards existential angst and stating her ability to write one word hooks and subliminally shake her arse is the second coming of God. That being said, I’m being harsh to poor Jennifer, whose song “Waiting For Tonight” is the anthem for a pretend IKEA worker constructing the most perfect bed to sleep on and cure away the debilitating insomnia that I currently have; not without the help of my on-again-off-again partner in crime; booze.
One of the strongest themes that currently affects our western world is the questioning of identity including gender, race and sexuality. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I avoided these topics like the plague in my years of being a humanities student due to the fact that I personally thought the mileage of psychobabble and overcomplication of what could be simple questions and answers infuriated my brain like that Crazy Frog song back in the early 2000s. Now if you are too young or don’t remember that, the modern day equivalent is literally 95% of music acts and so called “celebrities” that can be found quite easily in respectable articles which have replaced integrity in the now dying industry of traditional journalism. I don’t even know why I still subscribe to Time Magazine, although I’ll probably keep that article about how to be the next Beyonce, although I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I was the Beyonce in every group I have participated in. But that’s another story all together.
It’s not that I felt these issues didn’t matter, it was more that I felt like a lot of the journey when coming towards establishing the identity was an overly personal one – one that can be formed with the absence of textbooks and angry tumblr groups deconstructing and taking offense to every word you’ve written concerning the issue. Sometimes, I feel like academics and graduate students really are just the real-life equivalent of tumblr groups… or are most likely the ones that champion them to which no place in the internet is safe from their incessant obsessions criticising what they can with a mob force and limited scope of actual productive discussion and discourse.
Of course, now with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve realised how short sighted I was with the dismissal of such sensitive issues and imperialism of my thoughts on the issue. Everyone grows and develops at different rates. Right now, being surrounded by what most likely are hordes of post-graduate students, everyone dresses and has mannerisms that are all adult-like while I’m sitting on a computer with a Hayao Miyazaki hoodie and giddy at the fact that it feels wrong being at school during the holidays. I alwaus look outside the window whenever I take the bus and always notice how dull the city can seem when everyone is in dark uniform, pretending to be adults. Pretending that what they do encapsulates their entire life and has a meaning both practical and cosmic about it. Their clothes dull, their faces lifeless and their mannerisms zombie-like. It’s like watching the Walking Dead: Cosmopolitan Edition.
It’s no coincidence that all these themes are related. Identity consists of a lot of factors that contribute and constitute into the formation of it. What’s quite upsetting however pretty much a broken record at this point; traditional views that maliciously go after and belittle the marginalised and those that suffer the most from such inequalities; ad hominem seems to be the only way people can discuss and rationalise things these days. People can’t talk to each other about issues anymore, without that stinging snark that condemns difference which makes up more of the discussion than the actual points worth discussing. The fact that people still view those; that don’t fit into heteronormative standards built upon by archaic goals and static ideologies as lesser or socially unremarkable and undesirable. Comments about Caitlyn Jenner, not for the symbolic value of what she represents to the voiceless and repressed minorities but for the fact that being yourself is likened towards monstrosity and being Frankenstein-like, only because it doesn’t fit with those that cannot empathise with a struggle foreign to their own egotistical narrowness of perspective and consideration. Instead of talking about class struggle and unity, we are more divided by the acts of Rachel Dolezal which hypocritically goes against any efforts of peace while racism is strife on our streets and in our justice system. The fact that for GOD knows why, Gay Marriage is still such a big issue for people and the unfounded, unsupported and strawman claims for it being detrimental to our societies.
We don’t know what we truly are overnight. And even if some people did, we change, we evolve and move with the times. Just like the space I’m in. It changes with the days like the seasons. Every minute something new is happening, which makes it have different and more meaning than it did previously. Identity is tapestry. We add on, we subtract but it’s those changes that give it heart. For people to be dismissive of that is to entirely not get the work of art that stands before us, and the meanings that lie within it.