The Universe Calling. (Well, Ryan Gosling. Sort of.)

In the never-ending undulation of life, riding the wave upwards has been amazing but suddenly I find myself slowly losing momentum: the wonderful workshops are coming to an end, a side blog project finishes soon and the paid-job shifts seem to be becoming suspiciously quiet at the moment. Thus I find myself in the seemingly contradictory position of bathing in glorious Spring sunshine while staring at A Big Black Hole that is thundering towards me with the speed of a Pamplona bull in July.

It’s that moment, when you’re making yourself some tea in the kitchen, you tilt your head to the Universe and shout in Jeremiah-ic despair: “What do you want from me?! Send me a sign!” For your housemate to walk in, grab some cereal and enlighten you: “Listen, this is what the Universe is saying…”

This is what I imagine the Universe looks like.
Note: Not my housemate. This is what I imagine the Universe looks like.

Phenomenal Women.

Last year, I had written a piece on International Women’s Day that was later read by a man I briefly went out with. The blog ended with:

“Live life my friends, especially if you are a woman. To honour those who have gone before us, to advance those who are to follow: be courageous, be woman, be proud.”

The guy started to laugh and asked me if I was being serious. This couldn’t be serious right? This must be a joke. “Live life especially if you are a woman”, what did that even mean? A few conversations on the matter later, he revealed he believed (!) that ‘considering equal rights, women who fall pregnant shouldn’t automatically be able to ask men for maintenance’. In his view, this money was an incentive for the woman to keep the baby. They want the baby, they should pay for it. Reflecting upon this a year later, our affair – though brief – still lasted surprisingly long…

Happy International Women’s Day: the fact that these well-educated and seemingly adjusted men walk around in fairly developed countries as the UK,  is exactly why today is still needed.

Today, living life as a woman means that I appreciate that I have the choice to sleep with beautiful yet misguided men but that I thankfully don’t have to marry them; that I am able to exercise in the gym or in the park because my body is my own; that I occasionally worry about money, because it is me who earns it; that I can waste hours on the internet because I can read and my brain is constantly hungry for information; it means that I can facilitate workshops and write pieces like these, because I have a voice that I want to use to connect with others; it means that I can review plays and bars, because I have the freedom to move around by myself; it means I can momentarily panic about parking the car, because I am the one behind the wheel; it means that at 29,  I am still looking forward to have biological or non-biological children one day, because I choose them in my life.

Living life means appreciating your opportunities: being able to create your chances by using the freedom of choice and personal will, to live a life true to you and your potential. No one should be denied this – just because they’re women.

Money to mouth, time to step up

Monday, let’s start the new week by putting money where ones mouth is…

put your money where your mouth is
› to show by your actions and not just your words that you support or believe in something


Last week, I had the pleasure to attend two Open Forum discussions on inclusion in theatre: the first one was the D&D by Improbable on the inclusion of race and diversity and the second discussion was held by Tamasha, after their scratch night to address the gender-imbalance on stage: and dealt with the question how to create more permanent change in the theatre to include women.

Dear Reader, I can feel half of you switching off here: please don’t. I promise you this won’t be a political feminist rant. In fact, this is exactly what this blog is about, that feeling of “Yeah, yeah I know but do we have to make such a song and dance about it? Do we have to talk about it, can’t we just do it?” Last week, I met people who would answer/scream: “No, we can’t because they won’t let us!”  We being defined here by the minority discussed and They by the powers-that-be.

I am still not sure where I stand on this: I have only relatively recently joined the theatre forces and so I am not convinced yet that my current lack of published plays is an oppression issue –  I would like to think that I just need more time to hone the craft. Also, I had a very happy childhood, thank you very much mum and dad, and I don’t feel the passion/anger that comes from feeling wronged.

However, I am also a woman of ethnic minority trying to craft in Western theatre and I cannot deny that I do not see a lot of us working in ‘the industry’. This is just a cold, hard fact. One can argue that the minorities are just not available but here is another fact: I am here and though not many, others are with me. Even if not all of us have had the experiences that let us fight with the conviction, volume and the vigour as some can; when asked, we have to – at the very least – silence the thrice-crowing cockerel, and step up.

papergang_logo_100pxWFor that reason (and this is the point of this whole essay – thanks for bearing with me), when I was asked by Banana Writers to contribute a piece about our company Papergang Theatre, a new writing platform for British East Asians, I couldn’t say no. It is very daunting to share this with you, as I feel that there are more eloquent voices out there and for whom I have a lot of admiration. Yet if I am to scared to do it, how can I even dare to suggest others have a valid voice that deserves to be heard?

So if you are interested, please read the article “Writers wake up!”