All posts by annemarieyoung

About annemarieyoung

Hi my name is Tashina and in this blog I will cover the topics art, theatre, love and live. I will for now concentrate more on LGBT topics, but also plan to post some of my short stories up and to write something about theatre as well from time to time.

He reached out to me

My former Pastor has contacted me today.

He explained his side of the story to me and we had a long talk. He asked me to delete my previous post, but I don’t feel that it would be right to do that. I did change the original post though and deleted the his name and the church name.

Although I can understand my pastors site, there are some things in the letter that are still valuable to me, as of now. And now that the original letter is already out there, it would be weird for those who have read it, to see that I deleted it. Even if I was wrong by posting this letter on this platform, I think it is important that I can be held accountable for this action. If I delete the letter, I would pretend that I possibly didn’t make a mistake and that the anger and pain that is represented in the letter never existed and that it doesn’t exist any more (to a degree).

I can understand my former pastor and his decision to not answer me in public, but since I put it all out in public, I at least need to stand for this decision, however right or wrong it might be.

What are your thoughts on this? I generally always welcome any imput, as long as it is honest and respectful.

To my former Church, to my former pastor

Dear Former Pastors of my Church,

I never thought I would write this letter to you.

But here I am, writing this with a loudly beating heart and tears in my eyes.

Dear Pastors: This isn’t going to be a ‘Thank You’ or a ‘Blessings upon you’ letter. This letter will probably be an angry one; at least it will be full of pain. Pain that you have caused, pain I have finally decided to call you out for.

You know me as well as I know you. I was born into the Church, I was raised in it. I went to Sunday children groups since I was a toddler. You know my mother and you know my father. My mother even worked for you as a secretary for a while. You know about my parents’ separation and apparently you tried to stop it, but that isn’t the issue. This isn’t why I am writing this letter with shaking hands.

Between the ages of 9 to almost 12, I was sexually abused by my father. I repressed the horrible experience for 3 good years, but when I was 15 and had my first boyfriend it all came up again. After the former youth pastor and by then pastor of a different church found out what was going on, he contacted Social Services for me and I was put into care. Eventually my mother found out. She decided to disclose what was going on the former pastor.

I don’t know how the conversation between the two went and what was said. But I do know one thing. Instead of protecting me, instead of doing the right and decent thing, Jens decided to do nothing. Instead of excluding my father from the church, instead of to at least try to prevent him from going to the same church as me, he did nothing. Instead sat tight.

And of course my father used our Sunday Service as part of his plan to reach out to me. To brainwash me, so I wouldn’t press charges against him. He even used the church to force me into forgiving him publicly and privately. But did the pastor do anything, anything at all to stop this? No, nothing happened.

Instead you let a man, who you knew was a child molester go to your church every Sunday, be around me and around other children every Sunday. You let a man, who you knew was manipulative, abusive and dangerous carry on his abuse and his manipulation. You, Jens, you and your family did nothing. Nothing to protect me, my siblings or anyone in the entire Ichthys church.

But you know what instead did, or better what you let others do to me? You let other church members, like our Youth Pastor and his team accuse me of not being a real Christian; for questioning the historical accuracy of the Bible. Apparently it is greater sin to question the literacy of the Bible in the church than to sexually abuse a helpless child. Apparently it was also a greater sin of me to have sex before getting married, or for me to smoke. For which I was heavily criticised and ostracised.

Don’t you think that this is hypocrisy? How is any of this biblical or even Christian? How dare you turn your back on me, the moment I might not agree on some of your teachings, but think it is okay to not protect me and let a child molester go to your church?

How dare you? You are not worthy of calling yourself Christians, you are not worthy of calling yourself a church. You have failed to protect me, you have failed to protect the church. You have driven me away from your church, because I didn’t fit your image of a Christian any longer, but maybe you are not fitting that image. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their ways. Maybe you are the ones who have lost their way in Christ. I am 26 now and I am still suffering, still recovering from the abuse, the manipulation I endured. And a part of me thinks, that this wouldn’t be the case if someone would have done something or at least tried.

A very angry former church member

Not my Relationship Meme Part 1

So recently I am seeing a lot of “If your girlfriend/boyfriend does this and this he/she is perfect. If they do this and this, ditch them” posts and memes on Facebook. I will admit that I am sometimes prone to share them, BUT this is going to change.

The reason for this is simple:

These posts set up a false ideal of what the perfect partner should be like. And it goes even further in my opinion. Relationship memes are often stereotyping genders and set up wrong ideals. To explain my thoughts further, I would like to have a look at some of these memes. I am going to cover different categories of these ‘postings/ memes’ in a series.

First lets take a look at, what I call, the ‘men in a relationship’ memes.

Here is our first example:

man meme 1

This post/ meme states that a man’s actions not only speak louder than words, but that he has to focus his whole attention on you. On the first glance the things mentioned here seem to be admirable; on the first glance. But on the second glance this post sets up a complete wrong ideal for all the men out there and it perpetuates common stereotypes about men.

What do I mean exactly?

This post basically tells men that they have to make their partner their sole focus in life, that they have to do certain things to be the perfect partner. According to this post a man needs to always text and phone their partner (and with partner I mean girlfriend, but more about that later) and make certain compliments.

The problem is that this ideal of a relationship is not everyone’s thing. Not everyone wants to get calls and texts all the time. I for sure don’t. Calling every day, texting all the time; if someone would do that to me I would call them a stalker. I get it, if you are in love and in a relationship, you should communicate, maybe even on a daily basis. But to what extend? This meme sets up the wrong ideal that , if you are a man and in a relationship,not calling and texting all the time is a bad thing to do.

It goes even further. This meme also suggests that we women only prefer a certain kind of compliment: That man shouldn’t call his girlfriend sexy or hot, but beautiful and pretty instead. Like the rest of this meme, this statement a sweeping generalisation of the things women and girls expect in a relationship from their male partner.

But it is exactly this whole generalisation that i find so wrong and even dangerous. Every person is different, every woman likes different compliments, has different ideas of a relationship. I am a strong minded person, but posts like this make me always doubt myself and my ideals of a relationship. It does the same to men.

Men are told that they have to follow this ideal, this stereotype of relationship behaviour. If they don’t, we women, I, won’t accept them; even worse reject them. And that is simply not true.

But it doesn’t end there, as following meme demonstrates:

man meme 3

This picture is pretty tame in comparison with the one before, but again: It sets up a stereotype and wrong ideal.

If you read that as a man, you can only come to the conclusion: “If I want to come across as sweet I need to kiss the girl I am into on the forehead!” But what this post doesn’t consider is that maybe forehead kisses are not every girls thing.

And if every guy starts to do what this post says – kissing girls on the forehead – just to look sweet, this gesture isn’t sweet any more really. It is just a meeker attempt to look sweet. It becomes just another hollow meaningless gesture.

A kiss though (in my opinion), no matter what kind of kiss, should mean something to both partners if they are in a serious relationship or are seriously dating. Kissing someone just because you think it might make you look cute, is meaningless. It takes away all the emotions that a kiss can symbolise. It isn’t sweet any longer.

And while we are already on about how these memes are wrong and stereotypical, let us also mention how they are stereotyping genders. The previous memes not only set up wrong ideas, they also propagate the old stereotype that men don’t pay any attention in relationships.

Even if that is true, following the wrong ideals of these memes won’t make the problem go away. I can send a 1000 texts to someone, kiss someone a lot, tell them what they want to hear and I still don’t necessarily pay any attention to them. Paying attention doesn’t mean you have to follow a checklist. Sometimes only 1 text can be all the attention someone needs, sometimes the weirdest compliment can be just the right one, sometimes no kiss is better than a 100. Paying attention is not about actions alone, it is about caring.

But according to these memes, as a men you can only care, if you follow certain rules and only if you have a woman in your life. Yes you heard right, as this meme demonstrates:

man meme 2

Yes, this meme is for real. and if you would believe what it says; no man can live without a woman. Even I, as a woman feel slightly offended by this statement.

Often ‘Men in relationship’ memes solely concentrate on heterosexual, cisgender men. 99% of the memes I see on a daily basis are about heterosexual relationships. Some can be read as gay, bisexual or other relationship ideals, but you often need a lot of imagination for that. The meme above just shows how binary the whole of relationship memes are. This meme makes me ask a bunch of questions.

What about the men who didn’t have a mother? What about gay men? What about Trans men? And so on. Are all these men basically fucked because they don’t have a Queen to protect them? And why on earth do men need a woman to protect them anyway?

I mean, what on earth? I am strong believer in independence. Yes, sometimes independence is about depending on someone, but why as a man do you need to have a woman in your life to depend on? Okay we give birth to them, but that doesn’t entitle us woman to say: “Hey I can give birth, that means you as a man need to depend on me.” Not to mention that not all women are capable of giving birth.

This meme is an example of how ‘men in relationship’ memes band other memes force you to believe that you need someone in your life, in this case a woman. It makes you believe that if you are alone, if you aren’t depending on anyone in particular, you are fucked. They could even suggest that you are not part of a working society, if you are too independent. These memes force you into a form of addiction: I call it the “Conforming to the patriarchal society” addiction. Men can become so desperate to follow all these rules in this posts, that they don’t know how to function without following them. I will demonstrate next time how ludacris this false ideal is.

These memes are harmful in my opinion, not only to men but to all of us. They set up and perpetuate stereotypes. They do more harm than good if you ask me and how much more harm they can do will be shown in my next post.

A Love Letter to the Man that Hates me

I’m in a pecurliar situation. I want to write a love letter but I can’t. Technically I could, but sending it would get me in a lot of
trouble. That is because the love letter would go to the man that hates me. To the man that was/is the love of my live, my ex-husband. He once loved me but things are different now. And so I can’t write the letter and send it to him. But the things I want to say, I need to say, I can’t keep them in me any longer. So I’m going to write this letter. Here it goes:

My Love,

I know the last thing you want is a letter from me.

I know that you probably won’t even read this letter, but I need to write it. I need to, because for the last 5 yars I wanted to and didn’t. For the last 5 years I wanted to tell you how I feel, about us, about the things that happened with and without you. I know that you hate me, you told me so yourself indirectly and directly. I am the last person you want to see or hear of. And still I need to tell you something.
I need to tell you that I’m sorry. Sorry for the hurt I causd, sorry for not being the wife I should have been. Sorry for being so lost, although I found you. I am also sorry for another thing. I’m sorry that I still love you. Why, I don’t know. After all, our relationship was toxic and painful on both sides. After all, we hurt each other to extends that still have an effect on both of us. And still, I love you.
I know you don’t love me and that you don’t want me to love you. And I tried, I really tried not to. But once again I have to disappoint you and myself. Because all the trying; guess what it didn’t work. I moved to another country, just to get you out of my head. I tried to date, to find someone I could as equally love as I love you. I tried to ‘move on’, as they would say. But my soul, my heart is stuck, stuck with you. And that is the problem here.
While you were able to struck your love out of your heart and replace it with hate, I couldn’t. Despite everything that happened between us, I couldn’t just flip a coin and hate you too. Instead I tried to get out of our marriage, of our relationship, as unbruised as possible. Boy, did I do a bad job. I barely survived our breakup, and I mean that literally. After you left, I broke into a thousand little pieces. The first three months or so were the hardest. I couldn’t think, eat, breath. I wanted to die. I thought of ending my life. But I was so broken and shattered that I didn’t have the power to even follow it through. I was a living ghost.
I made it through these months. How, I still don’t know. In the following years I did the best I could to forget you, to not think of you. But I didn’t, even though I pretended that I did. The pretending part got easier throughout the years. It got easier to lie to myself and to others about my feelings, my thoughts about you. It got easier to say that our divorce was for the best. It probably was, but it didn’t feel that way. I got good in pretending that there were no good aspects of our relationship and marriage. At least I got good in telling others about the bad things while not mentioning the good bits. I really, really am great in telling people that I don’t care about you, while I actually do.
And I’m lying and pretending and faking it, because of two things. The first thing is, that you got over me so easily. That you managed to switch love with hate just like that. But most importantly, the world expects me to be over you. No one I ever met would accept, that after almost 5 years of seperation, 4 years of divorce; that after all this time, I’m not over you. Even worse, I still love you. No one could understand. Maybe because we were married for only 4 months. But they don’t seem to consider our relationship before that time. And some might call me crazy or mentally disturbed. Because I love you.
My head, every part of my body knows that I shouldn’t love. And a day doesn’t go by were I pray, were I hope that it just stops. Not a day goes by were I ask God, why he is doing this to me. Why he can’t either give you back to me or take my love away. I try to understand. Try to tell myself that God has a greater plan, or something. And sometimes I really wish I could just give up on God and be an atheist. Because, this love that so many find unreasonable and think I should give up. This love for you, it hurts, like a never ending burning fire. It is pure pain, because I know that you don’t love me. And I know that not being with you might be the best. I know all that, but the feeling is still there. No matter how hard I try. I date, I socialise, I have a live, I try not to think of you. It is still there and it hurts.
I am not going to deny that a lot of good things happened in the 5 years without you. I am not lost anymore, I found myself. I found the family, I never had but always longed for. I found friends that support me and are just the best. I found a father that loves me unconditionally and doesn’t try to destroy me. I found the home, I was looking for so long. I’m not longer trying to run away. I found strength, I thought I never had. I am fulfilling my life ambition and am actually studying at University. I am doing what I love. I’m following my passion. I’m happy, or almost happy.
I managed to accomplish all these things. But I wish that you would have been there when I reached all these goals. I wish that you were here now. Holding my hand, smiling at me. I wish you could just not hate me. I would give everything to see you again, even if it’s just for a minute. Just to see you smile for a minute. To have you here. I wish you could forgive me and believe my remorse. I wish I could get finally over you.
I will go speed dating next year. I have very low hopes that this is going to help. I don’t know if I will ever find someone, who I will love like I love you. If God is good, I will. But until then:
I love you, I’m sorry.

A journey to me. A journey to art

It has been a long time. A long time since I’ve been blogging. But also a long time to go on a little adventure, to discover art and inevitably myself as well.

To be honest, it wasn’t just a lack of time that stopped me from blogging. It was partially laziness and mostly me going on a journey that changed everything. After all, I am only 24. And although I experienced a lot I still progress. In the past month I discovered that when it comes to journeys; well they never stop really. A fairly obvious fact, you might think. But when you stuck in the countryside for seven months, looking for a job and literally doing nothing; than it is not that obvious. I almost forgot about my journey of the past two and a half years. The experience I made after moving to the UK, everything that happened before. I also forgot how I rediscovered art and performance. How theatre changed me so drastically.

But now I remember. I remember my past journeys and I know of my present and future ones. And in all of them art, theatre always played ins one way or another a significant role. I’ve been acting since I’m ten. First it was just normal classical amateur theatre. But for me it was a bit more. As a child that was awkward, not ready for society and bullied; simple amateur acting gave me confidence. I suddenly had a stage where I could share parts of myself through a persona that I created and people loved it. I think I subconsciously realised that art somehow would change my journey and help me some day.

The amateur group I belonged to, didn’t last long and for years creativity seemed to be non existent. I seemed to be non existent. Kind of stuck in my role as the outsider, the one that is bullied; sometimes for no reason and sometimes because I behaved terribly. I had a set mind on my career and my future. My journey was planned. Out of boredom I took to writing. And discovered that I was good at it. But I never shared my poems or short stories. And once I did, in Six Form; people thought me to be arrogant because I was writing poems all the time. For some reason they thought that I was doing it to show off. I never did and I don’t now.

The truth is: I was writing, I was acting as a release. It helped me to release all my troubles all the things I was dealing with. I was acting at that time, just not on stage. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. To be untouchable, to be superior. I needed to pretend. I didn’t think much of myself and was full of self loathing. The only place/ space I could accept myself, where I could be confident – yes almost arrogant- was when I was writing or acting.

It took me several years, a failed marriage, a conversion to Catholicism and some other events to change my journey to self destruction to a journey of healing and self- fulfilment. I still struggle, I still display a certain arrogance when I am not confident in myself. Most obstacles on my personal journey are made and placed by me. I still make bad decisions and mistakes. But I am still travelling, discovering, learning.

My adventure – and I can’t say it too often- was greatly changed through my Performing Arts College course. Discovering new forms of theatre and rediscovering my love for art and writing has broadened my horizon. The change will always be there, inside me. I know now that art will make me and help me on my way, no matter what. It offers everyone the opportunity to express themselves and to share tales and experience. And art can be everything. It’s not just music, painting, acting and so on. Cooking, building something, cleaning, administrative work can be art. Not in the common antic sense, but in your sense and terms. It is more than just a philosophical idea. Every journey, every life is a work of art in the end.

Recently the Response Time Project, I wrote about previously has helped me to manifest my believes about art and about journeys even more. It helped to to discover and experiment with art and performance. To try out thing I didn’t do before. To meet people that challenged my thoughts, my opinions. To witness other artists great work. The response Time Project has given everyone an open space. And in that open space all of us created an environment that enables every participant, every audience member to grow, to discover and learn.

Fittingly the last Response Time Project (this time participants could either perform pieces from previous Response Time Project, new versions of them. Or perform a new piece), called “Me/ Replay/ In a Gallery” dealt heavily with the topic of journeys. It was for some reason and underlying theme in many pieces in my opinion. And so was my major piece as well. Called “Essential Life” it was an abstract performance piece dealing with life and journeys.

I think especially the last Response Time helped me to realise about the journeys we all take. But also about my journey so far, the past the present and also the future. I already was discovering new aspects of my environment and myself and how I think differently about certain things now. But the last Response Time helped me to get the full picture and to look positively into the future. It showed me that my perils, my laughs and that art always had a reason. That this is all for something, for the journey.

Long intervals

I know I haven’t blogged in a long time. I know I said it before but I admit it again: I’m an incredible busy person and only write when I feel inspired. I would hate it to force myself to blog about something and my heart and head aren’t just in it.
So I hope you can forgive me the long intervals between my posts and just try not to be too disappointed. I will put up a blog here shortly about my participation in the Response Time Project; past and present.

What do you see?

Two months ago I cut my hair. Nothing unusual there.
But I just didn’t cut my hair like that, I had a motive for doing so. My intention was it, to fight and rebel, prejudice and bias regarding my sexual orientation. I therefore decided to create a video performance art piece, or video installation to combat that issue. At the centre of this performance, was the action of me cutting my hair.

The cutting of my hair, transforms my character and turns it into one of the biases, preconceptions and prejudices one has about lesbians and bisexual women. Because I decided freely to cut my hair, I rebelled and choose the preconception that fits me the best.
In my opinion, no one can escape prejudice. But you can decide, which bias you want choose and you make part of your personality. If one really does so, than this person escapes and breaks the preconception and transforms it into an individual and unique character trade.

This was my goal and intention when I cut my hair and filmed the whole thing. The text I spoke hopefully transports this message. I will later post up this text as well. Have fun watching the video and feel free to leave constructive criticism and comment, comment, comment.

Cecelias Herz

About a year ago I had the great opportunity to direct my own short piece, within my college course. This directed piece was part of my curriculum but I nonetheless had incredible freedom. in my creative choices.

In just six weeks time it was my task to rehearse and devise a piece, that could be either be based on a script or any form of theatre.  The only rules I had to obey, was that it shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes and that it shouldn’t be too inappropriate. But other than that we had a free hand and a free choice.

I decided to write my own script and to use it for my devising work. For a while I’ve been playing with the idea to write a script that deals with mental illness and its current status in society. I was particular drawn to Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychology and mental illness and how his personal life influenced his work.

I decided to write a script for classical theatre. But after being on the course I changed my mind and incorporated aspects of surreal theatre, Artaudian theatre and dance theatre. I changed my script but stayed true to the core ideas of my play. I wanted to show how people with mental illness are wrongfully judged by society and I think in the end I succeeded.

In just 6 weeks I managed to create my piece and I’m so proud of the people who worked with me and that realised the whole thing with me. I still can’t believe that I was allowed so much freedom, that I could actually use a pig’s heart (in jar I have to say) and strip my actresses down to their underwear.

The video shows the performance but unfortunately didn’t succeed in catching everything. There was a lot of audience interaction going on that couldn’t have been filmed. But the video is still a good fragment, a good record of my piece. A piece that I would like to stage again one day.

In honour of Cecelias Herz.

A very late reflection

 

It’s been two months now since I participated at the Pilotlight project; my first non college related performance here in Wales. Since then I haven’t performed publicly. Not because I don’t want to, I just live in the middle of nowhere and have therefore a logistic problems when it comes to public performances. Nothing I can change in that department, I’m afraid.

 

Originally, it was my intention to post up a reflection right after my performance but ended up not doing so for several reasons. The now following analysis would probably look differently if I would have kept to my original plan. I can’t remember some details of the event any longer and also want to say something about my future in performance (and how the the Response Time project Pilotlight has influenced that).

 

As I said it before, it was absolutely fantastic to be a part of the Response Time project and to participate in its first ‘outlet’ performance Pilotlight. I would even go so far and say that it was an honour for me to be a part of the first ever version of this project ( a second performance within this project has since taken place). It isn’t easy to follow the rules of the Response Time project 9they hardly were any) and to create a performance in just 48 hours, no matter how long it is. But I still enjoyed and savoured every minute of it.

 

There was only one rule I had to follow (besides the 48 hour rule); that my work had to somehow relate to the gallery or artwork displayed in the gallery. Other than that I had complete freedom when it came to the response I created. Well of course I wasn’t allowed to destroy any of the artworks. Having absolute freedom in my creative process was the aspect that I most enjoyed and loved about the project. In college I only had a similar kind of freedom in one module but never as much as in this project. Some people can be stressed because of this huge amount of freedom. I think I wasn’t because of it. Because I was able to do what suited my strengths and still challenged me a bit. I never devised or developed a movement sequence before but always loved to dance in my free time. My kind of dance is best categorised as expressionist dance (Ausdruckstanz in German). It might have been the first time that I took my hobby onto a stage but still did something that I knew and was completely within my comfort zone.

 

The fact that I worked alone and not within a group was another aspect I loved. Don’t take me wrong, I love developing theatre within a group, but didn’t have an opportunity to develop performance work on my own for a long time now. This time I didn’t have to share my ideas or discuss them with someone beforehand to get approval on them. I alone could decide what I do and how I do it. What would go into my piece, how often I rehearse and use the time I had. Although I worked on my own I still was surrounded by a great group of fellow performers, who I could always ask for help or watch in fascination. So even though I created a solo piece, I wasn’t isolated.

 

There are only two little things that I have to criticise. I hope that everyone involved in the Response Time project can forgive me for mentioning it. I personally felt that the use of light, or how the performances were lid wasn’t optional. The first and the last run through of all performances were lid perfectly. But some solo pieces within the second run through weren’t lid in the best way. This includes my own piece, which I felt was too dark, since there were no lights used for the space it took place in. The lack of light within the second run through was a bit of a flaw in my personal opinion. Another such flaw was the way how we guided the audience from piece to piece. Instead of talking we had to guide them silently and could only use body gestures to show them how they should position themselves. I personally think that we could have chosen a more creative way to guide the audience, but again this is just my opinion and I might be a bit too critical here.

 

The participation; my involvement with the Response Time project helped me a great deal. Not only was it my first real professional experience here in Wales, but also a proof to me that I am capable to develop work on my own. My creativity was fuelled because of the project and new ideas were developed by me because of it. I now have a faint plan of how I want to create work in the future. I know now that I want to abolish the fourth wall between audience and actor completely, that I want to use unusual stages and that I want to experiment more. Last but not least do I want to challenge myself more with my next project and get out of my comfort zone.