Where are my struggles!? - Hollywood on Netflix - Review

I think one of the most important things I have learned in my Literature classes in school was one simple but effective rule: If you want your story to be interesting it needs conflict. There needs to be something your characters are going through that the audience wants to hear about.
The new Netflix show Hollywood had the perfect material for this rule to come into effect, a gay black writer writing a script to be directed by a half Filipino director, produced by a studio lead by a Jewish woman and a gay producer and a black actress and a gay actor competing for roles in 1940s Hollywood, with the topic of prostitution thrown into the mix - and then it dropped all that potential. Everything goes perfectly smooth, somehow everything is magically made possible, the black actress gets the main role, the writer, director, producer, studio boss, everyone just gets to do their job, and while I get the sentiment that it's amazing to see marginalized folks succeed - it does not make a great plot. In fact, it makes this story not only feel boring and overly polished, it also makes it feel unrealistic. A bunch of white studio executives just agreeing that of course the very talented black girl is the perfect cast for this major motion picture? I honest to god doubt that this would be realistic in 2020 Hollywood, let alone the 1940s. Now it is mentioned a lot that all these controversial choices the studio makes would cause trouble - characters discuss protests, murder threats, the KKK, people not getting any more work after coming out as gay, but nothing actually happens. Not only is this not a struggle or conflict, it also breaks the other very basic rule of writing, especially scriptwriting, "show, don't tell", and more importantly: It makes those very real problems that are imminent even now, 80 years later, seem like something marginalized people make up, they are shown as something people are afraid of but that are not actually real. That's what I'd call wasted potential because if all those issues were fleshed out more, this would have been an amazing and important story to tell. Additionally, because of the missing struggles, all of the characters become incredibly two-dimensional, which in itself is a waste of a very talented cast. What could have been a masterpiece has instead been a utopia, lovely to see, but hard to believe and harder to keep in mind. Personally I will easily forget this whole story in just a couple of days now, and I think that is sad.
Dear Netflix, you had gold in your hands here - I would love to see this rewritten as more than a beautiful but forgettable dream. Give me the harsh reality of 1940s Hollywood. Give me the harsh reality of a world where racism was even more imminent than nowadays, where homophobia was up another level, where sexism was a more profound issue than figuring out the details - don't give me a feelgood story that I couldn't ever believe no matter what decade it was set in. Give it a rewrite. Because the base material does deserve it. This can be done so much better.


Time and again

Time and again
breaks for silence
who would have thought that quiet can be so loud
who would have thought that seconds can be so painful
even more so when they accumulate
you say you like me
don‘t believe it
a bit because I can so rarely even really stand myself
a bit because you say it but I can only vaguely see your doing
this soft glow is hard to make out in the dark
and seems like nothing
when I am ablaze next to you
tell me
are you burning just as bright as me?
Are you burning up from the heat inside of you?
Or is it more, like
a bit of warmth
just what is needed
when all else is cold
Do you desire me?
I always desire you
constantly, really
every second I can‘t touch you
feels like a waste of time
how will it be when we meet?
Will you finally burn
for me
as much as I do for you?
You slow me down
and smother me time and again
but this is magnesium, baby
you can not smother me
only make it harder
to endure the burning
are you burning just as bright as me?
Can I only not see your fire because we are both ablaze?


Stay healthy

So this is life now.
All the fires that have been burning inside me just weeks ago, no, days only, have gone out. Silence around me and inside me. More calmness than I had in years. Peace, not to be confused with happiness. It's remarkable how quick and easy it was to accept this new normalcy.
We write history, stay home, it was never that easy to (hopefully) save the world. Okay, maybe we leave some behind, maybe once again we can see the arbitrariness that was given to the executive just like that, too easy to say now that they know what they‘re doing, oh they know what they‘re doing, alright, the signature on the free ticket hasn‘t even dried yet. A bit of control over the situation for the small price of a few lives, a few homeless here, a few refugees there, what's the world cost, I'll take two.
Only a few lives for the safety of the rest, the dregs are rejects, and just above that float the really important ones – applause! Standing ovations for the relevant! Appreciation for your daily bread, which you might not actually be able to buy because the shelves are empty when you, oh relevant one, finally get to do your shopping too, but that's no problem because you sure have our APPRECIATION, be proud of yourself! Because we‘ll only be in writing, we admire you, enduring the stress and let yourself be treated like shit by those who you are keeping alive, keeping everything running, it is so easy to forget who treats you like shit as long as we just clap loud enough. Maybe play the ode to joy in the evenings. Ignoring that your job has been hard for ages, not rarely unbearable. NOW you are important, congratulations, here is your participation trophy, and then we can hopefully forget soon why you were important and be important again ourselves.
The realization that we are not actually important when things get rough tastes bittersweet. Never has our work seemed less meaningful, never has it felt so empty to just keep going on but at least it gives us a bit of purpose, a bit of security while the world around us breaks apart. We don‘t have anything else, after all, we can‘t drown our depressions in booze and meaningless sex, not even a hug between friends to let us forget our pain for a moment. When things get rough it‘s clear who stays alone with their thoughts. How many will the virus kill, how many the economy, how many the solitude? What will we tell our grandchildren if we survived all of this? What will we say in a couple of decades?
So this is life now. We write this story. Let‘s hope that it's going to be a good one. One that we can tell without being ashamed. Be kind to each other. We have nothing else left.
Stay healthy.


Take your broken heart, make it into art

If you had a dollar for every time I said this
for every time I quoted Carrie Fisher
you‘d be a millionaire.
If I had a dollar for every time
you brought up this dollar thing
I‘d be a billionaire.
We just easily fell into place
with our quirks and
our scars
I lifted you up
when you grounded me
I kicked your ass to do things
when you made me chill the fuck out
for once in my goddamn life
now I am afloat.
Hundreds of feet above the ground
a balloon in the night sky
being nudged further away by the wind
Slowly drifting away
Its calm up here
Not a sound between the stars
And cold
And I wonder how I ever breathed
and did I ever need to, really?
I lost my ground
casting off
anchor gone
And I am scared
and yet a weight was lifted
but still scared of what‘s ahead
and scared ‚cause I‘m not burning
(why am I not burning)
Why do I feel so calm
and so cold
And nothing feels real anymore
I‘m just floating higher
and higher
(They say sky is the limit but
they didn‘t account for the infinity of space)
and forget that I have ever breathed
or moved
or felt
crystals on my face
that used to be tears
as I drift away
so much faster than I thought
Into emptiness
Take your broken heart
make it into art
but right now
art feels shallow
How can I make it art
when my heart has
yet to be shattered by the ice
Making art is just a habit
but how can I express what I feel
when I can‘t feel anything?
I am just floating off
it's so easy to fly when you weigh nothing
‚cause you‘re empty
Staring into space
and space stares back
as we become one
infinite nothing
and it will feel like peace
until I finally


Excursion To Poetry #6 - FIP

I am scared.
I am scared
that I am living in a world
that is always going to
hurt me. A world
where I‘ll be pushed and kicked
and beaten
until there is nothing left of me
but a pile of ashes.
I am scared
of a long path of suffering
getting narrower and narrower
until it fades out into nothing
and I am scared
that this path could get too
tight at some point and I‘d fall out,
jump out and face
nothing pre-maturely.
I am scared of this being my life
and I am scared that my only alternative is
(or at least might seem like it)
to not live at all.
I am scared
to endure all of this
and I am scared
that I could not endure it,
of walking the path
or leaving it
or just not finding
the goddamn middle way
that could keep me alive,
where I could breathe
without something tightening up
my chest every other moment,
I am scared
that this is my life
and my only way out seems to be anger,
to be angry at this life
that I just can‘t seem to be able to leave
without leaving it completely
but the anger
is only a reflection after all
of the same life
where I also can‘t be okay
because everything sucks.
I am scared that this life is always going to suck.
I am angry because this life is always going to suck.
I am scared of being alone with this and I am scared of not being alone at all.
I am angry and I am scared.
No punchline.


One of the good guys

Meeting you is like finding a unicorn. „What are we even discussing here?“ you keep asking when I try to explain my world to you and you realize we live in the same one. I don’t have to show you my opinions and principles with arguments, you already did the thinking and came to the same conclusions. „We are only discussing to give each other a bit of an echo“, you say. So I stop discussing and start accepting that I don’t have to teach you the basics of my morality because, hey: You are one of the good guys.
The fact that my morality is so adamant is based on dozens before you hurting it, hurting me, harming me, all my life because the basics weren’t clear, and I trust that this won’t happen with you, a bit more every day. But this trust is shaky, full of doubt because people lie, all the time, we are great at deluding each other and ourselves, and that’s why I need time. That hurts you. That disappoints you. Why do I need that long to give you my trust? After all, you are one of the good guys!
So I don’t explain the basics to you but the details, the application of the rules, we all know it from back in school, you already know how it works, now finally do it. You really know the theory, you keep telling me that I can trust you, that you are not like the other guys, that you want me to feel good around you, so many pretty words, and then you fail with the practice, hurt me, overstep my boundaries, rip open old wounds from previous battles all over again, and I keep trying to remember with all my willpower: You are one of the good guys and you would never hurt me.
And because you are one of the good guys I only notice the little stings with the knife when they turn into real cuts and threaten to let me bleed out. But I do notice them. And I warn you. Keep warning you, “You hurt me! You are harming me!” Because you are one of the good guys and you want me to feel good around you and if you need my hints for that you would never hurt me! You just don’t know what you are doing! You are one of the good guys after all!
But you’re not listening to my hints. Try to convince me that I am actually not really bleeding. That it’s not a knife in your hand but a feather that is gently caressing me instead of cutting me up. For a moment I am starting to doubt myself because it fits way better with you actually being one of the good guys, but the cuts and the pain and the blood, I am not making that up, even if decide to not see them. So I growl so you finally start taking me seriously, and you are angry about that because obviously, I am wronging you. How can I growl at you when you don’t actually want to do me any harm? So you push me further into a corner, and it’s narrow, and by now you keep cutting deeper and deeper, again and again, before I finally snap and, out of desperation, bite.
Panting you back off, and now you finally see the cuts too. Feel the weight of the knife in your hand. And you are shocked. What is this damn knife doing in YOUR hand? Why would you have a knife? You would never hurt me, you are one of the good guys!
In the next few months, you will tell yourself and others that I cut myself and blamed you for it because you held the knife. I kept running into it, it was not your fault, and when you just wanted to put the knife away I simply left. You never wanted to hurt me, you are one of the good guys, if only I had given you more chances, if only I had explained to you for a twentieth time how you are hurting me, whatever you need to tell yourself to still be able to believe yourself the good guy. Because as long as you keep telling yourself that vehemently enough, tell it to yourself and everyone around you, as long you are going to be a good guy and won’t have to face the uncomfortable truth that those who are actually the good guys are working on themselves for that. Because those who are actually the good guys don’t have to tell it. They simply have to show it with their actions too.


Dear monogamous people - we need to talk!

As a polyamorous person, I have to say: Monogamous people frustrate the hell out of me.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely respect monogamous folks, I understand the wish to be exclusive and would never try to forcefully "convert" anyone. I understand that polyamory is not for everyone, and I understand why. You are all valid as heck.
What I don't understand is the expectations they put on me as a polyamorous person. I am not even talking about a lot of folks thinking that "for the right person" I would ditch my polyamory and become monogamous again. On that note, my loves, I just believe that there is not one person that's right for me, I believe there are many, because there are so many awesome people in this world that are each in their own way special and right and sometimes even in ways that contradict so much that there could never be a single person combining all of them in themselves. Accordingly, in general, I believe that the expectation towards oneself to be somehow perfect enough to sustain a partner's social needs all on your own is absolutely fucking toxic. Give yourself (and others) some rest.
It's also not the fact that I have been rejected for being polyamorous. As I said, it is not for everyone, and if my polyamory is a deal-breaker for you as is your monogamy for me, that is fair and valid, guess we are not meant to be. It is basically the same thing as if a man I was into told me he is gay. Sometimes, our needs and preferences just don't match. That's sad, and it doesn't mean it won't hurt, but shit happens. That's life for you.
But what completely frustrates me is the notion that our ways to have relationships differ so widely that whatever advice I share with you for whatever situation in your life just doesn't apply.
The basis for my relationship concept is the non-exclusivity, and that's already the biggest difference here. Otherwise, I could live my relationships exactly like your basic monogamous relationship, just more of them. But that's not what I do. My polycule and I live the concept of relationship anarchy.
Relationship anarchy is the idea that whatever social bonds you form are "negotiated" from scratch based on the wishes and needs of the individuals involved. That doesn't only go for romantic relationships but friendships, family, etc. as well. Throw all societal expectations overboard and discuss what we actually want of each other and try to meet on a ground where everyone involved is comfortable. Yes, that is a lot of work, but it is worth it, believe me. At this point, shout out to my wonderful partner who introduced me to this concept and thus gave me something I have basically been looking for all my life without knowing it.
The great thing is that relationship anarchy can also be applied to monogamy because it is also about boundaries. One of the needs could be the need for exclusivity, and that is also valid.
The biggest key for this to work though is absolute honesty. It is the rough emotional labour of a) reflecting on your own feelings, finding out what bothers you and why, and be honest towards yourself about how you can deal with this and b) talking about your feelings with the people involved. I get that this is scary and exhausting but I promise that it will make you happier than bottling everything up and hope that change happens magically. And truth be told, the notion that communication and honesty are key for a relationship to work out is not new to me, it is something I have been advocating for all my life, in all my monogamous relationships that I had before I started living polyamorously. The only difference now is that I have a polycule that is not letting me get away with bullshitting myself, and I am incredibly grateful for that because it also helps me to understand myself a lot better. In the past ten months, I have learned more about myself, how my mind works, why some things affect me the way they do, etc. than in the 24 years of my life before that.
However, for some reason, ever since I started living polyamorously, monogamous people seem wary about this advice: Please just fucking talk to each other. Suddenly, it seems to be an incredibly unconventional concept even though it's probably the number one advice given in every bloody "Ask [insert name here]" section in newspapers, magazines, tv shows, etc. for decades. Because it is coming from me. Somehow, people seem to feel the need to distance themselves from my way to live relationships as far as possible, and I sense that there is a certain unconscious idea of me doing something perverted here in the way I live my life that they would never, ever do and accordingly, my advice can't possibly apply to them, and even every attempt of mine to be my honest self with them is read as an attempt to somehow convince them that polyamory is the one and only true way to be. I do not mind if you are monogamous, but why do you refuse to address issues openly as a first step towards having them solved so adamantly only to then be mad at me because unlike you, I do exactly that and also be mad because I somehow can still not read anyones mind? I can only solve problems I know about, and because I am a peace-loving person I will happily do my best to do so, but first I need to know that a) there is a problem and b) what it is. But even when I ask people, I often will rather get a lie of "no, everything is fine" instead of an honest answer, and I am so, so sick of doing that emotional labour just to be abandoned in the end for not knowing what someone needs from me. And that hurts. And with that, I am not even only speaking of romantic relationships but friendships, family matters, colleagues as well.
Dear monogamous people, please try to listen to what I am actually saying instead of assuming that as soon as I talk about my polyamory or take experiences from it to apply them to my everyday life I want to force you into living this as well. It reminds me of the whole idea that LGBT+ folks want to make everyone around them gay, and honestly, that is not a good look on you.
In return, I promise, I will also listen to your advice rather than thinking you want to see me be exclusive. Because I still think we are not so different. Only different amounts.