Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Author: megan (Page 2 of 266)

FB break

It’s been almost 3 full days of not being on Facebum and I can already feel the difference. I am a social media addict for sure. The reality is unless I have a project to promote I get too involved in the sad, the political, the vegan, the incomprehensibly racist, and I was being very contentious and grumpy. I think Facebum breaks are necessary for a bit of perspective.

The result has been that I have been writing (a teeny bit) more, and being a little bit more in the actual real world. I have been exercising more, and for longer, I have been in the kitchen more, and healthier. Oh I am sure the old bad habits will creep in, but I am enjoying the one restriction I have placed on myself; my primary distraction, procrastination, opinion making place.

Some of the other things on my mind are, what next? Should I carry on with more shows of The Deep Red Sea? Should I write a screenplay? Where can I perform improv weekly to a paying audience. How can I become a theatre producer?

On Screen – Our Land

Yesterday I went to watch myself (albeit very briefly) in one of the AFDA 3rd year director’s final exam movie. The Labia was a hive of students dressed as celebs, friends, family, young and old, and casts and crew. It was properly exciting.

We saw two movies, with my appearance as an Afrikaans mother in Our Land, director and writer Casey Milledge’s tribute to father son relationships in our torn and divided country.

Although I had great fun and was very impressed by the passion and professionalism of the team on the day we shot, I struggled to visualise the film, and I admit here, I was anxious about how it was going to turn out. I shouldn’t have worried.

What Casey and his creative and technical team have managed to produce is a beautiful looking, hard hitting, stereotype avoiding and deeply personal political film. Shot largely in hand held close-ups and brilliantly edited, the pace, passion and heart of the movie is distilled and made powerful. The choice to make a black and white film, mimicking historical news film of apartheid, was deliberate but not obvious, and the touches of red slashes, so unsettling in the black, grey, white were shocking: A symbol of (bloody) transformation we were told in the Q&A afterwards.

Student films suffer incredible challenges. Performers have to be begged. Resources are terribly limited. Students are over stretched and are often involved in more than one project at the same time. None of that shows in this film. I was seriously, unreservedly proud.

A Friend in the Unlikeliest Place

Yesterday just happened to be one of those days that are so incongruous and strange they are a challenge to understand, let alone write down. But it was the kind of day that I believe will shift me and take me down an unexpected path of my journey.

Let me try. Big Friendly is out of town so my day started early, walking, feeding and watering the animals. My first appointment was in Wynberg, to meet with the CJSA (Cape Jewish Seniors Association) for an interesting chat/session. I met with a different branch in Milnerton in July and it had been a success and then I was asked to do the Wynberg one. I am not naive. I was asked because I said yes to the first one. Almost 30 ladies of a certain age (no men this time) were there to find out more about me, and resist playing improv games like I did the last time! I was as prepared as I always am. No idea about what I was going to do or say until I got there.

And then something amazing happened. In my introduction, and emboldened by the clarity Robin DiAngelo has given me about who I am and the enormous edge my White Privilege (not to mention the addition of Jewish Privilege) gives me, I said, by way of introducing myself, “My name is Megan Furniss. I used to be Megan Choritz (nods and sighs of recognition here). I am a writer, actor, director, improvisor. I am Jewish, anti religious, and very political. I want to state here, for the record and so you know, I am anti-Zionist and pro-Palestine.” Can you imagine? There was a massive communal gasp. One brave lady finally swallowed and said, “We don’t have to go there.” There was a shocked and relieved murmur of agreement.

A lot happened in that session. A lot.We jumped through my family and ancestry, flew through my career highlights, touched on Cape Town history, and family, and District Six and Woodstock. We joined dots, dived deep, and even ‘went there’ politically. There were many details, and many moments, and hard questions, and hilarious interludes. There were feelings hurt, and hearts won over. In the group was a shiny, funny, clever, vocal powerhouse of a woman with a lot to say. I haven’t asked her permission to use her name publicly so I won’t, but we got each other. She was excited by me and my points of view, and I was thrilled by her tenacity, and cleverness, and out-there-ness. She was my tribe. I left that time there shifted. As much as I had come to share my stuff with them I felt differently seen by a community that I have constant struggles with. I had to dash, with promises to return.

Then I flew over to the Golden Acre to take part in an hour long interactive improvisation performance called Film Me In as part of Infecting the City. Honestly, from the ridiculous to the incomprehensible. It’s been a while since I performed in the Golden Acre and I had forgotten what an awesome space it is. I was standing there, in the big open space we were performing in, trying to encourage people to participate, when I felt a tap on my head. My new friend from the CJSA meeting had taken a trip to town to see what I was up to! This woman had brought herself to the Golden Acre, a place I can guarantee her fellow community members hadn’t visited in years, to come an check us out. I love her.

My day ended with me falling asleep in front of the insane, hideous and demented impeachment hearings where Americans tore into each other and behaved like lunatics in support of chief batshit crazy, psycho, abuser Donald J. Trump.

A Completely Weird Obsession

This is a confession. I am obsessed with the American impeachment hearings. I watch them like other people rubberneck at car crashes. I watch the live stream like people who obsess about watching people fall down, or listening to hair brushes on skin or watching pimples being squeezed. I watch with a morbid and ignorant fascination because I have no real idea about how US politics actually work, other than the policy and the people seem to be entirely at odds with anything else in the real world.

I am amazed at how conservative all these people are, including the Democrats and especially those with positions in any foreign office. Everybody genuflects at anyone in uniform, and especially those with medals on. The Democrats, obviously, the impeachment proceedings are their’s, are a strange combination of self righteous and polite, with a smattering of disbelief and a peppering of snivelling. The Republicans are raving lunatics, rabid and champing at the bit, full of bluster and noise and defensiveness. It seems to me they are playing to an audience who don’t really care about the truth and who will support their lying, cheating, narcissistic buffoon of a president at any cost.

What does seem particularly creepy is how the Republicans lay into their own people if they think they aren’t playing ball. Ambassadors, government employees, non partisan civil servants have been lambasted, made fun of, bullied and threatened. It is vile.

I follow the threads on twitter. It’s terrifying how aggressive and threatening Trump’s supporters and Republicans are. The Democrats are also their own worst enemies; they whine and moan and complain like children who are telling tattle tales.

I can’t stop watching. It’s better than Game of Thrones. And more twisty.

 

Dogs


Frieda (featured as the header of this blog) is beautiful and wise. She is also very funny, and adores affection. When we are at home, that is. At home she will lie really close to me on the bed or on the couch and sometimes use her nose to prod me for love. She is a snuggler, and even cuddles with Chassie the cat, who adores her with a face licking passion. He seeks her out to lie next to. She knows words; biscuit and breakfast and supper and walk. When we say them her eats prick up and she bounces around, digging up the couch and throwing the cushions everywhere. At the park though she tolerates any public displays of affection grudgingly and runs away to do her own thing as fast as she can. She likes stealing found toys, and will play ball occasionally; totally on her own terms. Frieda is sensitive to loud bangs. She will steal things off the kitchen table when we are out and leave them on the spare bed. We will know she has done this if she doesn’t come running, toy zebra in her mouth, to greet us on our return. I love Frieda the most.

I love Linus the most. He is Frieda’s black brother and he is the best boy dog ever. He is round where Frieda is skinny. He is clumsy where she is agile. He bounds in slow motion. Linus is the friendliest, happiest dog when he is well. Sometimes he doesn’t feel too good, because he has IBD and is allergic to most protein and he has to be on a special diet. Sometimes he eats cat poo which makes him feel really terrible. Linus lies with his back feet posed back and out on the kitchen floor. Linus has the longest hair growing from his Hobbit feet. He will not even acknowledge me, or the ball, when I throw it. Linus loves jumping on the bed and sleeping with me in the morning when I lie in a drink coffee. He lies on his back with his whole tummy exposed.

Frieda and Linus are my perfect furry companions, the dogs of my heart and soul, and the gentle daemons of my spirit.

Taking it Personally

In the fight against one’s internalised racism (or any superiority complex; gender, religion, class) the greatest stumbling block is not being able to get over being called the name that identifies you as part of that group. This is why people respond louder and more defensively to being called a racist than witnessing racism and doing something.

The best example. The #menaretrash story is the absolutely best example of the total disconnect between understanding what women are saying about how they are treated by men, and men being completely hysterical about being called trash. Like we were skinning them alive. With no actual space in the hysteria for what women were saying. That was not important. Rape was not important. Domestic violence was not the issue. Men were being called TRASH! This is the best example for me, a white woman, to understand anything remotely similar (and even then the scale of the difference is beyond measuring) to unconscious racism. No matter what I did or said the #notallmen were more offended about the name than about the reason for the name. #menaretrash equalled #idontseecolour.

A wonderfully accurate check point question for me, mostly in conversations about whiteness, is “Do I take that personally?” If I do then I am the one who needs to go away and unpack that. Usually, if I am honest with myself, it will reveal an unconscious bias or droplet of ingrained superiority. Usually, that discovery will be accompanied by a wave of intense shame. I believe those moments of shame are also the perfect learning moments. The trick is to lean into the shame, do the acknowledging, and stay in the humility of always being on a learning curve. Knowing that those thoughts can be shifted, and must be worked on. Then, in a similar situation, when it comes up again, I am ready to not take it personally. And I will know that I have moved, shifted and am less racist or biased or superior.

A personal place that has become an ongoing challenge is my veganism. I have been confronted about my veganism being elitist, privileged and white. It has been said that the way I feel about animals and the lives of animals is racist. And I am having to work on this in an unflinching and personal way. It is complicated. I have blindspots with people who are ok with the suffering and abuse of animals. I have serious problems with those that justify the slaughter of animals for cultural and religious reasons. I get overwhelmed and depressed at the thought that being a vegan is a choice that only the privileged can make. I don’t think that is true. I am working on it.

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