Monday 1st January 2018

Sometimes your best intentions are completely misinterpreted and all you can do is accept that and move on. I sent **** a message to say thank you for recommending a book to me. I returned a recommendation by suggesting she watch Nola Darling because a scene in it reminded me of her shouting at a passing car. Nola Darling showed me something I hadn’t recognised before and I felt there were similarities to ****’s behaviour in that. Her actions didn’t inspire me or make me feel like a good feminist or anything of the kind. For me, feminism is about equality and it is difficult to relate to the challenges women face on a daily basis. So, when a TV show (or anything else) can force me to reevaluate my perceptions, I’m grateful for that.

What can I do to be more understanding? How can I possibly begin to relate without understanding? **** told me to take a step back and humble myself in my approach to feminism. Everyday I attempt to do that. I try to listen first and speak only when I have something meaningful to say. I was confused as to why anyone would react with venom and anger to something that’s driving away. I was confused as to why venom and anger is a reaction for anyone, but my perception changed watching Nola Darling and I felt I could empathise.

Empathise in that I can see your point of view – from my privileged position – of that incident. Not that I condone it. Or belittle it. Not with any intention of being condescending. I’m trying to live a life of empathy, love and compassion. Sometimes I should just keep that to myself.

Why is it so strange to message someone you have been intimate with? Any time I share my bed with someone, I share myself and my vulnerabilities. I relish my own struggles too much to make anyone else’s my focus; my muse. Although, I find the suggestion amusing (can’t do anything other than laugh). Is it not condescending to suggest my attempts at understanding are merely for my own benefit? Why bother?

Why bother trying to relate to women’s problems? Bother, because men, woman and children are equal. Bother, because you want to live in a world that doesn’t consider empathy condescending. That’s your world, Adam. Your intentions are clear in your head. There’s not much you can do to prevent others misinterpreting our words. Get your message straight from the outset. There was nothing condescending in my head when I sent **** that message. Not even trying to be friendly. Not wanting anything. Just trying to say happy new year, thank you for a lovely night together and trying to start the year off on my terms. Trying to understand what it means to be connected in 2018. I’m curious about what makes people do what they do. I guess that’s going to lead to a few misunderstandings. Put it down to experience and move on. Probably a good idea to stop sending super intense messages on WhatsApp. It’s OK to be an intense person but do it in person.

Talk to ***** about this. Talk to her about a man’s role in feminism. You’re doing great. You’re learning and you’re humble enough to crave more learning. Don’t let that go because of one persons interpretation of your intent. Find your muse within yourself, as you have done in the past. My interpretation of shared experience is mine alone. Indulge in that because nobody can take that from you. A kind word, antagonistically misunderstood. Creating anger from within, it simmers to the surface. Your empathy is condescending. Correct the definition. Life is never filled with clarity, but your intentions can be. Treat everyone with love and compassion. Even those who wrong you. Your sensitivities don’t earn you privileges. You were born with them between your legs. It’s not for you to apologise for that. Take your privileged position and use it as a platform. To scream, shout and echo the words of those who have been wronged. To kick up a fuss. A full-on riot if needs be. Try; fail; learn; grow. Forget the tensions and the ill feelings. Hold on dearly to the lessons.

Momentos: 7th enero a 20th enero

Domingo 7th – It took a lot longer than expected but finally made it home. Huge thanks to Javier who basically held my hand through the night and kept me company. Walking off the bus I felt like I was coming home. To a city I love. To a piso that feels like my own. To the challenges and joys I am happy to be a part of. Saw Kristina and got a huge hug. Spoke to my mum, dad, Robin, Ilenia and Colin – family and friends all over the world. Plenty of energy from Thierno and a warm embrace from my amigo Darragh. Excited to get back to school tomorrow. Back to the wonderful challenge of teaching.

 

Lunes 8th – Aupa hombre! Tienes un recomendacion para de musique clasical? Tu gusta clasical? Es unusual para persona tienes trienta anos tu gusta clasical. Trienta!? Yo tengo viente cuatro anos! This stranger made his recommendations – Bach – and we parted ways. Music that has the quality to span decades. That’s immortality. Or as close as we’ll ever get.

 

Martes 9th – Found it quite surprising to read more boys than girls with questions or expectations concerning their bodies, aged twelve and thirteen. Boys that have barely begun to grow, wishing their bodies were bigger, slimmer, stronger or just less skinny. Who is speaking out for these young men, under the pressure of a patriarchy they didn’t ask for.

 

Miercoles 10th – Her hand went up to her mouth and it caught my attention. Before the motion had finished I snapped my fingers and shouted “EH!” for dramatic effect. Elsa said she wanted to stop biting her nails in 2018. She’s not the only one. More oranges will keep them coming up strong. In the meantime, I’ll shout everytime she puts her hand near her mouth.

 

Jueves 11th – Natasha sent me the most incredible birthday message. It removed the issue of age, which has overshadowed previous celebrations. Thirteen, sixteen, eighteen. Twenty-one. All of these proclaimed milestones. Natasha told me to celebrate the goodness of me. Celebrate the kind, caring person I am today. I already do that every day and it was amazing to share it with so many beautiful people today.

 

Viernes 12th – “Iker, why haven’t you done your homework?” I whispered from the chair behind. On a level basis. Just two human beings making eye contact. “I was at the hospital. My brother’s memory is gone.” We worked our way to a solid translation but the initial message was clear. ‘You’re a wonderful brother, being there for him.” “I don’t think I am.” “Iker, you are perfect. You are an amazing human.” “Thanks, Adam” he replied as he let out a hint of a smile.

 

Sabado 13th – Let’s meditate. OK let me message Darragh first. No. Why? Because it can wait five minutes. Why though? Take five minutes for yourself. I took her phone off her. Angry at the importance she was placing on it. We were already well past the intended meeting time. What difference would another five minutes make? I pressed play on the five-minute miracle and began to breathe deeply. Kristina sat, legs folded, thumbs rolling and eyes darting around the room to avoid my gaze. I don’t know what she did for those five minutes, but my imagination wasn’t concerned.

 

Domingo 14th – Seasons stay the same but relationships change. My relationship with Kristina is changing. We are leaving behind the novel acceptance of one another’s flaws. It’s easy to point fingers and make accusations but ultimately any resistance is futile. Instead, I am trying to accept. Accept my flaws. Accept her flaws. Embrace the change.

 

Lunes 15th – “Aupa! Savan*?” I cried out as I entered the Tabac in Casco Viejo. Near the library. A bit of family activity planning fresh in my mind from teatro Arriaga. Dos stampas para cartas irlanda y uno para unidos reinados. Not much eye contact, so not much conversation. No holding back on my way out though. “Eskerrik asko! Ego arte! Agurr!” I saw a grin appear on his face and it grew mine even wider.

 

Martes 16th – You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please everybody all the time. Living this in school as relationships change. As if I’m moving on. Content with the manner of my actions. Would be cool to listen to some more grime. But just put the work into anything and forget about being cool. Just be concerned with understanding what you’re teaching.

 

Miercoles 17th – “Adam, esta la cena de Vasco!” “Si! Es importante!” Tonight I shared some food with three beautiful people; Monis, Ibone and Manu. Mucho conversacion en espanol. Es dificil pero es muy agradisoso. Muy bueno. There will be many more occasions like it. Of that, I have no doubt. Look forward to spending time with Manu. Eres un guapo y muy interesante.

 

Jueves 18th – Bouncing around the classroom feeling filled with energy. Literally running around. Half in the clouds as they are consumed by colour, half in the room. Surrounded by wonderful young men and women who look at me with respect and admiration It’s what they see staring back at them; love, respect and admiration.

 

Viernes 19th – Lots of give and take with Artiz today. One of the nicest teachers, lots of respect and admiration for him. Today we spoke at length about veganism. Gave each other plenty to think about. After school, we practised a little Tai Chi. Circular motions, wide squat, blocking a punch and swiping away a kick. Clearing the fog from the mountains. A patient teacher and an attentive learner.

 

Sabado 20th – If there’s no DJ in five minutes I’m going home. My watch confirming that intention as it chimes 2:15am. As I pulled my sleeve down the volume went up a notch or four. Booming jazz. Swinging me to my feet. Body, happily obliging. First man on the dancefloor. Quickly followed by a beautiful crowd.