An Artist’s Identity and Her Fight With Her Captors

"It is when the society’s needs, the economy’s needs, cannot live in harmony with your own, because a rich man said so."

This piece is written by Chantal Le, one of Spicy‘s Guest Contributors. Chantal is a young, fluid Vietnamese-Canadian artist working to transgress against the developing world in which she finds herself. She uses various mediums to create a unique and personal interpretation of said world, ranging from graphic design, videography, makeup, writing and more. Her moral, political and emotional integrity finds a place in all of her work, to create multiple functions in the modern world.

I have begun to feel the effects of the inexorable changes that come with the passing of time. Each second presses me against the acidic daydreams that have now learned to haunt me. As a teenager, I now wonder how much more dramatic life can get. I question the truth of the elders and the knowledge of all including my own. The ignition of such absurdities have metastasized from a result of such thing called “growing”, and even more so through the uncomfortable conversations between myself and my father, that have awaken me from my delusions. A story cannot be secluded to the very examples of a singular father, his singular daughter, and their singular circumstances, though whatever that shall be derived of such, is a sacrifice to the universal suffering of those alike. I am unsure of what sort of result I have been searching for, if even one at all. This has only stifled my ability to function properly. This is merely an attempt of reducing such a massive pot of boiling shame and instability of a character.

There are some pieces to my identity that are immune to demur. I cling onto whatever solidifications I can grasp, to prevent myself from dissolving into the welkin of insecurities. The identities that have formed over the grace of my mere birth, as well as that of my conscious decision making, have been awoken during this agitated state of distress many teens experience. Not knowing or knowing the obstacles that have been planted in front of every young, impoverished, disabled, queer, female, and/or POC, can be the difference between pain and guilt, and empathy and empowerment with one’s self.

It has come to my attention, however, that regardless of the open-mindedness we would all like to think that we have, that the outcomes of our character pay no mind to the predictions written inside of our diaries at night. I could call onto the number of antagonists that have tripped my sense of courage. I could speak of all of the times that I have fell on both buttcheeks with scrapes irremovable from the surface of my skin, and how my lack of armor in this capitalist infested world didn’t protect me from the road that they paved. My voice would echo to eternity and my tongue would run dry long after they would have drilled the next oil hole. So to what exact goal am I preceding here? What is it that of a young, helpless girl supposed to do? Is that the issue of mine, or the issue of the last generation, robbing us of the dexterity that we are so entitled to?

However much more we attempt to embellish the flaws of the so-called youthful age and its environments, is not only a grand symbol of our cowardice, but rather a byproduct of self interest and fear. These embellishments have become dangerously close to revoking any sense of mobility, whether that be emotional, mental, economic, or societal. Furthermore, new factors of concern hinders any total commitment for developing persons wishing to live a decent life in a decent world. My refusal of compromises leaves realists devastated and worried, for the Earth and all of its inhabitants aren’t as catering as one may feel.

Therefore, I have been challenged to falsify my own instincts, to undermine any ideas of self-imagined talent or skill, because apparently it was not worth exchanging such fantasies for a slight chance at a bright future. Chance was the keyword here, for it was much too daunting for one to handle when jobs like accountant or lawyer existed, when desires and needs are slipping off into opposite directions. It is when the society’s needs, the economy’s needs, cannot live in harmony with your own, because a rich man said so. Though I wonder, why is it so imperative to satisfy the bellies of the dying, yet they are so dying to dissatisfy the bellies of the youth? What, or rather who, is being challenged, and for who, or what? These are questions that I will never fail to ask myself periodically. They are damn near vital to the prosperity of one’s core self, and thus, one’s function. Regardless of whatever external factors that attempt to derail my findings, I will forever continue to prod at every undetermined thing in my radius.

Illustration by Nabila Wirakusumah.