“I’m not going back to being her again!”
Growing up as a closeted queer kid, marriage wasn’t ever a foreseeable possibility for me. Spending years of my youth in a conservative Christian environment, my unchosen sexuality made me feel like a hell-bound moral failure, and utterly unworthy of love. Knowing our government excluded gay people from getting married only compounded the self loathing, hopelessness and pain I harboured quietly inside. To hear discriminatory legislation read at the weddings ceremonies of those I loved stoked the fires of my inner torment, and made these special moments quite bittersweet.
Today, in Australia, we’re still not there yet, and I don’t know when we’ll stop being a global embarrassment and get on with achieving full equality for all.
I don’t view marriage as a be-all defining moment of success anymore, nor an institution I necessarily aspire to enter, but I do know how valuable the symbolism of recognising all love as being equal is, especially to the young queer kids out there who may feel less-than.
I love that Muriel’s Wedding not only delivers camp, cheeky sequences and hilariously memorable one-liners, but it also cuts to the heart, exposing the agony and vulnerability so many of us experience. I think we all relate to Muriel on some level. As the outsider, the underdog. Someone who just wants to fit in.
As suspected, creating this particular piece was every much the emotional trip I thought it would be. It hits quite close to home.
Muriel’s agonising desperation to just get married resonates so strongly with many who’ve felt like a bit of a social outcast; unworthy of acceptance and love (from lovers, from friends / family, from churches, from society). It also represents how often we can misplace where we get our validation from and the importance of raising the middle finger to society’s expectations of us; to strive to embrace our quirks, to learn to love ourselves better, and to cherish those special friendships we stumble across that celebrate us in our real, unfiltered states. I’m sure we’ve all made this ugly-crying face at some point.
Tonight though, I’m beaming a little to have finished the pointillism part of this illustration. Soon, it’ll be scanned and carried into a technicolour digital rebirth.
All will be unveiled in Sydney, 10 Nov, as VIDEO DRAMA Nordacious Art Show kicks off.
Hope to see you there.