Mimi Zhu (they/she) is a queer Chinese-Australian writer who grew up in Brisbane and Singapore and is usually based in Brookyln. They believe in the radical healing powers of the written word.
Hi Mimi, are you keeping well?
it's cold outside and i haven't left my house in a while. i'm enjoying my solitude and am getting to know myself in very intimate and deep ways. its difficult but i'm feeling this buzzing sense of anticipation and euphoria for what is to come.
Describe your energy today in three words
immense, intimate, interconnected
How have you prioritized slowness in the past year and what has it taught you?
i have learned that i have feared being alone for a very long time. i felt like i was attempting to outrun feelings i had felt in the past; that including rejection, confusion, loneliness and hurt. slowing down has not only allowed me to stop outrunning myself, but to meet myself in an intimate place. i have learned that slowing down too, releasing this urgency to control what is around you, allows you to sink deeper in. i have felt years of unprocessed emotion this year, and i assure you it is not as scary as you think. you have the capacity to feel universes, and you also have always had the capacity to know what to do with them, to use them for creation.
i feel like i have learned the patient pace of our plant kin. to grow at the time of budding fruit and to stretch and grow toward the Sun.
What does being 'well' in a revolution look like to you?
it looks like accountability in a way that is self-forgiving. it is untangling all the complicated learned errors and ignorances that have been accumulated over your lifetime. it is genuinely facing yourself and allowing yourself transformation without punishment. for example, when i realised that i had a hard time being alone, instead of being tender and soft with myself and trying to understand why, i forced myself to be alone which almost felt like a punishment or challenge to myself. being "well" means understanding that i do not just exist in my head, and that i am in fact interconnected with lineages of revolutionaries who reach out to all of us, like veins of a streaming river. the best way to be "well" is to read as many books as you can, or listen to the ways that revolutionaries, especially radical Black Feminist thinkers, have not succumbed to despair.
As we end the year, there exists both internal and external commotion as folks are loudly told to be setting new year goals and examine whether or not they have lived up to the ideals they set previously. The past year has been an unprecedented one though, where human planning and structure has been disrupted by what we deem to be the natural order of living in an era of increased exploitation. How can we move past the rest/non rest binary of production and progress that often leads to mental, emotional and spiritual spirals?
i think it is interesting that the new year brings this energy, because it really is the stream of time flowing into another day. however, i also feel like there is something beautiful and spiritual about wanting to celebrate renewal. the problem with the concept of new year goals is that it sets pressure for the past and new year. setting goals of production, or looking back to the ways you have achieved "success", leaves people feeling defeated during their reflections of the year. i myself have a hard time during this time of the year. how can we mark our time by how much we have created, produced, suffered? i know that Nepal's timezone is calculated quarter-hourly, and i was struck and moved by that. time instead does not seem to be measured by the work day, but by the sacred art of meditation and breath. i am all for celebrating transition and flux, though i think what we should centre in our gratitude is being alive for every sun, moon and planetary rotation. when 2020 ends, we must celebrate that we, as living breathing beings, continue.
A round up of things that have kept us well this year at Studio Ānanda:
Ana Roxanne's discography
Kept returning to Chinatown + surrounding neighborhoods for squishy comfort foods this year:
(veg soup dumplings, pork bao, sesame balls, summer rolls, red bean mochi, pan-fried noodles, boba...)
Reconnecting with the landscapes I grew up in
Learning and teaching music production (so much easier than it's made out to be!)
In the ocean
Putting my feet on the earth directly
Going off social media for longer periods of time
Roast Paan with Vegemite and Cream Cheese
Morning stretches on my roof
Oiling my hair
Meditating in the sauna