Month: April 2013

Sisyphus

What was once a burning desire has now diminished into a spontaneously controlled burst of light, and a dim one at that.  I enjoy getting a rise from talking to you because I am foreign.  This only recently dawned on me.  I argue with so many people because they do not see the light, as I was taught.  I am a stranger in a strange land.  When I meet others like me, we cling together, but because I have been here so long…they feel as though I have changed too much to be welcomed back.  Where do I belong?

Not here, not there, not anywhere…but somewhere in between.  The Lotus: floating calmly on still water, with deep roots, and brightly coloured petals reaching out to the cold air in the heavens.  The flower itself is it’s own entity, balancing between two worlds.  I am a child of two worlds in many ways.  I belong to the Earth itself, while gazing longingly at the sky- I hope to ascend to greater things.

Where do I go from here?  Do I search for like-minded people, and hold onto them for dear life?  Do I reject people like you, or try to change you?  By being around me, are you enlightened?  By being around you, am I damaging myself?  Tarnishing a once-pure vision that leant humanity euphoria, a utopic understanding that can only be achieved if raised with such a notion?  Do you see what I see?

What is my happiness?  Is it my return to a land that provided it?   Or do I leave saddened knowing that I could not change this land that has become my own- my adopted home?  The world made me what I am.  I make me what I am.  I choose to make the world better, no matter where I stand.  So many places are so advanced.  It hurts to see my adoptive home so far behind, so delusional in thinking that “We are number 1!”  It is false, and so are you.

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Sisyphus

You.  Why am I drawn to people who are so torn to pieces by hatred, violence, and fear?  Is everyone like that?  Where are my brethren?  How long until I find my star-twin?  Can I ever fix someone like you, am I like Sisyphus, doomed to roll that rock up the hill only to see the same one falling back again, time and time again?  Are you my rock?  Am I polishing you like a diamond?  Time will tell.  Will I ever make it over that hill…

©2013 Poetry by Satu

Halo Around the Moon: #10 on Ambient Charts for Los Angeles Reverb Nation!

I finally put up my songs through my ambient/electronica side project, Halo Around the Moon, on Reverb Nation a month ago.  In that time I have climbed to #10 on the charts, and I have no one to thank but my loved ones and fans for their support!  This is awesome!  Keep on listening- new music will be added soon.

Satu

Halo Around the Moon #10 on ReverbNation's Ambient Charts for Los Angeles!

Halo Around the Moon #10 on ReverbNation’s Ambient Charts for Los Angeles!

Now What? Waiting for THE PULSE

As an actor, it is always a challenge balancing career with social life, family life, and everything in between.  It’s a strange feeling being isolated from the ones you love while trying to make everything happen as soon as possible.  When you feel like you’ve done everything you can, now what?

I recently had an interview with Josh from Nowhere California’s Podcast.  It was a great interview with tons of fantastic questions.  Interviews to me are always a bit psychological, as much as improv and free association can be.  When you answer without being able to think too long about the question, it can get deep.   One question that struck me was “aside from everything that you do, is there anything you haven’t done that you would like to try in the entertainment industry?”  I thought about it, and decidedly had no answer.

I know what  I would like to happen (ie. the house, the car, and family of my dreams), but honestly- I have done or am currently doing everything that I ever hoped to be.  I just want to act, produce, and occasionally direct (and model, host, sing, + play music) for the rest of my life.  Now that I’m typing this, I do have a few things I’d like to get back into:  I want to make documentaries and music videos.  That’s what will come in the future.  With #NerdNoise I have begun the documentary format (being more in that form than “entertainment journalism” form).  I’m sliding into it.  I have several outlines of docs I want to produce and host, and that is something I won’t give up on.  I also thought about going into radio or starting my own podcast for #NerdNoise.  I studied broadcast journalism in college and had a few stints in radio back then.  It would be fun and a likely career choice for me since the reason I got my communication studies degree was because of Howard Stern!

So yes, there is always something more.  The point of this blog was to outline my recent experiences of feeling like I’ve done everything (the “Now What?” complex).  I feel a lull in the flow of things and that always drives me crazy. There is always something more I could be doing.  I’m a busy bee and I never stop creating.  Maybe it’s time to work on that podcast.  The documentaries are for later.  If I was acting full time I’d find a way to play music here and there to keep it all interesting.  But, as every actor knows, there is a lot of downtime- and as my mother always says: “It’s important that actors have other skills so that they don’t go mad!”

Industry folk always say the same thing:  Are you doing all you can?  I’ve done everything I need to do.  The headshots, the reel, the website, creating your own work, getting in the best possible shape, networking like a mothertrucker, and putting myself out there as much as possible.  I’m waiting to be heard.  I feel like Jodie Foster in the movie Contact, sending out signals into space for YEARS, dedicating your life to the possibility of hearing something back.  Carrying on with life as much as possible, and then suddenly….you hear a very loud, consistent pulse.
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Brand new podcast:  #NerdNoise with the Final Fangirl (Podcast) will be coming SOON.

Stay busy,

❤ Satu (The Final Fangirl)

Tales of a Secret “Biracial” Immigrant

I’ve been feeling an overwhelming burst of isolation.  With so many sensitive topics flooding our screens from corporate news sources, it’s hard to find hope and light amidst the chaos and darkness.  Like a stranger in a strange land, I am still searching.

I came from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then Edmonton, Alberta, both pleasant and lively places to grow up in the 80s and early 90s.  I learned about racism, but never encountered it myself.  I generally felt an overwhelming sense of peace and happiness in a childhood filled with ballet and drama classes, skiing, piano, art, theater, and short but spectacular summers.  When my family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the mid-90s, I had great friends starting out, and people generally were curious about me, and friendly too.  People had no idea what I was.

I put “biracial” in quotations in the title because the archaic idea of “race” was created to make a certain person feel more comfortable about the rest of the world.  Is it a skin colour, country, religion, or genetics?  For some people, is it a choice?  In North Carolina, I was asked a few times whether I was Black or White, and I honestly didn’t know how to answer that question, as if those were the only racial options.  I was new to them, so they didn’t have a box for me.  Others would ask where I worship, and my mother would tell me to say “We worship at home,” even though I was raised without religion (atheist).  Over time I found clever ways to answer questions about myself.  I eventually enjoyed the extra attention I received for being different, even the teasing and jokes about being Canadian.  All of that was in good fun.

I am the only product of a second marriage, for both of my parents.  I have half-siblings on both sides, and I grew up with my half-sister and half-brother from my mother’s previous marriage.  They are fully Indo-Trinidadian (of Indian and Afghan decent).  My three half-sisters from my father’s previous marriage are fully Finnish.   As for me: I am half Finnish (Scandinavian) and half Trinidadian (of Indian and Afghan decent).

Me in Bethesda, MD with my father. Circa 1987

I have never met my Finnish half sisters, nor have they ever reached out to me.  I will admit that I am curious about them, but also a little hurt that they were never curious about me.  My mother told me that just after I was born, she ran into a friend of my father’s ex-wife.  This friend said that my half-sisters were all curious about what “colour” I turned out to be (which is odd, since my mother has light-olive skin).  And my mother said to her, fiercely, “She is just fine. And you should see her, she is beautiful.”

In North Carolina, when I was in my teens, I started to dye my hair wild colours.  I began listening to metal and industrial music, and found my place in a group of metal-heads and punk-rockers in the Winston-Salem local music scene.  It was a wonderful place to be, and it felt really good to belong to something I could call my own.  Everyone was welcome, regardless of race, gender, or colour.  Music is what united us.  Sub-culture took huge precedence over what you were genetically, or what religion or class you were born into.  It was powerful, and we felt completely above all of the social mores and categories everyone loved shoving us in.  I knew I was always different from everyone else in my family because of the sub-culture I chose, though they completely accepted me for who I am.  Looking back, it totally makes sense that I am a metal-head, as Finland is the Promised Land of Heavy Metal.

I came home with turquoise hair and an extra piercing in my ear one day.  I was probably wearing fishnets, a Marilyn Manson t-shirt and a silver vinyl skirt with combat boots, my standard uniform when I was going out to the mall with friends.  My brother was home from college.  He asked me a simple question: “Why would you want to stand out any more than you already do?”  I thought about it for a long time.  Dying my hair was not about standing out (as most counter-culturalists agree that in the end, we all looked the same by making similar fashion statements).  It’s hard to pinpoint, but it was about belonging to something extraordinary, fun, and exciting.  Expressing your art on your own body.  Showing the world that we are the truly free ones.  And yes, a big “Fuck You” to The System.   But I think what he meant was, “Don’t you want to be accepted?”  My brother and sister are darker skinned than me, and have had a lot of racism hurtled towards them growing up.  People didn’t understand them (as with most hatred, it stems from fear and a lack of knowledge).  They would tell me stories that made me so angry that I wish I could go back in time and slap the shit out of the people who made them hurt.  But in the end, that wouldn’t do anything, it would just make things worse.  After all, hatred is cyclical.  I had my fair share of bullying in North Carolina growing up, mainly because I was a nerd, and a female.  One mentally deranged kid called me a “JAP.”  I had no idea if he meant Japanese, or Jewish.  I am neither, but he was ignorant.  I ended up being a tonal blend between my parents.  Some people think that I look “white.”  Others think that I appear “exotic.”

After a fashion show in Greenwich Village, New York City

After a fashion show in Greenwich Village, New York City

After North Carolina, I moved to New York City to be a TV host, actress, model, and singer.  I accomplished everything within a year and got some really great gigs all around.  I found that it was easier to break into music, hosting, and modeling with a “different” and unique look than acting.  New York agreed with me in every sense of the way.  That city captured my heart, and the 7 years that I spent there educating myself, working, and growing my soul and career are priceless.  Never have I felt so welcome and accepted.  It was as if there were so many people there that racism has no place, because there is no room for it.  People cared for other people.  I take o’ you, you take care o’ me.  I like that.  Coolest city on Earth, allowing anyone to be anything they truly want to be.  Perfect place for something seen as “different,” no matter where they go.

I either fit in everywhere, or no where.  It’s never been more apparent than when I moved to Hollywood and (I am still) trying to break into the industry that initially only sees people that fit into specific racial boxes.  Ah, marketing.  Everyone else gets thrown into the “ethnically ambiguous” box, as though our identities haven’t been defined, or have been erased because they don’t have “time” to understand “us.”
I moved to LA based on a hasty decision made because I listened to the wrong “career coaching” people that just wanted my money, with a severely distorted vision of what was to come.  People will tell you anything you want to hear, as long as you give them something in return.  I grew up thinking that California was the “Left Coast” and everything was free, feminist, and beautiful.  I definitely did not do my research, and shortly after I moved here I discovered that Los Angeles is inconspicuously right-wing.  I felt an ominous dark cloud cover my smile.  Periodically I do meet some good people, though all to often do I encounter people who, politically, are the opposite of me in a fierce way.  Needless to say, it’s okay to have different political views, but when your political views impede on my health, safety, and sanity… ugh.  So I joined a band (Modern Time Machines) and found solace in music once again, in Silverlake, a more progressive minded artistic part of town.

Playing with Modern Time Machines, Silverlake, CA Circa 2012

Playing with Modern Time Machines, Silverlake, CA Circa 2012

Lately I have been feeling so alone.  I feel more alone here in LA than I have anywhere else in the world.  I have lived in many cities, Halifax, Edmonton, Bethesda, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, NYC, and now here.  I know I should have never left New York- that city holds my heart it her hands until my dying day, the only place that truly feels like home.
256045_10150282197782664_3471852_oI’m secretly hoping that thought will change someday.  Last night I had a long discussion with some old classmates from Stella Adler (New York) at their new sister school, here in LA.  One of them is from Montreal.  The more I talked to her, the more I felt a rush of relief.  I am not alone.  I am not crazy.  I am Canadian.  I gave her a huge hug and thanked her for the intellectual debate.  Because I never lived in Canada during my adult years, I don’t feel like I should go back.  No one would ever guess that I am Canadian (or Finnish, or Indian etc).  Why escape now…I have been struggling so hard to make my mark here.  I have been an American citizen for 11 years, I have lived here for almost 20.  I had to earn my citizenship.  I don’t feel like giving it back.  But god damn sometimes it’s hard fighting here.  Fighting to be free in the Land of the Free (Some Restrictions May Apply).”
Everyone is always fighting.  It’s a good thing to stand up for your rights.  What’s even better is to find a way to let people flourish and be healthy and happy.  Taking care of students, the sick, the old, children, and the wounded veterans.  It just makes sense.  Everyone knows this country (The US) is in a dark place.  We need cure this virus.  We need to move forward.  We need to not be alone in this fight.  It’s all about compromise, but even more so, its all about doing what is right.  We have to make choices that allow more people to live in a violence-free, safe environment.
I’m enjoying my success here in Los Angeles.  Success meaning that I am happy doing what I love because I make other people happy.  After careful consideration,  I have chosen to stay and fight for what I believe is right:  Equality, finding affective Socialized Medicine, enforcing better Gun Control, Ending Discrimination, and Empowering Women and Girls so nothing can stand in the way of their dreams.

My advice to anyone with dark feelings for other races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions:  Let go of your hate.  Let the hatred end with you.  Love is contagious.  Help out who you are able to.  Be a hero.  But in the end, please let the hatred stop with you, so we can all fulfill our American Dream.

-Satu Rautaharju

You Are Temporary

Love is a funny thing.  Sometimes I am sure there are two kinds of love, and they cannot exist together.  Other times I wonder if love is a myth created by Hallmark.  What is it?  Is it sex, passion, drive, desire?  I LOVE my acting career.  I would die for it.  I desire many things, and can’t have them all.  So when you can’t get what you want, a partner, an Oscar, a part in a feature film… is it purely desire?  And once you get it, does the desire dissolve- since desire is solely what drives us to achieve our goals?  Does that mean that love is what is needed to sustain our “achievements”?  I think yes.  So how is it possible to maintain both love, desire, and keep our dreams in check?

Learn to let go of what bothers you.  Change what you can, drop the rest.  People are harder to change than circumstance.  Love something for what it’s worth.  Leave the rest.  Change people through your art, not your self.  Separate the two.  Let one exist solely to live on after you.  You are temporary.  You art is more permanent than you could ever be.  Learn to let go.  Write it out and throw it away.  Translate it into vision, song, touch- but don’t break it down into words.  Let everyone else try.  Be the artist you wanted to be.  Love everything.  Hate nothing.  Alchemy of emotion….