Blog / 2020 / How Do You Occur in the World?

August 21, 2020

[video transcript]

Building on the ideas of this video is this one, which describes a simple way that you can start to make the world a better place.

This chameleon was commissioned by one of my Patreon supporters. They gave me $50 a month for six months and I made them this painting! There are prints and pretty things with this image in my Redbubble shop.

male veiled chameleon painted by French-American artist Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on unmounted canvas
12 x 11 inches

Chances are if you’re a straight, white, cis male who is able-bodied, you don’t think a lot about how others see you or how how your identity and behavior make others feel. This isn’t tru across the board, of course. Just like it’s not true that every queer, non-white, non-cis, disabled non-male does think about how they occur in the world.

Still, the fact is that when you’re marginalized, you have to be more aware of how your simple presence in a situation can change that situation. Walking down the street as a woman, I have to be aware of my identity because some people view it as an invitation to approach me, remark on my appearance, assault me. Same is true in work situations. The moment I forget that I’m a woman is the moment I arrive for a client meeting and said client opens the door to his place in a bathrobe drying his hair with a towel, ready for our meeting as it were.

The ability to understand how we occur in the world is a vital step in self-awareness, and, as a consequence, it’s a vital step in being a good person. When you start to see how you occur in the world, it’s hard to avoid seeing how others do, and also how a lot of the way people are treated has nothing at all to do with them personally and everything to do with the way that society deems it appropriate to treat different identities.

Imagine yourself a chameleon, an animal whose emotional state is written all over its skin. Who would you be if you couldn’t help but be more aware of who you are to others?

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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