• The Lonely Issue

    Cameos: Kashi Tamang, Masha, and Chinwe Okona

    The Lonely Issue

    Cameos: Kashi Tamang, Masha, and Chinwe Okona

    “Always carry a weapon.”

    For our Lonely Issue this month we asked Chinwe, Masha, and Kashi to tell us a little about their looks and feels, how they share space and what their horoscope’s saying.

    Kashi Tamang

    What are your handles? Find me on Instagram @kashifoto.

    Where are you from? I was born and raised in Portland, OR. I am finishing up a short stint in New Orleans, and should be up in the Twin Cities by March.

    Signature style? Just everywhere. Like drop crotch meets Realtree crust, bike delivered to you because you’re a stay-at-home dad who’s about to put on her wig and beat a face for the gods.

    What’s on your playlist right now? Blood Orange, Angel Haze, Migos, Princess Nokia, William Onyeabor, Mulatu Astatke, and Natasha Bedingfield.

    What do you carry with you? An Allen wrench, adjustable wrench, tire lever, gloves, a pen, my phone for the gram, wallet, arnica, and a weapon.

    What’s your sign? How’s your horoscope look right now? I have a Sagittarius Sun and an Aries Moon. A friend read my natal chart last week. It has been probably four years since I last read it, and as life goes by, your chart informs you in new ways. I am not an expert but that experience was really grounding.

    Thoughts on lonely? I welcome lonely feelings. Struggling to be recognized or understood artistically, racially, culturally, or in terms of social location in general can be and has been isolating at times. Especially as an artist. There aren’t many queer folks with my cultural background, so there’s a lot of finding out how to pave the road instead of finding the intersections.

    How do you share space? If you come into my space, I will always offer you food.

    What do you crave? Less white fragility.

    What do you want to do more of next year? I am focusing on meeting more artists to share ideas with, collaborate with, organize with in the community. If you’re in the Twin Cities or have an idea and want to hit me up, come through!

    Any trends you want to see more? Puffy, fluffy, neon, cozy, comfy, and also completely dysfunctional sportswear.

    Projects you’re really into right now? I have some friends back in Portland, @PochasRadicales, a sickening queer Latinx art collective which was created in response to the lack of support and space for queer latinas/chicanas/pochas in academia and community. This summer they built an amazing mobile gallery out of an old trailer to create a safe platform for poc, queer, trans, undocumented, underrepresented folks to present their experiences through creative work. Check them out on Instagram!


    Handles? @mashaispresent on Twitter, but I hardly use it. My main project right now is a podcast called Queer Cafeteria. Find us on Twitter, FB, IG and Tumblr.

    Where are you from? Born in Kiev, raised in Chicago, and I am now back in Chicago, after spending a decade between Boston and St. Louis.

    What’s your signature style? Hard femme, office punk. Also strongly influenced by Sporty Spice.

    Do you have a morning routine? I wash my face with coconut oil and do a hot towel compress before bed, moisturize with Jojoba oil after every shower, and wear sunscreen like its my job. I never leave the house without putting my brows on.

    What do you carry with you? At least one weapon. At least one other tool that I can use as a weapon. Wet wipes and ginger chews.

    What’s on your playlist right now? Podcasts mostly: See Something Say Something, Another Round, An Inexact Science, The Heart, We Want the Airwaves, Why Are People into That?, Here Be Monsters, Love + Radio, Tanis. Music occasionally: Tunde Olinaron, Vile Creature, P.O.S, James Blake, Zola Jesus.

    Your sign? How’s your horoscope look? Virgo. A friend told me that I am one the few people who has a birth chart with a very difficult Saturn Return, which I will feel the effects of until I’m like 33 or something outrageous. Since learning this, my horoscope seems like a challenge or adversary that I must concur.

    Thoughts on lonely? I spend a lot of time thinking about the differences and limits of loneliness, aloneness, and isolation. One of those is a persistent anxiety. Another, a source of energy and an opportunity to focus. And the third, a looming existential terror. I fear loosing sense of the boundaries of each of those states. To me, not intervening in being lonely is the surest way to bring upon isolation. And while I find strength and comfort in being alone, is there a point at which I am rationalizing away loneliness as a way to comfort myself?

    How do you tend to yourself? Lifting weights and punching heavy bags has turned out to be the most effective way for me to feel connected to my body, and manage anxiety and depression. I leave myself voice memos to be discovered at a later date so that I stop feeling bad for not journaling or writing more. I play the drums which brings a kind of joy and love for myself that only creating something with my own power can. I let go of FOMO, and forgive myself for feeling restored by being alone.

    How do you share space? These days, I mostly share space with others in what feels like an endless number of meetings to make our dreams of direct mutual aid and solidarity possible. My ideal for how I share space is to tend towards creating the most generous space I can, with and for the people in it. I am very intentional about how I participate in social spaces, and my heart feels biggest when I share space with folks who are willing to create an environment where people are seen, and can take the risk of feeling pure joy because the fear of being let down is so diffuse.

    What’s your guilty pleasure? Watching Pretty Little Liars and then looking up what they’re wearing on the show, and if they are gay IRL yet.

    What are you dreaming about these days? I’m dreaming about aging in an intergenerational environment, where people can have as much privacy as they need, but they also share resources and time with each other. Where children can be raised with each other, and adults help each other with childcare. Where elders can stay active, and vital.

    Trends to see more? People wearing bandanas over their faces.

    What’s missing from culture right now? The tools to encourage examination of, and action against, the insidious coercion and gas-lighting individuals experience in their lives on a day to day basis.

    Any projects you want to shout out? Chicago is giving the world some incredible humans and projects right now. For The People Artist Collective @forthepeoplechi is a group of black and POC artists that are breaking the known limits of art and activism. The People’s Response Team @chicopwatch is creating a new model of crisis response to police violence. Black and Brown Punk Show @blkandbrwncollective is making a come back in Chicago this year. And my friend Sky Cubacub’s project @rebirthgarments is doing so much for queercrip visability and fashion using the most vibrant and vital methods I’ve ever seen.

    Chinwe Okona

    Handles and sites? chinweokona.com, @chinweokona on Instagram and Twitter.

    Where are you from? Where are you now? I wish there was a short answer to this question. I was born in Atlanta, but went to high school in South Florida after nine years in Texas. I then attended college in Ohio, and moved to Oakland on a whim upon graduating. Now I’m in Los Angeles, which is where I’m currently trying to plant my feet for more than two years.

    What’s your signature style? All black everything, usually in the form of an oversized tee or hoodie and Levi’s, but for me it’s all about shoes. I feel like an impostor if I’m not wearing a pair of sneakers. I’m very loyal to Jordan/Nike, but always rotate in some Vans and am pondering a more intimate relationship with Adidas.

    Any essential care products? Coconut oil for my skin, jojoba oil for my hair. Glossier Boy Brow and concealer on a rare makeup day. Kiehl’s everything for face and also deodorant; when I die bury me inside the Kiehl’s store. Also I love a serum. Right now I have five that I really love, is that a lot?

    Your playlist right now? Gente De Zona, Jacob Forever, J Balvin. Reggaeton over everything. Also some new tracks from Kehlani and Big Sean, and this song from the 2000s called "Crazy For This Girl" by Evan and Jaron. I don’t even know.

    Your sign? How’s your horoscope look? I’m a Virgo, double Gemini; a true extroverted introvert, who overthinks everything. My horoscope is forever telling me to chilllll tf out and enjoy my life, which is a necessary reminder.

    Thoughts on lonely? I feel like loneliness is stigmatized as a negative sensation or something we should avoid feeling. I don’t know if I enjoy loneliness, but I embrace it. I feel most vulnerable when I’m lonely; it’s a feeling that I haven’t quite been able to rationalize in the same way that I rationalize happiness, sadness, or anger, so the vulnerability comes from the ways in which I don’t yet understand it. Lately I’ve really noticed the ways in which loneliness is informing social interactions in the midst of this political climate. People seem really scared and anxious to cling to bodies that seemingly understand their struggle. It makes sense.

    It also feels important to say that being lonely is very different from being alone, and figuring out what that meant specifically for my brain and my body has been an important conversation I’ve had with myself as an adult.

    How do you share space? I think because I’m astrologically ruled by Mercury, I prioritize the intangible communication space. My friends are scattered all over and I pride myself on being really good at keeping in touch over time zones and continents, taking the time to send people mail and remembering to check in. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt when people aren’t as good at prioritizing time to communicate, so I have to remember that everyone isn’t like me.

    Winter rituals? I tend to release all of my annual pent up sadness each winter by listening to the Céline Dion Christmas album from December 17th to January 3rd. It cleanses and prepares me for another calendar year of bottling up my feelings.

    What do you want to be when you grow up? A mom.

    Anyone you want to hype? Devyn Galindo is super dreamy and just put out a book called We Are Still Here featuring beautiful portraits of LA Chicanx youth, and PJ just dropped a music video for “This Is What It Looks Like” (from her Rare EP), which is a beautiful homage to Carrie Mae Weems. Also shout out to Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey for writing the World of Wakanda comics.

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