If you are not previously familiar with me or my work, chances are that you clicked on my name because it reminds you of a certain cultural monopoly. I was hoping to have an answer for you, after tackling two thesis projects about grief and death in Slavic culture. Although the events of the revolution and the war have caused me to return without one, the experience has given me a lot to discuss.
I often think about the kind of work I would be prioritizing if I didn't feel a responsibility to support the many Slavic neighbors that acted as surrogate relatives for my small Belarusian-American family. I would likely still be following that same thread of sadness and longing in my work, collaged within dreams of gallantry and glimmers of hope. Our collective private mourning has been a sacred tool for my diaspora for decades, and I hoped that turning fully towards it in my work might change something. I was so very wrong.
Depending on how the war turns, an infinite number of possibilities flash in my eyes- burning an expired passport, changing my name again, teaching myself to drive and taking myself on a solo car trip out west. No matter whether I choose to run or to face my mova, there will always be a small voice in my head quietly humming along to Gogol Bordello and Dai Dorogu, reminding me to convince my mother to make draniki for my homecoming.