Response to the Archive: Lost Property by Sarah Gillespie

Sarah Gillespie
Lost Property
Responding to Lauren Jimerson’s ‘My Story’

Lauren tells of her experience of having her job terminated during the pandemic by a hostile superior in her workplace. Instead of communicating with compassion and awareness, this former colleague weaponised managerial semantics to alienate and ostracise her.

‘They straight asked me if I felt like I “fit in” during a meeting about my work performance.’

I felt enraged by this passive aggressive abuse and I wrote a poem/song addressing this person directly from my own hypothetical perspective of Lauren. Elaborating in my imagination, I address this person as a woman (though Lauren doesn’t specify gender).

I wanted to explore the notion that Lauren’s acute feeling of imposter syndrome and of feeling ‘like an alien’ is the result of collective transference. Symbolically, and as a white European American, Lauren’s superior has imposed their culture, pedagogy, laws and customs onto generations of indigenous peoples. This person is the imposter, not Lauren and yet Lauren carries this feeling. I also wanted to look at this historical chapter in long shot, span backwards and recognise the trauma still reverberating today.

As I am currently in Lockdown in the UK, I was unable to go to the recording studio in London, so this is very rustic audio recorded directly into my iPhone. Excuse the fuzziness and distortion!

In solidarity,
Sarah Gillespie

[Norfolk, England]

Lost Property

White woman in your office block
No I don’t fit in
My heart is with the great hill
Where I end and I begin

This hospital is neon blue
This disconnect feels strange
Graphs depicting death counts
Like a hand drawn mountain range

And I recognise this feeling
That left me so bereft
We were not inoculated
To your terror and your theft
To your small pox
And your gun shots
To your concrete
To your laws
This impostor syndrome feeling
Isn’t mine, it’s yours

(I mistook it for my own
But imposters build their houses
On someone else’s home).

Smell the sage on the firewood
Just like when I was young
Languages exploding
On our indigenous tongues
White woman in your office block
No I don’t fit in
My heart is with the great hill
Where I end and I begin

All audio, video, text and images are under copyright © Neelum Films LLC


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