The last week has been a dramatic one, and drama can often lead to the type of anxiety that prevents me from shining. I am plagued by the annoying urge to somehow find that a university education would be just the thing to ride off into the sunset with. There are no doubt benefits to having a diploma I can then use to access jobs, and I'm not too old to study. But when I gain access to the course, I feel overwhelmed. It all gets too much, and the commitment scares me. I reach a thick wall of can't.
Maybe even writing about this is part of the addiction to 'quick fixes'... and my respect-starved way of reminding myself that past academic success (still) makes me eligible for most of the top universities in this town. According to Johann Hari, we human beings each have a need for respect within our communities. It doesn't do great things for my self esteem that I am stuck in a sort of existential void: neither studying nor working. Maybe I need more therapy? A thoroughly intensive type?
Let's go back to the concept of riding into the sunset... I have a fantasy that I will get my life "back together" to conform to someone else's notion of perfect. Without knowing much about me, a Facebook friend opined that I seemed like a Golden Girl. Well, maybe one day 'a Golden Girl' will encompass the development of various mental health disorders. Probably not anytime soon, though. I don't feel I'm ready to be the Germaine Greer, agenda-setting writing sensation, for the cause of disability rights... worthy as that would be. I'm okay, though. I'm surviving. I'm getting through. Occasionally, I reach new summits. I want to learn. Curiosity is my stimulant of choice.
My curiosity led me to book a ticket to Wellington, New Zealand for this Tuesday.
I am someone who enjoys listening in on random conversations in a café setting. Very often, the conversation will reach a point when one person declares, “it’s crazy!” about something they have evoked. I do believe we each have a fearful side of ourselves that is always censoring our public discourse with in/sanity in mind. I used to know someone who didn’t want to write down their thoughts in the medium of long-form email, because they didn’t want to unintentionally write something that seemed crazy. They preferred to get constant feedback on their conversation in person. What to do with a society which collectively fears having thoughts so outside the norm that they are stigmatised?
Sometimes I think the only difference between those locked up in psychiatric wards and the those who are not is their ability to signal sanity. To participate in modern Australian society is to continually affirm the righteousness of your worldview, and to exclude those that don’t play along.
Sometimes I am scared to think in certain ways. How much of society’s norms can I challenge without being seen as a lost cause? Do I have the energy to question everything? “Question everything” may be a good motto, especially when you’re a teenager or in your early twenties, and that questioning is foundational, but what happens when you wake up to a new reality where you have to choose a few norms to conform to for the sake of navigating the world in a simple and/or safe manner?
I mourn my lost explorer, my Alternative Reality Generating Mindset, my ‘question everything’ mode. I’m not sure what I have gained is ethically sound from the most radical of perspectives. (Perspectives I still have affinity with.) But I will keep modifying myself in relation to my environment. I will strike the balance necessary to remain safe in this world, with all the compromise that it involves. Perhaps kind and revolutionary souls will build on my work in the present and future, as I have noticed them doing in the past.
The trend for Australians to move to the colder climates of countries such as New Zealand, Northern Europe, Canada and possibly Japan seems weak as yet. I found what the ABC described as ‘anecdotal evidence’ that people are moving to Hobart and Tasmania from places like Queensland, Melbourne and Sydney. But how long before we reach a tipping point of climate change immigrants flowing out of this country, into ones better able to handle the pressure?
HSBC (and possibly others) recently ranked the OECD countries accordng to how vulnerable they were to climate change, and how prepared they were to deal with the consequences. The five countries with the best scores were Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia and New Zealand. The US and Australia were two of the worst performing rich countries.
Now, I am not in a position to relocate. I dont have the financial power to pack up and leave my parents home, and they havent identified global warming as the threat that it is. But I can gather information and be ready to act when the opportunity finally comes around. I just hope that immigration laws wont work against me. Which is why I’m anxiously identifying the trends that shape them.
It's been refreshing to note the 2019 Oscars Best Picture race was chock-a-block full of queers and POC (sometimes at the same time). It makes me feel like things have been shaken up to some extent, even if the faux-camp veneer of the sociopath running America is still intact. (Honestly, I get so tired of people in Sydney walking around mimicking the foul tyrant's facial expressions.)
Here is Oz, too, I'm witnessing a flourishing of queer and POC culture. The 'Feminist Shorts' of the Mardi Gras Film Festival all forefronted brown or black women - a bold celebration of how people from the margins can rise up and dazzle all with their perspectives.
I am thinking, too, of Laurie Penny's tweet about more and more women refusing to take part in heterosexual partnerships, in which they are almost always worse off in some way, while the man benefits at their expense. This is not news to me: I have been excluding cis men from my pool of potential partners for at least four years.
Laurie and her followers have highlighted many facets of the sacrifice women make when they partner up with the oppressor class. There's the emotional labour you are expected to do endlessly, and for free. The domestic labour you are expected to do endlessly, and for free. There's the discrepancy between the male supremacy's comfort with rampant inequality and the utterly inadequate counter-actions men can be mobilised into enduring. It just doesn't sit right.
I don't loathe myself adequately to take my chance on cis men. This polyamorous, gender non-conforming person can be found cuddling up to the finest of the non-binary and cis/trans women folk... even if right now what I have looks very much like a monogamous relationship. My polyamory isn't much advertised, just something I list on my dating profile, and hope potential lovelies can puzzle out the nuances of my desires.
Being single turned out not to be an ongoing phenomenon once I redirected myself towards people who hold me in higher esteem. Queerness now soothes more than startles.