Thursday, 27 June 2019

Single Again

I dreamed a dream
of you and I
Lying face to face
A library floor

All the seminal Russian texts
Couldn't stop us as
We set up camp
From place to place

But I miss you 
Even as you fly
Reaching your peak
Hitting your stride

Even as I know that I 
Am better off alone

~*~


Sunday, 28 April 2019

Half-baked Dream Analysis

Last night I escaped a totalitarian country as part of a stream of outgoing emigrés. I was faced with the option of taking the train to England, but through waiting discovered I could board a carriage to Wales. I had a boyfriend on my escape journey, a sturdy presence, as smart as me, who outmanouvred the vigilant guards as craftily as me. We hid clear candy wrappers in the sleeves of our dark clothes. We were in Europe, or perhaps simply "south."
My boyfriend wasn't there - somewhere between waiting for the train to England and dodging it in favour of Wales, he would not be part of my journey. I still thought about him. But I would face the oranges, yellows and greens of the UK alone. 
The totalitarian space was gray, like climbing up a slide - it has been easy to descend. 

*

Given that my former girlfriend was from Wales, and very proud to be out, I consider "going to Wales" as a worldview shift, pro-queerness. 
Who knows what that original dark, gloomy totalitarian space was about. My childhood? And yet it seems I can't escape my upbringing, which impedes my kaleidoscopic vision as readily as it can. My mum is someone from who both help and harm originates. The harm is perhaps most pronounced in her denial of my queerness. She won't even talk about her dispute with my sexual identity. No doubt she fervently wishes I could 'revert' to some generic heterosexual mode that never was and never will be. 

*

Little Bit out of the Way

I saw the world today, gave it a good shake. In the land of the conscious, we Sundayed into a place called Little Bay, a semi-secluded community with a certain industrially decorated charm. Yawning golf courses intruded on our paths, but we sashayed just shy of the sand and found shimmering jewels trapped in the sea. Guarded by extravagant green, the path was too tight to linger long, but we committed the moment to memory. Those mobile snaps won't hurt with evocation of detail. 

Work through your Emotions

Sometimes I can sense that I need to catch up in terms of taking responsibility for my emotions. Sometimes I wonder how deeply I should take writing. I know that if I were not on drugs, I would be applying myself ardently in order to summon the Money Gods. Also, because it's rewarding emotionally. But mostly I'm happy to avoid my god-given talents as part of my ongoing eff yoo to the world. (The eff yoo doesn't apply to the readership of this blog.)

Friday, 19 April 2019

All That's Good Friday

There have been a number of positive developments in my life lately. A Zadie Smith essay in 'Feel Free' inspired me to join the Randwick City Libraries, and I've already checked out my first book, a smashing, powerhouse novel called 'America is Not the Heart'. I've also attended my first author talk by the charismatic Jane Caro, who promoted her brand new 'Accidental Feminists' at my closest branch! 

In all the fabulously sculpted words Smith used to leave the impression that libraries are worth saving, it was her tribute to their non-capitalistic credentials - that is, that you don't need to spend money to spend time in a library - that moved my curiosity and saw me walk in the door. 

I am not a paper book sentimentalist - Kindle was the tool that sparked my reading voyage. I felt that I was tricking myself into reading instead of spending the time browsing the net, just by virtue of being in front of a screen. Now, it's the faith I've accumulated in the world of published narratives that sees me taking a chance on a novel (for I usually stick to non-fiction) in its hard copy version. 

Perhaps this is the next step of me embracing an identity as a reader. 

Reading is not the only thing that happens in libraries: I've noticed an art class every Tuesday, and have picked up the equipment to join: a sketch pad and a charcoal pencil. Let's see what happens next week... 

In terms of books I've read this month, there was 'Not That Bad', Roxane Gay's immersive collection of essays on rape culture, which retraumatised me at times, but felt crucial to my understanding of how our society operates. How can something debilitating that affects so many women be so monumentally hushed up? Violently swept under the carpet. Airbrushed out of mainstream discourse. To talk about my experience as a victim of rape and sexual assault is to retraumatise myself, but to stay silent is to be complicit in patriarchy's sadism. It can feel like a lose-lose situation, but thankfully feminist movements like #prataomdet and #metoo have got us talking, and the number of people willing to speak out is too big to be shut down. 

'The Nordic Theory of Everything' by Anu Partanen was most interesting for me when she focused on the strengths of the Nordic "well-being" states, and less so when she tried to endear herself to an American audience by extolling that country's virtues. There is so much to learn from that clutch of European countries, like 'the Swedish/Nordic theory of love', which is that if you supply each individual with the tools they need to be independent of each other, then, and only then, can genuine loving relations flourish. The 'love' is any kind of warm bond between two people, be it child and parent, a friendship, or a romantic relationship. If you're not dependent on someone, you're free to meet them on equal terms within the relationship, which leads to greater happiness all around. 

The best yearly phase of my relationship with my parents is when I've saved up enough of my own money to go overseas, and call back to Australia in the warm glow of my independence, so I would say that this 'theory of love' makes instinctive sense to me. 

**What does it say about the quality of the heterosexual relationships when the guy is *still* the one expected to pay for the dinner date? What about when the woman gives birth and takes time out of *her* career to be financially dependent on the guy? Do heterosexual relationships in Australia (or the US) really have much chance at being truly equal? I think not.**

I think this is a good place to end this post. Perhaps I'll write some more about the books I've read soon. 


Sunday, 7 April 2019

Clarity

Seeking clarity is a dangerous thing
20/20 vision to size up the stings
Administered to your flesh
It's a powerful thing -
The force against you

Burgeoning aptitude but
Who really cares
The skill set you work on
Erased or displaced

I think it's a powerful thing
Extra duty perception
When the visionary does sing
People can stop and listen

*

And the sad thing, though
Is that she doesn't know
What she's up against
There are too many menaces
There are too many stories
To follow, to disavow

And the sharpest thing she's got
Is still her mind
And that's a lot
But how?

She's supposed to have lost
Long ago
Surrendered the narrative
The overarching control

Finding a reason to shine
Is the hardest thing in the world
When she's up against dullness
In every sense of the word

Detecting the salient
Cause for disruption
It takes motivation
Dedication to clarity



Friday, 22 March 2019

Plodding through the earth

Have you ever noticed how, when someone spends most of their time living in a suitably conspicuous city, they tend to conflate it with the entire country? I used to think of myself as living in "Australia" more specifically than Sydney, though recent visits to places like Melbourne and Hobart have changed that. I do catch myself saying that I spent two days in "New Zealand" though, knowing that I can get away with it by having flown to one of its two major cities.

My time in Welly was fleeting, but it perked me up somewhat. Insomnia forgot to make way for holidays, I came back home so I could sleep soundly. Or at all. I felt the kindness, though. The leadership style flowing, top-down. Jacinda Ardern's presence being felt in a way that reminded me of Julia Gillard's effect on my society. As another female commentator noted, we recognise in Ardern's empathy, compassion and solidarity with the Muslim community our own repressed need for same. For too long has Australia been steered by psychically damaged, misogynistic homophobes and shift racists. Please, for all our sakes, let's change the game.

My dad beats me up emotionally for my political imagination - he finds it mostly incomprehensible and definitely unpleasant that I root for the Nordic countries and "hate" the US & UK. (Even though I don't hate them - I just think their more rightwing tendencies are not serving their considerable leftwing populations. There is hope for us all.) He is an attack dog, cruel and sadistic.

But nothing can shake my Democratic Socialist convictions, even though sometimes it feels like I am psychically mauled. Sometimes, I need time to recover from the bruising. Like right now. It takes time for my imagination to reassert myself: those Nordic countries are a long way away. I'll be back and it will soothe me, and I will renew my visions, but now I feel squeezed. Right now I feel like lashing out in non-violent ways. Something has been punctured within me. 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Disowning my suffering

I am no stranger to distress
Society has told me I should
Push it down so that 
It doesn't notice
Collect dust
I become one
Of the ignorant souls
Disowning my suffering 


Unearthing

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.