It was years ago now
Sitting in a privacy cubicle in the parents’ room in the middle of a shopping centre
Playschool on the tele on the other side of them
Seeking some rest before attempting
The epic effort of loading the car with baby and self
Back to the place of endless labour
and insufficient sleep
Feeling a little self pity
At my lot
As a single mother
not by choice
And a voice
From the next cubicle
Where two local mums had been talking
Cuts through my ruminations
“Babydaddy’s a useless C##T anyway
All he ever does is
F**k putrid hoes.”
Yes, I remember that.
Can you go buy me cigarettes
She rasps from the dark cocoon of wherever she is with her demons
On the mattress on my bedroom floor
I take my school uniform off and change into civvies
Put on some mascara so the 7/11 guy will sell to me
Come back with the goods
She’s still there
Deep in her turmoil
But also she sees me
As I bring her lighter
I was raped
She drops it
Like a bowling ball through a glass table
My feet beneath.
I feel the impact
On my childhood
On my innocence
On my place as her daughter
As she discloses
For the first time in her life
Nearly fifty years old
Her vast history of horrific sexual assault
In graphic detail
Of the violence
Of the humiliation
Of the insidious threats to silence her
A suite of stories
That I now see as almost universally thematic for so many women
But her first telling
Was my first hearing
And already I had my own
Tucked away inside so many poky corners of my soul
She draws on her dart
Exhaling putrid smoke
Into my asthmatic face
She’s feeling that relief
Of no longer carrying it alone
My feet feel the bruise of the bowling ball impact
My soul is writhing with the discomfort of being made the listener
She looks at my face
Hers switches up and she blinks
Dons the facade of adult
You’d better put your uniform on and get to school
This magic mist
Can I store some in my lungs
and breathe it out
much later on
when I need to remember
this perfect purity?
When I am still in bed
The way I feel
the weight of the world
and all its things
When I’m up,
The support of recent sleep
and lovely sheets
and so many velvet cushions
will have receded
The replenishment I feel at dawn
will have depleted
And the hope I rely on
to carry on believing
that I can put all the clean washing away
or smash the patriarchy
will need a recharge
And so then,
in that moment of need,
if I can breathe
into my depth
some of this early morning magic
I might be able to remember
to go gently.
It’s so totally ok
That I’m tired
It’s a massive job
Being a human
It’s a massive job
Being a parent
To small humans
The world is in utter turmoil
So much doesn’t make sense
Our innately, exquisitely intelligent children can see this so clearly
And they know
They know how to pull us back to the truth of our reality
They know how to pause in wonder at
birdsong, starlight, new fungi
They know how to play
They know how to feel
They know how to take their sweet time
What they don’t know
is how fucking uncomfortable it is
to be stretched across the chasm of their knowing of what’s real
and our adult bondage to
the bullshit reality of late-stage capitalism
It’s so totally ok that I’m tired
My girlfriend says she wants
to get a truck
and line them up
and run them over
... that could be good...
...but what of the seeds they’ve dropped?
the seeds just like the ones from which they grew
and so much unpaid rent.
What of this invasive weed?
The weed that leads Prime Ministers
to describe women as “finding ourselves in vulnerable situations”
The weed that means that when women demand - request - suggest safety,
Men get angry.
Not all men.
There are men like native plants, unobtrusive, growing well, supporting an ecology of healthy growth in the recovering, adapting rainforest of the truth of human nature.
Create a nursery!
Support these plants to propagate and flourish!
Let the birds spread their seed, shitting indiscriminately over
And Backyards the world over.
Let the feminist men multiply.
Let the weeds be made redundant
by the fabulous and unapologetic spread of sweet grevillia!
The age of the dominance of
It was never ok to rub that on your cousin as she slept.
Today’s date is 12-02-2021
So tidy 💝
I appreciate this.
Velvet cushions surround me
In shades of blue and gold
Why would I wish to
Leave this nest?
I am held here.
The tea is hot and near.
My body is comfortable.
I can feel the softness
and after a while
It is safe for me to breathe deeply
with my eyes open.
breathing in I calm my body
breathing out I smile
dwelling in the present moment
I know that I am safe
This nest that is my refuge
where rest wraps herself
Away fall the strains
as I willingly unbind myself
from the chains of mental anguish
I am safe now.
What incredible hard work it has taken
How vague and mysterious this statement
The “incredible hard work” was done
For fuck’s sake Fuckers, it was ME!!!
I am the one who has worked
Worked to repair the smashing
of an exquisitely perfect spirit
There is an outraged little girl inside me
SCREAMING in resistance
That it is absolute bullshit
Or anybody else
Should’ve EVER have to use
their precious life energy
to tidy up the abhorrent, intolerable,
by selfish oppressors
to acknowledge the gift
of being invited
to learn my strength
is not available to me today.
I wanted that strength
to live a full and beautiful life
a life that showcased and celebrated
the world-changing brilliance
that I was born with
That strength was my birthright
And look now.
Look how I have to draw on it instead
to rewire my brain
into being able to believe
that it is safe for me
to get out of bed.
I rise and surge.
I rise and surge and triumph.
Might get dressed soon...
This is a forum post I wrote for uni after collecting data on gender bias in the classroom. Mr Andrews is a fictitious teacher, but his unconscious bias demonstrated for learning purposes in the video stirred me up.
Based on data collected using the duration recording technique, I measured that overall Mr Andrews spent more than twice as much time talking to boys than girls during the maths lesson.
He also interacted with boys twice as many times as he did with girls.
He only ever addressed the class as a whole as ‘guys’, called the boys by their names often but called girls ‘darling’, gave twice as much positive feedback, to boys, with multiple repetitions of ‘excellent, well done, good boy’ for correct answers, and even a whole-class round of applause for one boy; where girls giving correct answers were often responded to with a neutral ‘ok’. Mr Andrews offered boys extra vocab and very close help, including holding the protractor for them, giving physical examples of angles, pointing to the page, giving them the answer then praising them for getting it right, even writing the answer in for one boy. When it was time to move on to text book work, he walked the boy over to the books and gave a detailed explanation, and for a girl he just gave a short verbal instruction. At least three times, girls with their hands up were ignored, and even when a boy gave a wrong answer but had the first letter right, Mr Andrews said ‘it starts with R, that’s exactly right’. He allowed boys to talk over girls, and when didn’t give girls anywhere near the same level of scaffolded prompting he gave to boys. He also made much closer physical contact with the boys.
Overall, he seemed to convey that he believed it was important for the boys to get it, and that they at least needed to believe in their right to believe in their own abilities. Sadly for the girls in the class, their understanding doesn’t seem to be as highly valued. This is likely to set them up to believe that it doesn’t matter if they don’t get it, that they’re not expected to get it as well as the boys, and that they don’t deserve the same airspace as they boys in class. Obviously this narrows their options in terms of career paths and course choices in university if they have been taught reduced self efficacy in STEM subjects. Being patronised for wanting to engage in their learning, whilst boys are being given so much extra support increases the disparity. This is so unhealthy for the classroom ecology, not just for the girls, but for the boys as well. Male privilege is unearned and harmful to society, so having it normalised within an educational setting during childhood makes it a bigger job for these children to undo as their agency increases in life. Grooming young males to believe in their own entitlement as being a higher priority than that of females underpins domestic and sexual violence, as well as disparity in workplaces and governments. So I believe it is imperative that teachers are working to redress this consciously and fairly in our approach to the students in our classrooms.
International Women’s Day
💜right to vote
💜access to education
💚freedom to marry who I choose, and to not marry at all
💚freedom to work
💜ability to gather with other women
💚daughters being raised in a time when they know their voices are powerful
💚freedom to dress as I choose
💜feminist allies of all genders
💚fire in my belly
💜certainty that we will continue to be part of more and more positive change until systems operate from a basis of true equality for all people all over the world
💚ultimate mother, our planet Earth
💜great fortune at living in a time when so much hard work has already been done to make it possible for me to list all these things safely
💚privilege, and my awareness that I can use it to bust oppression
Attend your local IWD Rally! Gather in solidarity to celebrate and agitate!
Yes, girls are coming out of the woods
And women are talking
To each other
And women listen well
And women believe each other
And women strengthen each other, with utterances of “I see you”, whispered through tears, as soft, hard-worked hands hold each other in loving solidarity
Women are talking, telling our stories, sharing our truths, as the relief of being heard and held trickles streams pours out of us, taking form as words, laughter, snot, yawns, and swearing – lots of swearing
The words are not pretty, the stories are not pleasing, the strength is not something that comes out of a jar of protein powder or a superfood capsule.
Gritty and real and hot – a strength earned
Earned by staying
By staying with ourselves in the darkness. By staying upright in the cyclonic winds of life and other people’s bullshit.
By staying true to the path of liberation laid out before us; without seeking slumber on the velvet lounge of “someone else will fix this”.
Staying tethered to Gaia’s ever loving support through the sinewy tap root that comes straight out the bottom of our pelvic bowl.
Staying anchored to the highest star above, feeding from the limitless stream of white light.
Staying in the process of our stories swirling through us, rebuilding our cells into new, stronger, wiser, same as before women.
We are not obedient. We are not subservient. We are not controllable.
And we make no apology.
We do not allow the shame of others to isolate us into silence. We do not protect those who have wronged us and our children. We do not complicitly uphold the structures of oppression.
Watch as they tumble down.
Watch as the dust rises.
Watch as the footprints of mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, grandmothers, allies, and sons appear in their multitudes.
And listen. Listen as the whisper builds.
It’s the sound of power surging towards a better world for all. For our children yet to come, for our precious planet. For ourselves.
The Women are talking
– after Tishani Doshi Read her here ❤️
Beware the man who says this.
A cautionary tale.