The Last Thing of Me

My heart cannot cope with the concept of impermanence and so when the blossoms of spring melt off their branches, it hurts. Endings are natural but so is pain.

We’re still in springtime, you and I. Or at least I hope we are, I hope that winter’s so far away that it will remain abstract and conceptual for a long while yet. We’re building memories that I am hoarding, photos, words, trinkets, songs stockpiled and containing the dream that someday we will be old together, faded people sitting with our chosen family on faded furniture, poring through digital scrapbooks containing imagery of so many years that we cannot possibly recall it all.

My heart grapples with the concept of uncertainty and so when I wonder if the climate crisis will leave us with a future, or if perhaps something less apocalyptic but more personal such as accident, sickness or suicide might take you from me… I want to follow you around with vitamins, a high-vis vest and my constant, protective vigilance to keep you out of peril.

My heart struggles with concepts of abandonment and so I am often preoccupied with the feeling that your self-hate is my most dangerous competition and that if I don’t keep you happy enough, feeling loved enough, you might forget your importance to me and leave me alone with a love that has nowhere to place itself.

When I lie in your arms, I breathe you in like a thirsty woman drinks and sink my teeth into your flesh like maybe if I consume pieces of you, you’ll never be away from me. I want your nails digging into me, I want the marks of your violence like graffiti on my skin, I want your cock inside me constantly and your cum stored in my holes so that I can carry as much of you as possible for as long as possible.

My mind travels to you constantly, wherever you are. I wait at night for you to come home. You make me wish there was such thing as forever but I am forced to settle on being joyous and present in every microscopic moment that I have with you. I want to share everything that we can while we can.

I’ve fallen for you so deeply now that I feel with immense certainty that I will love you until my heart stops and my blood goes still and perhaps as I float out of existence, the last thing of me will be my love for you.

CPTSD

I’ve only recently begun to truly accept and comprehend the traumas of my childhood and through this comes a new understanding of the mood swings that I’ve always experienced through my life which perhaps could be better explained as implicit or emotional flashbacks. I am in the midst of one currently and I feel… a bit shite.

Too personal to write about here (yes, even too personal for me) my childhood experiences, which I thought I had left well in the past, are with me today in many forms that have caused me a great deal of undue pain and toxic shame. They are deeply related to my problems with suicidal ideation and mental anguish.

To work past them, I have to feel my way through them. It’s hard work. I’m doing ok. My partners, Wes and Dani, have been deeply supportive and kind through this process. I’m loved and I’m ok.

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So far this book is incredibly helpful and insightful. I’ve been having a lot of “Aha!” moments, though I have to read little bits at a time or I become overwhelmed.

 

The Passionately Apathetic

I’ve been thinking recently that there’s a certain sort of person in the world who could be described as “passionately apathetic”. You know the sort, they remain steadfastly disinterested, apolitical and “unemotional”… until they encounter someone who cares about something and is speaking up about it, in other words, someone who is simply passionate. The passionately apathetic person finds the passionate person intolerable to the point where they can become incredibly angry, vitriolic and judgemental towards them.

My theory is that this is because apathy is often a defence mechanism that comes from a place of fear and anxiety. The passionately apathetic person is terrified of the chaos that comes from emotions and passions of others and afraid of their own internal emotional landscape. They feel the passion of others as a challenge and confrontation to their own constructed apathy.

Genuinely apathetic people simply don’t care. I suspect that passionately apathetic people, on the other hand, are afraid of what caring might mean for them. To care is to open up our heart and being open is being vulnerable. Apathy creates a false sense of security and so when the passionately apathetic person is confronted with genuine passion, they feel the fragility of their own defence mechanisms.

Or… yanno… something.

Childless Women

We are just childless women but you like to call us selfish women.

While you preach your gospel of family values and hide away in your homogenous houses.

Hey, now that the Arctic is melting and now that our planet is dying… where are you?

There. We see you.

Expelling your energy policing our wombs. Hoarding and wasting resources while you attempt to resuscitate industries that gurgle death rattles. Desperately clinging to a futile and failing feeling of power and control.

There. We see you.

Standing by while the world burns.  Ignoring the cries of your children who are facing a nightmarish future. Do you tell your babies you love them? Do you protect the planet they live on?

You like to call us selfish women. But lately…

Lately I wonder if we care more about your children than you do.

The Creeper

Those of us who experience the world as women and girls (inclusive of transgender, non-binary folks, etc) know all about predators, in fact it has been my observation that as we age we develop an acute sense for them, that feeling in your gut, that discomfort that’s difficult to express in words but which tells you to avoid being alone with that man, you can’t quite explain why but you have learned to trust your instincts. Though instincts are imperfect, we also hone our skills by talking with one another about our experiences, about what we have learnt and about how we have survived. Recently, I had a conversation with my housemate where we realised there was a type of predator that we hadn’t heard a lot of discussions about, which we had both fallen prey to in the past, we named this particular species of predator “the creeper”.

See, there are as many sorts of predators as there are colours in the rainbow! For example, there are the brutish predators, they who will use direct force and obvious violence to get what they want. There are the camouflaged predators, those who use strategies of mimicry to imitate safe people, teachers, priests, family members, those who you should be able to trust. And then there is the creeper, a predatory species who has a specific sort of strategy involving slow, strategic, sneaking subterfuge.

The creeper is that guy at the party who will never directly reveal that he is attracted to you, he will not flirt and he will not ask you on a date, there will be no sense of sexual energy. Instead, he seems to want friendship, appears genuinely interested in just knowing you as a person, taking real interest in what you have to say. He will add you on social media, you will spend time gravitating around the same people, at the same social occasions. The energy will remain free of flirting, he’ll hover on the periphery of your awareness, just a nice, harmless person in your social sphere. Sometimes maybe he will just like a little too many of your posts of Facebook, maybe he will compliment you just a little too much, but it will never seem as if he is actually taking an interest and so you will shrug it off. He’ll never ask you on a date but perhaps he will invite you along to something you have mutual friends at, in a manner that very much suggests it is not a date. You’ll vaguely wonder if it is, but there’s never been a strong indication of his interest so again, you shrug it off.

Yet some day, somehow, you’re sitting alone on a couch and his hand is on your thigh. His mouth is on yours. You’re not attracted to him and you don’t know quite how this has happened but maybe you’re young and uncomfortable asserting your boundaries, maybe because you’re female, our culture has taught you that you are responsible for the feelings of others and though you don’t want to be kissing this man, he is a friend and you don’t want to hurt his feelings. Maybe his hand moves up inside your skirt and though this feels wrong, maybe you feel it’s already too late to stop. Maybe after you’ve had sex with this guy, you feel uncomfortable, gross in ways you don’t quite understand. You start avoiding him at parties and you feel guilty about that. He seems like a nice guy but you really didn’t want to have sex with him. So why did you? How the hell did this happen?

Here is our theory; Maybe he’s a creeper. The creeper moves slowly. So slowly that his movements are almost imperceptible and his intentions are veiled, so slowly that his prey doesn’t get a chance to become startled and take flight. You know that friend you slept with when you were younger even though you didn’t like him? You know that man who took an interest in your art and then when you visited to see his studio, his hands were on you and you’re not sure when it happened? How did this happen? How did you find yourself engaging in sexual intimacy with someone you had no attraction to?

Well… perhaps they snuck up slowly, ever so slowly, so you never had a chance to say “yes” and you never had a chance to say “no”. Perhaps they are a creeper.

Rebecca Solnit: When the Hero is the Problem

Positive social change results mostly from connecting more deeply to the people around you than rising above them, from coordinated rather than solo action. Among the virtues that matter are those traditionally considered feminine rather than masculine, more nerd than jock: listening, respect, patience, negotiation, strategic planning, storytelling. But we like our lone and exceptional heroes, and the drama of violence and virtue of muscle, or at least that’s what we get, over and over, and in the course of getting them we don’t get much of a picture of how change happens and what our role in it might be, or how ordinary people matter. “Unhappy the land that needs heroes” is a line of Bertold Brecht’s I’ve gone to dozens of times, but now I’m more inclined to think, pity the land that thinks it needs a hero, or doesn’t know it has lots and what they look like.

~ Rebecca Solnit: When the Hero is the Problem

Rebecca Solnit is a powerful writer on the environment, feminist, art and politics among other things. Go read this piece she has written, it is so beautiful and important that it brought me to tears.

The Climate Crisis and Colonialism

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There once was a time when we thought that nature’s gifts were endless, boundless, for us. The taking and taming of land was our birthright and animals were just things for us to use, consume, abuse. Much of those attitudes remain with us today.

When I say “we” and “us” I refer to the white colonialist history of which I am connected to by blood and by privilege. Lately I’ve been challenging myself to engage in concepts of white supremacy and to understand the intersections between this and the current climate crisis. Though it would be offensive and patronising to idealise indigenous cultures, there certainly is evidence of other people historically having a much more harmonious, sustainable and integrated connection to the land on which they lived off.

In a book I am currently reading, “Dark Emu, Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture” Bruce Pascoe makes a very compelling and well substantiated argument for the fact that indigenous Australians had elaborate and highly successful agricultural practices in precolonial times which used the land much more successfully and effectively than the imported European practices. In fact, when Australia was colonised, the cattle which was brought over quickly wrought havoc on the land and in a very short amount of time, turned fertile soil into the arid, hash stuff that we tend to more associate with much of outback Australia.

Clearly our current agricultural practices are not sustainable, it is well documented and reported that huge changes to farming and to our diets are vital if we are to effectively combat the climate crisis. Books like Dark Emu point to the fact that agriculture doesn’t necessarily have to devastate an environment and in fact should be better customised to fit varying environments. How different the Australia diet would be if we ate murnong, witchetty grubs and kangaroo as primary food sources. How different our suburbia would look if instead of willow trees and roses, we had stuck to the native flora that provide habitat and food for local fauna.

In the book “Active Hope – How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy” the authors speak of “The Great Turning”;

“In the Agricultural Revolution of ten thousand years ago, the domestication of plants and animals led to a radical shift in the way people lived. In the Industrial Revolution that began just a few hundred years ago, a similar dramatic transition took place. These weren’t just changes in the small details of people’s lives. The whole basis of society was transformed, including people’s relationship with one another and with Earth.

Right now a shift of comparable scope and magnitude is occurring. It’s been called the Ecological Revolution, the Sustainability Revolution, even the Necessary Revolution. We call it the Great Turning and see it as the essential adventure of our time. It involves the transition from a doomed economy of industrial growth to a life-sustaining society committed to the recovery of our world. This transition is already well under way.”

I find this concept to be heartening, empowering and hopeful. I believe that it is vital to our survival on the planet and evolution as a species that we are currently questioning dominant structures of patriarchy, capitalism, consumerism, cultural imperialism, white supremacy and so forth. I believe that a shift towards compassion, intersectionality, interconnectedness, environmentalism and an emphasis on listening to previously silenced voices is crucial for us to engage with our planet and each other in ways that are kinder, wiser, better. All these things are vital components towards a much-needed paradigm shift. A Great Turning.

I am relatively new to grappling with these concepts and so am conscious that I may come across as naive, yet something already seems clear to me; As we combat the climate crisis, we must not only acknowledge that the people most affected by it will be those most vulnerable and impoverished but the reasons for the crisis are also deeply entwined with the profoundly unhealthy, inhumane and unsustainable value systems within dominating cultures. To imagine a better world, we must listen to previously silenced voices and rediscover ways in which people previously lived for thousands of years in a significantly more harmonious relationship with the natural world which they inhabited.

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