we’re dropping like flies
everything everywhere eventually
we’re dropping like flies
everything everywhere eventually
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.
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.
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.
The moment passed long ago, but despair, defeatism, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often arise have not dispersed, even as the most wildly, unimaginably magnificent things came to pass. There is a lot of evidence for the defense… Progressive, populist, and grassroots constituencies have had many victories. Popular power has continued to be a profound force for change. And the changes we’ve undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing.
This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.
~ From this fantastic article.
I just read this article: ‘If the land is sick, you are sick’: An Aboriginal approach to mental health in times of drought.
It made me think…
We were camping in outback NSW recently and the signs of drought were everywhere. The last time I’d been there, the land was abundant with strange and fascinating wildlife, lizards, butterflies, birds and plants I’d never seen before. Now it was just dust and underneath the worryingly dried out trees, I found the picked over corpses of baby kangaroos and baby emus.
I felt the reality of the climate crisis, I saw that we are truly losing these incredible treasures to the devastating affects of global warming. I thought about how Aboriginal Australians have been on this land for over 50,000 years, I thought of the book “Dark Emu” which demonstrates overwhelming evidence of how they had sophisticated agricultural practices that once made this land a fertile and abundant place and how in such a devastatingly short place of time, colonialism and Western agriculture devastated the land.
Not only were their people raped and murdered, not only was their culture silenced but the carefully tilled soil on their land was stomped down into compacted clay by the hooves of imported livestock, the grasses they made bread with were devoured… in a horrifically short space of time, colonialism and cultural imperialism transformed their verdant, fertile lands into something that was so much less.
And it keeps happening. They keep losing their lands because of our ancestors and because of us. Because of our mismanagement of the land our ancestors stole.
There has been a national crisis of Aboriginal suicides, over this summer, eight Aboriginal children took their own lives. Eight. Eight children killed themselves. Doesn’t this just make your heart break? Doesn’t this make your want to break down in full body sobbing? What drives children to such hopeless despair that they take an action that ends their own lives?
As I walked around the outback, there was dust, bones and silence. Too much silence. The climate crisis is not only taking it’s toll on the beautiful natural world around us but also the people least responsible for it happening. Taking action, demanding better from our politicians, our business leaders and ourselves… it’s our responsibility not just for the sake our our natural world and ourselves, but something we must admit that is a dark debt we owe as part of our colonial inheritance.
I love this country. I’ve lived here my entire adult life and I feel it in my bloodstream as much as my home of Aotearoa New Zealand, I also acutely feel my privilege and the understanding that for Indigenous and underprivileged people around the world, the affects of climate change are already here and they are utterly devastating.
Who likes affordable art? YOU LIKE AFFORDABLE ART! I’ve just put a bunch of little drawings up for sale on my store:
Get ’em while they’re there! Prices are shit-hot, I only use quality artist’s materials and shipping is free in Australia and reasonable elsewhere! If this sale of little drawings is successful, I’ll absolutely do more of this in future! It’s actually SUPER difficult to promote my work as many platforms are becoming increasingly intolerant of work with any sort of sexual content and I’m really hoping to find a way to find a way to make a modest living off my art so if anyone felt inclined to spread the word, it’d be immensely appreciated! Oh and prices are $USD.
A sexually progressive one, I’m the sexually obsessive one. Insatiable, I once wanked for six hours straight and only stopped because I passed out no kidding passed out light flickered and flashed and I was out cold with my magic wand still humming. I’ve murdered a lot of Hitachis in my lifetime, buzzing until they burn. But cumming is fleeting and orgasm only provides a dim sort of satisfaction… better are beatings. Fists pounding my flesh have a satisfying heft and slow torturous torment makes me temporarily forget this eternal gnawing need. Ugh this need oh fuck this need. Eternal. Gnawing. Need.
I think I’ve only begged for mercy maybe once or twice and was always disappointed when I received it. Like the begging is just part of the process as my mind shuts off and I become a frantic, terrified, furious, screaming, screeching animal leaking liquids and struggling stupidly.
I’m always the one wanting more the hurt me harder masochist martyr. My fantasy world’s relentless and my fixations are like ruminations, rat running on a wheel, junkie twitch twitching and waiting for their next hit. I’ve always been the one who wanted too much too often. The sick bitch who can’t be pleased. The exciting novelty that soon becomes too much work. I’m too much work.
“We don’t have to do that kinky stuff you like all the time right?” an old boyfriend once asked “Just from time to time?” and then he asked me to wear that bikini he liked, put headphones around my ears, a blindfold over my eyes and he wanked over top of me while my mind wandered elsewhere. That was his thing, one of his things. He never struggled to ask for his things … but mine were work, extra credit, the stuff of special occasions. Favours he was doing for me.
My need for a hand around my throat is not a special occasion. My need to have my Dom spit on my face and drag me along the ground is not a sprinkle of spice in the bedroom. Breathplay is not foreplay and these bruises are not an optional extra. Kink is not the cherry on the top of a sex sundae, kink IS sex. This is me.
I need this. It’s my lifeblood. I’m a Buddhist and I don’t believe in clinging, I don’t believe in attaching ourselves so much to identities or people or things that they become cages we confine ourselves to. I’m wary of self-imposed psychological traps. So maybe I don’t really believe I need this. But it feels as close to need as anything emotional can. So I need this. I need it because it’s sex to me. I need it because it’s love to me.
I’ve always been the one who needed it most. So I’ve always kept quiet about the depths of my desires and obsessions. Even when I had my first Dom, he didn’t want to beat me much, the sight of my bruised body displeased him, he liked his whore to be immaculate, a thing to display to other men. I think mostly he just wanted an arse to fuck with an appetiser of humiliation and degradation. I think mostly he was just a control freak.
But this one… he’s different. A match made in some sick sort of heaven. He likes to hurt me and he never seems to want to back down or slow down but for his wisdom about taking this one step at a time which I respect him so deeply for and which is why my trust for him in this strangely sacred space continues to grow.
And so I slowly reveal to him how deeply these needs are embedded into my self. I show a little more every time, forever afraid that I’ll ask too much and need too much and want too much so that I’ll overwhelm him with how much I am and how much this is.
I’ve never known a need as intense as mine and perhaps I never will because mine feels insatiable and endless. But then the way his eyes go when he looks at me, like a predator fixated on prey, the way his muscles go rigid and my ears start to ring and the world melts away and the hours are wobbly… he’s here with me. It’s not just me anymore. He’s here and he sees me and he wants me.
And maybe that’s the thing is that I’ve never been the prey before. I’ve never truly felt powerless in the face of someone else’s desire, but for times with others when things went wrong and consent was blurry. Or I have sometimes played at powerlessness because the idea of it turned me on so deeply. But sometimes with him, my thoughts fall away, the ground falls away and I’m… I’m not alone. And maybe I’m prey. And maybe I’m not too much. Maybe he really does want this as much as I do. Maybe he wants me. Not something else. This. Not someone else. Me.
I fantasise about him stalking me and enslaving me and it’s all this fantasy of power and prey and and property that’s about safety and being wanted and of this lasting a really long time. Because I can’t imagine I’ll ever get enough and I hope he feels the same. I’m obsessed an addict a needy creepy weirdo and I hope I’m never too much for him.
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 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.
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.