Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times

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.

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If the land is sick, you are sick.

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.

Art For Sale

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Who likes affordable art? YOU LIKE AFFORDABLE ART! I’ve just put a bunch of little drawings up for sale on my store:

http://jngaio.storenvy.com/

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.

maybe he wants me

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.

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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Fuck Our Excuses

Fuck our healing crystals
blood diamonds with dark histories
of human labour exploitation
and environmental degradation

Fuck our feminist slogans
on t-shirts sewn by aching fingers
of women trapped in slave positions
capitalism’s incarcerations

Fuck our body positive platitudes
while bodies of hundreds are held on islands
waiting to be processed and kept like cattle
while their will to live completely crumbles

Fuck treating ourselves at cafes
on feasts of flesh of tortured chickens
their lives worse than any horror story
hideous suffering ending brutal and gory

Fuck our privilege
Fuck our silence
Fuck our complacency
Fuck our complicity
Fuck our selfishness
Fuck our excuses

Fuck our low expectations of ourselves
Fuck our whole goddamn system

Let’s burn it to the fucking ground
Let’s start again and be better this time

Do I sound like I’m joking?

Let’s burn it to the fucking ground
Let’s start again

I’m really not joking.

We’re better than this.
We must be better than this.