Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Break the cycle

I vividly remember lessons taught by my mother when I was small... "Look both ways"... "Don't be a nuisance"... "Don't bump into people... "Don't eat yellow snow"... "Orange juice before you brush your teeth"... "She deserved it"...

Learning these early lessons, I was a very careful child.

I made sure I took up as little space as possible. I always moved out of the way when someone entered my space so as not to bump into or hinder them in any way.

I never ate yellow snow. (Though, lemon ices/slushies still confuse me!)

Other lessons that my mother taught me, not through vocalisation, but through actions, were that women are competition; women are moody; women are unacceptable, you can't be friends with a woman; women should be avoided, be friends with men - or women who act like men - it's so much easier.

Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I believed this. This was my truth as demonstrated by the friendships I spurned, the women I insulted, spread rumours about, took delight in talking about behind their backs... Women I didn't even know. Gossip-fuelled bitch-fests being like a mainstay in my life.

I was headed down the same path of my mother, virtually friend-less because I doubted anyone could ever be friends with a woman. How horrid the thought; they're crazy!

I still remember my father and his wife sitting me down when I was about 13 (ish?) and asking me about the notes in my junior high school yearbook. I had defiled it. There were angry notes and scribbles all over the inside of it, denoting some fellow students as "bitch"es, "slut"s and worse. A friend and I had sat and determined the personality of every single female student one day and she suggested we spend the day graffitiing my yearbook. We wrote nasty words, blacked out faces in indelible ink and did so with utter conviction that not only were our actions justified but that they were necessary! (I never even questioned why we used my yearbook but that's a post for a self-esteem/self-awareness session, I guess.) My father found my yearbook and was horrified that I had done such a thing, that I had such thoughts.

I remember distinctly dismissing his concern as nothing. What could possibly be wrong with my behaviour, these women were bitches and sluts! Obviously! Look at how they had treated me!


They never had treated me. I now cannot recall a single moment when any of those women had anything negative to say to me, hurt me in any way emotionally or physically - I can't even remember a single dirty look.

Now that I am older, I wish - oh, how I wish - someone had sat me down and told me that it didn't have to be that way - that women aren't inherently bitches - or sluts - or anything of the sort... They're not competition...

I understand the insecurities that lead my mother to feel the way she does, to believe the vitriol that she's been fed for decades by the misogynists in her life.

I understand it.

I do not accept it.

I refuse to follow in the footsteps of my misogynist mother. My mother who is bitter and alone and who firmly believes that she's friendless at this stage in her life simply because of the attitudes of others - unable to even contemplate that she, herself, has pushed them all away over the years, made them feel unwanted, insulted them and gossiped about them behind their backs and, sometimes, even insulted them directly to their faces.

My daughter is learning the value of female friendship and I am trying my hardest to lead by example.

It's not going to cure the world overnight of sexism but if I can help women learn to love and support one another, it has to help, right?

I will break the cycle.

Thursday, 10 November 2016


If you have used the term "not all white women", please, for the love of all that is feminist, don't you dare EVER slam a man for saying "not all men"! 

Because the thing is, some white women DID. Many white women did. TOO MANY WOMEN DID. 

The MAJORITY of white women who voted chose racial familiarity over feminism, let that be crystal clear. 

When you attempt to make yourself feel better by saying "not all white women" you demean the very things that WoC have been rallying for, been fighting for, been dying for. And, let me tell you something, JUST LIKE the "not all men" BS, TOO FUCKING MANY DID. And, like it or not, those white women are our sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins. 

We, us white women, are responsible for this. ALL OF US. We need to do better. We failed. We didn't do enough

We had a responsibility to speak with our white sisters, to help them understand the ramifications of their opinions, of their apathy, of their actions, of their prejudices, of their racism, of their privilege. We are to blame. All of us. 

When you "not all white women" you create even more "otherness" and that's the opposite of what we need right now. We need to rally. 

We need to rally and we need to apologise to every single marginalised society today, because we have hurt them and we have failed them.

Now, all of you; please be safe, please be love.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Living in simpler times.

From time to time, I used to lament that I wished we could go back. I wished we could go back in time to when things were simpler, “easier” and I’ve just realised how rude and offensive that that sentiment actually is.

From now on, please let it be known:

I, for one, do not long for simpler times.

They were horridly racist and misogynist… Full of damaging “otherness”.

I embrace our current, complicated lives where the Powers That Be are challenged.

I embrace the hard work it will take to remove the centuries of oppression that people have faced.

I embrace the hard work it will take to remove the centuries of oppression that people are facing. Today. Every day.

I don’t want an easy life if it means that my children and their children will face the same challenges that we face.

I don’t want an easy life if it means that any child will face the same challenges.

That’s the cowards’ way out.

I am scared, but I am not a coward.

I do not long for simpler times. I won’t have it. I will not go quietly into the night.

I will fight. I will rage. I will persevere because people deserve better.

People deserve better and I know we can make it happen. 

I was going to do these as a series of tweets but, it’s too big for that. I had too much to say. I didn’t want to be hemmed by character limits.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

It's OK.

I have needed to write this for myself for some time now.

I hereby give myself permission not to write.

Yes. I am allowed to not write.

How scary is that?!

Since this time last year, I have taken an unintentional hiatus from my writing - and felt wretchedly guilty about it the entire time.

I stopped taking a specific medicine I was on for reasons in October of 2015 and have struggled since then to get my head back into the process of writing. It's like that part of my brain has been temporarily suspended. (I say "temporarily" because I do plan on resuming the medication in the medium-distant future.)

I am tired of feeling guilty for not putting words down, creating those magical sentences that seem to come from thin air... I'm tired of wondering if I'm good enough, if I'm actually a writer if I'm not actually writing. Well, I am and I'm not. I am a writer. I am a writer who is currently not writing.

And I am OK with that.

Or, I am trying to be OK with that.

Because it's a choice. I have chosen to take this particular path at this particular time in my life and, if a temporary side effect is that I don't write for a relatively short while in the grand scheme of things while I take this journey, then that's OK. It will be worth it. Hopefully.

But most importantly, in the mean time, I won't feel guilty about not writing. It's OK that I am not currently writing. I am doing something else. Something important. And the writing will be there when I am ready and able to get back to it.