To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

Hi, how are you doing? You’re probably doing well, you’re probably doing some good things out there. Fighting the good fight. Good on you.

I know why you’ve reached out to me. You probably do believe I’m a good friend and I do think that you’d like to see me as your equal. You’re all for fighting for gender equality anyway- teaching boys that they can have emotions, teaching them not to call women sluts (in public). I’ve seen you participating in numerous feminist discussions and brazenly announcing yourself as feminist in the right public setting (the RIGHT one, mind you).

However, my friend, we both know that there are a few reasons at the core of why you may have contacted me today:

  1. Validation. You want your feminist efforts to go noticed. You want to comment on how ‘terrible’ that guy was who commented on my status (because he had blatantly sexist views as well as hidden, learned behaviours). You want to tell me about all of the micro-aggressions you stopped happening today by being the macho man and stepping in for us. You want to send me a feminist article and say ‘thought you might like this’ (an hour later I see you tag your friend in a racist meme). Tell me about all the good things you’ve done for us poor women so that I can pour that well earned validation on you.
  2. Emotional Labour. After I’ve validated your brave efforts to keep the patriarchy at bay while simultaneously benefitting from it (thank you again), I’ll listen to you talk about all the issues you can’t discuss with ‘the boys’. I’m like a bottomless jar for your shit talk apparently, and I have no emotions or interests or life of my own. Fill ‘er up bud!
  3. Pity. You’re such a nice guy, why are bad things happening to you? Why aren’t you getting laid? Why is work so shit? Why aren’t you getting that promotion you deserve? Why didn’t she text you back? Why did she go home with Brad and not you??? Well, I could break down the fact that women aren’t actually here to repay your kindness (basic human decency…) with sex (why else would you try and be nice to a woman right? they’re not actually fun to talk to) but… the friend-zone myth it is.
  4. To subconsciously remind me that I’m inferior to you. Your dreams are bigger, your aspirations matter more, you take up more space in the world, you know more than me about well, let’s face it, everything! But, of course, women should get as many opportunities as they can- as long as it’s under the system that still allows you all of your privileges. We’ll have a peaceful integration of equality… mostly for white women… upper/middle class white women… upper/middle class white women that you find fuck-able.
  5. So that you can eventually fuck me (my personal favourite). Ooooh the ol’ does he actually care about women or does he just wanna get laid conundrum. I can see right through you and I know what you’re doing. Stop it.

Despite our interactions pretty much constantly following the same patterns, I would like to (actually, sincerely) thank you. I know that as a cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman, I can be a fucking irritating cis-gendered, able-bodied, white woman. I have been really irritatingly privileged in a lot of settings, particularly social media, and I know I’ve pissed people off- even if they haven’t said anything. Thinking about interactions with my friends who are liberal, feminist men and reflecting on how angry they make me- not because they’re being outwardly sexist but because they’re almost patronisingly, subconsciously holding up the patriarchy- reminds me that I need to work on how I do this every day. How I hold up my own privilege and how, when we think we’ve learned it all and we’re the perfect allies, we’re not. Perfect ally-ship does not exist, just like perfect humanity does not exist. Being an ally is not a flashy badge that you should carry around, it’s helping to effectively shift foundations without a welling of your own ego. It’s about hurting your ego. Deflating it. We need to listen and shut up more. I need to listen and shut up more.

And you- my liberal, feminist friends who are men- I love you. I appreciate what you’re doing. You have a role in this fight but this is not about you. Also, you don’t plateau in this struggle. You keep learning. You listen. You de-centralise yourself.

It’s been nice talking to you, bud.

To my liberal, feminist friends who are men: you are fucking killing me.

@ the butcher

Today was another day that I stepped back into that room

The one where flames licked the walls as you spat at me

You spat at me and told me that it wasn’t rape

Take my finger and point it at the head of a girl

Who got drank too much

Wore that dress

Said yes the first time

& Shoot.

 

Today was another day that I stepped back onto that driveway

The one where the moonlight is pooling red around me

Your hollow teen eyes filling up with alcohol watching it happen

I wonder if you think about all those nights

And cringe now

I wonder if you’ve tried to push it down

Like I have,

Smother it.

 

Today was another day that I tried to please your ego

By being less loud, less opinionated, less intelligent, less brave

I’m a butcher everyday, I choose which chunk of myself to present to you

To make myself more palatable

So I’ll lie down next to you

All of you

Every single one

& Carve.

@ the butcher

GIRL

(CN: eating disorders, violence)

There was a girl and there was a room. She had been in the room for as long as she could remember, and although she supposed she could get out she also supposed that she didn’t want to. The room was large and full of very entertaining, beautiful things. In one corner was a large thick pile of glossy reading material, in the other was a heavy set wardrobe laden with beautiful clothes. The wardrobe was self selecting so that the girl never had to worry about being respectfully presentable. The girl was visited by many people but primarily by one man.

The man wore many faces and she never knew which one he would be entering with. Sometimes he wore a kind face that would smile at her when she told him about her dreams, a smile that you could give a child asking for something sweet when you know that they won’t be getting it. Sometimes he wore a wrinkled frown, particularly when talking about other girls, nasty girls who did nasty things that were wrong and bad, things that no respectable girl like her would do. Sometimes he wore a face that looked like what one would imagine a thundercloud would, those were the worst days. On these days he would scream words that sounded like knives ripping from his mouth, he would tear up her glossy books and throw her clothes out of the window. On these days he would often add another lock to her door in order to keep her safe.

Some days, he brought visitors, so she never was starved for company. His friends were men and women and they all looked the same, like they were floating through a dream. They wore expensive silks and ecstasy smiles. They sat down with her and told her about the outside, about how some countries and languages and skin tones were better than others, about how people chose their own fates according to their decisions and about how there were sacrifices that one had to make for world peace. When they were together, sometimes they made visits together with the man, when they talked about world peace they would laugh a big cotton candy laugh and their ecstasy smiles would melt into a pool at her feet. The pool would linger there for days, she would step gingerly around it.

The man said that when they gave her advice, she should take it because their advice was called ‘rationality.’ They gave her lots of rationality- they told her that because she was a girl she couldn’t wear certain clothes or act a certain way, they told her whom she should love, they told her how she could sell her time in a respectable way. They would nod at her with empty eyes and say that if she wanted to be successful then these were the rules. Success, they said, was like the smug golden look on your face when sunshine hits it and you breathe it in deeply. She had never seen sunshine herself, so of course, she had to believe it.

As she grew older, the man started to lay out ‘magazines.’ The girls in the magazines looked out at her, doe eyed and expecting. They were mostly pale, very thin. He told her that outside, girls are expected to look a certain way. Empty eyed, he told her it was a rule. He gave her pills that never made her feel hungry and sometimes pills that made her sick. He started to send her films. She did not understand what was happening in the films but when she looked in her mirror she saw a certain worn down numbness that was reflected in the women’s faces in the films that the man had picked out for her.

One day, the maid who came in and cleaned her room (the man said the maid was not respectable at all) left her window open and stole out of the room hurriedly. She ran over to it, breathing heavily on the pane she had never seen beyond, and leant out. She saw thousands of rooms, latticed together like a hive she had seen in her natural history book. It was cold and a breeze shifted on her face. She was hungry for that breeze. In the distance, she saw a flash of green.

That night, the man came into the room as he did every night. He leant over to kiss her forehead. The girl took her fist out from under the bed covers, she held a sharpened piece of mirror glass. It was all over quickly. She walked out of the recently opened door wearing a thick sticky coat of his blood. She found no security outside, they thought that their dolls in the rooms were so placid that there was no need. She made her way outside, wading her way through the sticky walls of her mind as she did, unpacking all that she had been told. The wind wiped her clean and her brain shut down the recent memory of a stabbed jugular, just like it has been programmed to do for us all.

She found the tree, it looked older than the ones in her books. It did not look bad or good or right or wrong, it just was. She lay down under it, buried herself in the earth, and slept.

GIRL

1 – News

This is something that I would like to write in it’s entirety one day. 

It’s a political sci-fi novel aimed at teens which is obviously the best genre.

 

 

And as the sky turns on that last day of ignorance

A visitor comes to you from within the Earth itself.

 

______________________________

 

 

It was the end of dry season and one could already feel the sticky wet cloth of January lowering slowly over the countryside. Red dirt hills rolled as far as the eye could see and white limbs of parched trees stretched to the sky, begging for rain. The last big rain had been a month ago.

As evening rolled in, the sky started shedding daytime blue, bringing in blots of a pink that was so strongly pigmented it looked like somebody had mixed it in a factory.

It was Shay’s favourite time of day because she didn’t often get to see it. She clambered up over the rim of the corrugated iron roofing to perch on what, in that moment, was the top of the world. She grabbed herself by the knees and hugged them up to her chin.

Shay was a spindly girl just shy of 17 with skin that had seen many days under a hot sun. She had recently cut her hair short with blunt scissors. She had alarmingly big, knowing eyes, which meant that people didn’t like to meet her gaze too often. She was a strange girl, she knew that. She had a calm exterior with a river of hot anger running underneath it. This unnerved some people.

 

“Shay! SHAY! Where the fuck is that girl?”

 

She hugged her knees tighter to her chin and closed her eyes. There was a slight breeze at this time of day, which not only carried words from the house below up to the roof but also carried the perfume of frangipani up from Mrs. S’s tree next door. She inhaled deeply and opened her eyes to stare at the pink sky until they started to well with the effort. Shay would wait a bit before heading down. There was still half an hour before she usually put the rice on to cook.

She looked out over their little town and not for the first time considered how badly designed it was. It was not a town that you would want to live in. It was a ‘drive-by’ town on the highway to the ocean. Neat rows, 12 by 8, 96 houses in total. The corrugated iron roofs had been painted a bright yellow that blurred into one ominous orb in the hottest hours between 11am-3pm. The houses were all in various states of disrepair and renovation.

Shay thought back. It had been 12 years now since the government had erected the community, bulldozing their old homes of thatched bamboo and flax. She had been a tiny spidery-limbed girl of 6, sucking on a piece of watermelon as her mother screamed and her father held her back from the demolition. Back then, the community houses had been all shiny new tiles and concrete. They said that they signified the dawn of a new age.

They were yet to see that come to fruition.

 

In her town, Shay knew, that people were lucky. They lived close enough to the ocean that sometimes they would be able to buy fish from passing fishermen on their way back to the bigger cities in the inland districts. They had plenty of chickens and pigs scratching around, which the community rarely fought over. Their land was relatively fertile- Shay’s family grew potato, pumpkin and wild spinach. Rice was easy enough to come by, chucked off the back of sleek buses zooming down the highway that cut through the town. She stared down the black ribbon that spun itself around the red hills, slicing through the dust like a machete.

 

“SHAY! GIRL, IF YOU DON’T GET IN HERE!”

 

She sighed, stretching her legs out in front of her to dangle over the edge of the roof.

 

“Coooooming! Give me a minute eh!”

 

She curled her toes and then extended them again, enjoying the control that she had over her body. It felt almost lazy, watching that sun dip down ever lower.

 

She heard a sharp crack in the dense shrubs at the back of the house.

Her head whipped around to peer into the general direction where the noise had come from.

 

“Hello?”

 

Another crack, like the quick sure snap of a lightning bolt during monsoon. She shuffled her body over to the other side of the roof and began to lower herself down the ladder that led to the shrubs. Mostly herbs, although some were weeds hiding young cacti waiting to prick adventurous children. She was sure that it would just be one of the pigs, rooting around noisily.

 

“Hello…?” Shay spoke cautiously as she pushed into the shrubbery. Sometimes her cousins liked to screw around with her for fun and often they went too far. She balled her fist and pushed further in. “Hey Ina if that’s you, you can fuck off!” she hissed into a rambling Rosemary bush. That was when, to her immediate left, a large rock unearthed itself and revealed a hole burrowing into the dirt.

Shay leapt back with such speed that she toppled and started to push herself away from the hole backward with her palms.

“What the f….”

 

A voice, strangely accented, one that Shay could hardly understand, spoke from within the hole. “Stay calm. I come to you in peace with a message.”

1 – News

On: positively-stubborn assholes

I’m drawn to people who self-admit to being, what society would call, stubborn. Or in some circumstances, assholes. On the surface it has seemed to me that this is because these people by nature disregard a lot of inherent rules that we hold ourselves to, thereby making them more interesting/fun by default. But I think there’s more to it than that.

If I was reading this as a reader and not as a sweaty wanna-be blog writer reading over her draft for the 10th time I would perhaps be thinking: “Chick, you’re in Timor-Leste and you’re writing about stubborn people who are assholes? I’ve seen your Instagram photos but really I thought some more depth would come out of this experience. Disappointing.”
To this I say: Patience, young grasshopper. One day I will bloom into somebody who may be able to write directly about my experiences without it sounding like a bad sitcom. I also feel kind of weird writing about everything knowing that this might be a reader’s first intro to this country and it’s people (maybe only?) and it’s coming from a little white girl and not from anyone who actually knows the nuances of the many things happening here. But quickly I would like to add: Timor-Leste is BEAUTIFUL and, like any other country, it is extremely complex and riddled with both the light and dark sides of human experience. I would urge any of you who are interested to read up on its history as it has too often been turned a blind eye to by those outside it’s shores: http://adra.tl/about/abouttimor/history/.

RE: The adoration of society’s assholes. I do want to emphasise that the people in question who gain my adoration (WHAT A WORTHY PRIZE) must be positively-stubborn assholes. That is, any action that is taken (and action is the important part) has been/will be directed at people, systems and concepts that are not only oppressive but are simply not working to benefit the largest amount of beings possible. You might be operating within a system, with a construct or navigating behaviours that you know ‘aren’t working’ in this way right now. It’s so much easier to disregard channeling any sort of personal action toward these. More than that, it means discomfort to do so. For most of us, challenging the status quo means loss of cash money, that awful puppeteer that keeps us all in our rightful place and what not. Those who ARE active challengers- in any way- are seen as outliers and the media spoon-feeds us the story that this is so incredibly WEIRD. They’re unstable, temperamental and completely turning their nose up at perfectly good jobs that pay them enough to eat oats and baked beans every day for the rest of their lives. Who wouldn’t want all this MONEY? And this 6 MILLION DOLLAR MANSION THAT ONLY TWO PEOPLE LIVE IN? HIRED STAFF WHO GET PAID BELOW A LIVING WAGE? MTV back me up here.

Just sayin’… We should appreciate the shit out of these people! They’re participating actively for those who can’t (and of course, a lot of us can’t!)

Positively-stubborn assholes use anger to ram a point home. Just as sadness is not inherently morbid and can be cleansing, anger can also be a positive force of social change. Emotional ‘power points’ are not good or bad by themselves, it is the application of the emotion according to circumstance that makes them so. Their output could be dependent on things such as intent and/or personal control and consent of emotional longevity and depth. Demonizing those who choose to use anger is keeping us docile- a sound financial move by (an elite power of your choice) TM.

So, Thank you to society’s positively-stubborn assholes (I’m lucky enough to know many)- no matter where you are in life, how you choose to effect positive change through emotional power points, how ‘big’ or ‘small’ your perceived impact is, whether it’s internal or external to what you are fighting against. Your action is required and I aspire to be you.

On: positively-stubborn assholes