Posted by Naomi on Sep 24, 2013 in thinking out loud
A week is a long time in politics. Three years is even longer.
I continue to be baffled at the decisions of the new government; and if someone could explain to me the weird that was Q and A last night, I’d be ever so grateful. I should have seen this coming. The government, that is. Monday’s Q and A will always remain somewhat of a mystery.
My political leanings are no secret. If you’re reading this and are surprised, pull up a chair, I’ll make you a soy latte and school you in how to hug a tree, while weaving a mung bean macramé plant holder. Problem is, I’m finding it harder and harder to see the funny side of things.
In the past days we have seen the dismantling of The Climate Commission. Have been told there will be little public information on people attempting to seek asylum, and that the weekly information the public is given will be tightly controlled.
I don’t care if you are not as left leaning as I am. I don’t care if you voted above the line, or don’t listen to as much news radio as I do. But what I am finding more and more difficult to accept is that people are willing to take the, well, it doesn’t really affect me, so whatever, stance.
Our government has decided they will tell us what we need to know about any people attempting to seek asylum by boat. They will decide what, when and how much we will be told. Scott Morrison cites operational reasons.
In opposition The Coalition had a stop the boat mantra going. The incorrect term illegals, was bandied about on a daily basis. They couldn’t get enough of telling people of the crisis and alarming influx of boat people. Now, in government, suddenly, we don’t need to know how many boats are arriving. I have noticed a shift in terminology as well. I’m hearing a lot more of the phrase, people smugglers and their customers. Changing the words. Changing the focus.
I have spent my morning reading a range of opinion pieces and news articles on The Coalition’s take on announcing boat arrivals. Some say it is a good thing the public will be less bombarded. Others talk about a faltering democracy, lessening of transparency. I am yet to make up my mind on whether Abbott and The Coalition have unwittingly done people seeking asylum by boat a service (by stemming the media saturation/sensationalisation/scaremongering of their arrival) or just taken away their last available voice and hope of empathy and public support.
While I have been thinking on this, the dismantled Climate Commission has re-launced. The new seed monied, crowd sourced, people powered Climate Council has, since it’s beginning at midnight, managed a press conference, turned twitter into a frenzy of account suspending, un-suspending and re-tweeting. At last look they had 13, 667 facebook likes, and rising. People, with a voice, at their best.
Men, women and children seeking asylum via boats do not have that same voice. We can not let silence speak for them. Because to me the intent of The Coalition at least seems clear, silence the critics. Silence the marginalised. Muffle the dissenters. Change the wording.
So, while I wait to see what happens this week, this year and for the next three, I read, I listen, I talk, I question. And I run. Not away from debate, politics and policy, but towards it. The need for information seems stronger than ever.
Don’t ask me what I’m going to do about it. I’m not sure yet. But one thing’s for sure, I won’t be quiet. Will you?
Please note: I am not affiliated with any political party. At best, I can be described as a swinging voter. At worst, a dirty, tree-hugging hippy. I’m not bothered by either of these descriptions. This is opinion, and thinking out loud, while I try to come to terms with the current political landscape.
Posted by Naomi on Aug 8, 2013 in thinking out loud
Tick, tick tick.
An election is coming. Again. While politicians and the media scramble for sound bites the voting public watch on. Who to vote for, how to vote, how not to vote, where and when, and this election, for the first time, why?
I have always loved voting. I couldn’t wait to enrol when I was 18. I still remember my first election. Remember the thrill of walking into a church hall and marking the squares. Remember knowing my vote meant something, and that at the end of the day, my vote was for the side that won.
It was not for another six years that I realised I was in the minority. It was an odd feeling, and a less than successful election party.
My political playground was Tasmania in the 1980s. I cut my teeth on the Gordon below Franklin Dam, the protests and the subsequent high court ruling. I had been on the Franklin River while on a family holiday, and watched protestors canoe past. Bob Hawke was a hero. He promised to stop the dam as part of his (successful) election campaign. In my mind, and from what I saw, people could do great things. Politicians it seemed, listened. Protests became movements, became political parties. Bob Brown took office in Tasmanian State Parliament the day he was released from prison for obstructing work on the dam site. He became a house hold name, and the eventual leader of a political party.
It is no secret my politics is to the left. I am one of those soy latte sipping, tree hugging lefties. I have been to rallies, marched on streets. I have placed bumper stickers and bought slogan T-shirts. A social gathering is not the same without healthy political debate. I have been verbally abused by strangers with views different to mine. There was a time I thought it may be wise to remove some stickers from the back of my car. But at the end of the day, I was proud of my politics and stood firm in the process of voting.
The election this year is different. For a start, it has been called twice. Over the weekend I walked through a local electrical goods store refreshing twitter and feigning interest in kitchen appliances. I announced that the election had been called to a somewhat bewildered shop assistant, who quite frankly wanted my attention on the features of the toaster he was holding. It used to be that I was excited about an election being called. This time, after the initial twitter buzz, I was at a loss. The party I thought I could vote for? I am not sure it exists now.
News comes in tweets and link baited page updates. Politicians are on twitter. They have instagram accounts and facebook pages. Gaffs and crawl-under-your-seat embarrassing interviews are on youtube faster than you can say preference votes. But the real news? The news where there is real debate, actual policy discussion, you have to dig for that.
When politics came onto my radar, I thought politicians listened. Yes I was young, and no doubt a little naïve. But it seemed they at least tried to be on the side of humanity. While those who governed were not faultless, I’d rather be wondering at the ambitious, and (to the cynically inclined) vote grabbing phrase ‘By 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty’ than ‘you won’t be settled in Australia.’ The former at least looks like humanity matters.
When the day arrives, armed with as much informations as I can find, I’ll walk to the local school and vote. Because some part of me still believes in the process. In the right to have my say and use my voice. Because some part of me holds out hope. It’s a very small, slightly jaded and cynical part. But it is there all the same.
photo credit: Christopher S. Penn via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Jul 4, 2013 in thinking out loud
I can not begin to count the times I have sat to write in the last week.
Words seem like little more than noise.
The first week of the holidays almost over and I am still in the fog of tired. My introvert self is telling the rest of me to stop. So I have. The exhaustion of being on all the time has taken a toll.
Spending my working days in the company of some pretty amazing kids and their families is something I really do love. But at the end of term there is always the desire to retreat into a cave for a while. Time to not talk, time to not field questions, or need to make observations.
I have taken time to cave dwell. See you on the other side.
Posted by Naomi on May 2, 2013 in thinking out loud
There has been a shift. Another one to be exact. As is the way with parenting, with family life, as soon as you get used to something, change rears its head.
Where do you draw the line between privacy and a personal blog when children keep on growing? When they are less wanting to be in the posts. When their lives are less centred around myself and their father. Friends, school, becoming who they are – all things that I see, am part of, but have no right to share on the pages of a blog.
What to write when a large part of life is not for the sharing. How to write without giving away details of other people? Vague blogging. There is a trick to it. An art to the writing of words that say so much, while not giving away specifics. For now though I am at a loss. There seems to be much to say, with no clear way to say it.
Some days it is not so much what is written as the spaces in between the words. In what is not said more than what is. In the lack of posts. Or, sometimes in the flurry of them, all saying very little other than here I am to fill the empty space.
Autumn has come to the hills. Our road is covered with leaves that soften the black tar edges. Perhaps I should write about that. Or how I love the ritual of cleaning and polishing school shoes for the kids of a morning. Something I remember my own Dad doing for my sisters and me. Or how I miss running with a less than cooperative knee prohibiting it for now.
Perhaps I should just say nothing.
There is an art to vague blogging. A trick to it. Perhaps I will learn it. Or perhaps I’ll keep writing about the leaves on the road, and my love of clean shoes in the morning.
Posted by Naomi on Apr 26, 2013 in thinking out loud
The photo above is one I took during winter at our old house. Planted at the base of Mount Wellington, Hobart. The photo has meant many things to me over the years.
In my facebook feed recently I saw an image of a house with a perennial border. It was beautiful. If you had asked me eight years ago where I’d be now, I’d have answered easily. Living in the house Hubby and I bought. Renovations would be completed. I would have tamed the garden beds into something resembling the image I saw on facebook.
My kids would be in the school of our choice, with friends they had made in kindergarten, if not earlier. Life would be grand.
Life is grand. Just not in the way I pictured it. And that is ok. I often think about what would have happened if Hubby had not accepted that job interstate. If we had not sold up and moved. Who knows is the only answer.
What I do know though, is that while I don’t have a well loved perennial border, I do have a life of my own making. One that I am not all that sure would have happened if I’d stayed inside the comfort zone of a well known town and friends.
I doubt this blog would have started. I doubt I’d be on twitter. Or instagram. I certainly would not have made the friends I value so much now.
Even a few years ago I wished for that house, that garden. But not that life. It’s not that I don’t miss family and friends. I do. But I also know that if I’d stayed, I would not be who I am today.
The twists and turns. The deviations along the way. That’s what life is about. And I for one am glad to still be on the path unknown.
Posted by Naomi on Mar 8, 2013 in thinking out loud
If something happens and it isn’t posted on social media does it really happen?
I am beginning to wonder. I know I do my share of tweeting and instagramming and have a blog. But I also know not every part of my life is up for public consumption. And I’m not saying other social media users lives are either. But then again, sometimes I do wonder.
While some people seek comfort in the online world when the shit hits the fan, others retreat. One is not better then the other, they are just different.
Shouting loudly, out tweeting, out commenting, doesn’t make the person right. It just makes them the loudest. Not talking about personal issues so much on line does not make the suffering any less. But it does make it more private.
Privacy is important to me. It is why you will never read about some things that are happening in my life. Other people are the opposite. And that is as justified as my not sharing.
The way people cope with stress, grief, anxiety, is as varied as the amount of people in the world. Me? I have a two pronged attack, black humour, and complete shutdown. Does this mean I suffer less? Feel less? Am less? If I don’t write it all out on the internet does it mean I don’t have as much right to sympathy as those who do?
The phrase if you don’t laugh you’ll cry is one often used in my family. Sometimes with more bitterness than others. But in all reality, sometimes, well, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry. Crying is all good and well, but sometimes starting means not stopping. There are times and places for not stopping the tears. There are times they need to be stopped before they start. Dark humour is how I cope. It doesn’t mean the feelings are less, it is just the way I manage the shit. I do not expect everyone to cope in the same way, but I do expect the right to be able to deal with things in my own way without judgement.
Shutting down doesn’t mean not feeling, not suffering. It is a way of coping. It may not be your way, but it is as valid a way as sharing it all.
I worry sometimes about posting more emotionally charged writing. Some of that worry is because it could be a trigger for others. Sometimes it is because if we are being really honest about the internet, there are voyeurs who feed off other people’s sadness. I find that more than a little disturbing, and for me, some of the things in my life are not up for voyeurs. I worry about what happens when people get used to the online support and comments, and then comments dwindle. The internet can be fickle, and voyeurs can get bored.
While pouring your heart out may be cathartic, so too sometimes can restraint. Time and distance to process thoughts and steady emotions can give a different perspective.
The reality is, the internet can be a lonely place. It can be a harsh and quick to lose interest place. It can be quick to judge and even quicker to click the share button, and not always to the benefit of the writer. It can sometimes do as much harm as good. For me,some of the more personal aspects of my life are not up for public discussion. Sometimes I admit to wishing it was, but more often then not I don’t. And that is my reality.
Posted by Naomi on Feb 17, 2013 in thinking out loud
Sometimes there is nothing to say.
Sometimes the words are not for public consumption.
For the first time in a a long while I have nothing to write about. Perhaps I am still in my cave.
Posted by Naomi on Feb 10, 2013 in thinking out loud
Sometimes there is a need to get away. For whatever reason. A longing to be a little insular. A little tricky perhaps for a social media user. But there you have it.
Contrary to popular belief not everything a blogger does is up for public viewing and comment. Some things are just for the blogger.
Some stories are still being played out. Some stories, thoughts, feelings are not mine for the telling or sharing. So they are kept close while I sit in my cave.
Cave dwelling is not for everyone, sometimes it is not even for me. But there are days when what is needed is a quiet mind and heart.
A long run with music loud, a quiet evening watching TV with the kids. A walk with Hubby and the dog. A book or a cup of tea in a quiet kitchen. Cave dwelling at its best.
Some things are for me alone to sort through.
Blogging is a strange thing, where we pour our heart into words. Or not. Sometimes it is just the opposite. Words typed on the page as if to say I am here, just quietly, and the thoughts are mine alone.
Posted by Naomi on Jan 14, 2013 in thinking out loud
Generally I do not make new year resolutions. They are there for the breaking if you ask me.
This year though I did do something perhaps a little like a resolution. The fridge in our kitchen is littered with memories. Photos, cards from cafes, bars and restaurants. Postcards, business cards and images from visited exhibitions.
The thing is, many of the items had been on the fridge a long time. Too long. I had been holding on tightly. Too tightly.
It is not that the people in the photos do not mean as much to me anymore, it is that is time to move forward. For months I would look at the fridge door and think about taking some of the items off. Make way for the new. But I did not.
Last week though I did. The fridge was stripped back. Made clean.
Some images and cards were placed back on. Their meaning or memory needed to gel the old with the new. But many more did not stay. They have been kept; tucked safely in the drawer of an antique dresser. The old holding the old.
It is time to move on. The make new memories.
If I am being honest, many of the images were first placed on the door as a way to show I had a life. Had friends and good times. That is the difficulty of moving to a new place, far from those you know. It can be lonely at times. The need to prove you are loved and love can be strong. The fridge bore the brunt of that need in a tangible way.
So while some things have remained, the fridge is light once more. Not weighed down with the past. Neither am I. The time for the new is here. And now there is room, and not just on the fridge.
Posted by Naomi on Dec 13, 2012 in thinking out loud
This week Anne Hathaway had a wardrobe malfunction (for want of a better phrase.) The paparazzi were there to capture it. Incase you managed to miss it, she was photographed getting out of a car in a tight fitting dress, without underpants, at the premier of Les Misérables.
The image went viral.
Anne Hathaway has since spoken about the incident. I love what she had to say;
It kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment and rather than delete it, and do the decent thing, sells it.
And I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants…
I have read articles on the incident. Some saying how well she handed the situation. Most, however, also go on to say it could have been avoided if she wore underpants. And this is where the articles lose me.
There is a tone of oh dear you silly girl, tisk. You really should have remembered to wear some underpants.
Once again, the focus is taken away from the photographer who took and sold the image, to the woman and what she did wrong. Which if you ask me is nothing.
Her Les Mis premier outfit is dramatic and tight fitting. I am fairly certain Hathaway is not the first or last woman to wear a tight dress without undergarments. I’ll be the first to admit I have.
Anne Hathaway has also been quoted as saying:
I was getting out of the car and my dress was so tight that I didn’t realise it until I saw all the photographers’ flashes. It was devastating. They saw everything. I might as well have lifted up my skirt for them.
But she did not lift up her skirt, she got out of the car in a tight dress in an awkward way.
It was devastating for her, but apparently that is of little consequence if someone can make a quick buck selling the images, or belittling her with patronising copy masquerading as (bad) humour. Article writers thought it witty to remind Hathaway to wear panties – a word I despise – or suggest she wears a number of different types of seamless or form fitting under garments to keep her otherwise flawless image intact. The we know better than she does mentality.
Just last week I saw form fitting underwear being sold in a department store that was without a gusset. Presumably so the wearer could go to the toilet without the need to extricate themselves from the tightness of control top, tummy sucking, thigh flattening underwear. There is was, hanging on the racks. If it is good enough for a department store to sell underwear without a gusset, it seems logical to me that it’s also good enough to wear no undergarments if one chooses. Without judgement. Without clear violations of privacy and a bit of good old decent respect for another human.
The question should not be why she did not wear underpants. The question should be why the image was not deleted. Why the image, clearly not taken with consent, is deemed news worthy. The question that should be asked is why, once again, a woman’s choice is questioned, and why, once again a woman’s body is not seen as her own.