22 September 2016

35 Australians for you to love that will annoy Senator Hanson

Look. If the poll saying that 49% of Australians agree with Pauline Hanson about banning Muslims is correct, the main question we have to ask is why they weren't in charge of the census?  Their response rate is miles better and we're all keen for the results to influence the future of Australia.

Apparently. Or it's total horse-shit which is more likely in my view.

And then that stink ball man with a pen that The Australian insists on employing, drew a cartoon depicting our LGBTI community as nazi-esque. If you don't know why that's offensive, start reading a paper other than The Daily Telegraph or The Australian, or at the very least review your 20th century history and the people that were victims of the holocaust.

Bigotry in Australia is not new.

First we turned up uninvited and hated on the indigenous population because they were black and didn't speak English.

Then we hated on the Chinese because they worked really hard at the jobs white Australians didn't want to and also didn't speak English, wore their hair long and wore pyjamas.

Then we hated on the Irish because they were all criminals and Catholics and knew all the lyrics to
'Molly Malone'.

Then we hated on the Germans because they didn't like the English and we had to go to war.

Then because we had nobody to hate for a few weeks we went back to despising the indigenous and started stealing their children and banning anybody that wasn't white from coming here.

And then we got to hate the Germans again, and the French and the Russians. Then Japan got into it so we were able to hate the Japanese and anybody Asian just in case they were Japanese.

Then we hated the Italians and Greeks for coming here because we'd bombed the bejeezus out of their country so they turned up here and were prepared to work hard.

We also hated on rock 'n' roll for a while too just to mix things up again.

Then we hated the Germans for coming. Then we hated the Japanese for coming because even though the war was over we have long memories here. And we hated anybody that might be communist and we definitely hated on anybody that might be getting above themselves.  So basically black people and women.

And we started hating gay people because they started mentioning they were gay rather than it being the love that dared not speak its name.

And we hated on the Vietnamese because they turned up and wanted to work and not be at war.

 Then we decided to hate on the Lebanese and the Indians and the Pakistanis and the Sudanese and anybody that was coming here and making a go of it.

Then we decided we'd hate Muslims because of 9/11 even though Americans are quite good at killing thousands of themselves each year all by themselves, and then we decided that we'd hate anybody that tried to escape the war and make a better life for themselves. And when hating them didn't work we just put them in concentration camps to make sure nobody missed that we're arsehats of the highest order.

Then because we weren't hating redheads anymore we voted one into the senate and she said we hate Muslims again and if we're not careful we're going to have a lesbian Asian Prime Minister.

Tell you what - if Penny Wong stood for PM right now I'd be voting her in quicker than Usain Bolt can run 100 metres.

That's quick.

The sweet, undeniable fact is - if we let only people under the age of seven vote and make policies, we'd have marriage equality, we'd have a working refugee policy, we'd have our diversity represented in parliament, on television, in magazines. Because children don't hate anybody. They learn that shit from us.

So here's a fun game for you to help you focus on all the positives that Muslims, refugees and the LGBTI community contribute to life here down under. Let's counteract the hate with a little bit of love.

The following Australian politicians, commentators, cricketers, actors, comedians, FIFOs, business owners, naval captains, army captains, digital wunderkinds, judges, social workers and swimmers are either from refugee families, are Muslim or identify as LGBTI.  See if you can work out who is what?

And then remember that you don't give a shit but at least you've got some positive stories to share next time somebody says "What did Muslims/Gays/Refugees ever do for this country?"

  1. Portia Rossi
  2. Benjamin Law
  3. Anh Do
  4. Susan Cartland
  5. Ed Husic
  6. Carmen Marton
  7. Yassmin Abdel-Magied
  8. Bob Brown
  9. Tim Duggan
  10. Max McKenzie
  11. Ruby Rose
  12. Fawad Ahmed
  13. Anthony Mundine
  14. Cory Paterson
  15. John Illhan
  16. Mona Shindy
  17. Karl Kruszelnicki
  18. Les Murray
  19. Madga Szubanski
  20. Frank Lowy
  21. Jordan Raskopoulos
  22. Robert Simms
  23. Waleed Aly
  24. Courtney Barnett
  25. Mariam Veiszadeh
  26. Bachar Houli
  27. Cate McGregor
  28. Heiu Van Lee
  29. Deng Adut
  30. Michael Kirby
  31. Ian Thorpe
  32. Khoder Nasser
  33. Nazeem Hussain
  34. Usman Khawaja
  35. Harry O'Brien

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20 September 2016

On the road back to me

28 days ago today I was pretty much rock bottom.

27 days ago I wrote a piece about living with depression and the importance of asking people about themselves.

12 days ago the piece was published and like many people I read what I had written, and truth is, I was slightly discomfited by my honesty.

Everybody has a talent!
I would never have been that honest normally. Self deprecating humour or conversation deflection are my special talents.

I don't mind sharing stories about my mental health, but normally I do it when I'm feeling on top of things, not when I'm wading through the debris of my own malfunctioning amygdala.

I don't mind admitting that seeing how low I went scared the shit out of me. Still does.

I'm in a much better place now. A combination my beloved man, new meds, my lovely psych,  and a truly tremendous amount of support from my friends. The kind that says I'm not alone. The kind that has asked what I can I do? The kind that has told me I am loved. The kind that has grounded me when I was not able to ground myself.The kind that has been kind.

So much kindness out there.

So much.

But what I wasn't expecting was the connection. So many people that I knew, but even more that I did not know. They had walked my walk. Cried my tears. Felt my feelings. Wanted to say what I said. Found it hard to articulate. Said nothing.

The heartbreaking stories came from those that had said something and heard nothing but deafening silence in return.

Nothing from their families. Nothing from friends. Nothing from colleagues. Some even heard nothing from their partners.

And that silence made them feel like nothing.

My heart broke for these people. Because that is a terrible way to feel. I know that feeling.

I'm not being smug, it's not like the world changed instantly for me writing so openly. There are many close to me that have not said a word in all the time they know I've been living with depression, and the years and experience have taught me not to expect them to say anything.

But some people did. So many people did. I was the recipient of so much love and kindness that I was, and remain, truly humbled.

So thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you that reached out.

Every word and every action was an extraordinary gift to me for which I am eternally grateful.

Because of you, I'm on the road back to me.

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5 September 2016

The voice inside

For those that have been with me since the heady days of 2012 when I talked about hating tuna, designer vaginas and in defence of Tony Abbott (true story), you'll know that I start blogging because I needed to use my words to talk about things that interested me, and my newborn and toddler were absolutely crap at discourse of any kind.

They still are. Unless it interests them. So I suspect they are destined to be Liberal politicians.

But I think I blog for the reason most no-niche bloggers blog. It's not because we have anything to say that is going to change the world. We have nothing educational to say, we know nothing about parenting despite having children, we only exercise when we have to, we don't care about cooking or paleo or cupcakes enough to write something of benefit to others.

We don't slow our home, we're not musical nerds, we don't speed up our home. We're not good at gardening, we can't teach you anything except hard won advice like how to get a popcorn kernel out of a kid's nose and never go to Hawaii without pre-booking the tourist activities.

We blog because we like writing. We blog because we have opinions. We blog because there is something inherently satisfying about taking the noise out of our heads and shaping it into something sensible, or at least coherent, and casting it adrift.  It leaves room in our heads for more noise or even just different noise.

I blog because all of us find it hard to say things sometimes - even chatterboxes like me. Sometimes it is easier to write about things than it is to talk about things. And if nothing else, blogging has taught me that in sharing my personal stories, it enables other people to share theirs. Because for the first time in FOREVER, they find out that they aren't the only one who thought that particularly daft thing or went down that very dark path.

I blog because I care about certain issues and the only way to possible to connect to a wider audience with interest in the same issues is to put my point of view out there. Enable people to engage in dialogue, tell me I'm wrong, tell me I'm right. I have actually changed my mind about some things I have written about based on the information and feedback I've received.

I blog because I need a community. I'm a bleeding heart leftie with a big mouth, depression and to top it all off I'm an extrovert that works alone.  I don't get to do water cooler discussion. I can't be hating on the Bachelor or railing against xenophobic Australian policies to myself. If talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, turning the washing machine on so you have the comforting sound of company is probably a close second.

I blog because we need to challenge the status quo. Both our own and other peoples. Comfort zones are for losers. If I don't challenge my thinking and opinions, how can I ever grow? If I was still the same person I was at 12 we'd all be in some serious trouble. The mid 80s in Australia were in no way the most enlightened of times.  Blogging gives me a way to put forward my point of view. It gives me a voice.

I strongly believe we all need to stand for something. Or we stand for nothing. I am incredibly aware of the privilege that I have inherited as a result of my birth and I find that blogging enables me to connect with people on issues that I would never have known we had in common if I didn't write about them, because it was never going to come up in casual conversation.

I blog because I believe in the transformational power of stories. I blog because without it I wouldn't have met some of the most amazing friends. I blog because without it I would not have had the opportunities to become a better person, a more informed individual and a more connected individual.

I blog because it is only in this space that I am truly unfettered, free to articulate myself, define myself and sometimes, expose myself.

I blog because of the voice inside.

Disclaimer: This post is part of the Shoebox Timeline competition for ProBlogger Event

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1 September 2016

10 things my children taught me

source: Pixabay
I am constantly amazed how much my children learn when they are away from me. I'm more amazed by how much they learn when they are with me, but that's a whole other story.

We spend a lot of time worrying about what we're teaching our children. Are we doing a good job or a bad job? Should we expose them to the news or keep them sheltered? Should we teach them about this or what until they know more about that? Are they making good choices? Are they making good bad choices? Did they hear that word from me or from someone else?

It's a minefield.

But then at night when they are telling you things to prolong sleepy-time, you realise they are out there soaking up stuff that you haven't even thought to discuss with them. Some if true. Some of it not so true. And some, some very close to true.

And there 'aint nothing you can do about it EXCEPT HOLD IN THE LAUGHS.

This year the girls have told me about the following:
  1.  China's no child policy - "You aren't allowed to have babies in China so because Kate's* parents wanted to have children they moved to Australia so they could have her and her sister. Which is lucky for us right? If they'd not been born we would never have met them. And I'm never going to be Chinese because I definitely want babies."
  2. 'Originals' - "Before white people came on a boat only the 'originals' lived in Australia.  They were doing just fine but we gave them the flu and stuff."
  3. Space - "The planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. And Pluto used to be a planet but isn't anymore. They did tell me why but I didn't really care"
  4. Precious stones - "My friend Ruby is named after a precious stone. And so is her brother. And she taught me the names of lots of them - Jade, Amethyst, Turquoise, Sapphire, Diamond and lots more. She knows a lot about stones but nothing about pet rocks."
    source: Pixabay
  5. Volcanos - "Climbing up volcanos is a dumb idea because you'll end up dead."
  6. Beach safety - "Don't swim with sharks. If they bite your leg off your leggings won't fit."
  7. Refugees - "John* said refugees lived in camps. I said he was wrong because camping was fun and you said that Australia isn't very nice to refugees so they are definitely not in camps."
  8. The secret to a good life - "The reason you need maths is because of life. If you don't know maths, life will be hard. If you do know maths, life will be easy. If you're only okay at it, it's probably best to marry somebody who is good at it."
  9. Cooking - "I'm going to be a chef Mum. I want to do really good cooking. Not like you and Dad."
  10. Soccer - "We played soccer today. And I REALLY don't get why people want to play it on Saturdays."
What gems have yours offered up lately?

*Not their real names

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