The struggle

Every day seems like a struggle at the moment.

To wake up. To get out of bed. To get dressed and feed the animals. To leave the house. To leave the driveway. To get on the train. To stay on the train. To walk to work. To be at work. To do my work. To leave work. To get on the train. To stay on the train. To go home. To feel content at home.

If it wasn’t for the love of my dogs, I’m not sure how I would be coping right now. I have family and friends and support networks. I have a psychologist. I have a doctor. I have a home and a job and transport. I have a soulmate. If my life were a ‘cup’ it would really be quite full.

And yet I feel so fucking empty.

I feel so full inside that I might explode, but I still feel hollow. It’s a contradiction, I know.

But what of this world in which we live? What effect should it have on a conscious and caring human being? What effect on an empath, on a person driven by logic, science AND by love? On a person for who solidarity is central to their own identity, a person who wears their heart and their values on their face for every person to see?

What effect should it have on me?

Because I’m waking up nearly every morning feeling depressed. I’m not really coping with all of the extra stress. I’m not really dealing with the fact that we are already in the midst of an existential catastrophe and yet half the world still wants to argue with me over the price of our humanity…

It fucks with me.

I’m sick of all the conflict, every single day. Not just the conflict in which I take part – though I am sick of so much of that too. But mostly it is the conflict all around me. The constant fight over what drives our society, and who profits from our economy. Because it sure ain’t people like me.

I’ve worked hard my whole life, as have my whole family, and nearly every person within a degree of separation from me. Yet we are all in debt. And yet, as we face down an impending pandemic (COVID 19), even in the worlds most advanced economies most of us are still worried about our lack of sick leave.

Me included.

I don’t even have enough leave to take off yesterday, or the day before. And yet I had to, because this world has got me waking up nearly every morning feeling depressed. It’s got me angry and sad and frustrated and feeling pretty close to giving up on a regular basis.

So I took two unpaid leave days, but not for anything fun. I used that time to speak with a doctor, find a new psychiatrist and have my first session.

It’s never easy that first session with a new psych. You have to relive your own traumas and reveal your fears all over again, and if you are like me then there is quite a lot of them. And it’s the first time you’ve ever even met the person. You can see the judgement in their eyes even as you can see their professional training strain against it.

You can feel the anxiety and wonder ‘what does she think of me’.

Honestly I don’t even know if I want to know the answer. What I really want though is some answers, and some solutions to our problems.

Yesterday I had to spill out my life story in a 45 minute conversation with a stranger, and I had to pay for the privilege. I walked away feeling drained and depleted. I can’t even get back in to see her for another 3 weeks, and I got nothing new to help me yesterday. Not this time anyway.

I need a break. I need some time off to recuperate. But more than that I really need to see some change.

We can not keep on kicking the can of climate change down the road. We can not keep burning fossil fuels. We can not keep allowing inequality to rise. We can not keep letting political leaders get away with telling us bold-faced lies. We can not keep locking up refugees, people with a disabilities, mental illness, different politics, or who simply fell into poverty.

We as a civilisation can not just keep on living like this, or at least I can’t anyway.

So I hope you’ll join me in making sure we have change, because I really, really, really want to stay.

What is sexism… And can men experience it?

According to Wikipedia sexism is: 

Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.

The first line of that definition, taken alone (as it often is) conflates “sexism” and “sex discrimination” as being one and the same thing, but they’re not quite.

In truth sex discrimination is only part of the puzzle required for something to be considered sexist.

Sex discrimination is the first line:

“prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.”

So what is sexism?

From my understanding – sexism is the inclusion of the second & third lines:

“it can affect either gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.”

Of course, being from Wikipedia someone has thrown in a “may” before the very important words “include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior”…. Who want’s to bet that was done by a man?

The “may” should be removed from this definition, as it is the presence of that superiority/inferiority paradigm which defines whether or not something is sexist.

This is sleight of hand and is also commonly heard in discussions about ‘racism’ too. How many times have you heard someone say:

But isn’t that racist?

Continue reading What is sexism… And can men experience it?

I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

IF I said I have never treated women inappropriately, ignored sexual harassment and/or inappropriate behaviour in workplaces and society more broadly, or taken part in their objectification, I’d be lying.

Any honest man would have to say the same thing.

Unfortunately the society I grew up in raised me to believe that objectifying women was normal, and that cat-calling, butt-slapping and other forms of sexual harassment were acceptable behaviour.

They are not.

It’s really brave, inspiring, and horrifying, all of these women sharing their #MeToo stories about men’s behaviour. So in an act of solidarity, after speaking with friends, I am going to share some #IHave stories.

I hope this honesty is taken in the vein it is intended, as a condemnation of this pattern of behaviour, not a normalisation or acceptance of it:

I have… Continue reading I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

Campaigning: Most of the time it’s an unpaid and thankless job.

I tell you what. I’ve been working on campaigns since 2003 and while it’s led me to being a much better person, given me a lot of skills and some AMAZING friends and contacts; it’s mostly a fucking thankless job.

Most of the time you are not winning.

Most of the time you are fighting like hell just to hold on to what we’ve got. Sometimes you are losing. Losing lives to suicide. Losing lives to deaths in custody. Losing land to clearing. Losing biodiversity. Losing community. Losing culture. Losing a chance at a safe future free of human-induced climate chaos.

Most of the time you are not getting the thanks you should get.

Most of the time you are getting called names. Most of the time you are getting harassed. Most of the time people just want to argue with you, so they take positions they don’t really hold just to test you. Most of the time you are left seething with rage. Most of the time you are upset. Most of the time others have no idea what is going on in your head.

I’ve been character assassinated.

I’ve had people say I’m a stooge for big business, that I’m only in it for ‘personal glory’, that I only do this work because they think I “want to be Prime Minister”. I’ve lost jobs over it. I’ve quit jobs over it. I’ve lost friends over it. I’ve dumped friends over it. I’ve fought with family. I’ve been ridiculed by friends and family.

I’ve been told I’ll never make a difference.

I’ve been repeatedly told my actions have no impact.

But then we’ve won. We’ve suddenly, out of nowhere had a win. A tactic has worked. A government has caved in. A government has been defeated. A company has given up. People have changed their minds.

After over a full solid year of committing THOUSANDS of hours to lead a solid team of volunteers organising an awesome campaign, I’m fucking exhausted.

I’m not financially better off. In fact I’m out of pocket – from supporting the team financially during emergencies, from working less to commit more volunteering time without losing my own sanity.

But I’ve also never been more proud of myself.

I’ve never done anything in my life that was more important than this.

And the only thanks I really care about, I get all the time – from Clinton himself.

It’s always worth it. But it ain’t ever easy.

No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.

A few people have said to me Sally McManus had ‘miscalculated’ or ‘stuffed up’ when she said sometimes it is necessary to break laws that are unjust.

Firstly – not one of the people who has said this to me so far is currently a union member themselves.

But more importantly – if people didn’t take so called ‘illegal’ action against unjust policies, projects and systems…. We would still be living as slaves, with no democratic rights, with a sole rich powerful family ruling the roost.

Or for a more current example – ‘illegal’ action was taken by the people who stopped James Price Point, Roe 8, Old Growth Forest Logging, the WA Shark Cull, and who are using their bodies stopping gas fracking and new coal mines.

I was recently arrested and charged while protecting the Beeliar Wetlands myself.

Laws do not define what is ‘right or wrong’.

Laws are just systems put in place to ensure the ‘status quot’ of how society currently operates. Some of those laws have a future in our society, some of those laws should have been left in the past.

Some laws we probably need haven’t even been thought of yet.

Most of our laws are compromise agreements reached between those seeking a better society, and those who were holding the reigns of power in the unfair and unequal societies of the past.

Modern laws are often compromise agreements balancing the influence of lobbying by vested interests – mostly the rich elite – with the influence of democratic power of citizens through elections, activism and non-violent action.

Laws are not infallible. Laws are not stagnant.

Laws are simply a social-contract currently agreed to in order to enable our society to function in an agreed-to manner.

Continue reading No stuff-up to defend breaking ‘unjust’ laws. Had to be said.