Womanly Strength

There is strength in my tears,

Strength in my pain,

Strength in my anger,

And strength in my rage

 

There is strength in my power,

Strength in giving it away,

Strength in how I empower,

And strength in systems I know how to play

 

There is strength in my voice,

Strength in my silence,

Strength in my hug,

And strength in my quietness

 

There is strength in my weakness,

Strength in my persistence,

Strength in my empathy,

And strength in my capacity

 

There is strength in my non-violence,

Strength in my hold,

Strength in my care for justice,

And strength in my bold

 

There is strength in my whirlwind,

Strength in my ability to juggle,

Strength in how much I carry,

And strength in my human when I crumble,

 

There is strength in my tea,

Strength in knowing how you have it,

Strength in my time,

And strength in my desire for chocolate

 

There is strength in my blood,

Strength in nourishing and growing life,

Strength in holding space,

And strength in my love

 

There is strength in my responsibility,

Strength in my support,

Strength in my continued fight,

Despite the walls that constantly come

 

Strength runs through me

 

Do not underestimate me

 

Do not feel threatened by me

 

I am a strength you want on your side

 

Value me

 

Know and learn how life will be richer

 

I am woman

 

And I am offering my strengths

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Consent

With a few experiences of my own & a whole lot of stories young women and girls have shared with me – I’ve felt the need to write a little something on consent. (Interestingly I wrote this just before the whole Brock Turner light rape sentence case in America in June last year – have just sat on it for a long while).

Personally I don’t think it is that difficult to understand – but for some reason, so many guys don’t get it, they violate it because they are just pushing to see where the boundaries lie, how far they can be pushed before they get 1 of the 3 non-consensual responses.

Lets go back to some basic psychology here for a second. There are 3 reactions to danger – Fight, Flight or Freeze. They are all reactions that happen when a person feels threatened and they are all therefore reactions of non-consent. The one that most guys just don’t seem to get / wilfully ignore (because they often get away with it) is Freeze.

Freeze is the deer in the headlights eyes, frozen body, unsure reaction – it is a reaction of: I don’t feel safe and I am frozen because I am scared. It is NOT CONSENT! And yes you can tell, they freeze, they look frightened, they are non responsive.

When discussing this simple psychology with guys the response has often been ‘but we have to make the first move’, ‘maybe she is just shy’ etc. And it took me way too long to unwrap that load of bullshit that I’ve allowed guys to use as justification, that I’ve used to excuse male behaviour, that I’ve used excuse my own fear and frozen reaction.

I dated a guy where I straight up told him that I didn’t want to get physical at all (kissing included) for a while until I got to know him and felt a little safe. I asked him to make sure that he had my permission, that he had my consent. What did he say? That that took the spontaneity out of it. I listened to his excuses and with my own insecurities froze twice when he went in for a kiss way before I felt comfortable, where it took me a few seconds to muster the courage to say no, push him away, and where that no was pushed  with a ‘come on you know you want too’ attitude (when I didn’t, I wasn’t ready and I’d been kissed when I didn’t want to be).

Some would say that this example is totally light, its kissing, it isn’t the end of the world. And in some sense you are right, I don’t feel bad about the fact that I was kissed – what I do feel violated about was my lack of consent – I felt a disregard for my sense of safety. Especially when I made it clear it was important from the word go. Reflecting on it later I questioned what would have happened if I kept dating him? Where does the pushing stop? He saw my freeze, paused and then took advantage (I saw that process happen in his face, just as he saw my deer in headlights eyes stating I wasn’t ready and ignored it). What does that look like down the track? Because to me they are signs of willingness to push the boundaries, to potentially be abusive, to violate trust, to not care about that the other person does not feel safe. They are steps that I can see as leading in the extreme to rape and rape in a relationship where it is more easily excused. (I’m not saying they would have, but that they could have. If that is the snippet of what the guy showed of himself to me in 2 dates, about how he was going to treat me and my consent- you can see how I can extend that logic further!)

What about that time when I froze when I was traveling alone and woke up to find a guy from my dorm on top of me trying to convince me to sleep with him? What would have happened if I didn’t find my voice after what seemed like an age to say no? (embarrassingly it was a super shy timid sounding no – because I was attempting to wake up, super scared and freaking out that I could be raped in a minute and felt completely powerless). What would have happened if he didn’t listen?

Where was the confident fights against injustice, fights for women’s rights Marita then? I’m really embarrassed & ashamed by this story actually. How could me, who fights so hard for what against what is wrong for others, not have fought for myself? Where was my voice? And then finding myself asking these stupid women blaming questions of: What had I done to encourage him? How had I brought it on? (And yet knowing those questions are bullshit and place all the blame on the victim for being a victim and nothing on the perpetrator for perpetrating – & knowing I did nothing to encourage or bring it on). (FYI if you don’t believe me here is how messy this also gets – I politely gave him the brush off by not at all engaging with him earlier that day when he tried to talk with me. This egotistical guy who thought he was God’s gift to women maybe thought this message was: I was ignoring him because I was playing hard to get… which NO – this is just a terrible myth that excuses any action of a guy and places blame on the female. I was ignoring him because I wasn’t interested and I was trying to not be a bitch about it! Now the I message received was, I need to be a bitch otherwise I could be raped… seriously there is nothing women can do where they won’t be critiqued for doing it wrong (rejecting a guy) but the thing men don’t seem to understand is that for women that comes with consequences or the threat of potential violence…its a dangerous loose loose. And I can give you heaps of examples where rejection by a female in all sorts of ways, ends in her sexual assault, rape or murder).

Thankfully, I understand enough about psychology to know I need to let myself off the hook for not being a ‘fighting for my rights warrior’ in that moment! I know it wasn’t my fault and that my response was understandable – because I responded with a basic stress response, because I was scared shitless! I froze (because there was no flight, I was pinned, arms held, guy on top of me, I knew I was powerless and it seemed stupid to try and fight when it felt impossible to do anything other than timidly attempt to push him back and say no). Thank goodness he eventually listened to my no and got off & left.

What about for the girl (young teen) I talked with a while ago who told me about being sexually assaulted (remember assault’s definition is: to make a physical attack on – it can being touched without permission, being kissed -> much worse). She told me about how she froze, but that when she reported it, nothing was done as no one had seen it and it was her word against his (him denying it). And I heard in her admission of freeze a sense of questioning her complicity, because she hadn’t said no. What I hope she heard from me that day was that she 100% had said no, because she had not said yes, because her body language screamed no but it was wilfully ignored. That she did not need to feel in any way complicit in that horrid memory for her.

Guys, the line is this. It’s ensuring that before you go there, whatever physical activity it is, however small, that it is welcome, that the female (or male) has said yes. How do you know? Well if a girl freezes – don’t work out the question ‘is she just scared but wants this’ in your own head – ask her. Say ‘do you mind if I kiss (or whatever is your intention) you?’ or ‘I really want to kiss you’. Personally I have never felt that that has ruined a moment but rather that it has shown complete respect for me and made me 100% more comfortable because I can say yes if I am interested and no if I’m not. It’s ensuring that the person is a willing participant in your activity, that they are also wanting and acting on it.

Freeze is – I do not consent. Fight is – I do not consent. Flight is – I do not consent. Consent isn’t hard to understand – it’s rape culture messages that have made the lines blurry and created the excuse, but it isn’t an excuse. It’s violation of someones safety, it’s sexual assault.

This video cartoon parody sums it all up pretty perfectly in my mind: https://youtu.be/oQbei5JGiT8

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

tears of an empty womb

they come once a month

red, raw and painful

blood without purpose

blood that just brings aching pain

the physical pain

the symbolic pain

 

tears for the life that did not grow

the hollow reminder that the desire is not in your reality

hope of even trying an unutterable dream

 

the pain that is not shared

the loneliness

the weight of carrying the loss alone

 

the loss of knowing if it ever happens it will happen too late

that Opa will never meet his grandchild

the gift you would have loved to have the chance give

holding not only your own monthly tears but your father’s as well

tears for the role he will never have the chance to play

tears for one of his early ending’s regrets’

 

feeling responsible for its emptiness

for its potential to not even have a chance

not now or in the next few years

 

wondering if you’re at fault

the slap in the face questions of singleness

the blame of being alone mentality

that you’re at fault for being single and alone

 

lamenting the lot you got in life

reminding yourself that life is not fair

it is full of pain

and it is ok to feel the tears

 

knowing so many others are also feeling the ache

the pain that nurofen cannot affect

the tears in trying and then red raw loss

or the bloody reminder of not even having the ability to try

 

sick of feeling it should be silent

not wanting to be so vulnerable

but knowing unsiliencing begins by not being silent

 

living in unfulfilled longing

announcements, bumps, pictures, instagram & facebook feeds

constant reminders of what you’re missing

everyday attempting to not let it be too present

to let the tears only fall once a month

the red, raw, painful tears of an empty womb.

 

 

 

*Note: not all women want this and good for those that don’t, this is just written from my perspective to hopefully also hold space for other women I know who are also struggling with this silently.

Also I’m fine, I just cry tears now and then because life sucks (and it’s ok to just dwell for a some moments in the fact). Thankfully I don’t get stuck there and so that is why overall, I’m fine.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Ladies, enough with the comparison!

Today I reached my limit of staying silent on this. Enough already!

QUIT COMPARING YOUR BODY TO OTHER WOMEN!

Why?! Because it does nothing but cause pain and it has zero relevancy to your health. But also because I’m personally I’m sick of feeling like I should apologise and have a negative view of my body just because I happen to be a certain build. It’s bullshit and no one should make someone else feel that way!

It’s happened most of my life, I’ve always been tall and slim with a super fast metabolism that meant that it was difficult to put on weight. And whilst I figured out the putting on weight issue (go overseas!), its taken me years to be comfortable and love my body (something I am passionate about for everyone to be able to do, especially women!).

The skinny shaming happened throughout primary, high school and my adult life. Others comparing their bodies to mine and then pointing out how bad they feel, sometimes as blatantly as that, sometimes subtly. How did that make me feel? Damn guilty all the bloody time for just living in the body I was born in. Especially anytime anyone brought up talking about their insecurities about their weight etc, if I even tried to pitch in, I was shut down. What would I know? No I should sit there and feel guilty for not having that issue. In high school I actually ate junk for nearly a year and heaps of it, just to put on weight and make the comments about my weight stop. (some of you are rolling eyes and saying if only that was a problem – well it is for a lot of people so stop dismissing it as something that isn’t worrysome!) I was made to question whether I had anorexia by randoms, doctors, friends – I ate so much, I didn’t hate my body in that way nor wanted to be skinny, and yet I was told it so often I questioned myself at times, maybe I was, maybe I did have a body image issue and was secretly (to even my knowldge, subconsciously) punishing myself or caring so greatly about being good looking that I was not eating (all with a moments thought clearly untrue to anyone who saw my daily rhythm).

And yet comfortability in my body came really when I wasn’t that skinny having issues putting on weight girl anymore, it was when I was carrying more weight than my healthy body adult body needed to. Why then, because I was hating my body, hating my eating, hating my lack of ability to diet & so to console my hatred I dieted and then would binge. Super unhealthy, unhealthy food going in, unhealthy amounts, unhealthy mental health and unhealthy body image. I realised in order to actually make the change, I needed to stop focusing on the fat, the weight, the scales, and learn to be ok with my body, bits I hated and all. And slowly I did, I decided it was ok I was not eating as well, because I got in touch with the reason (anxiety around traveling and not having a place of rest), that I was ok with the pudgy stomach, that I was ok with the no boobs, the long legs that can’t find jeans long enough (such as the ones I’m wearing now that are 2 inches too short), the ugly toes, the pimply skin, the moles, the stretch marks and cellulite, the ugly belly button. I realised it wasn’t ugly or something I should be ashamed about, it was just me and I like me & I won’t ever look perfect and no one does. All we can do is be the healthiest person we can in our body to live the fullest life.

And you know what, my body is slight, I’m tall, I have a small rib cage, small bones, straight figure and I love my body. Not all the time, but I try to love it all the time, because it is what I have. And I am trying to be the healthiest version of me with the time I have amongst my thousand of other passions and time consuming things that are in my life.

Why the beginning rant? Because today, I had a 15 year old girl feeling uncomfortable about herself, her weight, her skin because she is comparing herself to me. And it isn’t fair on her and it isn’t fair on me & most of all, it isn’t going to help her at all have a healthy body image of herself, which is something I want so so much to see!

She is never going to be a size 10 like me, because her body is so so different from mine. She’s curvier, bigger bones, bigger frame, different shape, different muscles. Her healthy body is like a 14 or something and a totally different shape and weight to my my healthy me. And I want to be able to support her and encourage her to love her body, look after it, both mentally, physically and emotionally. But if she keeps comparing herself  in size, weight (which is the most stupid thing to compare!, two people the same size can be vastly different weights – and again body types – vast vast differences!), physical attributes with the ideal of the ‘beautiful’ skinny fake photoshopped woman on the front of the mags and plastered on the tele, she isn’t ever going to love her body.

So women, please please please! Stop comparing! To your friends, to the mags to our culture! Try and come to the point where you accept your body type and start thinking what is healthy for me and work on your journey towards it. And give yourself a thousand breaks for not getting there because you are ok in your own skin as it is. From my experience, having this attitude will actually make you far more motivated and likely to achieving those goals than being hard and fast about them! (that said, realistic goals can be good to push yourself!).

So I’m not going to say I’m thankful for my body type or my fast metabolism, because that’s buying into the skinny is best sterotype I don’t believe. I am instead going to say, I’m thankful for my body, all of it, and I’m going to try and be the healthiest me (health being mental, physical, emotional, medical, with my spare time and energy living holistically) & I hope you can be thankful for your body and try and be the healthiest you too!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baby boom.

People saying I’m not allowed to feel something. It really shits me. I don’t care if you think its irrational or that I’m not meant to feel like that or you don’t know how to deal with it. I do feel like that and if I mention it, I’m not looking for a shut down I’m looking for some empathy – ‘sorry it feels like that’.

What am I talking about? Well empathy and my annoyance that people don’t seem to know how to do it. And that sometimes when I’m being vulnerable and actually letting people know what is really going on, sometimes I just get shut down, and it shits me and makes me go, well why bother! Which I know is wrong so I instead talk about the vulnerability point publicly and make an example of myself to hopefully have others respond better for all the people out there in the same basket as me.

My example? Well the current baby boom. It seems everyone is getting pregnant at the moment. It feels like half my friends – there has been a ‘we’re pregnant’ once a week for the past 2 months! And it is super exciting! I love babies and I can’t wait to crochet like crazy making presents.

But I am also super jealous and sad. Because I wanted to be a young mum, and my bloody hormones (lol) kicked in early because of nannying and especially now with dad’s cancer, I feel that absence of that being a reality soon greater.  I have about 5 years maybe to have my dad be around to be an Opa, something he really wants, I really want and I’d love to be able to do whilst he’s around. That isn’t long to find a partner, have it work, get married and have kids. I wanted to be there after I finished my degree (that hope’s gone), I want to be there in a few years and it doesn’t look like it’s happening.

But here’s the bit that is the example. I don’t feel like I can say I’m jealous, or I’m sad, because I’m young still, because I’m single, because when I have admitted to it, people have laughed and said your young don’t worry about it.

My sadness doesn’t feel as valid as a married couples who are struggling to get pregnant. But it is, its different but its valid. It’s ok that that sometimes hearing another couple announce their pregnancy makes me sad, it’s ok that I’m jealous. I live with that and I live well with that – I don’t want for a second someone to feel guilty about being pregnant and I hope, but don’t think I have, I haven’t made people feel that way. But if I let you know, of which before posting this on a public blog I have barely done, just acknowledge with me that it sucks, as that is all I’m looking for.

Life doesn’t go the way you plan, and shit happens. But it doesn’t mean we have to be always ok with our lot, or we aren’t allowed to be angry or upset or in pain because of it. Always being in the pissed off space, that isn’t healthy, but ignoring that its there at all  isn’t either. Be ok to sit in that sucky space with me for a minute, and DON’T say ‘oh it will happen’, or ‘there is a guy out there for you’ (unless you can bet a million dollars on it) because there might not be and that is ok (I’m not scared of being single even if its also got points of sadness). Offer me tea and chocolate (not necessary, but tea does make everything better!), acknowledge that it sucks and then we can move on because being stuck there is a depressing space.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doing it alone.

Trying to do community alone, can be pretty lonely

Dreaming alone, can be pretty exhausting,

Trying to catching people up to where you are to have someone to join you can be a waste of time

Sometimes I wonder why I bother, why I have this dream, will I ever find my group, my people,

Have I lost the golden years? Where with idealistic notions I try and pull off more than is possible? Have I learnt the lessons of others without ever trying them myself?

What am I giving to?

I am giving my time to my degree – as it is something I believe in, a skill I know that will help, but my heart isn’t there – my soul is slowly dying in readings that speak of radical and clever ways of contributing and doing – whilst I have time to do is read them. (I wrote this 6 months ago and this is still true, except at least now I’m doing the work in a job sense – and I’ve stopped reading the books because it made it too hard).

Who is my mob? Where am I going? And with who?

Questions I have asked for too long… the answer of which isn’t clear & I don’t want to do it alone.

(It doesn’t always feel alone, I get glimpses in groups I’m a part of or friends that sustain the journey, but there still isn’t a mob, or a person to dream with, really hoping to find that in the post uni period where my time available will increase greatly).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

White mop

I was standing on the escalator going up the stairs at Southern Cross Station the other day and elderly lady and man were in front of me and suddenly I was struck with the thought, how lucky are they to have white hair.

Grandma in front of me on the escalator,

How lucky are you, to have white hair!

what a life you must have lived,

what stories to share,

so much you have seen,

much misery you’ve bared,

but you are still here,

with more time to care,

more time to explore,

more time to learn,

more time to tell,

more stories to share,

more memories to be made,

more of your of your legacy shared,

more legacy made.

So no, I do not think weak, poor old soul,

I think privileged,

a privilege my father will probably not get,

white hair, grandkids known,

cancer will probably get him,

before he’s fully grown,

so be thankful for that mop of snowy white hair,

be thankful for every day,

for the moments lived, the moments shared,

our lives, our longevity is not guaranteed,

whether or not we can get to white on top,

so be thankfully for the everyday,

the mundane and the good,

be thankful for it’s part in your journey

that makes up your story

that makes up your life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment