Sunday, April 30, 2017

Right on

Leather elbow patches, the '80s, hippie - ish leanings and Ben Elton.

Those are the things that bubble up about being 'right on'.
I'm showing my age.

 But it's a label I am comfortable with, despite it's fluffy wuffy,  butt of the joke connotations.

I've been the pc brigade.
 Which is often oddly conflated
 with elf and safety gone mad.
 I don't let you play conkers
or sing baa baa black sheep.
I'm banning Christmas!

 I look forward to winter for those populist daily mail lies.

Feminist was one that took longer to accept. Because feminists hate men
 and burn bras
and most ghastly of all,
have no. sense. of. humour.

But it's a warm bubble bath to me now,  it's where I belong*.

So these days, it's social justice warrior as a label I'm trying on. Hmm. Does it fit?

It does confuddle me that social justice can be seen as a Bad Thing.
 But you know what: it's cos we're Doing it Wrong.

Too shrill,
too serious,
no. sense. of. humour.,
taking it too far.

 It's always taking it too far.  It was fine up until.. When? You started feeling uncomfortable? We're living in a post-feminist post-racism world now.

Well apart from those folks.

But I'm alright Jack,  and you're giving me the sad in my feels.

The pc brigade, the social justice warriors - funny how we're all going to war. And there are lots of us, lots, hosts, like locusts, against - who?

 Not like the old days when I was right on and never did anything. Some of the marchers had balaclavas and rocks and the riot shields rattled and we weren't like that, but we were there, and my throat was raw.

Now I'm mowing down the unfortunate with my keyboard  . Cos that's all I do.

I'm thinking social justice warrior is a conflation with keyboard warrior, because that's the assumption, isn't it?

 Like words aren't important, but if they're not,  why is changing the language you use such a big deal, eh? What does it matter to you? And there are always more important things we should focus on and why aren't you doing something about that other thing.

But if it's true. That what we say makes no difference. Then.

It is like the old days when I never did anything, after all.
That's a relief.




* That said, as ever, when writing about being a feminist,  I feel the need to rush in and explain my feminism is intersectional. That patriarchy hurts men too with its toxic version of masculinity, where men showing emotion makes them weak, and they are stigmatised when not fitting into the rigid stereotypes. But I won't go on,  because this isn't an essay about feminism. Go read some feminism 101. There's plenty of resources. I'm not one.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The sound of fire in words

The paper blackens, smoulders
Flicker-flames licking up
They whisper and sputter
Sing, whine and mutter
Your words
Into smoke.

Words of heat
Pain and desire
Burning hot
Shrinking me inside
Crinkled small
"I will never let you go"
Furl and billow
And gone.

Smell of kerosene
On my fingers
Ash smears on my hands
And face
Sink in the grate,
Singed scorched and sighing
Flames ebb dip and dying
Fall into embers
Exhale into ash
To float free.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Reading Record 2017

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

This felt very familiar, although I haven't read it before or seen the movie. I guess I read a fair amount of post-apocalyptic fiction. It was compelling - I read it in one sitting - but as I say, it felt quite familiar. The relationship between father and son was nicely depicted.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blue

"Women have very little idea of how much men hate them". - Germain Greer, The Female Eunuch This seems relevant today.
I feel quite defeatist.
I feel quite sad.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Le cycliste

We saw a cyclist picking up onions on the way home, and I said to daughter - perhaps he's French? Jokingly. And then had to explain the French national stereotype of Frenchman on bike, with striped jumper,  beret and onions around his neck. 

Or was it garlic?

And we weren't sure,  but there is no reason a Frenchman couldn't have garlic to fend off vampires too. After all, vampires are very generally pretty refined and probably hang out in Parisian garrets.

But decided it was probably onions.

Of course, none of this answers why there were onions in the road.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Terf wars

I'm trying to figure out ...

Chloe Allen was recently widely reported as the first female infantry soldier in Britain. She is trans and came out after being discovered cross-dressing. She says she's glad it's panned out that way and is now undergoing hormone treatment. Which is great. Under recently changed rules, she gets to stay in post. Which is also great.

What I struggle with, is this - does it skew the picture for cis women to have someone taking that 'first' who didn't have the same set of challenges? Chloe certainly had (and has) her own challenges, but to get in post had a male physique and didn't face the sexism etc that cis women haven't yet even had the chance to deal with. The first possible intake of cis women to train for the infantry isn't until Nov this year, as I understand it.

I guess my misgiving is that it sort of looks like we're already there in equality / opportunities, but that's yet to be seen - and it erases the struggles that cis women face in the same situation. And I don't know, someone who 'passes' then comes out later in life isn't perhaps paving the way for other women - it's not a case of the glass ceiling being broken, so much as circumvented?

Does this make me a TERF? I like to think of myself as 'right on' and as an intersectional feminist, but I'm struggling with this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FB memes again again

"Bye bye, I deleted some so called friends over time, due to their way of doing things. Now I'm watching the one who will have the time to read this post until the end. This is a little test, just to see who reads and who shares without reading! If you have read everything, select "like" and then copy and paste this text on your profile, so i can put a thank u on ur profile,😘 I know that 97% of you won't broadcast this, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer, or even had cancer, copy and paste." 

 I don't know why this passive aggressive nonsense gets so much traction with Facebookers.
 I guess they must be passive-aggressive.
 But it's about Cancer!
So you can't be irritated by it.

 Blah.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

FB meme moan

"Dear men.... take the photo... 

 It doesn't matter what she looks like, or if she tells you no, take the photo. You may not think about it often, or at all honestly. But how many photos does she capture of you, of your family and of your life you've built. But when she is gone, those photos won't show your children the women who was behind the camera. 

Take the photo. Messy hair, no make up or a dirty old t-shirt won't matter to your children when she is gone someday. What will matter is that you loved what you saw enough to take a photo, to document it, to preserve that moment in time of the woman you love. No woman wants to look back at a lifetime of selfies. 

Do what she does for you every day, and snap a few moments in time. Be proud. Take photos of her. Before kids and after. Just take the photo...." 

 I kind of like and hate this. It's good to be positive about your family and your partner and to want to preserve those moments.

The thing is, if she tells you no - don't fucking over-ride her wishes. No is a very important word. Take fucking notice of it.  Even if she looks beautiful to you.

Make her feel like she is, all the time, and fucking respect her wishes, and then maybe she will be happier in front of the camera.

Why we need feminism (again)

Because whenever someone poses a thought experiment proposing some draconian measure that impinges obscenely on bodily autonomy, it is always by default the female body.

I give you:
"Do you feel that bio-implants be mandatory as a means of birth control? Do you feel a license should be required in order to conceive?"

Fuck off.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sometimes I get it right

Often I feel like I don't do enough, aren't supportive enough, should be thinking ahead more of others' needs.

And sometimes I get it right.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Was it all a lie?

He said.
No, when I was in it, I was in it,  I was trying
I wasn't lying.

We open, I open,  he opens
Those dusty chests of you did this and I did that
And was _that_ when
You
Gave
Up?
He asks. Of each one.

Like giving up is the worst sin.

No, when I gave up
Was that moment
You know when:
OK, I said.

But you knew it wasn't.

And so! It's about the money

Sneering

But it's not that
 it's the weight of the past
and those chests in the attic flying open choking me with dust
and I can see no light for us,
for ME
and this new ending trips me and lies its heaviness on me,
and it whispers in my ear:

it
will
always
be
thus

And I know
I know
For the first time
I can do better on my own.




And you know what (suddenly angry)
Why am I so desperate to say it's not about the money?! I am hardly a fucking gold digger.
I am _tired_ of scraping around, of having nothing, of there being no progress and never anything left over, of nothing being sacred,
And listening to you spinning your schemes and from Peter to Pauling and feeling bad if I want something for the house and do we have enough money for me to take the kids swimming?
And it's all draining away through your fingers down the pub, but if we argue about it, it's not the pints and the smokes and the fucking gambling machines, it's my bottle of wine and groceries and petrol. Well fuck you.
Fuck you
Fuck you.

So yes it's about the money
And it's about the lies
And most of all about never keeping faith with me
about anything we agreed

There would always be a reason.

And FYI
I don't buy the bottle of wine these days.
I don't want it.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Huh

I was very perplexed by Michael McIntyre's act last night, that had him complaining he looks Chinese when he's jet-lagged. On BBC at primetime. Just what?

Friday, April 15, 2016

When we pathologise behaviours of person or group of people…

I think it's a dangerous thing. I think it stops us from looking at ourselves. I think when you label manipulative behaviour, emotionally abusive behaviour and socially inept behaviours as those of sociopaths or narcissists or persons on the autistic spectrum (these being the popular go-tos) what it does is unhelpful.

Firstly,  are you really qualified to diagnose someone and if you are, are you so qualified you can do it over the interwebz?! Really really?

How do I mean unhelpful?  Well, I think it is generally an endpoint, not a conversation starter - and bad unhealthy dysfunctional relationships are not the prerogative of the disordered.  They're something you can end up doing to each other.

I think it others the abuser and makes them less recognisable as our partners who we love or - ourselves..

 I don't want to suggest that people in an abusive relationship should stick it out for the possibility of change or that 'red flags' in a burgeoning relationship shouldn't make you run. I think absolutely run.

But monstrifying the person just, well, it doesn't ring true to me. I'm not saying there are no deliberate predators or monsters. I'm sure there are. Hell, there are people who promote the wheel of abuse  as a relationship technique. Sick fucks. But I think there are also people who don't know any better or who fall into destructive behaviours unconsciously.

Of course intent isn't magic. And it doesn't matter if the effect on you is what the other person intended - it still hurts / undermines / kills you inside. So if it's a pattern,  you're best advised to get the hell out, get safe.

Why it's important to me to not pathologise or demonise, is that it doesn't inspire introspection on one's own destructive behaviours. Because _you're_ not a monster or a predator or a sociopath or narc. But you might very well manipulate or gaslight or otherwise screw over your partner in the throes of self absorption. People fail all the time.


Saturday, April 09, 2016

Instant

Tell me quickly all the things I cannot have with you.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Worse things happen at sea

Every cowboy sings a a sad sad song.

Everyone has a sad sad story - you don't got one yet, hey, give it time.

I read someone's piece about 'drama' played out on internet communities and how there are worse things to worry about - and yes, he's got a point - some things people get irate about or upset about can look mighty trivial when matched against trauma, disease, accident or death. (Oh death, lots of long-drawnoutmedicaldyingsdeathdeathdeathyouwouldn'tdotoadog). But even so, you know what, there isn't a monopoly on pain, there's plenty to go around.

Sometimes we get caught up in our own stuff, and yes, there might be time for a reality check and a slap in the face with a wet kipper. But as a response to "I broke a toe" - "well, look over here, this person's leg came right off" - it doesn't stop that broken toe from hurting like fuck, does it? It's just "shut the fuck up, I don't want to hear about it" with added shame - so buckle up and say that already.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Unpicking the past encore

This time, he was on the back foot, or so I thought.

But it wasn't so and I was always stretching stupidly beyond what I wanted to be, to what I thought he wanted. I thought that increased commitment meant that we were on the same page. But we weren't.

When it was unignorable that he was unfaithful, while our daughter was a baby, with someone I knew, I nearly left, I packed up the car. But I didn't start driving.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Some memories

I'm at home ill, lying on the sofa. I'm not *very* ill, I don't think, just schoolitis, my mum used to call it. I have lucozade!

It's in the glass bottle all wrapped in gold - you only ever got it when you were ill back then. To me it's such a treat, it's worth being ill (especially not *very* ill). I only tore off the gold once, to find the very ordinary bottle inside - I don't know what I expected - golden glass? Still, it's shimmering beside me, that secret glossed over.

I think on this occasion I did have an actual fever, 'though, I am warm and lumpen tired.. Mum has dropped back in from work to check on me and the tv is on: it's in black and white. Mum used to half-joke that I was considered a child in need by the powers that be because we only had a black and white tv at home, when most of the neighbourhood had long had colour.

There's some sort of serious play on the tv: the man has a child on his lap but it's not kind or loving, more imprisoning arms, and the mother character is talking, beseeching, her face strained and pulled, held back by another man. And that man slits her throat quickly and it gapes and there is blood and the seated man is carving out the child's stomach with a knife in a circular motion.

Mum catches this last bit and switches the tv off.

--------------------------------------------

It's Sunday, and I am eating sticky pudding from a tin and Birdseye custard, sat beside the Rayburn in my mum's chair, watching Battlestar Galactica in my jammies after a bath. It's the one where they have found a planet, maybe to stay on and be safe at last, but they discover a secret level where the parasitic aliens are using their bodies as hosts. I watch Apollo and Starbuck rapt. Dirk Benedict is insanely beautiful.

--------------------------------------------

It's the weekend and it's sunny and warm and I am wandering the springy lawns of a manor house, while my mother is pruning and taking cuttings for the owners. I am too young to stay home alone, but old enough to keep myself occupied. I am making up stories. All my stories end up with death. Sometimes I find tennis balls they have lost over the tennis enclosure. Sometimes the lawnmower has run over them, and they fall apart in my hands.

They have a swimming pool. So very blue. It's got a cover on. When I can, I sneak off and press down the cover and watch the water swish over it. I know my mum will tell me off if she sees me, but I do it anyway. I lean over it, and I am a little afraid, because I am not a good swimmer and if I fall in, I will go under that cover and I will drown. I have been warned. I imagine falling in, imagine being trapped under, screaming and struggling for breath, and I lean out again and press down on the cover to see the water. I know that if I owned that swimming pool, I would never have a cover on it but always be swimming in it, and I would let the gardener's daughter swim in it anytime she wanted.

My auntie and uncle had a swimming pool at their house, though. It was one they put up in the summer: circular with a wood frame. If I ran round it fast enough I could start a whirlpool, dive into it and be borne around by my wave. It was better when my cousins weren't joining in, it was just me, round and round.

Where it stood, they now have a fishpond, for different sorts of summers.

Monday, March 28, 2016

loss

Walking through the woods today, with the sound of traffic in the far distance, the birdsong, the rain on the leaves, threading my way between the mossed trunks of fallen trees: hearing the waterfall, and the dog panting joyously as he scrambles through the undergrowth.

And I was thinking about acacia pravissima against the window panes, and a ladder against the chimney stack, and those small tugs of greatness in the people I have loved. So ordinary, so amazing.

And my chest is constricted and I only breathe shallowly because something might break.

Friday, March 11, 2016

129 words

Piece of paper on the sofa. Folded, folded.

It's not my writing. Suddenly stiff fingers holding it, creeping cold through my veins, nausea sweeping through, my mouth fills with saliva and there's a clamping dull pain in my chest.

I am far away, looking through a window at myself.

And then I rush back in.

It's not making sense. It must be my writing. It's the sort of thing he made me write, to start with. But it's not my writing. Plus it's crap. I'd never write that, I sneer to myself. This is half-assed and she obviously hasn't a clue what she's getting into.

Like me.

I'm heavy. It's hard to breathe. Cotton wool chest. I sit.
The baby kicks petulantly inside. Shhhh now.
I'm heavy.
I sit.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

I chose this

I chose this
And those words make me happy.

I chose this
I choose you (pikachu)!