2016, life, opinion, Uncategorized, writing

In Holding Each Other, We Hold Up The World.

Until this afternoon, I thought the idea of Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America was some cruel, sick joke, or a convoluted test for humanity to prove themselves.

Until this afternoon, I felt safe.

I came home shortly after the news was announced, after being out without internet, and the first thing I saw was a text from my nineteen-year-old sister.

“Please, PLEASE write about this.”

And if I’m honest, I wasn’t going to write about it. The last thing I want to be is cliché, or worse, uninformed or insensitive. Neither do I want to perpetuate our communal grief, shock, sadness, pain and fear.

But I owe it to my sister and to everyone to try my best.

I could explain in horrific detail the consequences of this shocking event, but you’ve no doubt already heard it all.

Instead, I want to use the influence my writing has to say this:

This is, in my simplest words, a tragedy. This was unimaginable and it is now unpredictable, but, like in everything, I believe there is hope.

I’m not saying you have a choice over whether you have your pussy grabbed, or whether a racist megalomaniac tries to kick you out of your own country.

I’m saying what this election has shown us more than anything is that there is power in numbers. There is power in standing up for what is right, and when you believe in something enough, you can make it happen.

Though this logic can and has been used against us, let it be your beacon in this dark time. Let it be a hand for you to hold through the treachery and the pain, and if you find this hand is slipping from your grasp, keep reaching out. Because someone, somewhere, is reaching out their hand as well, and in holding each other, you will hold up the world.

You, you right there behind your screen, are strong. And if you don’t believe me, look up from your screen, or open Facebook or look at your text messages and take a second to notice everyone around you, everyone you have ever seen, have ever loved. Look up and realise that alone, you are strong, but together, we are stronger.

I’m a teenage girl in Australia. I am not as strong as I wish I was and alone, there is little I could possibly do to brighten this dismal, four-year sentence.

But I promise, with every fibre of my being, with every ounce of love in my heart, I stand with you.

I stand with you against racism. I stand with you against queerphobia. I stand with you against misogyny. I stand with you against violence, sexual and otherwise.

I, and everyone I love, stands with you.

Every time you oppose someone being hateful, even if it’s a stupid meme, we win. Every time you speak up about what’s right, even if it’s to your cat, we win. Every time you live authentically, even if it’s for a second, even if it’s in your bedroom, we win.

He’s won the battle, but we will win the war. The war against hate.

And to that seed of doubt that still nestles in your head, hear this: Love has to win. I have to believe that. I don’t have another choice, because if I want to live my life – and fuck, I want to live my life – I have to believe that love will win.

I hope you believe that, too.

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2016, life, opinion, writing

Be Not Deafened By Hate

Every day, we are inundated with endless floods of hate. From the moment we wake up to investigate that late-night notification, mindlessly scrolling through our News Feed with one eye open, to the ‘going to bed, talk tomorrow x’ text, just before we close our eyes.

Hate is everywhere, and tuning out is an insurmountable challenge.


Some days, noticing it is optional. Days when the world spins gently on its axis, swaying with the movement of the love and light that flows between us. Days when the sun is shining and somehow, everything seems less awful than it has been. Days when, just for a change of scenery, you don’t look too closely at the cracks in our society.

Other days, it bombards you. Someone’s been blown up someone’s been invalidated someone’s been offended someone’s been misrepresented someone’s been snuffed out, like a candle, before they had time to properly fill the world with their light.

Some days – most days – the hate is inescapable. The hate is everywhere.

Deafening.

For every person trying to be authentically themselves, there is another telling them they aren’t real or valid. For every person trying to teach us that their way works for them, there is another telling them to stop pressuring us to change ourselves. For every person trying to live there is another trying to cut their life short and I, for one, am tired.

Wake up. Open your eyes and see the light that shines from good intentions. Open your heart and hear the gentle hum of a kind soul. Open your arms and feel the gentle weight of a burden shared.

And when you have seen, heard, and felt the world as it is meant to be, rip open a packet of face paint, don your warpaint and let the battle-cry of beautiful souls rip through you. Scream, fight, believe in what you know is right.

And when the hate becomes deafening again, scream louder.

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2016, life, opinion, writing

I Am a Queer Young Woman. I Am Not Afraid to Say That.

Last Sunday, June 12th 2016, a gunman murdered 49 people for a part of their identity that I share with them.

I am a queer young woman. In spite of everything, I am not afraid to say that.


The recurring fear among many LGBT+ people this week is not a hard-to-reach conclusion: “It could have been me.” Or, “It could’ve been my friends, my family, someone I know and love.”

I don’t share this same fear. I’m a teenager, not yet completely out, and as such, I’ve never been to queer spaces or hung out with queer adults.

My fear is different. My fear is the shock and horror that comes with realising that someone hates me that much. That someone hates who I am so much that they would shoot me, that they would kill me and laugh while they did it. That there are people in this world who think I should be dead.

I don’t bully people. I don’t watch people bully other people without stepping in. I don’t share other people’s secrets. I don’t hurt animals. I don’t litter. I don’t abuse my privileges. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I don’t pressure other people into smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, and I don’t judge those who partake. I don’t rely on others to get me through life. I don’t borrow what I can’t return, and I don’t lend something I can’t do without. I don’t lie. I don’t hate. I don’t discriminate.

I am a good person.

I am also a bisexual person.

In some people’s minds, these things are mutually exclusive. These people want me dead.

As a queer young woman who tries her hardest to look for the good in all people, this was, is and will always be a hard pill to swallow.

It’s easy to brush it off. To say, “But you know they’re wrong, but you know you’re a good person, but you know you’re safe.”

Those 49 people knew that too, or they thought they did.

They thought they were right, and good people, and safe, until someone took their lives from them.

I am young. I am not ready to die, and neither were they. Neither are any of us.

I know I am right. I’m trying to be strong. Everyone knows that we are sad. This is not enough.

Being right doesn’t make them any less dead. Being strong won’t bring them back. Being sad won’t erase from the survivor’s minds the haunting sound of the gunman’s laugh.

Being brave is what will create the change we need. I’m being brave right now, posting this on the internet for all to see, trying to create the change I need to feel safe again.


To those who want to question my identity:

My ability to love someone is one of two things: firstly, it is a part of me that is beautiful and pure and won’t be tainted by anyone’s hate or oppression.

Secondly, my ability to love someone is none of anyone’s fucking business.

Turnbull, Shorten, I’m talking to you:

 I am going to marry the person of my dreams. I have a right to marry the person of my dreams. No one, not even you in your fancy office with your privilege and your power, will stop me from getting that. I am not a second-class citizen.

Homophobes everywhere, this one is for you:

If you think that the LGBT+ community will settle down eventually, you are wrong. If you think that our fears will last forever, that they will divide us, you are wrong. If you think that in the face of adversity I will be any less proud of who I am and who we are, you are wrong.

We are strong. We are brave. We are proud.

As much as we might be hurt and afraid, you haven’t won.

And if you think for one single second that hate will ever win, you are wrong.  

 

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2016, life, opinion, Uncategorized

On Rethinking

As a teenager, it is easy to adopt that well-known ‘twelvie’ mentality’ – to assume that you know who you are, where you are going, and how you plan to get there.

And I, just like everyone, like to have a plan. I like to think that my idea of life now, and of myself, will continue to ring true in the future.

It is evident to me I was – am – wrong.

I started reading at 5 years old, and writing soon after. By seven I had read Harry Potter books 1-5 (the others had not yet been published) and at 11 I took my first genuine stab at writing a novel, after many unsuccessful attempts. It was an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, a play I had not yet read at the time, based on Australian native animals. Needless to say, it was not my greatest success.

With this theme of literacy a constant motif in my life, my future occupation was clear to me: I wanted to be writer. It was what I loved, what I was good at, and the idea of seeing my name on a dust cover thrilled me.

My dream job digressed some – from writer to singer to neuropsychologist to journalist – and I found myself back where I had begun, writing for the people. Through my work on my blog I had found my passion, and my future plan was concreted in my head.

This was not to last.

My dream was upheaved by a role as bass guitarist in a local musical – interrupted briefly by a victory at a local music competition where I sang and accompanied myself on piano – the show went swimmingly and I continue to play bass and piano, and sing. It’s getting serious now – I’m considering becoming a legitimate musician, playing gigs and whatnot. Completely by chance and by the goodness of the people around me, I had fallen into the music industry with good prospects of moving forward, and while I was thrilled, I was also stumped.

Being a musician was not part of the plan. Wasn’t writing what I wanted to do? And what about that foray into a medical persuasion? Was I not destined to be the academic that everyone thought I should be?

I thought that finding yourself, in a small country town among hundreds of people trying to do the same thing, was the hardest thing someone could try to do.

Until my idea of ‘me’ was uprooted, turned on its head, and presented back to me as an unrecognisable reflection. It was then that I realised that while finding yourself is hard, rethinking yourself is harder. Learning, unlearning, relearning – all progressively more difficult tasks to undertake.

My point is a piece of advice to other teenagers who, like me, are trying to work it all out.

Don’t set things in stone. Find who you are, find where you fit, find your passions and your people – but don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Maybe it’s only me who did this, maybe it’s all of us, but don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Don’t be so solid in your beliefs that you have to upheave them later, as I did. Be flexible. Keep your eyes and ears open, be aware of where you are and who you’re with. Be ready to rethink yourself – but don’t think yourself into a hole, only to have to dig yourself out later.

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2016, opinion, Uncategorized, writing

On Unpopular Opinions

“Ugh, quinoa.”

“We have PE next? This day just gets worse.”

“I woke up at six this morning. It was hell.”

All phrases I’ve said more than once recently – and none of them phrases that I actually agree with.

I don’t mind quinoa, exercise, or early mornings. I actually love getting up early, and sprinting when I’m stressed. So why do I pretend to agree with the opinion of the masses?

Reform would be easier if this was a conscious choice, but it isn’t. I find myself reacting and agreeing with the opinions of my friends reflexively, without even a pause or a consideration into whether I actually support what I am saying.

Most people know that as individuals we are conditioned by society and the media to have certain hobbies, to like certain things, to act a certain way.  This is proven by the trends you see in the clothes of teenagers, or in the varying frequency in use of words like ‘swag’ and ‘yolo.’ Everything our friends, colleagues, family, celebrities and role models like and share can be seen by us, and all of it has incredible influence on our own thoughts, and our opinions on the world around us.

What’s interesting is that a disinterest in early mornings, exercise and superfoods is a common motif within teenager culture, but showing this ‘popular opinion’ in a different niche of society will be as disapproved of and frowned upon as some of my opinions are now. When everyone in your workplace visits the gym twice a day, “ugh, quinoa” becomes a one-way ticket to Alienation Town. So while it seems like supporting a popular opinion is the way to stay relevant and ‘cool,’ even the term ‘popular opinion’ is as variable as the people expressing these views.

As a young person trying to figure out myself and my place in the world, this reflexive reaction scares me. I don’t want people to think I’m someone I’m not – but what changes can I make, when agreeing with popular opinion comes so naturally, not just to me but to everyone?

I’m not afraid of being different. Really, I’ve been a ‘weird kid’ long enough to know that in the grand scheme of things, being yourself is the way to go. But all my life I’ve been floating along being a weird kid by default – not that ‘weird’ is necessarily a good or bad thing – but I haven’t asserted my idiosyncrasies, or stood up for my own little, unpopular opinions.

Having unpopular opinions is a part of who I am in some respects. And, as odd as it seems, being yourself isn’t just sitting back and existing – it’s reacting and interacting with the world around you in a way that says, “This is me; this is my opinion; it’s not popular, and neither am I. And that’s okay.”


What are your unpopular opinions? Let me know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter

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