The Children Are Cactuses

“Darling-”
I tap your shoulder
You start, almost spilling your tea into the sunrise.
“Darling,
The children, they’re-”
The corners of your mouth sag in grim anticipation.
“Darling, the children are cactuses.”

And you must be seeing every corner of the world reflected in that mug,
Because your brow knits
Like it does when I ask you what you believe in.

You set down your tea,
And now it’s my turn to sigh resignedly,
Because I know you.
“Dearest,”
You start,
And my eyes meet yours.
“Are you only just noticing?”

And I intake a breath,
Because I’m about to say something,
Something decidedly profound.

I’m about to say,
“Darling,
Of course not.
Of course I noticed the way their stares hardened in the cold,
Of course I saw their tears dribble onto their cheeks like war paint
For a battle they could never win.
Of course I saw them slowly stop moving,
Like they’re afraid of being seen.
Of course I saw them shrink into the negative space between now and then,
Accepting undignified defeat
At the greedy hands of the universe.

“Darling,
Of course I fucking noticed.”

But that isn’t what I say at all.
Instead,
The breath I drew in
Shudders out of me,
And I crumple like a wet paper bag.

You fold me into your chest,
And you don’t mind that your tea is getting as cold as the world is,
And you don’t mind that my tears are turning your jumper into a Pollock.
And you don’t mind that I can scarcely manage a whisper when I say,
“I want to water them. It seems like the right thing to do.

“But,
Too much water can kill a cactus, you know.”

You squeeze my shoulders tighter then,
And bury your wet eyes in my hair.

And muffled, you murmur,
“If only the world hadn’t cried on them quite so much.”

On Beauty

​Sometimes, when the world holds you down for a while, you forget how beautiful people are. 

I saw so many people today, and they reminded me. 

I saw someone with piercings, a hooded tank top, and cropped, blue hair. And I thought, this person is beautiful

I saw three men in business wear, one with a wide green tie, one with his sleeves rolled to the elbow, one with his top button popped open. And I thought, these men are beautiful

I saw a girl in a hijab the colour of a peach, her eye-liner sharper than a knife, her contour better than anything I’d ever seen. And I thought, this girl is beautiful

The hope, the empowerment, the subtlety of a smile – these things awakened in me a light, shining on all the wonderful things around me. 

And it doesn’t matter if you don’t wear crop tops and high-waisted shorts, or if you do. 

And it doesn’t matter if you paint yourself with makeup everyday, sometimes, or never. 

And it doesn’t matter if your clothes are made for your gender, or if they’re not. 

You exist in a world that tries to hold you down. You shine in the darkness of misplaced hope, of disappointment and frustration. You live a life only you could lead, drawn to things only you can understand. 

You, friend, are beautiful

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.