Water body

Twice today my body was immersed in water. First for an hour in the floatation tank, 800lbs of salt in a big beautiful pod were your body is buoyant, held, floating fully relaxed.

The second time I was doing laps at the pool with my partner. Third week in a row. Water bourne exercise. Almost the opposite of the chilled out nature of the float.

Another encounter with water today was the counselling session I had, first time with a new therapist, first time in a few years since I last sat in the chair. Her approach brings in a bit more somatic work and body wisdom which I’m looking forward to but also a bit freaked out by and named. She was great, I talked about how my awkward self might struggle a bit, but cognitively I know it’s a good thing, just might take a bit to get the rest of me there.

I did manage to dive deep enough into the pain and water came out of my eyes. There’s been so much that’s happened this year, and I’ve been really good at putting my pain aside and getting on with it. My body wasn’t so cool with that, after three weeks of illness, insomnia was the next thing to alert me to the need to do some serious self-care. So floating, swimming and therapy are all part of that plan. I’m getting started and it feels good.

 

This blog post is 25 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Unnamed Emotions

Yesterday I was driving along Bell St to Fairfield. I saw a group of people with a banner and a painted wheely bin, a few people were holding signs and wearing t-shirts with the cause or statement written on them. I strained to see what it was about. I saw the words Manus and Mining. I think they were making a link between concessions made to get Adani mining in Australia, while we treat detainees in Manus in a subhuman way.

Image taken from media: Protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition hold placards during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

I tooted my horn in support. I waved and did the ‘thumbs up’. A couple of them waved back. One person looked at me in disgust, anticipating that I wasn’t in support of their actions. Once he realised, I could see his face change, I was relieved to see he understood I was with him.

The interaction left me emotional. A sudden rush of emotion filled my body. I wanted to weep, instead of trying to understand it, and figure out if I was just proud or maybe feeling guilty for not joining them, I let my emotion be. As the second wave came a few moments later, I struggled to stay in what felt like a weird combination of pride and pain. I got curious about the wisdom it had to offer.

They were expressing their dissatisfaction about government actions by literally taking to the streets. Good on them! In response I felt the pain, I also felt proud of them. I felt the pain of all the people who are pissed off that our government is putting peoples lives in danger and letting dubious companies come extract minerals from our land. It’s infuriating. And as I gave myself permission yesterday, I felt the feeling. I felt the pride and pain in the same emotion.

Our language for emotions is pretty limited, and to describe the feeling isn’t an easy one. But it feels important to try. It feels important to name it however awkwardly, and imperfectly. Have you ever experienced that? Where you struggle to name what you felt? I’m curious if it’s similar or different to my experience.

 

This post is 24 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Nanette

Last night my partner and I went to see Nanette, Hannah Gadsby’s comedy swan song. It was the best performance I’ve seen in a long time. Such a powerful message, and exquisitely powerful vulnerability. I have so much admiration for the way she used the power of her voice, how she made us laugh before she made us cry. She moved us from appreciating her being heartbreakingly funny to getting what the heartbreak was about. And it’s not just a personal story, it’s a story for all of us. 

Hannah did a brilliant job of making us laugh, and helping us understand what laughing at a joke was about, breaking the tension. She took us with her as she described why she wasn’t going to do comedy anymore. She made a very compelling case for it and had us all supporting her choice by the end of the show.

Through the narrative of Nanette, she illuminated the path to her choice to retire from comedy. She showed us the deeper layers of pain and how it was really unhealthy for her. She shared the rest of the story, after the funny bits, about how badly she was treated, how she was viciously beaten and no one helped. She named the damage done through her lived experience of growing up when Tasmania was deciding if homosexuality should be legalised. She described how internalised homophobia happens.

I can only imagine how others felt at the end of the show but I saw a lot of other queer looking women as well. It felt really validating, especially after the recent vote on same-sex marriage. It felt a little bit more ok to be who we are as a female couple walking out of the theatre at the end. Hannah’s people were there to hear her, believe her and have their story told through her. She speaks on our behalf.

I felt for the woman at the end of our row, weeping, the woman sitting next to her, presumably a close friend or relative, with her arm around her, consoling her. I wanted to give her space, to wait before we walked past her. I wanted to share our collective pain, but it didn’t seem the space for it.

Despite the sadness and tension I was left with, it gave me hope for people everywhere being able to stand up and be heard, be believed. It gave me hope that these sorts of stories can help us take collective responsibility for making a change in our society. That we can heal together.

Hannah has several sold out shows and added a couple extra which means a lot of people will get the message. Thousands will be impacted by her story, her call to hold her story. It made me wonder about the ripple effect and what may come of this. Will more people stand up when they witness behaviour that discriminates or adds to the shame people feel for being themselves? How will we respond to the call to take collective responsibility, that is the subtext of her message? Will we change the way we see and react to injustice? I hope so.

 

This post is 25 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Permission

I give myself permission to miss a couple of days of blogging.

I give myself permission to not be thrilled with the plebiscite results.

I give myself permission to feel the pain and grief that came up for me just before and during the outcome.

I give myself permission to regret that I didn’t go to the places my people were gathered to find out the results and be in community.

I give myself permission to be glad my workplace is a safe place to be out, and to be emotional.

I give myself permission to change my mind and go into the city to be with friends.

I give myself permission to celebrate and feel that it’s a good day to be gay.

I give myself permission to celebrate in a way that suits me.

I give myself permission to be annoyed at the neighbour complaining the music was too loud, I give myself permission to lose respect for him being so over the top and not hearing me say I’d turn it down at least 10 times in response to his vitriol.

I give myself permission to feel bad.

I give myself permission to feel good.

I give myself permission to be complex.

I give myself permission to be human.

I give myself permission to be real about my experience.

 

Thank you to Brené Brown for inspiring me to give myself permission.

 

This post is 23 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Contrarian

Quote

Disposition can describe a wide range of ways of being, yet our mind likes to simplify with a binary, positive and negative. Using this simplicity we might say that some of us tend to put our emphasis on what’s wrong. In fact, many of us do, we’ve evolved that way to keep us safe. And yet there are people who tend toward positivity. These folks are often referred to as having a ‘sunny’ disposition. Shining the light on goodness.

When we come into contact with them we are affected. They can lift our mood. When we come into contact with someone at the other end of the spectrum, someone who might be called a contrarian, they can bring us down.

I recently came into contact with a contrarian. Telling me what’s what instead of being open to my perspective. It didn’t feel good at all, I felt dismissed and discarded and ultimately unimportant.

It reminded me of a quote from Brené Brown that had a big impact on me, it had me much more mindful of what I bring to each day, and though seeing what’s wrong is important, ultimately I want to contribute more than I criticise.

“At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of my life I want to be able to say that I contributed more than I criticized.” — Brené Brown

This is post 22 in 45 posts for 45 years.

The Future of the TAC

Yesterday my partner got her vehicle registration notice. It includes a significant fee for the Traffic Accident Commission, 58% of what she pays goes to TAC. These funds go toward supporting victims of traffic crashes in the costs associated with recovering from traffic-related injury.

She noted that in the future when there are driverless cars, the need for this sort of fund will decrease. That the number of people dying or being injured on the roads will decrease with reduced human error. 

It might be hard to imagine self-driving cars being less accident prone but they are far more equipped to detect and respond to threats than our ability to process information on the road. Our brains only process 40 bits of information per second, computers by definition compute at a far faster rate than we do. Cars and driving them are huge parts of our identity, looking forward to getting your license when you’re young and dreading losing it when you’re old. It’s associated with freedom and independence.

Can you imagine the freedom of your car service picking you up and taking you to your destination like a taxi but without the stress of the potential for human error? Can you imagine having the option to choose a transport service that is social, where people actually talk to each other and want to talk to each other.

Can you imagine the point where the evidence of human error being so great that it starts a debate about if we should stop letting humans operate large machinery like cars? I wonder what will happen to the TAC then.

 

 

This post is day 21 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Delayed Gratification

When circumstances beyond your control mean you have to wait to sell your house, it means mowing the lawn and pulling weeds on a day you’d rather be enjoying the sunshine in a more leisurely way.

We’re still waiting for planning permits for our old house. Once we get them, we will put it on the market and sell with plans. We let go of the idea of going through with the development after such significant delays. Paying two mortgages was only meant to be for a short time and it’s been prolonged more than we anticipated. So we’ve rented it out so we can at least cover part of the costs of still owning it.

So after saying goodbye to the lawn and fruit trees, we said hello to them again today and spent a few hours getting it looking respectable. I will be SO glad when we no longer own it and are not responsible for mowing the lawn. Did I mention how much I hate lawns?

So until then I will wait for the slower than molasses planning permit to be approved and do the things that go with owning the house. It’s not how we planned things to be but it is what it is.

 

This post is day 21 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Trello

I have recently changed banks and I let my previous bank’s card lapse, a lot of my business payments are on it and I’ve had a few emails letting me know the card needs to be updated.

This is the best one yet. Makes me glad I have a paid account with Trello.

Hi Tathra Street,
We know that, sometimes, stuff just doesn’t go right.

We hope that’s not the case for you, and if it is, please come chat with us about what we can do to help. Unfortunately, your Trello account has been in arrears in the amount of $49.50 for the past month and is now disabled in accordance with our terms of service.

When you signed up for Trello, you provided us with a credit card ending in XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-3175. We have been unable to charge that card for the past 30 days.

To reactivate your account, use this link to add a new credit card to your account and we’ll automatically try to charge it:

Review Account

We want to keep your Trello account awesome: For more help, please reply to this email.

Thanks a bundle!

Trello Customer Team
support@trello.com

How good is that? I appreciate it when companies treat their customers as human beings.

 

This post is 20 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Review

I’ve been working on the Enterprising Wyndham Project for over a year and had my first performance review today. It was a relatively straightforward process. I was to fill in the sections and my manager adds their comments in discussion, she writes up the outcomes of the discussion and it goes on my file.

I have been working as a consultant and contractor most of the last decade, so it was the first time I’ve experienced a performance review in about as long. Even after working on the performance review cycle of a professional development program as a consultant, I could only speculate about what it was like.

I doubt I have a typical experience but I was glad to go through it. I was able to see the limitations of my thinking and the impact of the lens through which I look at work. Even though the organisation I work for is very progressive and has a strong desire to provide a good experience to their employees, I struggled to think of the professional development opportunity as a loyalty ploy. My manager helped me think about it in a different way.

Tho the work is year to year, and my contract started with a 5-month term, on some level, there’s a recognition that the organisation doesn’t offer a lot of career options. So they can offer development opportunities that will leave them better off than when they started.

She asked me “When we get to the end of year three, and you look back, what will you wish you had learned?” What came to mind was a conference I’ve attended for the last three years and it’s looking unlikely this year. She could see the link to my work in a way that I couldn’t. For me, it was an interest in the Future of Work, and yes, it’s the thing that had me see entrepreneurialism as a key skill in the workforce of the future, but it seemed a stretch to help me develop as a program coordinator of an entrepreneur education program.

The upshot is, she approved it. CMY is paying for me to attend the Future of Work conference! Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked! Not the outcome of the review I expected!

 

 

This post is day 18 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Catching up

The other day I had the opportunity to catch up with two people I haven’t caught up with for a while. It reminded me of the joy that comes from a 1:1 interaction. A proper catch-up, unlike a social gathering which has its own joy but not always possible to connect with people fully or to the level I’d like.
It also reminds me that I’ve spent about half the year focused on things like house, mortgages etc that made it difficult for me to engage socially. It felt great to have a sense of having moved through that time period to one where being able to do more than one catch up in a day is possible. That is all. Yay.

 

This is post 17 of 45 posts for 45 years.