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.

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.

Horses

Giving my shadow side permission to write leads to raw writing:

I’ll be honest. If you went to the races or bet on a horse today, I’m judging you. You don’t need my approval by any stretch, nor do I need yours. I have strong beliefs about how animals are treated and I see the races as a glorified excuse to binge drink in fancy clothing. Nothing to do with horses. Horse racing is an afterthought to many who attend the races. This breaks my heart. And when I allow myself to get really dark, it disgusts me.

There are plenty of reasons to get dressed up, and if you really want to wear a fascinator, you don’t need the races to give you that reason. There are plenty of reasons to party, but using horse racing as an excuse it pretty sad. Especially considering how the welfare of the horses seems to take a back seat when it comes to the races.

I know people in the equine industry both as hobbyists and professionals and most of them care deeply for the horses. They aren’t who my judgement is for. It’s for the mindless party that doesn’t want to know what happens to the horses before, during or after the races. There are plenty of meme’s and posts and websites and even billboards that provide us with an opportunity to get educated about how the horses are treated.

And to be transparent, before the final race today, I found myself thinking about looking for evidence to support my view about poor treatment of these beautiful animals. But this isn’t about evidence, this is about what the races have become. It’s about feeling deeply saddened when I see photos of people I know going to the races, and hearing about people placing bets to gamble on the outcomes. This just seems ridiculous to me. It’s about the principle of not wanting to support something that is so bad for the physical welling of the horses. I can’t conscience being supportive of it.

I won’t apologise for judging you for going to the races or for betting, and you need not apologise for how you respond to my judgement. Let’s release ourselves from “I’m sorry but,…”  We can have different perspectives on it. I won’t unfriend you, but I will respect you just a bit less. I want you to care as much as I do but I recognise that different things are important to different people, horses for courses if you will. I’m not even going to ask you to reconsider your perspective, if you’ve read this far, you’re most likely aligned with my passion for animal rights. If you have and you are, thank you.

 

This post is day 16 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Derby

Today I watched the Rebellion 2017 Roller Derby Tournament, a friend was playing for the winning team. We watched a game yesterday as well. Being in that environment felt different. I felt more at home among women with coloured hair and tattoos.

Mothers with families, fathers taking care of children while moms play derby. It was a great community feel, lots of people cheering for their friends and getting in on the excitement of the game.

This is not your average ‘women in sport’ experience. If you’re not familiar with Roller Derby it’s worth checking out. This isn’t a women’s league of a primarily men’s game. There are a few mixed teams but the vast majority of derby is women playing their hearts out. This is a full-contact sport. It’s one where having thunderous thighs and hefty hips is an advantage to block the jammer. And if you’re small and speedy, you’re likely to be a sought after jammer.

It’s also a reasonably complex game with lots going on, numerous officials to track various positions. As a spectator, there is a lot to pay attention to. I’m not going to go into detail here, I recommend watching Whip It or this video to learn about the game.

My point is that it’s a very different experience from most of the sport out there, that I find generally unappealing. I’ve watched womens’ Australian rules football, especially last year when the historic AFLW league was formed, and a little bit of netball and gridiron or what is called football in North America. I don’t mind it but it doesn’t excite me the way derby does.

It’s a place for rebels and misfits where I feel right at home. It’s appropriate to be as feminine or fat, sporty or freaky as you are or want to be. Fishnets, helmets and knee pads, heavy eye makeup, face paint or simple sporty gear, all common sights at a derby bout.

The other thing that struck me was that the post-game ritual is that everyone from both teams comes together as a single group for photos. The camaraderie and common achievement celebrated is really something. This is the kind of thing that gives me hope.

 

This post is day 14 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Neighbours

We’ve lived in our new place for almost 4 months. Today I met our next door neighbours. It’s the last unit in the row to be occupied. Even though our settlement was delayed by 3 weeks, we were still the first to move in. It was easily another few weeks before anyone else moved in, a few sightings of new owners, but few resident owners.

When I was coming home today, there was someone in the garage next to ours, this was a first. I took the opportunity to say hello, I discovered that he and his wife are moving in over the long weekend from just up the road. They lived in another townhouse in the same development but found it was too small. He seemed nice enough and already familiar with the area.

It’s a whole new chapter for us, living in the newest neighbourhood in our suburb. After a very old crumbling house with a lot of land that needed lots of maintenance. We’re loving having very little lawn and not being responsible for mowing it. Having a large park right next to us to walk the dogs in every day. Ducks and frogs in the rain garden out front. Birds, trees, creek, a wonderful natural landscape, next to a group of boxy houses that all look the same. 

It’s an interesting juxtaposition. I usually advocate for everything human-made being regarded as natural, but in many ways, the development, with its rows of same shaped and coloured houses, across from a creek surrounded by native trees, shrubs, rocky outcroppings, grassy hillsides, they’re pretty far apart on the spectrum of ‘naturalness’. I’m not sure it’s useful to try and romanticise the park or demonise our new home, they are two things I appreciate a lot.

The point is that we share a wall and there will be people living on the other side of that wall after the weekend. I’m glad I met him and introduced myself. I’m looking forward to creating community in this new neighbourhood. It will take time but it starts by getting to know the people who live in our little row of boxy houses.

 

This is day 12 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Your Birthday

Today marks the 32nd year from the day you came into this world. My calendar reminded me and brought up the pain of your absence. You didn’t see your 30th year before you took your own life. You have no idea the impact you had. You probably thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.

Looking at your Facebook page today I see how much you were loved. My heart hurts though there is so much beauty in the memories people have of you. I want to post something but I don’t know what to say without sounding trite and feeling like it’s not my place.

I hardly knew you, in fact, we probably never even had a conversation, yet you made an impression on me. We were probably in the same room a handful of times and you were part of at least two of my communities. We’ll never truly know why you decided to leave us.  But the light that went out when you did cast a dark shadow on all our hearts. 

What dark thoughts possessed you to make the choice to end your life remind us of our own demons. It reminds us that we are vulnerable to the dark shadowy depths which we avoid. And of our avoidance of the things we don’t want to think about, the parts of ourselves we reject. It reminds me to be gentle with myself and love all the parts of myself that I struggle to give love to. Thank you for the gift of your life and the gift of the darkness when your light went out.

 

 

This is day 11 of 45 posts for 45 years.