Bip

A special memory I would like to share with you…

He was truly delightful and made me giggle a lot, but mostly I was awestruck by his performance, watching from the wings. His old mate Rudolf was there too and I met him, but I did not understand the significance of that until this whole event was a distant memory.

I sometimes tell people I grew up on the stage, but they can’t picture what I mean until I share with them the odd memory such as this. It is possible to be both very open with people and deeply secretive. I am.

marcel-bipObviously he inspired my blog photo. More importantly this memory represents something about me that I have never let anyone mess with. It is elusive, it is not “on-call” nor greatly on display, but it points to my very essence, to what has proved consistent throughout the years. It lives at the wellspring of my joy.

As a small child, I discovered one of the best ways to guard something intangible is to never let it descend into the realm of language, whether it be spoken, written or thoughts/mental dialogue. I can mention this now because, like a tree that has already grown, I have already taken form.

Everything about me that deviates from this natural course is merely a performance in some way related to survival. Do not judge your inconsistencies. After a couple of years of investigating “the shadow” and allowing it to come into the light, as it were, I can honestly say that it was/is chock full of really good stuff. After the initial shock and displeasure, I find it is the place where so many wonderful, unique and heartfelt aspects of me are born, live and die, only to be reborn again.

If, even for one minute, you’ve ever thought you have spare parts to who you are, things that could be improved about your basic nature, I beg to differ. You only have things that could be discovered and embraced about your basic nature. Everything else is just a performance.

Obviously I am not composing a Dummies Guide to Being A Conformist in this life.

marcel-autograph

Metaphorical Mountain Climbing

It was only when I finally accepted the reality of my situation within the dominant paradigm that things started to really shift and rearrange themselves in my internal landscape. It occurred once I gave voice to the understanding that I would never be fully acceptable regardless of whether I followed every rule laid out before me or I ignored them, whether I shut up or spoke up, whether I was naughty or nice, whether I loved or hated. Sure, the language and particular brand of oppression and punishment varied, but the established and reinforced image of “unacceptability of everything associated with Robyn because she must make amends for the terrible misfortune of not being born white” was overwhelmingly persistent.

This is not an idea I picked up via fanciful and naive notions combined with a misunderstanding about society, rather it’s a perspective that was deliberately drummed (or beaten) into me by various people and circumstances throughout my life, such as the White Australia policy intended. The actuality of my being in this society, in this time, in this body, with this mind and animated by this spirit is considered to be some kind of offense to creation, or likened as such, by many a supreme white god during a brief moment of you’ve-got-a-chip-on-your-shoulder righteous indignation and hold-the-liniment-while-I-deliver a tongue-lashing clarity. And I’m talking about the non-racist supreme white gods, don’t get them confused with those other types(!).

but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive
—Audrey Lorde, A litany for survival

I’m not going to gloss this…it hurt. To fully accept the level of oppression you have been living under when you are not literally running for your life every day, will likely plunge a person into some kind of temporary depression or anger, grief, whatever. It hurt like I didn’t think I would survive it, and to be honest I am not so sure I did. Eventually, it did stop hurting so acutely, as anyone who’s been through anything can tell you. Once the shock and devastation subsided, after the tears and rage exhausted themselves, beyond all that pain and self-pity and many miles past the “why can’t it be different?” phase – I began to understand simple things.

If everything I do is already tainted because it is done by me, it follows that I am free to be and do as I please. Let that taint be my insignia.

It surprises me that there is no more worrying about avoiding potential consequences and no more wasting my energy on frivolous attempts to be understood, welcomed or appreciated. There are no more external masters to please as they have already proven that they cannot be pleased by the likes of me. My days are no longer populated with “Yessirs” unless I totally accept that behaviour in the moment as my choice and my honour. More importantly, I am now in a position to set my own standards and to judge, to draw boundaries and define borders, to erase and replace them at will, but never to be judged. No, I absolutely do not confer upon my oppressors the right to judge me.

It is inevitable in a divide and conquer approach to discrimination, that I would have no peers, so who would be left to judge me in any meaningful way? Of course, I am not oblivious, all manner of people will have a crack at passing judgement on their fellow humans, but these judgements are well below the standard and level of humanity to which I aspire, thus rendering them entirely irrelevant within the context of my life. Similarly, my judgements are irrelevant to rural families, sporting heroes and every single one of the political candidates in the recent election, to point out a few. We are each operating in entirely different reality frameworks.

The mental image I hold for this set of experiences is akin to climbing a mountain through all kinds of weather, until the moment you break through the cloud barrier into pure sunlight and clear air. At this point, we become invisible to those who remain at the base of the mountain.

I posit that there is no greater gift for freedom than to be considered utterly inconsequential and therefore to be consistently overlooked.

I ask you in all sincerity, is there a greater advantage to the cause for freedom than spectacularly failing to inspire people to want to use me or enslave me to serve their own agendas?

My measures and markers for success are no longer dependent on the persistence of white supremacy as a social norm, and in this manner the race war within has ended and the human journey has begun.

*

Your negligee is showing

Now that I have written a post about questions… I have a question!

Seeing as the most common defense for racist acts is that any offense was not intended, what role, if any, does negligence play in racism?

Proposing a new term here: the negligee racist, a much more amusing visual combined with a proportionate degree of levity.

Negligent sounds so malignant and you can be assured, anyone using the negligee defense does not want to be considered malignant. In fact, inappropriately bringing up such thoughts can inadvertently bring forth the very malignancy being denied.

So next time you are stereotyped, racially-profiled, mammied, ridiculed, put down, followed around a shop by security, refused service, asked where you are from 17 times in one minute, abused on public transport, die in police custody, etc consider that you’ve not been the victim of racism, you’ve simply been negligee’d.

Negligee racism. A curious but generally considered harmless Aussie social ritual specifically designed for the purposes of paying tribute to the most beautiful, interesting and capable members of our society – really, if you cop some negligee racism, you should feel especially privileged. You’ve been seen, noted, honoured with that special brand of reverse-logic we are famous for and suitably brought back down – to level the playing field somewhat.

You must really spare a thought for those who aren’t special enough to be on the receiving end of such outstanding and effortful tribute. A certain degree of over-stated humility is considered very appropriate when receiving negligee tributes, it makes the racist (oops, negligee-ist) feel their efforts are being appreciated.

ooo…negligee…sounds posh

 

What’s with all the questions?

Answering questions is not my forte.

red question mark

The big red question button, similar in function to the all-purpose doomsday button

Question me and you will get a response that is almost never what is expected, particularly if you’re wanting me to ease your doubts.

I’ve observed and pondered this quirk in my behaviour for a long time now and these days I can’t quite recall whether I’ve always been this way or it just kind of crept up on me one day – while I was dreaming.

I love to learn – new things, old things, patterns and disruptions, flows and cycles. Life is so endlessly intriguing and engaging through my eyes that it seems impossible for me to imagine any other way of being. So I answer questions with an almost unconscious intent of setting up the conditions for a learning experience, preferably involving laughter, smiles or little nods of recognition that we humans are all, essentially, in the same boat.

It is my heartfelt wish, from the centre of all that I am, to share the joy of learning and living with you. I want us to take a step or two down the road together, however brief.

I want you to offer me some way to relate, to walk away with some idea of how your shoes feel and your most recent speculations on the imprecise nature of our current destination, whatever it is that you’ve got going on.

I want you to take your choice from the menu of delights, insights, delusions and intuitions that may come tumbling from my being in any one moment and use them. Use them to bring yourself home if you’ve lost your centre, use them to inspire you into your next learning or maybe add a little light to your next great or tiny goal.

I most assuredly see myself in the business of elevation and reciprocity.

Sooner or later it also seems to turn out that when you use what I have on offer to constrain or reduce the reality of me, invariably you will find that you’re presenting me with an even greater gift – the irrefutable proof that there are times when people have completely given up on themselves and others. The broken times, when someone has entered the world of self-justifying or self-gratifying illusions.

“Excuse me, I can’t be human right now, I’m right in the thick of my own self-destructive implosion mission. Check back with me later.”

“No worries. I’m glad I’m not you right now.”

We are not separate, I know your pretend vacuum-sealed self is imaginary and hurts you one thousand times more than it hurts me. This is not news. I know because I’ve spent lots of time trying it out. I most certainly cannot conscionably recommend hanging out on that particular limb for too long, it’s bloody exhausting [or bloody and exhausting, your pick].

You don’t have to like me to enjoy the journey. I don’t have to like you for us to exchange genuine service with each other. Vile, virtuous, vexatious or the epitome of verity – I regard your presence as my reward. So go ahead and present yourself as a poo-flavoured dog-biscuit and watch me laugh at all the time and energy that was just wasted.

Seriously, come, lay your doubts on me brothers and sisters, then strap yourselves in and grab hold of your socially-engineered default-configuration hats, I think we’re in for a one hell of a wild ride!

Really being a human

If you’ve had enough of bad news, or you can relate to anything in my last couple of poems – check out this news article today. It’s a fine example of diversity in action in Australia.

Snip of triple M article

Excerpt from the Triple M article

In truth, we have all sorts of people here with very loud voices representing their various interests and, oftentimes they are all arguing with one another. Dan represents the voice that almost never gets heard and it’s a testament to our shared humanity that his beautiful attitude (in my humble opinion) has even made it’s way into the news stream.

Objecting, opposing, denouncing, calling out bad behaviour, resisting, etc. they all have their place. Here’s a reminder that there is also another way…

Read the article here —>  Dan becomes anti-racism hero