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.

*

No

image

There is no place for me here
Watching the evil accumulate
Turn back on itself and reproduce
Exponentially, overloading the senses
Until some days I wish it would all simply split apart –
The entire cosmos
The malignancy of civilised existence
An abhorrent, recurrent, shock

Consume, consume, gorge and regurgitate
Consume in ever-increasing cycles
That distinctive taint
Our instinctive taste for
Racing towards extinction
Oh! It’s not happening fast enough for you?

So you’ll bomb them into submission
Punish them into collusion with your
Violently warped illusions
Make them strive beyond reason
Until interdependence is banished as treason
Exiled from from the commonly conscious
And once again relegated to the home
Of foolish myths for the idealogues

Perhaps the only human way to experience
A fleeting time-speck of control
Over the magnificence of existence
Is to bring all that is life
All that opposes your every whim
To it’s earliest devastation

The darkness is accumulating
Many notches on the strop
The era of the whipping-boy
Is alive on every street
I’ve got a hopeless wish
There might come a day where
Humankind will understand
This is not freedom.

The Collective

From the deep blue of ocean and sky
I draw the sense of a serene vastness
An amphitheatre for the renaissance

From light to shadow to light to shade
Endless exponential cycles of realisation
I am sitting here with night-blindness

All-quiet, by myself
Waiting for my vision to clear
I pause to wonder…
Who said the collective had to be unconscious?

*

This poem is dedicated to the four angels that keep hanging out the lanterns for me to find my way. They’ve got A reserve seats in that amphitheatre, for sure.

Lorraine Spencer

Sojourner

Claire Marie O’Brien

Nasser

My fear is like a terrorist

Let your fear politely inform your actions rather than completely hijacking them. RM

Most useful conclusion for me to arrive at in terms of freedom and authenticity could be that every emotion is valid at the time it arises, but is not and cannot be the totality of the experience. There are other aspects of the truth to be considered with perhaps the same weight and importance as the internal emotional response.

So when I find myself with a strong (or weak) emotional response to my circumstances, I politely say to myself, “Thanks very much for that useful feedback, now, what other information can I observe that might also inform my decisions?”

Sometimes, I am racing around expressing and responding to the emotion before this rationale appears. But it is so effective at quelling or reducing the “overwhelmingness” of an intense emotional response, that I frequently end up turning the experience into an exercise. Let’s give it a title: “1000 ways for returning to peace and making decisions from that space.”

I am naturally very curious, so redirecting my attention to an investigation works 99% of the time and I often take the precise action required to bring about a win/win or some other type of peaceful resolution. The other 1% of the time… be afraid, be very afraid if you were the person who did the thing that triggered the emotional response. You’re about to find out exactly how I feel about it and I’ve got 47 years of barely expressed rage to draw energy from.

Yeah, some people are messing with me and one of them will probably have a bad day soon, courtesy of yours truly.  Nothing to worry about though, it’s actually kind of interesting. Still… I will be glad to see the back of it.

😉

Defiance

Defiance danced with lowly breeds
He said “this life’s all mine”
His torrid stare, his flying hair
His ruse I can’t define
He loves a dare, so please beware

Compliance shields what freedom needs
In certain fields of play
In fear I’ll miss her homely kiss
She’s locked my dreams away
She aches for this, a shackled bliss

Alliance seeds some hollow deeds
Their will can serve to blind
Their clinging stance, their distant glance
It’s them and us, in kind
Their game’s romance, their selves enhance

Defiance; hailed in many creeds
As tricksters, jokers, mules;
It’s power yields to one who’s freed
It’s fools who blame their tools.

*

Story #1: Accidental Empathy

I wrote this story 22nd July 1995 with the title Story No. 1 (pretty original huh?) It was inspired by images from the media at the time.

This man comments on the sanity of the woman who drowned her children. He would be the best person to ask in this situation, given the tense, victim-like dishevelment he portrays. He is wearing glasses and he appears to struggle with the load he carries on his shoulders.

“I try not to see,” he thinks. “I became a psychiatrist to find the truth! How can I declare the rationale for one woman’s actions, when she personifies my pain and I hers? I wear her anguish, her misunderstanding and her guilt. She commits the crime in such a real and tangible way that I envy her. I envy her freedom of expression. We cannot harm the children, the innocents, the newborn and as yet unformed ideas, dreams and goals. Just as I murder my own self and every truly creative thought, dream or ideal__”

He blinks. “Too much analysis has gone into this life of mine. She represents that one true desire that was born of pain and sublimated beyond all recognition. I question my life at this point, when I, once again, determine someone’s sanity based on their decision to act.”

The American media are very interested in this case. The people have an opportunity to voice their objection to breaking the rules. The media seem to be very attracted to the public demise of individuals who are driven to express their disharmony without the benefit of acceptable options.

“The news is rarely ever good these days. The news doesn’t rejuvenate and uplift us, give us hope for our lives. I am a man who has studied intensely, the reality of the mind and human behaviour; yet I am not left with any more tools or particular human advantage than this woman, and pure chance separates our destinies.”

“I have children, two sons, beautiful boys and I would never contemplate their death by my hand. I don’t see my sons often enough. I work hard. Their mother is wonderful, I love and need her in such a way that I can’t even begin to communicate with her. We don’t get much time to talk. I work hard for my family.”

“There is no room for changes in this life – not for me, for my colleagues, my squash buddies, my patients or my family. There is a delicate balance, an unstable equilibrium to maintain. To upset this balance with nothing more than a desire for change, a desire to act, is futile and merely causes chaos and crises such as these. I cannot act upon, merely accept and live with this runny nose, this aching back, my crippled toes and immobile sternum – for that is my lot and who am I to question – to judge?”

The thoughts that run through this man’s head flicker across his face momentarily and though he has already submitted his written report to the court, for a brief instant, he is not quite sure what he is going to say. He is not quite sure what his pronouncement will be.

The end.