When The Repressed Rise

‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’

I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.

I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’ I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well. Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’
So, here’s my attempt at an explanation. 
There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…
If you take a genie and you put him in a bottle and leave him there for 2 weeks, then let him out, he’s gonna be relieved to be out of the bottle, he’s gonna be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. He may even thank you for letting him out.
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let him out, he’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have his freedom, but he’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing him into the bottle in the first place and leaving him there for so long. 
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, he’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving him in there so long. He’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to him.
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, he’s gonna come out mad as hell. He just lost 10 years of his life. A decade of feeling like he isn’t important and of not being heard. 
At this 10 year mark, before he decks you, he’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made him feel. He will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it. Then he will never talk to you again. And he will only ever remember you as the asshole who inflicted so much pain onto him.
Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left him in the bottle for thousands of years.
Thousands, of years.
The genie is not going to be mad as hell, he’s going to be explosive. He’s going to be outraged. 
He isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because he’s out of the bottle. He’s going to want justice. He’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable. 
I can see why some people might want to think it’s easier to not let the genie out of the bottle if you’ve left it in there for so long, for the very reason that they may have such a huge reaction and be so disruptive once let out. Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it. 
But that isn’t humane. And when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then we should see it humanly — because we ARE talking about humans.
You cannot repress people for just being who they are — for just not being a man, or not being heterosexual, or not being white, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement.
And you cannot expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.
So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is nonsensical. 
I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed become seen, heard and accepted. 
I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is reached.
With understanding and compassion we can change.u

Simple Ramblings

I am simply adoring winter! The temperatures make it much easier to get around and get more done and I’m really loving that.

I also love the way our landscape looks during the winter season. The sky is so clear and the colours are so vivid.

I’ve been continuing to muck around with art stuffs. Loving doing both my b+w designs and my coloured word art designs. I’ve pushed on with more colouring in mandala-like patterns. I’ve now got 10 patterns and I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out.

And I’ve also started making coloured prints. I’m just basically enjoying it all and feeling very lucky for it.

My eldest daughter is a very talented artist as well and I am loving watching her artistry evolve. She’s a huge inspiration to me.

Anyway, I’ll leave some samples from my experiments below… Enjoy!


Mucking Around With New Designs

I decided to try my hand at drawing a mandala-like design the other day and I was really happy with the result.

I’d love to get more precise with the circles and patterns, but I enjoyed the process of drawing it so much, I’m looking forward to doing another.

My teenage kids and my husband also liked the design and all asked to colour it in, so I made some copies and we all had a beautiful night chatting and colouring our mandala-like designs in.

I was really facinated by how much it showed up our different personalities, with some being more focused on the details and some more on the colours.

Very fun times. :) 

Here are the finished products…

 


Love, Relationships and Catheters

Relationship advice. Jeez.

There’s a whole galaxy of articles and books over-brimming on this one.

And I think that’s neat.

Well done to anyone who wants improvement in their life and seeks advice on how to achieve that improvement. But please make sure you get it from the right source for you.

A lot of the advice I read about includes doing extra things with, or for, your partner outside of your daily life to ‘keep the spark alive.’

For Example:

  1. Go food shopping together
  2. Gaze into each others eyes for several minutes
  3. Vagina weight lifting (to enhance the female sexual experience)

(I’ll be honest with you. My vag and I almost had heart attacks when we read about the weight lifting she and I will never. ever. be doing.)

But truly I have actually no problems at all with what anyone else does to improve their relationship.

Something I am uncomfortable with, however, is the idea that people might think that they HAVE TO do all these extra things in order to keep their relationship on trend.

I think it’s awful that there might be couples out there who think they have to be fitting in a certain number of date nights per month or else they’re destined for divorce.

I hate the idea of couples placing so much pressure on their relationship. Or feeling that they have to reach perfect couple level (like the status of their relationship is some kind of gaming app) or like they need to compete with perfect-looking couples in FaceBook land.

And here’s why I hate that…

1) Because it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect couple.

And…

2) Because I believe that true love lies in the little things.

I believe the little things are where the magic lives.

Love is in the moments when we fuck up but try again. It’s in forgiveness and acceptance of our flaws and acknowledgement of all the good we are trying to bring.

We’re all messing it up. Picking up the pieces. Trying to re-write the chapters of our relationships in which we fell short.

The important part of all that is the keep trying part.

Because — life happens.

At some point life is gonna come along and knock so hard on your door it’s gonna blow it right off its hinges. And it’s gonna bring with it a whole lot of happenings that you and your perfect other half never saw coming.

And that stuff you never saw coming is going to create ups and downs, arguments, hurt feelings, hurdles and an often difficult navigation to finding a middle ground. As well as all the wonderful stuff in between, of course!

That is the long-term relationship. They’re full of wonder and beauty and can be the best ride of your life. But they’re bumpy. Really bloody bumpy.

We all want our relationship to survive the bumps.

And I can’t help but feel the trick to surviving the bumps is yes, again… those little things.

Those little things, that in the beginning seem to hold no meaning at all, end up being the glue that holds the relationship together.

If you ever doubted that the little things matter, just think about that last part of your relationship.

When you’re 95 years old…

The guy who doesn’t mind scooching your catheter bag out of the way so you can sit closer while you both slurp down your liquid steak and vege dinner — THAT is your guy.

When you’re too old to both A) see, and B) give a fuck about, the full blown beard you’re now sporting and your man doesn’t care because he just loves the fact that you woke up again this morning — THAT is your man.

The little things.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps all the bumps in our long-term relationships are just preparation for the end of our time together on earth — the part just this side of until death, when it’s all about adult nappies and reminding each other to put our teeth in? (In the same way that toddler tantrums prepare parents for the teenhood that is coming.)

But for real, as far as I’m concerned, you just need to know yourself. Be true to that. Know what you want and need. Ask for that. And allow your partner to do the same.

If you do that, then you are naturally creating an environment of trust and honesty. One where each others desires and needs can be known and met, if possible.

For some people (or many), being true to yourself may include doing the extra things to ‘keep your spark alive.’ If that’s you and your partner, then go ahead, jump in and have fun with it.

I’m not saying couples shouldn’t aim for passion. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t try to satisfy their desires and needs in relationships.

I’m saying that you should do exactly that, but do it by knowing yourself.

Don’t live your relationship by someone else’s standard.

When you’re diving into the Grand Canyon of relationship advice, follow the advice that fits you.

That’s my advice on relationship advice. Take what you will.

Love on, friends. Love on.

xxx

Sweet Jesus…What Just Happened?

Remember that time I found out, right before it was about to happen, that I was about to have sex with my friend’s boyfriend, while my friend watched?
That night was a hoot. 

In the novel I’m writing, there is a running theme about the miscommunication and difference of perception, between different (and the same) genders regarding love, relationships and sex.
There are a lot of moments displaying how two people (usually of the opposite gender) can perceive the same situation completely differently. 
I’ve had many experiences of this type of miscommunication or misreads in real-life.
There’s something about these moments that seem magically delightful to me (although, sometimes the delightful doesn’t hit home immediately.) Our clumsy dealings with each other amuse me greatly. 
The story I opened this post with is a prime example. 
So, do you want to know the rest of that story? Okay, well here it is…
So the love of my life, who had left 12 months earlier, had just returned and left again within the past 24 hours. I had seen him. My heart had exploded with love for him all over again. And as he left, my heart crumbled into a thousand pieces, scattering so far out of my reach that I feared a heart transplant may be my only way forward.
I called several friends and they all came around. It was a night attempting to help comfort/forget my pain.
I was a mess. I cried. Then drank to stop the crying. Then cried some more. Also attempting to dance occasionally in between the crying and drinking ebb and flow. 
So, when the night neared the end and my friend’s boyfriend opened a conversation about our plan, we had all apparently been aware of, to have sex with me while his girlfriend, my friend, watched, you can imagine it had a little bit of a hit-in-the-face-by-a-mack-truck kind of impact.
I mean, I definitely wanted friendship. I definitely wanted comfort. But I definitely did NOT want to bonk my friend’s boyfriend — with or without the spectator.
So I’m standing there and the guy was talking logistics. Seriously, like where we were gonna do it, tonight!. And my was brain on high-speed rewind, playing catch-up, trying to find out how the fuck this had happened. Searching for the very important conversations I had obviously missed.
They had misread my entire friendship and kindness as something much, much more. I wondered if I shoudn’t have offered those hugs? Had my empathy been a sign of wanting sex?
How HAD this happened?
I mean, I’m certain there was a healthy amount of dickhead-ism at play in this scenario, but I was still confused.
At the time I was confused mostly by the fact that I thought this was the kind of largish event people would want to discuss pretty clearly. You know, just to make sure EVERYONE was on the same page. 
In hindsight though, and through my writing research, I have learned that this is exactly the kind of activity that people do NOT speak openly about. This kind of arrangement is shrouded in code words, silent motions and hidden meanings. 
So, in hindsight, I can now see how easy it was for me to not know that bringing bananas to a picnic with these people was code for ‘I’m hungry for your manhood.’
Honestly though? I think the lesser intense misreads or differences in perceptions often just happen because of that whole being human thing. We’re still learning.
And maybe even more, I think in any given moment, most people are thinking more about themselves than the other person. Usually thinking about what they want to get out of the interaction. 
I wanted friendship — they wanted to get laid.
(Yes, ‘they.’ I had a feeling the two-way with a spectator was quickly becoming a three-way.)
I declined their offer. They didn’t take my rejection well.
Lesson here? Well, I don’t know if there’s a lesson in this for anyone else, but for me, the lesson was a new introduction for myself that went something like this, for the next few months…
‘Hi, I’m Zoe. Nice to meet you. If you ever get the urge to smash cut the idea of a three-way, two-way, or any other kind of way, onto me, I’d appreciate a little advanced warning please.’
  

You Gots Skills

About two years after having my first child, I went for a job interview at a major sports equipment chain store. 
They were looking for people interested in working from the ground up, moving through the levels, eventually working at the executive level.

My interviewers were the manager and executive manager of one of the stores — so, two men in suits, looking all serious and stuff.
I was only 22 years old at the time. Didn’t have a university degree, didn’t finish my HSC, hadn’t “worked” in the passed 3 years (when you include a complicated pregnancy.)
So I’m sitting there and the two businessmen have browsed through my extremely light CV then both look up at me.
Businessman 1: ‘So, Zoe, why do you think you’re qualified to join this company?’
I paused for a moment. I felt embarrassed. I was positive it was all over. What was the point in continuing this extremely awkward interview? Why had I worn those shoes? What was I even thinking, coming here? 
Then some kind of cosmic calm came over me. I thought about what I had been doing every day for the past two years. And I responded…
Me: ‘Well, I grew a human. Then gave birth to it. And have been raising it for the past two years.’
Both men stared blankly at me.
Me: ‘I’m not sure if you’ve been around one of those lately, but that basically covers every job you have here from packaging to CEO.’
I got the job.
….
Life gives you skills. 
Real life forces qualifications upon you. 
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t learn them in a conventional way. It matters that you have them and that you acknowledge them.
You gots skills people! Celebrate them!
P.S Dear Cosmic Calm, 
Would be great if you visited a little more often.

Love, 

Zoe.

A Date Gone Wrong

I once went on a date with a guy called Bob, who decided to surprise me at the end of the night by telling me that he would be rowing me home in a rowboat, rather than driving in a car.

Backstory:he was my boyfriend. We lived next door to each other, and also lived in beachfront houses, not too far across the wide open ocean, once you got out of this bay. So theoretically the whole rowing home thing could have worked. Bob could have literally rowed us up onto the shore in front of our houses. Apparently people had done this successfully before but I wasn’t really a boat person, and was mildly terrified of being attacked by a shark, so I had my reservations.

After coming to terms with the fact that this wasn’t a joke and that the only way home was across the ocean in a rowboat. I convinced myself that there was some kind of speckled patterned romance in this scenario. I got my spontaneous on. And I rolled with it.

It was about 11pm by the time we got going.

At first it was indeed almost romantic, with the quiet night surrounding us, the sound of soft water lapping at the sides of the boat and our conversation ebbing and flowing with ease.

Most of that ease was, of course, due to the fact that we were only moving through the still waters of the bay between the two headlands. We weren’t yet in the open ocean, you know, with waves and stuff.

I remember it taking a lot longer than Bob had anticipated, to row to the end of the bay. I remember watching the houses as we passed them, some with lights still on, some with lights off. Bob and I creating stories about what was happening in each house.

And then, I remember, as I became colder and colder and the rocking of the rowboat became rougher as we neared the end of the bay, looking at the houses with more of a longing for the warmth and soft beds I was imagining.

Did I mention that I’m not much of a boat person?

Anyway…

As nature would have it, the wind really picked up that night. By the time we reached the end of the bay and were trying to push our way out into the ocean, we were not even at a stand still, we were actually floating backwards, back into the bay.
It took Bob a fair while longer than I, to realise that his heroic efforts to row harder into the incoming ocean swell were beyond futile. 

At one point, I remember being so cold, with the waves now washing into the boat, and disorientated by the pitch blackness, that I wasn’t even that concerned about sharks anymore. It seemed it would be easy enough for a small shark to just float right in on the back of one of the waves, but it didn’t really bother me now.

I figured we were going down anyway. What did it matter if it were by drowning or bleeding to death from shark bite?
In hindsight, that was probably the disorientation talking.

By the time Bob finally admitted defeat, I was soaked through, exhausted, freezing cold, had absolutely no idea where we were and wasn’t sure whether I had a migraine or an aneurism coming on, but was starting to favour the aneurism as I felt I just needed this night to end and if it had to be by death then, at this point, so be it.

We managed to get the boat to some rocks in front of a waterfront property.

Where we BOTH had to drag the boat up over the rocks and carry it to a safe place for the night.

I felt like I was in some kind of bizarre b grade noir/horror movie. The two of us, soaking wet, hoisting the rowboat above our heads and carrying it to safety. I was just waiting for some monster to jump out of the bushes. Which was making the shark attack and/or aneurism look more and more appealing.

Not to mention the moderate case of what-the-fuck’s I had going on in my head as we hauled the bloody boat to a safer place.

A safer place? For the fucking BOAT? 

Oh yeah, sure, we’ll get that bleed in my brain sorted out in a minute but first let’s make sure the fucking boat – which, let’s face it, should have been a car – has a safe place for the night. 

Apparently we were hoping the boat wouldn’t get damaged overnight. Well, I can say with certainty that not all of us were hoping for the same thing.

The night ended with us calling Bob’s mother to come and get us. Me getting a migraine rather than an aneurism (thankfully) but it being one of those glamorous migraine with vomiting — so the 45 minute drive home was a hoot.
That night was one of the worst ends to a date I’ve ever had. But I do remember watching, with fondness, the ambition of Bob as he tried so desperately to make something unique and special happen. 

His desire to create a wonderful memory for us both, whilst a tremendous failure, was also incredibly endearing.

And I think it is that quality of trying that I commend so much. 

Thanks, Bob, for a date gone terribly wrong. And for trying.