potential insanity

I am making ceramic tampons, these tampons are made from Southern Ice Porcelain and when fired, they will be blindingly white. The icy white background will make the red words I am going to paint on them even redder.

Here they are in their very raw state, waiting for their words, waiting for their strings, waiting to be turned into PROTEST TAMPONS.

stop the tampons

Refugee advocacy groups have been telling us, the general public, that refugee women do not have free and easy access to sanitary products, to nappies for their babies, that toilet paper and water is rationed. This message has been slow to filter out into the mainstream. RISE first raised this matter in 2011. Advocacy groups have been telling us of the inhumane treatment of refugees and we are not listening. This article published in the Green Left  titled, “Life in Detention a Daily Shame” Shames me. Locking up refugees has now become big business and there is a lot of money to be made in cruelty.

oppression

The Governments propaganda machine has been working overtime to convince 60% of those one thousand people polled in this poll that refugees MUST be treated even more harshly.

Even more harshly? How can that be?

How can I look anyone in the eye when this is being done in my name?

The Anglican Parish of Gosford is a beacon of hope. Father Rod helps me to remember my humanity and shows me what a true Christian looks like. A real Christian has little resemblance to these mealy mouthed Christians of expediency, led by our current Prime Minister and his motley crew of shameless bullies and opportunists.

plead for compassion

Australia is hurtling down the same path that Germany followed in the 1930s and those of you that roll their eyes and mutter she hit Godwin’s Law before she hit 500 words can go and play with the intelligentsia elsewhere, you have no place here on this blog.

Refugee arrivals are now recorded officially as numbers instead of names. Will we tattoo them next?

refused birth certificates

The simple tampon has now become a symbol of freedom.

As a free woman, I can walk into a shop and buy all the tampons I want. I also buy chocolate with my tampons.

Do refugee women get chocolates with their tampons? Do the guards dole out single pieces of melting Cadbury Dairy Milk along with rationed sanitary products?

Morrison’s comments at his press conference, published in the Guardian yesterday, make for interesting reading.

Scott Morrison has dismissed a campaign of sending tampons to his office to push for more open access to female sanitary products in detention centres as a “juvenile protest”.

“That was a ridiculous protest. The policy hasn’t changed. It’s been the same for years. There’s open access and continued access on demand, female welfare officers, all of those sorts of things,” he said.

For people to be sucked in and engage in this juvenile protest I think was very unfortunate, it is very disappointing and not the sort of thing that I would have thought that people who should be more responsible in the debate should be supporting in any way,” Morrison said.

When a powerful white man tells me that my protests are ridiculous I know that I am on the right track.

And what does “all those sorts of things” even mean?

I can assume it means all those sorts of women’s issues?

I despair internet.

I despair.

We are proudly trumpeting our hateful xenophobia to the world.

And I stand here and I loudly say, Not in my name. Never in my name.

Seeking Asylum is NOT ILLEGAL.

And in my despair and my powerlessness I make ceramic tampons as a protest, to show that I disagree and to show that Xenophobia has no place here with me.

human rights abuse starts with secrecy

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All at the same time.

I discovered Laurie Anderson in 1983 when I was struggling to define who I was. I remember the discovery of her music as a high point in an otherwise shitty year. My father had been killed in a car accident three years previously, in September 1980. In hindsight I can see that the death of my father defined the next twenty years of my life.

Seventeen is such a nothing age to be, an in between age to be, an age to grow out of.

My son is nineteen and he is struggling and so I am struggling along with him.

david in the wattles

He is as deep and as secret as I am. He and I offer up glimpses of ourselves, sparkly shiny glimpses then we shut down. We snatch those glimpses away and we hold them tight and we pretend that everything is okay.

When really nothing is okay. Everything is okay and nothing is okay and we are walking and falling at the same time.

We show our shiny surface to the world knowing that most people will never see past the reflections and we encourage that ignorance because really, what is the point?

sawgrass

I drive furiously into the city to answer his call to, “come and get me please mum,” I stop at the drive through to buy an ice cream because I know that I am too tired to be driving and the sugar will help.

I photograph the cars all lined up behind me and think, this is a metaphor, this is the real truth. This is who we have become.

drivethrough icecream

Our Prime Minister publicly leers at a woman’s breasts and leads us on a path that I do not want to follow, that I refuse to follow.

I despair.

What is this Australia I am living in? Who are these Australian people that loudly clamour for the most vulnerable people to be locked away.

And as I despair, The Anglican Parish of Gosford gives me hope.

Anglican Parish of Gosford

 

Father Rod with his simple call for compassion gives me hope. I need hope, I need to believe that people are basically good otherwise what is the point?

I ask you what is the point? If we have become so cruel and so self interested that instead of helping people who come begging for assistance we lock them away and demonise them in order to, in order to what?

To allay our guilt? To hide them away so that we can continue on buying all the things and eating all the drivethrough icecreams as the planet burns?

We kick those weaker than ourselves into the gutter rather than bending down and helping them up.

The government uses clever language to trick the populace into following along with their Pacific Solution and I remind you that the Pacific Solution is wrong.

It is only a short sidestep from the Pacific Solution to a Final Solution

The language is wrong.

 

Anglican Parish of Gosford 2

My words feel useless and I know that I am walking and falling at the same time.

 

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I fear that the Australia I love; the Australia that prides itself on the ideal of a fair go, is rapidly vanishing.

If we the people, you and I, do not stick our hands up now and say “STOP this is not right” I despair to imagine what the Australia of 2023 will look like.

Our Government is lying to us.  We are not about to be swamped by hordes of refugees whose express purpose in life is to steal our jobs and clog up our roads. We are being asked for help by desperate people and we are kicking them in the teeth as they lie begging for mercy at at our feet.

By using words like “illegal queue jumpers” and emphasising the need for border protection, our Government both past and present, implies that the refugees who arrive here are breaking the law, and as lawbreakers, refugees are to be feared and disdained.

The Government, the opposition, and the tabloid newspapers encourage our belief that we need to be protected from refugees, which then in turn hardens our collective hearts to the plight of the refugees, allowing us to safely ignore them because they are lawbreakers.

It is not against the law to seek asylum.

We are encouraged to believe that there is a queue somewhere, that people fleeing for their lives can safely run to.

There are NO orderly checkout queues in war zones. There are no giant signs telling terrified people to stand to the left. There are only innocent people displaced by war who need our help.

I often wondered how the German people could have stood by and let the Jews and other minorities be exterminated in Concentration Camps.

I wondered how ordinary everyday people could sit back and either ignore the evil that was happening on their doorsteps, or willingly participate in it.

Now I know how the Holocaust happened because I see parallels here in my own community. There is a Concentration Camp on my very own doorstep and I drive past the rotten bloody thing every day and I DO NOTHING.

Pontville Detention centre

Each time I look at the razor wire and think of the children in detention at Pontville, I feel an overwhelming despair and yet I still do nothing about it.

I make excuses for my inertia. I lie to myself that I am too busy. I ask how could one woman help, what can I really do, how is it possible for one person to make a difference.

I dismiss my own power because maybe I have also bought into the government’s lie, and maybe I too am a little bit frightened of Muslim men.

And so I keep on driving past the Pontville Detention Centre, thinking thinks about the wrongness that emanates from the place and I don’t do a bloody thing.

I am ashamed of myself, Internet, deeply ashamed.

pontville detention centre 2

Australia is the supposed lucky country, the land of a fair go and mateship.

We have an idea about ourselves that is based on the myth of the Gallipoli digger and Lawson’s sheep stealing swaggie. We seem to think that we are a cross between Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee and Mel Gibson in Mad Max, when in fact we are really Sir Les Patterson bumbling along on the world stage with an idiotic smile on our faces, congratulating ourselves for our Government sanctioned cruelty and inhumanity to our fellow man.

Today this inertia of mine stops. I will no longer sit quietly by and do nothing. Apparently one paper letter is worth 20,000 signatures on a Get Up campaign, so today I am going to use an old fashioned method of having my concerns heard.

I am going to write a letter on actual paper with a real pen and I am going to  post it off to my local federal member Eric Hutchinson and I am going to ask Eric some questions.

I refuse to be ashamed of myself any longer and I refuse to ignore the concentration camp that is on my doorstep. I ask you to please watch this film trailer and to also open your hearts.

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Kim's Tits

Recently I posted a photo of my cleavage to twitter.  

I know, shock horror, old lady cleavage.

What was I thinking?

Dr Jennifer Wilson from No Place for Sheep had decided that a frivolous avalanche of cleavage was the proper response to Collier’s assertion that our PM, Julia Gillard, displayed too much flesh in parliament. Collier declared publicly that in her professional opinion, cleavage was inappropriate in the work place.

I find it ridiculous that the PM’s cleavage is being discussed at all but as Dr Wilson went on to say in her blog post

However, it appears that almost every one of Ms Gillard’s physical characteristics have been fair game for the loons. Please feel free to tweet images of your fingernails,your ear lobes, your hair, your glasses, your jackets, or, if you feel like it, your arse. Do use the same hash tag, in the interests of order.

Dr Wilson also warned that :

 … this exercise is entirely frivolous and will achieve nothing. Yes, I expect we will be gored by Helen Razer (after Baudrillard) for our mindless capitulation to empty symbolism.

With the idea of mindless capitulation and empty symbolism firmly in mind, I tweeted my image and joined in the light hearted protest. I wasn’t the only woman on twitter to find Collier’s position ridiculous and hundreds of women along with some men, posted images of their cleavage and other body parts to twitter, with the hashtag #convoyofcleavage. There was much hilarity to be had with humorous tweeps posting photos of their knitting instead of cleavage, there were plumbers cracks to be seen and even Piccinini’s Sky Whale made an appearance.  I walked away feeling that I had been a part of a gentle piss take aimed at the gender police.

Destroy the Joint made a montage of images and as far as I was concerned that was that.

convoy-of-cleavage

Except it wasn’t.

A friend showed me a vitriolic stream of abuse aimed at all the women who had dared flash a bit of boob.

abusive tweets (4)abusive tweets (1)abusive tweets (9)

abusive tweets (8)abusive tweets (7)abusive tweets (6)abusive tweets (5)

The abuse carried on in that vein for quite some time. I started off just rolling my eyes as I read the tweets, but the more I thought about the abuse, the more I began to take it personally, until I started stomping around the house angrily muttering to myself about oppression.

I have deliberately erased the author’s name as this article is NOT really about her though her tweets were the catalyst.

This article is about the silencing of women.

I know that a number of my peers will not talk about feminism publicly because they are afraid of being mocked and humiliated for their views. It is the same with politics, current affairs, even food. It seems to me that there are some vocal inhabitants of the online space who loudly trumpet, that if you do not have a triple degree you are not allowed to discuss anything at all.

I am 47 years old and it seems like all my life, someone has been trying to shut me up.

My father tried to beat silence into me. The nuns tried to shame me into silence and now high profile women are trying to use ridicule and abuse to silence me again.

I am tired of it.

And I will publicly exhort you who are reading these words of mine, DO NOT BE SILENCED.

Do not allow yourselves to be silenced by those vociferous voices on twitter, or in the many public forums online.

Do not listen to the naysayers,telling you that you are wrong or stupid or that it can’t be done or that you are doing it wrong.

Just do what ever you want to do and ignore everything else except for the beating of your own heart and the taste of your own passion as it drives you forward to be anything you want, do anything you want, believe anything you want.

Without fear or favour.

Life is too short for small thoughts.

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This blog post is nothing more than a desperate grab for sympathy, there is going to be wailing, whining, cries of WOE and possibly even a bit of begging.

Now that I have fully disclosed at the TOP of the article, all those readers who have been expecting witty words of wisdom have now been warned about the high probability of self obsessed sympathy grabs contained within. I have fully and transparently, *DISCLOSED MY INTENT DEANNA and now I can get right to the heart of the matter knowing that I have not tricked anyone into reading here.

Part One: WAILING.

Six weeks ago my hand decided to instigate industrial action and imposed a strict stop work policy. My head railed against this policy as important deadlines were looming but my hand didn’t care, it had declared itself CACTUS FUCTUS and was now in charge of all decisions relating to the work production schedule.

I ignored the stop work edict as my head was full of work that needed to be made and I knew the ideas would vanish and all the work would be lost.

My hand became increasingly militant in it’s enforcement of the stop work policy and we came to an impasse on the day when I could not pick up a coffee cup. So I took myself off to the doctor and had X-rays and did all the things you do when you are an adult and bits of your body stop working. I spoke to my doctor briefly on the phone yesterday and he said it wasn’t good news. I have severe degenerative arthritis in my wrist and thumb. My finger joints are a also bit iffy and I need to alter my work practices, sadly, my hand is cactus fuctus

Part Two WHINING:

I am a professional mud hardener, I work with my hands. There is a lot of hands on, hard physical work, that can not be avoided and the first step in making any pot is “wedging the clay.”

Wedging the clay is very similar to kneading dough and as dough must be kneaded, so clay must be wedged, or the pots wont rise and the bread cracks and I mix my metaphors and everything goes to shit because, CACTUS FUCTUS.

I can’t have a proper and sustained moan about my POOR CACTUS FUCTUS hand to my family because pfft what is a sore hand in the scheme of thing when your hips dislocate in bed overnight (The Spouse) your jaw makes an ominous “dislocation pending” clicking sound every time you eat anything (The Son) and your ribs move independently of themselves and your collarbone doesn’t like being near your collar (The daughter)

Oh I know they all made appropriate poor Mum sounds and here have some deep heat and oh do you want a pressure bandage Mum.

BUT it isn’t the same as the PROPER Sympathy I can get from you, my dear, dear internets.

Part Three BEGGING.

What do you do to ease the pain of arthritis? I am off to the physio to get a wrist brace made. I am currently using a home made job The Spouse suggested, which is a pressure bandage and a neoprene stubby holder and that is working well enough as a temporary measure. I already take fish oil and glucosamine tablets to keep my dodgy knee working properly. Heat packs give some relief as well. BUT I WANT YOUR MAGIC TRICKS. I need your home remedies.

How do you manage your arthritic cactus fuctus bits and pieces internet? How do you keep on working when bits of you go on strike? Did you grieve your previously usable body parts that now are a bit past their used by date? Did you cry a little bit?

And even though this artistically highlighted and sharpened to buggery, Xray shows my cactus fuctus hand in all it skeletal glory, I am forced to admit that I have quite elegant bones. Cactus Fuctus, they may be, but still rather Elegant.

Kim's hand

*This blog post was brought to you by the dire need for bucket loads of sympathy.

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