It was the worst of times; I was in the middle of a breakdown of my relationship, having just given birth to his child. I was also in the middle of a masters course for journalism in Berlin, struggling to help my older two children adapt to a new country, language, culture and schooling system. I was on depression medication, … Read More
The problem with a mental illness being derived by a set of certain symptoms, is that divergence from the norm is defined subjectively.
To explain genetic attraction someone who’s never experienced growing up without their biological family is a huge challenge, because it’s something most people take for granted. It’s an even bigger challenge if you call it by the name it usually goes by, and that’s genetic sexual attraction (because er, incest). As I’ve stipulated elsewhere on my site, I believe, in … Read More
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Illegitimacy was in my blood, and it had tainted me. By the circumstances of my birth my honour was smirched, I was already a broken woman.
Through this work, an advance reader copy of Turn This World Inside Out, The Emergence of Nurturance Culture by Nora Samaran found its way into my hands. And although at 140 pages it’s only little, its impact on me has been disproportionately large. It has helped me find compassion; it has helped me connect fragments of ideas which existed in my brain already, but floated untethered in abstract (where they were of no use at all).
There is no shortage of corroboration for Franklin’s harmful behaviours. I have taken the testimony of five women, and the supporting testimony of others.
Achievement and failure exist only as a construct, a way to judge others and my sickness, my health and my worth has nothing to do with either.
This boy is kind. But being kind doesn’t disguise the fact that he has no knowledge of boundaries. He knocks at all hours of the day. If the back door is on the latch, he’ll come in uninvited and sit on Maya’s bed to await her return until I show him the door. He once tried to force his way in her room to wake her up and play.
We don’t treat people like we treat oranges because people are not things. No one can treat you like an orange. No one can take your juice aka… your power.
Power is the capacity to influence others which–notwithstanding systemic privilege–fluctuates, sometimes on a daily basis according to self esteem, personality, age, maturity and in every unique relationship dynamic. How can power be measured or compared, when there is no absolute, and perception of power is also a form of power?
I googled ‘famous people who have borderline’ but I shouldn’t have. Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears. All touted as hysterical, unstable women.
World building, as Marvel has proven it can pull off over the last decade, is a skill I admire, it’s an escapist’s ultimate playground–yet my aversion to imperialism and the influence of a feminist education on how I perceive fictional heroes and supervillains ate holes in the fabric of my appreciation.
And if predatory behaviour is as ubiquitous among men as it appears and as I have experienced it to be, statistically it is likely that my son will violate someone, at some point, in his lifetime. That could be anything from ignorant boundary violation to, god forbid, rape.
But there is no victorious ‘democratic’ ending to this story. In Syria the civil uprising has gradually been transformed into a full scale civil war. Sayid and his colleagues have all lost loved ones to this war and their political is personal. Sayid’s own crime–and why he is here–was to film government violence and put it up on YouTube, after which he was put on the list of wanted terrorists.
What we find funny is indicative of our beliefs, attitudes, judgements and opinions. It is a useful barometer. When we mock those who by birth or circumstance are less fortunate, we become persecutors and make others our victims. We have no less duty of care for verbal abuse even through humour, than we do for physical abuse.
Britain has never taken responsibility for the bloodshed and exploitation which built the empire. This is evidenced by Theresa May’s hardline on Brexit. We want to take without giving anything in return. We make no apologies for our xenophobic attitudes; our comedy ridicules ‘those bloody foreigners’, our narrow-minded and disrespectful behaviour often shames us in the countries we visit.
Gone are the days when I positively affirmed every day in the shower, and shared uplifting memes. Now I see these past behaviours as tragic extent of mine and others’ unawareness. I thought if I changed my mindset and concentrated on dismissing the negative and amplifying positive activism, that the world I wanted would resettle itself with my aligned actions.
Privileged white woman pain is more gradual and less dramatic than that experienced by intersectional minorities. It is insidious. Kind of like bonsai trees, white women have the innate capacity to grow to a normal size but our roots and branches are cut so that we grow far smaller. Stunted or trained along a trellis in such a way that few see, sometimes not even us.
Like Mithridates, the ancient Greek King who–legend has it–ingested small amounts of poison to create immunity, it is the art of swallowing what we hate little by little, of being formed by it, developing an immunity to it and even learning to appreciate the rush it gives us so we can make it in this sick world. If it is no longer poisonous to us, it is easier to dish it out as we deny that it’s poison. It’s still poison though.
This world built me without boundaries, brought me up to accept authority, to obey and to work in the system. I was preprogrammed to play my docile part.
But what of the men who were genetic fathers to these lost children? Male privilege absolved them of personal responsibility.