"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Saturday, August 27, 2016

It is four days til spring;
Already the sun has strength to it
(The rain is quite indignant)

Summer was a lifetime ago
And you are half a world away
In the autumn gloom you faded
I lost you to the winter chill

But it is almost spring, now
And my heart is full of wildflowers
In your tampering, I was tempered;
I bury my childhood with you.

One day, when you are an old man
You will think of summer
But I always dream of spring.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

treading lightly.

Now Playing: Clean by Taylor Swift (you're still all over me like a wine stained dress I can't wear anymore)

I try to tread lightly in this world.

I think people underestimate how much happiness and pain we can inflict in very short spaces of time; so I tried to tread lightly. I like to think that when my former partners think of me, if they think of me at all (and I give them total leave to forget about me entirely; blue hour romances by definition rarely outlive the sunrise) I hope they just think of me with a smile. Like damn, that was a crazy night. I have been hurt so badly by the careless, thoughtless actions of others that I try very hard not to do the same.

Minimizing drama isn't minimizing pain, by the way. If you've hurt me every man and his dog is going to know about it. But the reason why I was single was to spare myself some pain; I never seriously entertained ideas of commitment and I resent people who jump to that conclusion. But sometimes a good night is just a good night, and the leaving, the letting go - you should make that painless, for yourself, and yes, for the person you just met. You don't owe them anything but this.

It's so easy, by the way. I realized that as I got older. Intimacy gives one such power, it's so easy just to rip a fresh wound for the hell of it. It's easy to cut the people close to you without really realizing it. It's easy to let people fade out of memory without giving a thought about what scars you left, and whether they are still fresh.

Not pursuing someone seriously isn't the same as not taking someone seriously. I'm all for relationships that are not meant to stretch into the forever and always; but you have to keep in mind that no matter what happens or how you feel, they will continue. They will live on when you are not a part of their lives and if you don't want to be an active, physical presence, the least you can do is not be a ghost in the shadows.

I'm just feeling very vulnerable at the moment. In my younger and more vulnerable days I had such a cheerful attitude towards being young, being single, being reckless, of naively assuming that people took pleasure in good faith, that when someone cares about you, no matter how little, no matter how ephemeral, it at least meant they wouldn't actively hurt you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Hi, I have a Gender Studies degree.

Now Playing: Drop the Game by Flume & Chet Faker (give me things that I wanted to know, tell me things that you've done) 

People think that because we all deal with gender and sex and sexuality on a daily basis, we all have a general idea of what we're talking about, and people who end up saying 'as a Gender Studies student...' are wankers.

But here is my defence of the humble Gender Studies student.

Firstly, gender isn't easy. Just because we all have a gender doesn't mean we all understand all of it - in the same way that we're all made of atoms and chemicals and hormones and whatnot and I definitely do not understand any of that. You wouldn't think it from the way that Gender Studies programs are willy nilly pulled together and then wrenched apart, but gender is a mind-bogglingly complicated thing to study. It is a constantly-evolving interdiscplinary field of study that nobody claims to understand fully except for Beyonce fans who spend a lot of time on tumblr but who are actually finance majors. Saying 'I am a Gender studies student' is less of a boast and more of an acknowledgement of the rabbit hole that gender is. Studying Gender Studies, especially as an honours student, has been mostly a constant Jon Snow-moment: I know nothing. All I know is I know nothing.

So people are incredibly arrogant about gender and the study thereof. People argue with Gender Studies students and academics about gender in a way that you would never argue about physics with an actual physicist. Our degrees might not mean anything to the money-grabbing uni admin satan worshippers, but we don't spend all those years staring at a wall. We're academics. We're not in it for the money. There's no fame or glory. We just want people to acknowledge that studying something for years on end will give one the privilege of a somewhat-learned opinion.

Speaking of privilege, the acknowledgement that one has a degree in anything should not be taken purely as a token of intelligence or big-headedness. It is an admission of privilege, as well. The fact that I have a degree probably says more about my privilege and my interests than what I actually know, and that's okay. But I don't think people say 'as a Gender Studies student...' with the intent of intimidating people into shutting up and listening.

People sasy 'I have a Gender Studies degree!' out of exasperation because we want people to understand that the things we know, the things we study, were patiently explained to us by much, much smarter people in the disciplined environment of a classroom, and even then there was fiery debate and people struggled with words. The things and terms that people throw around on social media are not really things that can be explained in a Facebook flame war or in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Just as white people demand that people of colour teach them All the Things on racism, people demand a lot of emotional labour of gender studies students to basically regurgitate their entire degree for free on the internet to an obscenely hostile audience. We just think that if you want to talk about really complicated moral quagmires like sex work or abortion or whatever you might actually want to do your homework first; or at least not tear down the people who have, and have a flimsy bit of paper and no job security to show for it.

Monday, August 01, 2016

C v. P

Now Playing: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire (sometimes I wonder if the world's so small, then we can never get away from sprawl) 

Both Canberrans and Perthians seem to operate under the impression that Canberra and Perth are fairly interchangable, in that they're both small boring isolated places treated with equal disdain by potential tourists and locals alike. But, to paraphrase Tolstoy, all exciting cities are alike, and each boring shithole is boring and shitty in its own special way (I'm an English student, we're great at paraphrasing). I've been living here for six months now, and here are the examples to suggest that Canberra and Perth are not clones divided by the inhospitable desert.

1. Perth is bigger. 

Perth is small. Everyone knows that. Every disgruntled disillusioned suburban Perth child knows that. But Perth is 2 million people small and Canberra is 380,000 people small. You begin to appreciate things like actually having a city centre (a shopping centre doesn't count) and the glories of Transperth-facilitated shenanigans when you move to a teacup. For what it's worth, despite frequent trips to Melbourne and Sydney via the Greyhound, Canberrans don't seem to think that Canberra is small, but Perthians will tell all and sundry about how claustrophobic and monotonous Perth is.

2. Canberra feels impermanent. 

Canberra is, for the most part, students and politicians. Everyone here is from somewhere else, and almost nobody plans to stay here forever because quite frankly that's a terrifying prospect that I refuse to entertain for my own sanity. Part of the oppressive joy of Perth is that it really feels like a place where people are born and live and die whilst the rest of the world pretends that Australia is All The Sydney All The Time.

3. I goeth down, I yelleth Tinder

I was a happy single pringle in Perth. Every semester break we would 'go out', which was really just a euphemism for 'get laid'. I met my partner on Tinder and met everyone else at uni parties and/or on sleazy dance floors. The beach plus the mining boom plus the aggressive anti-intellectualism does tend to attract colourful characters from around the world, and Teenage Me loved all the pro-Brexit/country bumpkin/borderline insane weirdos with the cool accents.

Here I'm practically falling over hand-holdy, face-licky couples, although I might be biased somewhat by the fact that I'm still in the 'everything is a lie unless its pasta' part of the breakup, and I live on top of a bubble tea establishment. Still. Dating here is a thing in a way that it wasn't a thing in Perth, or at least it seemed very optional and just another part of the buffet rather than the set menu. Speaking of food, people here don't eat by themselves. Treating myself was an activity in Perth but an anxiety attack here. Every time I try and eat out on own hairy emancipated don't need no man feminist lonesome I'm treated like some kind of leper, including the nice lady putting my plate of pad thai in front of Mr Imaginary across the table from me.

4. Canberra is prettier. 

The lake. The mountains. The strategically planned city planning and the fucking arboreteum. Is pretty. Is pretty, okay? I'll give you that. I mean, Perth has a beach, and 'Acton Beach' is 300% Not A Beach, but there's only so many times you can consent to brining yourself and slowly rotating over the hot sand like a rotisserie chicken before you lose the plot.

5. Canberra is the well-connected cousin 

I've driven to Sydney and Thredbo from Canberra with no more inconvenience than packing an overnight bag. Drive in any direction from Perth and all you'll get to is Nowhere, Middle Of the Ocean, or Halfway to Singapore. Then again Canberra uses its neighbours as a crutch - anything Canberra doesn't have, you can just nip off to Sydney. It's not like Perth can rely on Bunbury for anything.

6. Perth is the better wannabe 

Both Perth and Canberra are Melbourne Wannabes, but Perth does it slightly better. I am biased, because I like ramen, and Canberra doesn't do ramen.

7. Canberra seems more family friendly 

But I am not the Virgin Mary.



(8a. In Canberra's defence, Perth summers are unbearable. A city that close to Antartica should not be so fuckin hot.)

9. Bagging on Perth is so fun all the Perthians join in 

Moaning about Perth is a favourite Perth pastime. 99% of the whinging about Perth is by people who live there. Canberrans seem a tad too attached to Canberra for this baffled Perthian.

10. Perthians are much better at whinging. 

Perthians whine. All the time. But whining gets shit done. We can't fly to Sydney every time we want dim sum or ramen, so we have our own. You can't walk ten steps without running in to a Mecca, of which Canberra only has ONE, and it isn't even a Maxima. Canberra would get better if Canberrans learned the art of the whinge.