Post 70

Post 70

I love interesting conversations. I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a friend that I don’t see often enough. We spoke deeply and opening about being a woman, wife, and mother. We spoke about family that is not blood but make us feel loved, connected and part of something important. We spoke about what we do for our families and friends. We spoke about dreams that we don’t know we want and being the peacemaker.

As I drove home I was thinking about the conversation. I was thinking about how women are the backbone and guiding force in families. In what ways women are the strength and the peacemakers, times when women placed others before themselves. Women are the cultivators of friendships, relationships and support to family and friends. How a woman’s vibe and energy influences the people around her. Women are the ears, eyes, heart and mind of her tribe.

I spoke about wives and mothers to an elderly Italian lady, and she told me about her 60 years of experience of marriage and child rearing. Go about it quietly darling. My husband thinks that he is the backbone of our family, pffft, I let him think that. Never underestimate the power of seed planting, she told me and patted my hand. I am the one that has made the decisions when it has come to our home, our children and family. But I have done it quietly, this doesn’t mean I haven’t fought and stood my ground, that I haven’t had to be creative, when I want my own way. And men can be stupid. She told me how they are happy in their marriage, comfortable in their finances, how she has a close knit family and friends, how she volunteers, she is active in her community and she can be happy at the end of her life that she has been kind and helpful.

I haven’t been back on social media today, after I got caught up reading one thread this morning, where women were being absolutely vile to each other and tearing each other apart because of the way they voted in the US election. At the end of the day we are all women and this was no way to treat a fellow human. There was one comment about how there will never be world peace now. It made me shrink my mind to my little world. My family and friends the people that are important to me, my work and my home, the things that I enjoy and the dreams that I have. I try to be kind and thoughtful, I make a point of hearing what people are saying. This is where world peace starts – with yourself. I have a key chain on my car keys – Be the change you want to see in the world. Women know how to connect people, build families and communities, women do have influence and will be the change in the world.

End of post 70

I opened bank accounts for boy 1 today. I set strict rules for his finances and he is excited to see his money grow.

Feature photo shows my new hair.

Womens choices – you can do anything but not everything.

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It has been brought to my attention that I have chosen quantity over quality.

 

I am a wife

I am a mother

I have a household to run

I have extended family

I have lots of great friends

I am working two jobs

I am studying

I am trying to write consistently and regularly

I am trying to practice yoga daily

I am trying to be all that I can as a woman.

It would seem that I am spreading myself thin, trying to do everything and only doing a half assed job of it all.   I have had a shitty week, with this dilemma. I have been emotional, angry, ugly, determined, motivated, tired, and defeated. I have wanted to stand out in my yard and scream a big “fuck you” to the world. I also wanted to curl up in a ball on my bed and wail like a baby.

Well isn’t this a first world problem.   All of this choice.

I mean FFS, I physically, emotionally and mentally can’t do it all. I am pissed about it. The guilt of juggling work and wife/mother duties. The selfish me wanting to study and write over putting washing away. Wanting to sleep in my own bed instead of going to work at 11.00pm. But also wanting the money that the night shift brings so I can send my kids to private school. Having a rushed, tired, post night shift wine with a friend, before racing home to cook dinner, while kids are at sports training. I want to be the loving, devoted, kind, caring, attentive mother, that doesn’t screw up her kids. I don’t want them to hate me for my crap choices when they are grown men. I want the nice clean and tidy house with mopped floors and immaculate laundry room. I want it to feel like a home. I want the love and respect of my husband, but want to tell him to bugger off so that I can do it all on my own.

I have probably just pushed back feminism 120 years, with my moaning about choice and having an abundance of it.

So what am I going to do??? Ohhh who knows, keep doing what I am doing. I am about to dash to the grocery shop- because we are out of toilet paper. Perfect example of too much going on to even remember to buy loo paper when I did the groceries. Shit housewife.

Suffragette

I went to the movies on New years day. I thought at the end of Suffragette I would leave the theatre feeling empowered and motivated by the movie that was directed, and written by women. I left feeling grateful, selfish, guilty and in deep thought, with messed up make-up looking like a panda.

Suffragette as defined by the oxford dictionary:

A woman seeking the right to vote through organized protest.

The movie is set in London in 1912. The early years of the feminist movement lead by Emmeline Pankhurst is portrayed and follows one particular foot solider – Maude Watts.

We break windows, we burn things because war’s the only language men listen to.  Cause you’ve beaten us and betrayed us and there’s nothing else left.

The movie portrays wonderfully the fight that ordinary women committed to, working class women with no entitlement, no access to a platform for change. By focusing on the ordinary women who work 14 hour days, by focusing on the wife who dotes and loves her husband and the mother who adores her children, sings them to sleep and showers her babies with love, contemporary women connect with the cause. A fabulous job was done in the depiction of Suffragettes and by baiting the audience with various women but never telling their story, so many more questions and thoughts were raised for me on all of the women. It made me want to learn more about the bigger fight. To learn about the groundswell of ordinary woman that forced change and yet they gained no genuine recognition. Telling the story from the point of view of the foot soldiers, was more powerful for me, than if the story of Emmeline Pankhurst had been told. Emmeline, the powerful woman that had the authorities perplexed, and frustrated at her power and influence over women.

Women, particularly working class women were committed to the cause, losing jobs, losing dignity, losing homes, losing husbands, and losing children. Maude Watts – I’m worth no more, no less than you. We will win. The quiet lady like movement had yielded no results in parliament. So mothers, daughters and rebels went underground. These women fight, they fight dirty – blowing up post boxes, throwing rocks through glass windows in the West End, burning down houses.

Deeds not words (Emmeline Pankhurst) 

The working class women who had no privilege, no money, no rights to their children or any property, endured violent beatings, sexual exploitation, barbaric treatment while incarcerated (being forced feed, with tubes violently shoved down their throats) and putting their bodies on the line.In 1913 at the Epsom Derby,  Emily Davison threw herself in front of the King’s horse and died for her efforts in front of cameras to draw attention to the Suffragette cause.

I felt guilty that I had not respected their desperation and I felt selfish, this consumed me while viewing the violence, abuse, loss, and the deplorable conditions that these women endured. The desperation that the working class women felt,  the need for a change to their stations in life, the realisation that they could have a better existence. Once they realised this, they couldn’t go back, they had to fight frantically for what that they felt was right.  For a woman in 2016, I feel I take the privileges that these woman battled for, for granted. In school, I was never taught that Australia was one of the first countries to grant women the vote in 1895. The girls of my generation were never taught about the fight for the vote,  for higher education, and better working conditions, for divorce and for the fight against sexual exploitation. I felt sad that these women gave so much to the cause, lost so much and the modern woman doesn’t understand and is not educated on the depth of the fight for rights that we take for granted and think that we are entitled to.

My heart ached for these women, because I know for a fact that I would have taken the coward’s way and not fought. I know that I would have been too selfish in wanting to keep my husband, my children. I wouldn’t have the rebel in my veins to fight for change and not only change for my generation but all women.

 

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Every family needs a farmer

This picture was posted on Instagram this morning and it inspired this post.

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Early this year 80% of Queensland was declared in drought, with early stages of el Nino meaning drought breaking rain in winter and spring were highly unlikely.

One particular lady always says when I ask if the skies have blessed her property yet. – “We are one day closer to rain.”

I want to talk today about the stewards of the land that contributes to owning, caring and managing 61% of Australia’s land mass. Ninety four percent of these custodians actively use natural resource management. These people live through this el Nino phenomenon, as well floods and fires and are bonded together as communities because of these events that contribute to life on the land.

From what I have experienced as a soft city slicker, life on the land is as unforgiving as the weather and not for the faint hearted. These men and women that raise cattle, grow crops and provide nourishment for their city cousins have chosen this life and what a life.

I have visited this place when the air has been so dry and hot you would think you were baking in an oven, so much so that your lungs burn and I got sun burnt from hanging washing on the line for 5 minutes. Smashing lips together so that you don’t accidentally swallow 1 million flies, wind and red dust sting and burn your eyes if not wearing sunnies. The ground feels baked under your feet and the heat can be seen shimmering just above the ground.

Wind blowing through the 6 layers of clothes that I tried to wiggle into, while lying in the warmth of the bed with flannel sheets, two blankets and a doona, nose and eyes running from the freezing air. See soft city slicker – who is on the long road back to Brisbane after a maximum of 5 days. Despite my little whinge here, I truly treasure the time spent at the end of a dirt road, where the closest corner store is 45 minutes away and the local hospital is over an 1hr away.

Bushies are generous, open and welcoming they make anybody present feel like a close friend, big-hearted in always offering a meal or a drink. Wonderful funny and interesting conversation is always involved when hangin out with this lot. Picture a place where you know all of your neighbours, and these neighbours are kilometers away, but your friends with them. A place where on the day that the Bathurst 1000 is raced you channel the celebrity drivers speed and intensity and race around a fire that’s straight from the depths of hell and 20 of your neighbours and friends help you while it burns hot and ferocious and fire balls claim thousands of acres of your land. Where you buy 8 seater cars so that you can take turns in carpooling to school, swimming, grocery shopping, home from boarding school or Brisbane. A place where your neighbour will call in to drop off your mail, which usually consists of groceries and anything that can be ordered on the internet, and leave hours later after helping you pull a calf from its mother’s womb, or grabs a wine or beer and helps you do the rounds of your property checking water or feeding drought ravaged cattle or doesn’t leave until the roar of the tractor engine finally is music to your ears. A place where after a dust covered day’s work, you load the kids into the back of the 8 seater car and head to the biggest dam in the community where all your neighbours and friends are to share a beer, a swim , go for a ski. A location where mobile service is limited and when you come together with your friends, you actually talk and communicate with each and enjoy the visit.

When the flooding creek traps you on your own little island for days on end with no outside communication, dust covered boats are launched into the flood waters to check on neighbours and friends and make sure everyone is safe and feed. A place where parents are happy to drive hours for their kids to participate in sport and extra-curricular activities. Drive an hour, one Thursday night a month to reach the local book club where a good book, wine and more friends await, one night after having to deal with a cow in the side of your car.

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Now I am only talking about 1 tiny community of the 134,000 farm businesses in Australia, 99 percent of which are family owned and operated, that supply 93% of Australian families food. I have shown a very small slice of the estimated 35,100 women who live on farms and work outside of the home, not to mention the 16,500 women that work exclusively next to their husbands.

I haven’t touched on the fact that farmers with a tertiary degree has increased 6 fold since 1981.

I also failed to talk about the stats that in farming communities there is such a great sense of community that 39% of people in the bush are volunteers compared to their city cousins at 19% and these figures don’t include non-registered volunteering.

While I have portrayed a community that supports each other and is connected, this is not the case in every community. Stats show that agriculture / farm workers are 1.6 times more likely to commit suicide and that there is a farmer every 4 days taking their own lives.

Six hours south west of Brisbane, in the shire of the Maranoa is a fabulous community of people who I have grown to love and respect over the past 11 years that my sister has lived there. I hope that I have shown a small part of their lives justice in this piece.