An Interview with my Mother

I feel like we both love each other very much but there’s some invisible elephant between us, preventing the truth and honesty that comes from vulnerability. I feel that this might revolve around the question of “what it is to be a good girl”. Can I explore this with you? – Email to Mum, January 2018

I decided to sit down with Mum and talk about the gap between us – not only of generations but of social norms.

8 February 2018

Witches, old wives’ tales and our history of not listening to women

She haunts our fairytales, our tales of warning and our paperback mysteries. She lives at the edge of society, on the margins of civilisation and the foreboding forest, at the meeting point of the wild and untamed. She knows the difference between the mushrooms that are delicious and the mushrooms that are deadly. She is turned to in secrecy and at great risk by desperate women seeking to harness their bodily power, aiding or hindering fertility. Her knowledge renders her an outcast and there hangs about her a sense of danger – for why else is she always single (a spinster!), childless (barren!), uninterested in male attraction (hideously ugly!). A knowledgeable woman – woman who knows things – is a frightening thing indeed.

30 January 2018

Diary of a Traveling Ghost

Something must happen to me in the plane. I cannot emerge from long-haul travel unchanged. I disappear into myself, in that darkness, through those lost days and nights and emerge quieter, simpler and more watchful. My normal instinct for inserting myself into every scene and every conversation as a lead actor evaporates, and I become a quiet audience. A voyeur. A ghost who likes to watch. Quietly slinking through the lives and homes and habits, feeling, touching, learning, leaving no impact.

7 December 2017

A Non-Compliant Woman

Since I started my micro-movement of non-compliance, I have been terrified of the consequences of pushing back. ‘You’re going to get punched in the face one day,’ my mother has oft said following a small act of perceived surliness or, as I like to call it, standing up for myself. I’ve been screamed at. Ridiculed. Glared at. But what I take these reactions to show is the genuine and deep-seated fear that men have when we challenge the expectation that we’ll comply.

17 November 2017

Why Taylor Swift disappoints in Trump’s Dystopia

If entertainers want to simply entertain, fine. But if they want to profit from engagement with the issues that are tearing Western societies apart, we expect them to have done their homework.

16 October 2017

Living at College in Ignorance and Bliss

My instincts are that the situation is much worse than the Australian Human Rights Commission report into sexual assault and harassment on campus tells: the college community has a way of protecting itself, of creating and sustaining culture. Those close to the problem may not realise the truth of what is going on for some years, if indeed they ever do. It took me ten years after all.

18 September 2017

Gefilte Fish for Whom? Remembering and Forgetting in Eastern Europe

I didn’t intend to spend half my holiday kneeling at sites of tragedy, but when you find yourself in the vicinity of places that echo notoriously through history it seems impossible not to join the procession of modern-day mourners.

28 August 2017

Finding My Family In Europe’s Least-Visited Country

I’ve had this madcap impulse to return to my family’s zero hour – where it all began – and say ‘thank you for leaving’ for as long as I’ve known their story.

 20 July 2017

Massage Nightmares: Why I can’t be naked and silent

Massages are meant to be a wonderfully relaxing experience, but not if you’re me. Unfortunately, the promise of luxury causes me to forget my regular propensity to forget how to human.

4 July 2017

The Power of Being ‘Not Like Other Girls’

I thought I was rejecting something superficial when I said I got along with guys better, but in fact I was just blindly following the tropes set up for me, tropes designed to break down our power by teaching us to distrust, compete and judge.

27 June 2017

A Capsule Collection For The Satirical Sartorialist

Every once in a while, Fashion’s gospels will dictate that one must have certain items in one’s armoire: essential capsule pieces worth investing in due to their timeless style and versatility. Undoubtedly, Fashion’s recommendations will drip with impracticality, expense and adjectives.

28 April 2017

My Super Mum and Her Super Foods

I am nearly 30 and my mother still cuts my fruit up for me. In this sentence is everything you need to know about our relationship. Indeed, it’s only twelve years since I discovered that mandarins came with pips in them. Mum used to carefully remove them before placing the fruit on the table. It wasn’t until I moved out of home that I discovered the horrible truth that I would have to extract my own mandarin seeds. That’s the first piece of background you’ll need today.

5 April 2017

Breaking Up With My Past Self

My body is at war with itself. This is a truism of an auto-immune disease. But my body is also at war with my Self. I must resist starting each sentence with “I was”. I was a gymnast. I was a soccer player. I was thin. I was a pianist and a singer and a performer and a burst of energy and a friend and… I had ambition.

8 March 2017

A Political Body

I hid in the clothing fat people are told to wear to look slimmer but actually just render us bland. It was all that was available, serving as a sartorial dunce’s hat to publicly shame us for our grotesque shape.

6 March 2017

The River

Lately I’ve given myself over to a pull I’ve resisted for a very long time. I’m floating in a calm, clear river, carried by the water’s flow and whirls and moods. I don’t know where I’m going, and for once, that doesn’t bother me.

19 February 2017

My First Blog Post, or, Five I Loved And One I Didn’t. 

As a bearer of chronic disease, I spend a lot of time stuck prone in my bed, my mind racing, or lying awake at night in pain, my mind racing. The only effective technique I’ve ever found that stills this mental athleticism (unmatched by my physical capabilities) is to read…

9 January 2017