Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Margaret owed us nothing.

A “K-Rd Icon” has gone.
Every single time I walked along K-Rd, Margaret was there.

Some days I walked lost in my own thoughts.
Sometimes I was angry about something in my life, sometimes filled with joy.
Margaret was just as much a person as I and her moods fluctuated also.
She and I had a tentative understanding (dependant on how her day was going as to how well she remembered) that I never had any cigarettes, but I was sometimes good for cake, if I was coming back from a cafe.
She never did seem particularly interested in the cake itself, but gave me her time and respect when I greeted her with it. Not that I expected it. Goodness knows how she got to where she was, but she sure as hell didn’t owe me anything.

I went to her memorial page on face book and was surprised by the comments.
Not by the number, because when you hang out in the same place every day asking for something, chatting to people, smoking and occasionally yelling, people will remember you.
I was surprised by the Shit quality of remembering.
The number of people who didn’t know her name in spite of the fact it was the first thing she told anyone.
Her identity was as important to her, as mine is to me.

The number of people who said she was ‘rude’ and in the next sentence explained it was because she didn’t thank them for cigarettes they gave her.
What was she to you? A performing monkey? If she MUST thank you for a cigarette, what MUST she do for food, shelter, or your transient interest in her?

The number of people that seemed to think that if you give someone something they owe you their time and respect baffled me. Not because I don’t agree that respect and good manners are important, but these are the same people who would quite happily accept a free drink at a bar and get pissy if the offer came with conditions.
So why don’t THEY owe others anything for gestures of kindness, yet our underprivileged community are expected to bow and scrape like serfs to their overlords.

Tomorrow, when you are around town smile at your transient/homeless/addict neighbour.
Learn their name.
Find out how their day was.
Give them something and don’t pause for them to feel like they owe you thanks.

And any time - If you give, give from your heart.
Without asking in return.

Catch 22

I’m not very happy in my job right now, and a lot of that stems from the fact that I have transitioned from being a low level expert to a low level idiot.
This new role uses so little of the skills I am trained in that I am raw potential and fuck all else.
My instinct at the moment is to cut and run. I’m sick of not being great at what I do.
I’m sick of explaining why I’m always a beat behind what is happening because I don’t know enough about the industry to anticipate.
I’m sick of people who are lazier, less motivated and significantly less moral than I being better than me simply because they have rested on their laurels in a role for the last ten years and know it backwards.

I came to the realisation yesterday that my work ethic has screwed me over again.
I want to leave.
I won’t until I can hand over a ship-shape vessel.
So I need to stay long enough to get a firm grip on the role and tie up any loose ends.
Which means by the time I let myself resign, I should be past this phase of idiocy.
Which means I’m stuck.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We need your genius.

Someone I love very much had a long chat with me last night. (Online typing, since I’ve lost my voice!). Shall I give her an awesome-sauce nick-name?
How about Kick-ass? She wrestles better than any of the guys I know!
She is also one of the most vivacious, energetic, cheeky young women I have had the pleasure to know. (And I’m not just saying that because she will be reading this!)
This is sort of a lead-on from a post I wrote a while back, which was basically a letter in combination to my 15 year old self, my cousin, a friend with an eating disorder, and the idea was inspired by watching Kick-Ass play around with food on a visit we had.
At the time I didn’t know if there was anything going on or not. She called me and asked if the post was about her and I explained that I had been concerned about some stuff but it wasn’t only about her.
Yesterday she chose to open up that she had an eating disorder in the past.
This scared the hell out of me because I feel totally unqualified to be a proper mentor for this sort of thing. I’m the only person she has chosen to share this with.
From experience, the mental state of self hating and body dysmorphia sticks around for years longer than the actual “eating disorder behaviour". This is the HUGEST frustration for me; not least because of that Kick-Ass is actually stunningly beautiful and always has been captivating looking.
No-one should be wasting their youth, strength and fun years feeling less than perfect. No-one should struggle to see something they like in the mirror.
No-one should feel uncomfortable about gaining weight out of fear that people will not like/love/ find them as attractive as they used to.
Kick-Ass is brilliant and independent already and she has so much strength of will. She will be able to get herself back on track in a good relationship with her body; I just want to provide some resources to undo the message that has been banged into her by the main stream media.

So here is what I want.
She has been surrounded by teen media and all the drivel that goes along with that.

Give us some linky love to your favourite body/women positive you tube hits and blog posts.
Give us some words of wisdom that have helped you in your recovery and personal growth.
Give us some resources available in Australia for young people.
Give us your love and understanding.

So give it up ladies and gentlemen, lay it on us.
Much love,
Scuba Nurse and Kick-Ass.

Monday, April 18, 2011

When I grow up...

Before I start, I am very lucky to live in a place that I don’t stress about the rent.
I've worked really hard and have oodles of luck to get to where I am and I own that privilege.
I am a feminist who blogs, and that is only one part of me, so don’t bother telling me to get back to doing my "real" writing, this is me too.
Sorry to start on a negative note, but with the followers come the judgers. Bless 'em.

At present our house needs very little attention. By choice I have a herb “garden” in inside pots and an assortment of year round plants on our wee balcony.
Other than that, our laundry is in a cupboard, and the biggest sink is the kitchen one.
We have about 60cm of bench space and the oven doesn’t get hot enough to bake with (great for slow cooking meat and grilling though).
There is so little kitchen space we just never bothered buying a toaster and we only have one drawer for utensils, so new stuff isn’t really bothered with.
It has taken me a while to settle in to appartment living, but it fits our lifestyle perfectly.
I am often away for work a couple of days a week, my partner works Mon-weds out of our home city and we like to go away for when we can.

When we go away we literally just walk out.
When we come back we walk back in with fresh milk and bread.
It’s so EASY.
But every now and again I wish I could do some baking.
Or make toast without having to keep an eagle eye out to stop the stove burning it.
Or just have some silly frivolous kitchen item.

So here it comes; a moment of nesting lust.
If I were a grown up, with a “real” house....

We would be able to throw dinner parties, and be seated at a dining table.
Because we would A) have a dining room and B) own a table!

We could make toast without keeping an eye on it – because we would have a toaster.
Preferably a sexy one like this...

With an oven that works, I could bake and make kitsch cupcakes and personalised cookies.

I could have cute little oven mitts – like these ones which appealed to my orthopaedic passions.

And with cupboards that have more than 4 shelves I could own more than the cheapo flat grater.
This wee mouse doubles as a AWWWWW moment as well as a grater.

But the reality is that until I am literally pinned down by the weight of a foetus and can no longer leave the house, this is what the dream kitchen/house would look like.

So I think I will stick with our small yet perfectly formed apartment with my art crammed on the walls and not enough storage area.
I use everything here. No waste.

And after all, the bedroom is great ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Equal rights means you take ownership TOO!

Hey you! – yes you Sir...
The politition who told me he would NOT be voting to make abortion a health issue, instead of a crime...

Let’s talk about how YOU can also be a baby killer.
Yes, you!
I’m a feminist, which means EQUAL rights for all so I think it is about time you took ownership of your half of the responsibility.

Let’s say you are feeling randy.
So you have a hand shandy.
Oh no, they aren’t viable then?

Ok, so you are feeling randy and you have an ‘appropriate’ receptacle for your sperm (a Woman, married to you)
But you used a condom??
Oh no, this also isn’t a problem?

How convenient how they aren’t viable life until you are no longer the one responsible...

Even if you are a purist, and you don’t use condoms... who can afford 9 kids in this expensive world? So what do you do?
I won’t expect you to explain to me how you don’t have a gazillion children right now, but short of you killing some future life off I’m lost for ideas.

So let’s say you follow all the “honouring future life” rules and have a beautiful baby.
She is perfect, ten fingers, and ten toes.
She grows to be beautiful, smart, witty and well liked in her community.
She could be ANYTHING. A doctor, lawyer, diplomat, scientist, leader...

Then at 16 she decides to have sex, or is pressured into sex. (we won’t get into the stats on rape in NZ since you are probably patronising enough to think you can ‘let’ rape victims have an abortion).

And that sex causes a baby.
She probably won’t tell you until and abortion is too late, because if pre-marital sex and contraception are off the cards, then your judgement is pretty much guaranteed when she slips up.

Now what? This baby of yours... her future is about to change. And change BIG.

This pregnancy has a
10-15% chance of a miscarriage in NZ at her age according to statistics NZ.
If there are twins there is a 2% chance of still birth
If triplets there is around 8% chance of still birth.
‘Your baby’ has a 5% chance of postpartum bleeding.

If any of these events are, or cause a death, and she didn’t use contraception (including the morning after pill and abortifacient pharmaceutical drugs), or have an abortion because of you, was the subsequent miscarriage, stillbirth or maternal death YOUR fault?
If we are going to blame the loss of a future life on me, surely you can own your part in this mess?
No? Gee, what a surprise.

If your little girl and her baby survive the very real statistics behind pregnancy and child birth she will have physical reminders for the rest of her life.
Options include: Stretch marks, varicose veins, incontinence, linear nigra, c-section scar, episiotomy scarring.

Then what?
She gives up her self-centred fulfilling future (for now) to take care of this baby?
Or will you make her adopt it out?
Would you give her a choice?
Why put her through all this only to then take that baby off her?

In fact, if you would give HER a choice, why not me?

In fact – what makes YOU qualified to make any kind of decision for either of us at all?
Since you take NO responsibility for YOUR choice’s effects on others, why should we care what you think?

Because I do not take abortion lightly
I remember every. Single. Woman that I ever assisted in a D&C on in the public health system.
Not one of them was happy to be there.
Every one of them wanted to be.
Every one of them knew what was happening, and owned their decision.

So how about you stop judging and listen for once, to the people this actually effects. Listen to the voices from the lives that actually live it.

Because your opinion? Doesn’t matter to me any more than mine appears to matter to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Abortion is not a crime. It is a health issue.

My child needs a kidney transplant.
I have two kidneys.
The answer is obvious. I should undergo an operation to remove my kidney and fix my child.

At this point in time I need to confess I have no child.
But let’s carry on with this kidney metaphor.

If this kidney op meant that I would have to take a minimum of 6 months off work...
If this kidney op gave me pain and severe stress on my body for around 8 to 40 hours and caused me mental trauma...
If a side effect would mean that I may not have a child later on, on my own terms with a partner of my choice when I was financially able...

No matter what this kidney transplant would mean, the government would not call me a criminal for refusing.
Not even if my child died as a result of that refusal.
She would have died as a DIRECT result of my refusal.
And she is a fully grown 9 MONTH OLD CHILD.
DEAR GOD! Think of the CHILD!

And yet if I get pregnant tomorrow, the embryo inside me holds priority in the pro-lifers eyes.
The government has put the issue of my RIGHT to an abortion under the category of a crime, not health.
Legally, the grounds for abortions are in the Crimes Act 1961 and amendments:
“Serious danger to the life or to the physical or mental health of the mother.
Risk that the child would be severely handicapped, physically or mentally.
Pregnancy as a result of incest or unlawful sex with a guardian.
Severe mental sub normality of the mother. “
After 20 weeks gestation the grounds are more strict:
“To save the life of the mother.
To prevent serious permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother.”

So I have to see two doctors to get ticked off as being under mental strain or physical danger, and only then can I see an abortion provider for what I am requesting.

This is NOT ok.
No one has the right to take MY right to life away.
Not an embryo, not the church, not my political leaders, NO ONE.

If I need an abortion, it will be a health issue.
Not a crime.
Let’s make it so.

Please write to your local politician to ask them to support Chadwick’s bill.
Locate the MP for your electorate, and write. The address is:

Your MP's name
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

No stamp needed for letters to parliament!

Write directly to Steve Chadwick, and tell her that you support her bill.
Steve Chadwick MP
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Quit taking my fucking stapler!

A lot of the time I love what I do.

HOWEVER… Between doing what I love to do there is far too much time validating that to too many managers, and writing pointless reports to too many other managers.
Five weeks ago I submitted a presentation I needed cleared for use by last week.
Needless to say it has also been done (wrong) by two other people in two different countries and no-one thought to ask me what I needed. Me, the person on the bottom of the pile who actually has to USE the aforementioned presentation.
*sigh* Sometimes I feel like Milton from office space.

Several times this week I’ve said naughty words and sniveled on my partners shoulder out of sheer frustration.
Yes, I love my job.
So why is 80% of my time wasted on stuff that was never in the description, I don’t love, and I’m not good at?

I could go back to doing what I’m really, really good at (like all the time).
Back to being underpaid, and underappreciated. In my old job I was always too tired to live a good quality life outside of work.
At present, I have hobbies, see my friends, travel, have savings…
The thought of going back to scraping to save money makes my chest hurt.

So I guess I keep slogging.

Someone gave me hope today.
There are other jobs out there… and I would be good at them too.
Nothing is forever.
I will either get better at this, or move on.
I will either be great at that, or I will move on.

I am a highly educated, passionate person with a gift for sharing that passion for whatever I choose to teach.
Why do I keep forgetting that the world is at my feet?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Witty banter required…

Dear fabulous, witty people of the inter-web,

For those of you who were involved in “The Rock win a wife” battle you would have been aware that at the time a Facebook page was set up for supporters of our fight. Among the angst, arguments, exhaustion and frustration there was a strong line of humor and support.
I received this note on the blog yesterday…

“Hi there (big fan btw)

This is on a completely different topic. I'm a member of the Muse Feminist Magazine collective and we were keen to do a piece in an upcoming issue on that fantastic post which was on the fb 'stop the win a wife campaign' page about the top ten accusations at women, such as 'no sense of humor'. It then had a great selection of come-backs and we thought this would be a great piece to an article about.
Do you know how I could get my hands on (and permission) to use that part of the material as a basis?

Thanks! Karin”

I would love to say that all the amazing info on the Facebook page was from me, but it wasn’t.
It was the fantastic readers, writers and humanists who took the time to lighten the load.

If you contributed to this topic (or would like to now) and you would like your lines used in the aforementioned article please write your witty brilliance below.
Anything written in the comments section of this blog post is free to be used by Muse feminist magazine collective, and I am just facilitating a space for the two to meet.

So lay it on me… We want those (oft repeated) typical lines used to derail an argument with us “Angsty feminists” and the responses we use…
I can’t wait to enjoy!