‘Survivor’s Guilt’, or something along those lines.

In 1994, in the African country of Rwanda, the Hutu majority systematically went about wiping out the Tutsi minority. 800,000 people were massacred in just 100 days. The international community did nothing to intervene.

It was a cooler night, with clear skies and the moon peeking out from behind the neighbouring apartment block. The dishes had been piled in the sink and now cups of tea and half eaten cookies were resting by their elbows. Friends was on in the background, but neither Matilda or Lucy had been paying it much attention. It was an episode they’d seen before, the one where Monica thinks the cleaning lady is stealing from her.
“Do you think it’s possible to have survivor’s guilt just from existing?”
Lucy looked up from what had been a long Instagram scroll. “Sorry, what about survivor’s guilt?”
“Well, we were discussing the Rwandan genocide in class today. All of these people massacred, and no one did anything to stop them. Our teacher told us that the Hutu’s would force families to rape each other, so in the middle of the night Tutsi neighbours would switch so that at least it wasn’t your own relative that you were forced to, you know…”
Ross: I just heard this morning that an old lady in my apartment died.
Rachel: Oh my god. Was she old? Did she have a view?
“…I cried about it on the bus home.”
“That’s horrible. God, that’s just…I mean, geez.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
“Sometimes I don’t think those things are worth thinking about.”

The genocide began within the Hutu military. The soldiers and police encouraged the civilians to take part in the killings. Participants were given incentives, in the form of money, food, or land, to kill the Tutsis. The massacres were carried out mainly with machetes. People died horribly.

“Lawrence utilises the two male characters in Lady Chatterley’s Lover to demonstrate man’s dichotomous nature, believing that full humanity is achieved when both the body and the spirit are in harmony. Clifford represents the intellectual husband whose impotence embodies the debilitating effects of a culture that values the spiritual or intellectual at the expense of the physical. Mellors, on the other hand, draws his energies from nature and physicality, mostly through sex. When Connie asks what he believes in, he replies, ‘I believe in being warm-hearted. I believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a warm heart’.”

Matilda put down her pen, and looked over at Lucy. “I don’t know how you do that.”
“How I do what?”
“Just not think about things. Before, when we were talking about Rwanda. You said, ‘sometimes I don’t think those things are worth thinking about’.”
“Yeah, I don’t. They make me too sad. I get all depressed and mopey. What’s the point of that? It doesn’t change anything.”
Matilda sighed, and looked out the window. The apartment across the way was lit up, they seemed to be having a party. She could hear a very out of tune rendition of ‘Shallow’ being sung. They seemed to be having a good time. “Yeah, I get that. Ever since doing the readings, I feel like I’ve had this almost physical pain. My heart feels, I dunno, heavy. But I don’t know. It feels important too. This is the world we live in. I don’t think we can just plead ignorance. It’s how people get away with literal genocide, people burying their heads in the sand. I’m currently writing an essay on the symbolism of the phallus in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It just all seems so trivial.”

But I still keep on coming back to the yellow.

I like it but I don’t know why,
and someone once said a similar thing about me.
Nothing perfectly matched,
everything on a whim.
“You don’t follow conventions, I’ve always admired that about you.”
All I’ve ever wanted was to be like everyone else.

It’s pencil on paint,
childhood tools in an adult world.
Her mouth is smudged,
not fully formed, not fully finished.
It reminds me of my own,
or maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

I think I can see a face,
an eye, a nose.
But I’m no longer sure what is up and what is down,
where the ocean ends and the sky begins.
It’s pink and it’s red and it’s blue and it’s green.
Mum always told me it’s the hope for things unseen.

There is sunshine in the middle,
but it’s surrounded by confusion,
red and brown and black.
Is organised mess still mess?
I know exactly in which nook my favourite shirt is,
even though you can’t see the floor in my room.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
but sometimes you’ve got to really squint to see it.
If I squint,
I see a woman.
With my eyes wide open,
it’s just a mess of colours, shapes, texture.

7. But it’s not the same without you here.

1. I walk into the room.

2. It’s the same as it’s always been.

3. I sit in the same chair, in the same position, facing away from the door because of a weird personality quirk.

4. I look around and see a lot of familiar faces. We nod and smile. Recognition. Camaraderie.

5. We are all here for different versions of the same reasons.

6. And there’s a comfort in that.

Ibuprofen is used to reduce fever and treat inflammation but it’s not helping me come to terms with the fact that the Sun has a diameter of 1,392,684 kms but that distance feels smaller than the space between us. An appointment between the hours of 11 and 3 in Building 17 can provide personal support for students experiencing difficulty but I don’t know if that includes unrequited love.

I don’t have a history of blood clots or strokes but my heart hurts in a way I didn’t think it was supposed to.

One million earths could fit inside the sun and I wonder if on any of those earths I’d get to be with you?

this is about Jay Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby is a novel about trying to emulate the past by recreating the exact environment in which something happened and hoping it mimics itself precisely. Utilising nostalgia to recreate the simpler times.
Except your childhood wasn’t exactly that simple and your parents were actually struggling to make ends meet and were wondering if they could afford Christmas presents that year. And the boy you thought liked you back actually liked someone else and didn’t know how to break it to you, and the way the boys treated you at work wasn’t flattering but in hindsight a form of cruelty.
And no matter how many times you go over it you can’t figure out how you’re here, how you always end up here, alone on a Friday night, with nothing but a cup of tea and a dog-eared romance novel by your elbow.
And no matter how you try to change deep down unfortunately you’re still you and there must be something about you that no amount of mascara or hair twirls can change; it’s still been five years since you’ve been on a date and it’s a thought that will always haunt you after the third wine.
Jay Gatsby was chasing a thing in his past that was better than his future but still not everything he ever wanted, and it makes you sad when people say they don’t like the novel because they have what you don’t.

do you realise?

The Flaming Lips have a song called “Do You Realize?”, and the second half of the chorus goes:
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

The sun has always fascinated me. I’ve seen my share of sunrises. Posted them on the internet too, so I’m sure this is no surprise. And there’s all sorts of facts that I’m sure we learnt in Year Three or something but then never rehashed and have since fallen out of brain, which seems to store strictly useless information such as my old job’s ABN (99 155 674 990 – when will I ever need to use this again?). But the sun can lose its … awe-inspiring capabilities.

It’s made the mistake of rising every day. It’s reliable, consistent. It’s risen every day for a fair couple of years. Risen, set, risen, set. But the other day the Flaming Lips’ song popped into my head: the sun don’t go down; it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round. And it made me stop and think for a moment, we use those terms, rise and set, as it’s they’re the best description, but it’s not like that at all is. Then the very next day I was ‘lucky’ enough to see the sunrise, and a thought occurred to me.

When you stop thinking of the sun as the sun, but as what it is but less commonly referred to – a star – it changes your whole perspective. When it’s early in the morning and it’s first started to rise, all big and orange in that illusory way and you can still look right at it, you’re in fact looking at the very surface of the star.

The Earth, spinning at nearly 1600/km as an hour, has rotated to the point where you can now see, about 150 million kms away, the surface of our closest star. The same star who has a diameter 1.4 million kms, in which 1 million earths could fit.

The Sun is travelling at 220km/second around the Milky Way, of which one orbit is approximated to take between 225-250 million years. Around that spinning star is us, spinning at our own 444.4km/second.

And every day we get to stand on the edge and watch that star come into view, and for a few seconds stare at its very surface.

sun facts: https://theplanets.org/the-sun/

this ones for the girls.

Growing up I was one of those annoying girls who would say stupid shit like, “I prefer being friends with boys. They’re so much less complicated.” I would throw my fellow females under the bus in order to feel like I was different. You know. Not like other girls.
But over the years I’ve learnt how stupid that is, and how wrong I was. How freaking necessary each of my female friendships are to my sanity. How no matter how much I need to impress dudes cause of my weird father issues, the girls in my life will be there for me, to tell me in no uncertain terms how ridiculously stupid I’m being.
Because, firstly, dudes are as much dramatic as girls. I love y’all, but your egos are just such a thing to be considered it’s a wild time. And while I know that’s a hugely sweeping statement, I don’t mean it in a negative way. The self-confidence that can come from being a man is something I truly envy. And I’m not saying it to put you down. I’m saying it purely to put you on an equal footing with “dramatic” females.
Secondly, females are bloody wonderful things. All the friendships I have with them are the most beautiful things. Which is obvious, because why wouldn’t they be. This is more just me, going publicly on the record, making amends for my youthful stupidity.
Female friendships are just freaking everything. And maybe being raised in a house where, of the 6 of us, 4 were girls, that I originally took it for granted. But ever since I moved out of home, some three years ago, I’ve realised how important they are, and how absolutely 12/10 it is when you get an especially banger one.
Because living with girls is cups of tea around the table gossiping about boys. It’s knocking on their door for outfit advice, which shoe goes best, should I play up my eyes or my lips, cause obviously it can’t be both. It’s them understanding that PMS is a very very real thing and should not ever be mocked. Do you have enough drugs, do you want a hot water bottle. Honey, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s supermarket runs to get either black forest chocolate or those 4 pack of crunchies for a pound (iconic).
But it’s also text messages of “are you okay? you seemed off. let me know if there’s I can do? x”. It’s picking up on the subtleties, the sighs or the off-kilter laugh. Long talks in the night about why life isn’t going to plan, or why the boy you like might not like you back, but that’s okay. It’s being bellyflopped onto to be given a bearhug of affection.
I’ve lived in a girls-only share house for 2.5 years, broken up by a stint in flat of 13 but where I lived in a girls only hallway and made super close friends with three of them. It’s living in the same room as my sisters for nearly 17yrs, and still being able to message them asking if I can borrow a dress for a wedding.
And I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’m blessed to call a lot of dudes good mates. Heck, I’m open-minded enough to even have some as my best mates. And their friendship is something I’m so grateful for. Their kindness and wisdom and what can be incredibly annoying logic and pragmatism is truly brill.
But this here is for the girls. For Sarah. For Kath. For Amelia and Elle. For Frankie, Anna and Ellie. For Siahna and Bell and Mum. For Rach and Hannah and Mel. If I keep listing all the females I know and love on here I’ll never get back to watching Riverdale.
But this is for all the women who I’m lucky enough to share my existence with. Dumping all my stupid boy drama on. RIP to you guys who have had to keep up with my crushes, I rotate on a near weekly basis even I can’t keep up. For letting me know which top goes best with this skirt, and yes definitely wear the boots, comfort is king. But for also telling me to believe in myself, that ‘treat em mean, keep em keen’ probably isn’t the best basis for affection. For putting up with my stress and sitting right there next to me with a beer in hand. For learning how I take my tea, and making it without having been asked. For genuinely making me feel loved and cared for and lucky to be one of the gang.
In my own semi-tipsy words I found in my notebook: I love boys. Everyone knows that. But girls are to die for. Female friendships are such an epic part of my life. And I know that I’ve been especially blessed with my mates of the wombal variety. They’re my favourite and I love them so very much.
So this ones for the girls x

guys. we got to be better

Australia is a beautiful freaking country. We’re bloody lucky. The fact that this beach is a 5min drive away and I only went to it because the beach a block and a half away would be busy kinda speaks for itself. But with Aus’s current state I am only ever nationalistic when it comes to sport, and even then it’s backing the socceroos as far as the prelims and shaking our fists at a piece of sticky tape or whatever the hell it was. There’s so much about Australia that I love. The beaches. The nodding of hello as you pass someone on a walk. How we only ever talk about the weather. It really has been a scorcher though. But when it’s cold we complain that we want it hit again. How’s it going and good thanks mate yourself and not too shabby mate well you have a good one yeah cheers you too.

But the day that’s been elected for us to celebrate everything that’s good about this country (Bunnings’ snags, need I say more) is shameful. This is a sad day for the history of this country. This is the day that, for better or worse, whatever your opinion on colonialism and what our country has turned into, foreigners arrived on a beach, proclaimed the land to be theirs, and took it from the natives, the Aboriginal people.

This land is their land. It was taken from them, and then compounded by atrocities and political policies that are a genuine embarrassment to humanity. They were treated appalling, nearly wiped out, and now live as a disadvantaged society.

And the day we chose to celebrate Australia is the day it all began.

So, could we finally get our bloody act together and change the freaking date.

Until that point the 26th of January will just be another day. One not to be celebrated. But to hang our head.

We can be proud to be Aussies. But it’s not today.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Dharawal people, and pay my respects to elders past and present.

time is a funny thing.

    I’m sitting in bed with what I’m sure is the beginning of freshers flu and mulling over the concept of time. Time is a funny thing. Bending and stretching and twisting. It has only been a week since I arrived on campus at Lancaster Uni, but it simultaneously has been the fastest and most forever week in my life.
    It’s a funny experience that. And looking back. Just over a week ago I knew no-one here. I was worried I’d make little-to-no friends. But now i have Grace and Hannah and Lydia and Lily and Ben and Freddie and Cole and Rich and Harrison and Alex and James and Tom and Michael and Vazz. I have my flat, Flat 8 – Ellie and Anna and Frankie and Em and Lucy and Will and the rest. The reps and the JCRs and pretty much the rest of Bowland. Not to mention the hundreds of drunk girls I’ve made friends with in various bathrooms. From getting-to-know-you drinking games to sweaty nights out to movie nights in with everyone’s legs playing a game of Jenga on the coffee table.
    It’s beautiful and lovely and almost terrifyingly serendipitous. The speed at which you can get to know people. A year can go by and you can barely get to know someone. A week goes by and you feel like you’ve known each other for yonks.
    It’s fickle and it’s gorgeous and it makes you realise all the seemingly small things that have brought you to this.

a long metaphor with no real payoff.

People will sometimes ask why you haven’t written in a while. They’ve been keeping an eye on your website they’ll say. Writer’s block? they’ll ask. Like it’s that simple.

Sometimes.
Sometimes it’s just too sad.
Sometimes it hurts too much.

To write is to think and feel openly. To bleed openly. Like galleries where you can walk through and look at the artworks one by one. Examining them for meaning. To read into the use of the colour blue. To write is to try and use varying combinations of just twenty-six different letters to describe human emotion and experience.

Sometimes to write is to throw everything you have onto a wall hoping that something will stick for you to throw a frame around and say tada. Throwing everything you have in a series of different ways trying to eloquently put into words:
I am spent. This is all of me.

And after a while all the pictures in the gallery start to look the same. You can’t see, you can’t feel, any growth. Just the same story, the same questions asked in every way. And it breaks you. It breaks you in a way you wonder can ever be fixed.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. I have no epiphanic answers. No closing statements that tie together metaphors to bring a succint ending. Again I have what feels alot like nothing. A piece that is about not writing pieces. Like florals in spring, groundbreaking.

I don’t know.
Maybe a piece about nothing is better than nothing at all. At least it’s still writing. Right?