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My only ever gratitude journal entry but it's important so let's get it over with

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 28th March, 2020. Fucking gratitude. For a long time I have thought the gratitude idea is naff. Normally naff things aren’t too bad – they can usually be ignored, or enjoyed. But this gratitude thing just came too close. Everyone was talking about it. Research has shown. Research has shown. What did it show? Gratitude is the key to happiness. That is what it showed. Be grateful. Make lists. It will fix everything. Through pain – be grateful. Try. Try harder. Be grateful. Why do I hate this? Because it's naff. And, like any lifehack for human suffering, it's not meaningless. It's dangerous. ***** Many of us from the leafier suburbs of the world know exactly what it's like to have our expressions of suffering repurposed as ingratitude.  I was fed messages, which I dutifully swallowed, about how much money and time was invested in my upbringing. On how much was spent on our house, on our various sailboats, on our holidays, on our schooling, on our exchange trips, on our u

If you're experiencing distress...

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  I’m watching ABC News. Again. If you’re experiencing distress, she says, call Lifeline . Barnaby Joyce has just been on. He’s saying “You can make any allegation against a politician and destroy their career. Look at what happened to me.” On Monday, the Minister for Home Affairs weighed in. He said he wasn’t going to bother with “he said/she said” details of rape allegations. If you’re experiencing distress. What about rage? What if I’m experiencing rage, burning in my belly, radiating out through my pores? It’s making me unable to sit still. It’s making me try to post supportive language, to see if anyone else is feeling this. Is it pain? Or is it just pure, unadulterated rage? I know I’m not the only one who can’t sleep this week. For the RAGE. ***** I come from a culture, one of wealth, education, taste and power. My best nod to intersectionality is to acknowledge that for what it is. Our stories get told. Many do not. My contemporaries have power, in Australia, b

Our bush idyll

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Tonight I found myself crying over a tea towel. I like tea towels. They remind me of grandmothers, tea and mercurochrome. If I purchase any souvenirs on my travels, it will usually be a tea towel. My favourite is from the Lakes Entrance Shell Museum, one of the finest establishments in this state, and the only place I know of which combines an extensive model train set with a large stuffed head of Marlin ( Lakes Entrance: evacuated, still a strong wind change from annihilation). This one is a jingoistic little flannel, printed in sepia tones with a heading in ye olde writing, “Aussie Bush Recipes”. There’s a recipe for “Drover’s Damper” (nobody ever calls it that), Pumpkin Scones, and Anzac Biscuits, as well as a sketch of a “typical bush oven” which looks oddly like a saucepan full of hot coals. And in the top corner, it is printed with the town in which it was purchased: Cann River, Victoria. I bought the tea towel at Easter this year. The kids and I had just emerg

Screw you and your bootlegs too

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It’s time for a rant, kids. Strap yourselves in so  the dash stops beeping. So today I walked into a little boutique because I saw a pair of amazing dusky pink corduroy cross-back overalls in the window and was dying to try a pair on. The largest size said “29”, which meant nothing to my untraveled eye, so I asked the shop assistant what size it was in my world. “12”, she said. “Do they make them any bigger?” I asked. “No, I don’t think so”, she said, “they don’t make things in larger sizes.” I refrained from gagging and asked if they had ANYTHING AT ALL in the shop larger than 29, and she said that they have some 30s, which is like a 12 and a half. So let me get this straight. They had so many sizes they did a 12 and a half. But there was no 16 or 18 to be seen. And apparently nor would there ever be. I should say, this wasn’t the first shop. It was the third this week. Naturally, I wanted to tell them all to GF themselves. I wanted to grab them by the collar, look the

r we ok?

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What surprises me every time I go through this is that I didn’t see it coming. There were physical signs. Since Easter I’ve had a feeling in my ribs - a sinking in my sternum and dull pain in the centre that can’t be relieved, or stretched out. It feels like I’m walking around with a boot pressing on my chest. My joints have been hurting, my hips and back, my shoulders, my feet. I was waking up at night, and started catching every bug that came along. There were other signs too: last week I sat down to write a list, and ten minutes later realised I had been sitting motionless at the table, trying to think clearly. I sat down to edit a perfectly good paper that I’d written for work, decided I hated it, tried to fix it, made it more confusing, and then undid all my edits. I’m struggling to dress because I hate everything I own. I wear a lot of black to work right now, not because it represents my mood but because it’s so much easier to only have to choose earrings. Clea

Frogging Mohair

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I recently made up a knitting pattern. It’s a sequence that’s more tricky than it looks, but makes a loose diagonal rib, so the cherry red mohair blend sort of twists and snuggles as I lift it in my hand. I got the ball of yarn from the Yarn Barn, a misnomer (not a barn by any stretch of the imagination, compared to, say, Pet Barn) which happily indicates to me that the owners, who spin their own wools, were far more interested in the aesthetics than the cogency of the chosen title. It’s the first time I’ve made up a pattern, even though I’ve been knitting since I was young and knitting things for myself from my twenties. My then boyfriend would joke that I was actually a fifty year old in disguise – I liked listening to 3LO, knitting on trams and tending to pot plants. These are still my simple comforts, although it was easier to find time for them when I lived in one room at about sixty bucks a week, the internet was 28bps and I had little to do but essays and a bit of office

Someone’s daughter, someone’s son #2

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It’s Monday night and I’m travelling to Princes Park to cry for a girl I never knew. Today I talked to a colleague. “It’s all pretty sad”, he says. Like it was a storm, or an avalanche, that killed her. As I walked to Elizabeth Street, I could see the number 19 tram stops were overflowing. Instead, I took the train up to Jewell and am tramming back down. I know how, because this is my home, the north. My car is nearby at Mum’s house. She followed me and my sister here when Dad left her, when I was pregnant. Tonight, Mum has picked up my ten year old from Taekwondo, so I can go. Tonight, I am glad she does Taekwondo. I am glad she can run fast. I am glad she doesn’t take any shit, even from me. I am leaving behind my child so I can go to Princes Park to cry for someone else’s. On the tram, a couple are looking at their phones, wondering where to get off. I interject, with a small smile. “Third stop”, I say to them. “My friend just texted. It’s near the tennis club.”