It’s Not All Roses, I’m Afraid.

bare-rooted
Bare-rooted roses, ready to be planted.

In the wake of this past weekend, I’d already started writing this post when I read this post by Mel over at Inkblot Kingdoms. Her writing is beautiful, and tender, and personal, with less sharp edges than mine.

The past few days, I’ve been lying low. Appalled by the outcome of the British referendum, and for those who did not choose that; and equally appalled by the fear and hate mongering that has gathered so much momentum throughout the world.

We have our own election here this Saturday – and I suspect there will be a return to more of the same right-wing bastardry. Although the major parties here are as bad as one another. We have a compulsory vote in this country, and therefore Australia truly gets the government it deserves. A statement I consider quite damning when I look at our human rights record, (we stick our refugees in camps where they languish for years under the most horrific conditions); and our environmental destruction, (Great Barrier Reef – just google that one). And there’s our gutting of health and education. Our loony-toon, flat-earthist politicians, who are laughing-stocks amongst the laughing-stocks, (lookin’ at you, UN).

I notice how so many of us on the interwebs hold ourselves so carefully. Minding our words, and our tongues, we focus on loving kindness amidst all the hatred, and outright ignorance. Kindness, love – these are crucial, oui? So crucial.

But that doesn’t mean passivity. There is also fierce love. We can’t conflate passion, a natural anger, and fierce caring with all that hatred and bigotry. There’s a danger of becoming voiceless in its wake. De-clawed, in order to satisfy that particularly genteel tyranny that the rainbow unicorns demand. Because to many now, there doesn’t seem to be any difference between hatred and anger, between fear and fierceness.

Yet if we look at the past, (it’s easier to see things more clearly from a distance, hey?), if we look at history, the patterns are there, and they’re being repeated. And they are disturbing. Complacency, fear, denial, insular thinking. These breed conditions for darkness.

Amongst the peace-love-and-rainbows crowd, the driving force can seem as fearful and denying, as it is loving. The fear of being “unloving”, seems to mean that there’s not a lot of speaking out.

It can be so tempting, and so easy to hide away, (it is for me, anyway) in our carefully woven strongholds of beauty and safety. But it can be potentially paralysing too. It keeps us where the fear-mongers want us to remain. In denial, disconnected, and cocooned within a dangerous bubble of our own making. We can start to believe that it’s all far from here. And how I would love it to be. But of course, that’s simply not the world now. We are all interconnected.

At Rapunzel’s, our lives, our work, our everyday conversations, are quite politically focused (my 14 year old daughter does not need to google “what is the EU?”. Ffs). It’s a big part of who I am, even though I express that in other environments, rather than online. I don’t often write about any of that here. Because, gardens and roses.

And for me, fiction often feels like a safer place to write about dangerous ideas; as well as personal things, which can also feel dangerous. Unless you disguise them as something else.

Anyway, the Bloke and I sat together over the weekend, and talked about just how nutty things are. The exploitation of fear, of old class wounds, (oh, they jump on that one, and then sit back and watch whilst the poor only get poorer).

The world has gone mad. Let’s face it. It’s time to stick my head up above the parapet, rather than stay safe scattering rainbows and planting roses. We need rainbows, (and I’ve sure needed roses). Rainbows and roses are one version of love, a gentle, fey version. But they’re not the only one. We need fierce love too. We need the Light Warriors who perform their own unique magic, scattering light where there is darkness. Energising and healing. We need the healers more than ever. And we need fierce Creators – artists and activists.

The rest of us need our voices, not whispering or wavering, and not apologetic, with that particularly feminine fear of “offending”. And too often, we wait until there’s a critical mass, a comfortable majority, before it’s deemed safe for us to hitch a ride on the same wave, and express an opinion. The same opinion, couched in the language of the zeitgist.

Why does it feel so dangerous to speak up? Why do we risk such harsh judgements about who we are, our intentions, and what’s in our hearts? Why are passionate, yet loving opinions so often accompanied by fervent apologies for being so? As though they are a terrible interruption to our normal anaesthetised programming?*

Probably because we fear exclusion and rejection now more than ever. Because the world feels like a colder, more fearful place than ever. Also, because trolls abound and are repulsive to encounter, (although they are ultimately sad, ineffectual things and should never dictate the terms of our presence). And in this climate, conformity can be a refuge. But it is a costly one, perhaps.

Because in the mean time, the voices of hate have hijacked this gig. We cringe at their overweening confidence, when they have little, if any, rational basis upon which to support their assertions. Those of us versed in history likewise cringe and rail against it all when we see these histories being repeated, but what do we do?

What do I do?

Do we allow those voices to decide things? Because we choose to be civilised and polite? Because like me, we just want to go and plant some roses, and play with herbs, and write novels, and love our loved ones, because that’s the best way we know how to love? Because we desperately don’t want to add to the fear and the hatred? Because it’s all we’ve got, and our hands are empty?

Perhaps though, we underestimate the power that we hold, and our intentions. Our voices, our votes, and also our power as consumers.

What are our responsibilities? What are my responsibilities? I know I’m not responsible for the feelings of others, (even though I have often put them first), and that my opinions should not carry a trigger warning or an apology. I also know that my most important responsibility is to my child, to her generation, and generations coming after that. They are the ones who have to live with the decisions I make now. So I have to carry the weight of all that I don’t say and do, with that in mind, as well.

What I will keep saying, and despite everything, what I will continue to believe is this: there’s more that unites us than divides us. We can’t afford to scurry down our hobbit holes, or build fortresses to keep others out at this point. There’s simply too much at stake.

I’m off to plant some roses. And on Saturday, I will make my tiny vote count as best I can. And I will send love, and light, and roses. I’m just not rainbow-y enough to send out rainbows. They’d come out all wrong, and look more like lightning bolts – sharp and fiery, and arriving in a storm. I’ll leave the rainbows to the gentle rain-makers. And I’ll thank them for their work. I have my own work to do.

And I’ll not remain silent.

Love and warm wishes to you. xx

 

* As though the Insta aesthetic we are presented with, the magazine, airbrushed hyperreal, is life and reality, rather than merely a prettier facsimile of it.

12 thoughts on “It’s Not All Roses, I’m Afraid.

  1. We do not speak our mind, because of the *Unwritten Rule* of; “People do not come to blog land, to be upset.” >,-)))

    But sometimes, we just can’t muzzle ourselves. I so understand.

    I am on the “other side,” from you. Or so it seems. 🙂 Where you see “Don’t ruffle feathers,” from your opposite view side… I am bombarded by all consuming “Political Correctness” from my opposite view side.

    Where you see Hate, as the reason for your opposite side view… I see Naivety, as the reason for my opposite side view…

    I am for secure borders. Because, those who hate our way of life, who hate anything which does not comply with their way of life…. They have told us, that they are using migration, to infiltrate. They-have-told-us.

    As they have told us, that they declare war on our way of life. Years ago, they declared war on us. War on all we, who choose freedom of life and religion. How can we not listen, when they tell us??

    As to the origin of all of this… I have no, no, no answer. Post 9/11, I make it my quest, to read as much as I could, about this Issue. (What words do we use, for such???) And I read and read and read, until I came to the conclusion, that the roots went back too far, and were too deeply ingrained, and too awful, to ever be solved. -sigh-

    So, where is a *Solomon*? To right all wrongs, and sift through all past decisions made, and smooth out the world future? -chuckle- As if… As if… Humans don’t produce *Solomons*. They make good stories, in old books, but ……

    Whatever “side” we may be on, I love you, Dear One. I intend to keep loving you, and reading you. And wishing us both, as much peace of mind, as is possible.

    Gentle hugs,
    Tessa

    Like

    1. Tessa, yes, I do think we shall have to respectfully disagree.

      I don’t see it as an us and them, a polarising debate. I do think we need to be so cautious about constructing an easily identifiable enemy Other, which causes further alienation and divisiveness. Many problems are now home-grown, especially if nearly anyone can go and obtain an automatic weapon as easily as they can an icecream. Western powers, (including my own country) aggressively invade the Middle East in a quest to grab oil, yet these wars are thinly disguised as ideological crusades, to deliver us from evil. Thousands of children are murdered, or if they survive, raised in war zones. More fear, more hatred.

      I must say, though, my views are not born of naivete. It’s my job to not be naive. My work demands that I look beyond mainstream media outlets and political mouthpieces at other data, and to analyse and disseminate; seek to identify and understand history, as well as current geo-political patterns and movements. So often we can identify a clear pattern where fear = contraction & protectionism, (including the need to identify an enemy Other or scapegoat) = isolation = increased vulnerability economically, socially, as well as (ironically) militarily.

      But…it’s too easy for me to go on here about a subject in which I’m passionately interested and care about deeply.
      Warm wishes to you Tessa. xx

      Like

  2. I came to find your writings by way of Tessa and look forward to reading your words no matter the subject du jour. I must admit I was sorely uninformed as to the Brexit issues and after reading your post today I had to do some reading on the subject. Just more of the same sad story or same story, different place. All this misery for the sake of power, money and greed. We need to open our eyes and stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated by people who do not have our best interests at heart but only themselves.
    Look forward to reading and seeing more from you and your idyllic mountain cottage.

    Like

    1. Hello Sherry – you’re very welcome here. I’m a bit late in posting my replies to your comments as yesterday got wildly busy : )

      I’m hoping Britain will resolve the current political and economic chaos quickly – they’re a resilient lot. And in some ways it’s affirmed my belief in human beings and how much genuine care there is in the world, as much as the whole affair has also been deeply dismaying. xx

      Like

  3. all of the yeses!! all of them!!

    i’ve felt a bit like Chicken Little these last months, running around, trying to draw attention to the history-repeat that’s playing out…”don’t you see? don’t you see? it’s pre-WWII Europe all over again! Donald Trump is Hitler with worse hair”.

    and whether Trump gets in or not, matters little…what matters is that he – and those like him – have given voice to the seething underbelly of fear and hatred that’s been quietly festering away….the fires having been stoked by politicians with little or no concern for anyone or anything beyond corporate agendas and other loathsome beasts.

    my rainbows have much the same effect — sort of multi-coloured lightning bolts that inexplicably veer in the direction of unsuspecting, trout-lipped, persons who are momentarily distracted whilst arranging wildflowers against a white backdrop….possibly with a strategically-placed mug of cold coffee and a vintage rolling pin.

    ahem.

    :O

    love and fist-bumps — here’s to fierce love and an unapologetic bloody-mindedness! xoxo

    Like

    1. Yep. Hitler with worse hair. And definitely wot you say. I’m keeping a very close eye on it all – and at this point it’s starting to look unlikely that Trump will win. Clinton has a huge amount of money in her campaign coffers – more than Trump, and in this obscene, over-bloated circus, that seems to make all the difference. I s’pose you’ve heard the meme – if they don’t vote for Dolores Umbridge, they’ll get Voldemort.

      Heheheh…we’re the sistas of the rainbow lightning bolts!

      I kind of like that. I say let’s embrace the whole off-centeredness of it all!

      Love to you too, Mel xx

      Like

  4. this post pleases me immensely. IMMENSELY. i spend so much of my time—at home, among friends (because several of my friends have very different political opinions than i do), teaching yoga, amongst children, in writings, on social media—keeping my utterances polite, civil, and pretty neutral. inside i am daily seething at the ignorance and hate that has become so pervasive, and so LOUD and PROUD. it sickens me. it horrifies me. like mel above, i want to shake people and shout about the fucking terrifying resemblances between trump and hitler and the build-up to WW1 and the scape-goating of vulnerable fellow humans. i want to break things and i think very, very “un-yogic” thoughts about a good number of my fellow humans most days lately…but i don’t shake people, or shout, or break things. i keep myself focused on being gentle and loving because i truly believe that it is the most effective way to increase the sum total of gentility and love in the world. i try to heal people; it’s what i do. but often i feel the need to let my voice be counted in the greater world, as a droplet of water in the clouds that would like to rain on the fires of hatred…

    i’ve raised my daughter to be what i would call fiercely compassionate. i’m possibly more proud of this than of anything else i’ve done. she doesn’t think of people who are different from her as ‘other’ or lesser, and she does everything she can to advocate for human rights and equality and environmental responsibility. (no one in my household would need to google “what’s the EU?” either…) my political votes, my consumer votes, my parenting, my yoga teaching etc, my energy all go toward doing what i can to contribute to a more just, sustainable, and kinder world; but most days it feels like little enough. but when i look at my daughter and her passionate caring and activism, i am slightly consoled. but so many of her peers are apathetic, though, and their education has been so poor, that they are vulnerable to manipulation by the shrieking voices of hate. will the handful of children who care be enough to carry on after we fail, or pass away? are they numerous enough, strong enough to create that kinder world?

    no answers. and it doesn’t matter—it wouldn’t change how i act or how my daughter acts. and there are times when i hear a line of poetry in my head from “i sing of olaf, glad and big”: “who loud and ceaseless did repeat/ there is some shit i will not eat…”

    bless you for your caring, your rose-planting, parenting, voting, and for speaking your mind.

    Like

    1. Lovely NFS. Yes. It’s such a tricky line to negotiate isn’t it? Polite yet passionate. I’m often wary of beating anyone over the head with my opinions, but there are also times I have to make it clear where my lines are drawn. And in the environments I move in, I have to be carefully bipartisan, (which at heart I am anyway – I have no affiliations or sympathies with any of the major political parties of this country. Just a whole lot of disenchantment).

      I actually love it when the younger generations around me take the floor on these matters, and I’m so heartened to see how they configure things. How their lens is just so much more…holographic (eeek! wary of that word, but for want of a better one) than the dualistic thinking of generations that have come before them. I have so much tenderness, and awe, and faith in them. And they are severely misunderstood a lot of the time, even though they are probably more equipped than we are to find creative solutions to some very big problems they’ve inherited.

      You daughter just sounds amazing, and that gives me heart too. Compassion needs to be fierce – it’s one of its qualities. To witness that alive in the world is to see love and action alive and well.

      Love to you. xx

      Like

  5. I’m so glad you wrote this. God knows I’ve written a similar post myself, over and over – and not had the courage after all to publish it. I actually feel that many times the focus on love and beauty in the face of awfulness can unwittingly collude with that awfulness. Its a way of hiding, and if so many good people hide, don’t speak because they’re scared … well, we know what happens then *cough* Germany *cough*. But it does take courage. I’m glad you had it. Such a wonderful, important post.

    Like

    1. Thankyou Sarah. I’m so wary of soapboxes and tedium. But there’s times it just needs to get out, and maybe others can also feel somehow…less alone.

      And yes, when good people hide, (and fear is so understandable), it can have tragic consequences. It’s already the case here in Australia. Refugee camps that are so incomprehensibly abusive and horrific towards their inmates, that children are trying to kill themselves. A small handful of people try to change it, but as a nation, we’ve let them down, shamefully.

      Warm wishes to you. xx

      Like

  6. Antoinette, thank you for your bravery and honesty. I’m not sure I’d have the courage to write a blog post with all I’m feeling in it. Your comments reflect mine, and I am utterly miserable at the thought of what might transpire this weekend, that hate, bigotry and big money will win again, the propaganda and lies will be believed. I don’t know whether it would have been reported in your neck of the woods, but what I would call a terrorist act (though there will by many who try to excuse it) was committed in the suburb my parents live in, here in WA. Coming so close on the heels of Brexit and the appalling outbursts of hate and abuse that followed, I can only presume that it is linked, that what has happened in Britain is having a flow on effect here, emboldening bigoted, violent individuals to commit crimes. It saddens me that there will by many people in Australia who will somehow manage to excuse a car bomb attack (luckily on-one was hurt) against a muslim community as being an understandable and even legitimate response to fears about extremist terrorism. Fears that are sensationalised and amplified by vested interests to distract our attention away from the awful things they’re getting up to, like wilfully pursuing policies that exacerbate Climate Change, like stripping our civil liberties, like gutting the services that our most needy and vulnerable citizens need, like handing over our sovereign rights to multinationals, like locking up traumatised children in appalling conditions. I despair for my children’s future.

    Like

    1. Christina, all that you’ve said above – I’m in complete agreement. Including the flow-on here from the Brexit, which in so many ways impacts Australia. I hadn’t heard about that incident where you are, although I haven’t had time to check-in with regional events over the past 24 hours. The social cost is something that is so hard to quantify, but there is such a powerful ripple effect, and it does affect all of us. And now more than ever I really believe we need to be vigilant. It’s a benighted society that turns against its own in cruel and woefully misguided ways.

      And this: “Fears that are sensationalised and amplified by vested interests to distract our attention away from the awful things they’re getting up to…”
      Absolutely. A calculated move. Over and over. Neoliberalism in action.

      Thankyou for your comments, they are greatly appreciated. Warm wishes to you. xx

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s