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My entitled child..

I hope my daughter grows up entitled. I don’t mean the kind of entitled that comes with money. I mean the kind where she believes she can be whoever she wants to be. She can love whoever she wishes, she can look the way she wishes to, and she can fly her freak flag high, if that’s what she chooses. I’m married to a man. That man is her father. But we talk about how sometimes mummas love other mummas. And daddies can dig each other too. One of her best mates at daycare loves wearing tutus and princess dresses, and he looks supercute while he does.

 

She wants to marry her best girlfriend, and that’s cool too. So is being Elsa and turning the world to ice while she finds her prince. She met a little girl at the park the other day and was fascinated by her colour. I was nervous she might inadvertently say something wrong, but all she wanted to know was whether the girl had to wear sunscreen. Rors was jealous that her darker skin meant she might not burn so easy. Children aren’t born racist. That’s entirely learned.

My generation were mostly raised by parents who were raised in a time when being white and straight wasn’t only the best way to be, it was the law. Tolerating gay people was a choice, and not necessarily a popular one. Actually being one took tremendous courage and an acceptance that some people just wouldn’t ‘get’ you. That they would think you were Godless. Or immoral. Or sick. Or unfortunate. Or all of the above. And having a friend ‘of colour’ was kind of you.

But it isn’t fair to apply what the world is like today to what they were raised with and judge them accordingly. The earliest law decriminalising sodomy in Australia was in 1975. The act of love between two men could land you in jail. It was illegal. So it must be wrong, right? My view – that love is love and I don’t see how its anyone else’s business at all about who consenting adults choose to be intimate with, is only recently ok in the eyes of the law, popular culture and average citizens of the world. So I don’t think older people who are racist or homophobic are bad. They are wrong, but it is very difficult to rewire your brain after so many years of training.

I keep seeing people on the same side argue over the details. What is a feminist? Does that blogger go too far? Is it ok to say ‘gay marriage’ when you mean ‘same sex marriage’? Is it ok to dislike a person while supporting their opinion? Or love a racist? I don’t think the answers are black and white. But maybe that’s ok.

My opinion on your opinion. You may not like it…

Your opinion is probably right and no doubt well researched, comes from a deep well of experience and is just bursting out of you full of passion and certainty. Or it is wrong, borne out of ignorance and fear or sourced from the writings of people as misguided as yourself. Either way, it is needy for the ears and eyes of strangers, for the sage nods of recognition and the digital thumbs up that pass for agreement these days.

Here’s the thing. Whether you’re en pointe and bang on and pitching perfectly, or dangerously wrong and flailing about like Trump at a hastily called press conference, do feel free to stop adding your sanctimonious judgement to your opinion.

You check out your opinion in the mirror. It looks good on you. It hugs in all the right places. In the light you’re standing in, it makes you look a little taller, and accentuates all your best assets. But I tried it on after you left, and you said it looked great as you left, but it made me feel small. It didn’t take my history into account and I felt uncomfortable at how constricting it was around my throat. It just didn’t fit me, but it was so right on you.

Look, maybe I’m banging on with too many neat turns of phrase here. I just feel like there are too many instructions disguised as musings in the world. There are a thousand ways to be a good person, a good mum, a good boss, a good runner, a good human, a good Australian, a good TV star, a good dad, and good divorcee, a good consumer, a good Christian, a good gender equality advocate, a good whatever the hell you’re trying to be. It’s confusing these days. All the easy labels and definitions are gone. All the boundaries are shifting and we’re all trying to figure out how to be happy (or at least not miserable) and not be an arsehole. At least, those are my main goals. Again, they may not be yours, and there I go telling you what should be toppermost of your poppermost.

It’s the difference between ‘this is my experience of raising a child’ and ‘all good parents do XYZ’, between ‘If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t choose to use my beauty to promote my sport’ and ‘that man/woman is not empowered because they’re in a tight outfit’. It’s ‘I got through my anxiety by doing the following’ and ‘you’re weak if you choose medication/ meditation/whatever..’.

Don’t get me wrong. Please have an opinion. And please put it in front of me, particularly if it’s different to mine. Please disagree with me and show me facts I didn’t know, or may have misinterpreted. Please tell me what is going on in your head, what you’ve discovered, or are figuring out, and why you think you might be on track or lost in the dark. There’s one women’s site I’m thinking of as I write that does this so much it makes my teeth ache. It will tell the story of an event in the lives of some humans and break down how right, wrong, significant or trivial those experiences are and why that is so. Is it the way writing is heading? Is it important to draw a conclusion, a moral imperative, before you sign off? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m wrong…

 

Gigs from May to August 2016

You can hear me on air on 612 ABC Brisbane for Weekends until July 3. Brisbane only 6am – 10am Saturdays and state wide Saturdays and Sundays 10am to midday. Listen live here or listen back to the best stories on Soundcloud here.

Saturday May 21 MC Open Mic Night @ Embassy Craft Beer Bar

Thursday May 26 Ballina RSL headline

Wednesday June 8 feature Witty Wednesday Bracken Ridge Tavern

Friday June 17 Alex Hills High Fundraiser

Saturday June 18 – Calamvale Hotel Feature

Sunday June 19 – Stones Corner open Mic MC

Thursday June 23 Hamilton Hotel open mic MC

Saturday June 25 – Alex Hills Hotel Feature

Friday- Saturday June 30/ July 1 Sit Down (Paddo) MC

Saturday July 9 Swiss Hockey Fundraiser

Thursday – Saturday July 21/22/23 – Sit Down (Paddo) Headline

 

Right, 2015. Your turn.

2014 has been a tricky old beast. Planes keep falling out of unsuspecting skies, one unhinged lunatic makes Australia feel the spiky fear of terrorism and the acid aftertaste of xenophobia, Ebola gets mobile, Robin Williams takes this own life and we all try chia seeds to make it all feel better. All the good news gets a little lost in the more primal morass of loss, war and death. But good things did happen in 2014. Really good things. A Colorado man made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory  when he became the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two of the Laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs. Simply, he made both his new arms move by thinking about moving them. An Ohio teen took his great grandmother to the prom because she was far too poor to go to such a thing when she was young. Couples who fought through multiple miscarriages finally made their miracle children. People who should be dead from cancer are still with us. 

I’m not here to give you a modern history lesson. I’m just saying, globally, we had our highs and lows. And my year failed to buck that trend. I ran over my 20 year old cat on the way to a gig and still had to do the gig with the image of her final moments on a loop in my head. I’ve been ill more than I’ve been well and spent quite a deal of time and money getting my physical and mental health on track. I didn’t get the job I’ve long dreamed of and worked my ass off to earn. But I’ve also spent the year getting to know my daughter. She was a cute baby, but she’s an astonishingly awesome little girl. She’s funny, she’s crazy smart, just plain crazy and now looks me in the eye and says “I love you very much, Mumma”. Those exact words. With those meltingly beautiful hazel eyes. And followed by a “big huge cuddle”. I’ve had some great words said directly at my eyes before. “You got the gig”, “its not thyroid cancer”, “your mum and dad will both make it out of this awful day alive”, “I do”. But nothing prepared me for the incredible lightness of her love. And falling more in love with her daddy as I see him through her eyes.

My closest friends saw me laid completely low. And they still love me. I went back to sea for the first time since Rorsa was born. My beautiful husband has had his livelihood challenged, and his heart bruised.  I’m just hoping 2015 is a little less mercurial for all of us. And that I have the strength to be clearer in what I need from the people in my life, and what I can’t and won’t accept. I’ve never been good at that. It’s equal parts not wanting to hurt them, and garden variety cowardice, I think.  But it isn’t serving me well. I hope all the promises I’ve made myself about listening better, running more and stressing less come to fruition. That I do well in my new course, that I get to teach more lovely students this year, that my Rors and her dad stay healthy and happy and that a new kitty might be in our futures would all be tops. Of course, an end to the fighting in the Middle East, no planes falling out of the sky, less bigotry and fear mongering in my beloved Australia and a good year for all the people I love would be good too.

Love. Davidson Style.

It’s my wedding anniversary today. Nine years married, fourteen together with the handsome and gracious Stewart “Stav” Davidson. That’s how we say it when asked -“fourteen together, nine married” – we think the first five years count as much as the ones we spent wearing each other’s rings.

He’s awesome. Actually properly awe inspiring. Funny, sweet, charming, crazy smart and loving. He loves Rori and I with a purity and a selflessness that only the best humans are capable of, and grants Rori the best possible gift a father can give his daughter  -an example of the type of man worthy of her love if she chooses men when she’s much much older and ready to make that call. Much older.

When we met, he was 22 and I was 23. I had just come back from Canada with a broken heart, some nasty emotional scars and a firm intention to stay the hell away from men for the foreseeable future.  He had just sworn a vow of chastity. But he walked into a party at 123 Jubilee and I was lost. He was, I think, mildly alarmed by the six foot tall, long black coat clad goth who turned her kohl lined eyes to him. Alarmed. But blessedly intrigued.

Neither of us were keen on marriage. And yet we knew, after three or so years together, that we wanted to be married. Our then six year old cat Melora was proudly represented on the wedding cake sitting sagely at our feet, and still resides in all of the warm places we’d like to sit in our house. We didn’t want kids either, but Rori called to us from the ethereal baby waiting room with all her might, and we were helpless to resist. Turns out she’s that sure about everything she wants. And as unafraid to make her wishes known.

My brother Chris read a poem at our wedding that said you choose your partner, and keep choosing them every day. Something about remembering that you love them even when you’re angry and that you’re in this together. I can’t remember anything else about the poem, but I do remember Stav’s vows that day mentioned alien invasion and said I was the Scully to his Mulder, the Marge to his Homer. I said he was my safe place. Now he’s Rori’s too. Us Davidson girls have done well there.