Hump’dee #1 – Letter to my desperate friend

It’s Wednesday, Hump Day. It’s all down hill from now on. But you’ve had enough. Enough of people. Enough of work. Or even of not working. Enough of the government. You need a hump’dee poem.

Here’s Hump’dee Poem #1 That friend you love, that you are there for, for every breakup. A poem for them. Because at the end of the day, there are a lot of assholes out there. #badpoetry#midweek#humpday#baddates

Transcript:

Letter to my younger, desperate and very heterosexual friend

Always icky when you’re in love

You’re floating like a butterfly

But trust me to wonder why

We use stinky birds like doves

To describe peace and love

Cause everyone knows it

That feeling of bird shit

On your head from the sky

Suddenly falling from high

I suppose that’s a bit like

New loves dopamine spike

Maybe in reverse

I’m being perverse

I’m being a cynic

That’s not like me is it

Stop cheeky grinning

In love you’re winning

For now – Oh wow

I’ll need to keep in check

Later when you’re a wreck

My inner goblin like glee

Cause I love being free

Finding other dopamine

Sorry? You think me mean

History repeating I’ve seen

Now don’t make a scene

You asked my opinion true!

You made me promise you!

Before you get screwed!

Please don’t come unglued!

Your first date was a mess

You came to me to confess

But they had love to bomb

And you thought me wrong

When I sang the old song

About red flags and shit

And you never listen you twit

And then you rage at me

I wait for later apologies

Undoubtedly they come

As the creep comes undone

Here’s the thing my friend

I’ll be with you at the end

And together we’ll talk shit

All about this monstrous fuckwit

And then I know you’ll start to feel better

And write your 16 year old self another  f’n letter

And I will secretly hope that next time

You’ll boot them at the very very first sign

Truth is I love you, my desperate friend

Enough to be there at each shitty loves end

I’ll be your talking post until you uncover

That love of yourself and the perfect lover

Binary (Valentine’s) Busting #2 – Love vs. Loneliness

I am delighted to say I know a whole of happily married folk, who don’t need to make marriage the entire focus of their lives, it is an enriching element of their lives. I’ve been to some wonderful weddings.

But then there are always, those weddings and those couples who once lived inside an actual fairytale and now it ain’t healthy and today is their day, dammit.

So I suppose today, the most commercial celebration of love, is as good a day as ever to post my cultural cynicism! Welcome to the gory 14th of February! When celebrating beheadings and martyrdom and the oppression of pagan peoples is converted into flowers, declarations of love and the day of the year the most people get engaged to marry! Even some young folk believe in this!

One thing in the hell of 2020 that stood out for me, from the depths of two lockdowns was how desperately some cling to the ideal of romantic love; and just how weird that feels for me, as an asexual person. And also someone whose been happily single for 16 years, with the odd pause for vain attempts at otherwise, I’ve never been happier without any romance for the last 6 of those years.

And news flash, I am not the slightest bit lonely. I have bucket loads of love in my life. It’s just not the desperate kind. By desperate kind, I mean capitalist romantic headfuck that dominates the covers of women’s magazines (still! wtf!).

There seems to be a persuasive cultural conflation between romance and love. Because romance (infatuation, lust, coveting etc. etc.) is quite different to love. Can we stop smashing the two words together into “romantic love”? Have you not noticed the contradiction yet? Valentines Day is the epitome of this; a day of drowning in fake sentiment and once a year efforts from the typically disinterested.

I need to stress that I love celebrating when others celebrate. Be it a marriage, a birth, a promotion. Fuck it, the world can be so dark, I want to celebrate with you and to do that I don’t have to agree with you on the merits of the institution of marriage or the romantic ideals often associated with it. I experienced my fair share of pain during the plebiscite, I fought for the right to marry for my community, but just don’t tie me to the idea that marriage is good for everyone.

But…recent experience prompts me to say…to those addicted to romance, please resist the urge to make your happily long term single friends your own personal projects in the name of love.

Love encompasses self-love, love for humanity and the planet, love for friendships, love for ideas, love for each other. But in 2020 I lost a handful of friendships, because I prioritized my own self love over other people’s needs to use my home and my life as dumping ground for their relationship problems. Because I was single I was expected to play counsellor, savior and provide haven to people in the name of love. There was also a kind of manipulation in there that because I have a history in a profession that fights for the victims of domestic and family violence, that I was expected to be a trauma dumping ground. When I resisted and tried to protect my own safety and wellbeing, and recommend they use official supports, I suddenly became the enemy of ‘love’. There are ways to be actively supporting someone without handing them your safety as well or retriggering your own trauma. People help each other through trauma in our private lives, and I’ve certainly done that for many, but like the unrealistic expectation that love solves it all, helping and loving others should not be overly dangerous to your own well-being.

Trauma in our most intimate relationships can be a hellscape for our future relationships, both intimate and personal or it can be a learning ground, or let’s face it, a lot of both. But the experience brought home just how happy I am not shackled to romantic ideals and a number of my other long term single friends have expressed the same.

This maybe an yet another unpopular opinion, but I am a little bit tired of hearing about people having a “love of a lifetime”. And somehow, for some people, having the love of a lifetime seems to be code for putting up with more shit than Flash Gordon (including abuse).

Being in love with the idea of love to a point where you will give your identity away, is not love. Take it from someone who did it, as a young person desperately trying to be what was modeled to them. Then when I embraced my asexuality and stopped seeing myself as an anomaly, it was like the fairy godmother of relief had visited.

Sometimes, people say “you are so lovely, you deserve someone who loves you” to people like me; the irony of which is not lost on me as an out and proud asexual with no desire to be shackled in romantic conquest. I have quite a visceral response to this, and it almost makes me want to vomit.

I feel like asexual people are used like an insurance policy no one read the fine print on; people’s ‘sadness for us’ is the insurance that promotes their own scramble to be shackled to the nearest wild chemical attraction, then when it all falls apart we are the fine print that says “I told you so”.

The societal need to prove asexual people wrong is strong. But we don’t exist to make anyone feel better about their own sexual and romantic urges and particularly not when things go bad for them. People go out their way to involve us in their romances, weddings and romantic stories with such vigor it is as though it might be contagious and suddenly we might change. News flash, the short answer is no.

You can love each other however you like, but enough with the romance ruling your life to a point you are confusing it with abuse. Romance spawns reality TV and an ever burgeoning and expensive wedding and divorce industry, that isn’t about love, it’s about money and control of people’s bodies.

If you are like me and reject romantic ideas for broader ideas of love, then the idea of until death do us part, is well, akin to dying on the spot. Yet my parents did have a happily codependently romantic marriage that appeared to make them happy. Honestly I don’t begrudge anyone else who prioritizes this.

But kindly fuck off if you think that the choice to live alone makes me lonely or that I am loveless. Embracing who I am, which is aromantic, asexual, has made me the happiest and least lonely I have been in my lifetime. The search to be other than that, was the loneliest time in my life. Being freed of that was the most liberating thing to happen to me. That does not mean I do not experience love.

The pressure I experience to be married is still there and I avoid these conversations endlessly, but still there is always someone who will ask why I am not married and if I have been as a matter of priority, not in passing. In my view the wedding industry is a case in point about modern capitalist agendas, not really about love.

Again, love isn’t either/or. It’s not a binary between love or loneliness, but the romance/wedding industry depends on binaries. There IS such a thing as being alone and liking, or dare I say it, loving it. And then there is loneliness. True loneliness is a pervading feeling of sadness at your lot in life, and you can be in love and experience that. Romantic love does not conquer all.

That true loneliness like that can be experienced surrounded by people who are supposed to love you. Anyone who comes from abuse knows how muddled the boundary between abuse and this romantic notion of love conquering all can get. I’ve experienced a lot of ‘negging‘ relationships associated with romantic ideals rather than realities and thanks, so no thanks.

I eat out alone, I shop alone, I live alone, but I am not lonely and I am very loved, thank you very much. I’ve stopped socialising with people who flap their gums about romance and get excited over weddings like it’s the pinnacle of a life times achievement, because frankly, I find them, well…boring. Give me politics discussions and robust philosophy any day. But gossip about who married who is my equivalent to watching paint dry. And because I was assigned female at birth – this attitude means I am apparently a dreadful traitor to the patriarchy. Thank goodness for that!

I have a simple rule when it comes to relationships, because where I show love is often in friendships, and during lockdown I’ve found them challenging with the coupled up heady romantic types. I will stand beside friends that others have abandoned, I’ve gone beyond and above for people I love as friends, over and over. But the moment they start blurring abuse boundaries, I’m out. I’ll try for a while to put boundaries in, but if they consistently cannot respect my boundaries, it won’t work.

I’m not a fan of capitalist agendas, and to me, the need to spend large amounts of money celebrating weddings in the name of something that is meant to be pure in essence (love) seems a tad egregious. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve then laboured through the “how much it cost” conversation with people. If you think talking about how your wedding cost more than my car, chances are the look on my face will resemble Lucille Ball’s most cringeworthy. And my car is secondhand.

This need for people to validate romantic love is symptomatic of romance-itis in my view and I remember my own wedding having a life of itself. I wanted to jump off the wedding train but it had a life of it’s own.

How many people will get engaged today on Valentines Day and stuck on those tracks because of an idea rather than the reality? Will they feel pressured to carry on relationships that are literal train wrecks? Will they just find themselves constantly complaining about it, and focus on the romantic wedding bit (as opposed to genuine love), as though that will fix EVERYTHING? A text book foundation for abuse.

I’ve got plenty of coupled and/or married friends who don’t feel the urge to bash me around the head with their ideas on romance and marriage and I won’t do that to them either. If me being honest about romantic bullshit makes me the asshole, I am quite happy to be the asshole. If you have to bully your friends into your worldview about love and marriage and not except that this may not be their view, I’m out! Because I will them as best I can, but once it becomes all heteronormative, that’s dangerous for me.

Some people believe a marriage ceremony and reception are going to seal a happy union, therein lies the rabbit hole of institutionalised thinking. Bridezillas are created by this patriarchal bullshit as women grapple for their piece of the sexism pie. I will fight for people’s right to marry, but as for the institution and industry of marriage and the oppression it stands for, is something I have long railed against. Like all institutions if we are empowered to use them in a constructive way that can have deep meaning, and we will benefit, but if we use them in a Valentines once a year way – they will last waste to us.

But not all of us have whole identity pivots on the premise of being married. Basically married folk who know me, have to be really secure in their marriage and their identities (instead of shackling the two together), because I ain’t going to gush whenever they use the language of ownership “my husband, my wife”.

If they use these terms in too close an order, like three times in less than ten minutes, I become like a three year old whose just handled a itchy grub. I will have to fight the urge to verbally itch out, “what’s your husband’s name again?”. And what’s worse, is that people will not see I am being ironic, seeking a name for the chattel they are talking about.

Love doesn’t have to be the love of your life to have meaning. In fact, I would argue some of the loneliest people I know lean on notions of romantic love like it’s more important than oxygen and then appear like gasping goldfish in an inch of water, searching to find joy.

IMHO, there isn’t one love that without you are doomed to loneliness; there are many types and forms of love. Ultimately, love is where you find it and you won’t be lonely if you appreciate what all types of love mean to you.

Happy beheading day, don’t lose yours to romance.

I feel a little gleeful, so here is a poem

Going back to Uni at 50 is a wonderful thing,

It makes me want to break out and sing,

But the scariest thing for me on offer,

Is coming out in a few years…a doctor…

And not that kind that starts in proctor…

I’ve met enough assholes in my own time,

But I thought I’d put my glee into rhyme,

And here’s some extra food for my soul,

My first club I’ll join is one most F.O.U.L.

FOUL Friends of Unnatural Llamas

#badpoetry #oweek

PhD and a Hobby

Okay, I doubt I’m going to be on this site much soon…not in the way I used to!

So I start a PhD soon and I’ve decided to not do live performance this year.

I’ll be corralling my mental health rants away from this blog and into structured work on my other project The Deadline – where you will see stuff like this – https://the-deadline.org/2021/02/04/john-the-brewer/

And here will BE ALL SATIRE commentary…

ALL THE TIME!

AND MAYBE SOME OF MY OWN COMEDY…MAYBE…

So what is the PhD on?

Well…here’s some detail! It’s a PhD in Political and Social Sciences and I have a anthropology background – so it will combine three approaches to look at…

WARNING: Nerd Speak…

The current working research question is “You can’t laugh at that! The Politics of Laughter: Does mainstream overidentification Australian political satire challenge the social status quo?” 

If you are a white Australian, there is a strong possibility you will have heard the expression “we avoid talking about religion and politics” at social functions. 

Australian political identity is changing and Australians are more aware of issues of structural inequality than ever before but Australian satire is tame in comparison in terms of the political status quo (Cothren and Phiddian 2019; Milner Davis and Foyle 2017:3).  Political satire in Australia has seen a coming and going of comedy skit and variety shows that had political undertones or intentions.  These mainstream representations had large followings but may not have much impact as contemporary online efforts to reach the less politically engaged Australian public (Cothren and Phiddian 2019; O’Connor 2017).  This research will examine the part recent changes to political overidentification satire production may have played in the raising of Australian political consciousness or if it continues to maintain the status quo of Australian satire.  

The increase in use of social media to market and promote and distribute political satire of smaller time framed, more easily digested satire, may have increased the public uptake of political satire.  The popularity of online political impersonators and the success of Sammy J’s Government Coach and The Juice Media’s Honest Government Adverts appear, anecdotally, to access the politically disengaged more than past political comedy examples.  This participatory ethnographic research aims to examine some of the impact of these more compact political messages of under five minutes, on Australian’s potentially, shorter political attention spans. 

So that’s about it! And references…for the nerds…

Cothren, A. and R. Phiddian (2019).  Friday essay: why is Australian satire so rarely risky? The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-why-is-australian-satire-so-rarely-risky-112689

Milner Davis, J. and Foyle, L.  (2017), The Satirist, the Larrikin and the Politician: An Australian Perspective on Satire and Politics.  In Milner Davis, J.  (Ed.), Satire and Politics: The Interplay of Heritage and Practicehttps://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56774-7_1

O’Connor, A. (2017). The Effects of Satire: Exploring Its Impact on Political Candidate Evaluation. In: Milner Davis J. (ed), Satire and Politics: The Interplay of Heritage and Practice Satire and Politics. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56774-7_4

And to finish – I AM EXCITED!

The Deadline: Of Death and Gin

A little something I have been working as the 5th generation descendant of Irish-Australian brewery owners.

It’s been delayed a year…but hoping to do some filming and podcasting out at Kilmore in the coming months.

The Deadline combines autobiography, anthropological ethnography and comedy to discuss mental health and addiction taboos. It will tell quirky darkly humorous stories of inter-generational family resilience, Irish-Australian migration and family business to explore if we really have learned any lessons about how we treat mental health and addiction issues over the last 200 years. It will combine research, family history, religious and political commentary to look at changes over time.

Dark humour meets ethnography, family history and critical social commentary on Australia’s lack of mental health services and the taboo’s about talking about intergenerational mental health.

And don’t be that wanker who says you can’t laugh at that…The Deadline looks at our healthy and not so healthy ways of coping through the ways families laugh through trauma. Plus it will mock the system, not people’s pain.

https://the-deadline.org/

And here is the first blog post –