Monthly Archives: October 2013

Peaches + Published + Pear = #grateful

Last year (2011) ABC Open invited me to write a guest blog for Mother’s Day about my particular journey to Motherhood. Finding myself expecting baby #2, I’ve been reflecting on that particular post quite a lot.

“He saved me, that tiny squashed pink and white bundle of skin and bone and sinew and breathing, sighing, screaming life. He saved me because I loved him enough to demand a better life. To stretch into my life with a greater courage than I thought I had because I had a promise to keep.”

The full post was republished on Mamamia last week, read it here. Or the original on ABC Open here.

This time around, with little Peaches (as bub #2 has been affectionately dubbed for the time being) everything is different. EVERYTHING.

I’m different. My life is different. Even the world is a little bit different.

There was no facebook when my son was born (in 2002). The original iPod was only released the year before (with the first iPhone coming out in 2007).

Since 2002, I’ve watched on screens as news of events like the Virginia Tech Massacre (since followed by many other similar shootings), Hurricane Katrina, London Transit Bombings, the Indonesian Tsunami, the Chechnya school siege (killing 340 people – mostly children), the Writers Guild Strike (which you can blame for all the terrible films in 2007-2009), the Sichuan Province Earthquake (which killed 90,000 people), first African American President of the US, Michael Jackson died, Oprah Winfrey finished up her show after 25 years, the Fukishima Nuclear disaster, the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and the ongoing conflicts across the globe (not to mention Australian politics and it’s increasingly nasty undertone).

There were a whole bunch of firsts for women too, including – Speaker of the House (US), IndyCar winner, Australian Prime Minister, Academy Award Win for Best Director, female director in Saudi Arabia, Nobel Prize in Economics, female Bishop in Australia.

So the world is a little bit different. Maybe even a lot different. But this post isn’t actually about that. This post is a little bit about how different I am, but mostly it’s about how grateful I am and how driven that makes me.

When my son was born in 2002, I was 17 and living with an abusive partner. In utero and in the early months of his life, my son was exposed to a lot of stress and varying degrees of conflict.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the impacts of domestic violence and stress on babies in utero and in the first 12 months of life since 2002 (in both popular media and medical journals) and now growing Peaches, I’m reflecting very deeply on a lot of that literature and the stark contrast between Mr Z’s start to life in 2002 and the start Peaches is getting now.ย  Because I’m lazy and don’t keep references for my personal (ie. non uni) reading and because this is a personal reflection not an academic essay I’m not providing you with links to the research (but go hunting and you’ll find a wealth of related reading), but some of the reading I’ve engaged with shows evidence that children exposed to domestic violence in utero and during the first 12 months (and then removed) actually have greater/more long term effects (including issues with concentration, regulating emotions, trusting adults, self esteem) than children aged 4 or above when first exposed (who are then removed). The length of exposure isn’t the issue – but the age of the child and their brain development when exposure occurs. We’ve all heard the stories about how crucial a child’s early years are, so this of course makes perfect sense. Being exposed to extreme stress (in the form of domestic violence) while the brain is making many of its first early connections is likely to have a negative impact on how some of those connections develop.

And so.

I think about Z.

And his entry into the world.

Our struggles together to chase a better life (including leaving his Dad), and I’m both proud of that and grateful for the spaces we found to make that a reality in equal measure.

I understand deeply and intrinsically that damage has been done to my first baby and that life will continue to damage us both.

And I think about this new person growing inside of me. This new me. In this new time. In this new world.

All the feelings and thoughts collide in me. Fracture on the insides of my ribs, catch in the texture of my skin.

Guilt. Gratitude. Joy. Confusion. Sorrow. Forgiveness. Anger. Love. Hope. Disappointment. Guilt. Wonder.

Peaches will have such a different beginning. Surrounded by love. By hope. By possibility. By art.

Sometimes the guilt most of all consumes me, but mostly, mostly I just feel grateful, joyous and full of hope. For both my children.

*

Oh yeah – this happened on Friday too:

Arts Award 2013

Am I bragging?

Yes, absolutely.

Because I’m learning.

I’m learning to lay claim to my success and to my power

– not just to my failures and mistakes.

And because I’m grateful. So grateful. To be here, in this moment, with this life.

#tinytwitterpoem (s) at the AYAC National Youth Conference 2013

I was invited to attend and engage with this year’s National Youth Conference (hosted and facilitated by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition) as a poet in residence tweeting tiny poems. Here are all the poems I tweeted during the conference plus those tweeted back to me by others attending. Enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Use the isms to craft a laughter bridge/ with teeth hammers and hot chocolate hands/ and a belly full of rage love// a YP #tinytwitterpoem

Make the place/ shake the place/ consult me into silence// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

A new army/ rolling through the doors/ there will always be new skin/ to sink within// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

Nerds unite/ blending our screens into our dreams/ with shared voices in stuffy rooms// #tinytwitterpoem for @MissLaurenMoss at #AYAC2013

Love// #tinytwitterpoem for @MissLaurenMoss #firsttry

Plan the self/ into maps with tabs/ hubs set to vibrant/ ready// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

Offer/ Ask/ Seek/ Care/ Meet at our table with two ears and one mouth// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013 @SkinDeepProject

Include and exclude/ we bend the borders of our plans/ seeking the mouse hole of our promise// #tinytwitterpoem for Linda Randall #ayac2013

Report on the card/ prevent the fall to learn the fly// #tinytwitterpoem for @BatyrAus #ayac2013

Shine beyond the shadow/ dance together on tables overturned/ a brighter now for us to build// #tinytwitterpoem for @ajbisherenow #AYAC2013

Sluicing through health into living/ striding into giving// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Short and sharp/ our failures poke us/ towards future woven narratives/ tied with bells and rainbow ribbons// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

These walls we give ourselves/ fingertips with no end/ where does your headspace lay// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Making meaning of your distress/ with your permission/ or without/ why are you leaving me?// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Build a world that loves each other/ hands on hair/ suffering beneath eyes/ some smoother care// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Deal together/ or live apart/ these lines between us/ shaded/ trapped between sheets/ I hear you// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

A rage of the heart/ with red hair and warm eyes/ building a new kind of courage// #tinytwitterpoem for @JohnLoughton #ayac2013

Dare to be humble/ to lead the future/ towards hands that tingle// #tinytwitterpoem for @JohnLoughton #ayac2013

A political party/ on wooden bar tables/ wearing red high heels/ a toothpick in my teeth// #tinytwitterpoem for David Baker #ayac2013

The in and the out/ the sharp slice of our disconnect/ is weeping children// #tinytwitterpoem for #justicereinvestment #ayac2013

Your golden coins/ line walls with no ears/ to hear these aching hands// #tinytwitterpoem for #justicereinvestment #ayac2013

Sing me a story/ lie to me sweetly/ I’ll believe you// #tinytwitterpoem for @BatyrAus session at #AYAC2013

Storytelling/ to bridge the distance between our hopes/ to leap across our fears// #tinytwitterpoem for @BatyrAus session at #AYAC2013

Use the fabrics you find/ to sew a patchwork quilt/ to keep our young warm// #tinytwitterpoem for @DovetailQLD #AYAC2013

A four way dovetail/ into waiting hands/ beating hearts// #tinytwitterpoem for @DovetailQLD #AYAC2013

Keep your seagull caw/ from these shores/ we choose deeper/ no chips here/ only feathers// #tinytwitterpoem for @DovetailQLD #AYAC2013

Straight lines/ stark against thin skin/ growing thinner/ sinking/ sunk// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013 #magill

Advocate/ fill space with the size of your dreams/ be the beginning/ of the blending/ between life and living// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Cut the issue/ frame the logic/ sing your song/ with courage fired red to match/ your shoes// #tinytwitterpoem for #advocacy sess #ayac2013

Care the self/ through the sharp space/ the flimsy pattern/ the jerk awake/ to place shake/ awake// #tinytwitterpoem #selfcare #ayac2013

Care to honour your work/ through the self towards the other/ we are woven/ together/ tomorrow// #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Your loyalty lays/ or lies/ to your inner ear/ begging/ to claim it here// #tinytwitterpoem #selfcare #ayac2013

Build this boat with me/ I’ll cut the timber/ you sew the sail/ and we’ll travel this sea// #sharethejourney #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

Question the deep/ with folds that sing/ please let us in?/ and now/ ROAR// #tinytwitterpoem #advocate @MissLaurenMoss @OurSayAust

The dance of black and white/ a word gift/ to teach us patience/ to sing us into sharing// #tinytwitterpoem to NPY Women’s Council #ayac2013

Our contexts confine/ bedazzle/ blind/ split our skins/ spill our language/ our lines/ the gap widens// #tinytwitterpoem #ausedu #ayac2013

Third party gap filling/ shifting lines across shifting sands/ heart song answers/ sing to me// #tinytwitterpoem for #npywomen #AYAC2013

Social connections as a protective factor/ you are my blanket// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

Firework/ hands exploding around your framed face/ filling the space/ with truth bombs/ to take home with us// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

Bring them all/ open the windows/ clear out the webs/ a new army is coming// #tinytwitterpoem #connection #AYAC2013

Secret life of young people/ ripping years from my eyes/ I’ll try harder/ promise/ to be more/ together// #tinytwitterpoem #curfew #ayac2013

A diamond/ ground beneath a salty sea/ stealing Aboriginality// a #tinytwitterpoem for stereotype traps #ayac2013

Demonise this/ f**kers// #tinytwitterpoem #mediastereotypes #ayac2013

See the actions/ turn their eyes from the why/ still here/ fighting// #tinytwitterpoem for Jenna from WA #ayac2013

That double edged sword/ keeps stinging me/ singing to my baby/ growing taller/ without me// #motherhood #tinytwitterpoem #ayac2013

The past is present/ legacies layered/ give me your babies/ and I’ll tell you it’s over//#notover #tinytwitterpoem #reconciliation #ayac2013

Imagine/ home is no haven/ give me a nighttime escape/ before I blow this town up// #tinytwitterpoem #curfew #ayac2013

Be the ship to my relation/ the pro to my fession/ the song to my voice// #youthwork #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

Rattle my bones/ softly I ask/ but the need is harsher/ shake me into action/ I’ll follow/ or lead// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

The fight sways/ lips harden/ be brave/ speak/ listen/ dream/ on the same team// #tinytwitterpoem #AYAC2013

YOUTUBE SPOKEN WORD RESPONSE (Freestyle) DAY 2

 

BY OTHERS

Creating a space/without young people//what a waste #tinytwitterpoem #rusty #firsttry @lylyee #ayac2013 โ€“ Lauren Moss

Feeling nervous/about our session/whatever happens/it’ll be a good lesson #tinytwitterpoem #awful #ayac2013 @lylyee โ€“ Lauren Moss

@lylyee: Care the self from the tinest toe to the sharp tip of a hair focilule /one life/ one chance #tinytwitterpoem #selfcare #ayac2013” โ€“ Allan Ball