Toxic Masculinity and the word ‘sook’

At the begin of school today I heard two adults talking about a children’s party they’d attended and how a boy had been a ‘sook’ at the party. This is the second time I’ve heard the word used in the last few days.
I have a massive problem with the word sook. Particularly because it’s usually used to describe a boy when they are emotional.
Looking up the definition I see the words cowardly and ‘crybaby’. In the urban dictionary it defines sook as to ‘act like a pussy arse bitch’.
And there we have another problem. Using a member of the female anatomy in a derogative way… to explain an emotion… in a derogative way.
On saturday I talked with a male friend of mine about toxic masculinity. How are we helping our boys if we call them sooks? If we say feeling scared / hesitant enough not to want to do something… or simply feeling emotional … makes you a ‘pussy arse b’.
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Wonderland

When I was just

a little girl

My mother showed me how to

sew seeds

so

I could live like Alice does

in a wonderland.

At the time we drew them blooming from the earth

Knees dusted in dirt

All I could hear were their howls and screams.

As a woman

thinking on how I am plucked and tugged and wrenched and dislocated

I pat the soil around my babies and promise they will

come to full term

Germinate

Pollinate

and, when the wind threatens to carry them away,

Disperse

and knit themselves into crusts and crevices

for you to wonder at

when you are screaming.

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Hilarious

You

Kookaburra

Cackling and snortling the arrival of another day

as if to say

‘Yup humans

You’ve got to do it again you poor fuckers’.

In his laugh the promise of a scorcher

An ear drum and nasal cavity of insects

And a crusted, headlong, headstrong bitumen to navigate.

I don’t know where he pisses off to for the rest of the day

But he sure as hell doesn’t chortle when he’s in the thick of it either.

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‘Rituals’ and pack mentality

Ok. Let’s talk again about how we can help some men.

The sorts of rituals unveiled in today’s ABC report which take place in universities (and other ‘clubs’) have been going on for ‘100 years’. They don’t just demean women but, as is revealed here, often men too. There’s a pack mentality to these week long orientations… with no doubt many men in the pack also feeling conflicted and ashamed.

The findings in this article reminded me of an investigation I heard about last year… into what kinds of commercials work on those men who abuse women. It revealed that showing men the impact of assault on women DOESN’T WORK; but showing men what impact it’ll have on their relationship with their mates (that mates wont respect you if you hit women) DOES WORK.

Can we please look further into why some men need the bolstering of other men to feel better about themselves? Can we look into why some men think so little of themselves that they have to go ‘out’ (be reactionary, do what they think ‘other’ will like/ respect, hurt & belittle others to make themselves feel bigger) rather than turn ‘in’ and consider FIRST what is humane and what is inside THEM that would make them want to hurt other people.

And

can we PLEASE look even further into the impact alcohol has in allll of these situations. It is FUEL for so many of these incidences. CAN WE PLEASE TEACH PEOPLE ABOUT RESPONSIBLE DRINKING?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-26/report-into-university-colleges-reveals-bizarre-rituals/9478036

Image care of @sarahsophie of #womensmarch

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One day

We will crack peppercorns and rub them into our neck for perfume.

When we come to the corner where the stargazer lily edges over the fence

I will say ‘Lean in.

Closer.

Closer’.

At the point you wobble

Topple

over

into it

We will marvel at the tiny pebbles etched into your knee…

Until the sound of spokes and wheels meet your ears and I witness your ache for age to arrive

For when can you too pedal and glide?

As your body begins to weigh upon mine with the stories you’ve collected this, one day

Your hands will collect the back of my head so you can meet my gleam.

‘How is it…’

we will say

‘…all of this

is ours?’

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Why the Arts, now, more than ever.

This moment by Jack Ma at the World Economic Forum has been doing the rounds. Seen it?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHt-5-RyrJk

He talks here about the necessity of arts education (and therefore artists) in a world that is increasingly being run by machines and technology.

He talks about the need for our education system to change.

As a teacher and artist I couldn’t agree more with what he suggests are the necessary skills we teach this generation.

I’ll let Jack do the talking…

x Kate

 

 

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See you on the bridge

“Someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. They can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. And whatever their reasons you must leave. Because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. You never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. There is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. And there is the love that will be ready.” Nayyirah Waheed.

 

I was reminded of this talking to a friend yesterday.

This poem doesn’t need to come with a brittle ‘fuck off’ or a hazardous ‘swipe left’. A defiant and throw away ‘you go girlfriend / boyfriend’.

Though the way in which someones ‘not readiness’ can be exorcised in a way that causes great damage to self and other,  one can find equal parts compassion for the person who isn’t ready.

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING this poem for me communicates a need for SELF LOVE out there on the bridge.

Maya Angelou’s poem ‘I shall not be moved’ also suggests such a thing. Know what you want and do not be moved. Know what you are worth and do not be moved.

It is not about looking for something perfect ‘because you deserve it’.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. WE ALL EXIST IN GREY ZONES.

But at the very least, having someone meet you with a joyous YES. Not having to ASK someone to meet you on the bridge, because, though asking suggests a vulnerability which is beautiful, it is crippling to have to ask someone to meet you there.

Do not be moved in self love…  say

‘I am something to meet out here on this bridge and I think you are something to meet here too’.

 

x Kate

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On Australia Day

 
I woke up this morning thinking about land.
I’m working on a project at the moment that cultivates the art of listening and will see participants learning how to deepen listening to self, other… and nature (environment).
For me titillation, energy, peace has always come from nature… and for those of you who’ve partied with me post 25 you’ve seen how I can dance and dance and dance out at festivals with nothing more than music, my people, the land and the stars above me. lol and for those of you who follow me on instagram you’ve seen how excited I get when I’m traversing forests… (snap snap snap snap).
One of the best welcome to country introductions I have ever heard was at the Abbotsford Convent. It lasted almost an hour and we were taken – walked- down to Dite Falls and looked at yam daises and tried to shut out the noise from the highway a block or so away and listen to the environment that once was. It was beautiful.
For me then thinking about a culture and community who respects the environment, who used the resources in a way that they would always grow back, who recognised the more than four seasons we have here in Australia, who have rich stories to connect people to land… I get sad thinking about how much we could have learned and how much damage we have done.
Today, from my privileged white position I recognise that it is so much more complicated that land. Health care. Education. Humanity. Respect. Equality. But as a way of connecting I think about a love of country, of nature… and I weep at what could have been if we just had of COMMUNICATED.
Changing the date is part of that communication process – the listening part – the part that says ‘I hear you. I hear your pain. I hear your ancestors pain. I acknowledge the trauma’.
And then we can all recognise and celebrate a love of country… on a different day.
For more wonder-meant read the article below.
x Kate Microseris-scapigera

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Untitled 

 

I want to own beautiful things.

A hardwood floor

to sprawl about in summer.

A needle

that peaks on vinyl

A rose

that animates the air

before it has been seen.

 

I want to reside as a dangling bra strap on your shoulder

My eyes to default to the furrowed creases between brow and bristles at your moment of O

My mouth to savour the bare breaths

when you part

my kimono.

 

I want every pen indentation

to arrest with intonation

that mornings lathering of soap

The groan you couldn’t help

And that era when my name

sounded like love.

 

I acquiesce

I don’t want

much else

 

Except perhaps

to see the lakes surface quivering above her privates

To feel

damp clumps of moss mat beneath my bare arse

And to curl

into cotton

And blossoms

as they drop

in the air.

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Searching in the age of the internet 

Last night I sat opposite my therapist lamenting the days where I used ‘in-between time’, creatively. Where I used space in a way that saw me

…making jewellery my mum still affectionately wears

…painting images from thin air

…composing symphonies I’d try to articulate on the family piano

…reading in a way I’d miss outside sounds, too deeply immersed in the world I was creating between words.

Lately I’ve been desperately searching for ‘next’ meaning. I say next because I have had purpose before; but at 37 I am ready for something new. I am hungry.

Where I have turned to craft for searching in the past I now turn, like so many, to the internet. Sometimes two devices at a time. The internet is, after all, for searching isn’t it?

But for the first time in my life I’m not finding any solutions.

In the age where we have an overwhelming amount of sources to seek ‘answers’, this seems an almost impossibility. But never have I felt more incapable, more unsure and more anxious.

Hearing writer Mark Manson talk a couple of months ago at the Melbourne Town Hall I was reminded about the stress choice puts on our brain. Manson talked about experiments done …with cereal boxes.

Two cereal boxes. No stress. Ten cereal boxes. Anxiety.

Where it is considered ‘lucky’ if you are in the privileged position of having choice, our brains, in contrast, feel great pressure; and so when I turn to google for an answer say to a ‘next job’ question, I suddenly find myself with twenty tabs open that might stretch from ‘next job’ to …next travel opportunity, next retail therapy adrenaline rush, next social exorcism, and finally, next movie on Netflix.

Today I’m wondering…

What did I find without a phone? Without a laptop? Without the internet?

Sometimes, more questions.

Sometimes, deeper ones.

Sometimes

great knowing.

This ‘knowing’ wasn’t necessarily an answer in the way that we regard ‘answers’ in 2017. It wasn’t an immediate fix (in the form of a momentary high), a presumption that everything is black or white or that success would be born of it in a way that would see me known and recognised by many.

It was that ‘elemental’ feeling. The one Sir Ken Robinson talks about. Where I am in something that is intrinsically me. In and being and doing. Creating.

And there was simultaneous peace in that experience and great energy.

And that energy …used to carry me over into the ‘next thing’.

In my mind now I am trying to cultivate that feeling so I can investigate it more. I can sense that it’s about being present, about listening and about commitment. To one thing. Not twenty tabs.

In Krista Tippet’s ‘On Being’ podcast , where she interviews philosopher and poet John O’Donahue, she asks

‘…are we less capable of love and commitment and relationship in a mature sense, in our time than previous generations were? Or is this just a human dilemma that has different details in our time?

MR. O’DONOHUE: That’s a very interesting question. I don’t think we’re less capable at all. I think we’re more unpracticed at it and therefore more desperate for it. And I think it’s a matter of attention really, just attention.

In doing one thing I am attending to it. I am committed to it but not in a way that word seems to strike fear into the souls of many these days (those swiping left and right on Tinder, buying the next phone when there’s nothing wrong with the old one)… but intimately devoting myself to it, so I know it, so I am faithful to it.

I laugh here because I wonder if I too need to explain what I mean by faithful here. I certainly don’t mean to conjure up any notion of religion. I mean to imply –  ‘true’ – in an affectionate way, and in a way that doesn’t require any effort or sense of obligation.

In looking into the etymology of the word attention I find that it stems from the late 14th century meaning ‘ a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic’. It is the ‘giving’ and ‘active’ part I am so deeply excited by. Bubbling thinking to the words I used earlier – ‘energy’ and ‘peace’. For giving, hands over something. An exhalation. A kneeling. Peace.

And ‘active’ implies action. Doing something. Creating. Which of course we need and use energy to do.

So answers can be found in the space between letting go and creativity. Between emptiness and fullness. The space I think here is the important part as our brains can have some time to file here. To see if an answer can be created from all the information we already have at our disposal. Information that is personal to us – information gathered by our own personal histories, our own experience.

Online answers should perhaps only be looked for after one has spent time and space with oneself. When one has found personal knowing in intimacy.

This moment, in intimacy, I found that I need a long walk in nature.

without my phone.

 

By Kate Ellis.

 

Kate Ellis is a Writer, Poet, Drama Coach for television and film actors and a poetry, drama and literacy teacher to primary and secondary school students at a progressive independent Primary and Secondary school in Victoria’s Eastern Suburbs. Residing in Melbourne but working across Australia, Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Sociology (UNSW), a Performance degree (Nepean) and a Masters in Education (University of Melbourne).

www.kateelliscoaching.com

 

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