Tag Archives: sydney

Snarling #12wbt roundup week 3


Week 3 of the #12wbt was yet another mixed week of great eating, crap health, and finding my groove with exercise. I’m starting to find my own kind of routine with it, which isย  different to the one marked out by the plans, but is nonetheless supported by the plans.

On Sunday my husband and I embarked on an epic hike around the stunning Sydney Harbour we are privileged to live in close proximity to. Despite the gross built up flats and metal – everywhere, metal and glass – of the city, Sydney is remarkable in that a retreat to nature is possible quite quickly when you know where to go. We disembarked at Manly wharf, beating our way through crowds swarming for a surf festival, stopped off for a burrito at Guzman and then pointed ourselves towards one of our favourite walks – Manly to Spit.

It’s supposedly 9km but my Gearfit clocked it at more like 10.5km, and you carve your way through stunning semi-rainforest which jars beautifully against sudden screes of baked salmon pink and butter yellow cliffs, jangled with wrens that follow your path. There are places to descend from the path onto white sand beaches to momentarily shed your walking shoes and cool your toes and the water is this unbelievable pale green with blooms of dark weed and rock. We saw bearded dragons sunning themselves on several occasions and I knew how they felt, basking in the surroundings. The day was hot in just the right measure, and the views of the Heads around the harbour were deeply satisfying. I feel completely sainted to live in a place like this.

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There was a great feeling of achievement and also giddy tiredness when the walk was done. My friend Ange of The Feminist Locker Room said that sometimes you’ve got to “find your thing” and not be held hostage to other people’s thing. Walking is absolutely my thing. I love big treks, and I’ve never regretted a hike. I think because there’s zero “hamster wheel” feel to tramping through bush, and it’s mostly something that fills up your eyes and heart while moving your body. It’s a really integrating way of moving. All my parts connect and I feel more “me” when I’m on a big walk.

I knew Monday was going to bring specific health challenges which I’d have to include in my plan for the week. I had a sonohystogram, which for those not in the know is a special kind of ultrasound where a catheter needle is inserted through the cervix and the uterus is inflated with saline so clear pictures can be taken. It was unexpectedctedly painful, traumatic and emotionally rough, and it sent the rest of my week into a tailspin of depression and upset as I came to terms with feeling yet again pretty alienated from my body. That coupled with some tough relationship times, and it was a crap week emotionally.

I managed to get to the gym on Tuesday which was in part cathartic and in part something I was excited for – I’m increasingly pleased and cheerful to hop on the machines and have a go at stuff. My workout was fun and it was good to get some natural endorphins given how mixed up I was feeling. But as I left the gym, I was still feeling pretty low – and that day, I lost my nerve in my bid to not weigh myself.

I’ve reflected a lot on why I weighed myself that day and what that meant, and I’ve decided that it’s not a huge deal. I was feeling like shit, and compulsion took over. “Maybe I’ll have lost weight and that will make me feel better,” said my old friend, scale addiction. And just like that, I was on, and yes I’d lost weight, and yes on some level that cheered me up. This is not a good thing. That my emotions are still tied to my weight is inevitable, because one can’t simply turn off socialization and compulsion to measure one’s worth in numbers with a click of the fingers (or a blog post resolution). These things take time. Perhaps, my friend Cassie suggested gently, a better goal would be to make the spaces between weighing longer and further apart. Moderation in all things, including resolutions, because otherwise I’m just building a new prison for myself.

Lots of friends and good food this week was a saving grace. I’m happy to say that despite feeling like crap, I neither overate or restricted. I ate mostly to plan, with a bit of improvisation, and kept it pretty real. I had a small choccie. I enjoyed my morning coffees. I let my body’s rhythms happen without too many extremes despite how extreme my emotions felt at times. Not all my coping mechanisms were super, but they were mine and middling. So that’s a pretty good week, I reckon, given how much pressure I’ve been under.

We’ve decided, going into week 4, to finally take Mish Bridges advice and cook on weekends a fair bit for the week because it’s pretty hard to fit everything in. That will make my week less stressful. Here’s to the coming week and hopefully getting to the gym a bit more ๐Ÿ™‚ and I plan on hopefully visiting my friend Sarah next weekend for some kayaking hijinks!

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Snarling #12wbt roundup week 3


Week 3 of the #12wbt was yet another mixed week of great eating, crap health, and finding my groove with exercise. I’m starting to find my own kind of routine with it, which isย  different to the one marked out by the plans, but is nonetheless supported by the plans.

On Sunday my husband and I embarked on an epic hike around the stunning Sydney Harbour we are privileged to live in close proximity to. Despite the gross built up flats and metal – everywhere, metal and glass – of the city, Sydney is remarkable in that a retreat to nature is possible quite quickly when you know where to go. We disembarked at Manly wharf, beating our way through crowds swarming for a surf festival, stopped off for a burrito at Guzman and then pointed ourselves towards one of our favourite walks – Manly to Spit.

It’s supposedly 9km but my Gearfit clocked it at more like 10.5km, and you carve your way through stunning semi-rainforest which jars beautifully against sudden screes of baked salmon pink and butter yellow cliffs, jangled with wrens that follow your path. There are places to descend from the path onto white sand beaches to momentarily shed your walking shoes and cool your toes and the water is this unbelievable pale green with blooms of dark weed and rock. We saw bearded dragons sunning themselves on several occasions and I knew how they felt, basking in the surroundings. The day was hot in just the right measure, and the views of the Heads around the harbour were deeply satisfying. I feel completely sainted to live in a place like this.

image

image

There was a great feeling of achievement and also giddy tiredness when the walk was done. My friend Ange of The Feminist Locker Room said that sometimes you’ve got to “find your thing” and not be held hostage to other people’s thing. Walking is absolutely my thing. I love big treks, and I’ve never regretted a hike. I think because there’s zero “hamster wheel” feel to tramping through bush, and it’s mostly something that fills up your eyes and heart while moving your body. It’s a really integrating way of moving. All my parts connect and I feel more “me” when I’m on a big walk.

I knew Monday was going to bring specific health challenges which I’d have to include in my plan for the week. I had a sonohystogram, which for those not in the know is a special kind of ultrasound where a catheter needle is inserted through the cervix and the uterus is inflated with saline so clear pictures can be taken. It was unexpectedctedly painful, traumatic and emotionally rough, and it sent the rest of my week into a tailspin of depression and upset as I came to terms with feeling yet again pretty alienated from my body. That coupled with some tough relationship times, and it was a crap week emotionally.

I managed to get to the gym on Tuesday which was in part cathartic and in part something I was excited for – I’m increasingly pleased and cheerful to hop on the machines and have a go at stuff. My workout was fun and it was good to get some natural endorphins given how mixed up I was feeling. But as I left the gym, I was still feeling pretty low – and that day, I lost my nerve in my bid to not weigh myself.

I’ve reflected a lot on why I weighed myself that day and what that meant, and I’ve decided that it’s not a huge deal. I was feeling like shit, and compulsion took over. “Maybe I’ll have lost weight and that will make me feel better,” said my old friend, scale addiction. And just like that, I was on, and yes I’d lost weight, and yes on some level that cheered me up. This is not a good thing. That my emotions are still tied to my weight is inevitable, because one can’t simply turn off socialization and compulsion to measure one’s worth in numbers with a click of the fingers (or a blog post resolution). These things take time. Perhaps, my friend Cassie suggested gently, a better goal would be to make the spaces between weighing longer and further apart. Moderation in all things, including resolutions, because otherwise I’m just building a new prison for myself.

Lots of friends and good food this week was a saving grace. I’m happy to say that despite feeling like crap, I neither overate or restricted. I ate mostly to plan, with a bit of improvisation, and kept it pretty real. I had a small choccie. I enjoyed my morning coffees. I let my body’s rhythms happen without too many extremes despite how extreme my emotions felt at times. Not all my coping mechanisms were super, but they were mine and middling. So that’s a pretty good week, I reckon, given how much pressure I’ve been under.

We’ve decided, going into week 4, to finally take Mish Bridges advice and cook on weekends a fair bit for the week because it’s pretty hard to fit everything in. That will make my week less stressful. Here’s to the coming week and hopefully getting to the gym a bit more ๐Ÿ™‚ and I plan on hopefully visiting my friend Sarah next weekend for some kayaking hijinks!


Norming Mardi Gras


One evening in Sydney in 1978, a group of brave people marched together in a spirit of celebration and dissent.

They were marching after a morning commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, a violent resistance to homophobic state oppression in NYC.

There were at least 500 gays and lesbians as the march commenced (and of course, many identities not included in those bounds).

They shouted โ€œOut of the bars and into the streets!โ€ as they marched down Oxford Street, and their numbers swelled to something like 2000 from accounts I’ve read. Then, police revoked their ‘permission’ to use the streets, and they were attacked and horribly brutalised.

53 were arrested, and the Sydney Morning Herald printed their names in full. This outed people to their friends, family and workplaces. People lost their jobs and suffered terribly as a result of the SMH’s actions.

This was the first Mardi Gras.

I wasn’t there. In 1978, I wasn’t even born. My father was probably finishing his teaching degree, and my mother was finishing highschool, I think.

My first experience of Mardi Gras was in 2010, as a Queer femme participating with the Roller Derby Leagues float. And again in 2011, with the Sydney Polyamory float. To me, it was a strange, glittery, hyped morass of energy and suspiciously money-led activity.

I’ve heard a lot of my friends talk over the last couple of years about how New Mardi Gras has lost it’s way, and is not a radical or inclusive space. I agree with them. I don’t think it is a radical or groundbreaking festival or march anymore, based on the history of the event. I think they’re right when they say it has become a drive for dollars, and a place where ‘homo-normative’ narratives ascend into full view and push those of us who aren’t the three ‘Ws’ (waxed, well-off, white dudes) into the margins.

In the last twenty four hours, I heard via social networking that they’ve renamed Mardi Gras. Now, it is no longer the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, nor is that the push. Now, the GL Mardi Gras will be called the ‘Sydney Mardi Gras’ and will be a place for, you know, just anyone in the ‘wider community’ (translation: straights) who feels a bit different and feels like celebrating that.

Far from this being a push to include more of us, this is an alienating action that insults the pain and work and bravery of the 78ers, and every single kid who has been bashed for being a fag, and every single girl who has been killed for being gay, and every single person who has languished in an unhappy sham marriage. This was OUR festival, and even if it got fucked up and lost, it was still OURS. We needed to make it more Queer, more inclusive of OUR community.

People have been positing that there is no need for the festival to demarcate itself anymore. That the work is done and the world is now a friendly place for Queers and so, we can open the door and let our spaces be shared.

This is bollocks.

When I go home to Tamworth I’m always relieved to leave, and this is mostly because I know if I talk about the wrong thing at the wrong time or flirt with the wrong person, or bring the wrong gendered person home, or ever tried to move back there, I’d be in trouble.

I’ve received street harassment for holding hands with women. I’ve been silenced by my family from talking openly about my identity. I’ve seen my trans lover be treated like shit, I’ve heard them be spoken to and stared at by strangers in ways that are not ok. I’ve met a wall of silence when mentioning an ex-girlfriend at work. I can’t talk to my grandad about non-straight relationships. And I know that most of the beautiful freaks, homos, fags, queens, bois, dykes, and onnnnn, would not be safe in most parts of Sydney.

Nowhere is safe, really.

So, no, now is not the time to shed one of the few popularly celebrated spaces that could โ€“ just maybe โ€“ be worked on and made to include everyone (and not just the WWW’s). We own the history, and our Elders deserve to keep what they built, even if the incarnation we currently have is worrisome. Where will the young ‘alphabet soup’ youth look to now? Is the best we can give them a gaystream, simpering, norming bunch of money hungry marriage-centric folk eager to throw away their heritage?

The straights have the rest of the world, after all. Do they need this too?


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