What The Actual Fuck?
We've just embarked on a three year gamble. The Australian public, in their infinite self-centred, short-term-focused wisdom, have re-elected the Liberal-National Coalition government under Scott Morrison. I have no idea why they chose to do this - possibly it's because enough of them are deluded into thinking Australia runs on a presidential system, and they weren't happy about the idea of Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. Possibly it's because enough of them have fallen for the American way of thinking of themselves as not being members of a working class or a middle class precariat, but rather as a group of billionaires who are temporarily short on cash, so they want to do things like preserve franking credits, tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year, and negative gearing because one day they might, just might, get some benefit out of it. Possibly it's because they want the vicarious enjoyment of kicking the poor, which is always on the menu in a Liberal government. Possibly it's just because they don't want to think about climate change, an on-coming global recession, and any of the other big problems looming, and they think if they just hide their heads under the covers, it will all go away.
To be honest, I don't know, and I don't really care. This isn't about why the Australian people elected the government they did. It's about what's going to happen next.
The Liberal party went into this election with absolutely no new policy. Their entire campaign was "the ALP are big and scary and are going to eat your children". In the past six years of Liberal government, we have heard them, time and again, blame the ALP for every single problem which came up. It didn't matter what it was. If the problem wasn't caused by the ALP under Rudd and Gillard, it was caused by the ALP under Hawke and Keating, or the ALP under Whitlam, or even the ALP under Curtin. So we can expect another three years of hearing the ALP is responsible for whatever difficulties the government is encountering, and we can expect the government to be demanding the ALP do something about it (because of course it's the responsibility of the party in opposition to fix things, not the party in power). So there are problems waiting for this government when they get back in - things like the whole issue with the Murray-Darling scheme, and the water rorts there; things like the Centrelink robodebts and the paltry rate of Newstart; things like the lack of movement on wages in the past six years; things like the massive rip-off that is JobActive; the results of the banking royal commission, and so on. Problems they largely caused, and which they have been extremely reluctant to deal with.
Does anyone actually think they're going to do anything about those problems now?
We have a bunch of social issues which have been simmering away. There's the low movement on wages, which is making the lives of everyone who isn't already retired more difficult. There's the increasing casualisation of the workforce, which means a lot of people don't have the stability to do things like buy housing, make long-term plans, settle down, have families. There's the decay of our social support networks, and the increasingly punitive nature of our social security system. If you're applying for government assistance, you're automatically assumed to be sponging on the public purse for no good reason, and you have to jump through an ever-increasing amount of hoops in order to prove yourself a member of the "deserving poor". We have the rise of public white nationalism, and public anti-Semitism, and public anti-immigrant sentiment, and public anti-black sentiment - often led by members of the government. We have the rise of public anti-indigenous sentiment.
Does anyone think these things are going to go away?
Over it all, we have the looming spectre of global climate instability. The climate is changing. The climate has been changing for the last thirty or forty years now. It's reached the point where we can't pretend otherwise. It's starting to affect us. It's starting to affect every other species on this planet - and that's going to affect us because all life on this planet is linked together in a web. The web is starting to break. We've been told, again and again and again, that in order to deal with the problems facing us on the climate front, we're going to have to take drastic action.
We've just elected a government whose policy on climate change comes down to "if we ignore it, maybe it will go away".
So we've started a three year national gamble. We're gambling that for the next three years, nothing too terrible happens on the global economic front. We're gambling for the next three years, nothing catastrophic happens in terms of drought, floods, cyclones, bush-fires, or any of the other myriad manifestations of climate variability. We're gambling that for the next three years, we don't wind up getting pulled into a war, caught up in a trade dispute, faced with a global epidemic, or any of the other really big political problems which might crop up.
We're gambling this, because we have, with the full foreknowledge of their incompetence, re-elected a shower of MPs who have PROVEN themselves incapable of handling the challenges of government. This mob couldn't run a chook raffle in a country pub with the local CWA doing all the tricky bits for them. Why do we think they're competent to govern?
Seriously, Australia, what the fuck were you thinking yesterday?
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Meditations on the Past Week or So
Am I odd because I tend to see things like the Damore memo (the "Google manifesto", the thing which got James Damore sacked from Google for creating an unfriendly work environment) and the Charlotteville terrorism as being manifestations of the same principle?
The principle being "The only Real Human Beings are white men".
As a woman (and a person with a disability) I tend to find this somewhat frightening. I find it more frightening when people treat all of this as some kind of intellectual exercise, rather than the very real attempt at dehumanisation, at objectification and at rationalisation for actual violence it is. As a woman who would have had to fight to have her very humanity recognised a century ago, I find this reversion to a perceived historical mean to be deeply frightening. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be for people of colour in the USA, and for indigenous people here in Australia to be seeing this.
We need to speak up. We need to speak out. We need to oppose this principle in all its manifestations - in the supposedly "civil" ones like the Damore "memo" (query: how "civil" is a multiple page ramble which boils down to "I am not willing to behave in a respectful way toward a large number of my co-workers and managers because I don't think they're Real Human Beings like me, and I strongly believe I shouldn't have to work alongside them"?); in the virulently obvious ones like the Charlotteville march. In all its manifestations, in every space (including the police forces, the public service, the private sector and the rhetoric of our politicians) we need to oppose this principle, because we have seen what happens when it is allowed to run free. We have seen it in so many different circumstances - in the extermination camps of Germany; in the slavery of the American South; in the so-called "off-shore processing" camps on Nauru and Manus Island; in the Intervention; in the massacres down through the ages; in the Trail of Tears; in all the little slings and arrows of colonialism, of racism, of sexism. We know this principle is socially toxic.
So why do we keep allowing people to spout it as though firstly, it's something new and radical, and secondly, as though it's a valid point of view?
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On Working For the Dole.
So, I've been unemployed for six months (according to Centrelink, anyway). Which means, lucky me, I'm due to start my "Work For The Dole Phase" of the whole glorious process of being unemployed in Australia in the 21st century.
For those not in the know, "work for the dole" was an idea conceived back in the era of John Howard, by Liberal Party policy-makers who wanted to bring back the workhouses, but who didn't fancy the idea of having to shell out money to feed, house and clothe the undeserving poor (i.e. anyone on an activity-tested Centrelink payment). Basically, in order to impress on the long-term unemployed how important it is they find paying work, they're required to perform up to twenty-five hours a week of compulsory, unpaid volunteer work in order to be able to continue receiving their dole payment. I suspect whoever came up with this one must have woken up in the night and hugged themselves with glee.
Luckily for me, I'm on a part-time activity test (mental illness, such fun). I only have to do sixteen hours a fortnight worth of whatever the current equivalent of picking oakum, washing bottles, pasting labels or sorting rags is. Normally, the requirement is for fifteen hours a week for someone my age, twenty-five for someone younger. In my case, I'm going to be transcribing old (hand-written) court records from turn-of-the-century-NSW (i.e. early 1900s). Years of translating my mother's appalling medical handwriting into something legible has finally come in useful.
Basically, this sort of thing is supposed to... well, I have no idea what it's supposed to do. Punish me for the sin of not being in employment, one presumes. I have the site induction on Thursday, I suppose I get to find out then whether I'm supposed to be wearing sackcloth and rubbing ashes into my hair to show repentance, flagellating myself with a cat-o'-nine-tails, or whether just walking around wearing a sandwich board that says "I'm SO FUCKING SORRY" will do.
Yes, I am a bit cranky about this.
I'm cranky about it, because it's a bit of deliberate humiliation on the part of a government which has an ideological agenda, and will do anything in its power to get that agenda implemented. I'm cranky about it because I'm being forced into performing unpaid labour in order to ensure wage earners are frightened into accepting lower wages and lower conditions in order to avoid being put into this situation. I'm cranky about it because the penalties for missing work, or not being able to perform whatever work I'm supposed to be doing on the day I'm supposed to be doing it, are all on me (yes, even if my erstwhile "employer" doesn't have enough work for me to be doing, or the computers are down, or the office gets hit by a meteor falling from the sky).
Oh, and I still have to keep looking for 20 jobs a month, same as before. That doesn't change, either. About the only positive thing to note about the whole mess is that since the place I'm going to be physically doing my Work for the Dole placement is the offices of my JobActive provider, I'll be able to drop off my monthly lists with a lot less carry-on.
 Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, and Special Benefit.
 If your "volunteering" is organised through your JobActive provider, you get an extra $20 per fortnight on your dole payment to cover costs incurred (transport, lunches etc). If it isn't, you don't. There's a LOT of encouragement to find your own "volunteer work".
 A bit of googling reveals it was the brain-child of Tony Abbott. I must remember to write him a thank-you note.
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An Open Letter to the People Defending the Steubenville Rapists
(Or indeed to anyone else saying any of a number of victim-blaming things about the young woman who was raped by the rapists in question).
I've been reading a bit about the Steubenville rape event in various blogs and articles. Not too much - I'm not really in a psychological space where I can take the stress at the moment - but enough to get an idea of what's being said. I'm hearing an awful lot about the victim of this rape - about things she should have done, things she shouldn't have done, attitudes she should have held, behaviours she should have avoided. Things she could have done to avoid being raped, and thus avoided this whole mess coming to light, and "ruining" the lives and careers of two young men who apparently thought rape was a permissible thing, and bringing to light an entire town subculture wherein being part of the high school football team gives a person social licence to act as though the normal rules of society are not applicable.
The young woman in question was going to a high school party where members of the local high school football team (who were local heroes, and from what I can discover, practically deified in the local area) were going to be present. I sincerely doubt she thought of herself in context as "a sheep among the wolves". These were people she went to school with. People she attended classes with. People she knew. She most likely thought of herself, if anything, as a human being among other human beings.
She thought she was safe. She didn't know she wasn't safe. She found out AFTER THE EVENT she hadn't been safe.
How the bloody hells was she supposed to have known she'd be targeted for this sort of thing? How was she to know nobody would be looking out for her? She thought these people were her friends. She thought, more importantly, she was their friend, that she mattered to them. She found out, sadly, she wasn't their friend, and they weren't her friends, in the worst possible way.
And victim-blaming strangers say "she should have known better than to get drunk in the presence of rapists". SHE DIDN'T FUCKING KNOW SHE WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF RAPISTS, YOU SELF-IMPORTANT FOOLS!. She thought she was in the presence of friends.
Now, I learned at a very young age I couldn't trust other people to be looking out for me. I learned at a very young age if someone said they wanted to be my friend, they were most likely either attempting to lull me into a false sense of security, or trying to trick me outright. I learned I can't trust other people to stand up for me, to stand by me, or to take my side.
I know I'm broken.
But I'm broken in possibly the only way that might have protected this young woman from what happened to her. If she'd been broken in the same way I'm broken, she probably would have been suspicious of an invitation to such a party. She would have either said no outright, or more likely she would never have been asked to the party in the first place (because the kinds of bullies who are adept at setting up victims get pretty good at recognising the ones who won't take the bait).
You know what? I wouldn't wish my brokenness on anyone, not even my worst enemy. But you seem to think this is a necessary and vital state for all young women who want to be able to avoid rape.
I'm broken. I'm unable to function as a social animal, because I can't trust people. I'm able to fake it for a bit, but I will never let people close to me. I'm broken, and I'm child free by choice, and I've made the deliberate decision that my line of brokenness stops with me, because I know I'm not capable of functioning as a parent or a caregiver. I'm constantly depressed, I'm constantly miserable. I wake up every morning and my first thought every morning is "oh damn, I'm still not dead".
And you seem to think my state is somehow a desirable and necessary one for other people to be in, so they can avoid being raped.
From the depths of my misery, I LOATHE you.
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I'm F I N E...
... and we all know that stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, right? Right.
What's stressing me out 15 MAR 2013
* Have to go to Centrelink and hand in paperwork - don't want to deal with bureaucratic bullshit
* Scared we're not going to be able to get enough money from Centrelink between the witholdings for the debt and everything else to afford food and rent simultaneously.
* Scared this is going to count against us when we're looking for accommodation
* Deadline for accommodation is coming up faster and faster
* Behind on assignments
* Haven't been taking meds, because taking meds falls off the bottom of the list very early on when I'm even vaguely stressed
* Don't have enough meds to last more than about a fortnight
* Getting more meds would entail going back to the doctors and I haven't been since about mid-December
* Don't want to go back to the doctor and have to explain why I haven't been taking meds, why I haven't been back to see them since December, and why I didn't book that blasted ultrasound
* Don't want to have to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining why the hell I don't like making phone calls (eg to book appointments for a thyroid ultrasound) because I know it sounds insane and stupid and idiotic and pointless.
* Don't want to have to damn well get back on the medication-go-round for the depression because I know it won't work more than temporarily.
* Haven't done anywhere near enough work on my assignments and study for uni
* Haven't done anything about looking for new accommodation since about Monday
* Haven't been keeping up with the housework
* Feel like I need to be keeping up with all of these things and I haven't got the energy or inclination
* Didn't eat anything yesterday apart from that sandwich and the spring rolls and the coffee
* Don't want to be scolded for not having eaten
* Don't want to cook
* Suspect my period is starting
* Nerve in my right shoulder/upper arm/forearm is trapped *again* and it's giving me gyp
* Scared I'm breaking down again
* Don't want to be homeless, and really can't see how we're going to avoid that at this point
* Steve doesn't seem to understand any of this, so I'm getting next to no support, and what support I'm getting isn't really the useful stuff
* Feel isolated and crazy.
* If I go to the doctors to talk about not taking the meds, they tell me to take the meds, and when I explain I'd like to but my brain isn't processing the request properly they tell me to get Steve to remind me, except Steve doesn't seem to take his OWN meds regularly so why the merry hell would he be willing to nag me about mine, never mind my typical reaction to nagging is to run screaming in the other direction. So how this is supposed to help is beyond me.
* There's so much to be done with regards to packing and decluttering and clearing things out and all the rest and I have no idea how to deal with it all.
* I don't know whether there's a clothing reprocessing group (like Salvos or Sammies) which is likely to take the stuff which is piled up in the spare room - all the shirts and clothes I've worn through over the years - and be able to salvage the usable cloth from them, and I don't want to just chuck everything in the bin because there's still something that someone could use in there I'm sure and I don't want to waste it. So it sits there and doesn't get dealt with and sits there and reproaches me because I'm a bad housekeeper and I'm lousy at being useful and it's just THERE squatting in the corner like some kind of malign Buddha.
* Don't know whether the djembe and the bodhran would be resellable (presume they would) and don't know what a reasonable price to ask is, so I'm scared of over-asking and getting no offers, or under-asking and having people laugh at me, and if I just say "make me an offer" I'm going to look like a fool.
* Don't think we can afford to live on foodsicles and takeaway much longer (if indeed we can now) and quite honestly that's all I feel like eating because cooking means I have to cook and clean and shop and function and I'm not functioning and it's all too bloody hard and why can't Steve do some of this?
* I know I'm dropping my bundle, and I feel useless because of it, because I should be able to HANDLE THIS, DAMN IT. But I can't and I can't even make it an amusing post to put up on Dreamwidth because who wants to see me exploding into a billion pieces ... again?
* I haven't done anything for HaT since about the end of January, and the rate I'm going I probably won't do anything for them any time soon and I feel like I'm letting people down when I do that.
* I have no idea where to start with dealing with any of this. (Well, okay, I tell a minor lie - and I'm a horrible person for that, I know - I've taken my meds for today, and I've taken a couple of neurofen to deal with the pain of the pinched nerve). It's all just there and it needs to be dealt with and I desperately need to do some washing today because I have one pair of clean underwear to my name and and and and ... and I just want to go back to bed and hide.
* But I can't go back to bed and hide because I have to go to Centrelink today to hand in paperwork and I don't want to because I don't want to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit, and we're back where I started the list, time to go round again.
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On Being "Socially Awkward"
In the wake of the Readercon incident, and the general rush of convention season in the USA, I feel like addressing the regular refrain which springs up about people who are being accused of sexual harassment at conventions (particularly within the geek community).
This refrain is, of course, that the harasser (particularly a serial harasser) is "socially awkward" or has "poor social skills".
To which I say: bullshit. Absolute and utter crap. I do not believe this in the least.
Why not? Because their behaviour argues otherwise.
It takes a lot of social skill to develop a set of behaviours which are both threatening to the recipients and innocuous to disinterested bystanders. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to perform these behaviours in a public setting on a regular basis without drawing attention to oneself. Choosing your victim is a skill which takes practice and social awareness. So does choosing your friends in order to be believed when you tell people you're very, very sorry and it won't happen again (or at least, not until your friends have forgotten the last time).
Serial harassers aren't socially awkward. If they were socially awkward, they wouldn't be the menace they are. On the contrary, they're socially skilled, socially competent, and well practiced in what they're doing. They know where the lines are, and they're adept at walking them. They have enough empathy to figure out what's going to upset their victim, and enough callous self-interest not to care.
Genuine social awkwardness will manifest itself in all environments, in all settings, and around all people. The genuinely socially awkward person won't have many friends, and will have problems fitting into normal social routines under any circumstance. They won't be charming. They won't be popular. They will creep out people of both sexes, and all gender preferences, because they will be obvious. Genuine social awkwardness is rarer than you'd think.
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State of the Meg... the New 'Puter Edition.
So, last night, around 9pm, my computer decided to die on me. I have a 1500 word lab report due tomorrow. I have a 2000 word essay due Wednesday, and a 12 part online quiz that needs to be taken before then. So I'm sure you'll understand why I had a bit of a meltdown as a result. We're not sure precisely what died on the old 'puter - my guess is it's either the hard drive or the battery or the power systems. All I know is that when I try to boot the silly thing, it bleeps, switches itself off, switches itself back on again, the CD drive whirs, and then it fails to boot at all. Gave me an IRQL Less than or equal, but of course that vanished before I could actually note anything sensible off it too.
Anyway, Himself offered his spare laptop as a substitute. Problem is, his spare laptop hasn't actually had Windows activated on it yet - he's been sitting with it running non-stop for a couple of months without actually doing anything useful about this. Can we say "no help whatsoever" kiddies? I knew we could.I
I begged a couple of minutes on Himself's PC in order to write up some very rapid emails to a couple of unit coordinators, basically explaining that ohshit, the PC had died, but I was pretty certain I still had all the data I needed, but ummm, I might not be able to get everything in on time, so sorry.
Then this morning, I did some fast research (again, via Himself's computer) and headed down to J&B HiFi down in Rockingham, where I picked up the new computer. J&B won out over Dick Smith because the J&B website actually has all the computers organised by PRICE - so I could see they had a good solid range of options available in my price point, as well as having a lot of possibilities to choose from.
Meet Orac, folks. He's a 15" Samsung laptop, with a nice schmick "no messy fingerprints" case and all the latest and greatest bits and pieces (plus go-faster stripes on the graphics card, if what the salesdude told me is correct - I just walked in there with a list of requirements, a budget, and a bad case of "gotta get this fixed NOW!"). I lucked out - J&B were having a sale, so I got him 15% cheaper. But the name is deliberate. Orac here is small and pretty, has heaps of power under the hood, and blinkenlights galore. He's also cranky, bossy, and determined to be in charge of everything.
I spent most of the day doing the standard install and reboot polka as I found drivers and software and you name it for all my various bits and pieces again, and then I spent the afternoon getting to work on the various assessment items I had to work on. But I couldn't do anything online, because for reasons only known to Orac and Himself, while Orac could see the household network, it couldn't see the internet. So that had to wait for Himself to get home (he knows where the pitfalls are with regard to the household network; I don't. So I don't touch it).
Anyway, now I'm in the process of recreating my previous Firefox setup, and recreating about six to eight years worth of flippin' bookmarks as well (because guess what *was* on the hard drive of the old PC?). If I owe you email, it'll have to wait until I get Thunderbird sorted out.
I love my life, really I do.
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A Persistent Earworm for the Last Few Weeks
The song is "Where Ya Gonna Run To" by Redgum. Lyrics below the fold. File available here at sendspace (2.31MB, .wma format)
( Lyrics below fold )
I get the second-last verse running through my head quite a lot lately - particularly when I'm reading about things like the rioting in London, and the way the USA is turning out. I grew up under the shadow of the Cold War, and the terror of the Reagan years, when it seemed I wouldn't make it to thirty. I'm forty now, and I wonder whether fifty is on the horizon. It seemed to be this time last year. This year? I don't know - and that makes me angry, terrified, and sad. Angry, because things were supposed to get better. Terrified, because I don't know that they will. And sad, because I'm not the only one who believed things were supposed to be better, and I'm not the only one who is probably feeling betrayed because they aren't.
There's nowhere to run to. I just have to make my stand here.
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Suffice it to say...
House hunting sucks rocks through a straw.
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Started 31 MAY 2011
As those of you who've read the piece below this know, I got rather majorly triggered today. As a result, I'm currently attempting to recover from it, and regain some of my mental balance. For those who don't know what it feels like to have been there, feel free to read on. For those who have been triggered before, I should provide a warning: I'm going to be discussing the aftermath of being triggered, and it may be triggering in and of itself.
( Potentially triggering stuff below )
Overall, I'm recovering. It's not an easy process, and it's certainly not a fun one, but it's a process and it's ongoing.
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Bullying: It's Not Just For Primary School
Parents welcome ruling on bullying victim's suicide
The article I link to above is about a determination by a coroner in Victoria that a young man who killed himself had done so as a result of being bullied. It's an interesting enough article, and it raises some interesting issues about bully culture as it surrounds people.
It ends with a note that "If you are experiencing difficulties with bullying contact Lifeline on 13 11 14."
And I started to weep, because I'm a bullying survivor.
I was bullied by my peers, socially and emotionally, for twelve years. I was taunted, teased, degraded, abused, stalked, and pushed constantly throughout primary school and high school. I survived it, but mainly because I grew up in a family which had a strong history of chronic depression, and thus had a strong intra-family cultural taboo on suicide, self-harm, or any other form of behaviour which might bring the family to the attention of the authorities. Keep your head down, suck it up, and see whether you can fly under their radar; that's the family mantra.
I grew up thinking there had to be something inherently wrong with me, something which made those other children pick on me, something which made me a target. I grew up learning from my age peers the "normal" response to my existence was either outright aggression, masked aggression, or just outright denial of my humanity. If I had any friends at all, they were mistakes, errors, only putting up with me because they were outcasts too. If someone was being friendly to me, it wasn't going to last. If someone had my back, it was only so they could stick a knife in it more effectively. I grew up knowing this had to be the case, because if it wasn't... well, if it wasn't this meant that people were getting away with being deliberately cruel to me, for no other reason than "because they could". Easier to believe in my own inappropriateness than to believe in generalised acceptance of malice.
Bullying broke me.
I don't trust people even now. I particularly don't trust other women (and if you're a "popular" woman, you're going to have a lot of trouble winning even the slightest particle of trust from me, because I spent too many years being the target of the malice of the popular girls in school), I don't trust good-looking men, I don't trust people who have any sort of power over me, and I don't trust people who say they're my peers. I live my life on the lookout for the next knife in my back, the next attack out of the dark. I shadowbox my way through relationships. The closer a person gets to me, the more danger I'm in.
I expect to be bullied as a default state these days. It was the cause of a near-breakdown in my second year of university study, because I was so strung-out waiting for the other shoe to drop... prior to starting uni I'd never been in any educational environment where I hadn't been subject to some form of bullying, where picking on me because I was there hadn't been just an accepted part of the day.
I still wear the target on my soul. I found that out when I got my first full-time job in the public service, and was put in the charge of a manager who proceeded to play mind games, most likely with the deliberate intent of breaking me down. That job brought me as close as I've ever been to actual suicide, and I can still recall the absolute despair I felt at the thought of having to endure something like that all day, every day, for the rest of my life. The only reason I'm still here now is because my instinct for self-preservation overrode my lower-middle class upbringing (and led me to quit the job with no idea at all what I was going to do next). What that experience did for me was reinforced the half-understood lesson of my university days - that what had happened to me for twelve years of schooling wasn't a result of "kids being kids".
This is important: children don't bully because they're children. Bullies bully because they're allowed to get away with it, and they don't "grow out of" their bullying behaviours. They keep at it for as long as they're able, and they'll leave a trail of victims behind them. Oh, and they generally don't see themselves as doing anything harmful, either. They were "just having a bit of a joke" or "taking care" of their victim, or carrying out their actions "in the interests" of their victim.
I've never actually called Lifeline. I don't think they'd be interested in what I have to say. I doubt calling them would change anything, and it won't make the pain I still carry go away. I'm broken, and I doubt I'll ever be able to be fixed. I can paper over the cracks, I can pretend I'm functional, but underneath, there's still the little girl who doesn't understand why people are being so nasty to her without any reason. She's crying, and she's probably going to keep crying for the rest of my life.
My name is Meg, and I'm a bullying survivor.
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State of the Meg - Breakdown
( I've finished my contract, and it's just about finished me. )
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I Love Centrelink.
I love Centrelink. Really, I do.
But sometimes, they make it extremely, agonisingly difficult to so much as like them. Like today, where I've received a lovely little note from them saying my unemployment benefit had been suspended pending enquiries regarding my eligibility. This effectively means I have no money coming in.
Now, I am well aware that the whole business revolves around the issue of which section of Centrelink's budget the money they will (hopefully) be paying me once again will be coming out of (I'm hopefully moving from Newstart - aka "the dole" - to Austudy). But a single-sentence letter saying my payment has been suspended, when I'm on the low end of a pay fortnight, and I am literally down to my last week's rent (I have $300 in my bank account - this will cover the cost of my share of the rent for next fortnight; after that I don't have any money at all) DOES NOT HELP THINGS at this end of the equation. Now I'm in a real tizzy about whether or not I'm actually going to be paid any money at all for the next fortnight, and what the hell I'm going to do if I'm not paid anything and what the hell I'm supposed to do to obtain the next instalment of the rent.
Okay, maybe I'm over-reacting, but the absolute terror that comes from realising I have no money and I have no way of getting any in a world which is very much geared toward needing money from people in order to acknowledge their very existence is very hard to overstate. Particularly since one of the number one nightmares I have, the really deep, existential fear which drives my very being, is a fear of vanishing completely from people's notice - slipping through the cracks in reality, perhaps.
I'm stressed, and I'll admit it. If I don't wind up getting onto Austudy; if I have to re-apply for Newstart, or worse still if my eligibility for either of those benefits is cut off and I'm regarded as being ineligible for both of them (for whatever reason) then I am genuinely without resources. The global financial crisis may not have hit Australia very hard, but it's hit our particular household hard enough that we are teetering constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, and we literally have no financial resources available to us. It's a stress I don't need, coming on top of a bundle of other stresses I didn't want.
[I'm having to write this in fits and starts, because if I stop and think about things too much, I'll wind up flooding my keyboard with tears, and at this stage I can't afford a new one.]
So for the rest of the day I'm going to sit tight, and try not to think too hard about any of this. I may have to sublimate a lot of the anxiety in a frenzy of washing dishes and cleaning the house, or gaming, or find some way of doing something to take my mind off things. Tomorrow I have my orientation day at uni, and I'm going to be absent from about 8 in the morning until I finally stumble home at about 10 past 5 in the evening. Hopefully by then I'll have received a nice letter telling me whether or not I'm getting Austudy. If not, I have a meeting with the nice man from CRS on Friday (to which I am going to have to scoot directly from the second uni orientation day, missing the social activities side of things... damnit) where I'll be able to get him onto the whole mess. After all, HE was the one who recommended I go back to uni. He can damn well earn his fucking keep.
Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to pour myself a cup of tea, and try to convince myself that this will all work out in the end.
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Excuse me while I scream
There are days when I want to kill my partner. This is one of them.
As some of you may be aware, we're under a few deadlines at the moment. For one thing, we have roughly 1 week left in our current place of residence. For another, while we've put in an option on a rental place, we haven't heard back from them yet (except for a quick call yesterday which didn't make me feel positive at all, since they were saying firstly they hadn't heard back from our one and only rental reference, and secondly they wanted whole heaps of information about what Himself does for a living). So while we do know we have to move out, we don't know whether we have somewhere else to move into at the other end of it. Stress number one.
Stress number two: The real estate agent who is attempting to sell the place has one offer, for about $110K less than we need to clear all our existing debts. We discovered today there's a potential second buyer (I discovered this when I spotted him peering in our front windows, under the impression the house was empty). Rather than refer the man to the real estate agents, Himself has decided to try and sell the place privately, and thus save the fees and commissions.
I've already warned Himself if this backfires, and we lose both buyers, he's going to be hearing about it from me on possibly a daily basis for the next twenty years at least. Other than this, I'm staying the hells out - I don't have the energy, or the stamina, to get involved in arguing with him.
Stress number three: I went for a job interview last week. I still haven't heard back from the company involved, and I'm suspecting I'll get the usual answer when I do (ie "Sorry, not interested"). So I'm busy waiting back to hear from the recruiting firm, who'll probably give me some kind of vague answer along the lines of "oh, they didn't say" rather than the truth of the matter, which is probably along the lines of me being too old, too female, and/or too fat for the job (it's a helpdesk operator position - by "too fat" they mean "not pretty enough", or "not suitable office totty". Women are under-represented in the IT industry for some reason, and none of the guys can figure out quite why...). So I have this inevitable disclosure to look forward to.
Stress number four: Himself's parents have made an offer to us of the use of a couple of rooms in their house should we find ourselves without somewhere to go. It's starting to look like we might have to take them up on this. I don't want to do this, since at present I'm stressed enough without having to wear my "public" face all the damn time.
Stress number five: I'm unemployed. Christmas is coming up. 'Nuff said?
Stress number six: Day one of my period, and I have cramps and a temper like a bear with toothache.
End result: while I'm sure my situation has a whole heap of positives in there (as per my nice rep from Commonwealth Rehab Services) I can't really see them at the moment. All I can see is the potential for things to go very badly wrong. This doesn't make me any more likely to relax, or calm down, or want to do anything other than sit in a corner and scream for a bit. Unfortunately, I'm not able to do this at the moment because Himself's folks are over doing a spot of weeding for us (and probably thinking of me as the most lazy bitch in the universe, which is probably true) and I can't really let loose until they've gone.
Small relief: I've just discovered I can suspend my health insurance rather than cancelling it, which means I've one less expense to worry about. It also means I've another $60 per fortnight to play with when it comes to rent and similar, rather than spending it on the health insurance.
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Semi-regular update post
Gods, where to start? It's been a bit of a frantic week-and-a-bit. Let's see - how about I give a rundown of "good things and bad things" and then an expansion in TL;DR below.
- Meds packaged in blister pack, Silver Chain stuff almost up and running.
- Purchased Dissidia on Tuesday, already 9/10ths of the way through the initial part of Story Mode
- Heard from my folks, they're coming back to Perth early
( This is the TL;DR stuff )
- Still depressed
- Court hearing on Tuesday resulted in an order to hand over the house
- Still unemployed
So yeah, how's everyone else doing?This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/3013.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I Need Help.
Amanda "Brocky" Stachewicz had everything: a loving family with children, a great career as a doctor and a home in the western suburbs. The former St Hilda's schoolgirl got top marks for everything and was beautiful inside and out.
But at her funeral at her old school in March, mourners were stunned to hear about how she felt before she died.
"I'm tired and I don't want to suffer any more," Brocky wrote before she committed suicide.
Her schoolmate Karen Heagney is running in November's New York marathon to remember her friend and do something for mental illness.
"Depression is a hidden disease," Karen said this week, as she limbered up for a training session at Perry Lakes. "If you suffer from a physical disease it's visible and tangible and people ask how you're going. With depression often no one knows."
This is an excerpt from an article which appeared in our free local paper this week. It was one of the things which pushed me over the edge into absolute screaming hysterical fury today, and got me breaking down.
( More under the fold )
 Mosman Cottesloe Post, Vol 36 No 37; September 19 2009.
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