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Sometimes life just sucks. For no reason in particular. And for every reason in particular. You know that feeling? Or am I the only one…

The funny thing is that nothing has really changed. I’m still living with my Opa, I’m still at uni, I’m still writing and reading and living life doing the things I love. But I feel shit.

Granted my Opa is wasting away before my eyes, he hardly eats anything any more and at 94 is on the brink of, well, of death.

The sunroom I study in used to be paradise, sun streaming inside and looking out to a wall of green trees and vines; but a new fence and conscientious gardeners tore it down.

It’s cold and raining, and feels as if it’s been grey skies forever (even if it’s only been a few days).

It takes a lot of energy and stubbornness to keep optimism in regards to the subjects I’m studying. Things really don’t look good for humanity’s future and reading one or two articles that reinforce humanity’s greed, my attitude easily shifts to a more pessimistic perspective.

Now I have to pull out another essay on poverty and sustainability, within the next 14 days, and prepare for a very tough exam. That will be the completion of my Masters, and I have to figure out what the heck comes next. I’ve been trying to find a supervisor for a PhD but it’s proving more difficult than I had thought (and has to be done in the next 4 days). I also have interview with a big corporate company I don’t want to work for, urgh!

On top of all this I have a slipped into a routine of two or more coffees a day, half a block of chocolate or more, and a chips & a beer or two at night – each one justified by my circumstances “I deserve it” don’t I?

All of the above is doing my head in. I feel tired. I feel shit. I feel fat. I feel tired. I don’t have a boyfriend. I lost my ipod. I think I’ll go and eat worms.

I have friends who do cheer me up. My mentor brought me a coffee this morning, talked me through my essay, and provided me encouragement and direction. Told me to put some of my worries, like about the state of humanity, on the sideline for now. To acknowledge that I am going to stay here while my Opa gets closer to leaving this world, it is going to be hard. I know that.

My friend Charlie told me yesterday that in order to have the positivist, optimism and idealistic attitude I generally have toward humanity and our planet, I have to experience these pessimistic, sceptical, depressive states; and that I should accept it. I do accept it. But it doesn’t make it any easier to get through it.

Another thing playing on my mind is something I realised as I watched Ten Canoes last night (a movie set in Australia prior to the arrival of the British). Even in nomadic hunter/gatherer cultures you see conflict and struggles, mostly over women.

Men by nature are powerful fighters, and what do they want? Women. As many women as possible. And to spread their seed, create the strongest tribe. Has man really evolved from this state? Are women still the most desired object for a man?

Are capitalist quests undertaken in the same vein as quests throughout history – quests to impress women and get the best woman or win sex with as many as they can? In Marilyn’s words, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” – if women want diamonds and nice “things”, are impressed by fancy cars, money, housing, holidays – security and easy life etc…. – then is that why men in our culture strive so hard for wealth?

Does this mean that if you change what women are attracted to, men will change to win the women? If women are attracted to men who really care about the world, attracted to creativity rather than capital, and if they are turned off by wealth (it is possible, I know because I am one of these women), – then maybe wealth accumulation will slip to the sideline, and we will get back to prioritising the things that are really important: relationships, love, achieving our potential, expressing our true selves.

Hey, is that a hint of optimism starting to come back?

I just wanna feel like I felt posing for the picture at the top of this page (taken by Wendell Teodoro in King St Wharf in 2008). I wanna feel invincible, like I can achieve anything, a ‘superwoman’ like in Alicia Keys song, do you know the one? She described so much of what I am feeling:

“Everywhere I’m turning nothing seems complete

I stand up and I’m searching for the better part of me

Hang my head from sorrows – state of humanity

Wearing on my shoulders, gotta find the strength in me”

“For all the mothers fighting, for better days to come

All my women sitting here trying to come home before the sun

All my sisters coming together saying yes I will yes I can

Why is that? Cause I am, Superwoman, Yes I am.”

Writing about it helps. Posting it, sharing it with the world – I don’t know if that’s a good thing to do but it does make me feel a little better. I guess in this strange digital network of individual identities, we communicate and at least our minds can connect and become more than what we are in our separateness. I guess if humanity is approaching apocalyptic catastrophe, at least we are all facing it together.


Empowering women & the role of men

Empowering women has been said to be the “silver bullet” to ending poverty.

Studies have shown that an increase in the income of women directly correlates with increases in the education and nutrition of children. These children will lead longer and more fulfilling lives, and an upward spiral will begin as they can provide better education and nutrition to their children.

Increases in the income of men have no correlation with children’s education and nutrition, but instead correlate with increases in spending on drugs and alcohol. This is a very sad picture to paint… and I wonder why this is the case?

I suppose the unchangeable fact that men can’t physically give birth could have something to do with it however I do not think this means that fathers are innately less caring about their children than mothers. A child is half the father and half the mother so it makes sense that both have a innate biologically desire for their genes to live on. This is what all life forms, from plants to insects to animals to birds want to do: survive. This is the essence of evolution. This is the essence of life.

It makes me consider what kind of societal conditioning may induce the destructive gender issues around our world today.

I once asked a male friend of mine why men get into fights. He told me it comes down to sexual frustration. That silenced me. What can solve this? Only women. And the more empowered women are the more expectations they have of the man they want to be with… I just hope this does not lead to more sexual frustration and more problems than there were to begin with.

Urgh! It’s so hard. Everything has a ripple effect. The best of intentions can lead to the most disastrous consequences.

Does this mean we should not bother empowering women?

Of course not. Empowering women to earn an income, to make their own choices and have an opinion that counts is extremely important. So too is empowering women to be involved in the top-end leadership of our world. But that’s not everything.

Men must be empowered too, but maybe in a different way to the way our society does today. Pressures on men to compete, to “provide for their families”, pressures to prove their masculinity, and to win the woman that will pass on their genes – these factors are evident in the animal world too. But humanity has developed the unique cabability of FORESIGHT. We can analyse our societal pressures and values, and adjust them in whatever way will allow our society to evolve into a better one.

I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make. I have never felt my femininity hold be back from anything… so all of this is a bit foreign to me. I guess as I learn about gender issues for the first time these issues are playing on my mind. You are reading the babble as my mind tries to make sense of it all.
There is one thing I know beyond doubt and that is that both the male and the female genders have intrinsic, inseparable and invaluable roles to play in life. I suppose it’s just now time to contemplate these roles and how we can structure society in a way that fosters both genders to maximize their potential and provide the most benefit for life on earth as a whole.

Unfortunately I’m sure that is much easier said than done…