All posts filed under: Memoir

Reclaiming Work as a Virtue

My father taught me a simple lesson: when the alarm clock goes off, you get out of bed, have a shave, wash yourself, put your clothes on and go to work. You’ve got to be resilient and you’ve got to be focused on what you want to achieve. Dad believed the measure of a person was whether or not they were a worker. He believed that working was a virtue. So do I. My father was Bundjalung and my mother Gumbaynggirr, two of the hundreds of first nations that existed across Australia before British colonisation. My Bundjalung ancestors had their first contact with white settlers in the early 1800s who came looking for grazing land. Like so many indigenous peoples across the world, this early contact included killings. But the initial hostilities gave way to a compromise with both sides showing a marked level of pragmatism. The settlers set up their sheep, later cattle, station and my ancestors lived and worked there, maintaining a good relationship with the station owners to this day. My grandfather …

I Was a Female Incel

Author’s Note: I have chosen to publish this essay under a pseudonym to preserve my anonymity and the anonymity of others mentioned in my story. I respectfully ask anyone who believes they can identify me from what follows to respect my request for privacy.   The terror revealed itself to me in smatterings; bits and pieces of fragmented information communicated in broken English by immigrant factory workers: Van ran over a curb on Yonge Street. Many dead. As I sat amongst the ubiquitous iPhone screens on the TTC, a sea of constantly-refreshing social media feeds and angry red breaking news headlines screaming out from anodyne weekday newscasts, I grasped the reality of the psychological trauma inflicted by terrorist attacks. These were the same images we had seen dozens of times over, in sports stadiums, in concert halls, in city squares: a sea of carnage, a pile of mutilated bodies lying with their clothes torn and their limbs akimbo; a smashed vehicle, an angry sore thumb of burnt rubber and twisted metal; hysterical citizens, legions of …

“Have You Found the Place that Makes You Want to Swallow Its Rhetoric Whole?”

The line above is drawn from a Facebook post entitled “To Any Folks Who Ever Want to Date Me: an anthem for 2017 singles.” Written by an apparently earnest young leftist activist feminist, the anthem begins with a list of verboten statements and actions that a prospective (non-social-justice-activist) mate may err in saying or doing. It then moves onto the preferable approaches that appropriate types might undertake, inclusive of the line that is the title of this piece: Do not dare to comment on my body. Do not stare. Do not tell me all the things you want to do to me. Do not force me to bear the weight of your assumptions. Do not waste both of our time with things so hollow as this. Do not make wishes on my freckles. Do not touch my waist. Do not tell me I am precious, or pretty. Do not seek to make me smaller. Do not ask me to fit. Instead, tell me a story. Tell me a secret. Tell me where you come from. …