Strength, in numbers? Strength in me.

It has been a minute since I published on this blog and it’s been even longer since I published something exclusively for this space. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported my writing and to all the publishers who have accepted my work and organisers who have asked me to speak my ideas and thoughts. I started blogging years and years ago in the MySpace era, have had a couple of blogs since then and this is the only blog that has stuck, the only one that has led to publication in mainstream media. I couldn’t be more thankful for the way my writing and ideas have been taken up by the community.

I have to admit though, that it has been a very tough ride.What many people may not know is that across the last year or so I was bullied very badly. Not just by one person, but by many, sometimes collectively, sometimes individually. I know that I am not always the most generous in my interactions, but I genuinely feel that for me it has always been about the work. If I have been harsh it has come from a genuine reaction, framed by the work that I do. Contrary to this, I feel like much of the bullying I have been subjected to has not been about the work, but rather about pulling someone that you feel threatened by down. This is what many people call lateral violence.

And I want to talk for a minute about lateral violence, because I know that it is something that effects many blackfellas. However, it also effects other marginalised groups that are oppressed from those above them – when they are pushed down on, rather than pushing back up, they push on those around them. I have seen lateral violence in almost all the ‘minority’ groups I live within and have worked with, and it saddens me that people can’t see that they are being distracted from the real work of dismantling the oppressor.

In the midst of all this bullying and lateral violence, life continues to march forward for me and my family. Grief, deaths, health problems, money problems, job problems, car crashes, car losses, family life and more. I often wondered if the bullies in my life knew when to kick a girl when she was down. As a blackfella, I’ve come to realise that this is part of my life, that my life is way more complicated than non-blackfellas in ways that only few can imagine. However, while I realise this, I don’t always have to accept it. I don’t have to resign myself to it and I can operate from a place of strength and resilience to rise above the circumstances of my life. Whilst it is human nature to complain at times, overall, I won’t be there if you throw me that pity party.

So strength is what I am feeling right now. The bullies, the life circumstances, they may have strength in numbers, but the biggest strength of all, is in me. I hope that you, too, can find your strength.

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