Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Uncategorized

Coersion and Creativity

Empathy is connecting with the parts of you that feel bad along side other people

My Dad and I had a difficult relationship. When I was 16 and I disobeyed him, he wheeled the garbage bin into my room and started putting my school work and clothes into it. This was a Sunday evening, I was doing homework, and I had an assignment due the next day.

 I hate confrontation and I was frightened. When he started to lose his temper, I left quickly. I think I might have gone to the local shopping centre and finished my homework, and not come back til late in the evening. Mum told me that my sister had gone to get her, and there’d been a tremendous argument. Dad threatened her, but he didn’t actually hit her that time. We were all terrified, but I was angry too.

My room was pretty messy, and it’s a parent’s prerogative to enforce cleanliness on teenager’s rooms. Most people want to live in nice houses; Dad included. Dad wanted to live in a clean and orderly space. He wanted me to show gratitude and respect for the area he had worked hard to provide for me, by keeping it tidy and harmonious. That’s fair enough.

However, this is an example of coercive control. The constant threat of violence, the unpredictability of the demands, the lack of empathy, the rigid hierarchical system enforced through authoritarianism: That’s coercive control. The reason it happened was because my Dad was unskilful, and unable to communicate or cope.

A better way of doing it would be instead of saying “I want this room tidied tonight” like a temperamental despot, saying “how can we work together to create a system that will help you to keep things tidy”. People thrive through connection. Chris Voss in ‘Never Split the Difference’ says that all negotiation begins with empathy, and that includes negotiation with teenagers.

I’ve got an example of coercive control where I’m the perpetrator, too. My husband and I went to a birthday party, and I kept an eye on the number of slices of cake he had, and when he got to five I said stop. There is an arrogance of me deciding what he should eat, when he should stop, and saying so in front of others. I shamed him.

Again, this is entirely wrong.

As an adult, it’s his prerogative to decide what he eats, and how much. If he specifically asks me to help him with food, it’s OK to say something in a non-shaming way. He had in-fact asked me to do that previously, and commented that we enable each other to eat unhealthy food. However, consent isn’t just about saying yes. True consent requires you to make sure that the other person is OK. And he wasn’t. And that was wrong.

 If you don’t have the skills to communicate without violence, or threat of violence, it’s very important that you get those skills. And the great thing is, not only will they be happier—you’ll be happier. Not only will they learn to have good relationships—you’ll have good relationships. You’ll be able to connect with people on a real level, because you’ll both feel safe. You’ll be able to listen. And listening and being listened to is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

It’s one of the things that makes life worth living.

Novels and Creative Writing, Uncategorised, Uncategorized

Dense living shoots, and The Tantrum

Dense Living Shoots:

There once was a balcony aloe
It’s dish was surprisingly shallow
But it still made new shoots
And dense living roots,
There’s no need to leave your heart fallow

The Tantrum:

He screams, he cries,
He’ll thrash his little legs
And rub his eyes
The innocence of disarray
His behaviors I can not deny

Unless I look deep into the heart of things, and breathe.

There’s no training for his family
To deal with their son’s complex needs
Navigating systems that can’t cope
Half my role is give them hope

That a valuable life has nothing to do with living up to a pretend ideal of what passes for normality.

He drew an ‘H’ in the air today,
I could’ve cried ‘Hip Hip Hooray’
He’s learning how to train his mind
Now how to teach him to be kind

To get him through to the excellence, mastery, bravery, and vulnerability that I hope will make him a brilliant adult.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

Novels and Creative Writing, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised

Conversations with my 13 year old Self

P!nk does the healing work
Her example creates, succeeds, motivates.
She started out bratty, different,
Let’s Get This Party Started! Bleargh.
But she’s worked through that, and ended up
Raw, honest, a wounded healer; more artist than merchandise;
A knitting together of dreams, effort, growth, joy and panic rather than plastic fantastic,
Her self-liberation liberates others.

Conversations with my 13 year old Self

When I was 13 I wanted to be a teacher and a missionary in Africa,
I wanted 10 kids
And to save the world.
I joined the school band, choir and debating team.
I babysat every afternoon.
At 13 I was bossy and arrogant,
Patronising and overly direct:
I couldn’t fit in with my peers.
I also had seeds of strength, creativity, and kindness,
Quietly rooting themselves into my personality.

And the others—those men
Both internal and external to me.
They haunted the edges of my consciousness
A snap of images from the past
Ashamed, I’d turn my head,
Or a shard of someone younger than me who lives inside
Ciphering out– her head dripping round the door of my consciousness
Internal him using my hands to cut the malleable bounce of my legs and stomach.
External him sending shocks of fear through my body
The smell of cigarettes, beer, and sex, the growl of male voices,
My shudder of horror when I hear those footsteps, those keys.
Pain and panic blinding me,
Blinding the parts of me that still remember, still experience.

At 13 I could read all day
Novels and stories—so many quick reader books written with simplicity in mind.
I had so much energy and time went on forever
Stretching into a future that would definitely be better than today.

I disliked his hands on me
Eyes assaulting through the peeky hole between the bathroom and kitchen.
Anyone could look– he let anyone look: his friends.
And I looked too.
In 1999 they chose that life

In 2022 they choose their lives.

In 2022 I’m basking in
That ephemeral substance of living past your past,
Growing through your past,
Embracing: intangible assets of compassion, language, and love of learning.

My parents?
How do you grow though a past that you can’t accept occurred?
Lost to resentment and denial, they bask in
Disappointment and regrets.

Poor things.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

F.I.R.E., Life Hacks, More experienced Investors, New To Finance, Review, Uncategorised

Three things I’ve learned from Paula Pant’s Afford Anything

How do you take a philosophy, and a methodology of thinking, and turn it into a business?

Paula Pant has done it with Afford Anything.

She is a woman of colour, an entrepreneur, and a kick-ass lady. But her most important asset is that she likes to think, and she likes to learn.

www.affordanything.com

From Paula, I’ve learned

Small, repeated actions add up to big results. Listening to Afford Anything got me thinking about savings and investments. That got me searching for ways I can do that to fit my lifestyle. Paula says focus on the process rather than the outcome .

What I came up with is twice per month, once after my pay and once after my interest comes in, I make all the numbers in my savings accounts line up in a row. (Savings Account 1: $6222, Savings Account 2: $7222 etc). This has the effect of adding an extra $22.19 here, and an extra $7.54 there, which makes the total go up higher than it would by just adding $300 per month.

And my inner child loves seeing all the numbers add up in a row.

Relationships are more important than stuff.  In this blog, Paula talks about how one of the best ways to heal trauma is to connect with other mammals and focus on building relationships.

That is one of the lessons of my life already. Friends, relationships, family, and caring about people has enriched my life inexpressibly. Having friends involves some simple repeated actions and being kind.

Something I do, is that my teacher buddies and I have coffee together during the school holidays. I initiate one text every school holidays, and if we’re free enough, we catch up.

And my social-self loves having stable, loving friendships.

Look at what other people are doing well, and do that. Paula speaks to people who are interesting and who also think. She’s a thinking person who talks to people who think.  I love this so much.

My little brain just goes “Yaaaaaay” any time she has someone new on her podcast. I’ve bought so many books after listening to the people on her blog. Currently reading: Andrew Hallam, Millionaire Teacher because of listening to her show.

Something else she does really well is having a variety of reader cases (you can ask your questions) with regular guests, and completely new guests and ideas.

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

Life Hacks, Novels and Creative Writing, politics, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony, A Novel. Chapter Three: Flavours of God

God has a flavour, and everyone’s is different. The God I grew up with was a bitter and cruel taskmaster, who played favourites (of course he loved the Israelites best) and killed people on a whim (Sodom and Gomorah, anyone?). The God I live with now is an altogether different affair. 

My flavour of God likes women. It likes men too. It thinks that the true expression of our natures is the most important thing. The God I live with now thinks that it’s OK to want things, to set goals, and to socialise and share life with all sorts of other people.

And every-now-and-again I get the flavour of God so strongly in my body it’s like magic flowing through me; transformational moments; ecstasy.

My favourite religious word comes from East of Eden by John Steinbeck and it’s Timshel.

I’ll tell you Steinbeck’s story.

Some guys are sitting around drinking whiskey and reading Bible. Fair enough.

They read Cain and Abel:

Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain farms vegetables, and Abel farms sheep. Both brothers give God a share of their produce. God likes Abel’s gift and blesses his produce. But God spurns Cain’s gift.

Cain gets jealous of Abel, and they fight, and Cain kills Abel.

God is Mad.

He banishes Cain from the land and sends him out to live amongst strangers. Then he puts a mark on Cain’s face to show that Cain’s done the wrong thing. Finally he says “sin lieth at thy door, and thou shalt rule over him”.

One of the guys drinking whiskey, thinks this is a strange thing to say. He thinks this is a story that sticks very close to human nature, and those words “thou shalt rule over sin” are lies. Because humans have never ruled over sin, or not enough.

So this guy, Lee, gets out another bible and reads the same story.

This time God says “sin lieth at thy door, and do thou rule over him”.

Well, Lee thinks this is a bit strange as well. Because why would God make human nature what it is, and then command us to change it? Those words, “do thou” are orders, instructions, not to be what we are.

So, being a learned man, he goes back to the original Aramaic.

The original Aramaic word (according to Steinbeck) is Timshel. Lee’s translation of this is “thou mayest”.

I like this.

I like it because God is saying it’s your job. It’s my job to work on myself. It’s my job to get better. It’s my job to do better. And, if I do that, and I’m lucky, I May just create a good life. If I put in effort, and I grow, and I live wholly and fully, I May just have a chance to experience goodness.

And this is truth.

A typical day with the God of my childhood: My Dad’s wearing his green jumper and nothing else. The green is almost exactly the colour that Mazdas were in 2009. The wool that it’s made of is softer than most acrylic. My Mum made it for him in the 1970’s. It’s beautiful; fair-isle.

I’ve got my small feet on his feet, and my hands are in his hands, and we’re walking across the lounge room. He’s singing a song that’s my name over-and-over again. I can see his balls level with my face. I like putting my mouth on them. They taste kind-of salty and kind-of strange. He’s not very good at washing them. They’re hairy and I like pulling the hair a little with my mouth.

Remembering is like the jolt of a sudden fall. Like walking over an uneven area and tripping and landing on my hands and knees. The dizzying terrifying chaos of the earth that seems so firm and stable abruptly disappearing. The reliable steps I’ve taken a million times before, my body that knows how to be upright, suddenly akimbo, askew.

What should we do with Gods such as this?

Isaiah Chapter 2 is God saying to the Israelites: if you’re nice to me and worship me, and treat me well, I’ll be nice to you. But if you’re mean to me, I’ll kill you. This is the bible’s brand of domestic violence.

What do we owe the people who love us? What do we owe the people who hurt us?

To whom do I owe my silence?

There’s a tiny ball of hurt in my heart. It aches. My jaw is tight. My teeth hurt. There’s a bitterness there. I’m ashamed of being cast in the role of slut, and I’m ashamed of embodying that role in my life. I’m ashamed of the parts of me that embody that role now. Also of the parts of me that torment my own body now, belittling, cutting, burning; killing me. 

And then there’s that life-force, yearning– yearning to create. As much as I want to die, I want to give, to appreciate, to nurture. To be acceptable as I am, where I am, whoever I am. To be accepted as human, and to be given the courtesy and respect that humans are given by virtue of their humanity alone.  

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Four

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.