We are not fighting men…

Posted on 18 June 2018 | No responses

Vincent van Gogh

We are not fighting men.
We are dismantling patriarchy,
Most especially white patriarchy.
Even women can be part of the patriarchy.
But we must remember that men are the ultimate beneficiaries of this system.
And consciously or unconsciously, many will act to defend their privilege.

We must practice self awareness.
We must consciously choose kindness, until it comes to us unconsciously.
This includes standing up to those who would dilute and abuse our goodwill.

In peace,

Katherine

Ending Bully Culture
It’s not just about kids

Posted on 14 June 2018 | No responses

Broken Window

CC BY-SA 4.0 WiseWoman, 13 May 2013 Wikimedia

“I’m just beside myself with sadness because our president is a bully, our president is a punk, and he just doesn’t get it. I don’t know where he was raised but his family didn’t do a good job raising that guy.”
~Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney 2017

A scenario

A bully knocks a child over on the playground. A number of other children observe this youthful act of violence. They most assuredly feel empathy for the child who has been harmed. They are also now afraid of being the next target. They back away. They avoid the victim and are superficially friendly toward the bully.

The victim

The victimised child finds they have to pick themselves up and seek help. The playground supervisor glowers at all the children and tells the bully to stay away from this child. The supervisor feels they have done their job and leaves. However, a number of things remain unresolved.

The child who was pushed still has cuts and bruises that need tending to and has been left to sort that out for themselves. The other children are now even more afraid of this child because they brought in a threatening power of their own. The kids are now caught between a powerful adult and a powerful bully when dealing with the bullied child. This child is not only left alone, but positively ostracised.

The child now has more than just physical wounds to contend with. They must deal with the emotional wounds of someone wishing them harm and actively pursuing that wish, the wounds of realising none of their friends were willing to stand by them, the wounds of a supervisor half doing their job thereby leaving them open to even more wounding, and the wounds of being isolated.

More victims

The children on the playground have also been victimised by this exchange. The bully’s actions could have been done as a moment of emotional venting, or deliberately to assert control by making an example of one particular child. Either way the child audience is now in terror. Having a powerful adult come in and not resolve the issue, such that they can all feel safe, generates even more fear. They have no one but themselves to rely upon to create any sense of safety. They have neither resources nor experience to choose wisely and effectively on how to do this.

Victim and perpetrator

So far I have been describing the child who used violence as “the bully”. This is unfair, but we tend to focus in on either or both the bully and the victim as “the problem” and dehumanise both of them. They are both children. They are both people: young people who are just learning about what it means to be human in the world.

The child who was pushed can sometimes face adults who feel they somehow provoked the harm they received. The adult may express the desire for the child to not say anything and to stop complicating the adult’s life. “Why can’t you just let it go? These things happen. You should just stand up to the bully or ignore the bully. You are too sensitive.” And thus this child is diminished.

The child who did the pushing is often seen in isolation to their circumstances. They are just a “bad kid”. They may come from a difficult situation or set of situations. They may feel powerless at home due to poverty, family in-fighting, or abuse. So creating power at school is important to their sense of well-being. If a parent has found it effective to bully a child at home in order to control behaviour, the child will learn that as an interpersonal skill and take it to school with them. They may have tried it once with useful results. If using bullying repeatedly gets useful results, then the behaviour is reinforced.

The tangle

Shutting up a victimised child is often easier and less frightening than coping with all the issues that create a child who uses bullying tactics. Trying to shut up a bullying child makes things worse. The unadressed emotions with which they are coping become magnified. If it seems to them that the only thing they did wrong was get caught, then they may find more stealthy and subtle means to continue victimising others. The child who called them out may become the target for a sustained campaign of punishment.

Dealing with a child who chooses physical and/or emotional violence means addressing the child, their family, and the culture at large that caused all the choices this child made seem perfectly logical in their world. If poverty was the cause, then this demonstrates how we must address poverty. If a culture of domination was the cause, then this demonstrates how we must address a culture of dominance. How many hours of violence is this child exposed to on television, movies, games and the like that all help to normalise violence when they see it enacted by friends, family, and the wider community? Violent media may not cause violent behaviour, but it certainly backs it up once someone has gone down that path. Addressing bullying properly is hard. However, it is disastrous to not grapple with it.

When bullying has happened everyone has to be healed: the child who was bullied, the child who chose to bully, and all the children who observed the interaction. Everyone has to be reconciled…anything less and children learn they can’t trust one another, since they cannot and do not help one another; they learn they cannot trust authority because authority’s solutions often make things worse; and they find that interpersonal isolation is the safest path through life. Is it any wonder that people turn to social media and computer games to feel interpersonal connection? The problem is that these spaces can be so safe as to be sterile of meaningful relationships. Otherwise, they can be equally endangering.

We tend to treat this dynamic as if it only happens in childhood. It is established in childhood. It becomes entrenched in a generation’s culture as everyone learns skills in how to cope without changing anything. Children may learn they cannot use physical violence as adults, but they may learn more inconspicuous means to manipulate and damage people for their own benefit. We all have to take responsibility for this and early. By adulthood a person may no longer have any reason or desire to change. They may have learned clever ways to go underground when they are called into account, then continue enacting disastrous behaviour. As a society we should feel ashamed that we let things get so far.

What it means to stop bullying

If we truly want to stop bullying, then we need to start by ensuring everyone takes responsibility for the elements that made bullying an option.

The bullied should not be made responsible for being brutalised. However, their broad participation in changing bullying culture should, with everyone’s help, be a possible source of healing and empowerment.

Feelings need to be listened to and validated. Being “rational” can be disempowering and dehumanising in its own right. We have feelings, they get hurt, sometimes to such a degree that people seek to kill themselves or others. They cannot by any means be left out of the equation.

Punishment is often just more bullying, in which case it is not an answer. Rehabilitation wherever achievable is critical and part of the process of reconciliation.

Forgiveness cannot be forced onto victims or bystanders, because in fact what is being asked for is acquiescence to wrong-doing. The delicate web of trust must be rebuilt. Forgiveness happens when people feel sufficient empowerment to free themselves from internal pain and to extend compassion.

Contending with the problem of bullying is core to revolutionising our society so that we can live together harmoniously as families, communities, and nations. We can no longer afford to be bystanders in the effort to free everyone from its grip.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

STOP WAR!

Posted on 5 June 2018 | No responses

Demand love now, stop ww3

According to the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock we are 2 minutes from midnight. Two minutes from global nuclear disaster. The last time we were that close to disaster was 1953.

Thousands of mental health professionals have petitioned that Donald Trump be removed from office because he has serious mental pathologies. It is completely within his power to set off nuclear war on a whim. He has been isolating the US. He has been vilifying and dehumanising whole swathes of humanity. Now he is starting a global trade war.

How far do things have to go before he feels a global military conflagration would be convenient?

Trump has had approved a $61 billion increase in the US military budget which boosts its overall budget to $700 billion this year. the Pentagon is already on course to spend $6 trillion to $7 trillion of US taxes over the next decade. This money is largely going toward weapons that are being sold to countries around the world. Australia has recently decided to get into the weapons racket and has invested 3.8 billion tax dollars to boost foreign sales of locally manufactured arms. Why would Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull take such a dark turn?

We are all told that this is being done in the name of jobs. Is it really worth taking jobs that are going to ensure the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? I suppose that means more job openings, but honestly, you or your children are the ones who could end up dead or in a world of suffering.

Look at the numbers. War-making is big money. It keeps people terrified and in line. You can get people to do all sorts of things in the name of protecting their country, including carting neighbors off to detention centers and gas chambers. Don’t believe the lies, none of us needs war to live a secure life…quite the opposite.

We have been forced to work longer hours or more jobs for less money. When we are forced to rely on government help, we are treated like criminals to whom citizen and human rights are seen as no longer applying. We are made to feel desperate…and therefore too frightened to do anything. “As long as I’m safe, I will avert my eyes. I will keep from doing anything that will make my life harder.” This is a disastrous strategy.

Given how this is all tangled up with both human and planetary well-being, right now we stand to lose everything: the mountains, the trees, the streams, the otters and platypuses that play in them, the plains, the deer, the oceans, the dolphins, the festivals in places like Rio de Janeiro, the sweet faced children in Tibet, the beautiful saris in India, the people who help you find your way when travelling through Japan, the rousing dance music of Mexico, the yummy soups of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, on and on and on… Look outside. This is a beautiful world. Look at the faces of your best friends. Remember the friends you loved but who are now gone. So many incredible people. We stand to lose everything.

Can you feel that in your heart? Is it worth losing the world out of petty stubbornness? Is it worth looking away? Do you feel the need to do something? Then act out of love! Anything less will put us in a cycle of violence that will mean the extinction of all humanity. We cannot find a hole to meditate in or to wail prayers for redemption. We must do something. We must join one another. We must rediscover empathy as a bridge to becoming a compassionate collective. We must take back our power from the wealthy few and reinvest in a more equitable world of kindness. This will mean rallies, this will mean voting, this will mean boycotts, this will mean speaking out so we can find one another and understand the issues.

The situation is urgent! Take a stand now! Demand love!

In lovingkindness,

Katherine

Time for Utopia

Posted on 30 May 2018 | No responses

Cover of Galaxy magazine April 1955

We have been watching far too many distopian fictions. Distopias are meant to be warnings. If things go on as they are, they caution, the consequences will be dire. This is what stories like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale are all about. They are meant to spur people on to make change.

We as a culture have been consuming so many distopian stories, I am afraid we see these futures as inevitable and even heroic. People watch movies such as Mad Max, already feel helpless that nothing can be done to stop the collapse of our civilisation through human division and environmental damage, identify with the hero, then cast themselves as a romantic lone survivor.

I’ve had people try to recruit me for their survivalist dreams. The most recent fellow wanted me to move to King Island where we were going to preserve knowledge and be the stable providers of necessary commodities, thereby ensuring that we “the good people” would take over the future. He had no plan to help save our planet now. He had no interest in joining forces with people who were creating solutions for a better world we could all share.

I’ve heard it said that people find it easier to imagine a dead world than a world without capitalism. This is a deeply entrenched position. This is a “my way or no way” stance. When some of these people want to seem progressive, while still clinging to our society’s worst sins, they will talk about how change has to be deliberate and slow. What the message really is: “Over my dead body”. “My world, my way, while I still have breath. I don’t care about what happens to anyone after I’m planted six feet in the earth.”

People want a future they can understand. They want a future where they feel they can be in control. Largely this means, left or right, they want a world mostly like it is today with a few tweaks that are favorable to themselves. The political difference is the size of “themselves”. Are we talking a small upper caste or a broader more middle class collective? Neither are thinking deeply, broadly, or far enough.

As things are going, the future will be profoundly alien to those of us alive today. If we start imagining utopia now, we may be able to get to that place with less suffering. If we do not, we face either tremendous suffering and/or total extinction. Human beings have not been powerful because we stand apart, we have been powerful because we have worked together for better or for worse. Let’s start choosing better more often. Let’s embrace the mystery of the future and allow it to be utopian.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

PS: Stay tuned. I am planning on writing something about a potential utopian future.

Which would you rather: more art or more war?

Posted on 18 May 2018 | No responses

The 2018-2019 Australian Federal budget does not include any new cuts to the arts council funding, though that damage was done in 2015 when A$105 million dollars was removed from the already small arts granting budget and the remaining budget was earmarked primarily for artistic institutions like the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Now on a “tight” budget the government magically has: A$13 million to spend on preservation of documents at the Australian War Memorial and is considering a A$500 million redevelopment plan for that memorial.

Australia’s defense spending is expected to increase by over 80 percent—from A$32.4 billion in fiscal year 2016-17 to A$58.7 billion in 2025-26—over the next decade. Australia will spend approximately A$200 billion over the next ten years under the Integrated Investment Program on new military hardware.

In 2015 Australian historian Dr Val Noone gave a speech during the ANZAC Centenary commemorations about how the documents at the Australian War Memorial were being sanitised. Historians were to digitise some documents, but those documents that didn’t paint a pretty picture of war, those that showed soliders who came back from war with parts of their face missing or described their struggles with emotional damage and more, were to be destroyed. Think about that. Think about what anyone in the future will ever be able to understand about WW1 when the documents have been carefully curated to paint only a heroic picture.

“Lest we forget” indeed.

Please think hard about how we are being led to accept a new war.

In peace,

Katherine

Forgiveness, Apologies, and Just Relations

Posted on 11 May 2018 | No responses

Redfern Sorry

Preamble

We live in a complex world. We are all learning all the time. Maturity and wisdom are spread across the human population in a lumpy fashion. The children of a loving, respectful, and broadly caring family may be more mature than a much older person who grew up amidst familial or national dysfunction. Sometimes sensitive children escape abusive families and through hard experience learn maturity well beyond their years. Then there are all the people who learn functional toxic behaviour, whereby they are rewarded for behaving in a way that is harmful to other people, and therefore have no reason to seek personal growth. I could name any number of variations on people’s personal and social development, but you get the point.

It’s hard to know where any one person is on their journey through life. Who I was as a child and who I am now are two very distinct people. I was raised by a conservative family. I now count myself as part of those who are typified by people such as Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi. Universal peace and kindness are worthwhile goals. We should not have to be exceptional or born into exceptional circumstances in order to experience love and security.

Under these circumstances we must all extend to one another a certain amount of tolerance. We need to learn how to close our eyes to simple annoying behaviour. Upon occasion we need to take it upon ourselves to help others to learn and to grow. Many times we have to trust that with experience maturity will come. Other times we may recognise that people have a right to their opinion, but we need to gather together to stop the deleterious effects those opinions can have on the well-being of our society as a whole. Finally come those times when actions are outright harmful and someone’s behaviour cannot be tolerated…but done while still recognising their humanity and the circumstances that created their maladjustment.

In all of this we need to learn the capacity for forgiveness. Forgiveness is the lubricant that gives a wrongdoer the opportunity to grow and the person wronged a chance to be released from the emotional burden of harm. Forgiveness makes possible reconciliation and the opportunity to heal, not just the lives of single persons, but of whole communities. Nevertheless, forgiveness cannot be relied upon without being partnered with a will to justice.

Easy Forgiveness

Forgive with ease when you have not been wronged. Upon occasion we can become offended when offense should not have been taken. Pride makes it hard to admit that we are mistaken and that we are the ones who should make apology.

Forgive with ease when the other person acted out of inexperience, accident, or non-malicious ignorance. Cultural misunderstandings fit under this category. The trick is to recognise no real harm was intended and no real harm was done. Where this gets tangled is when you have people who are behaving in a passive aggressive manner and are giving themselves plausible deniability. Under these circumstances I would still expect an apology. The nature of the apology will often make clear how genuine a person’s intent is.

Hard Forgiveness

Neither apology nor forgiveness are ways to avoid controversy. Forgiveness is not acquiesence to wrongdoing, nor is it the releasing of a person from their responsibilities for doing wrong.

When someone makes an apology, there is a big difference between remorse and mollification. One seeks growth and reconciliation, the other seeks to manipulate in order to avoid responsibility for consequences and making change. Using “sorry” as a way to simply pacify another is ultimately destructive of social cohesion. Forgiveness is forced, emotions suppressed, and ultimately no reconciliation is genuinely won. Because issues are not resolved, they will continue to bubble beneath the surface until they reach a dangerous boiling point.

If a person intentionally harmed us as a form of vengeance, then it may be worth thinking about our part in the dynamic. Their punishment of us may not fit the crime. This is why we have courts and do not rely on mob justice. However, to find release we must own our actions, make our apologies, then forgive the other person while still seeking just reparation or means by which the person will not continue to harm others.

Forgiveness keeps the bullied from becoming the bully. It keeps us from the felt need for our own vengeance. Not one of us is a bad person for wanting to hurt someone who has hurt us. It is completely understandable. Just don’t do it. At its least harmful this urge is about a desire for empathy. We want the other person to understand the suffering they have caused by experiencing it themselves, then perhaps they would feel remorse and halt painful behaviour. Sadly, not everyone is capable of that sort of empathy. If that is the case, then they need help and they need to be kept from harming others. Find enough kindness to recognise this. You will feel better and behave better than they did.

Other cases of vengeance seeking are more destructive. Sometimes we want to harm a wrongdoer in order to dominate them, and thereby enforce them to behave in a manner that keeps us from harm. Sometimes we want to obliterate a wrongdoer, so that they no longer exist to do harm. No one learns in these situations. We do not create a society where we can feel safer around one another. We create a society whereby we keep walling people off and as their numbers grow, give ourselves even greater reason to be afraid.

The whole point of restorative justice is to move past a prison society where we are all ultimately locked up in some form. We understand that someone has taken a wrong turning in their life. Their circumstances may have made that turning completely valid, if unacceptable to a functioning society. We need to address those circumstances and recognise where we too have done wrong. If they understand the problematic nature of their behaviour and are willing to make change, how much safer is it to rehabilitate people and bring them back into our fold than to create a community of the damaged and desperate.

If the harm was wholly uncalled for, then we will need to recognise its non-personal nature in order to reclaim ourselves. Forgiveness keeps us from running circumstances through our heads over and over again. It makes it possible for us to feel safe, because we aren’t constantly scaring ourselves in order to be ready should someone try to harm us again. When we carry unforgiveness it is all too easy to create psychodramas around ourselves in order to relieve the anxiety. The subconscious thinking is that if I can defend myself or even get some of my own back in these situations, then I must be safe. This will never work. Part of the problem is that we haven’t even forgiven ourselves for being vulnerable.

Apologies

When the other person has genuinely wronged you:

  • Expect apology.
  • Expect an expression of understanding that you have been hurt and how they caused that hurt.
  • Expect offers of a change in behaviour and possibly recompense.
  • Expect actual change of behaviour.
  • Understand the value of this process.
  • Be prepared to do the same for others.

An apology is not genuine if it ducks responsibility or blames the victim. You are in real trouble if the person who has caused harm insists you apologise to them for making them feel badly.

These are not acceptable apologies:

  • I’m sorry that you felt hurt (nothing is being said about what the person apologising did that was harmful, it’s all on the victim).
  • I wasn’t trying to be mean (the intent is of little consequence at this point, the apologiser must own the damage).
  • Sorry, I was just joking (the victim is still being made responsible for not taking a painful joke).

These would be the correct apologies:

  • I am sorry that I hurt you (then explain how you hurt them).
  • I am sorry, I should have been more sensitive (say more sensitive about what).
  • I am sorry, the joke was inappropriate and at your expense (express your recognition that we are all human and all deserving of equal respect).

If the above is not forthcoming, consider the seriousness of the action and:

  • Decide whether it is likely to happen again.
  • Decide whether speaking to the person would create change.
  • Decide if having an intermediary would create change.
  • Determine if the problem is bigger than this one person: does it come from the values held by this person’s family, friends, or community. Do they perhaps have a mental pathology (consider this with care).
  • Decide if it is worth engaging some form of authority to recover damages, protect yourself, protect others.
  • Decide whether it is worth maintaining a relationship. It’s good when associations can be repaired. Regardless of age, familial connection, or position in society, people from all walks in life can prove toxic and it is completely legitimate to let go of connection with someone doing you harm.
  • Write what you want to say and do down, so you don’t feel the need to run it through your head over and over again.
  • Forgive yourself for being harmed.
  • Feel strong within yourself.
  • See beyond the harm to positive things you are on the way to that are more important.
  • Decide when you are ready to forgive. You need your own time to heal. This is not up to the other person.

Forgiveness can be a recognition of humanity, a willingness to grow together, a healing of connection. When no apology is forthcoming, forgiveness is the means by which we can release ourselves from an invisible but toxic bond with another. Humanity numbers over seven billion. Our living world is in danger. We must seek the maturity that comes with humility, learning better how to get along with one another. With these skills we will be able to cooperate and create a future worth living in.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Better Strategies for Equality

Posted on 4 May 2018 | No responses

Rainbow Lorikeet

Equal consideration of all humanity is necessary for the creating of a sustainable peace, a peace where we can all live fulfilling lives with some measure of contentment. How we endeavour to establish equality says much about our culture. It is also an indicator of how successful we are going to be (or not) in our efforts.

The strategy most visibly used to help give the under-privileged access to the higher levels of our society is to train people in how to be like those in power. We are to give up those things that signify we are part of a lower class. We are to take up the values, aspirations, and culture of the powerful. Women are taught to be ruthless. Non-white people are learning to be cut-throat entrepreneurs.

Maybe this is creating a sort of equality across various types of human being. However, what it is really doing is affirming the believed importance of a broken culture which created this inequality in the first place, one in which the odds will always be stacked in favour of those already in power. If we even managed to overcome things such as racism, sexism, ableism, and the like within this rubric, we would be doing so while entrenching classism.

We have a dominant culture that has not only taken over the world, it is destroying it. Why are all of us who are subject to this system propping it up? We should be burning our black business suits; tearing down the sterile work places and factories; walking away from our TVs, radios, and the like and making our own stories, music,and cultural expression. We must reclaim all that is kind and beautiful and unique about ourselves, holding these things up as critical to our well-being and our very existence.

The dominators have been reducing our lives to where life is about power and cogs: are you powerful or are you a cog? Anything that does not fit into either of those boxes has been subject to a cruel and short-sighted winnowing. Our world is dying because we have lost a sense of community with all that is living. You cannot sense continuity when you are turning others into cogs in order to gain power. There is no equality in that.

Find yourself. Reclaim yourself. And in so doing save the world.

In peace,

Katherine

Pronoun Progress

Posted on 14 April 2018 | No responses

Clown Fish

In 1997 I had a particular interest in gender free pronouns. I was writing a creative work for my PhD in storytelling for digital media. I decided to base it on The Odyssey, since the structure of that work was relevant to my degree. In The Odyssey divinities are protrayed as sexual in nature, but capable of manifesting themselves in any form or gender. As such it was not accurate to describe them as “she” or “he”.

At the time people were experiencing an upwelling of interest in gender free pronouns. Online communication was taking off and it was found to be, and still is, dangerous at times for people who are not clearly male. Therefore, we had people who did not want to be defined by their gender when in conversation about ideas.

So, I considered all the possibilities I could track down for what a person might be called if they were non-binary, at a time when the non-binary gender concept was not well known. I even made a comparison chart. Looking at that chart twenty years later, I do not entirely agree with myself. However, now I have the benefit of experience.

I rejected zie/zir/zirs and ey/em/eir as non-gender forms of she/her/hers and he/him/his, due to their “unsoundliness”. I then put forward a solution that I felt was just easy enough on the ear to perhaps easily blend into the English language. This idea is not entirely without merit, if you are trying to convince people to let go of an old and ingrained language habit. However, people adapt. New generations can take up new ideas very quickly. Soundliness is not as important as fairness.

Recently, I have had to think about this issue again because we are at a juncture in time when people, the young in particular, are coming to grips with the fluidity of both gender and sexuality. To myself I don’t feel like a gender, I feel like Katherine Phelps. Katherine likes many things, some of which are defined as male and some female. I look in the mirror, I don’t see male or female. I just see Katherine. And whether or not I lean toward a preponderance of female designated things, that still doesn’t make me feel particularly female. Who I am attracted to, my sexuality, doesn’t feel like a gendered decision. Women like men, women like women, men like men, men like women, and people of all sorts like people of all sorts.

The solution people have currently embraced is using they/them/theirs in refering to individuals who are non-binary. I remember in the early 1980s being among those young women who were insisting on using the formation of “one…they” rather than “one…he”; as in “one doesn’t ride a bus in New York, they take a taxi.” An argument given in favor of this change was that “one…they” is a grammatical error in number, and “one…he” is an error in both gender and fairness. I took a more pedantic position. “One…they” was used commonly in English up until the writers of grammar books decided “one…he” was more logical, and changed the language to suit themselves. We need to remember that language is not God-given and written in stone. It is a collective creation. We need to learn how to create better.

I have some concerns about they/them/theirs. I feel I chose a similar route when I decided to use phe/per/pers as the pronouns associated with Greek celestial beings. It’s meant to be an easy solution, but has some of its own problems.

They/them/theirs is being used as the solution for a particular community. That community needs the solution. I am concerned that others also need a similar solution. I want to be heard for the contents of my mind and my heart, not discounted because I am being defined by my sexual function. Other languages have fit for purpose non-gender specific pronouns. We should too.

After some thought I have a new solution. I still believe we should have pronouns that indicate whether we (you, I, everyone) are talking about an individual, or we are talking about a collection of individuals. That is more genuinely useful information, especially in a democracy. However, I say we drop he/his/him and use only she/her/hers: declaring it the official singular pronoun.

If your top just blew off, then you are part of the problem that created this tangle.

Consider this quote:

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked how many women on the Supreme Court would be enough, she answered “When there are nine. For most of the country’s history, there were nine and they were all men. Nobody thought that was strange.”

For hundreds of years we have spoken about “mankind”, “manning” workstations, and “man’s” great achievements. We have been told that these words are inclusive. If they are truly inclusive, then surely we can accept an inclusive “she” for our singular pronoun. Perhaps with the use of “she” we can all reclaim those characteristics that have been deemed “less than” because they represent the disempowerment of women, such as: kindness, gentleness, nurturing, empathy, compassion. These characteristics are critical to the functioning of a successful society and have nothing to do with gender.

I know some cisgender men who will shrug their shoulders and say, “Sure, why not?” A few sounds shouldn’t be that big of a deal, especially if they represent a kinder and fairer world. To those of you who will see this as a threat: take a moment to consider whether you honestly feel happy, safe, and loved. If you find a moment of clarity where you recognise this is not the case, then start thinking about what you can do to offer goodwill toward others, such as changing a pronoun, because that’s how you will build a world where you can be happy, safe, and loved.

I am still fond of phe/per/pers. Right now we need to drop judgement of anything that has any “femaleness” about it. We need to reclaim all that has any “femaleness” around it. This is critical to our mutual survival.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

You Are Fine Just As You Are

Posted on 4 April 2018 | No responses

Am I the best writer that ever was…no.
Am I the best director that ever was…no.
Am I the best anything that ever was…no idea, probably not.
Am I exceptional in any way…maybe a few things, it’s hard to tell.
Does it matter? Little bit yes and a little bit no.
If I have any special gifts, then these are things I have been entrusted to give to the world. If I’m not so good in some things, then these are places where I have every reason and right to ask for some help.
Should we care any more or less for people, or even ourselves, because they aren’t the best. No!
We value each other for our humanity not our achievements. Achievements are nice, but simply being a kind helpful human being is more than enough!

Peace,

Katherine

Managing (theatre) People

Posted on 2 April 2018 | No responses

Public Domain: January 1931 Franz Felix

April and September are major independent theatre months for Melbourne, Australia. I have found myself commiserating with a few people having problems.

  • There’s a difference between kindness and allowing yourself to be walked on.
     
  • Some people see no difference between kindness and being a pushover. Don’t let them harden you. Like toilet paper it is possible to be both strong and gentle.
     
  • No one is helped when people who are behaving badly are allowed to continue behaving badly.
     
  • No person is so talented that it is worth your mental health to hang onto them.
     
  • The arts attract people who are artists, people who are seeking validation, and people who are artists and seeking personal validation. We all need some validation. People who are addicted to validation can be highly destructive.
     
  • Many times it’s genuinely hard to tell the difference between skilled actors and skilled manipulators.
     
  • Just because some people smile to manipulate does not mean you should be defensive toward all people who smile (metaphorically speaking). The manipulators will eventually out themselves. If you are stuck with one, it will be painful removing them. However, you are still better off leaving room to find truly nice people.
     
  • I do all I can to allow growth, make allowances for people’s humanity, and close my eyes to what might be temporary irritating behaviour. Life is not a straight line and can be quite messy.
     
  • However, if I am in a position of responsibility over others and someone’s behaviour seems destructive in some manner, then I am obliged to take action to protect my people. I am also one of my people.
     
  • It is usually best not to wait until you are angry to take action concerning a serious problem. You will feel better about yourself and your actions, if you take steps when you become aware of difficulties.
     
  • Some things are going to be beyond your control and you will just have to roll with it.
     
  • It’s impossible not to worry about what others will think of us when taking strong action: especially when they don’t have the full picture. Take action anyway, if you feel it is in everyone’s best interests. You will just have to have faith that people know you well enough to trust your decision. If not, life goes on.
     
  • It is impossible not to feel a little angry when someone is clearly disrespecting you or people important to you. The pull to hurt them in return is strong. Resist, be as fair as possible while protecting yourself, learn your lessons, and move on.
     
  • Respect your own humanity, forgive your own humanity, learn from experience, choose to do better, and move on.
     
  • Know a few people you can hang about with undefended. This will keep you from making a habit of being defended.
     
  • Find the time to have a good cry upon occasion. You will feel so much better.

In peace,

Katherine

« newer postsolder posts »

Recent Posts

Tag Cloud

Meta

Katherine Phelps is proudly powered by WordPress and the SubtleFlux theme.

Copyright © Katherine Phelps