After Charlotte

I have mixed feelings about Charlotte, she has been a part of me for the past 10 years. Although I say she is not part of my identity, that brain tumour has become a part of my identity.

In a strange way I miss her. I am not talking in a Munchhausen way, it’s just that for so long it has been a part of me. The medications from treating it have caused my weight gain. Treatments have made my bones brittle, thus the fractures in my hips and the lower spine. These bring me a lot of pain and have minimized my movements. My hair will never be the same again.

Before my weight, bad bones and sometimes lack of hair has all been easily put down to the brain tumour. Now I will have no excuse and just be an overweight, cranky hobbling old woman. It has taken away the excuse. This leaves me in a position where all will just see the outcomes and not the reason. I’m annoyed at this, because I am not happy with the changes the last 10 years have made on me. I still don’t recognise the overweight person in the mirror. I know that much of this will not leave as it’s the price I paid to be alive for longer than expected.

I sit here waiting to go to the hospital for the results of scans to make sure they left none of Charlotte behind. I certainly don’t want to have to deal with this again. I’ve had more than my share of coping with a brain tumour and I want to be free of it. I want my body to get used to not having it there, I want my eyesight to return to normal. I want to go for days on end without a headache. I want to be able to hear kids squeal and scream without having to reach for painkillers. I’m looking forward to all of this.

I’m hoping to be able to help more people, I want to go back to visiting the hospitals and talking to Indigenous patients about cancer and how to seek help. I want to be able to go to a football game without having to be pumped up on drugs and leave half way through because it gets too much for me.

I’m ready for the next chapter of my life

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Good Bye Charlotte

Charlotte is gone, it’s been a pretty harrowing year thus far, knowing that the tumour had grown and that it finally had to be removed. This is the moment I have been waiting for.

No photo description available.

 

For years I had wanted this brain tumour removed. This thing has caused me so many problems. It seemed like I wasn’t going to have an easy removal of the damn thing.

I was given a date and time, I had kept the information only to family. The hospital rang on the week-end before I was to go in. They told me that I wasn’t to have my surgery on the date specified, that I had to wait a bit.

I waited, expecting to get a call up for the following week, but no. I had to wait a month from then.

I fasted and showed up at the hospital at 5:30 AM to get ready, so I could be the first patient. I waited around, got changed in my gown.

I went down to theatre, I had a cannula in my arm.

The anesthetist was putting a line in my wrist, when the surgeon came in and said the images he had were not clear enough for surgery.

I was having it cancelled.

I, understandably was emotional, crying I said why? Why wait until now to do this? The surgeon, who I won’t name was such a patronising prat. He told me that he didn’t feel safe doing the surgery without better images. I asked through my tears, why this hadn’t been sorted before, why do this to me now? He told me that they have checks and that is what happened, the check showed this wasn’t good enough. He told me it was for my benefit and that I might want the surgery done, but he couldn’t in all good conscience do the surgery. See how easily it turned into I was being unreasonable.

I was walked back and given my bag to get dressed. Not a good look to do to a patient. I was sent to a waiting room, with tubes still out of my arms. A young nurse in training found me, she hugged me. She hugged me like I hadn’t been hugged in ages. Then this lovely young lady, got me a cup of tea and called the head of the unit. He took my tubes out and listened to me through my crying. He took my words and put them in a formal complaint. He was genuinely concerned with how I felt.

I was so grateful for Tanya the Indigenous liaison at the hospital. She came and took me away from all of that and organised a cab to take me home, where I cried and cried. I was so pent-up with emotion. It’s hard to psych yourself up to have brain surgery when you know the high chances of what could go wrong.  Tanya sorted out for me to get more scans and was there for me to make sure they got all the scans they needed, which was a good thing. I had one scan, was told I could go, but luckily found out it wasn’t the scan that was needed for the surgery. More waiting and had that then I could go home and wait a couple of days for the surgery.

So one bright and early morning I showed up and went to prep. I kept asking if they had all the scans, if everything was right.

I went into to the theatre, scared they would stop me again, but nothing untoward happened.

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

It happened. I finally had Charlotte removed.


Who cares if I don’t always make sense.

I have times where I make absolutely no sense what so ever. I forget the words I need to use and forget who I am talking with.

Sure, I’m very capable of many things, but sometimes the brain doesn’t work the way it should be working. I live with the pain in my head and pain in my body from the damage done by previous treatments. But I try to keep going, I have to. I also have to remember how lucky I am to still be alive, when I should not be.

I was talking to a lovely lady on the phone today, she called me because she wanted to talk about her cancer journey. She was feeling down, she thought she had beat the breast cancer she had, but it seems to be back. She wanted someone to talk with and to cry with. This woman, who I didn’t know, who rang to talk, turned my day around, sometimes it just takes one little thing to make things better.

 

We talked about how she was feeling, how her family were coping and what she felt were her options.  She cried as she talked about her grannies, growing up without her, and what she was going to do to make sure she was a part of their lives after she was gone. I offered some ideas, and that’s when it all went wrong. The words came out wrong, in fact they came out with words that didn’t fit in with what I was saying. I was mortified, she laughed.

I explained that sometimes the words come out wrong, then she told me not to bother about it.

She and I both laughed when I mixed up more words and explained why. She said, “Who cares if you don’t always make sense, even arse up, you make more sense than that lot in Canberra”. She made me realise that it’s not as bad as I think it is.

This woman who needed comfort, comforted me, she joked, telling me that she wished she could forget some people. We laughed and I felt so much better.

I’m grateful that I’m still here and grateful that I can help other people facing cancer, and who cares if I don’t always make sense, at least you can understand that I care.

 


Shout out to the Strong Aboriginal men

Aboriginal men get arrested at a higher rate than non-indigenous men. They get arrested for minor crimes, that a white male would be given a warning. I think it’s about time we addressed this disparity.

Our men cop the flack from the media. Just recently Kerryanne Kennerly used the problems in some communities to win an argument.  This set of the usual hate for Aboriginal men, branding them all rapists and paedophiles.

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/morning-shows/ugly-row-rocks-studio-10-every-time-you-open-your-mouth-you-sound-racist/news-story/96af83ef6cc60bfea50028b76ddf2d6b

Now of course this set the usual haters on a rampage. Care for Aboriginal people was a great way for the racists to dress up their racism. It was horrid and hurtful to the Aboriginal community in general, but especially our men. Most of our are just trying to get along in life. They face enough of a battle just being black in a racist country without this added to it. The harassment of our men was so low.

The recent deaths in the Townsville floods is another example. Two Aboriginal men, being chased by the police for suspected looting, are found a day later drowned in a drain. The racists were out in force. Never mind that two lives were lost, the horrible comments of they deserved it, typical black, this might teach them and other worse comments. It just goes to show how really racist this country is. Our men are coping it from all sides.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/two-men-feared-to-have-washed-away-in-floodwater/news-story/ab4da6bea615cff85d415c2c24ec7912

This story and especially the Townsville bulletin released names without family permission. The other problem is look at the comments, the racist comments about these men. I’m, not defending their crime, but for Gods sake, show a bit of humanity, when families are grieving.

I couldn’t show the worst of the comments, they involve swearing and insulting words for Aboriginal people.

Townsville was looted by other men in other buildings, but they were white and no calls that they should die. Stop and think about the difference between that.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/six-townsville-buildings-looted-after-residents-fled-rising-waters-20190207-p50w77.html

This kind of hate affects me as a mother of a young Aboriginal man. I feel his pain. When a supposed joke, smart arse comment about him robbing, it’s met with an icy stare. But how can we keep on heaping on Aboriginal men. This is what our kids are growing up with, hearing that they are not good enough, that they are all bad. How can we do that as a society.  Aboriginal men should be holding their heads up proud. They come from a long line of warriors and survivors. Our history is one of equality. But its hard to show your pride, when you are treated like shit on the bottom of a shoe.

Another problem with all of this, is the so-called allies, the people who support Aboriginal people but don’t support us all the time. I have seen allies, run down Aboriginal men, when they make the papers for a crime. Condemn the crime, not the person or the race. Fake allies, like Kerryanne Kennerley are so common. They say they support us, but if you disagree with them, they take the support away.

Double standards abound. I like the action that the NRL have taken against Ben Barba. But where is the consistency, they let Matt Lodge play and say they can do nothing to make sure he pays his victims. Jarrod Hayne plays, while rape claims from America and Australia are still unanswered.

I’m not an apologist, but we still need to look at the racism in the police and the court system, that puts men in jail for being homeless, this for many is the start to a life of crime. Treat people like criminals or rubbish and what to do you get?

I want to give a big a big shout out to all the deadly strong Aboriginal men. The fathers, sons, uncles, and husbands. They don’t get enough recognition and praise.

 


Celebrating has to be a hate crime

Invasion day or if you rather australia day, is the bargain basement hallmark holiday. The $2.00 shops make a fortune on cheap imports, that make white australians feel like the land theft, rape, murders and desecration of our Sacred Sites has finally paid off, and they are wonderful citizens.  Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate your grandfather raping women, or that uncle johnny proudly boasted of playing cricket with Aboriginal babies heads. They really are the good times to remember and celebrate, because it worked the atrocities of the past have never been addressed.

The idea of australia day has got to be a breach of the Human Rights act, and break every anti racism law in the county. White people know why we are upset and angry about the celebrations, but that doesn’t stop the government from forcing this fake patriotism of the country. If you are not Aboriginal and you disagree you want to see a change of date, then you are on the receiving end of abuse. Who is really the target of the day? is it the few who really dress it up racism as patriotism? australia day has been celebrated by different states on different dates. The landing of white people and making a prison, isn’t really my idea of a national day. Let’s not forget that the landing of the invaders was in one state, that was the colony. The country has its birthday on 1st January 1901, Federation Day.  But that means nothing to the white masses. I see white men over 50 talking about the history and the passion. They do remember that through most of their lives, it was always a long week-end and the day was never really celebrated it was a time for a good old fashioned piss up. Oh what short memories the just people of skins of white have.

For that matter, forcing kids to celebrate and be joyful at the hate and crimes done against Aboriginal people really is a crime. Think about it, cheering for rapists and murders in today’s society is frowned upon, yet kids have to learn the white lies of rapists and murderers building the nation. Squatters, who poisoned waterholes and had fun raping women and children of both sexes to clear the land, is nothing to be proud about. Yet I get told that my people are primitive!

Poor little kids start school just after the day, and for a week or two it’s all lies taught to them about brave white men, but no mention of the crimes.  Brave explorers who discovered Aboriginal people and most of the time, forced them to show how to navigate the land. Men who stole the song lines and claimed the credit for following ancient paths that we had been using as our highways for over 60 thousand years. And we all know what happened to those brave stupid men, when they didn’t listen to the Aboriginal people. I should feel sorry for people who are so full of their own superiority that they die of thirst when water is near, or starve when there is a traditional supermarket around them.

But the kids, especially Indigenous kids at school. Think of the 4-year-old being forced to take part in this bizarre affair These little Aboriginal kids are forced to celebrate the deaths of their people, forced by the invaders to shout hip hip hooray for whitey. Being told that they are lucky, white people came, that white people brought civilization, laws, the wheel.  All these things the Indigenous kid knows his people had long before. That child, knows that we had civilization, we had homes, buildings if you will that fit in with the environment. That child knows we had laws and lore. The child knows we had the wheel as a child’s toy. Who needs a wheel or carriage, when you can’t really hook it up to a Kangaroo, emu or a wombat.

Our kids are told from a young age, that we are not good enough, that we are all alcoholics, welfare wasters and savages. Our kids get told these lies when they hear the teacher speak or  the racist parents and the media. Kids watch the media, and the damage that is being done to our kids, is child abuse. All this is what white people want to celebrate.

The constant lies they tell. They hear a story and even in the face of evidence they think they know better. That’s what white superiority is. It’s lying to yourself and others. Believing rubbish about the wheel. Saying we had no paper. Can I ask what we needed paper for? We had message stick for spreading the news. Mouths to share information. We had paperbark tree, we had leaves for toilet, we make nappies that were a lot better than the disposable ones, we had sanitary products. You tell me, why is not having paper so important to white people? I guess it’s because australia is relatively new to toilet paper, they think they still need it for the out house.

Science, we had it, look how astronomy is finally catching up with us, if you don’t know, just google Aboriginal astronomy. We had science, we were botanical geniuses, without drying up an entire river.

Housing? We had many styles of housing depending on the environment. I know a lot of people think aliens built the stone houses, but it was us. If in doubt, read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. Can I ask if our homes were so bad, why do so many white people who want to finally protect the earth, choose to live in houses similar? Why do tourists pay so much to camp out under a shady lean to in the tropics?

Democracy? We had it when the whites who invaded were still serfs, how do we know this? We know it by history, that even non Aboriginal people have agreed with.

Did we have Churches? Well we didn’t believe in locking up God in one place and visiting him on Sunday. Our entire environment was our church. Our beliefs were part of how we hunted and how we collected the seeds for bread, it’s there when we have the dolphins help us chase fish into fish traps. The world was and is our church.

Our history was ignored, colonisers tried to stamp it out, so they could in all good white church going conscience kill off Aboriginal people, rape the women and steal the lands.

Yippee, let’s go celebrate homicide, rape and theft.

 

 

 

 


Racism and me. The true story of our illicit affair

I have lived with racism every day of my life, I don’t know a day where racism hasn’t affected me. It’s like a lover, the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing at night before you close your eyes. This evil lover shows me the racist radio station or television station, while I’m having my tea and toast in the morning. Racism affects my health, when I go to hospitals and they assume, because of the colour of my skin that I’m only there for drugs. It’s there, when the taxi won’t pick me up, it laughs in my ear as I am ignored by staff in a shop.

Racism, makes me cry at night, when it has plunged its dirty fingers into my kids life. Racism, sits and laughs at the end of my bed, when my kids were called names at school. It has watched over my children like an unloving, evil parent, affecting their daily lives at school, sports, university and the workplace, while I cannot stop it from hurting them. A big part of being Aboriginal is fighting racists every day, learning the hard way, just how terrible this country can be.

January has always been a month of fear if you are Aboriginal. The racism in the lead up to Bogan Pride Day, 26th of January is enough to make you weep.  This month also holds fear and trepidation in the Jewish, Muslim, African and Asian Communities. It brings nightmares to any non white person in Australia, January is the month that racists go full throttle on hate. They go out of their way to make our lives miserable.

This year I think we can expect the hate to multiply by 100. You would have to be dead to not know the white supremacists and Nazi’s staged a protest at St Kilda beach. It was no coincidence that this was the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the  National Socialist German Workers’ Party or better known as the Nazi party. This hate sect was met with a sing along by people who were not impressed and actually don’t like racism. Those crazy white guys, who, if I might digress, would never meet the criteria of the Nazi party, being neither healthy or blonde Aryan.

But back to the blog. These unwashed, toothless males, think all the crime in Naarm (Melbourne) is done by “African Gangs”. Please, these kids can’t be everywhere to commit every crime. Sure there are probably problems in the community, but what community doesn’t have problems. If these kids had better services and if we had more jobs, it would probably be solved. I am talking as an Aboriginal person, who sees the problems in her own community and know that racism is behind a lot of the problems, lack of housing, no jobs, drinking.  With this in mind, these strange unloved men set out to cause problems and get into a fight, they were hoping to hurt people.

The hate they carried, while they used African Australians as the excuse and the main target affected all non white people, they have attacked Aboriginal people and others. These people vandalised a Jewish aged care centre.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/05/far-right-and-anti-racism-groups-face-off-in-melbourne-flashpoint

https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/heavy-police-presence-in-st-kilda-as-protest-groups-converge/news-story/ca8fd8a5af11e28f45d2c9d9f1a3b6a1

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6557537/Neo-Nazi-extremists-leave-swastika-stickers-Jewish-nursing-home-Holocaust-survivors.html

The last four days on social media have been soul-destroying. Seeing comments to stories on Facebook and reading the hate from strangers. On twitter I have been attacked not just by random people, but by people who follow me. It’s an attack to tell me, I don’t know about racism, because it doesn’t exist in Australia. It’s an attack to ask me, why Aboriginal people want more. Just think about that one, want more? I have had to go through long convoluted conversations to educate the ignorant. I could block, and I do, but I always try to educate first, it’s a black thing. We all do it, it’s not justifying ourselves, it’s a part of our lives to explain to people why they are wrong about their stereotypical ideas. When they say that we are better off that white man came, or we are lucky it was the English and not the French, Oh dear. You know an oppressor is an oppressor. If the colonisers had tried to talk with us, learn and open trade it would have been better than enslaving us and trying to kill us off. If you are one of those people, go and read a book, talk to local Aboriginal Elders and learn. But don’t just demand that someone give you their precious time. Ask, we have lives and are not here to serve white ignorance.

 

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-needs-to-deal-with-hard-truth-on-racism-indigenous-commissioner-june-oscar

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-20/digital-books-taking-tasmania-into-classrooms-around-australia/9885642

https://indigenousx.com.au/

If all that wasn’t enough I have seen attacks on others, I really hate it when people pile on and attack one person, who did the right thing. Can I just say that if you agree with white people, be they antifa, non racists, over one of your own, you are just helping. The old divide and conquer is as true today as when the words were first spoken. Don’t agree with men, who call in trolls on a women. Don’t be a colonisers pin-up, by attacking real allies.

Another thing I have been subjected to is finding out that some of my followers are racist against Jewish, Muslim or African Australians. I know some people don’t get this, they say ‘But how can little johnny whiteskin be a racist, he supports your people?’ It’s all in the name, RACE before the ISM. So you can be and you are a racist if you like Aboriginal people, but are antisemitic or a islamaphobe.   I won’t say keep that shit to yourself, I will say, go out and educate yourself.

My last gripe, is those who are white middle class and tell black people to ignore the Nazis. Like wow, isn’t that how the Nazis got into power and did so many atrocities? Too many turned a blind eye to the problem. If you are white middle class, you are safe from the violence caused by these people, you can afford to sip your Prosecco, and think you know better than the oppressed. Keep your mouth shut, or again, learn learn. It doesn’t matter that you think they are funny. They hurt people. Don’t talk over our voices, again this white ideology, that you know more than the oppressed is ridiculous. Don’t say you are doing it for others benefit, because we know you’re not, we know that you are a closet racist, or you are benefiting from this in one way or the other. Especially, really, really, really, don’t then make it about you or cry white tears, because you have been misunderstood. You weren’t misunderstood, we know exactly what you mean, and we don’t like your patronising white arse.

https://www.afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-entertainment/books/white-fragility-are-white-people-inherently-racist-20190102-h19mh9

All I ask of you is to stand by us, stand up against racism. If you see it happening do something. But never drown out our voice, or take centre stage.  

 

 


Good Bye 2018

As 2018 slips through the fingers of time, I thought I should write something profound, but being me, I can’t so I’m just going to go through the highlights of the year.

This year as given me lots of hospital visits, I have a frequent flyer card for all the trips there. I’ve had surgeries and I’ve had lots of tests. I have had a change in some of my medications. The best was that, finally I have a tablet that stops the vague outs and black outs. It is so wonderful to be driving again and being able to go out to the shops or anywhere, without having to have a responsible adult at my side.

I’ve faced the usual amount of racism. It’s a shame that I just expect to face racist people on a regular basis. But that is the reality of life in australia as an Aboriginal person.

I’ve also seen my fair share of racism, towards other peoples. That is on the increase, the comments, looks or ugly faces towards people of Asian, African or Pasifika peoples. Australia was never a white country, so why would you want it to be so? Why would you want to have lots of inbreeding of white people to remain pure (whatever that means).

But enough of that, back to me…

The last major incident I witnessed was a couple of weeks ago at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, an older Aboriginal woman was talking, to a nurse and some horrid white people were laughing at the way she spoke, this emboldened the nurse to snicker too at this woman. This woman deserves at the minimum the respect due to all people. But as usual, this is not for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in australia. I intervened and helped this woman.

I tweeted this incident and lots of people felt outrage. Well outrage isn’t enough if there is no action with it. The hospital tweeted back to me, telling me to contact Tanya or Gary who are the Indigenous liaison officers at the place. That is not good enough. Racism is not a black problem, it’s a white problem. The hospital needs to step in and ensure cultural awareness training is done to all staff.

Don’t lay at the feet of the Indigenous workers, the problems of the white staff. Be responsible enough to admit there is a problem and start to work on it.

That goes for all hospitals and medical centers do some work on your white staff, train them to be more culturally aware. It is up to you, not to expect us to face the hatred and then help you overcome it.

Next year, I am hoping that some changes have been made to the general public about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, learn about the true history of this country. Stop judging us by an unfair standards, that white people wouldn’t be able to meet.