Author Archives: proudblacksista

About proudblacksista

An Aboriginal woman. mother of 4 diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour 7 years ago.I want to share my story to help others. I am working to help other Aboriginal people face the battles of Cancer. Email me with your stories or concerns at aboriginalcancer.com

Black Bold and Beautiful

I’m Black Bold and Beautiful, I have the proof.

Black Bold and Beautiful is a women’s lunch held every year to celebrate Indigenous women in  the greater Brisbane area. It’s a great day, with wonderful speakers, all women who talk about what they have done, what they have faced and how they keep going.

Part of the event is a calendar, the women on the calendar are voted by the Community, they chose who they think are brilliant women, who are out there working tirelessly without waiting for a thank you.  These are not the highfalutin women, the ones that are always appearing in the media, these the the local heroes the women who are working at grassroots level.

I am honored and humbled to be the first woman to be in two calendars. I was nominated for doing the unpaid work that I do, things like this blog, giving Indigenous people a voice to share their story. I help my people by linking them with organisations, helping people around the country. I have been blessed that other people have joined me and I can call on others to help someone on their cancer journey to find services.

I started doing what I was doing, because nobody is there to help Indigenous people. Things are slowly changing in some places, but we are still left out of the equation. We have to turn to each other to help each other. I am doing a job that should be paid for, the role that I have as confidante, I help families access food, help with electricity bills, find ways that they can help pay their medical bills.

I am as I said, both honored and humbled that my Community see what I do as important.

The calendar is filled with 12 wonderful women. I will mention some of them over the next few weeks

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“Respectful Debate?!”

If you need anymore proof that my people are resilient and strong, look at the past few days.

I have seen a woman speak metaphorically and some media take it literally. This is a choice to do a news story accurately or to lie and make it sensational. It’s a common ploy for the media to portray Aboriginal people in a bad light. It’s done too often portraying any people other than white as barbaric in australia.

Social media has gone over board attacking Indigenous people many trolls going out of there way to target Indigenous peoples accounts. Some will engage in a ‘respectful debate’ many/most don’t. I have engaged with some who ask for proof of things, show it to them, and they deny it is accurate. You just can’t win with some bigots, they are so set in their mind that they are right.

People who are supposed to be allies can show their true colours. They support Aboriginal people, but think we should work within the system to bring it down, be a part of australia day and at all events talk about changing the date. It’s less threatening. These kind of allies we can live without. One thing that really annoyed me was the ally who tweets about Invasion Day and at the end #hashtags other causes. Can you not just show support on this one issue? The same people don’t #hashtag Indigenous issues on their other causes.

I could go on about the social media etiquette or lack of over the past few days, but I will refrain and get back to the horrid actions of bigots. For the past few days I have been hosting a RoCur account and have been horrified at the hate from bigots.  What horrifies me more is that twitter doesn’t take it seriously.  I have with the help of a lot of people make twitter look at two accounts and shut them down.

I could hope that other accounts got shut down, but they didn’t. Two or three had comments taken down, I guess it’s a start and any win is still a win. I went through the comments on this account this morning before   writing, I was going to share a couple of screen shots, but the comments had gone.

For some bigots when they realise they don’t have a leg to stand on, they turn to personal insults. Over the past few days, I’ve had white bigots, all I might ad don’t have a real name on their account and of course no picture of themselves. These faceless cowards have called me abo, and I was called a fat gin.  One tweet said that because I’m fat I have cancer. The reply to that was, I hope you die soon black bitch.

Yeah that’s ‘respectful debate’ I guess if you have nothing to back up your argument.  I hope the reason the worst of the comment disappearing is because Twitter finally realised they should breach the guidelines.

If I got these comments imagine how bad the comments directed to the women in Melbourne, the organisers of the the rally that have about 60 -70 thousand people.

What will it take for Twitter and Facebook to look at the racial hate against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?


That Time of The Year

It’s that time of the year that white australians tell Aboriginal people that they should be grateful for the white man coming. I’m sick of it, each year the vitriol gets worse and you can’t escape it.  Allies tend to show their true colours, yep they’re not real allies after all. They might call for us to get Land Rights, or an apology, but ask them to give up a boozy week-end and they tell us it’s time for healing and for us to move on. Why the hell can’t the white people move on?

Honestly, just stop and think what is expected of Aboriginal people at this time of year, we are asked to attend re-enactments of our people being killed. We are expected to welcome invaders into our lands. This is all traumatic and white australia wouldn’t expect this from other white people.  It’s akin to asking Jewish families to forget the holocaust. Expecting the children of those murdered to stand in Auschwitz with open arms and welcome people into the place and take selfies, while they drink too much and have a Bar B Que.

We have the scares of our mothers and grand mothers, raped as they were forced into servitude as domestics or cattle and farm hands. We bear the scares of birthing children who were taken away from us and sent to institutions and homes where they were abused physically and psychologically.  We carry the shame of our men feeling they could not protect us as they were beaten and made into slaves. We shed the tears of our Ancestors who cried as they saw their culture and people dying off and a strange new reality become this country.

The 26th of January isn’t sacrosanct when you consider that australia day has been celebrated on the  30th of July, and each state or territory choosing a different day to celebrate.  In 1935 the country as a whole changed the date to 26th of January. the 26th is a celebration of a colony of prisoners rather than that of a nation, it wasn’t the date of a unified country.

Celebrating this day with faux patriotism is a new invention, started in the 1990’s, coincidentally  it’s also the era of the rise of white supremacy becoming more acceptable.  As a child I remember australia day  as a long week-end  after the 26th. How was it celebrated? Did flags wave? Were their patriotic street parades and parties? Nope, many people went camping or had a 3 day binge.  Nothing speaks aussie pride than being so drunk you piss your pants.

So why disagree with a date change that has been done before? The people who don’t want to see the date changed are the same ones who used to get drunk over the three-day long week-end. Are they not the same people who disagreed when things changed and you had to celebrate on the day? No more long week ends.

I guess this love of a booze up to celebrate rape and pillage comes from the convict past of the white australians, the troopers were just as bad if not worse than the criminals they watched over. This country had a rebellion over rum. Why not celebrate your boozing with a rum rebellion day on the 26th then you can justify getting drunk.  That will leave the door open to a respectful debate over changing the date of australia day.

 

 

 

 

 


Keep your Cool

As we suffer through another extra hot summer, electricity bills rise as people are running fans or air conditioners. But let’s spare a thought for those who can’t afford expensive air conditioners.  How is it that the richer person can afford solar panels to cut their electricity and the poor renter or housing commission resident doesn’t? It seems to me like the government penalises people for being poor.

I think the government should install solar panels on all social housing homes, units etc. This not only helps the government, the environment but it helps those who struggle to pay the bills a little respite. All those homes should have solar water and the panels to put the excess power back into the grid, think of the difference that will make.

All landlords, should be made to ensure that the homes they rent out are suitable for the extremes of winter and summer. Make sure there is a shade or cover just off the house, this enables people to sit outside in the cool and a cool space for kids to play, it allows for the house to cool a bit. Too many homes are built without taking into account the climate. The reason so many older homes have verandas and high ceilings what to cool down the house. How homes are like boxes, no shade and no protection from the elements around the doors or windows. It’s like we are driven to use heating and cooling systems in them, making us more vulnerable to the effects of nature, we need our homes to reflect the environment, so we can become acclimatized to the temperature around us. Yet so many go from air con house, to cool car to air-conditioned work place. I would love for the landlord to be encouraged to install solar panels on all rental properties.

We all know the tips of keeping the blinds/curtains closed when the sun is on that side of the house. Keeping curtains open at night to allow the cool air in the house. Let’s be honest this isn’t always done because we are superstitious or the house is too close to the neighbours and we don’t want them looking into our rooms. Not all homes have security and in some suburbs people, especially the aged, don’t always feel safe having windows open, in that case only open the windows of the room you are in. If you have sliding windows buy a couple of metal curtain rails, cut them to a few centre metres short of the window run and put them in. It lets you have the window open a small amount (not big enough for someone to get in) of cool air coming in the house.

Plant greenery around the house if you can, a few trees would be great, but if you can’t, and many of us can’t when renting, have a  look at shade cloth or outside blinds to keep the sun out. No shade in the yard, maybe you could buy a cheap pop up  marquee tent  for when you need to be outside, I know Aldi has them really cheap and check out secondhand ones.  You can even get a shade cloth and tie it from your house to a tree, or washing line, in fact anywhere that it is stable and can give you a bit of shade

Fans are a cheap alternative and some only cost around $10 and can last for quite a few years, just make sure you dust them down on a regular basis. With the good old fan, you can place a damp cloth over it and this allows the moisture in the air making it cooler, a cheaper alternative to the misting fans. But be aware when you do this, the rust sets in and the dust sticks to the fan. Putting a bowl of cold water and ice in front of the fan lets the fan send a cool breeze around the room. Evaporative coolers can cost about$100, it all depends on where you are looking to buy one from. They are good, always make sure you have enough water in it, don’t leave it sitting through winter with water in it. I like the ones that have an ice tray, that you can cool the air down even more. The down side is they don’t cover a big area, so don’t use it in the lounge.

Make designated cool zones in the house and around. Pick one room that is cool and in that run two fans to keep it cool all day long. In my home, I have an industrial fan in the lounge and on the really hot days, I have two smaller fans running in the room too. It keeps it cool. I run the fans from early in the day, when things are still cool, keep the front curtain shut, until the sun moves around. I have a door curtain on the front door, allowing me to have the door open and keep out the sun and stops the neighbours looking in.

Staying cool is more important that dressing to impress. If you are home in the privacy of your own home, just wear your swimmers, underwear or that sarong, let the kids run around in swimmers or underwear too. Keep washers handy to wipe the sweat of the kids to keep them feeling comfortable. Use damp washer to wipe yourself or to put on your head to feel a refreshing cool. I keep some washers in the freezer so that I can pull out some nice cold comfort. Make sure you have plenty of water in the fridge and drink lots of water. If you have little ones, set up the little pool in the shade and join the kids in the pool for some splashing. If you don’t have a pool, fill up the bath and let the kids have water play. It’s not a bad idea to just clean everything out of the bathroom and let the kids splash and play, get wet and keep cool. Put the floor mat at the door and a couple of towels there and let them go in and out, join them if you can fit in the bath. The price of water and the potential for droughts stops some people from long showers, so go back to your drought plans. Put a bucket and a couple of containers in the shower, let the kids or yourself have that cooling shower (body temperature is better for cooling down). Once you finish the shower, you have the containers of water to splash around and pour over yourself or the kids later.

If you need to have a nap, an easy way to make it nicer is to put a sheet in the freezer for a while before naptime and then spread it on top of your bed, with the fan running, you and the little ones, if you have them can have a cooler nap. I have heard of people putting your bed sheets in the freezer and making your bed before going to sleep at night, honestly who could be bothered, just do the nap trick and throw that sheet on the bed. The down side of this is the extra washing, but I have friend who lets her kids hose down the “freezer sheets” on the line and they dry off in the sun, the kids have cooled off and as she says, a good dose of sunshine kills off a lot of things. Use the hot water bottle as a cold water bottle, half fill it pop it in the freezer then put it in your bed at night. If you have the freezer blocks, they work too and the  cool wraps.

If you can afford it, buy the cooling pillows, or the breathable ones, that are good in winter and summer.  Using thicker sheets, is good for cooling and warming. Even Kmart have high thread count sheets now days, avoid the polyester or mixed fibre sheets. Lay-by one set at a time, or get family to help you buy quality sheets and pillows for each member of the family. Each of my kids have their own double bed, and I have over the years given them 1000 count sheets and have had friends help me and gift them for birthdays etc. It’s an investment in their future comfort. I know it sounds a bit like a “Glory Box”,  and I guess it is in a way, but it has helped them when leaving home, (and being young adults, coming home ).

If you can on the hottest days visit  the local library or shopping centre and enjoy the air conditioning there for free. Most libraries are really good, and have no problem with kids and families coming in and enjoying the books and the cool. I hate to say that some shopping centres don’t like people coming and escaping the heat. They want you to be buying, buying and more buying. I know a couple of shopping centres not too far from me that have very little public seating, so if you go to the shops, be warned, and stretch out your weekly grocery hunt to an all day adventure to make the most of the cool.

I hope this has helped and enjoy summer, and stay cool.


Memories of Christmas Past

Christmas is over, the presents given and opened, the food and the cheer shared. The Christmas candle burned so brightly this year as we all joined together for a very hot fuss free day.  I am truly blessed to have a roof over my head, food on the table and my children around me for this time of year (even if we fuss and fight).

We reminisced about past Christmas times, what were the best and the worst over the years. Every one had different ideas of what was good and what was bad. What presents suck and what rocked.

My Eldest remembers the big Christmas’s in Hervey Bay, both grandparents alive, playing with her cousins, the huge gathering, everyone bringing a plate all day food and fun and lying under the mango trees if you got tired.

For me those Christmases we magical, as a Kid I used to love going to midnight mass (still do), then waking up  in the morning with my siblings and cousins, running around playing with toys, helping with the table and all day family coming and going, guitars in the afternoon and of course the obligatory swim.

Second daughter loved Christmas in Hervey Bay, with her Pop and all the family, quiet morning at home, Christmas lunch and then the afternoon filled with cousins aunts and uncles, she loved it.

Third daughter loved Christmas at Poppy house, going to evening Mass and being a part of it, especially the year she was the, as she puts it ‘Head Angel’, in the Children’s Mass. The fun of those services, kids dressing up and recreating the Nativity. opening presents after Midnight Mass, or Children’s Mass when younger  and in the morning opening the rest, playing games with Poppy and going for a walk in the afternoon with him.

My Son hates Christmas, he always has, so this year he was actually in a good mood, there was no all sitting around together to open presents and no one was to wake anyone up so they could raid the tree. Yes for him, sleeping in until 12 wandering out and opening presents, no small talk, suited him.

There was no competition for worst Christmas, they seemed to involve being away from home and hearth and spending holidays with the father. These irregular times when their father would make an effort, had a huge toll on the kids. Funny that he lived in near us for a couple of years and never bothered with seeing his kids, until the son wanted to live there. But that is a story for another day, let us continue with our Christmases.

The only agreement on these times were that things we better when they got to see their grandfather, they love him (He is a good man, I respect him a lot). When he was there, even if he didn’t spend much time with them, he made them feel loved and welcome. They always wanted more time with him.

The only other worst Christmas was when I was really sick, we had no tree, because of immunity issues, so we used the hat tree. We weren’t expecting much of a feast, thanks to some good friends they brought around food and all the Christmassy stuff you could ask for. It was the worst but for me it was very special, because it was supposed to be my last Christmas.

 

We laughed about how when 2nd daughter, cried with joy at a little unicorn box given to me, she cried and thanked everyone, kissed everyone and sat down hugging it, needless to say, the little box became hers and she still has it.  The never-ending times that batteries didn’t fit or we ran out was always a problem as they have all at times played non stop with a particular toy, I think most parents can understand that problem.

 

One Christmas holidays 2nd daughter and son spent with their father, they came home with gift cards for all. The littlest childs gift cards in an envelope and card.  My Son said father said they can spend them in Brisbane, better variety of stores than Alice Springs, which was true there was only a Kmart in town for things like that.

The gift cards were for Target and Big W (at the time neither store was in Alice Springs at the time).  A day later I take the kids to do their Christmas shopping. The kids spent ages trying to pick out what to buy, then we all went to the check out, The boy tried to pay for items, but the card had no money on it. I assumed he has spent it in Alice and forgot. 2nd daughter tried to buy  her items, same problem. Card wouldn’t work. The littlest one came forth with her card, still attached to the original tag, her card was unusable as well.

We had a big problem, no card would work. I tried another card they had that could be used there. Nothing. I told the kids, there must be a mix up and we will go to the other department store and try the cards from that shop. I didn’t let the kids  pick out toys, I went to the information desk and asked if they could check the cards given to the kids. All cards had been used. I asked when the cards had been activated and used, no surprises the cards were used before my kids even went to visit their father.


My Mental Health Journey

It’s been a tough couple of months I have been struggling to get by and I have been struggling mentally. I reached a low, I couldn’t be bothered. Why on earth am I here against the odds? What is the purpose of God or the universe to save from death just to make me struggle so much, to never have peace? I have had surgeries and have had to try to find a way to pay for them, money is a constant torment to me, I am always in fear of being evicted for not paying the rent. I worry that the electricity will get cut off one day, I always contact the company before due date and start paying off the electricity, but my bill is huge. Why? Well I have teens or rather young adults, and that has added to the problems. My kids are not pulling their weight.

I have a child who has been affected by depression since the age of 14. That child had been suffering and having a bad time for a couple of months and that put a lot of pressure on me. As a sole parent, I am the one that has to do the work of two. I am always the blame, the one to take your frustrations on. (Strange that absent, abusive, not interested parents get way with so much and they are the cause of so many problems, but the responsible, good parent has to suffer the anger of the child.)

This child is so draining on me, he is like a washita always needing more and more, and I could not give any more. But that didn’t stop the jungerrie from still wanting, wanting, wanting. Always taking and never replacing, never helping, never a kind word.

I also had my youngest suffering with a lot of pain, in and out of hospital while they tried to work out what was the problem.  She, was not an easy patient. This luckily has been sorted. Again, it is the sole parent who has to be there at every doctor and hospital appointment. The sole parent ensuring that while the child is going through all this that the child, gets school work done. She is/was in year 12, as any parent of a daughter knows the last semester of year 12 is drama filled with exams, parties, formal, graduation, awards and of course schoolies.

I have tried to be there for those who have no one, helping others find the help they need, access services. This was another burden to me, I say burden because that is what it felt like at the time. I couldn’t let down people, as it is their lives, health, both physical and mental at risk. Doing this takes time, it is work that organisations get funded for, but obviously don’t do right, otherwise there would not be so many Indigenous people contacting me for help.

It just got way too much for me, always struggling and trying hard, for what? Just to have life kick me in the teeth again?  I am starting to see an end to the problems, or rather I should say a way of not letting it all overwhelm me. I have a new doctor, who straight away, started running tests. She isn’t satisfied with the old prognosis of I faint and black out because of stress and the brain tumour don’t like stress. She is looking at other avenues to help with the prognosis, she is finding out how stress and brain tumours react. She is looking for the links of the jaw problems. She is overhauling the medications. I’m very happy about that. I told her how I was feeling and agreed with me I need some help with my mental health.

So while I wait to see what happens with that, I at least feel that some of the burden is lifted and that, I could be turning the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cancer Cheats

Having cancer sucks, it’s hard trying to live a normal life and to pay the never-ending bills. You get sympathy for a while, but that dwindles, you scramble to pay the bills and hold it all together and then you see the likes of Belle Gibson and Kate Hubble.

http://https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/28/belle-gibson-disgraced-wellness-blogger-fined-410000

 

http://http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/exhockeyroos-goalkeeper-kate-hubble-defrauds-cancer-charity/news-story/fc1c4d3b423daf17664b005f26bed88d

So many people who are affected by cancer struggle to pay the bills and keep it all together. Sure it helps if you are perky and white, guess it doesn’t hurt to have been a national sports star. No morals have to be part of your make up to do this. It is not just a mental health issue that these women do this. I really don’t buy the munchausen syndrome angle that some say applies here.

Munchausen syndrome is a factitious disorder, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly and deliberately acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. Munchausen syndrome is considered a mental illness because it is associated with severe emotional difficulties.May 18, 2016

[ https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/munchausen-syndrome ]

The audacity of Belle Gibson and Kate Hubble to pretend they have cancer and to make money from that. These women have conned money out of charities and well-meaning people by lying about having cancer. Yes it is all about the money.

How do these women garner so much money and sympathy when there are so many families suffering and going broke trying to pay cancer bills. So many families suffer and break up under the strain. Mental health issues within families affected by cancer are huge. But these women have the gall to play at being sick.

They deserve more than fines, these women and others who might try to do this, should be made to pay all monies back and should have to spend time in jail. They should also be made to help out in oncology units to see the real impact and effects.

These women, who are living high off ill-gotten gains, are a disgusting blight. You might think I’m over reacting, but being a person who has had to ask for donations to help pay my bills. I have also see so many others do the same. Where is the help for us? How do they convince cancer charities and get their help, when so many Indigenous people get no help?  I am part of an online network of Indigenous people who help each other when no one else does, yet this happens?

I am so angry and gobsmacked, if these women weren’t white if they were women of colour, can you imagine the outrage of the public?