Monday, 19 January 2015

Was the fight worth it?

A place to sit.
Kia Ora

I have taken to Twitter the way Border Collies take to's fun, healthy and you get to show your moves.

I have a lovely group of textile and sheep friends. It can be a bit "curated" sometimes, but the people I reserve my respect for are the ones who talk honestly and openly about failure, exposure, money, stress and business and design compromises. 

We all trust each other. We find we have a lot in common. We really talk about stuff.

The latest engagement was around the idea that things we fought for in the past made us unconventional and it defined us. Now that fight has eased a bit because what was battled for is becoming normal. I am talking very generally here on things to with living simply, creating as opposed to mining and destroying, human rights, womens' rights, childrens' rights.

Some of us miss that was simple. You saw an issue, you formed a committee, you petitioned, you marched, you got media time and legislation was formed.

Mine was social injustice and I was very naive. I marched for better social housing, for better wages for teachers,and  against South Africa's apartheid regime and New Zealand's rugby links to that country. 

Those big issues then are far more nuanced and compromised now. Teachers earn good wages but are dealing with families at the very edges of society and there is such a social divide...and there never used to be in NZ.

My values got tested over the Christmas -New Year period with the arrival of new tenants in my neighbourhood. I saw a solo mum with two pre-schoolers in a newly-decorated one-bedroom unit. My heart went out to her. A visiting friend saw her and calmly warned me there might be trouble. Between the landlord who saw a fixed one-year tenancy, Work and Income NZ who were supplementing her rent, and me the neighbour, all looked innocent enough.

Sadly...and this is the hallmark of poverty for me, this mum came with a a further chaotic retinue of dependents, associates and dependencies. It's the ability to control ones destiny that makes one better off; the poor simply get ground down by bullying from family and peers.

I won't list this mum's personal dramas, which often unfolded one by one in the early morning or late at night over the week between Christmas and New Year, but we (my neighbours) witnessed how those at the edge of society grimly hang on. 

We are not entirely at ease with her. She is desperate to stay. It's awkward and this so-called Lefty has gone all indignant and right-wing.

What I fought for hasn't changed much. There are still men with a an ugly sense of entitlement, though their women can be housed now.

..and I marched for that!...

In a very middle-aged way I accepted that you cannot save everyone.

Also, in a very middle-aged way I recognized my distance from the lives of others.This I chose when wanting to live a quiet life so that I could create.

I am lucky I have a safe place to sit. 

Kia Kaha

Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns



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