ROOM FOR CHANGE
I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land and pay my respects to the Elders both past and present.
1. Strap in. This is a long one. 2. My media bio is on the 'about' page.
3. Please note everything in bold and underlined are clickable LINKS .
Hello and welcome!
Straight off the bat, let me say that I didn't think I'd end up building another blog website. At the end of 2017, in a fit of pique, I erased my previous blog “Inside Rose" which I'd started seven years previously. At around the same time, three things happened in quick succession: Trump landed in the Whitehouse, Harvey Weinstein was charged for multiple sexual assaults and The Dumpster Rape Case hit the headlines. Consequently, #Metoo happened, and, because I am a member of that not-so-exclusive global community, it was an extremely triggering time. I wasn't quite prepared for the debilitating impact it would have on me. It's such a cliché to whine about being 'an empath', but the feeling of carrying everyone's collective pain - is very real. Then at the beginning of 2018, I had a major health scare, which - out of habit - I swept under the carpet, so as not to worry my family.
But, about a year later, I started to unravel.
I lost the urge to write. To perform. To hang out with friends. To meet new people. Anxiety was my constant companion and we were getting pretty tight. Things reached critical mass around February 2019. I was daydreaming (read: obsessing) and missed a train-stop on my way to my work, and on the longer walk to the office, I lost my shit. So many unshed tears queued up to be released from deep within. It took a good hour to compose myself - which wasn't easy. Once the emotion was flowing so freely I just wanted to keep going.
I actually felt wonderful afterwards and rued the fact that humans can't simply summon massive emotional breakdowns at will, like we can with an orgasm, for example. You can't just make yourself do the big ugly cry. The release of hormones after crying and climaxing are practically identical, but a loud, wailing cry is possibly more emotionally satisfying. At least that's what I reckon! Part of that 'good' feeling was the realisation that I was in deep, deep trouble and I really needed to take action. To paraphrase Florence and the Machine, "I wasn't giving up, I was just giving in."
Facing my demons was no longer optional.
That made it a good thing. A very good thing. I've had breakdowns before - I've had therapy before - I'd identified the source of my issues before (childhood trauma, teen bullying, sexual assault, dysfunctional relationships, multiple experiences of loss) and I'd applied all the warning labels to myself: 'fear of abandonment', 'insecure', 'low-self worth', 'addictive personality' etc. This served to give me a reassuring, but ultimately false impression of self-awareness. Besides which, I was great at bouncing back, over and over. Well, so it appeared.
I even had me fooled.
It was time to get real. The rest of 2019 became my 'self care' year. I outed myself to my inner circle as suffering from ill-mental-health. I cut my work hours to the barest 'just enough to get by' levels and set about constructing new mindsets.
Inside tip: understanding that everything is a process and that these things take time - is the most useful step to recovery. We spend way too much time beating ourselves up for not knowing better. But literally everyone is a work in progress and for trauma and/or abuse survivors that just means harder work.
"Patience Grasshopper" has become my mantra.
It turns out that identifying the traumatic moments that define ones feelings of self low self-worth, solves almost nothing. It just gives valid reasons why things inevitably, repeatedly unravel. But without true self-awareness, an environment for victimhood and self-sabotage flourishes. In victimhood we constantly identify way too closely with every perceived negative action from pretty much everyone we encounter.
So, everything caught up with me all at once and I was left trigger-unhappy. Triggers were hidden everywhere, like landmines. Once anxiety becomes chronic, it takes on a life of its own. It's a struggle then to work out which 'gut reactions' were triggers and which were genuine instinct.
For 18 months I've been diligently working to rewire my thinking. Teaching myself how to respond, rather than react. Taking deep breaths before saying or doing anything else. It's finally becoming automatic now. I was aware of the concept of neuroplasticity before but I'd not put continuous, consistent effort into working on it before.
I just fought or flew. It's hard work but I'm so worth it!
We can't undo the past, but it's useful to acknowledge that it's usually those past hurts that pull us under when we're triggered - and not the current situation at all. The feeling of being triggered is always a 'familiar' feeling.
It's a reminder of being helpless and feeling worthless. Human nature has wired us to be hyper-vigilant against perceived threats - but true and unshakeable feelings of self-worth, make hyper vigilance redundant.
As Deepak Chopra said: "What you fear the most, has already happened". These days I hold my own hand and walk myself through my fears with self-compassion as I analyse their validity.
Like most people, my romantic life has been the biggest battle ground for my demons to get the better of me. I'd be a way bigger basket case if I didn't relish the life lessons quite so much. Yum yum!
Deeper exploration of human psychology can be as confronting as it is fascinating. It's all so complex and beautiful when you hold it up to the light. If someone was to ask me "if you knew then, what you know now, what would you do differently?"
My answer would be: "I would have studied psychology."
Emotional Intelligence should be taught in school, because it cannot be properly role-modelled by even slightly dysfunctional parents. Children learn by example, and by how they're treated. Not to mention the way females learn to be treated by our patriarchal society - and the cosmetics and fashion industries. DON'T GET ME FUCKING STARTED. Let's just say that this society was not designed with women's best interests in mind.
I'll expand on all of this stuff in due course, but I wanted to emphasise: the foundation of good mental health is self-compassion. One cool trick I learned was to talk to myself, using the 'third person' narrative. Asking myself: "How is Rose feeling? What does Rose need?"
The mental health lessons I've learned have been the thing that made me determined to reboot my Media Presence. First step though, was to reboot my confidence.
As cliché as it sounds, at the end of last year, I asked the universe for help. I did that thing where you write down your desires, shove them in a box and 'forget' them. The best way to let the universe do its thing, is to actually trust the fucker to come through for you.
A couple of months later my son Riley (a gifted musician) asked me to lunch to discuss a new idea he had for a side project. He'd been playing around with quirky graphic-art images and thought he'd start up a business, printing his and other artist's designs on ethically-sourced t-shirts. He encouraged me to come up with ideas. It's hard to describe how much that simple request meant to me. Let's just say a lot.
The affect on my mood was immediate. I started smiling from the toes up. The wind changed and the dark clouds above my head parted as ideas fell from the sky. I didn't realise just how much I had been fearfully fending off all urges to embrace self-confidence. It just goes to show, whether you're playing drums, embarking on a love affair or boiling an egg, timing is everything. Always!
The intrinsic thing about having a so-called creative brain (besides having an addictive personality, empathy overload and a short-attention span) is the organic nature of it. Channelling pain through art works well, but eventually that pain insists that you stop channelling and start dealing.
Another thing I should mention at this point is that just before that cry-athon at the start of the year, I was learning how to record a podcast. I even did my first, tentative, rambly test recording on New Year's Eve. I picked that date to start, because I thought the auspiciousness of the date might motivate me...but also cos I was cocconing to the point of actually wanting to be alone on New Year's Eve. Little surprise I broke down a few weeks later. As for the podcast, clearly the timing was not right.
To maintain a low-key form of art therapy, and to keep feeling productive, I made a separate 'activist' Instagram account called "Inside Rose". On it I published mini blogposts and memes about sex, love and mental health. I issued a survey asking women how sexually empowered they felt (the results of which, I have been using for my NEW podcast)
It was me dipping my toe into the water. I figured if a podcast was meant to be, I'd receive a really fucking obvious *sign.
When it was time to attach a name to my t-shirt contributions, "Inside Rose" felt limiting. It was too cute; too me. It also sounded like someone who made scented candles or something. The Rose was a perfect emblem for female sexuality. And while I still wanted to bang on about feminism, sex and love I also wanted to highlight cognitive biases and how they can mess us up.
'The Eloquent in the Room' name first came to me two years prior when Riley was thinking up new band names. Luckily, he rejected it because it was the perfect fit. Puns aside, that "uncomfortable truth" to which the original idiom alludes, sums up the vibe and has unlimited potential to dig deep and explore.
Oh, will you looky there: *Sign number one!
The name seemed to me to be a damn fine name for a podcast. Not long after that, I logged into a free, live webinar held by workaholic podcasting entrepreneur Pat Flynn and out of literally thousands of attendees, my name was randomly picked to win a microphone.
*Sign number two.
You can't make this shit up.
But wait, there's more.
When I decided to push ahead with the podcast idea and utilise The Covid 19 lockdown to approach the project as if it were my job, I did so with intention. I stuck a pink post-it note on my bedroom door with the words "Eloquent HQ" on it. The next morning I made my bed, changed my clothes and sat at my desk with yet more intention. As I started sorting through copious accumulated notes - with a view to editing them together for my inaugural podcast, I selected one of Blindboy's podcasts, to listen to for inspiration. I'd fallen behind by several months and usually I'm a stickler for chronological digestion of everything, like TV Shows and movie franchises. But because he'd been in Australia the previous month, so I selected an much more recent ep. It turned out, that in this one he was answering listener questions. I'd written to him ages ago, but I had zero expectations.
Then at 22 minutes and 40 seconds, in between sucks on his vape, I heard him say: "Rose asks: do you have advice for other frustrated and fucked up creatives who lack confidence for whatever reason. What was it that made you truly believe in yourself to the extent that you do, given your previous battles with anxiety?"
Of all the moments to be listening to THAT episode - out of order - I totally nailed it. The second I needed a personalised pep talk...it was delivered by my favourite podcasting role model and hero.
*Sign number three.
Yes, I know we humans are pattern seeking - but what are the odds?
Since mid March, I've spent hundreds of hours at the computer, researching, writing, editing (and self-caring) and then recording and sound-editing. Waking up every day with a sense of purpose is the best anti-depressant going.
Learning all the tech stuff, and creating the online content has been full on. My puny human brain is frazzled. All this shit really chews up time and saps your energy. It really is a job.
Getting around to promoting is a whole other bucket of prawns. I've been feeling queasy about this part. Self-promotion felt unweildy at the best of times but the older I get, the more weird it feels to be waving my hands around to attract attention. One minute I'm feeling exhilirated and purposeful and the next, the 'fraud police' (aka 'inner critics') are belittling the shit out of me. I've also been having weird AF dreams.
This all feels exactly like it did when I first became a journo. It always seemed that the harder things were to write and say then they must be coming from a very real, human place - which made it more important that plough forward. I'd rather risk my own humiliation to demonstrate human foibles, than exploit others - the way the tabloids do. As a gonzo journo, it behooves me to be the human template upon which my raw and uncomfortable narratives are draped.
..And it also gives me a tendency to be a self-righteous wanker, out of whom sprouts flowery analogies. And words like 'behooves'.
OK, here goes:
*Dons PR cap and clears throat*
Welcome to Eloquent HQ! Here you will find podcasts, blogposts, music and other recordings, poetry, dank memes and vlogs and dicsussions.
Hopefully a pro-active community will spring from this. But it's baby steps forward and I've only just given birth.
I'm also open to pretty much any kind of collaboration. The only proviso: the project must have a message - or at least be original and thought provoking. Hit me up.
I'm not a prolific nor overly gifted artist, but I'm in my element when I have a bee in my bonnet. The 'Eloquent' agenda is to challenge perceptions to reveal cognitive biases. Including my own. Let's face it, denial can be a proper bastard at times. I'm here to learn as well as teach.
Let's all wade through the discomfort together, shall we?
Which brings me to my first BIG project. "2020 an Orgasmic Oddity" is a four part podcast series which picks up where "Inside Rose" left off.
CW: THIS PODCAST SERIES IS NOT NECESSARILY 'FOR EVERYONE'.
It's a sweary and blunt opus on the myths and mystique surrounding female orgasm. It's also not...not for everyone. It just is what it is - a hot (and heated) take on the relentless obfuscation of facts presented every time someone prints an article or releases a study on Female Orgasm.
I've always wanted to use obfuscation in a sentence.
While I took myself (and my audience) on a meandering journey, the sci-fi theme kept reinforcing itself. At the time I didn't realise how much the title would impact how the story unfolded. It flowed in a way I could never have imagined otherwise. Geekiness FTW!
SIGN NUMBER FUCKING FOUR.
Those sci-fi reference are the spoonful of sugar to make everyone wake the fuck up.
That's how that saying goes, right?
It is now!
Each episode is scripted cos I didn't want to forget anything (I do get lost in many trains of thought) and I also wanted to say "um" a lot less; to confer more gravitas. I want gravitas goddammit! Female sexual empowerment deserves every stinking ounce of gravitas I can summon up. Subsequent podcasts will have their own form and flavour. I'd like to conduct casual interviews as well. I'm just going to see what develops organically. It's all a learning curve.
Apropos staying flexible and organic - I was going to announce a launch date a few weeks ago, but the George Floyd tragedy took place and the world plunged into chaos. The chaos has been necessary and long-overdue - and it has been a traumatic time for everyone with a functioning heart. We've seen images we'll never forget. It's been a time of grief and disillusionment, not to mention horror and disgust at the actions of the Predator-in-Chief in his use of violent military force on protesters. WTAF?
The #blacklivesmatter movement also gained much needed traction here in Australia. The way the movement has galvanised globally, it's hard not to feel similarities with the way #metoo caught fire and quickly spread. While the depth and pervasiveness of systemic racism has been the focus - the full spectrum of white privilege and casual racism is finally being acknowledged. Prejudice might be learned behaviour - but there's no excuse to remain oblivious and tolerant of it. There's been a weird sort of politeness we've been adhering to for far too long. Waking up from the group denial has been a slow-moving process but it's finally picking up momentum.
In fact, you could say 'Time's Up', once more.
Change is not negotiable. We can unlearn biases and prejudces. I'm not religious but I feel as if I've been spending the past few weeks in church, listening to so many inspiring speakers. This has been a time of deep reflection and overwhelming sadness.
I've always felt unease with my Australian identity. For years I've referred to January 26 as Invasion Day. You literally couldn't pay me to call it anything else. I've been vocal about that, changing the flag, and the anthem and I thought that made me anti-racist, and yes, it does...
...But I've been reflecting much more on the broader ramifications of my white privilege and letting that feeling of discomfort tell me things I needed to fully realise. Witnessing the prevalence of overt and casual racism in the USA, with all its ignorant and hateful rhetoric has been shocking. I mean, I knew it was bad, but I had no idea just how bad - possibly even worse - it has become. Appearances can be so deceiving. It's been a triggering time.
Out of respect, I thought I should wait for things to settle down more before I launched my podcast. Then I realised I don't want it to settle down - not until real change is being implemented. The fight should continue on for as long as it needs to.
I've seen loads of social media posts talking about our newsfeeds 'going back to normal'. For starters, my output didn't have a normal setting, but now that I have engaged with so many articulate, grounded, inspiring voices in recent weeks, there is no way I will turn my attention away from BLM.
What kind of 'cognitive bias mirror' would my posts be if I didn't highlight all the obvious examples: sexism, homophobia, and racism? Not just obvious bigotry and police brutality, but also the more subtle but insidious mindset behind white privilege. It is white folx responsibility to be way more aware of what it all means and call each other out (in) more. Our biases aren't always our fault, but if we don't take the time to reflect and recognise them when they are being presented to us, then, that's definitely our fault.
I'm so grateful to have found the new role models and in whom have drifted into my life on social media. Their determination and dignity enriches my life and give me such hope. What strength! What resilience! I'm so appreciative of all the hard work they do.
Fuck 'normal' news feeds. Human evolution needs a revolution.
It's time to point a shaking index finger towards the buttons marked 'publish' and 'share'. Eek! Expect a podcast launch date announcement very soon. Which isn't to say, you should ignore the 'podcast' tab on my new site. You might get an unexpected surprise!
I would like to dedicate TEITR to my three incredible sons, my wonderfully supportive close family and my chosen family. I'm one extremely lucky fruitcake!
So - if you think what I'm doing here is a crock of shit: BLAME THEM.
On a very serious note, I would also like to pay homage to my late mentor, Greg Hunter, who gave me my first break...
And to my brother Fred (1941-1972) who often wrote about his pain, but was never given the chance to heal.
29/6/2020 05:05:41 pm
🍒 POP 😍 I’m crying and laughing and snorting back tears and laughing again, you very unique and delicious fruitcake you! I’ll take none of that blame thank you 😅 Congratulations 🥳 THIS is what mama likes! I’m so proud of you 🌹♥️💋
10/7/2020 12:22:28 pm
A wonderful, informative and important piece of writing Rose! It is amazing how people pine for the past and yet some of us endured our childhood in pain and quiet desperation (certainly that is how I felt). As a male primary school teacher I echo your belief of the importance of teaching emotional intelligence in schools. For years I have seen young children making racist and sexist comments in school. No doubt these beliefs were learnt over the breakfast table. Explicitly teaching empathy and compassion for others may break this mould and create a better society.
10/7/2020 07:54:17 pm
12/7/2020 10:30:51 am
Absolutely wonderful Rose 🌹 you are and will be an inspiration to many more with your podcasts. I will be listening. Sending this with great respect and love for you. I’m really really proud of all your hard work. It is all about the journey hey? You are very fortunate to have such perspective. My journey is an uphill battle and my self caring so deeply buried but we have to start somewhere. Love you rosy glow x
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