Opposing Narratives

Opposing narratives first came up at University when I was studying the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Israelis and Palestinians both believed themselves to be the victim, and in the right, seeing the other as the aggressor, the problem, the threat.

Their common history was all seen through this lens. Attacks were seen as defence. Defence was seen as attack.

Wherever I look at the moment I see this, disagreements between opposing narratives.

Conflict between the U.S and North Korea – the U.S sees North Korea as a terrible threat to world stability and peace who needs to be kept in check. North Korea sees America as a bully, interfering, a terrible threat to their very existence, ready to invade at any moment.

In America conservatives see black NFL players not standing for the national anthem as disrespectful to the country, the military, rejecting America. The liberals see it as peaceful protest against ingrained unacknowledged racial injustice in their country.

Guns are the problem. Guns are the solution. It goes on and on.

In Australia at the moment, liberals see marriage equality as liberating for the LGBTI community, moving the country forward with equality for all. Some conservatives see same-sex marriage as a potential threat to freedom of speech, or to rights of parents. They do not see it as an issue of equality at all.

We are simply not on the same page. We are seeing the same thing through two different narrative lenses.

When you can only see through your own narrative, you are missing the bigger picture. You don’t have to agree with someone else’s perspective, but as the old saying goes “walk a mile in their shoes before you judge them”.

I’m not saying all narratives are equal either, some are twisted and self-interested, and wrong. But where did this narrative come from? What beliefs or experiences has this person had that have contributed towards their view?

How can you have a conversation with someone if you can’t even address the narrative that motivates their point of view?

People’s minds aren’t changed by arguing or insulting. Things change when people come together and try to understand why someone disagrees with them.

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Rebellious Acts Of Little Significance

“Nup. Not a big deal” I said to myself. “Totally fine.”

And yet the good rule-abiding girl inside me was nervous. “Technically this is against the rules” she says, getting all uptight. “If they notice they will be silently judging you or worse openly telling you off!”
“Nup. All good” I tell myself.

I counted then recounted my items as I stood in the 12 items or less line.

13 at first count.
Close enough, right?
Oh no, there are two jars of jam hiding under the corn chips.
15 large items.

At what point is “close enough” NOT close enough? Is 13 or 14 ok, but 15 too much? Where is the line?
I suppose it does say 12 items or LESS. Pretty explicit. Not really open to interpretation. 12 or less.

And I have 15.

I’m doubting my decision, but confidence takes the day.
I smile at the cashier and pretend I have 12 items or less, or that I’m bad at counting, even as I see the tiny words on the bottom of the screen that tell us both I have 15 items.

She doesn’t bat an eyelid. I don’t bat an eyelid. She will not be able to recall this transaction. But I shall keep thinking about it.

12 or LESS!
15.

Venus And Mars

So I had a realisation this week.

It may have been obvious to everyone else already, but to me it was new, hilarious and profound.

Maybe profound isn’t the right word.

My realisation was that I had basically had the same conversation twice this week.

Discussing the true contenders, those just making up the numbers, who would be first to be eliminated. And amongst the true contenders, who could win? Who will make the final? Why could each contender possibly be the winner? Pros and cons.

The first conversation was about the upcoming AFL finals.

The second was about The Bachelor.

So maybe women and men aren’t that different after all? Venus and Mars are both planets.

Politics for Babies: Dual Citizenship

Mumma: Oh dear, another potential dual citizen in parliament bubba! The debacle continues. What’s a dual citizen? Well. I guess being a citizen means you belong to a country, and dual means two so dual citizenship means you belong to two countries. What’s a country? Wow, ok. It’s the place people live, it has borders, usually the people share a language, it has a government that looks after itself? Gee bubba this is getting philosophical. What is a country?! Solve that and you solve most of the problems in the world….

Boredom And Manchester

Today I had nothing to do. So we went on an adventure to… *drumroll*

the shopping centre!

And I realised that while it is a fun place to go with a baby, as evidenced by the multitudes of pram-pushing-parents wandering around, it can also become a rather expensive adventure.

The plan was simple: lunch and small Father’s Day gifts. Easy! Quick!

All was going to plan until I walked past Harris Scarfe.

And backed up slowly.

Some of the most dangerous words to be printed outside a shop:
“40% off all Manchester”
The beautiful green-themed shop lured me in.

Now, I always try and remember my shopping motto for life:
“50% off a lot of money, is still a lot of money”.

Still. A. Lot. Of. Money.

Manchester is actually a delightful place in England, I have been a few times, but also the bedding-variety of Manchester is a newly found weakness of mine. Because it is technically a non-fun “essential” item, isnt it.
Discounted towels? Done. Friend giving away brand new pillow cases? Yes please. Husband rolling over and stealing all the doona in response to me stealing all the doona; time for a King size doona.

And so it happened that I exited the shop 40 minutes later trying to push the pram whilst laden down with a king size doona (55% off!), two king size doona cover sets (64% off and 55% off!) and a few bags of Father’s Day presents.

I think I’d better take her to the park next time.

Honestly?

The other day a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook, and I opened it to see a picture of pens with “I hate people” on them.

This friend knows me well, and “I hate people” can be shorthand for “I’m an introvert who doesn’t want to have to deal with people most of the time” or “incompetence reigns! I cannot deal with any more stupidity today!”.

Naturally, I had a look at the online shop and found that this website makes a whole series of honest (and somewhat profane) pens, mugs and badges.

Of course my personal favourite was the “I hate people” range, but I also found a huge amount of joy in the “this meeting is shit” range.

Like, a lot of joy.

I’m not sure I would be game to actually take that pen or mug into a meeting, but really, how many times have you sat in a meeting and thought something along those lines?

The appeal of these items is clearly the brutal honesty in the phrases. Blunt, offensive maybe, but they’re honest. In most of society it is impolite, indelicate, and inappropriate to state “This meeting is shit”, even when it’s the truth.

But some days we just want to walk into that unnecessary meeting, sit through it, and then sip from our “this meeting is shit” mug, while eyeballing the boss.

One day.

You can find the pens here:
http://www.pocketperfectdesigns.co.uk/ourshop/prod_5260632-Blue-I-Hate-People-Pen.html

Sand For The First Time

Sand
For the first time
Ever
In her life
In her toes
Wind in her hair
Toddling
Along the waters edge

It feels different
When it’s dry
To when it’s wet
And
Oh no
With a rushing sound
The water has left it’s spot
And run up the sand
Onto her feet

She doesn’t know
What it is
What it means
Why it did that
So of course it’s terrifying
Scream
Run away

When we don’t understand
Something
Can’t make sense of
Something
We are all her

We don’t know
Why it happened
Or what it is
Or what it means
So of course it’s terrifying

It’s a long beach
Some sand
Is dry
Some sand
Is wet
The water leaves it’s spot
And runs up to her feet
And it’s cold
And she doesn’t know
What
It
Is