Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #39

Heading into a new week, each day brings closer the day voters have their ballots arriving in their letterboxes. I have been musing on the role of the letter box in this democratic process. The letter box is almost redundant in our lives. I have even met a young voter who has never posted a letter. The letter box is a legacy of a time when communication was slower, less immediate and mediated by many along the way in the process of sent and received.  Now a simple click of a keyboard and a broadcast can occur, no need for hundreds of hours being added to the price of a stamp.

Our stamps will be changing and EIIR letterboxes will be fading from view. Apparently letter boxes began in Russia in the middle of the 19th century. Long before, people found ways to pop their messages into all kinds of places to be collected from bottles, to secret spaces in walls and being delivered back and forth on horseback.

A postal ballot feels so much less secure to me than a vote cast in the privacy of a booth, in full public view of officials and neighbours. The post box at your home is not that secure, anyone can pull a letter out! I have full confidence of Australia Post making the trip from their boxes to the Electoral Commission safe but not the bit before. Also, I worry that the opportunity for coercion and someone saying they will do the post for someone and then not actually posting their papers feels very real. I am nervous about democracy with a postal vote.

Nevertheless, this is the type of ballots votes will be delivered in October and November for the local government elections in South Australia. It is a postal ballot. The posties of my state will have the sacred duty of aiding democracy when they deliver the ballots to your letter box. This is also a non-compulsory election, so only those motivated to vote will do so. While 85% of rates are made by decision-makers in the City of Onkaparinga, last time round only 26% of voters returned a ballot.

I want people to vote, and I have been asking residents, when I am out door-knocking to vote. I have been asking them if they vote in local government elections. True to the data, three out of four, tell me they have never voted for at a council election. I ask them why and most common answers I hear are:

  • It’s a waste of time, council decide what they want to do anyhow
  • I’ve never met someone running for council, so didn’t know who to vote for
  • I am not a property owner, so I didn’t think I was eligible.

To those people who don’t vote in council elections, it is not a waste of time, make it your business to find out who is running and why check out the Electoral Commission website and start talking to others about the choice you are going to make.

If you haven’t met anyone, this is completely not true once I’ve knocked at your door you know someone, and most people acknowledge this, give a big smile and say how much they appreciate the fact I knocked on their door.

Lots of people are of the impression that if they rent, or share a house with family or friends that they aren’t eligible to vote. They are always happy to hear that they are eligible if they are already on the electoral roll.

If we let other people make decisions for us, our voices won’t be factored in. We have a responsibility to also use our vote and voices for those who don’t have one, including future generations and other species.

Postal non-compulsory voting is the thin edge of the wedge in eroding democratic opportunities. You can help turn this around by using your ballot papers to vote for the people who reflect your values and make visible your preferred community leaders.

Don’t outsource your vote to others, encourage your family, neighbours and friends to do the same. The future is in your hands, once you get the papers out of your letter box and put them back into the hands of the trusted Australia Post letter box.

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #38

I am confronted by all kinds of dogs when I am knocking on doors campaigning. I am not a dog owner; however, I can deeply appreciate the role they play in people’s lives. They come in all sizes and shapes … and ferocity. One door I knocked on this week I was genuinely shaken by the tone and tenacity of a full-throated bark which clearly belonged to a creature that could tear me from limb to limb if the door opened. Each dog is deeply embedded in the lives of the people who live behind these doors, so I treat their canine companions with deep respect.

There are the dogs whose primary purpose is protection and security. They might offer their centurion status with calm resolute stance ready to pounce should there be an unprovoked or unnecessary movement. Others are more ‘attack first ask questions later’ types. These guardians are the epitome of what front line home defence means. They stand ready to shield their owner from any threat at the door. I am rarely perceived as a threat, and almost every single owner calms the dog and pulls them away from the door so I can be seen and heard. I wish all our inner attack dogs could be controlled so easily. It has got me thinking that perhaps these physical incarnations of protection are short cut ways to set our fears aside having known the message behind the bark has already been sent and so a conversation begins with that as it’s foundation?

Then there are the dogs whose calling seems to be to offer comfort of another kind, the kind that involves cuddling and petting. These dogs are mainly smaller and form a yin yang symbol within the folds of their keepers’ arms. They coo and purr and offer a yap just to remind the caller who they belong too to avoid any confusion or potential abduction. They seem to scurry and hurry to the door and like being part of the greeting – offering a two for the price of one welcome. They are pleased to see you by the look of the wagging tails and equally pleased to see you go so they can go back to their one-on-one adoration fest.

Then there are the dogs, who know they are called to be companions, part-time carers of children, people with disabilities or those who are lonely. They are skilled in mothercraft and there are some I have met that I think should be able to get an NDIS benefit for their capacity to genuinely contribute to the health and wellbeing of their human. They can fetch, watch over, listen, calm, and connect on behalf of their human. Their sensory skills so finely tuned that they know how to help their human navigate their world. These dogs seem to come in all shapes and sizes and at a point, along the way were well trained and their discipline would give any charge nurse a run for their money.

There are many more kinds of dogs in between too – the ones who are not yet sure of their identity and role, and the ones who are nonchalant, and others who can switch roles with a wag of a tail.

With the rise in the number of dogs being brought into family homes during COVID, I expect I will continue to meet more dogs over the coming weeks of the campaign and make visible what matters to their owners and it is an easy route then for me to tune into the person who does answer the door. Thank you to all the dogs I have met so far for being an early detection system before their human opens to the door, it gives me a head start and readies me for a brief conversation.

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #37

Out and about. visiting homes and doorknocking in my local government area, there is genuine and deep respect for the Queen. Many of the doors that opened to me revealed televisions firmly fixed on channels covering all the details of the preparations for her funeral and the retrospectives of a life well-lived. The ‘end of an era’ was the common theme.

Her constant presence from her image on our money, photos in the post office, in our passports will start to disappear and be replaced by her son. She has been a visible example of female leadership for generations and a women’s voice in the conversations with Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, decision-makers, community leaders. There is universal understanding that her presence was calm, considered, occasionally humorous and at all times dignified.

Like an archetypal mother she has presided over a very large dinner table and as matriarch to nations and her own family taken poll position at those tables. I am wondering how that place is now set?  As one era ends and new one begins, what will be the hallmarks of this era?

We know that the new King has a lifelong interest and advocacy around climate, food systems and drives an electric car, is a prolific writer of hand penned thank you letters to staff and volunteers, speaks out about architecture and design, preservation, conservation and supports and uses alternative medicine. These interests and experiences may well have prepared him for these times more than we might first imagine.

The balance of inheritance and acceptance of a legacy as we emerge into a world upon the fixed point of the person who has held the role in the past, is not an exclusive experience for the new monarch. In many ways it is a common ordinary experience, many of us find ourselves having to fit into someone else’s shoes. We pick up the pieces of what has been left behind and to quote a very British phrase, we carry one. We move to the next part of the common journey, but the path ahead is yet to be trod. That is our job to carry what we need to for the next phase, and we can also discard what doesn’t serve us as we go forward.  I expect this will be true for Charles III too. He will set aside what is no longer necessary or relevant for these times and find others might do the same to him and the role he occupies.  I am sure the republican movements in Britain and in Australia will leverage this moment.

The outpouring of love and grief that will become more visible as each day passes will also reveal the grief of certainty ending. Queen Elizabeth II was such a constant and binding figure, her death jars and disrupts that feeling of stability. While the British monarchy and all the forces around it will keep the foundations strong, individual lives have been disrupted, a family has lost a loved one. Communities and countries have caught their breath and taking stock of what it means to have lost a soverign and gained another all in one single breath out and breath in. The Queen is dead, long live the King – is a line in our vocabulary that is no longer in the history pages – having not been uttered since Queen Victoria’s death in 1901. It is such a complete expression of an unbroken thread.

When foundations are shaken, it takes a while for the dust to settle, and it doesn’t all land back in the same place it came from. I expect this will be true on this occasion too. This smooth transition of power, priviliege and influence from one generation to the next will unfold and I am curious to see how the British monarchy emerges and transforms as it arrives at a post-Elizabethan time.

Australian flag at half mast – Moana Surf Life Saving Club 10 September 2022

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #36

Support for my campaign is eeking its way into my visibility this week. When you are on the trail, you spend a lot of time on your own, in the car travelling between appointments and community gatherings, at home signing the backs of cards to drop off saying ‘sorry I missed you’ for the empty houses when door knocking and moments in between. There is a lot of pushing forward, taking a breath to step into a conversation or space. So, when you start to see the threads come together it is very rewarding.

This week I talked with a men’s group who have been meeting together for more than a decade. They were interested in why they should vote for me of course, and I did talk about that, but then we did a round where they all talked about what was important to them. In the buzz over the tea and biscuits it was really delighted to hear the conversations deepen and continue. What gave me heart was one of the participants bragging he had already got a visit from me, but he hadn’t been home, so I’d left a note in his letter box. My appearance at his men’s group confirmed I was real and genuinely interested in listening to him. I was no longer invisible to him, but more importantly, he was no longer invisible to me.

The second revelation came at cancer research fund raiser. I have been encouraged to go by a friend and campaign supporter. I knew no one going. The entertainment was pre-schoolers singing some rhymes. One of my all-time favourites – I’m a little teapot – was the crowd pleaser. Two versions of the song were delivered to an enthusiastic audience of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The first time through we were treated to the original version with all the actions. The second time, it was a mix of rap and Queen – everyone loved it especially the songsters. I had flash backs to my own childhood and my children’s Kindy concerts. The unity of the room was a full and energised as any rock concert. Afterwards I met with the leader of the community who knew I was coming and embraced with a deep and warm greeting. There is something universal about children. We met because someone could see the thread between us and a common desire to bring children’s voices to the fore. That hug was an act of solidarity, arriving through the endorsement of another. A beautiful gift of love made visible.

While out at a community auction last weekend, I missed by a few minutes another candidate pressing the flesh and getting to know different parts of the community. However, I had left behind at the event a few of my supporters wearing my Moira for Mayor badges. The candidate dropped me a note saying she had been wandering around the community auction and several people were wearing my badges. This warmed by heart so much. The work of a small group who I endearingly call the Pinking Shears Collective, was no longer visible. The badges were now circulating, doing their work in the world, providing provocation for conversation, making my campaign visible through the walking billboards of friendly faces and proud chests. This is very heart-warming for me.

Making visible what we believe, who we support, using prompts like badges, introductions and calling cards are the invitations we all need to open up conversations.  This is grass roots campaigning, and I am gratefully, seeing green shoots starting to appear.

Liz Sanders from The Food Embassy giving a speech at my campaign launch.

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #35

I do love campaigning and especially doorknocking and meeting people. When you greet them at the door, they are generally happy you aren’t a religious caller or trying to sell them something. Over the years doorknocking on various campaigns, I have always been surprised about the number of people who are genuinely open and willing to say hello. This simple act of trust of opening a door to someone seems to be what community and living together is all about.

Every now and then you find a little pocket of deep community. Several houses or even a street where the level of community goes beyond a common fence, and into sharing lives, meaning and interests.  It might have started with a simple walking to school together, or maybe minding a garden when someone was on holidays and then has extended into friendship, caring, and kindness that overflows into lending a car or sharing a spare room when a family member comes to visit.

Also, there are a few neighbourhoods where fear is writ large with big go away messages signalled by signs announcing surveillance cameras and security alarms, high fences and padlocked gates. The fear of loss and invasion of privacy is high. There might be dogs whose barks herald harm awaits you should you take another step forward.  I wonder often what they need to protect and what has happened for them to feel anxious and protective of what they have.  These places have community too and their common vision of being in a safe place unites their neighbourhood.

The door mats are instructive. Messages I’ve seen this week include – Go away, Welcome, Darth Vader lives here, Oma and Opa live here, Aliens Welcome, Wipe your feet, Dog lovers welcome and a few more relating to favourite football teams, celebrities and types of flowers! There are more welcomes than go aways and more invitations to come in than don’t knock.

A couple of little stories of trust on the doorstep this week. On Friday afternoon in Seaford, I was doorknocking a street and a young student perhaps in Year 5 or 6 appeared to be having trouble opening the door to his house with a key.  I stopped and asked him if he was alright. He said no, he was struggling to open the door. I asked him if he had the right key and he said he did, then I asked him if he would like me to help him. He said yes please. I was immediately impressed he was trusting me and together with some jiggling and holding of the door knob a certain way and tickling the key into the right position, we opened the door. He said thanks and scurried inside quickly shutting the door in a drill I expect the grownups in his house had instructed him to do. It seemed such a little thing, but I felt so pleased that I was there, randomly doorknocking and he was relieved to get home and inside to leave his school week behind.

Another tale from the pavement was with a young mum probably in her 30s also in Seaford who has a sign in her front yard that the house was for sale. She opened the door to me, and we talked about being a renter and how she is now searching for a new place to live for herself and her two young children. She is grateful she still has a few months left on her lease, but she knows from the market and a few friends that finding somewhere to live that is affordable and still in the area is going to be difficult. She is deeply worried about a move and how disruptive this will be to her children and if they will be able to find a place that will keep her connected to the community, she now feels she is a part of. This is a story that has been replicated in every neighbourhood I have been visiting. The housing crisis is deep and often invisible, behind closed doors and for sale signs.

While at a local community auction marketplace, I heard the same story from stall holders who are worried about the number of holiday homes, caravan parks and Airbnb’s that are all intertwined into the housing mix. Given I am deeply into my campaign for Mayor, I am looking at all the ways in which local government might contribute with solutions, and how a council might be contributing to the problem. The invisibility of the plight of renters, greed of some landlords, inflexibility of policies and regulations, compassion of neighbours, kindness of council rangers all come into play.

I am taking to heart the act of trust it takes to open a door to a stranger and hoping this is the kind of community that will want to elect someone like me to be their mayor, one who is ready to listen, meet them where they are and support their neighbourhood to be the best community, they can be for one another and the world.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #34

I am busy prepping for my campaign launch and fiddling around still with words to use for my speech. I am actually better improvising than putting words to paper. I have always been able to write speeches for others with more ease than for myself. I have written millions of words that have come out of the mouths of other people or been attributed to other people and worked hard to find their voice when writing for them. Writing for myself in my own voice takes me to another level of creativity – I have to both get myself out of the way and keep focussed on the audience – what do they want to hear from me?

What invisible aspirations, fears and expectations are they holding that my words might find a match? It is some kind of emotional bingo – mine and the listener. Know your audience is an oft recommended piece of advice. For my launch I will be among friends and so they will be forgiving of errors or stumbles. It is a chance for me to practice, yet in reality my campaign will have little opportunity for a big speech. It will be in the quiet corners of doorways and kitchens, bars and sporting grounds where the hearts and minds of voters will be hearing me. I also need to help them articulate what matters to them and how they can make sense of their concerns translating into the actions of a local council.

Voting is the authorisation process. I am asking thousands of people to give me their vote. This is a big ask. I know when I go to vote I am looking for someone who is going to share my values, understand what is important to me and one I can trust to act with good grace, take guidance and bring their best selves to every decision. 

I have been thinking about the word authorisation a lot this past week as it is embedded in the candidate electoral material process. We are all authors – we tell our own stories and develop trajectories for the narratives we want the world to know about us.  Then there are the stories other people talk about us and I decided to invite three people to do that for me today at my campaign launch. I always find I get insights about myself when other people talk about me … and much better to get this in the time of the living than waiting for a eulogy!

As I head into the next stage of the campaign, I feel like I am about to climb Mt Everest and I am arriving at Base Camp. To get to basecamp you are prepared, ready for the ascent, you have a life time of climbing experience behind you, you know how to weigh up risks, what blizzards look and feel like, you know there are people cheering you on and you know it is a solidarity task of personal endurance that will require more mental fitness than physical fitness.  I am trying to make more of what is invisible for me, visible, so that I can invite others into the process to support me. If you want to join me, please do, check out moira4mayor.com.au and find a way to connect and authorise this call to leadership.

Registration link to Campaign Launch – Authorised by M Were PO Box 7 Sellicks Beach SA 5174

Visibility and Invisiblity 2022 #33

The Australian Human Rights Enquiry into Racist Violence was held in 1991. I was one of the people who Commissioner Irene Moss heard give evidence. The evidence I provided related to a series of incidents directed to me and impacted on my young family.

As an anti-racist activist I was subjected to violence because of my advocacy of human rights. The evidence Commissioner Moss gathered, indicated that this was perpetrated by organised extremist groups. It took the form of bricks through the windows of the bedroom my children slept in, graffiti on the walls of my house, being followed and abused verbally in the street, my children’s kindergarten having graffiti painted on its fence, my phone being tapped. I was working for the SA Council of Churches running a series of anti-racism campaigns with church, school, community groups and unions. The campaign was clearly effective. My children grew up for a number of years not being able to answer the telephone, open the front door.

As a white, educated, english speaking person I got a tiny, tiny, taste of what many have to endure everyday. It was not pleasant.

Fast forward to 2022 and for the past 30 years nothing much has changed for me. I continue to call out racist behaviour, find ways of building bridges and community to educate and eradicate ignorance. I seem to have a knack of helping racists come out of the woodwork and find me.

This week I can point to two instances. The first one was at a community meeting of a local business association. The meeting began with an acknowledgement of meeting on Kaurna land. The person making the acknowledgement then muttered under his breath that he didn’t think they were grateful for all the good efforts of their association’s endeavours. I was shocked. I have noted his behaviour.

The second incident was online. A post of gratitude about care of country and connection to the economic, ecological and spiritual values of the land to First Nations, was met with an oblique enquiry that had nothing to do with the original post. The only connection to be drawn was a connection to First Nations. This, not quite subtle reference, was “jarring” as one correspondent remarked in the comments.

I have taken to making longer than usual opening acknowledgements at public events, since the Prime Minister’s visit to the Garma Festival. I am making the most of the opportunities I am getting when standing out the front. This week it included a crowded room of about 100 people in our capital city, celebrating the conclusion of a circular economy program for budding social enterpreneurs and a seniors club meeting with about 40 people in one of our southern suburbs. I include in my remarks that we are in a pre-referendum period, where citizens are getting prepped to consider whether to vote for a Voice to parliament to be enshrined in our Constitution. I am remind audiences that I want us to go further than the voters in 1967 did and exceed their 97% vote for Aboriginal people to get the right to vote. I want us to prove we have not gone backwards and we are not more racist than this previous generation. I am worried though that we might be! I am doing what I can to innoculate as well as educate.

It is so very easy for slips of the tongue and keyboard warriors to poison the airwaves. It urges me to be positive, signal and send a message tothe mini-publics I am addressing. We can all do this whereever we are – in our homes, classrooms, board rooms, at bus stops and sporting grounds. That is the work we need to do while the legislators get cracking on their bit.

I always find my way back to Martin Luther King Jr in these moments and draw on this quote:

“It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also.”

– Martin Luther King, “The Other America,” 1967

The invisible racist, becomes visible when they make a snide remark or comment under their breath, or post a line in social media that hints of their values.

Be vigilant my friends as we head into these pre-referedum times. If my two little whiffs on the wind I experienced this week are anything to go by, our First Nations people are going to experience a lot worse during this time. We are going to be called on to make our solidarity visible.

Photo by Darold Pinnock on Unsplash

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #32

SALA is here and that means I am out and about at exhibitions being drenched in the creativity of artists around me. I have been fortunate to be involved in a few of the openings, invited to speak and have an opportunity to reflect and introduce the art being shared.

The diversity of images and media chosen by various artists calls us voyeurs to come closer. I am not a visual artist or sculpture, but I can sometimes see things other people can’t in a situation or detect something emerging on the horizon. Artists have the ability to make visible what perhaps others of us can’t see. Their eye, their choice of colours, how they frame their subject, what media they use, are all portals of possibilities to enable us gazing on their work to get a glimpse into how they are seeing the world.

I opened an exhibition at the Willunga Uniting Church Bethany Hall called Breathe. I talked about the relationship between inspiration and expiration – breathing in and breathing out. Doing this simple exercise of breathing together has been seriously compromised in these pandemic times, and so I think it is more important than ever to find ways in which we can communally get an opportunity to share the air without causing us harm and the humble act of an exhibition opening in a church hall, is one such way. Masked up and suitably separated by distance, the assembled gathered to celebrate the coming out of studios where work was created, now being shared and made visible for all to see.

The artists I’ve seen over these first two weeks of SALA are incredibly diverse. I have seen the beauty of crayon and paint of a 4 year old Estelle at a school-based SALA event, the interlocking pieces of old car parts and industrial rusted components transformed into sea creatures, oil paints layered to recreate a memory of a lost love, weaving patterns as old as the Dreamtime being used for baskets, mixed media collages calling forth the seasons, glass mosaics, endangered lizard potrait in charcoal, bejewelled earrings telling a tale of surf and sand, mandalas in ink drawn by the steadiest of hands, abstracted landscapes in every shade of green, deep time reflected in ancient red gum hosting seed pods, sunflowers offering up a blessing to a blue sky in honour of Ukraine.

Just as the artist puts their work in the world, an expiration if you like, or what has inspired them, so we the viewer get to inhale their work and then exhale it through our interpretation. We don’t survive if we only breathe out or only breathe in! We can’t live on oxygen or carbon dioxide, it is the mix and balance of these gases that enables us all to survive and we need both.

I know a bit about what it is like to have one more than the other and it is very unpleasant. Regular readers over the years will know my husband died of a disease where the lungs capacity to transfer oxygen into the blood stream and deliver enough oxygen to the rest of the body failed, and it took almost a decade for that failure to end in death. It is not too dissimiliar to what is happening to us as a planet. If we don’t arrest this situation we too will literally won’t be able to breathe.

Artists and their creations are critical in helping us see what might be invisible. Get along to any SALA event if you can and open up to seeing something new, or being moved by a memory, or even repelled by an image that offends your sensibilities. What ever your reaction it is an echo of the relationship between breathing in and breathing out, and we need both.

Opening SALA exhibition at Tinjella, Lynn Chamberlain’s studio, Willunga, with Marisa Bell, Candidate for Southern Vales Ward, City of Onkaparinga.

Invisibility and visibility 2022 #31

The first time I heard Archie Roach was in 1990, on his first CD, Charcoal Lane. I had known about his song Took the Children Away but I hadn’t listened to it until it came out on CD. He had performed it for the first time a couple of years earlier. The album was on high rotation, and we all got to learn the songs, and along with Paul Kelly, it was one of the soundtracks to the 90s in our home.

Archie was a truth teller – he was talking about the Stolen Generation, domestic violence, suicide in communities long before many others. He had his own demons and trauma. His music helped heal others and shone a light for others to find their way.

I must have seen him in concert a dozen times on small and big stages. His final Womadelaide appearance was very special, we all knew were saying good bye to each other. None of us wanted the moment to end. We let the final notes and the echo of the applause hang in the air.

His death on the weekend of Garma Festival has its own kind of symmetry. I remember years ago, him calling on Tony Abbott the then Prime Minister, to end the Northern Territory intervention. This weekend Anthony Albanese, our current Prime Minister added his voice to the death of this legend, in a tweet saying, Our country has lost a brilliant talent, a powerful and prolific national truth teller. Telling the truth is at the heart of this moment in our journey as a nation.

We have a big year ahead as we make visible the truth of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We can rise to the occasion and as a nation pass a referendum not just to right wrongs, but to go to the next level as a nation.  I am optimistic it will be a referendum that everyone will be able to embrace, and passing it will be a moment of national healing, hope, pride and promise.

Archie made visible the pain and ache of the Stolen Generations and translated the personal experience which opened our hearts and taught those of us who had no idea about this awful practice.  When the Bringing them Home Human Rights Commission report was released in 1997, his famous song was already nearly a decade old. That report still has recommendations that are yet to be implemented and going back even further the Deaths in Custody Royal commission in 1987 has more recommendations not acted on, than actioned. Invisible recommendations waiting to be made visible.

There is so much unfinished business, so many gaps to close.

We are in a season of truth-telling and listening to Archie’s songs will help hold us through this season.  

Voice Treaty Truth

Vale Archie Roach

Rest in power

Sunset concert Womadelaide 2021

Invisibility and Visibility 2022 #30

I got an attack of the giggles over dinner with friends this week over the mispronunciation of a meal that had entertained me from childhood. The simplicity of a memory in another place, a completely different set of circumstances gave me great heart. The hidden  and invisible stories we all hold that sneak out in such moments are such a gift and invitation to discover or in this case, re-discover a lost joy.

Memories are powerful tools and weapons to hold us in place and take us to new horizons. The trick I find at play is to not get caught into sentimentality or melancholy. So the gooey warmth of a forgotten cheery moment holds a lot of comfort.

I am currently running for a public office and reconnecting with parts of my past lives in the process. One of the activities I am doing is a weekly photo on a social media platform entitling it #ThrowbackThursday.  I am getting more interest and commentary on these pictures than almost any other thing I am doing. People seem to be enjoying discovering something they didn’t know about me, or getting a glimpse into another part of my story.  There is a mixture of intrigue and intimacy in the responses. 

I have also enjoyed campaigning. I love the focussed project nature of it and the clarity of the result – someone will win and everyone else will lose. I try to reframe this competitive perspective – I feel like I have already won, by getting up and having a go. I am also coming off a strong base and deep roots decades in the making and long before a couple of my opponents were even born. I am not being ageist and I am supporting young candidates, but I do have the years on them, and it is a-kind-of, unfair advantage.  The invisibility of my story peeking out through old photographs, is just one way in which herstory can come through bringing a version of what’s gone before. As the curator I get to choose which pictures go with what weeks.  

As I have written previously, so many of the photos I have been sorting through don’t have me anywhere to be seen, as I am behind the camera. I am learning how to take reasonable ‘selfies’ now which is going someway to rectify the problem going forward. The looking out into the eyes of others versus looking into your own eyes and seeing yourself I am beginning to appreciate as a portal to introspection. The ‘selfie’ also has endless capacity to eek out  a giggle. Selfies are also in the business of making memories.  A lovely combination for the invisible and visible worlds to collide through giggles and digital mirrors.

Being in front of the camera, certainly makes for a different perspective.

Selfie taken in my bathroom before I headed off to a friends 60th birthday.