once, twice, three stripes a lady

Sometimes life is full of themes which emerge and you don’t realise that they are going to. Only when you get a minute to step back from them, do you see them there.

This week I have been obsessing on stripey clothing, on older ladies, on small communities, on what it means to be happy and how the heck we are to find these things.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way.


God. Once upon a time I considered myself a well-dressed individual. I mean, nothing amazing, but nothing embarrassing. I now realise that polka dots and horizontal stripes are my fashion obsession which, combined with my tendency to wear a lot of primary colours, gives the impression that I am the presenter of a children’s television show. Sometimes, however, cracks show in my “real life”, and I’m forced to wear stripey clothes to work and to try to get my colleagues to play Kareoke Brain. They try. And I try too. It’s trying. My beautiful friend Sonia and her crew launched the Penthouse Mouse for Fashion Week back in Melbourne on Friday and I’m almost 100% certain that even if I was wearing no-pants Brisbane’s best, I’d have found myself lost in the crowd. Whatever. Just saying.

Older ladies.

Speaking gratefully at the Amnesty International/International Women’s Development Agency event for International Women’s Day, I referenced my two grandmothers. And felt almost devastated anew by my nanna’s death, and by the amazing women in PNG I worked with once, and though I may have let all of these ladies down in some way, I think of them often and with so much love it’s crazy. Then I went to this really lovely women’s riding event which was mainly older ladies and I remembered that I just don’t associate with many people of other “generations” and that – as my life has become more stable it’s also become somewhat more limited. There is so much to be learnt from people who’ve managed to get through life. God knows, I’m struggling on my own.

Small communities

A little while ago I was congratulating Brisbane for getting big enough to have hipsters and staying small enough for you to know your barista. But then, strangely enough, I felt the rub. There was the cancellation of a gay and lesbian community event, due to the lack of community support. I don’t know. Brisbane might just be a hard for outsiders kind of city, but sometimes – in some suburbs – it feels downright bizarre. I went to an art exhibition at the Alliance Francaise recently and – though, certainly the subject matter was kind of risque (bondage/female nudes/etc), the actual photographs were totally mid level. And yet the exhibition had been banned/protested against in the Sunshine Coast. There’s also only a few spoken word events on, and I do feel a little bit lost sometimes trying to work out what is on and if it’s good. Every bar seems to be a place heterosexual people go on first dates. I’m chipping away slowly but sometimes the city can be hard to uncover. Not like Melbourne, with its endless look at me wonderful different different but same.

On happiness

This is harder to write and arguably a hell of a lot harder to find. It’s started raining here unexpectedly just now and – for my mind – I just don’t really understand how it got to Sunday. I looked out the window and it was last week and we were in Byron Bay and things were going kind of okay. Then all of a sudden we weren’t. This week passed in a strange storm of feeling, a maelstrom of good and bad and no way and you didn’t and really are you kidding and what the.

Sometimes the only solution is just sitting it out and working it out through breathing and keeping your eyes on the lovely prize of waking up again tomorrow.

Em tasol.

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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