Resources Acknowledgement s
MAITRI Multicultural Counselling Service MAITRI seeks to meet the mental health needs of people from
culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Phone: (08) 9328 2699
Location: 2nd Floor, Guild Hall
Free youth health service for counselling and issues covering
FB: fb.com/UWAStudentGuildPD Location: 2nd Floor, Guild Hall Access Department Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FB: fb.com/UWAStudentGuildAccess Numbers to Remember Security SMS Service - 0438 739 744
mental health, physical health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug related services. Website: headspace.org.au Lifeline Free 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention helpline, via phone and online chat service. Phone: 13 11 14 Website: lifeline.org.au
If you need immediate assistance, begin text with “URGENT”
UWA Security (Emergency) - 6488 2222
QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and
UWA Security - 6488 3020 Sexual Assault Helpline - 1800 806 292
referral service for LGBT+ people. Phone: 1800 184 527 Website: qlife.org.au
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) SARC provides support and emergency services for sexual assault and rape survivors. This includes medical care, advocacy, legal advice and counselling.
If you would like more information on making a report regarding sexual assault or harassment, you can read how to here: http://www.uwastudentguild.com/damsel-reportingsexual-assault-on-campus/
Phone: (08) 9340 1828 Website: http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/Our-services/ Statewide-Services/SARC Yorgum Yorgum provides a nurturing and safe place that promotes
Front Cover – Aaymen Khan, Tiffany Ko, Martha J. McKinley, Rigel Paciente, Libby Robbins Bevis, Elizabeth Salmon, Georgia Salmon, Winona Wroe
the strength and resilience of Aboriginal people through
Back Cover – Annelise Jansen
culturally appropriate healing.
Seasonal Border Designs – Elizabeth Salmon
Phone: (08) 9218 9477
Magazine Layout - Xander Sinclair
s Content Important Resources 2 From the Women’s Officer
Meet the Editors 4 Contributors 4
Photography – Georgia Salmon
Words – Aurelia Joy Brian
Photography – Georgia Salmon
Words – Chase Houghton
Words – Tiffany Ko
Art – Siobhan Waller
Photography – Elizabeth Salmon
Ode to Break Ups
Photography – Tiffany Ko
tiny girl in a lime-green jacket
Words – Jasmin Seabrook-Benson
Childhood Nostalgia 9
Art – Parveen Gupta
Learning to be a Social Chameleon
Words – Annelise Jansen
The Time Traveller’s Granddaughter
Words – Subah Shahid
Not My House 13
Words – Elizabeth Salmon
Art – Ishita Mathur
Words – Susie Charkey
Art – Cheyenne Chooi
I Don’t Care That You Love Me
Words – Aurelia Joy Brian
Art – Parveen Gupta
Art – Ishita Mathur
Photography – Georgia Salmon
Art – Winona Wroe
I am building space
Words – Jasmin Seabrook-Benson
How To Love Your Body
Words – Ishita Mathur
Art – Cheyenne Chooi
Yesman 40 Words – Chase Houghton
The Green Handkerchiefs Revolution
Words – Indra Roux
Art – Indra Roux
Art – Cheyenne Chooi 21
Words – Libby Robbins Bevis (interviewer),
Megan Lee, and Roshni Kaila We (Do Not) Know Life
Words – Anamarija Mraz
Art – Cheyenne Chooi
Try to Paint A Masterpiece Without the Rainbow
Words – Elizabeth Salmon
Photography – Elizabeth Salmon
Photography – Elizabeth Salmon
Nurture Your Garden – Nurture Your Life
Words – Alicia Lutz
Art – Parveen Gupta
Art – Eva Sirantoine
Happiness Isn’t A Destination
Fighting Sexual Assault on Campus: An Update with Megan Lee and Roshni Kaila
Eternal Beauty 20
Photography – Tiffany Ko
Out of the Black-and-Blue Box
Words – Ishita Mathur
Words – Aurelia Joy Brian
Art – Chase Houghton
You Are Your Own Master
Words – Anaiya Dabasia
Words – Anamarija Mraz
Art – Elizabeth Salmon
Words – Bridget Rumball
An Evening in Amsterdam
Art – Ishita Mathur
Art – Ishita Mathur 3
From the Women’s Officer Welcome to this year’s Damsel! Firstly, a huge congratulations is in order to the editors, Elizabeth and Tiffany. Curating a magazine is by no means an easy feat, and these two women have put in an immense amount of effort to keep up a proud tradition of the Women’s Department - kudos to them both. This year has been a big year for the Women’s Department,
Meet the Editors Elizabeth: Engineer-in-training, aspiring author, fully qualified nerd, and future owner of 11 cats! I have learned so much this year running Damsel and couldn’t be prouder of this year’s print mag!
but I have also learnt so much stepping into the role of Women’s Officer. In a role that is so often at the centre of debate, I have found myself at the front of conversations
Tiffany: Aspiring novelist and guinea
with people with so many different opinions about feminism.
pig enthusiast. Currently on a quest
I have been forced to challenge my own opinions on topics
to convert all to love them. And of
I thought I was very comfortable with. I have learned to
course, am so incredibly thankful to all
unlearn everything I thought I knew and not to get outraged
the creators who made this edition a
at everything I hear that doesn’t align with my point of view.
I might have always known it, but I learnt that the world does not favour those who speak out against the institutions that disadvantage them, and that it takes a lot more than patience in waiting for everyone else to see issues the same way that
We unfortunately live in an age full of echo chambers,
microaggressions and male privilege - all making our fight and activism all that much harder. I hope that things will
Aurelia Joy Brian X
continue to get better, but only if we continue to educate and
Susie Charkey X
support one another. We will always support your sisters
Cheyenne Chooi O
and non-binary pals and speak out against sexism, misogyny
Anaiya Dabasia X
Indra Roux X O
amongst all the trolls and vitriol, there are some people who
Parveen Gupta O
Bridget Rumball X
have good intentions but may be misguided. Take the time out
Chase Houghton X O
Elizabeth Salmon X O
to have a conversation with these people, educate them but
Annelise Jansen X O
Georgia Salmon O
Tiffany Ko X O
Jasmin Seabrook-Benson X
Alicia Lutz X
Subah Shahid X
Ishita Mathur X O
Eva Sirantoine O
Anamarija Mraz X
Siobhan Waller O
Libby Robbins Bevis X
Winona Wroe O
and other forms of discrimination; but remember that in and
most importantly understand their point of view - it is in this that we can hope to achieve real and long lasting change for the better. May your grass be green and your patriarchy smashed, Roshni 2018 Women’s Officer 4
seasonally Chase Houghton words / Siobhan Waller art
we know that the path to hell is paved with the intentions of good men, foxglove and marigold grow between spaces left in place of what is pure
you love me and my heart bursts like a sun-ripened tomato, my insides are unfolding petals of crocus. the soft morning light catches the gold of my chipped nail polish as my hand grasps your hand as we feast on soft stone fruit
in the evening the moon sits full in the sky, round and juicy as a ripe peach, exposed to the night as only wisps of cloud remain, soft and fuzzy like wide-eyed winter lambs before the spring slaughter.
we watch on as autumn farewells summer with goodbye kiss, itâ€™s getting cold out, but she is warmed by log cabins and roasted marshmallows that stick to your guts. the forest animals dart between the hollows of trees and caves to the tune of her sweet symphony of firewood smoke. mushrooms creep across branches as pine needles fall freely snowflakes catch on loversâ€™ noses and the sun dozes off, allowing the moon to peck her forehead and wish her a good sleep.
you rest your head on my shoulder, you are vineyards and rollerskates, sundresses and beach umbrellas that look like citrus segments. i let my head rest on yours, i am moonlight and cardigans, pigeons and hot tea in tin mugs.
as the last of the light dies out we become sleepy and slowly drift away into the night 5
Autumn From the autumn leaves and laughter of childhoodâ€Ś
tiny girl in a lime-green jacket Jasmin Seabrook-Benson words
she sits on her father’s shoulders pigtails bouncing lime-green jacket glistening her yellow balloon a sun above her head
she doesn’t know rain will soon fall a grey rush on concrete
but her father will lower her smoothly shield her, keep her dry and if her balloon flies she’ll have his shoulder on which to cry
one day, she’ll notice he doesn’t hug her anymore a rocky chasm opening between them cracking the floor and she is tall, but still called ‘girl’
as the world expands and contracts around her she’ll remember
a rainy day her green jacket, her yellow balloon
she’ll call her father, and say I’ll see you soon
Childhood Nostalgia - Parveen Gupta
Learning to be a Social Chameleon (and then throwing it all away) cw: ableism Annelise Jansen words
For as long as I can remember, I have felt different. I know –
‘girly clothes’, and I had a set of specific shirts and pants that I
everybody feels that way - but I have always felt somehow
was comfortable in – anything else made me feel gross. On a
as if I were the only real person on the planet, and everyone
social level, I couldn’t identify with girls either – I could never
else was playing a different game than I was; as if my brain
handle the ever-changing and fast paced social dynamics
was tuned to AM and everyone else was running on an FM
that would constantly be going on and I was confused – I
frequency. For some reason, social interactions just never
identified more strongly with boys, since the social hierarchy
really made much sense to me; they were embarrassing and
didn’t seem to be as complex, and I could basically insert
confusing to decipher, and I felt as though I had made a fool of
myself at any point in their game, as long as I knew what
myself a lot of the time. As a child, I could never understand
the rules were. There didn’t seem to be any clear rules with
why it was so easy for my peers to make friends – how could
girls – it was all much more interpersonal. This being said, if
they chat and play so easily? My younger sister’s magic ability
my two core best friends Rikus and Riaan were not at school,
to instantly find a friend at any given playground, or at the
I wouldn’t get involved in any games, and was much happier
beach on our holidays to the coast in South Africa, baffled and
wandering around the garden alone, imagining things to
confused me, and was the source of much unspoken jealousy.
myself, mentally planning conversations I would have later
She has always been the social butterfly, while I have always
in the day, or thinking of jokes to tell. It’s a technique that I
preferred to stay inside, read my books, and fill my brain with
still use to this day – any time spent quiet or alone around
as many things as I could.
imminent social interaction, will be spent planning what to say, how to act, or how to come across as likeable and in-
On a sunny Saturday morning in late 2017, I was sharing
control. If I wanted something, I would use someone else,
some beers with my friends, and someone had made
usually a friend, to speak for me. I still do this at restaurants
a comment to me about how “autistic I could get about
and shops, to cope with the unwanted social interaction.
certain things”. I laughed, and called my mum to ask, only half-jokingly, if she thought I was Autistic. She was silent
Despite excelling academically, teachers had noticed my
for a couple of seconds, and responded that I had always
self-isolation and recommended my parents send me to a
been quirky and a little bit strange, but she loved me all
behavioural therapist that specialised in teaching children
the more for it. I wasn’t sure what to say – this was not a
how to learn and interact in a group setting – how to make
straightforward answer. I prodded a bit and she brought up
friends. I started the therapy when I was 6, and unfortunately
that I had been sent to an Occupational Therapist when I
never finished because when I was 8, my family moved to
was four, since I had a problem with my fine motor skills, my
Australia. This was one of the hardest periods of adjustment
posture, and was very particular about certain textures – food
in my life – I had a strong aversion to change, and I was soon
I could not eat, things I could not touch. She also helped me
to be thrown into a new life, with a new school, new friends,
remember the behavioural therapy I had to go to, to learn
and even a new language. It was a crash-course in fitting-in,
to play with other kids. I was confused at the recovered
and when you are trying to assimilate into a new country, it is
childhood memories, and after the phone call, I did more
very difficult to consider the possibility of failing to do so.
research. In a way, I was trying to make sense of who I am by rediscovering who I was.
I could see a pattern in my childhood behaviour, and I started researching Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) more in-depth,
For two years before I entered Primary School, I had an
and soon my adolescent and adult behaviour started to
unbreakable routine where I would wear my Spiderman
make sense as well. ASD affects a person’s communication
pyjamas to bed and then to school, and my mum could only
skills, and social interaction for them is hard. People with
get them off me during my nightly bath, when she would
ASD often have special interests which they will become
wash them and put me in my Superman clothes, for that
an expert on, and especially high-functioning people with
night and the next day, when the next bathtime would mean
ASD can have savant-like abilities in specific subjects.
a switch back into my Spiderman outfit. I refused to wear
Children with ASD often have difficulty with developing
correct posture, coordination, and motor planning (hence the
I had realised by this time, trying to adapt to a new country
aforementioned occupational therapist). An estimated 1 in 68
and new lifestyle, that this was not a ‘normal’ thing for girls
people is on the spectrum, a quarter of which are estimated
my age to spend so much of their time thinking about. I tried
to be women or girls. By this time, I was wondering – how
to get into netball (I hated it – for years), I obsessively collected
could I have gone 21 years without a diagnosis? Well, there
every Total Girl magazine (I resented not being like the girls
is a reason that I, and many other girls like myself, struggle
that it was aimed at), and I completely threw myself into
for so long without an answer. Early studies focused a lot
academic achievements. I wanted to be the smart girl, and
on male signs and symptoms, and this has had an ongoing
I was very good at it. I became a quiet achiever in Primary
effect on the research that has been done on ASD, with little
School, and I gradually learned how to censor myself. I became
known about how it affects females, being that it presents
quite good at saying the right things at the right times, never
very differently in women. Autism researchers believe that
betraying that I would go home later and pick apart every
many high-functioning women and girls on the spectrum
sentence and facial expression to determine whether or not I
may go undiagnosed because they are much better at using
had made a fool of myself.
“social masking” or “camouflage” techniques to disguise the traditional traits of Autism, while the traditional focus on
To say it got easier as I grew older would be a lie – I struggled
males has led the diagnostic criteria for ASD to be skewed
a lot with feelings of isolation and confusion at friendships I
towards identifying males on the spectrum. Thus, obtaining
just could not seem to hold together – but I did get better at
an ASD diagnosis for a female can be very challenging. The
coping mechanisms to cover up the intrinsic difficulties I was
general consensus is that females with ASD exhibit:
facing, as girls with ASD often do. I misfired – a lot, and I could come across as dominating the conversation with one subject,
1. Increased social imitation skills, 2. A desire to interact directly with others, 3. A tendency to be shy or passive, 4. Better imagination,
endlessly interesting to me, but boring to everyone who was listening (namely; Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, My Chemical Romance), but by Year 12 I had a big group of friends and everyone in the year group liked me. It was precarious. I had learned to change my personality and adapt to every situation – people had started to notice and accuse me of being fake.
5. Better linguistic abilities developmentally, and
After highschool, I had started drinking at every opportunity
6. Interests that focus on animals or people.
extroverted self into the world and it wouldn’t be so hard as
just because when I was drunk I wouldn’t have to think so much about acting – I could just shove my paradoxically doing it sober. I have stopped doing this now – it didn’t stop
Check. Check Check Check. Check, Check. I was ticking all the
me from over-analysing all my interactions the next morning.
boxes and I felt everything fall into place. Looking back, it all
Women with Asperger profiles can experience co-occurring
made so much sense.
mood disorders and often internalize feelings of frustration and failure – I have struggled with depression and anxiety,
I have obsessed over subjects that were inexplicably special
and have been misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality
and interesting to me all my life; currently I collect postage
stamps, both from the real-world and from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book universe. They are extremely special to
There is no way I can list all of my symptoms and
me. Before we moved to Australia, I absorbed everything
idiosyncrasies in this small space, but I hope something has
I could about Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Jackie Chan,
clicked for someone who is reading this, and I can say that it
and Spiderman. During the move I attached myself to frogs,
gets easier once you know what is going on – I hope you do
reptiles, and soccer, and set out to learn everything I could
the research, and I hope you learn to love yourself and live
about them. I recall my nickname in Year 3 was “Super Frog”.
happily and authentically, like I am trying to do every day.
of clothes scattered around you, and an old diary in your lap like I do? There, amongst the scrunched-up receipts from that café I visited with my friends, to my box of old earrings that I know I’ll never wear again, and even the piece of cloth my best friend had wrapped my seventeenth birthday present in that I can’t seem to let go of. That is where I feel peaceful. I often find myself here in this moment of complete silence, my mind taken away by the scribbles that somehow tucked themselves into my pages without me realising. I find myself turning each dust-coated edge with a tinge of excitement, peeking over my shoulder to make sure that no one else can read my little memories. Each page holds a different story just as each diary holds a different purpose. It’s through these pages of reminders, unorganised entries, and blank spaces, that I can revisit a time I had once known so well but now have all but forgotten. It’s through the notes that I write to myself that I can travel through time itself. “How are you?” “what are you doing?” “are you happy?” I transport myself, leaving small pieces of me behind over time. “I’m doing okay” “I’m trying” Subah Shahid words
The Time Traveller’s Granddaught er 12
Do you ever find yourself sitting on your bedroom floor, legs crossed, piles
“are you?”. Each time my pen touches the piece of paper years upon years after the very first drop of ink, I leave yet another mark in the fabric of time, another chapter in my story, one that I’ll never tell my children but maybe one day share with my grandchildren, just like my grandmother did with me. These fairytale stories are much like seedlings, over years of love and care they become beautiful trees that provide shade and joy for many, even though they start off as nothing but a small seed. And it’s through these small words that the very art of time travel is passed on from generation to generation. There amongst the chaos of the physical world and my river of thoughts, that is where I feel at home. Amongst this collection of infinitely minute things, material objects that physically don’t do anything other than collect dust and take up space, I feel an eternity of love and assurance. The strings of meaning that connects each small trinket to me holds a sea of nostalgia and memories that I can’t bear to forget. Even those things that I put down without ever realising it would be the last time I carry it in my arms, those forgotten treasures that have slipped from my grasp, even they hold on tightly to the roots that hold us in place. They are just like the diary in my hands. Their wordless lives carry so much meaning to me that, just like my diaries, I can’t seem to give them away, I can’t seem to forget them. So, it’s there among my beautiful mess that I travel through time and re-discover the past I had forgotten, and discover hope for the future that I have yet to find.
Not My House Elizabeth Salmon words / Ishita Mathur art
Driving down familiar roads in an unfamiliar town, things have changed. These streets this town, this place which used to be my home holds no comfort now. Lost in the shopping centre I knew blind as a child.
Out of town where the trees are the same, never changed, it’s like I never left. An old soul with new sadness for the home I’ve lost, the past I can’t get back. Nine years but it could have just been yesterday, for the familiarity my heart can’t let go.
Roll on, turn and turn. Gravel crunches, the same curves and the same old dog. Familiar smell, familiar rooms. I’ve known them all my life, Not my house, but I’m home.
Out of the Blackand-Blue Box cw: toxic relationships, domestic violence, abuse Susie Charkey words / Cheyenne Chooi art
Yellow Made home heaven. Immersed in pure golden light at the bottom of a bright blue pool, frolicking in caressing clouds. Sounds of angels singing softly; feathered our ears. We belonged to a moment in eternity, your hand in mine. One flesh. This, was all there ever was, and all there ever would be.
Green Brought us back to earth and planted our four feet on the grass ground. Green, was the poison ivy that silently suffocated our red bricks and mortar. Mirrors smashing, doors slamming, alarm bells ringing. Eyes dutifully closed; I was blue, before I met you. But a constant wait, wondering when youâ€™ll return. My love. So, I shrank. Small enough to fit within your suitcase. 16
Red Was love; brilliant embers burning bright. But tornados tumbled, fuses erupted and broken promises piled up, till red was the scalding colour of rage inflamed, fire-branded on your face. Love and wrath: their molten colours melded. And crimson became, my eyes, raw, from crying each night and the glass, clumps of hair and blood I examined between the tiles on the locked bathroom floor. Afraid, to leave. Afraid, to stay. Stranded, on some island, faraway.
Black Was the hole I fell into, the colour of your eyes when you jumped into the bottle. The fingerprints you left on my arm, my words, whispers amidst the violent winds. Black, was my future in my mindâ€™s eye. Blank, were my dreams. Paralysed, like a statue, stupefied, solidified, in time, eyes permanently fixed on a crack of light, trapped beneath the door. I Unearthed, a love that was living inside me, the key, that unlocked the gate. A ticket to freedom. To space. A kaleidoscope of swirling, rainbow rays, that glistened radiantly. Colours I never knew even existed. So, I picked up my brush, and began to paint a new beginning.
I Don’t Care That You Love Me cw: harassment, assault mention, emotional abuse Aurelia Joy Brian words / Parveen Gupta art
“I did it because I couldn’t stop thinking about you, and if I didn’t find you, I knew that my life would never be good again.” “Well that’s great Paul, but I don’t care how you feel, you stalked me for weeks, deceived my friends and family and plainly proved yourself to be an immature, entitled
told them: “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed...The guy just came over and grabbed!...That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me….I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this tight grip.” It is incredible that this picture is still among the most praised and iconic images of all time, yet what we are seeing is an assault taking place.
man-child.” Should be how that conversation goes, but
Time and again we see this narrative of men being rewarded
unfortunately this creepy, stalker behaviour is often rewarded
for their persistence, and yet I know for a fact that when
with ‘getting the girl’ in all too many media outlets. Usually
those behaviours are displayed toward myself or other
this spontaneous, often ill-thought-out, and disturbing
women, I wish for nothing more than for this random man
behaviour is framed as a grand romantic gesture that just
to go away. It’s threatening, and the only difference between
shows us how much he loves her, that he was willing to
media and real life is that in real life, my actions and thoughts
follow, stalk, and completely disrespect her privacy and
aren’t being dictated by predominantly male writers.
autonomy, usually manipulating her somehow in the process, just to prove to us and her that this is true love.
However, when women in the media have the same determination and confidence, they are almost always
This isn’t love, this is unhealthy infatuation that should really
portrayed as scary, desperate, or our personal favourite, a
end in a restraining order. One of the most popular examples
slut. If women are desperate for ‘chasing after what they
of this in recent time was the Twilight Saga. Edward Cullen
want’, why aren’t men? Recently actor Henry Cavill said in an
(the main male protagonist) treats Bella like a child, he isolates
interview that he no longer flirts with women “in case he gets
her from the other kids at the school, and undermines her
called a rapist or something.” Real quote. To that I only have
ability to think for herself. He displays all the warning signs
one thing to say.
of an emotionally abusive partner, yet for years Edward was a sex symbol, something desired and lusted after despite these glaring character flaws. He was protective, they said. He wanted her to be safe, they reasoned. But honestly, I’d like my change, because I am not buying that. Disabling you partner’s car so that they cannot drive, forbidding them from
This interview and quote came on the heels of the Me Too movement and Cavill went on to explain that “You can’t really pursue someone further than ‘no.’”
seeing someone they are friends with and asking someone
Well…. I’m going to go ahead and say it: it is never okay to
else to watch them while you’re gone is not romantic. This is
pursue someone further than ‘no’. That’s literally what no
means. Not interested. Henry’s point of view seemingly
1 in 4 women will experience emotional abuse from their romantic partners and when tv and movies frame this behaviour as romance, as ‘oh he only does it because he loves me’ it does nothing to help lower these statistics. One of the most famous photographs in the world is ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The photo shows a man serving in the Navy, grabbing and kissing a random woman (Greta Zimmer Friedman). This photograph has long been an image of post-war victory and in the eyes of many, romance. It is not romantic in the slightest when in 2005 during an interview by the Library of Congress, Greta
1. Henry did you rape someone? No? Then you’re not a rapist.
comes from his love of romance and flirtation, the traditional ‘woo’ing’ of a woman which is all fine and dandy if that woman is interested in you. If she’s not, I’m just gonna let you know now pal, Superman or not you’re never gonna get it. Cavill’s comments underline the absolute normalcy that creepy behaviour has been given in media, the fact that ‘no’ doesn’t actually mean no, but try harder. Hopefully it isn’t just me, but I don’t think a relationship should be built on the wearing down of will.
Cheyenne Chooi art
Fighting Sexual Assault on Campus With Megan Lee & Roshni Kaila cw: sexual assault, sexual harassment Libby Robbins Bevis words In 2017, The Australian Human Rights Commission released the Change the Course report on sexual assault and harassment at Australian Universities. The report surveyed 30 930 students at 39 universities, of which 1 in 5 had experienced sexual harassment in a university setting in 2016. UWA results found that 28% of students experienced sexual harassment, and 2.20% were sexually assaulted. I sat down with the 2018 Guild President Megan Lee, and Women’s Officer Roshni Kaila to talk about these findings, UWA’s response, and what more still needs to be done.
Since the AHRC survey, there have been various action plans to minimise sexual assault and harassment on campus and make campuses safe, what have UWA been doing? Roshni Kaila: 18 months before the AHRC survey results were released, the Safety on Campus working group was established.
Megan Lee: It was over the terms of 2016 and 2017, to address the issue of safety on campus but then the ‘Respect. Now. Always’ campaign was announced after getting a bit of traction and lobbying from the NUS (National Union of Students) to do that. It turned into the ‘Respect. Now. Always’ working group, so a lot of things happened (in the lead up to the AHRC report), and there are still a number of very large projects that are on-going to the lead that obviously couldn’t be completed by the report being released. One of them is rewriting and relooking at the institutional responses to reporting. So, if a student reports an assault to a lecturer who does that lecturer then go to? If they make a complaint to security who does security then go to? Not everybody is going to make a complaint directly to the Complaints Resolution Unit. How do we capture that information in a way that is confidential but useful to the university and aid in future reporting? So that’s a big project that’s still ongoing because there’s so many people they need to talk to, and has highlighted a lot of issues in terms of training that needs to be delivered to staff. In the lead up there were a lot of things done in the sexual misconduct policy such as a contract with lifeline with UWA for a UWA-specific lifeline number, which did fast track counselling appointments for anyone that was affected by the Survey results. Unfortunately they were temporary (6-12 months after the release of the results). 21
What have been some struggles/obstacles faced in either campaigning for these changes in policies, or in the planning and implementing of them?
*The SMS service has now been implemented since the recording of this interview
ML: Some of it’s understandable in that the university is like a
ML: What I find particularly frustrating, is that it’s a unique
massive cruise liner, and if you want to change it off its course it takes a long time, because there’s so many processes of governance. Those things are important to make sure changes aren’t being made without stakeholders’ involvement, and for things to be done right the first time. You want to make sure you do it right the first time so nobody is in a situation where they make a disclosure and it’s not handled properly. So, some of its understandable, some of it’s not.
situation the Guild President has, in that I work with every level of the university. I meet with the manager of Campus Security and the Vice-Chancellor, which is often very hard because you have to get the executives to push their managers, who often get resentful on working with you on those issues. And I understand that everyone’s pressed thin in this university. Everyone’s understaffed, underfunded, but it’s just one of those things that make our job, as student representatives, difficult because there’s only so much we
RK: The number one thing that I’ve noticed is common
can do. We can push for things, but we’re not the ones that
everywhere, is that the university is not nearly as effective as
have the expertise to put them into action, such as lighting on
it needs to be for this issue.
campus. If you look at the Action Plan, everything we have direct control over is done… we make sure (during one year
ML: We inquired about what the university was doing about
terms) that things are done and in place. That just doesn’t
the annual releasing of their data. I know from multiple
happen in the university. I don’t think it’s malicious intent, but
sources that all the GO8 Universities have agreed to release
also I wouldn’t be surprised if institutions don’t want to admit
and report theirs but we’re still getting ‘we don’t know how to
they have a problem by doing something about it. It’s not bad
capture that data’.
to admit you have a problem, and it looks better if you address it than ignore it all together.
Was there a reason given as to why they’re unable to capture this data? ML: No, and it was one of the reasons why I met individually with the head of strategy planning, making it aware that I was
How important is it to create a safe culture and space on campus? Especially regarding building a sense of campus culture that the UWA Guild prides itself on?
concerned it wasn’t going to happen. I thought everyone made
ML: I think it’s incredibly important, there’s so much you
a commitment that it was going to happen every year, and
can do in terms of the after effects, how to support students
that having 12 months to figure out how to do it wasn’t going
affected and how we can deal with things that aren’t
to be an issue. It sort of slipped by the wayside.
traumatising for them. But there’s also a responsibility we have, as the organisation that oversees clubs and runs events
RK: There’s just generally a lot of talk and no action. They
on campus, that we do not create environments where that
show a good commitment to things in the updating of the
kind of behaviour is perpetuated. At the end of the day we
website and the emails we get. They talk about having a
can do everything we can and sometimes you won’t be able
commitment to making campus safer and a zero-tolerance
to stop absolute monsters. But you need to be there to support
policy. But when it comes to taking action, they can be
those students who are affected, and I think on the support
incredibly slow. For example, I have been chatting with
side of things we’re very good at that. This year we introduced
security about getting a SMS service so that security can
disclosure training to a lot of key student leaders, so that
be accessible if someone doesn’t want to speak to a security
not only am I looking after the students who need to make
officer, or if someone is deaf or hard of hearing*. That was a
disclosures, but we’re looking after the students on the Guild
suggestion I had a while ago, and the only reason we’re having
who know and can look after themselves and the student
a meeting next week about it is because I’ve had to keep
who has made a disclosure. We have outstanding services
following up on it. And for me, who studies full-time, there’s
like Student Assist, all those staff have required training…
only so much I can do, and only so much in my power.
we need to know that students are running safe, professional
the Guild, they are still affiliates of the Guild and are still
Lastly, what is the process for students seeking help and reporting harassment and sexual assault?
our responsibility… whether that’s at a club event or in the
An incident report can either be made in person or online via
and inclusive events. Just because clubs aren’t necessarily
classroom. Changes have been made to student leadership
that University’s website, with the online form allowing you
training which is reviewed every year, and has come leaps
to enter as much information as you feel comfortable sharing.
and bounds since I first did it.
RK: A big part of that [training] is ensuring people know what they’re liable for, what they’re responsible for with event management. Knowing that if something goes wrong, that you’re going to be responsible and there can be some form of disciplinary or legal action against you.
ML: The number of clubs that are coming to us and saying, ‘this person has done this behaviour and we want to do something about it’ is incredible. I think it’s largely due to training that student clubs know what type of behaviour is not okay, and it doesn’t matter what sort of club you are. That behaviour is never okay.
You will then be contacted by the Complaints Resolution Unit who will discuss options available to you. Forms can be submitted anonymously, but there are limits to the kinds of actions that can be taken with anonymous submissions. If you wish to report in person, a disclosure can be with the Complaints Resolution Unit via appointment. You are able to bring in someone for support (family, friend, Guild Student Assist Officer).
ML: You can also make a disclosure to Student Assist or the Guild, however there’s a limited extent to which we can apply student discipline because we aren’t the university. But we’re there to support students through whatever they choose to do, whether that’s the Complaints process or a general well-being perspective. An important thing to know is the
It’s an issue that gets clouded and is seen as an attack on men or institutions, and does become politicised. How do we go about still having these discussions and making changes despite this? RK: I read this really good article a while ago and it was “Why do people constantly think that feminism is about man-hating, but it’s not - the whole concept of the patriarchy is that systems and institutions are designed to focus and
university will do what they can, and thanks to last year’s Guild Council, and Hannah Matthews (2017 Women’s Officer), a lot more is now within the remit of the University. If something occurs off-campus but at an official club or FacSoc event, as well as if it’s happening between students online, they will support you however they can. If something needs to go to the police to further action, the university will support you through that process as well.
privilege men.” And sexual assault is a bit different because there’s a substantial number of men who are victims, but at the same time, overwhelmingly perpetrators are men. It’s not about attacking men, it’s about dismantling the idea that men
Numbers to Remember:
should hold the positions of power over women. I hear from
NEW: Security SMS Service (as mentioned above) - 0438 739
women things that are misogynistic and I hear from men
things that are feminist. It’s not a binary that all men are bad and all women are good. We live in a world that inherently
UWA Security (Emergency) - 6488 2222
doesn’t privilege women, or makes it difficult for men who
UWA Security - 6488 3020
are victims of sexual assault to come forward and admit it because it’s emasculating. Whatever happens, we don’t want to discriminate based on gender, but there also should be a recognition that a lot of these issues do disproportionately disadvantage women. It doesn’t mean if a man comes up and says, ‘this has happened to me,’ we’re going to treat him any differently. It’s that there’s a lot of underlying attitudes
Sexual Assault Helpline - 1800 806 292
Please note, this has been edited for conciseness. You can read the full transcript of the interview online here: http://www.uwastudentguild.com/fighting-sa-on-campusinterview-transcript
towards gender that, in 99% of cases, feed into this issue.
We (Do Not) Know Life Anamarija Mraz words / Cheyenne Chooi art
I wish we could always daydream of the fingers, on the pure blended crimson silk sheets and not of bitumen violating the innermost unlikeliness of a soul while inflaming the walls of the hotel room as if it were a sublime passion turned into a chaotic encounter.
We are beside ourselves shrouded in ordinariness, viciously outpouring the waves of grief in rapids, curling up our bled dry lips towards the mayhem as if we are too intimidated to misspeak how aliveness slams the doors to righteousness by silencing a demoniacal, immanent face of an aspirant.
We, humans, are uncertain in our certainty. We turn away from a kinship of wretched, unsmiling, stand-offish people who walking alongside the reddened river banks spitefully vandalise the hues and glamorise the inanimate pavement roads by enlivening its colourations with tinges.
Please, we beseech you, stop the ever-loving human bitterness from utterly blanking out our race. For we are, at this moment in time, growing to be sightless simpletons.
Try to Paint a Masterpiece without the Rainbow Elizabeth Salmon words & photography
It was beautiful, I said. In what way? she said. I don’t know, I said. Describe it, she said. ... But how do you describe something anew?
Someone reads, illuminated among the shelves in a top floor
It’s all been used before.
Like fire, like burning, like the sun.
Gentle laughter from the ever-present frisbee players,
Shining, glowing, radiating.
Grass soft and squelchy with rain, The tang of smoke from a wood fire burning in the distance.
Overused and meaningless.
It smells like winter, like calm, like home.
The image means nothing without the emotions.
The gums are lit by the dusk,
But how to explain
Like a fire burning in their hearts,
At once happy and sad,
Bleeding out the edges where the sun burns away the age old
Content yet melancholy,
illusion of a cool damp core.
And so so tired. A heavy weight behind your eyes
It is only some trees and grass and buildings
But you can’t look away.
In a far-off, forgotten city
You can’t miss this moment.
But a thousand pictures and a million words Couldn’t do this moment justice.
Somehow, incredibly In this little place
An instant, a gift I refuse to let my lethargy steal from me.
In a forgotten corner of the world,
I am not at ease.
Nature deigned to bestow this wonder.
This fleeting image is not a hero. It is not Heracles come to Atlas.
Not perfect, not by any means,
Deadlines and worries and this endless tiredness
A fifty year old building as a backdrop,
Still sit like the endless sky on my shoulders.
Cracked pavements snaking underfoot. Yet there it is.
But there is a sad sort of peace, A quiet sort of slowing down. And the world simply is, And I simply am. ... I smile wanly at her. I can’t, I say
â€Śthrough growing pains and new beginningsâ€Ś
Aurelia Joy Brian words / Georgia Salmon photography
I dig my way out
Dirt under my nails
And soil filling my lungs with every breath I take
But it gets lighter
And as my fingers break the surface
They interlace with yours.
In your other hand is a shovel.
Little did you know
That in your intent to bury yourself
Youâ€™d dig me out.
And we sit
And we talk
And we laugh
And for once
Sitting amongst the flowers
Hurt is forgotten.
Tiffany Ko words / Elizabeth Salmon photography
She wanted to run away at first. It wasn’t always so. It had
One-two-three, It was in those days when I wandered about
crept up, little by little, so quietly that it had taken her by
hungry in Kristiania, four-five-six, that strange city which no one
surprise too. Then it became all dark, suffocating in a sticky,
leaves before it has set its mark upon him…Last call for passengers
gooey mess. And the dreams, telling her to -
on Flight XXX…Already? How had she missed it? She snapped the book shut, shouldered her bag and found her way to the
empty seat on aisle G. Way more people, way more cramped. But at least she still had legroom. This time she looked out
Just leave. The plane was an old, cranky thing. It spluttered as it took off, and she held on for dear life, squeezing one eye shut with the other open just a crack. Just in case. Three hours later it
the window as the plane took off. Sand stretched out as far as she could see, speckled haphazardly with industrial buildings. Then the clouds engulfed her view, delicious and round – she could almost taste them on her tongue.
landed on a dirt road, the air glistening like the perspiration
And for the first time since she’d left, she grinned. It wasn’t
above her lip. Two changes before she would reach the end of
easy hiding it, tensing every time the mask slipped a fraction,
her journey. Two changes and one long bus ride. Hoisting her
her facial muscles screaming as they tried to wrench the
travel bag up behind her, she marched across the landing into
safety net back up. How do you hide something you don’t
the semi-cool box of an airport. Families milled about. Crying
even understand? Every night she would pick apart the coils,
babies with pinched up faces, devilish boys running amuck.
bleeding fingers ripped open, choking on something she
Couples leaning against each other, calm in their embrace. She
couldn’t spit out.
held tighter to her bag, in search of the notice board. I need to get away. I need to leave. Another plane, shinier this time. Emptier too. She pushed back her chair, savouring the feeling. Her hands were still
There is nothing left here for me.
held in a slight clench, but both her eyes were closed this time. Farther and farther away.
Months in safety, months in a bubble lifted from reality. She welcomed it all, the new people, her new home, a new
A shaky landing. She blinked back tears of fatigue. It had
language stripping away her old self. Yet the mask stayed on,
been twelve hours this time, most of it spent in a hazy
plastered thick, papier-mâché and ready to crack. It sounds
half-slumber. She grabbed her bag from the overhead cabin,
like the story doesn’t end well, but rest assured, we are just at
checking her seat in case she had left something behind.
the beginning. It was a long, arduous journey, one she thought would end somewhere else. Yet it ended exactly where she
This layover was longer than the first, but the airport was
began all those months ago.
definitely more well-equipped. Egg roll in one hand, book in the other, she paced across the lounge in measured steps.
And this time, she was finally home.
Ode to Break Ups Ishita Mathur words & art
But if you do allow yourself to work on these, I believe that break ups can be formative and even healing. After all, some views and insights can only be gained when you’re on the outside looking in, or in the present looking back. Breaking up, especially after a long and emotionally serious relationship, isn’t easy. It can impact your self-esteem and worth, it can create body image issues, it can impact the way you navigate trust and intimacy, and much more. At the end of the day though, if you treat yourself with love and respect, and remain honest, these are all issues you can move past.
Break ups suck. This is a universal truth. If you’re someone
You have to remind yourself that you still have you – the only
who emerges from a break up unscathed then you’re to
person that has been with you all along and knows you best.
be feared. For the sake of my own mental peace, I have thankfully yet to meet such a person. I do think however
You can tether your self-esteem to your own personhood,
that I have one of the hottest takes on break ups. I think that
achievements, qualities and growth. You can explore your
they’re the most important part of any relationship.
physicality and sexuality on your own. You can have a shitload of fun with that actually! It can even be educational.
Bear with me. Not to get all philosophical but I believe that a life lived stagnantly is a life wasted. Self-improvement, introspection and growth need to be personal development goals each and
You can find ways to love your body on your own through new hobbies, exercise and self-care. And of course, you can avoid the pitfalls of becoming jaded, angry, and afraid. You can give yourself the time needed to heal wounds.
every one of us sets. The moment we think we are perfect
This sounds wholesome and is easier said than done but
and have no more left to learn is the moment we have made
realistically you’ll also get drunk, cry a lot, feel extremely lost
a terrible mistake. It’s so important to look critically at our
and uncertain, lie in bed for several days and seethe with
actions and patterns of behaviour, and analyse ourselves
anger. And it’s good to experience those emotions and let
with fairness. Of course, this critique needs to come from a
them loose even though it may feel shitty in the moment. But
place of genuine love and compassion. Being critical does not
at the end of it all, you can also experience a certain catharsis.
mean being cruel. As with all things, balance is necessary
And that’s what makes break ups important.
and criticism is only useful when it is constructive and not ill-spirited.
You can feel free to disagree with me, but I think that only through addressing your insecurities can you find a secure
As such, break ups provide the best opportunities for
place. Only through vulnerability can you experience power.
introspection and growth. And these opportunities are
Only through cultivating emotional intelligence can you
difficult – a lot of the self-care and work that is required is
create fortitude and healthy coping mechanisms. Face your
highly emotional and often times painful. There are fears and
fears and yada yada yada.
insecurities that need to be addressed, new and strengthened
platonic connections to be formed, and the need for re-
So, to everyone experiencing heart ache, know that not only
exploring and establishing yourself as a single person. And
will it get better, but so will you. Give yourself the time to
this is all in the midst of navigating doubts and lingering
grieve the end of something that was so good and be kind to
questions about your ended relationship, as well as deciding a
yourself. Just because something is broken does not mean it
way forward to your future romantic relationships.
cannot be fixed.
Georgia Salmon photography
Georgia Salmon photography
36 Renewal - Winona Wroe
I am building space Jasmin Seabrook-Benson words
I am building space with ground up grit
the stones, concrete slabs of your expectations theyâ€™re no oneâ€™s foundation
and I stand dust rising from my last strike
a sledgehammer against the last boulder that said I should sit fit nicely into the shrinking space collapse myself into the corners as you pile more stone around me
I am taller and stronger than your ego can see
I make and take up space, transformed from girl to woman
you thought you were controlling me but I have always been free
Bathe yourself. Drench yourself in beams of sunlight Watch the motes in the rays dance off of your golden skin feel the wind caress your folds your ridges your plentiful curves like a coastline Let yourself be reborn in the glow Be kissed Kiss back Admire the sun and let the sun admire you back Don’t let the sun forget the way you looked Eyes closed
Ishita Mathur words / Cheyenne Chooi art
How to Love Your Body
like a cliff’s edge.
Palm lines visible to the naked Earth Miles of loved cells outstretched and open
Tuck the daisy behind your ear Pluck it from its stem Hear the snap, the death, the onset of decay Decapitated. Stick it on your head A body with a corpse on its shell Exoskeleton exposed Feel the soft petals, precious, susurrus brush against your skin Sensual Senseless Sensitive The yellow pollen drops It stains and surrenders Skinned from its owner The stem tangles itself within your hair Looking for the roots it no longer has Let the dead remind you that you are alive
Submerged Subdued Sublime Baptism is easy when the whole world is holy and Mother Earth envelopes you in her arms Feel the currents Salt on your lips Forget the shore (memory wiped) and become one weightless being Devour the open solitude, unhinge Sink to the floor and get on your knees Beg to be saved and push the breath away Save your heart, hold it in your hands – let it pulse. Contentment. Magic.
Yesman Chase Houghton words
Do I want to volunteer for this cause? Do I want to run this event? Do I want to go party later? Do I want to join your study group?
Do I want to be in your D&D campaign? Do I want to perform at your art showcase? Do I want to be an editor for Damsel?
Yes. I’ve realised that I struggle immensely to say no, whether it’s
compromise my mental and physical health. I let people down,
to taking on a new responsibility for something like Damsel,
which as previously mentioned, is the last thing I want to do.
creating and performing a spoken word set for a last-minute
I do shit like stay up all night working on a project and then
gig, or going out for dim sum when my wallet is empty, when
wake up the next day 30 minutes before I need to be at uni to
I already owe people money. I just hate disappointing people
do a group presentation, meaning I walk out the door without
and I want to support my friends in their projects. I want to
eating or showering and hop straight into an uber because
be known as someone who is dependable, compassionate and
public transport would take too long. I have no one to blame
supportive and above all, I just don’t want to miss out.
but myself. I had to step down from being a Damsel editor for this issue because I didn’t feel like it was fair to Liz and Tiffany
I am a yes man, which aside from being a Jim Carrey comedy
to not be able to devote myself the way they have, and I still
that received mixed reviews and a term for someone who
feel awful about that.
sucks up to authority figures to gain favour, means I accept pretty much all opportunities that come my way with little
The only mercy in this trainwreck that is my current lifestyle,
or no regard for my mental health or for other personal
is that it’s teaching me to be more flexible and think on my
feet, which is something you have to do when you decide to become a bad decision machine™.
For me, it comes from FOMO (fear of missing out), which makes sense since I can’t miss out on things if I’m always
I’m working on being better and accepting that I can’t do it all,
involved. It also comes from a fear of being abandoned. I’ve
I have to learn to choose and balance my activities between
convinced myself that the easiest way to make sure that
study, creative outlets, working and taking care of myself. I
people don’t leave me out of things is to try and make myself
have to learn to trust that people will be there for me even
needed, which, admittedly is an unhealthy thought pattern.
if I can’t help them with every project they do and that I can
Not only do I feel as if I have something to prove to those
be there for them even if I’m not always with them. Always
around me, but I also want to prove my worth to myself in the
saying yes and getting involved in as many things as possible
pursuit of becoming a more “whole” person.
is fun but it isn’t sustainable. Learning to say no sometimes and looking after myself is vital. Jim Carrey’s character in the
As a result of this problem, I find myself consistently
film learns this by getting into a car accident and then kissing
overwhelmed, stressed, busy, underprepared and exhausted,
Zooey Deschanel, but I think I can figure this out with all my
which all builds until breaking point. I hand work in late, I
bones intact. I know I have the potential to have a deliciously
cancel plans last minute, I rush things that I know I could do
full plate with all sorts of exciting stuff on it, I just need to stop
better, I neglect my relationships, I abandon my hobbies and I
filling up on garbage.
The Green Handkerchiefs Revolution Indra Roux words & art
I knew that walking down the streets of Buenos Aires after
The following days of my holidays were filled with moments
a year and a half was going to be an experience. In that time
of beautiful surprise when I realized that the feminist green
everything can change in the unstable social landscape of
wave had flooded spaces I never thought reachable. Words
most of Latin American realities. But on that morning walk,
that I had only heard from active members of the movement
my attention wasn’t stolen by the unrecognizable prices in
were now starting to leak into everyone’s everyday talk.
shop windows due inflation, or the aesthetic change of public
But most importantly, macho culture is having its impunity
signs. In those first steps along the sidewalk, what revealed to
questioned with the green wave always watching. Leading
me how much everything had changed was walking past her,
by example, this huge movement - empowering and
the first girl with a green handkerchief tied to her backpack.
intersectional - is already bringing new hope for the future of Latin American political landscape.
Three weeks before I arrived, Argentina lost a historical opportunity to move forward in reproductive rights. The bill presented by the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, whose symbol is the green handkerchief, gained the unprecedented approval of one of the legislatives chambers. But that victory was frustrated when the other chamber voted against the bill, ultimately leaving the country with no legal advance. Nevertheless, those months of public debate and huge social movement brought an irreversible change to the social landscape. And that was due to the youth who got involved in a massive and unforeseen way. High school students flooded the country with green insignias, calling for their voices to be heard, and demanding their schools’ sex education programs live up to these historical moments. And with this topic in the spotlight, the intersections with other injustices and other feminist causes became part of a national conversation. University students called for feminism to be added to the university core values list, and unions and other institutions joined the challenge of analysing themselves through the feminist lens. That first morning while walking, I realized they were everywhere. And with every inch of green fabric, everything that was meant to be hidden, all those deconstruction processes - which I had only experienced in the intimate atmosphere of ally safe spaces - were suddenly there. In the streets, in the subway, waiting for the bus, in the classrooms; the feminist agenda. Hanging not only from women and nonbinary people’s bags, but also from many men’s backpacks, the message was loud and clear: we are not alone anymore, and we are not going to stay silent. And now that we are seen, now that we are collectivized, we are an unstoppable force.
Summer â€Śto the people we are meant to be.
Nurt ure Your Garden _Nurt ure Your Life Alicia Lutz words / Parveen Gupta art
There’s something about gardens that I’ve always been drawn to. Whether it’s the beauty of the layers of green and flowers, or the fresh air, or the prospect of fresh tomatoes, or the wonderful sense of quiet, gardens are peaceful places. As soon as you step out into nature, regardless of how big of a patch it is, everything seems to go still. Life’s worries and concerns don’t disappear, exactly, but they’re muted somewhat. And no matter how much you talk to them, plants will never sass you back. I’ve always kept a garden. When I lived with my parents, it was a herb garden filled with mint and thyme and chamomile. Now that I live in a one-bedroom city apartment, it’s a couple of pots with bamboo and basil. I tried to live the plant-less life for a while, but they made their absence felt. A house without
with depression. There’s even some indication that a bit of
plants is dreary, and even an apartment feels lifeless without
light gardening each week can help boost cognitive function.
them. My bamboo brightens up the room and freshens up the
Gardens are beneficial whether they are outdoors or indoors.
air, and there’s nothing like adding fresh basil to pasta and
Indoor plants improve air quality, and if you’re studying
knowing you grew it yourself.
nearby, can help improve your concentration. Weeding or tending to outdoor gardens provides a chance to think while
Gardening can be therapeutic. Numerous studies have found
engaging in light exercise and getting fresh air.
that gardening reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and can help Like life, gardening can be as simple or as complex as you make it. A couple of indoor plants or pots on the balcony only require watering a couple of times a week, while a sprawling outdoor project can be trimmed and weeded to your heart’s content. A garden can just be a handful of herbs that you can later harvest to lighten up your meal, some flowering plants to brighten up the room, or an entire complex matrix of colours and flavours. Indoor plants and herbs are particularly forgiving to the novice or distracted gardener – they grow well even in poor soils and require very little water and space. So why not give gardening a try. Plants are easy to grow and cheap to replace. Just make sure they have light and water, and before you know it, you too can have your own private patch of paradise.
Comic by Eva Sirantoine
Happiness Isn’t A Destination cw: mental health issues, depression Aurelia Joy Brian words / Chase Houghton art
Mental health is hard. It’s a battle, one fought on a mountain range, sometimes it’s uphill and other times it’s easier than others, but one thing always remains true; you have to work at it every day. I have days where I get out of bed, take my meds and get to work. I don’t even need outside motivations in the form of coffee! And then I have days where from the moment I open my eyes I feel like drawing a bath and drowning in it. Except I don’t even want to leave my bed to make a bath. I just kinda want one of the gods (take your pick) to strike me down where I lay. It was on one of these days, slightly better than my usual ‘bad day’ but still awful, that I heard a pretty popular saying for the first time. “Happiness isn’t a destination.” Hearing those words snapped something in me. “Happiness isn’t a destination.” For the past 12 years I’d say with confidence that I have suffered from some form of anxiety or depression or sometimes, like the real winner I am, both at the same time. Over this period I have had ups and downs, times where I felt like I was at my worst only to discover I really didn’t even know what ‘worst’ meant yet. And I’ve also had times that were good, more than good in fact. But there’s always been this nagging thought in the back of my mind, through thick and slightly less thick, that one day I’d make it to ‘happy’. I ran through life like it was this triathlon of check boxes and when I hit all those little squares, that would qualify me for the long fantasised and sought-after Nirvana-like happiness. It was almost an afterthought through all the hard times, as if it would just happen one day. It hasn’t. It won’t. It never will. Because happiness is a choice. And before anyone gets mad, I’m not saying that everyone who is depressed ‘should just be happy!!’ Because if those words ever left my mouth I’d expect to be socked in the face, and rightfully so. No, what I mean is more along the lines of making your own luck, making your own happiness. I know better than anyone how hard it is to do anything when you’re depressed or anxious. For me it got so bad at one point I completely buzzed off my butt-length curls because even tying my hair up became hard. But ever since I’ve heard this phrase, “Happiness isn’t a destination”, I’ve tried looking at things differently. It starts in the small things, and it’s really helped. 46
The other week I felt miserable for days on end, it had been my birthday and not a single person I knew outside my family had said anything. On top of that, most of my friends had bailed to go down south, despite knowing for weeks that I had my party that weekend. If you know me, you know birthdays are important. Ever since my 21st when no one came at all and I cried on the train home at 8pm, so understandably I felt like shit. I didn’t even want to celebrate. But then the words jumped into my mind again. “Happiness isn’t a destination.” I went out with the few friends who did come. I felt a little salty, a little sore, but I remember specifically during my drunken haze, looking around at the small table of people (and despite knowing that 7/35 isn’t a good turnout) I felt really, truly happy. These people, some of whom were new friends made only weeks ago, had shown up and were making sure I had a good time. Sure, I still felt like shit, but it definitely felt a little less like shit than if I’d sat at home and cancelled the event altogether. Happiness isn’t about getting somewhere, it isn’t something you can obtain indefinitely. It isn’t an object or a goal to reach. Happiness is a claw machine game. You can try your absolute damndest to get that toy, but there’s maybe a 1/1000 chance you will. And you realise when you finally give up, that that stupid stuffed Garfield toy was never going to be as much fun as just laughing with your friend as you tried to get him.
up for not having gotten more sleep. This method works wonders for me, but it won’t for everybody and I understand that. But there is studied and proved truth in the fact that your thoughts have an impact on your mood. Thinking of two positive things in the morning is not going to cure your depression or anxiety, not by a long shot, but it can go a long way in momentarily relieving you of some pressure. As much as I possibly can, I try to catch myself when my brain starts wandering down self-abusing patterns and write down the thoughts I have, and then spin them positively … usually it looks something like this: “I can’t believe I fucked up so badly on my left eyeliner wing, you’ve ruined the whole look now. Don’t even think about taking a picture because everyone will see it and think you should have your diploma revoked.” Now I read this back and write a reply, or the same thing as if my best friend sent me that message;
Happiness sometimes hides, actually it often hides and you
“You wouldn’t even notice unless you pointed it out! And the
won’t see it unless you look for it.
right eye looks so good it balances it all out anyway! Just take
Sometimes you can’t. I get it. We’re all still learning, and being positive is a lot of effort. You certainly don’t need to be
a pic from the right and no one needs to even know!” It’s a quick, band-aid fix, but by god it works.
positive everyday, but next time you’re not feeling it, perhaps try and think of one good thing. Just one. And if you can, try
I’m not going to sit here and write this as if I have extensive
psychological study, because I most certainly do not. But I will, as someone who has suffered from severe depression and
“My sheets are comfy.”
anxiety tell you that for me these methods work.
“I got three hours sleep consecutively and though that’s not
So, what is happiness? Happiness is the hours spent at the
great, at least I slept!”
arcade with friends in the photo booth or on Dance Dance
Those things are so minimal, so insignificant that you probably wouldn’t even think to acknowledge them. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’d probably beat yourself
Revolution. You may not have won that Garfield plushie, but you smiled today. And that’s worth remembering.
You Are Your Own Mast er The Autobiography of Cake Anaiya Dabasia words
With each step there is a likely chance that something will go wrong with your cake, but, sometimes you can do everything wrong and the cake still ends up tasting great, which could be argued is the real measurement of success, in terms of cake of course.
Step 1: The Ingredients
Step 3: The Oven
What you put into your cake is the most vital part of the
Here, time and temperature are the only influence on the
development of your sweet treat.
cake. Clearly the cake canâ€™t take itself out of this situation, but it can withstand the influences as long as possible. It is also
In adolescence, surrounded by a low SES neighbourhood,
time for the cake grow. What does the cake want to become?
immigrant parents and extended family and financial struggle,
A dense, strong and pungent cake or a light, fluffy cake?
how will the cake rise? You see, the ingredients arenâ€™t chosen
Either way at this stage, whatever it becomes, it rose!
by the cake, rather the baker. Often the baker may not have much of a choice either, and has to make the best cake possible with what they scrounge from the pantry. But they have
Step 4: Icing
faith. With the right quantities and work put into the batter,
The cake has risen, despite all the odds being against it.
the cake will rise.
However, the icing is how the cake will be presented to the world, sometimes this can be an indication of its taste but
Step 2: The Batter
more often, itâ€™s not.
The ingredients have combined to form the batter, however the air, consistency and temperature all influence the cake,
Step 5: The Taste Test
without it having real control over them. Alcohol, cigarettes
Whether the cake rose or not.
and drugs are all introduced during this part of the lifecycle. Being the norm, how will the cake rise? You see, the
Whether the icing is perfect or not.
environment is also not a factor that can be controlled by the cake nor the baker. Fine baking involves complete control of
Whether there is still batter left in the middle of the cake or
the surroundings. Unfortunately, sometimes you can have
everything right, but the cake does its own thing. However, it is not too late. Stodgy batters, lumps and over-whisking can still turn into beautiful cakes.
It still tastes fucking great.
Anamarija Mraz words / Elizabeth Salmon art I am falling in love Predominantly With a dusty-white waxy coating Of the seasonal Valencia orange peels While drawing breath From a horn-like cosmos As to enable me To undo him I am falling in love Solely With the purpleness of coloured berries From the long trailing Boysenberry vines While the fruit juice Seeps through the clogged pores As to enable me To undo him I am falling in love Rarely With a wrinkled fleshy disfiguration Borne out of necessity Amidst umpteen diminutives of a rose Narrating Outcrying Palpitating in the mid-air As to enable me To undo him I am falling in love Generally With an abundance of Dancing kernels Beyond the sweet-tart harvest Where a single un-grilled cob of corn Acts as an agent to enable the undo. 49
shine Bridget Rumball words each lover soars; entranced by magma surface flare, waxen wings melting in blistering heat brazen in belief that such heat as hers can be tamed. each lover burns; her skin aches with warm, her voice third degree burns, panicked phrases exalted in hindsight after drifting too close you were passionate youâ€™re independent you werenâ€™t easy - oh sweet belief, naivety; foolhardy Icarian trust that such a Sun as she could be conquered and possessed and squandered. each lover falls; screeching from jaded lungs, they topple from the sky ablaze singed egos falling fast toward the land perhaps she is too passionate, too independent too hard for most - oh shine bright thing, sweet sunshine girl; beam bright your faultless reverence, saccharine Sol, turn endless at the centre of your universe for you and you alone.
An Evening in Amsterdam - Ishita Mathur
Tranquility- Ishita Mathur
From the autumn leaves and laughter of childhood, fighting, through growing pains and new beginnings, to the people we are meant to be.
Damsel 2018, Women Department Magazine, 52pp