cosy morning breakfasts

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we’re in the deep of winter right now in canberra. it kind of feels like we’ll never make it out. every day i wake up, aching to see some warmth of sunlight through my curtains, instead i see an uninspiring white-grey sky stretching as far as i can see. it was okay in the beginning, and it’s okay when it’s raining. at least then the weather has some personality. this achingly cold, still winter is getting the  better of me and making me wish for warmer days in a way winter has never done before. so i make porridge.

porridge is one of my favourite meals. it warms me from within, making me feel cosy, full and energised in a soothing way. it almost makes this winter worth it. almost. as a child, my dad used to make porridge for breakfast in the winters. we’d top it with loads of brown sugar and almost drown it with milk. since we’re both so busy, my dad and i haven’t been able to spend much time together recently. so today, we made a morning of our porridge eating.

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i stirred the pot of slowly thickening, creamy oats and dad added fun bits and pieces to the mix and prepared the fresh toppings. porridge is like muesli, it is almost ALWAYS more about the toppings than the actual porridge. it’s really a vessel for a variety of flavours and textures. i like to add things into my porridge while it cooks as well, which is what i did today.

ingredients:
porridge
oats (on an average morning i use about 1/4 of a cup, but it really depends how hungry/how much you can eat)
water (double the amount of oats)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more is desired)
1 tsp vanilla extract
small handful of dried cranberries
1 banana, sliced

toppings
strawberries, sliced
peanut butter
coconut yoghurt
chopped nuts
plant milk
chopped up bliss ball

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method:
in a small saucepan, add the oats, water, cinnamon, vanilla, dried cranberries and banana. cook over a low heat, stirring constantly. continuously stirring porridge is essential for it to become smooth and creamy, the more you stir while it cooks the creamier it will become! when desired consistency is reached, serve in bowls (it’s a good idea to warm them up with a little warm water first, as the porridge is likely to go cold really fast if you don’t!). top with fresh fruit, nut butter, dried fruit, chopped nuts, chopped bliss balls, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut yoghurt, seeds ANYTHING YOU WANT! You’re an adult and can make your own decisions!

all my love,

charlie

taking Tasmania: (a video)

taking Tasmania: (a video)

committing to this trip meant a commitment to the long-haul. it meant that we were gonna have to drive from Canberra, to Melbourne. it meant that we would then have to step onto a boat from Melbourne to Tasmania, and all the way back around again to get home. at length, it was long – the travel alone was winding, tiring, and completely wearing. but in the midst of this journeying, there were moments to make up for it. in Melbourne, Charlie ate twenty dumplings in one sitting. on the boat, we met an unbelievable man who invited us over to his house on our way through – he lived in the middle of nowhere, with thirty-something ducks, a pig, and a dog that would climb up his leg to curl up on his shoulder as he wandered through the kitchen, making us all coffee. around Hobart, we impulsively drove to the top of Mt. Romney to find nothing but a dirt mound and a good view. at MONA, we saw things we’ve been meaning to see for a long time – (i.e. we spied on David Walsh dancing in fluro trainers). further along the way, we went to a lot of tiny towns with eerie feelings. one place felt like the beginning of an X-files episode for reasons too hard to explain, but the local takeaway sold us some of the best hot chips we’ve ever had, which made up for all the eeriness. in Mt. Field, we found trees; so big we couldn’t get close to pulling our arms around the width of them. we wandered around iced over lakes, looking up at snow-dusted mountain tops. altogether, this trip was both thick, and thin. we had to pull our way through the thickness of the long-haul to live these moments – thin and fleeting; how the best moments always are. this video is a compilation of the thick and thin; of how we took Tasmania. it’s set to the song Bamboo by Hinds: http://www.hindsband.com/music/. we hope you like it!

watch to your heart’s content: https://vimeo.com/177790147

P.S. the unfamiliar face that appears throughout these clips is our friend Gus – (thanks for featuring your good-egg head and smiling all the way through this video. yr the best).

with love,

SGG

 

speechless, embodied, hysterical

 

i find myself in

small cracks and

big silences

im filling them as best as

i can.

 

i’m sitting in my room listening to girlpool. my bed is warm and alfie my cat is curled up in my arms making it even warmer. i lit a candle earlier but the scent wasn’t as strong as i had hoped. everything just smells burnt.

i want to talk about hysteria. it’s a word that’s used less and less. occasionally we hear about “mass hysteria” surrounding particular fads, a sports team. we know it means to be wild, irrational, loud, beyond control. but the root of the word is located somewhere very specific. somewhere physical, even. hysteria comes from the greek word “hystera” for uterus. and so hysteria began its life as a freudian diagnosis for the irrational emotionality of women. when women suffered from illness, whether physical or mental, that could not be explained, it was chalked up to that most mysterious of body parts, the womb. they figured that the uterus could move around the body wreaking havoc. uteruses have the unique distinction of being historical scapegoats of sorts.

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of course, this concept of hysteria hugely is sexist, it’s also outdated. the term is for the most part out of use, both medically and colloquially. but it’s important to me. i think maybe it’s the most important word in my world and i want to talk about how my relationship with this word has shaped my relationship with myself, with my body and my femininity.

in 1881, bertha pappenheim (better known under the pseudonym of anna o.) was sent against her will to the inzersdorf sanitarium for treatment for hysteria. anna o would go on to become the poster child for psychoanalysis, her case the most famous of all. she suffered from hallucinations, partial paralysis, anorexia and at times lost the ability to speak.

but bertha was also highly intelligent. when she did speak, she spoke of “profoundly melancholy fantasies…sometimes characterized by poetic beauty”. we know the pathology of hysteria is false. so what was happening to her? as medical science improved and doctors were forced to abandon the “wandering womb” theory, since the uterus was obviously fixed in place, they decided that the uterus must emit some kind of vapour. uterine vapour was deemed the cause of most if not all female ailments.

i know that these ideas are dangerous and worrying. but as i read about bertha i felt a strange connectedness to this woman whose pain refused to be easily pathologised. i knew it didn’t make sense. hysteria has been used as a historical tool for oppression. and yet, sometimes i felt so crazy. i still do. sometimes i feel beyond words. despite all i knew about it, i couldn’t help but feel that behind the dismissiveness of the hysterical diagnosis, there was also a sense of fear, of mystery. throughout history there has been a fascination with the kind of secret power that may be held in the womb. i felt that power maybe existed within me.

 

when i was seventeen i went to a lecture performance called she’s lost control by the all girl art collective hissy fit. they talked about hysteria, the disease i shamefully associated myself with sometimes. but they didn’t talk much about 19th century doctors and women shut up in asylums. instead, they talked about rock stars. they talked about the “hysterical performance” of female musicians like kathleen hanna. they way that she would bare her emotions, defiant and feminine and radical. for the first time, i felt the power of hysteria as something uniquely womanly, as something worth being reclaimed.

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i started reading, then. quickly, i discovered helene cixous. cixous was a french feminist philosopher who wrote extensively about the radical power of hysteria. she put forward the idea that the female experience could not be expressed through “rational” language which is inherently masculine. thus, the hysterical woman seeks to break free of the bounds of male rationality in order to better access herself. she implored women to “write their bodies”. armed with the words of women like helene cixous, luce irrigay and avital ronnell who described hysteria as “an inherently revolutionary power…” i felt myself start to change.

i no longer feel the need to apologise for my emotions. if i’m crying it’s not because i’m weak, but because i am not afraid to cry. i don’t see male disdain for female emotions as power, i see it as fear. i write the way i want to write. my language isn’t “flowery”, it’s true to my experience. i experiment with       the          s     p     a    c    e    s     because sometimes that’s the truest thing i know.

i’m sitting in the library now, girlpool echoing in my ears. i am surging w emotion as i finish writing about the word that has hurt me, taunted me, inspired me and remade me. i don’t know exactly what i’m feeling, but i relish it all the same.

 

i’m 

growing fleshier growing

dirtier

growing.

 

with so much love and admiration,

aayushi