Good food and discussions about the future

Today I slept, panicked, worked on finishing all the preparation I need to have done to offer henna art at a gig for the first time on Friday, panicked some more, and had Rose and my sister over for dinner. I’m now back to panicking and henna prep again. It’s been a long day. Dinner was lovely. We made prawn rolls.

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Yum! Rose and I are still eating lots of salads and I’m loving that. Some days lately when my anxiety is so high it’s the only meal I have. It was so nice to sit at the table and share and talk about the future. The three of us are making exciting plans for next year together with housing and plans for babies. I’m so thrilled and so anxious too, there’s a raw feeling when I talk about dreams and ideas about family and community and the future. I dropped my sister home and on the drive back, alone in the night, found myself shaking and weeping. I don’t want to be homeless again. I don’t ever want to be on the run from a violent relationship again. I don’t want to feel trapped again, to be sharing a bed with someone who frightens me or makes me feel deeply alone. I’m pro equal marriage rights but terrified of the prospect of being a wife again. Reading Centrelink documents that explained that if Rose and I share a place – even as flatmates with separate bedrooms, we will be considered by the government to be in a ‘marriage like relationship’ made me break down in uncontrollable sobbing.

I’m also in love, with a beautiful, devoted, loving woman who I hate being apart from so often, hate having to drive back to my own unit at the end of the night, want to be able to support when she’s ill, help cook for, share what I have with. I hate that the government will not allow us to live together but maintain separate finances. It feels deeply creepy to me, state-sponsored prostitution, that I can live with anyone as long as I don’t sleep with them, and sleep with anyone as long I don’t live with them. Weirdly the financial penalties are reversed when children are in the picture, as single parents are penalised where partnered parents are not. I don’t like the enforced dependence, the forcing of what we have into something it is not, into ‘marriage like’ when what we have is built on friendship, is platonic and romantic, is built on freedom and a deep care for our mutual vulnerability and limits.

Hope and fear, dreams, desires, longing and loss. Good food with people I love. Another shoe eaten by the dog, another day at work that leaves me frozen with anxiety. Life is challenging.

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