The tiny tyrant demands to be held to sleep, disdaining slings and other such helpful devices. And so I sit here, a human recliner, typing one handed, trying to recall what life was like before my current career as some sort of sophisticated piece of furniture for a little swaddled sausage.
As I have mentioned to a dear friend, one strikingly different thing about the epoch BA (Before Ari) compared to AA is that, for the first time in as long as I can recall, the deep and abiding…something…rage I think, I’ve always felt about social injustice appears to have been blunted. The proverbial fire in the belly that sustained my working and personal life appears to be dampened, and at the time this realisation first occurred, it wasn’t clear to me what might have replaced it. My news addiction has been replaced with an active news aversion. I avoid the awfulness that each revelation on Australia’s asylum detention policy brings. I am unable to contemplate any aspect of governmental Indigenous affairs policy (potentially a problem for going back to work!). I’ve started just deleting every media release I receive in my inbox with a Commonwealth header without reading them. I can’t even listen to Radio National’s breakfast program anymore.
When in the past my friends have told me about what happened to their parents, and in some cases their siblings, how they were removed under the Aboriginal “protection” policies, I was, and still am, filled with horror and outrage. A 6 year old boy falls off the wagon and hurts his ankle. His parents take him to the hospital and are told they cannot stay overnight. When they return in the morning, he is gone, taken to a boys’ home 800km away where he will face unspeakable cruelty. His parents are not told where he has gone, and they never see each other again. The horror and outrage I feel was always fuel for advocacy, for seeking systemic change, for justice.
Now, reflecting on these stories in the AA era, it is clear to me what has overtaken my rage. When I think of these stories now, I quail. My breath shortens painfully and my gut actually cramps with anxiety and adrenaline.
Dr Cornel West said, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” I have always believed this, and I still do. But now, I am starting to understand that perhaps, what love looks like in private, in the secret unspoken stirrings, is a profound and crippling fear.