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Doviđenja i hvala vam puno

July 18, 2018

 

Photo credit: Croatia Times - The all female regatta from Krapanj Island

 

When I read The Destruction of Hillary Clinton by Susan Bordo, a feminist philosopher, last year, I felt an equal measure of disappoint and interest. Disappointment because I had an expectation before I began reading it, that it would be more of a critique than an ode to. Simply put, I wanted my thinking to be challenged—expanded.

 

When Bill Clinton abused his power with Monica Lewinsky—I wrote to her. Hillary Clinton. On a gut level, watching her navigate public humiliation, I knew she was looking at a picture the rest of us couldn’t see, but I didn’t know what, so I simply told her I admired her ability to perform with such grace under what seemed to me, unbearable pressure.

 

Now I can articulate it. I am drawn to driven, intelligent, ambitious women. Also. I could write a thesis on ambition, but that is for another time.

 

I began this blog as an act of defiance. I can say this with hindsight. Being forcibly disappeared, feels like life itself is being strangled out of you, and it almost did several times over the past three years.

 

But I have come to the end of the road.

 

I have learned so much since I began.

 

About myself and random strangers, who served me their interpretation of my writing when I wandered out to walk my dog. Relaying stories of their mothers, attempts I think to ensure I knew ‘not all mothers’ to another story from a woman who told me about losing contact with the love of her life for fifteen years and how they are married now, closing the monologue before surrendering to her impatient dog with “you never know what’s around the corner”—to finally, the relief I felt accepting that once my writing is out in the world, how the reader filters it, is actually none of my business (though I accept I must strive to work within a framework of responsibility), but it is an excellent tool to use in order to hone my skills.

 

And the time when I received my first royalty and bonus (€202.65) a few weeks after publishing my memoir, being taken aback by my reaction of feeling like a real writer despite never having given consideration to what a real writer might look like which in turn prompted me to increased visits to the library and purchasing two books on authentic marketing and social media, learning that the Brazilians and Argentinians exceed in these areas.

 

The childish glee I felt when I began learning Croatian and discovered their word for woman is žena—and believing it to be a hidden triumph for womankind I launched myself into books to learn more about Croatia and Slovenia, and the subsequent deflation I felt on only discovering them, documenting it in an essay.

 

Yes, I have learned a lot.

 

But I have come to the end of the road.

 

I began this blog in defiance against invisibility but over time it became my connection to the world, morphing into activism—my small contribution to disrupting the dominant narrative.

 

It took me at least three days to recover from elevated anxiety levels after hitting Publish on my essays, poems, updates—but my last one, In The Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Patriarchy took much longer to come back from. I actually wrote it to work through a level of rage I had not felt in years—the only reason I decided to revise and publish was because of Brendan Burgess’ article.

 

I had reached the end of the road accepting how we, not only continually offer our public platforms to stupid, inept or mediocre men, but how our conversations are now about stupid, inept or mediocre men. AND. Our lazy acceptance of good manners and professionalism being guiding lights to a civil and equal society.

 

I was still managing the waves of anxiety on the morning of Friday 8th June 2018. I was staring at the book sitting on the small table in front of me, Telling It Our Way, Essays in Gender History by Dr. Mary Cullen, waiting for the Panadol to stop fizzing in the glass, my mouth now an open wound, when my dog took off serenading the postwoman.

 

It took two hours before I was ready to open it—my heart pounding so hard I thought it might take flight out of my chest.

 

Dear Ms. Hughes,

 

We refer to the above named property and wish to advise that on 28th May 2018, the court instructed that a receiver be appointed within five working days of said date (see order attached). I am now the only person authorised to make decisions regarding the property.

 

It went on to ask me, respectfully, to return the keys of the cottage, maps, deeds and to furnish them with any information I may deem relevant. Furthermore, would I be good enough to complete a questionnaire to assist them in ascertaining the full facts.

 

I wrote a letter. I completed the questionnaire. I retrieved my past and put into a large padded envelope and by return, sent it via Registered Post.

 

I will never know if my letter to the Registrar influenced this unexpected outcome, but it feels too coincidental to say it didn’t.

 

The next day, I cried for the longest time. With relief and anger. Anger that a matter that should have taken only one year to resolve took nine—because of lack of appropriate regulation, policy and a very large serving of decency.

 

I had come to the end of a road and it left me dizzyingly disorientated.

 

So.

 

When Hannah Gadsby’s show Nanette premiered on Netflix ten days later—I elected to assign it to synchronicity. She not only spoke to my rage—she made me laugh. Seriously, actual laughter.

 

Her show injected fuel into my depleting Reserve Tank—and I remembered Monica Lewinsky. An intelligent, ambitious woman whose path was cut off by Power and I felt ashamed this did not occur to me at the time. 

 

Then, on Monday 16th July 2018, the vulture fund applied to the courts to have the case struck out. They chose this action because it closes the case AND all their technical fucks-ups but leaves a window for the case to be re-opened without them—if they choose to do so at some point in the future.

 

I double checked I had copies of the two unpinned grenades I had held back. I did.

 

I watched the number of new visitors to my website climb at a rate that was not usual, I thought I’ve either shocked people or poked at a collective wound—perhaps both.

 

Whatever the reason, I’m tired of bad behaviour. I’m tired of listening to excuses. I’m tired watching, as those in power grow more arrogant by the day because they have never been held to account in a manner that causes them to reflect and re-configure—their actions are destroying lives and I cannot be complicit.

 

I will not be silent and my current collection of essays, which I am working on, is testimony to that.

 

But I have come to the end of the road. 

 

I abandoned my ambitions because somewhere along the line I stopped believing. Life and people's lack of decency and integrity hammered me into the ground so I made the decision to write it all down in essay form, as a matter of record. My justice.

 

When I finished, I found I was still breathing under the rubble.

 

I am back walking through my day as though I was treading molasses. At the weekend I got lost en route to see my daughter in competition. I had an anxiety attack and burst into tears and ended up being nearly an hour late.

 

But.

 

I have re-positioned myself in a forward direction. I picked up two ambitions I had dropped and told myself I might as well try again—and that is what I am going to do.

 

I couldn't disappear without saying doviđenja i hvala vam puno. Goodbye and thank you very much—for reading my blog. I hope it added value to your thinking.

 

 

 Being positive is essential, keeping your sword polished, crucial.

 

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