We are a species obsessed with distraction. In fact, so obsessed are we with distraction, our one point of focus is refusing to see the signs around us. Not those overt ones that tell us what to buy, who to be and where to go but the signs of how we are treated by others, what is happening around us and – if we’re lucky to listen closely – who we truly are already. This is the sort of opening that can lead to overt pronouncements, like those found on late night news shows or opinion columns. Something telling you to embrace the old, which we’re told was so much better when we all know the old is just a slightly less engaging form of the same conformity. The answer isn’t in being overt or reverting to the old. It lies in subverting the old and the new. Subversion is a tricky business, as natural as it is unpredictable. When old systems begin to fail, a new growth appears, taking each small opportunity to grow and connect before overtaking the stagnated, depleted ground. All it needs are the right conditions from close observation and taking a chance at the right time. In the 70s, women would gather and hold “consciousness raising” events in homes and halls. Women shared stories, realising how politics were present in their lives and dragging them down.
The storyteller and the listeners felt echoes of connection, realising how outmoded politics and processes drained their resources, oppressing them. Each story and realisation created new life inside the women, their personal growth flourishing with each collective tale and thought. That growth snaked its tendrils into the depleted fields and took root, digging into the ground. Each story was an opportunity for growth and before long the field was overrun with new, vibrant life. Beneath the surface of our lives, societies and world lies an interior of potential. Beneath the layer of unquestioned and established rules exist new growth just waiting to subvert and come up from the earth to bask in the sun. Our rebellion is as natural as it is inevitable.
By Amy Gray
Amy Gray is a Melbourne-based writer interested in feminism, popular and digital culture and parenting. Her work has appeared in the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, BBC, ABC and others. She is also an occasional broadcaster on ABC, Radio Adelaide and 2UE.