Friday 3 July 2020

still got mileage

I'm back. New set of tyres on the old jalopy.

This picture made me laugh. The first car I owned was a Fiat 500 Bambina that I bought for $450 in 1983. It had to be push started by rolling it down a slope. I'd put my shoulder into the door frame, hang onto the steering wheel with my left hand and push to get it rolling down the slope. When it got sufficient momentum I'd jump into the driver seat, pedal the accelerator like crazy and start the engine.

Another old jalopy I got crash started yesterday was to revive my "Get Stitched" online newsletter and publish a new one. That had been out in the weather rusting on the street for a few years too. I'll be writing a new one monthly.

The subscription button is on the right side bar if you'd like to check it out.

A couple of nights ago I was on local Newcastle NBN TV. Talking about how I use fabrics and clothes sourced from thrift shops to alter and remake into my unique art to wear clothes.

Pearl on NBN TV

Now talk about clapped can clearly see my days of running downhill pushing a Bambina are well and truly behind me.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Cyber trolls slashing my tyres

I know people have been trying to communicate with me for 3 days.

My laptop has crashed again under cyber attack. Same as a few months ago when I said some unkind things about China. I have a techy person working hard to pump the tires up again.

I'll be back soon as I can....

new version of cloth boots I'm working on

Sunday 28 June 2020

Can I say this...?

Now that I’ve reverted to addressing Aja Barber by her name on my blog I hope she’ll do the same and let her 150,000 followers know my name is Pearl Red Moon. I hope she didn’t delete the comment I made on her Patreon so they can make up their own minds whether it deserved the half hour tirade I got served up on Instagram video. If my comment was deleted and they want to know what bought on such outrage, I’ll publish it here.

This was my comment….
Sometimes I wonder why we need to have "work clothes" and "home clothes". This expectation works well for capitalism because we feel compelled to spend more money maintaining 2 separate wardrobe styles. Do all cultures operate like that? Plus I think more costs are put on women to maintain a professional wardrobe compared to what males spend. Men seem to have cleverly worked out that they can limit their professional work clothing choices within a small range of conventionally styled suits, shirts, trousers, coats, that don't change annually with each "season". This allows them to present at work garbed in acceptable choices rotating the same clothes for years for significantly less expenditure than what most women are enticed to spend.
(In that video she makes a little self deprecating observation referring to people making fun of her name. Boy, do I get that, same here! I legally changed my name in 1987 when I lived in Sydney. Over decades I’ve had people insinuate it might be a cultural appropriation from American Indian or Asian cultures. For a really long time I was completely baffled why they would think that. Perhaps the reality that I’m old, fat, white and greyhaired doesn’t quite match what they were assuming?)


That done, I move on with a heavy heart to react to another thing Ms Barber accused me of.

She said I use my neuro-diversity (Aspergers) as a free pass to get out being held accountable for saying offensive things to people or for holding offensive views.

I feel sick and shaky just writing that. It’s not only a slur on me personally but to all neurodivergent people. I could only bear watching the video once but somehow the way I use that free pass also got described as “manipulative”
This is a bit of background to my story.
I was born with non typical neurons in my brain. Being autistic didn’t happen because I got a brain injury, nor is it something medical I can take a pill to cure, nor is it aberrant behaviours I can be trained out of. Bit like being born with blue eyes or melanin bleached skin.

 I had so many problem behaviours as a child my parents took me to psychiatrist who said I was “hyperactive” – that was the early 1960s word that later morphed into ADHD. I was strongly aware from starting school that I needed to watch and model the behaviours of other girls or I lived in a world of perpetual trouble. My first school report says I need to learn how to get on nicely with the other kids. I was born the eldest in my family but fortunately I had a neuro typical sister 2 years younger whom I could model. As a teenager I worked out how to negotiate the world minimising trouble.

Things got considerably trickier after leaving school because I don’t like being around people, I’m super sensitive to sound and I struggle to interpret verbal and physical communications. Keeping jobs didn’t work well at all. I’m so super pedantic about rules and regulations, seldom make friends and never joined the workplace cliques. In many jobs I was bullied to the point of having breakdowns and doing self destructive behaviour like taking overdoses.

Making art had always been a thing I loved to do so in my early 40s I enrolled to do a Visual Art degree at an Australian University. This became incredibly challenging because of the huge throngs of people, over full auditoriums, canteens where the noise level was probably 90 decibels. I was obsessing over not being able to get a car parking space, all sorts of things like that were leading to me having crazy shite emotional melt downs. I went to a campus psychologist to work out what was wrong with me and how could I fix it. He told me I was probably still suffering from PTSD from the 1987 rape and the equally traumatic events of the criminal trial that resulted from that over most of 1992, plus I was probably also on the autistic spectrum.

I didn’t get the official test until about 6 years ago. A psychologist and a clinical psychologist saw me regularly over a few months and that was their diagnosis.

So what does Aja mean when she says I use my neuro diversity not be accountable? Firstly I want to clarify that I don’t have an intellectual disability. It doesn’t necessarily follow for all on the spectrum – think Einstein and Greta Thunberg. Though I sometimes have fun with people who know in advance, but when they meet me for the first time they speak loud, slow and use simple words.

By saying that Aja implies I don’t have integrity. She thinks I just like to say stuff (stupid and wrong stuff by her estimation) to intentionally hurt and harm people. She says that is what I’ve done to her and her friends. Maliciously and spitefully sought to harm them and then run back to my padded cell and say I’m too nuts to be held responsible.

That is completely untrue and makes me feel nauseous. I don’t want to hurt/harm her or her friends. As a textile artist, as a clothing pattern publisher, I wanted to take a stand over an assertion I didn’t agree with. I had no idea that quoting stuff they had written on public platforms was an insult and a personal attack. I honestly thought I was debating.

Well, I’m obviously more daft than I ever realised and creeping back into the padded cell is looking quite the sanctuary at the moment.

gut punch

“Stalker” is a provocative and terrifying word for women.

Aja Barber has publicly stated that I’m stalking her. Go see her Instagram video.

 Stalker is big trigger word for me.

I’m going to describe my own personal experience of stalking.

In 1987 I paid $500 to join a dating service. A year earlier I’d emigrated from New Zealand with my 5 year old son to live in Australia and was lonely. I was a 27 year old single mother in a new country working from home. I had no friends to socialise with which is why I’d gone to a reputable dating agency. The third date the agency arranged for me was with a man who took me to dinner. He picked me up from my home and we went out in his car for a meal and around 11pm I asked him to take me home. Instead he drove me to a squat house and raped me with his 2 friends who were waiting.
In the latter part of the assault, which involved having a knife put to my throat, I managed to jump out a window and ran down the street finding safety at the third house where I’d pounded on the door screaming for help while one of the rapists pursued me and tried to drag me back.

The next day was a nightmare of hospital examinations, rape crisis counsellors and making statements to the Police. It wasn’t hard to find the assailant as the dating agency had everything from coloured photos, to height, weight and home address.

The men who had assaulted me were Pacific Islanders, from Tonga. The Police couldn’t find them because their close knit Sydney community hid them. Within a day of coming home from hospital I started getting harassing phone calls. Over about 6 months I’d get 2-20 most days. Most of the time they would just hang up. Sometimes they would threaten to kill me or my son. I had to answer the phone because I did contract outwork sewing and that was how I organised getting and dropping off my work. In 1987 there were no mobile phones so there was no caller ID or ability to block numbers. The house I rented was broken into and burgled 3 times.

Eventually I was able to afford to move out of that house and changed my phone number. I legally changed my name as a way of hiding from the stalkers. Over thirty years later, despite changing my name, I still don’t register myself on public electoral lists because I’m afraid of being stalked.
That’s my experience of being stalked.

So when Aja Barber sits on her comfy lounge in London, England and calls me a terrifying stalker it leaves me aghast. Somehow or other she thinks only Black women know about violence and stalking. Only Black women know genuine suffering because my privilege as a “white” woman somehow makes me so not-human that I can’t relate to the humanity of other women. I’m an unfeeling white monster.

I find the “stalking” accusation deeply offensive, not just to myself, but for all women who’ve lived through the reality. To suggest my actions – a challenge issued on twitter (well sheesh, who knew twitter was a forum for kindly salutes!) has any parallel to the real anguish and literal physical danger that women are placed in daily from real life stalkers, is to demean and degrade the real gravity of what that word describes.

I have not stalked Aja. Shes not in the slightest danger from me unless she feels people who express differing opinions as a punch in the face. A year ago I tried to engage her and 2 other women to query their assertion that describing a modern garment as a kimono was a cultural appropriation. All the things I questioned referred to comments they had made on open public forums. I had a naïve assumption that if you make claims like that in public then you should be available to defend the proposition.

Ms Barbers suggestion that by joining her platform as a paying contributor I was somehow insulting her is absurd. As an advocate for numerous social justice issues she supposedly welcomes patronage. I submitted a comment to a discussion thread she had started that was in no way personal, it was 100% entirely addressing only the topic. Her unnecessary reaction was to make it very personal.

Regrettably I think I’m too much of an inquisitive and curious person for Aja to tolerate. Her mode of educating is by edict and anyone with the temerity to question will be ruthlessly thrown out the room.