19 May 2013

On Hiatus

The twenties are supposed to be the busiest and most fruitful time of one's life. Not for me. I did nothing. Great whacking slabs of nothing other than drink, cry and sleep, for months on end. So now, in an  effort to make up for those wasted years, I try to do everything, all at once. For the past few months I've been working full time hours, doing part time university, manning stalls for the Greens at festivals, and trying to occasionally fit in a bit of mothering to a toddler. I thrived on it for a while, got a bit smug even. If anyone remarked "I don't know how you do it", I'd airily reply "Oh, I just do it. You know, you've got to get on with things."

But I have too many plates in the air at once, and all the 13 hour days are exhausting me, and the spinning plates are starting to crash down on my head. I want to post more here, I do, but I just can't summon the energy needed to write stuff I'm happy with. So rather than have people wondering "where is she?" I'm putting the blog on hiatus till, let's say, mid June, when uni is over. I've a lot to say, and I want to say it properly, so I will be back. Meantime, I'm still on twitter, dispensing wisdom in easily digested 140 character chunks as Sikamikanico (though if you see anything particularly witty or insightful, it's probably something DH said).
See you soon and remain bless.

12 May 2013

A Plan To Save The Nation - A Plea For Lefties To Breed

Much derision in the media this week over Tony Abbott's claim that his paid parental leave scheme will encourage women of calibre to breed. Abbott's plan is to impose a levy on the biggest corporations in Australia - how's that for a great big tax on everything? - and use the money to pay parent's up to six months parental leave at the mother's wage rate. This, he hopes, will encourage high income earners - those he dubbed the "women of calibre" - to breed. You'd expect this would alienate his base of aspirationals - the low and middle income earners from outer suburbs - but they still adore the guy. Now, Tony Abbott is a fetid piece of distended monkey rectum on epic scale and should he be elected prime minister, we'll be an international laughing stock...more so, but he has pointed the way to an interesting solution to all society's problems (although Bill Murray got there first).

It's often been said that society is becoming more conservative, and there's definitely some truth to that. Michael Moore has called Richard Nixon the last Democratic president. Malcom Fraser has quit the Liberal party in disgust at it's shift to the right. Conservatives hark back to the days of the 1950s, leaving out the part where one of the reasons society was kept in smooth running order was a top income tax rate of over 90%. Australian history points to a more open and tolerant past. We had great nation building projects such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and and the Snowy River Hydro Electric scheme; we accepted with open arms boat people fleeing Vietnam after the war. Nowadays we can't even get a decent national telecommunications system without people wailing like stuck pigs about the cost of it all; we're an international laughing stock due to carrying on like a bunch of scared, spoiled, selfish children over a relative handful of asylum seekers. Why is this happening?

We can blame some of the shift to the right on the Howard years - the Howard government left this country with moral wounds from which it may take decades to recover, an culture of greed an entitlement which shames us as a nation. But it's not just that. Perhaps the nation is becoming more conservative because there are...more conservatives. Conservatives, as a sweeping generalisation, tend to marry younger and have more kids, who grow up listening to rants about illegal immigrants and dole bludgers, before marrying at 24 and having three kids of their own. Lefties aren't keeping up. We're breeding ourselves out of existence. In order to save society from the lurch to the right, lefties need to acknowledge the problem. And we need to have more kids.

It's a generalisation, sure. I know many lefty, feminist, kick butt families with 3, 4 or more kids. But in general, lefties marry late, or not at all (many because they're legally prevented from getting married to their partner of choice), and are far more likely to have no or only one child. It's completely understandable. We're busy, and we understand the costs to the planet of overpopulation. We ourselves were planning on leaving it at Baby G - babies are expensive, and a lot of work, and I'm the family breadwinner for the time being, and I don't do pregnancy well. When your first child nearly kills you, you're not rushing to go back for more. But perhaps I need to revise my view. Australia needs more kids growing up in lefty houses, going to marches and rallies, knowing that 90% of what's published by News Ltd is rubbish and the rest is the ads, that the belief "I work hard for my family, why should I pay for other people's welfare?"just makes you sound like an asshole. Now, I'm not rushing into anything yet - DH is yet to warm to the idea, and Baby G needs so much work right now I can't imagine adding to the load (and he's an easy kid) - but I feel I should add to the effort. If not for us, to have a baby for a same sex attracted friend. I'm still aware of the environmental concerns, but look - we're being outnumbered here. If we don't have the kids, they will. Lefties, you need to get breeding. Have just one more. Bear a child for a same sex couple. Fill the planet with concerned, responsible citizens now. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by racists. This mother's day, couldn't you go just one more?

Peter Costello famously exhorted us to have "one for Mum, one for Dad, and one for the country". I would ask you to have one to spite the IPA, one to stick it to Rupert Murdoch and a third to annoy Joe Hockey. Playgrounds full of little lefty kids wearing t shirts that read "WHITE AUSTRALIA HAS A BLACK HISTORY" and "THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE" whilst their two dads look on adoringly and sip chai lattes. What a great future for the country. Let's all have more babies.

11 May 2013

Those Damn Self-Diagnosed Aspies

Wonderful news that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is being rolled out across the nation - although it's just a start. I quite like the idea someone posted half in-jest on twitter that the Medicare levy be increased to 5% and cover everything - psychiatry, dental, optical, aged care...now that would be a model for a healthy well kept society. But still, the NDIS is a long way from perfect, but it's a lot better than what we have now. Good news today as well from Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin that the NDIS will cover autism treatment.No one can deny that autism rates are on the rise,and early intervention is crucial in helping those with autism achieve their full potential. I did wonder though, would it cover the cost of diagnosis.

There's a massive stigma around those who self-diagnose with Asperger Syndrome, often with very good reason. Looking for an excuse to be anti social? Simply want to be a special snowflake, just like everyone else? Take a quiz, slap a diagnosis on yourself, and away you go. And I say that falling into the category myself. I have self-diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. I've never had a formal diagnosis.

Believe me, the last thing I want is a reason to feel different or unique. And I'm not looking for an excuse to avoid contact - for much of my life I've desperately wanted to make friends but have never been able to go about it in quite the right way (I've posted previously that this is not about being anti social at all). Nor did I go looking for the label - it found me, a number of years ago when my boyfriend at the time, himself a (medically diagnosed) Aspie, suggested I was one too. I didn't embrace it - in fact I burst into tears. I wanted to be liked, not have someone think there was something "wrong" with me. But...as I started reading into the condition over the next few months...it did make sense. The social aspects were one thing. But the rest - unusual gait? I'd been made fun of for my "funny walk" my whole life. Extreme clumsiness? Yes. Stimming? Ever since I was tiny, whenever I'm at home I've carried a piece of ribbon around with me constantly, twirling it around my fingers. The rocking, the unusual speech patterns, the lack of visual imagination...it's all there. It took a while to get my head around it, but in the past years or two, I've started saying the hell with it. This is who I am.

So if you're so sure, they say, why not get a formal diagnosis? Are you afraid someone will take your special label away from you? Not at all. The reason I've not sought out a formal diagnosis is very simple - money. In order to get an adult autism diagnosis, I would have to attend several sessions with a specialised psychiatrist - each one privately funded. It would cost upwards of $1000 for me to, essentially, confirm a hunch. There's no other reason to do it - I'm well beyond the limit of any "help" or intervention, I just need to make it from here to the grave with my loved ones knowing they need to strap in for a wild ride. Oh, and I'd get to claim the title of "real" Aspie, formally diagnosed. That would be nice. But for now, I'm trying to keep a family of three on an admin monkey wage whilst I'm studying. The fridge needs replacing. Xander is ten and needs to go to the vet every few minutes. We don't have several hundred spare dollars sitting around for me to get a formal autism diagnosis - and if we did, I'd spend it on bike accessories anyway. It doesn't mean I cope any better if I'm not logged into all my databases at work in exactly the right order.

Note: I've filed this post under "disability" and referred to the NDIS, but I actually like the view that high functioning autism is not a disability at all, but a variation of "normal"...perhaps even a next step on the evolutionary scale where we don't need physical agility or to be part of the pack to survive. Who knows? I don't spend a tonne of time on this; I just like the concept.