Day of Mourning

It was only last week that I learnt that Australia Day has only been celebrated on January 26th since 1994. The public holiday started when I was too young to have any concept of dates and months, let alone public holidays and why they’re there.

The discovery left me quite shocked. I’d always thought it had been celebrated for many decades, and that the date had been picked well before people had any idea about cultural sensitivity. But, no, it was just 1994 — a mere 27 years ago.

In school, we were taught the history of the First Fleet, and Captain Arthur Phillip, and how the British came to Australia. It seemed like there was some logic behind choosing January 26th for Australia Day. But, of course, there’s only so much we are taught when we are really young.

It was probably not until high school that I started learning about the genocide and dispossession.  The history of Australia is nothing short of barbaric, and it seems cruel to celebrate the anniversary of when it all started.

Every year for the last however many years (I’m not sure exactly how many), there have been protests to “change the date”. It is a day of mourning for indigenous Australians, not a day of celebration. And it always seemed strange to me that it was so hard to change the date, but it’s even more strange now that I know how young this public holiday is.

Astounded by my own ignorance, I did some browsing of the internet to see what else I didn’t know. I found this article, which I think is a good summary of essential information: https://clothingthegap.com.au/blogs/blogs/8things-you-need-to-know-about-january-26

Worth a read, especially for anyone who’s got the day off because of the public holiday.

worth sharing

Only a short post this week because this week has been exhausting (I finished work at 10pm on Thursday – a new record for me). Actually, barely even a post. I’m just going to share this list of TED Talks because it is actually worth sharing. It comes with summaries, so I won’t say more.

Thank goodness it’s a long week-end now.

one small dog

The other night, I went for a walk to visit my parents. I stayed for dinner and then walked back home. On my way over, I walked past a house where there was a small yappy dog in the front yard and, of course, it yapped its little head off at me as I walked past. This is a common enough occurrence in the neighbourhood that it doesn’t really faze me, but it was what happened on the way back that got me thinking.

As I turned the corner and headed up the same street where the little dog lived, I decided to cross the road in hopes of not antagonising the poor thing by my very existence. As I approached its abode, however, I noticed that there was a vehicle parked outside with its headlights still on, and, of course, that little dog was yapping away.

Probably a delivery person or a visitor of some sort, I thought as I approached. Surely it was someone who was not staying long, someone the dog wasn’t familiar with. In a sense, I was right.

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bodyguard of emotions

This week I just want to share a TED article I read last week.

I don’t think I’m very good at dealing with angry people, but I’ve long thought that there are underlying reasons for anger that are not explicitly expressed and/or consciously known by the angry person. This article confirms this:

Anger is like the bodyguard of emotions … We use anger to push away our hurt and our sadness and our vulnerability

– Susan Adler, pyschotherapist

Read the original article by Daniella Balarezo here:

https://ideas.ted.com/3-ways-to-help-you-be-your-best-self-in-your-relationship/#

(It has some other interesting points too.)

And yes, I get angry sometimes too, but I think it’s something that people can work at controlling and managing in a way that is not hurtful.

the invisible 280

The other night, this article popped up on my FB feed, shared by someone I follow. Intrigued, I read it, and thought it was worth sharing.

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/a22615380/mental-health-suicide-survivors/

Basically, it says that for every person who dies by suicide, there are about 280 people who contemplate or attempt it but do not go through with it. Abigail Jones, the article’s author, calls these the “invisible 280” because their stories are rarely talked about.

Since the article is quite long, I won’t elaborate too much on it. I just want to mention one thing: One of the people in the article “abruptly stopped taking her medication” (antidepressants) because she thought she had been “cured”. It’s kind of implied but, unless I missed it, nowhere in the article then says it is not ok to abruptly stop antidepressants if you’ve been taking them for a long time (most of them need gradual tapering, and supervision/monitoring by a healthcare professional).

Ok, one more thing: This article made me think of Anna Karenina, and that fateful day at the train station… It still fills me with sadness. Makes me wonder how many people change their mind at the last second, when it’s already too late…

learning how to learn languages

Every so often – maybe when I’m feeling like I need a bit of inspiration, or I’m just feeling bored and listless – I watch TED Talks. Usually these are TEDx Talks but they’re more or less the same thing. Usually I watch talks about psychology and human relationships, or about behaviour and the way the brain works; but a couple of weeks ago, YouTube was suggesting some talks about learning languages.

As you may or may not know, I’m currently in the process of learning Persian (AKA Farsi) and also kind of re-learning Mandarin, so when I saw videos like “How to learn any language easily” pop up, I figured “why not”. I used to be quite wary of these talks because I thought they would just tell me to spend three months in whatever country speaks the language I’m learning, and I’d miraculously master it (obviously I can’t just pack up and move to Iran or China for three months); but I had spare time that day, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch one talk, and see if it offered anything worthwhile.  Continue reading