Friday, September 10, 2004

squatting and the recovering catholic

Hey there!!!Do you have kids that you desperately want to turn into emotional cripplesbut you CANNOT bring yourself to committing child abuse????Well! why not get someone to do it for you????By signing up with the nearest organised religion and forking out megawadsfor one of their half rate educational institions you can have your childindoctrinated into astonishing levels of self loathing, social ignorance,authoritarianism and superstition, plus if you're lucky we'll throw in ahefty dose of physical if not sexual abuse from our celibate clergy at noextra cost.All guaranteed to turn your little sproglets into neurotic, painfullyunconfident, superstitious, paranoid emotional basket cases. They won'tblame you either, at worst, they'll reject their religion and feel fearfuland shameful about their lapse for ever and ever amen.I blame Jesus, mother mary, all the angels and saints and the most holyroman catholic apostolic church.Some how, Catholicism and SOCOG combined to imbue me with the firmest ofparanoid suspicions, that I was destined to eek my days in eternal squalorand misery, surrounded by those I loathe; vermin from all branches of theevolutionary tree, wheezing in dusty, mouldy, smoke filled, athsmatic hellholes, with cumbersome and dysfunctional whitegoods, rising damp, dry rot,termites, faulty plumbing, rapacious landlords, noise pollution, airpollution, mind pollution and indeed this has been my actual physicalreality for the past ten years.Every house I have lived in sydney has been a slumPart of me thought it was my punishment, for running away from the countryin the first place, and moving into a share house instead of a Universitycollege when i was 18.......Suffer little children who come unto me.Part of me feels deeply unworthy of everything that's good for me andcompletely incapable of ever receiving what I might actually want. GenerallyI have found it safer not to even imagine what that might be. As a sciencestudent I felt guilty and embarrassed to be walking the corridors of theBiomed building, not because I was surrounded by the halfwit crypto fascistimbecilic creationist sludge of BSSMania with the social skills ofDropsophila faeces, but because in my fascination with reading Globalhistory, Marxist Economics, contemporary French Feminism and learningspanish and being a pothead student hack i wasn't able to pepper my labbench repartee with stories of Ski Club BBQ's and 9am lecture summaries.I have very slowly shed my former insanely innaporpriate and incompetentroles as a practising Catholic and possible Scientist and I am seriouslyconsidering abandoning any possible attempt to work in an office either.Being on time, neat, well dressed and well behaved and organised are notwhat I am good at.Lord, I am not worthy to receive thee, but only say the word, and I shall behealed.Not so. I don't actually want any of these things. Including Jesus. I dofeel that I don't want these things, but I do feel more strongly that Idon't deserve them. I've ONLY JUST STOPPED TAKING COMMUNION.Catholicism is a useful way of articulating a passionate moral sense; not somuch into a coherent and constructive social movement to challenge injusticebut as an individualised messianic/martyrdom psychosis that disables anyreasoned attempt at social change or political organisation.I am the truth the light and the way.So while I find myself passionately outraged by injustices, inequalities,crimes against humanity and the future and equipped with a sophisticatedintellectual capacity to analyse and understand why such things happen, anyactions on my behalf to curtail anything, end up being frustrated by quickfix martyr crusades or more entrenched messiah reflexes.While I have avoided the pitfalls of chainsmoking macrobiotic veganazism, Ihave none the less sufferred spectaular episodes of deluded frustration. TheJanis Joplin Valerie Solanis combined reincarnation fantasy was a sociallyamusing but personally destructive episode and allowed the "being married toChe Guevara is more important than being a Lesbian" lifestyle disaster tofester longer than it should have. At least I got my BSC in the process?Maybe one day I'll have the courage to burn it.Recently I stopped believing i was Simone de Beauvoir. this was good. I wasno longer trying to explain or manage the actions of a Dementia ridden,liver failing Jean Paul Satre and his coterie of spawned lovers to a widercircle of aquaintances who I wasn't really interested in.What this meant wasthat in april I ended up cohabiting with people who were roughly my age withsimilar cultural and social interests, good communications skills, sounddomestic committments and pleasant demeanours.Living in a pleasant household was wonderful. Breakfast was no longer acoffee soaked avacado smeared growl against humanity, but a good excuse tochat and eat with other people.Unfortunately my bride of christ ghost still lurked. I hate Real EstateAgents, I hate renting, I hate SOCOG, I hate the housing commission. Iwanted to do something good and radical and wonderful and free.Squatting thebiscuit seemed like the answer. The Biscuit was SHAC, NOOF, the Deomondacult, and the antiSOCOG SATANIC alliance. We had wooden floorboards, Cedaruprights, heritage windows, holy statues, running water, a gas stove andsomeone installed a sink on the top level last week.but no showers.I got used to UTS. even though water used to flood everywhere and therewasn't enough room to swing a cat. UNSW showers were better. Art schooldoesn't have hot running water so things were rough there too.The biscuit was also enormous, dark, damp, cold, the phone was never chargedand we couldn't ring out. After four months it hadn't been raided, but therewas no fire escape and no adequate security. There were 47 creaky stairsbetween me and the toilet and I got sick of emptying my wee jar every 8hours. I got sick.When green stuff started coming out of my lungs it was time to go.Fortunately there was somewhere wonderful to go to. On the faith of aninterview and assurance one month ago, Anna and I borrowed Tims doona andpillow, caught a Bus to Alpha house and sat on the doorstep of number 5until someone came home. (OK actually we waited an hour, left a note, wentback to Tims, Got a phone call from Max and returned) there we collapsed ona spare mattress for a week, both coughing up green stuff, anna sweating andfeverish. It was OK. The magic yellow room was dry, warm, well lit and smokefree. We recovered.The first night I woke up in the middle of the night and snuck (into thenext room!) into the toilet. and there I saw it. Anna was dead to the world,but I woke her up and insisted she put in her contact lense (she's blind inone eye) and come in...........a bathtub.we had a warm bath at midnight, in the room next to the bedroom.It was simple sudsy lavender scented heaven with towels & bathmats & noclothing change & no holes in the floor or mould.This is paradise.Alpha house is wonderful and they wanted an artist. Thank god I'm not stillstudying science. I sadly moved my futon & greatly reduced mass of clothesfrom the squat on sunday.Gav wasn't there, rob had gone to the Desert, Stevewas staying in a house coz he thought the squat was too unhealthy for hisdog and Pablo had been on his own. Pablo is the squatter from heaven, he hasa trade and keen political intelligence and proven committment. Amidstchiding me for being a Petit Bourgeouise Dilletante he made a pully to lowermy futon and delivered it in his car to alpha house. I didn't have theenergy to organise anything else. My friend Sarah, took an afternoon off aconference and carloaded my clothes and books over.Moving out of Albert street had been a four day operation involving 2 x 2tonne truck loads, 80 kilos of boxes shipped to mums, plus three carloads,and this was AFTER the Garage Sale!!!!!! so for me, four carloads in anafternoon is pretty minimalist!!!!! Maybe I'll reach Suzi's phase ontravelling for 5 months with only a daypack but I doubt it. I've realisedtwo REALLY big things about myself. I am not a nomad and I am very afraid ofthe dark.I also hate the damp and the cold. I love having a phone and light and aroom of my own. I think I'm having a Virginia woolf Delusion. Havingrealised just how much I hate and love the above things I am now acutelyguilty.I feel really guilty and like a failed activist and like I don't deservewhat I actually want and need. Even though my rational mind keeps remindingme that having a fucked up back, influenza, terrible hayfever, Bronchitis,chronic exhaustion, and being unable to paint or socialise are all reallygood reasons NOT to not live in a highly phsyically and psychologicallystressful environment my catholic guilt assures me otherwise.I keep waiting to wake up and discover that I'm not living at Alpha house,or for Coco Max & richard to wake up and kick me out because they KNOW thatI'm not worthy. It's very hard to remind myself that I'm an artist, I wantto live in a commuinity. I don't smoke, I don't treat the loungeroom as apub, I clean up after myself, this is what they expect of me and we all getalong well. They don't offend me or bore me shitless and Richard gave me theFluffy flowers from Marriott Street!!!!!my phone number is 9516 3246!!!hugsmayhemps I HAVE weaned myself OFF coffee and avocado!!!!!! but the morning bath ishere to stay.

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