During my adolescence, my mother would tell me stories. There were some about injustice, anger and passion. While others were of courage, friendship and change. Sometimes, I would tell her that I wanted to live through something— to experience what she had experienced all those years ago. But, what I hadn’t realised is that I already was.
I hadn’t realised that I was living through the modern rise of white supremacy, where hatred is nurtured and diversity is feared. A society where we turn a blind eye to the ones who dare to create a positive change.
I hadn’t realised that I was living through the rapid unravelling of abortion laws that were forged through blood, pain, riot and rebellion; through coat hangers and underground operations. Never did I think I would ever be so afraid of my own body.
I hadn’t realised that I would be witnessing the death of more than thirty Australian women in a single year. Women who were beaten and abused, stalked and preyed, mistreated and left for dead. This place isn’t safe for us anymore, but then again, it never really was.
I hadn’t realised there would be a loss of hope in our government system. Where our leaders believed more in miracles, rather than facts. Where science is considered to be more of a consideration, than a direction. Where we cared more about the money in our pockets, than the planet we inhabit. Where we elected our doom, and did so knowingly without batting an eye to the consequences.
I hadn’t realised that when my mother told me all these stories, that patterns were repeating. Except, in my story, there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking a courageous step forward. When I told her that I wanted to live through something, this isn’t what I meant.
Words by Ayla Liebenberg
Artwork by Francesco Patrinostro