My name is Brenna Harding and we met a few years ago (2015 I believe). I was visiting Canberra with Gayby Baby, a film about kids with same-sex parents, to be on a panel organised by your Parliamentary Friendship Group for LGBTIQ Australians. When we visited your office, you made us tea and talked to us so willingly and kindly.
Over the past year and a half, May Tran (writer, student and professional procrastinator of Vietnamese descent) has been inundated with PR for two professional and sixteen-hundred amateur productions of Miss Saigon. The following piece has been cobbled together from segments of the largely incomprehensible fury essays she wrote during her frequent and violent rage blackouts.
Photo Series featuring Madeline Ryan
We all look the same.
With a white ribbon we are tied
Together as one.
For what? Suppression of mind in order to blur lines?
I don't need it to fight this fight
But to rip this white ribbon.
I remember sitting by the window, that impenetrable pane of glass, dreaming of my freedom, of my health, of my return to adolescence.
I’m pulled from my daydream. Dr K is at the entrance to the six-bedder, he’s got a slip of baby blue paper tucked under his arm and behind him I can see my mother poking her head over his broad shoulders. He shuffles in, a tired smile plastered to his face with cheap glue, my mom hanging right behind. How exhausted she looks: worry lines pronounced on her face, like ancient script etched into her forehead, the ink bleeding into the crevices and dips of her nose and cheeks. She smiles at me, and stands by my side at the window massaging my shoulder between her cold hands...
One of the women at the last Moonlight Feminist Wine Club asked: does it make us bad feminists if our partner or the person we want to date does not identify with feminism? The women at the meeting all had different answers: some absolutely could never date a non-feminist and some are currently dating people who do not like to associate with the ‘f’ word. After the meeting the question stuck with me, and I think there are a multitude of answers and context is obviously key. I texted my close friend asking what she thought and she instantly replied “how could you love a person who doesn’t believe you’re an equal?”...
Photo Series featuring Kasey Clarke
Acrylic on Paper
The room sways and swells with the juicy sweet lips of my sisters, oozing around in love and compassion hoping to welcome each woman into a cozy womb of our own creation. After years of being injected with venom, with my first step forward being told to crush the toes of the girls by my side, the smiles around me wash my face clean, each one says please, welcome, I believe the best of you already, and back at them, from behind my cautious eyes I hope they can hear the same. Words fall over us, in patterns I've never seen before. They rub and stroke from tongue to ear, each one a tiny matchstick placed to build a castle.
You wouldn't let your mother see you're uncertain of your capability you're disabled by the thrilling ecstasy, her melting eyeballs sunk by your admission, craving the crown of her pussy with hot wax dripping and carved calloused fingers trip into her it's a psychotic quest a loop a mess you submit but find yourself crippled by her infinitive recompense, licked and tricked to a dusty road with ugly old men carved by clammy communes and a fucked up pandemonium perhaps of somewhat gruesome lies I tried but I'm tired let's stimulate the wires in the mind if wires are what you see?
TW: sexual assault
I thought life would be a love story and love would be the death of me. Like Romeo and Juliet.
But life doesn’t end at the big kiss like a movie does. Happily ever after is followed by not so happily ever after and then less so onwards. After the big kiss, you date for a while then you fight or one of you cheats, then one of you gets broken. In my case, I was the one broken. Love looked so warm and comforting. It was a warm summer breeze curling its fingers through my hair and making my toes curl. It was perfect until I started falling into love at light-speed and life was swooshing around me and he stepped aside to let me fall on my face.
The feeling sits in a certain part of my chest
Locking below my sternum
It feels like my stomach is dropping
But can't get far down
Because it's faced with an uncomfortable nausea
That swells beneath my lungs
It’s 3am in the middle of the week and I am inevitably completely awake and watching an easy to digest blockbuster in complete darkness. It’s an action movie that came out in 2010 and I’m watching it because it was on Netflix and my insomnia told me it was what I needed at that exact moment. While at three in the morning I’m not exactly at my mental peak, I’m still conscious enough to pick up on details that bother me with one of those details being that, in an ensemble cast of six, there’s one woman. It’s a dodgy as fuck ratio. But it’s 3am and I’m not going to spend another half an hour being a slave to the indecision that Netflix always seems to bring out in me. So I watch.
The way it all happened makes me sick to my stomach.
In the darker hours I have hated you
and you again
but I’ve put all my hate in many a wrong basket.
TW: sexual assault
The first thing I must make crystal clear is that emotions are constantly categorised and socialised into two opposing groups: good or bad. But this isn’t the reality, they must be seen as either comfortable or uncomfortable.
Truth is, all emotions have their gifts, and anger gets a pretty bad rap.
Longtime Moonlight Feminist Wine Club member May Tran joins Brenna Harding in the first episode of Moonlight Feminists to discuss intersectionality in feminism and female strength as they try to get someone to sponsor their wine drinking.
Brown against the turquoise blue of the ocean pool,
Her smile is pearly white as surfboard wax and seashell chokers.
Seaweed draped from her hallowed head,
I lift my camera to capture the rapture sprawled across her face
At marinated olives and Sydney rock oysters.
A matured palate
A refined taste
She is a rock pool of abundance.
Podcasts are one of my favourite things. They are like lazy learning, the ultimate way to switch off and still feel productive, especially if I am learning things whilst being dazzled by brilliant women. I am constantly on the hunt for female power teams on the podcast app, and these six shows are the fruits of my labour, please enjoy:
Styling by Lucy Deverall and Brenna Harding
Photography by Lucy Deverall
Featuring the ladies of the June Moonlight Feminist Wine Club
Claudia, Lucy W, Tatiana, Simone, Rosie B, Rebecca, Nahualli, Nat, Poppy, Jasmine B, Freya, Alice, Brenna, Matilda, Lucy D