Is Resting Satan Face a Thing?

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I’m not in any way a religious person. I was baptised in the Catholic church, and attended a Catholic school (and I had no say in either of those things), but I eschewed all gods years ago, and am quite content living as a heathen. Whilst I do understand why some people need religion, it’s not something that appeals to or resonates with me, for a myriad of reasons. A lot of my experience with organised religion, and indeed, those who follow “God” has been negative. I remember distinctly, being screamed at in public by an elderly woman, who took my holding hands with a female friend as a reason to tell us that we were going to “burn in hell for our sins”. I was sixteen at the time.

I was approached at my counter a few weeks ago by an older gentleman in a wheelchair. He didn’t want or need anything from my shop, but rather wanted to give me something. As it turns out, what he wanted to give me was a A4 framed piece of paper, on which he had painstakingly written out and decorated an entire, page long prayer. He told me that when he saw me, he couldn’t walk past without giving me this gift, and he told me that he hoped I would put it somewhere in my house, so that God would bless my home and myself. He was very kind, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I am the possibly the least religious person he could have chosen to bestow his prayer upon. I found out shortly after, that he had gone to a few shops in the centre, handing out these same prayers, but it didn’t lessen the irony.

I didn’t think any more of the encounter until a couple of days ago, when I was approached by a young woman. She walked past me at first, and smiled. I smiled back and continued writing at the counter. Moments later she returned. “I’m sorry, I know this is probably a little random, but I wonder if I could have a moment of your time, so that I can draw you something?” she asked. Another customer approached my counter at that moment, and she shied away a little. For a fleeting, egotistical second, I wondered if perhaps she was going to write down her number for me. It would have been a pleasant change from the guys who occasionally try to pick me up at work, and don’t take no for an answer. But, alas, the pretty girl wasn’t coming to my counter to ask me out.

When the other customer had been served, the young woman took a pen and a piece of paper, and began to draw me a diagram. She drew as she talked about sin, and filling emptiness with more emptiness, and how God created the world with love. She prefaced this by saying “I saw you, and I felt compelled to come and talk to you. I should tell you that I am a follower of Jesus, and I just couldn’t walk past without talking to you.” Here it was again. Another religious person, who felt compelled to come and have a chat to me, possibly the least religious person on the planet. Once again, she was perfectly lovely, and nothing about her demeanour or speech gave me the sense that she was trying to save my soul or convert me to a life of loving God. To be honest, all she wanted to do was talk about Jesus for a little bit, her relationship with him, and how finding him had ‘filled an emptiness’ she had felt. She told me about how she used to be filled with anxiety, and how once she would have been terrified about talking to a stranger. She told me how finding Jesus had given her a kind of peace that she had been missing before. As encounters with religious people go, it was definitely one of the better ones. We had a bit of a chat, and then she wished me a good day and went on her merry way.

I don’t know really what I should be taking from this. I mean, it’s not like I suddenly want to go out and confess my sins, or start attending mass every Sunday. Hell, I’d probably go up in flames if I set foot in a church these days. It’s possible I’m just reading too much into it, and perhaps they were just two kind people who wanted to talk to someone about their faith? Or it could be that I just look like I need saving. You’ve heard of resting bitch face, maybe I have Resting Satan Face? Who knows!

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Love is Love

I don’t often get political. I have what has been called a dangerous apathy about the state of the world. Which is to say, I mostly think we’re all fucked, and it makes me too angry and frustrated to pay too much attention to current events. However, there are certain things that I can not, and will not remain silent about. Things such as marriage equality. 

If you’re Australian, or happen to pay attention in any way to what goes in in the world, you will be aware of the current battle to win marriage equality for same sex couples. It’s been a bitter fight so far, with some of the ugliest reasons for voting against an issue that I’ve ever seen. The very idea that government can deny anyone the right to marry legally (who is of legal age to consent) makes me angry. 

In 2004, former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, amended the Marriage Act. It currently reads;

“A union solemnised in a foreign country between: a man and another man; or a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.”

With that change, Australia took away the right to allow same sex couples to marry. Without any reason. And, perhaps more importantly, without any difficulty. Now that the shoe is on the other foot however, things are considerably different. It’s not a matter of simply changing the wording, as Howard did thirteen years ago. No, this time the weak government, too scared of potentially upsetting the bigoted jerks in the world, have decided on a plebiscite to determine how many Australians are in favour of same sex marriage. Let me reiterate; this is a non-binding, non-compulsory postal vote. Which, by the way, they’re spending $122 million dollars on. I don’t know about you, but I think there are plenty of better things to spend money on.

The thing is, it makes no sense to deny marriage to same sex couples. There’s no reason to it, aside from homophobia and misguided religious belief, and that’s not a good enough reason. There’s no reason to have a debate about it, no reason to even have to call it “same sex marriage”. It’s fucking marriage, and it should be legal.

Oh, the opposing side has tried everything to make themselves heard. We’ve heard the cries of “think of the children” as if allowing same sex marriage is going to destroy the lives of the younger generations (it’s really not). Offensive posters were seen in Melbourne claiming that children of same sex families are considerably worse off than those of same sex couples, and Malcolm Turnbull brushed it off like it was nothing. The religious ones who like to pick and choose which parts of the bible they adhere to are claiming that it goes against “God” and that it’s unnatural and wrong. But that’s homophobic bigots for you. Though there are some who will vote yes, regardless. 

Now, me? I don’t want to get married. To a man, or a woman. It’s not for me, at least not at this particular juncture of my life. But I have friends who do want to get married, and I stand in solidarity with them. I fight for, and with them. My friend Monika posted something on Facebook the other day, and she summed up so much about why she, an openly gay and amazing young woman, wants the right to marry her Ally. She called for people to make sure they were enrolled correctly, to vote in this plebiscite and make the most of the only option we’ve been given.

“I implore you to vote “yes” if and when the time comes. Do it for me. Your friend, sister, daughter. Because I want to add the word “wife” to that list of descriptors. I don’t just want to have marriage equality because I want to have a wedding (but let’s be real, it’ll be fabulous, darling). I want marriage equality because I am not recognised as being the most important person in Alex’s life. Because if she is sick, I am not allowed to make medical decisions on her behalf even though I am the person who knows her the best and knows what she wants. Because if she dies, I am not entitled to make decisions on the funeral or bereavement process. I will not have access to our JOINT bank accounts because I do not have a marriage certificate to prove that we were together. I will not have access to her superannuation or life insurance. And it’s BULLSHIT because de facto heterosexual couples have those rights. But as gay people, we do not. 

So I beg you. As your friend, sister, niece, cousin, daughter…please vote yes. Vote yes because you care about me. Because you love me. Let’s make sure that love wins. #loveislove”

Now tell me; how can you, in good conscience, argue with that? If you’re reading this, and you’re an Australian citizen, the cut off to make sure you’re enrolled correctly is in two days. You have two more days to make sure that your voice is heard with mine, with Monika’s, with everyone else who is going to do what they know is the right thing, and vote yes. We need to do all that we can to make sure that marriage equality becomes a reality. You can check your details or enrol to vote here: http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/. Let’s do this. Let’s make it count.