The sunrise is too pretty. I haven't slept, but my adrenal gland is putting in the hard yards, so I still feel mildly lucid.
They asked me if I was surprised by the response to the hashtag. As though anyone but a marketing department could be anything other than bewildered by having an idea go viral. Of course I wanted it to be picked up – why tweet it at all otherwise? – but this is electrifying and not a little alarming.
There is no campaign back here, unless one heartsore woman flapping her chops on twitter is a campaign. This wasn't planned. The rocket launched and I have no idea how to fly this thing.
To all who have spoken up; it isn't for me to say, but, thank you.
Hashtags have a life cycle dependent upon attention and constrained by the very platform that gives them such power. It was never my intention to try and maintain any control over the hashtag, but given I was trending globally within hours, and sustained for hours, I must take some responsibility for what is forming.
Nuance is easily lost on twitter, bless those blasted 140 characters. There is much language being used – 'help them', 'protect them', 'their safety' – which is slippery, and this idea was already sitting close to the White Saviour Complex. I think it may have slunk closer in the night.
We need this. So much of what is broadcast in general is hurt and damage and grief, that just to be reminded that other people care is no small thing. When feeling helpless, any tool is better than none, and there is so much to fight.
But this isn't about feeling better. It's about respect. There are people who cannot take basic respect from the general public for granted, and so to those who may benefit from it I simply offer the physical reality that they will not be alone for this leg of the bus trip.
Although this has risen from the events in Martin Place, it is a sentiment that does not stop at Muslims, or anyone wearing their religion or culture, or who does not dress according to their expected gender, or who is simply too not-white or not-male to ever take safety for granted. In those terms, I would be included as someone at risk. I'm afraid I'm not particularly intimidating and being a non-white woman it could be argued that I add to target attraction, instead of detracting from it. I suspect this is why I do tend to gravitate toward non-whites in public anyway. Some sort of safety in numbers.
But I have to say, the thought of anyone deciding to approach me in public in order to protect me for my own sake without considering that, like everyone on public transport, I just want to be left alone; that thought rather gets my hackles up.
So many people have reached out to say what this hashtag has meant for them. So many. Whatever grand wild delusion was galloping through my head when I created the hashtag has slunk off dejectedly, being unable to compete with reality. Some of you have already been helped by this, and that is. No words. No words. Thank you.
But keep in mind, please, it is not for anyone to burden their need to help upon others. Respect that while too many are afraid to go out in public, many still walk the streets confidently and comfortably, and need nothing from any of us. If you're asked to buddy up, that is an amazing honour and sign of trust. That is enough. Don't expect more.
Don't let it become a #NotAllMen where the focus fell off the actual issue of misogyny and violence and became entirely about assuring gentlemen they were good people, not bad people. Don't centre this on yourself. It isn't about me, or you. The desire to do right is in no way related to actually doing right.
It is important that the offer be made, and equally important that nothing be expected in return.
The people who don't feel safe; they don't feel safe. We don't. I don't. They may not feel safe enough to tell you your good intentions are lovely but unwanted at this time. The ability to read minds isn't required for any act of kindness to remain a respectful one. Kindness that is forced upon a person is not kindness.
We need this, but not as a bandaid. We've always needed this empathy, and we always will. But not just to make ourselves feel better. To make the world better. And keep it that way.
A hashtag is a flash in a pan, but this will is not. This is a long campaign. Longer than this life. Hold on to that.
Now, a little about this startled bunny in the spotlight. This will be largely self-indulgent navel gazing, and those of you who need this hope, love and light right now should stop reading.
Because I can't give you that hope, love and light.
So many have said they have felt hope because of this, and accused me of having a heart full of it. This is definitely the change I want to see in the world.
But this act does not come from a place of hope or love. Hope has been scarce for too long, and I can point at the day on the calendar at which it finally ran out. I have lost hope for positive change. My every act of solidarity, dissent, support, revolt comes not from the hope for change, but the anger of change that never came.
That man, he lost hope. He knew what he was doing and how this would end. One sad, angry man and look at the hurt we have let him do. The hostages, all of them. The ex-wife whose murder to which he was allegedly accessory. We failed her too. He was sad, and angry, and he did this because we, this country, enabled him. I am so sorry.
I'm not even good anti-hero material. I actually am a cranky introvert who just doesn't like people, and not in a cute and loveable way. I'm also biracial, which is complicated. I have Opinions and as you can see they get waved around a bit, and I'm mulish enough not to be conveniently quiet to keep things nice, because nice achieves nothing. Plus I have enough health issues to mean I'm simply not going to do enough to sustain this. I cannot.
I act because I am angry, and this world is fucking horrible, and I am sad, and if I cannot sit on the mere hope that the world will change, then there is nothing left to do but get out and push.
I must enable that positive change to come, even if I don't believe it will. I must open the doors and windows and invite it in unimpeded and cherished. This idea did not come from a good place, but it isn't about me, and may become something better. Please let it become something better.
The fact is that while I offered this platform to voices that need to be heard, there haven't been any volunteers except for the singular and indefatigable Amy Gray. Massive and many kudos to this woman for picking up the baton while I collapse into a pile.
The fact is that I don't blame anyone for not taking this up. The attention is searing and I am indeed thinking of the Eye of Sauron. To step into this is to make yourself a target for all that is awful, and I don't expect anyone to take this on, especially those who are already targeted. The offer remains while the media have any interest in what I say.
I expect some bad things will come of this, for which I am sorry for my part. I also expect some good things, because they have already happened. There doesn't seem to be anything else to expect. There's no stopping this now.
For those asking I explain my 'shockingly racist' blog posts; the post you're no doubt referring to is pretty self-explanatory. Rather surreal feeling the need to state that some of my best friends are white, and half of my family.
Speaking as one of those not-white people, I do humbly request a scarcity of white knighting. Bear your visible stickers like Neighbourhood Watch signs; not medals. It feels arrogant to say so, but I'm already proud of you. There are so many valid and justified reasons to stay quiet, and there is no shame in doing so.
I'm stepping back because I cannot and will not be a warm fuzzy story. That narrative is a trap. The fact that the hashtag is already being seen as competing with the narrative of the siege and hostages is proof of that. They are not in conflict with each other. I've not dwelled on the hostages and those who care about them because I can think of nothing to say in the face of such trauma. I hope they have safe spaces open to them.
For the time being, I'm sorry but I won't sharing my bus trips. The point was to simply offer company if it would help. This sudden notoriety is alarming enough for me; imposing it on anyone else would be presumptuous at the very least. The only reason I can only do this because so many people have already put their hand up.
The glow of initial solidarity hides the hard edges of true support. These displays have occurred before, and will occur again, but change is slow in coming. This is just my reality. I'll still be a tired biracial woman wary of being approached by strangers tomorrow, the day after, the day after that, for the rest of my life. Hatecrime and bias in our infrastructure will continue, because these wounds are centuries in the making, and we need to work so much harder to even consider healing.
Extreme situations make heroes of barristers and store managers. For most of us, there are no extreme situations, and no heroes. Just you, me, and the rest of the world.
If any Muslim feminists would like to speak out, let me know and I'll usher the media your way.
The Indigenous people of Australia have been attacked in public for their appearance since first landing. If any of you would like to speak out, let me know and I'll usher the media your way.
This incident was born of misogyny and domestic violence. Last month was White Ribbon Day. The experts have always been there. This is the time to talk to them.