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Tree SilhouettesOver the last year, I have found myself in several fairly interesting discussions about community development work. Not in the nature of actually building empowerment within communities or the struggles associated with that but something just as significant. Everyone knows this type of work takes time, effort, energy, dedication, collaboration and plenty of other elements in the mix. Reflecting through a social justice lens this also means that we have to look at community work through the complexities of culture, communities, privilege and class to name a few.

So what was the discussion around? The precarious natureĀ of internal dynamics of organizations.

Frequently, I had conversations with friends, workers and acquaintances over the frustrations of internal dynamics and structures. The conversation usually starts with comments surrounding their voices were not readily heard, continuous structural changes, and overall diminished sense of empowerment. The workers essentially become disenchanted and either leave or just stay until their contracts end. All this to say, this nature of community organizing lacks a sense of desire for others to replace them.

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Start of the roadtripLast weekend Chris, Bec, and myself rolled out of the Permaforest Trust seeking new adventures, time to let our hair down, and some great music! We were heading to the Bellingen Global Carnival to watch international artists rock several different stages.

Our journey started with a few late night road pops, french fries (mmm yum), and several dumpster dive sessions during our 4 hour journey down the coast. We managed to find heaps of veggies and a few other treats to feed us for the entire weekend. I have to admit that I was still quite surprised at how much we did find when we discovered the right bins…

Do I look like something out of magazine advertising Gap?

The following morning we realized that our campsite at the festival was surrounded by beautiful trees and rad neighbours. We had played a night of truth or dare and I had been dared to wear a dress at the festival for one hour (among other things). So in the morning I did a photo shoot with Chris and Bec with Bec’s beautiful dress. It was a pretty good experience to wear a skirt…

Ironically, after Bec suggested later that I should turn it into a skirt and wear it for the rest of the day I didn’t hesitate *well I felt a bit nervous but then kinda thought…man what’s the problem here this is a cool skirt*. So for the remainder of the festival I confiscated Bec’s skirt and wore it and still have it at the trust — dunno if she’ll ever get it back.

Wearing a skirt/dress kinda made me realize some things about social/gender norms that we hold about ourselves. That a male is generally thought to be strong, tough, not have a feminine side, and not to wear such things as dresses and skirts except of course kilts. There’s a cultural significants to kilts that makes this an exception.

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