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INFINITE

Sometimes

solitude,

beauty alone,

the silence of stars

yearning

the glimmer of a million miles

and years

frozen like eternal snowdrops

upon the face of forever…

God!

for a moment the ravenous

delight of existence

breaks across my awareness

like a crashing wave of

carnivorous butterflies..

Contributed by Doug Baird via our ABC Pool project

Sadly the time has come for Outside In to be set free as the founders of this tumblr have finished our university course and due to other commitments we are unable to keep updating this space. We’d like to offer a very big thank you to everyone at ABC Pool for their continued support of our project and offer much love to the community that has formed. We wish you all the best and hope to collaborate on future works with you all. 

If you have questions regarding any of the works on this site or if you’d like to further the creative efforts started by Outside In then please contact us here

Outside Music - Dare to be Different with Prince Rama

It’s our last hurrah this week at Outside In and before we bid you all a fond farewell we’re focusing on celebrating difference and diversity. There are many artists who embrace social diversity and lifestyles that the mainstream consider to be ‘weird’ and I imagine spending your formative years living in a Hare Krishna commune in Florida fits that bill. Sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson play under the moniker Prince Rama and they’re making their way down under in 2012 to play the MONA FOMA and Sugar Mountain music festivals.

Prince Rama take their inspirations from all sorts, but in particular they have been influenced by the likes of outsider art and their days as practicing members of the hare krishna community. Their music utilises mantras - call and response sanskrit chants and makes for an unusual listening experience from the mainstream alternative psych that is currently on offer. They celebrate the ideals of the hare krishna religion through their art which has resulted in some highly unique, mind blowing tunes. Have a listen to Prince Rama below and remember to embrace your own unique qualities that make you who you are and stop trying to fit in with the crowd when you were born to stand out. Live, love and make a positive contribution to the world during your time here.  

re: queer qualms

At Outside In your opinions matter and below are Alan’s thought’s on our Queer Qualms article. What are your thoughts on how sexuality is (or isn’t) accepted in our communities? 

First off, I’d like to acknowledge that Australia is far from the “open-minded” and “egalitarian” nation that it seeks to exude. For a majority of Australia’s existence, we have always been under conservative rule and as such, this challenges our society’s “open-mindedness” to some degree. The Australian media is at the mercy of magnates seeking to push their own interests, ranging from the Murdochs, to the Packers, and the lone Rineheart. We have highly callous “journalists” (and I use that term VERY lightly) like Piers Akerman and Andrew Bolt who reach a sizable amount of the population through Australia’s Murdoch tabloids. We have television networks that spread sentiments that echo that of the US, as Channels Seven, Nine, and Ten possess their own parallel versions of “current affairs”. Therefore with this in mind, I do not think Australia is “open-minded” as much as it purports.

In the inner-city and within the southern states, we sort of lead ourselves into a ‘liberal bubble’, as refugees, homosexuality, and  other such taboo issues do not affect us to the same extent that it would towards our more conservative peers. Therefore we should be privy to the fact that not all Australians have moved on from the issue of homosexuality. It is true that those in the inner-city do possess a more of a rosy view towards the notion of homosexuality. However, we fail to realise is that for a majority of the populace, Australia still has leaps and bounds to go before we reach consensus on homosexuality. Whilst national surveys have support at around 60 per cent, the fact of the matter is, there is a clear divide that Australia needs to bridge with regard to homosexuality. One just has to keep in mind that it was only until 1994 when Tasmania decriminalised homosexuality, only enacted because of Australia’s obligations under the International Covenant of Human Rights.

As an individual who has recently come to grips with his own sexuality, I do know what it’s like to be ‘gay’ in contemporary Australian society. Where Australia goes wrong, is the whole notion of your sexuality forming an intrinsic part of your social identity. For a significant number of Australians, the label ‘gay’ often raises connotations of flamboyance and Mardi-Gras imagery, and it is this fact which had (and still does to some degree) prevented me from acknowledging my own sexual orientation. Through my experiences, I do feel that by revealing my sexuality, it would result in a narrow and simple-minded view of my identity and placement within Australian society. In Australia particularly, it is slightly harder for men to acknowledge homosexuality, due to the long-held Australian values of “mateship” and “being a good bloke”. Thus, the dichotomy present between those who do and do not possess Australia’s cultural stereotype of men who purport overt masculinity forms a deterrent to acknowledging sexuality. In spite of all this, I chose to acknowledge my sexuality, because I knew that that was the only way my dick worked (please excuse that blunt dysphemism). Thus, I was never going to place myself into the position where I would have to maintain this heterosexual façade, letting down not only the women that I would inevitably be with, but I would be setting myself up for an intolerable double-life,  

My upbringing, which I know is shared by a whole lot of other similar individuals, is something that has also permeated my views towards homosexuality. I was banned from television programs which made any references to homosexuality for fear of “influence”. On a regular basis, my mother and her extended family make consistent references to how weird “gays” are, and my position as both Catholic and gay leads me into all sorts of religious conflict. On the one hand, my mother and father were schooled in the Catholic heavyweights of thought, with my mother being Filipino, and my father of Irish descent, thus dictating that I’ll probably never be able to reveal my true self. On the other-hand, I have wonderful members of my family that are truly open-minded, and funnily enough, one of them is a nun. One of the major qualms with my sexuality was with the Catholic Church, an entity that represented an intrinsic part of my identity. This nun outlined the conflict between that of the formal church and the gospels, arguing that the gospels are what the church is about, not Rome. Therefore, it was only until then when I had found my spiritual absolution from this conflict between church and sexuality, which I had been toiling over for a significant number of years.

With regard to marriage, I do believe that this should be granted to same-sex couples, although via a different avenue. In a secular society, all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation should be granted the right to have their relationship recognised under law. However, I do not believe that the traditional concept of marriage should be included along with this. As an individual who was brought up Catholic, and still remains that way, I believe that the sacrament of marriage should be kept within the confines of heterosexuality. In an increasingly secular society, I do not think that its symbolic weight is being granted the same degree of significance it once had. Basically, I do not think society is respecting the “architecture” of marriage as such, hence, why I believe that Australia should eventually work its way down to Civil Unions. It seems that the traditional notion of “marriage” is hijacked by a secular society which does not respect its founding roots. However, I do not think that extending the discriminatory practice of excluding same-sex relationships under the secular Marriage Amendment Act of 2004 should be upheld. One just has to keep in mind that marriage in Australia was not defined until the Howard government decided to do so in 2004. Now, with a secular Prime Minister, we should have no valid reason to sustain Australia’s current position towards same-sex relationships. However, those in favour still need to keep in mind that this would be an arduous task, considering the utterly dire position the current government has found itself in.

 

 


We may be ashamed because of our differences or we may find pride within  proving them as something special. Regardless the celebration or  dishonor for any non-conformity/diversities you have, we forget how  happiness is pursued.Happy people simply make the best out of everything without having the best of everything or let alone everything at all.

We may be ashamed because of our differences or we may find pride within proving them as something special. Regardless the celebration or dishonor for any non-conformity/diversities you have, we forget how happiness is pursued.

Happy people simply make the best out of everything without having the best of everything or let alone everything at all.

OUTSIDE IN-SPIRATION: A STORY OF SURVIVAL

"Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.”

Setbacks and adversities are something we can all relate to, regardless of our personal circumstances. Such challenges, as we’ve explored thus far, vary from one person to another; but it is the experience of rejection, that makes social exclusion such a universal phenomenon. The above statement is one I apply to many complex situations in my own life, as a means of grasping hope and positivity.  Success (or rather, progress/development) is not solely controlled by one’s approach to adversity, but much can be said for the power of friendship, hope and positive thinking in shaping personal resilience and motivation.

Therefore to conclude our explorations, I would like to share a brief, true story, which continues to inspire me to embrace and grow through setbacks.

I was lucky enough to meet Belyse* through Melbourne’s Asylum Seeker support services.
Belyse is nineteen years old, and grew up in Burundi – one of the world’s poorest countries. With one parent missing and the other deceased at an early age, Belyse has grown up without a mother and father, and has effectively been living on the streets for fourteen years. Fortunately her protective and loving older siblings undertook parental roles throughout this time, and raised her to the best of their ability; dealing drugs their only option for survival, they used much of their earnings on feeding Belyse and sending her to school for academic opportunities.

By the time Belyse reached 13, she could no longer rely on her siblings’ limited income, and she was forced to get a job –  the two options being drug dealing or prostitution. Prostitution, she confesses now, was never going to be a ‘successful’ option due to her more masculine features, and she therefore turned to the dangerous drug trade - effectively becoming a disenfranchised, ‘troublesome’ youth in the eyes of wider society. 

 I was horrified to hear of the stories and memories which are associated with this time of her life. There are too many to even relay here – tales of gang fights, crime and territorial disputes… with Belyse learning to physically fight for herself, and lead her own group of homeless adolescents. And yet, extraordinarily, these hardships have not seemed to suppress her strong spirit. Belyse embraced her complex circumstances and continued striving for greater opportunities by studying full-time on the street (amidst her necessary criminal career!). 

 Eventually, her daring decisions, bravery and hope brought her to Australia with a number of other youths, where she was at last able to seek refuge as an asylum seeker with support services in Victoria. In her short time here, she has learnt to not only speak English (now her fourth language) but to also sing it, as she explores her passion for music. Not to mention, she is now also studying for her VCE at a Melbourne TAFE, aiming to pursue a career in bio-medicine some day - she has not yet dropped a mark. 

Belyse at last has the opportunities, the support network and the safe living conditions which she has needed (and has deserved) all along. Sadly, she now must sacrifice her connection with her siblings - as to visit Burundi would jeopardize her chances of remaining in Australia - but she is comforted by the thought that they are proud and pleased for her. 

It’s difficult to do Belyse’s story justice with written words - she is so engaging and striking in person, and can paint vivid pictures of her struggles, even with a new, foreign language. However, I hope this snapshot of an extraordinary woman can inspire and remind remind you that the silver lining, and the way forward is always there somewhere. 

 

 

 

*Names have been changed to protect and respect privacy
# Image:
Artist: Orangeadnan
Title: "Homeless"


Stone and Sea

A poem reflecting a few hours spent knee deep in the surf, precariously balanced on the edge of the reef in the Gulf of Aqaba, at first feeling miserable but gradually attaining a state I guess about as close to meditative and at peace and exhilarated by existence and “at one with” whatever it is that we feel at one with when we momentarily transcend ourselves. The poem itself was written in one sitting, virtually complete, some 15 or more years later, stirred by a memory

Stone and Sea

And so I stand, frozen

lost, yet somehow

perfectly at home

at the boundary of the spirits,

on the edge of the waves.

The breaking  spray of beauty and death

invigorates my face.

I can only feel:

thoughts shredded and torn away

to the far side of nowhere

by the storms of circumstance,

purged by the raw sting

of the sea.

I am emptied of all confusion,

of all things

human,

a vessel for pure physical sensation,

for cold detached beauty.

There is no love in me

but for the pounding oblivion

of the elements

as I balance on the tempestuous

edge of existence.

To me I seem

just a part of this roaring serenity

another article of heaven’s flotsam

cast along the shoreline-

the delicate, the gleaming, the ghastly;

old rope, blue shells, putrid carcasses,

driftwood, bladderwrack, jellyfish,

smooth stones,

lost souls….

Thrown  together  in destitute fellowship

by the pull of the frothing sea.

I am still and silent, less sentient

at this moment even than

the broken tilted  ranks of shattered stone

resisting the ocean’s charge,

patient, brooding,

no  sense of being anything other

than what they are.

They are existence.

What are we?

Their silence opens to encompass me.

I stand there for hours

in the cold comforting embrace of being.

Contributed by Doug Baird via our ABC Pool project


Inspired by the very old song ‘I’m a lonely little petunia in the onion patch’.  But this story is actually true.
***
There is a lonely
Crown of asparagus in
The protea patch.

Contributed by Dwerombi via our ABC Pool project

Inspired by the very old song ‘I’m a lonely little petunia in the onion patch’.  But this story is actually true.

***

There is a lonely

Crown of asparagus in

The protea patch.

Contributed by Dwerombi via our ABC Pool project


Man behind the mask

(laughter/sadness)

man behind the mask
harlequin of pantomime
cries tears of laughter
Contributed by Pry via our ABC Pool project

Man behind the mask


(laughter/sadness)

man behind the mask

harlequin of pantomime

cries tears of laughter

Contributed by Pry via our ABC Pool project


Hope

(vision)

lifeless concrete grey
struggle to survive the day
glass jar garden hopes


Contributed by Pry via our ABC Pool project

Hope

(vision)

lifeless concrete grey

struggle to survive the day

glass jar garden hopes

Contributed by Pry via our ABC Pool project

Waiting To Be Seen

A reflection on people living alone, isolated, especially the elderly, an idea after hearing about a woman that had been dead in her flat for a week before she was found and no one on the street really knew who she was.

This work was created and contributed by L O’ Qshin via our ABC Pool Project.