• Natalia Garcia

editor's note

Welcome to our first edition – the first of many, I wholeheartedly hope. As I sit writing these words, a whole stream of emotions comes to mind, kind of like that “life flashes in front of your eyes” moment they talk about in the movies. I’ve longed for this day for so long, the feeling is a bit overwhelming. When I say “this day”, I don’t mean it literally. Let me back up a bit.


Two years ago, I wrote an article. I’d been made redundant in January 2019, at 3-ish months pregnant, and was left with this terrible feeling I couldn’t shake: a mix of heartbreak, loss, fear, and rage. Being a generally positive and glass-half-full kind of gal, I didn’t know what to do with so much bitterness. So, I wrote. The article was published soon after and that changed everything. Women from everywhere wrote to me. Local women, women in the UK, Africa and from back home. The same, similar or worse had happened to them. We talked it over, letting it all out, not looking for solutions but just holding space for our shared pain. Some had never quite gotten over their loss, but others told me about this mythical day, when I would look back and understand why it had all happened. I longed for that day with my whole being.


The power of community and holding space is incredible. We’ve been reminded of that in our isolation over the last year. So many people found ways to connect and create stronger communities online to help them get over the loss of physical proximity. Our hearts and bodies ache to be held and told things will be ok. As I scrolled through social media on many a sleepless night feeding a tiny newborn, I noticed how little of the content I was consuming was created by women like me – migrants, members of a diaspora, women of colour. Even though I consciously sought after these accounts, others received much more exposure by the mysterious inner workings of the algorithms.


Mainstream media in Australia is overwhelmingly white. Growing up in Clayton, Melbourne, my family, neighbours and classmates looked nothing like the people on tv, film, newspapers or radios. Even though people of colour represent – and the statistics on this are very fuzzy – about 30% of Australian population, we make up less than 2% of people in media. That means the broad range of views and experiences we hold are left untold, unheard, unseen. It also burdens a select few with being representatives of whole communities. Something which is both unfair and completely impossible to achieve.


This collection of writing and conversations called kindling & sage is meant to be just that: a collection of writing and conversations. By no means do the individuals represent their different communities. We represent ourselves, our stories and lived experience, our work and thoughts. We live at intersections of gender and race, but we do not represent the experiences of all those who live at the same intersections. While representation is diverse, there’s no limit to diversity.


There was no set theme for our first edition – I was adamant that we could write about anything. While race, ethnicity, gender (and the many other intersections we live in) shape our worldview, we can experience and write about love, joy, pop culture etc as much as we do racism, prejudice and othering. That said, the submissions that started coming in often talked about the latter. This first edition holds space for the things that we want to get out. It’s titled Identity because many of the articles discuss who we are and how we’ve come to be. The experiences that have shaped us, the interactions that changed us, the path we’re on.


I hope that when you read these stories you find yourself reflected on the page – that is the foremost intention of this collection. To reflect experiences that are at the same time unique and shared. May these experiences fuel our fires and lead us to continue creating our own spaces and narratives that value and reflect the broad range of perspectives and experiences we hold.


with love, gratitude and solidarity,

natalia

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