Despite being one of the richest nations on earth, many communities in Australia face entrenched poverty, ongoing dispossession, marginalisation, racism, violence, addiction and a range of other barriers to health and wellbeing.
I grew up in a socially disadvantaged community and experienced firsthand the difficulties of leading a life beyond its hardships. Our choices were limited, chaos and dysfunction seemed normal, yet the dream to ‘leave and start a new life’ also meant leaving our family, friends and close-knit community behind. As a result, the challenges faced by young women became a particular concern to me.
Our notion of ‘love’ is handed down through generations of fairy tales, pink Barbie Dolls and the idea of living ‘happily ever after’. Being without love in an environment where belonging is critical, can leave a woman vulnerable. Rather than understanding the complexities and realities of social disadvantage, women and their family’s shoulder the blame for deviating from the nuclear family image. This has led me to explore the tensions between love, longing and belonging.
Part of an ongoing long-term project, You’ll Know It When You Feel It is a reflection of loss, hope, vulnerability and resilience. Providing glimpses into the lived experience of young women, their families, achievements and struggles, it is clear love and belonging are irresistible in the face of adversity.
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