Notes on Dysphoria and Desperation

el waddingham

Content Warning: Gender dysphoria, sexism

i want to be successful

the way that a man is successful.

i want to be desired the way

the man is desired.

i want to be handed opportunity by default

my hard work

means very little

when staring down the face of male mediocrity.


i want to talk over others.

cram my hand into the mouth of someone much smarter than me.

i want to boast about myself

and steal your time away from you.

i want to speak my mind

while you are degraded for speaking yours.

i want to be praised for my commitment

while you are mocked for yours.


male rage is artistic and deep

female rage is camp and frivolous

no matter your talent




opportunity will never be



it will always come at a price

this is not equality

this is not meritocracy

this is a child

a product

of your mediocrity


i break my body

contort my shape

to mirror yours.

and no matter how much of myself

i give and give

and give

and give

i will never be you.

every drop of blood

every empty tear duct


i have because

of me.

because of my work

because of my power

i have never been handed



and on my sagging shoulders

i hold the weight


of the women

who never got their time in the sun

their share of the rations

of what little we get in this life

because of you.

i can live with their weight

can you?


we knew we would always be the muses

the ones to blame for wrongs

the divine inspiration

when eve bit the apple.

Author: el waddingham is an emerging stage poet, actor and theatre fairy from Meanjin. They currently study a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) at QUT, and have work published by Theatrehaus and Minimum Wines, with a work under development with Queensland Theatre. A queer artist with punch, el is a fierce and honest voice in challenging artistic convention.

Artist: SaBelle Pobjoy-Sherriff is a third year fine arts visual arts student. Her art practice uses narrative and mythology to create obscure illustrations and sculptures. Using acrylic paint and coloured pencils she creates vibrant worlds and creatures. Her current work focuses on the current climate crisis and the idea of corrupting escapism. You can find more on her Instagram @SaBelleeee.

Editors: Jasmine Tait and Eliana Fritz