Meet Coley

Hi I’m Coley, I’m an occasional writer based in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I’ve been featured in places like The Guardian and Catalogue Magazine.

Professionally, I work in community outreach and communications. I’ve previously worked in campaigning, social policy, disability services, family violence and opposition politics.

I’m a proud step-mama, an animal witch and above all an advocate for women. I’m committed to ending rape culture, fostering sex positivity and learning about decolonisation.

Here’s a piece I wrote for Tirohia Mai at the New Zealand National Library, which sums up a lot of my thoughts on feminism and social justice.

Being a woman now means learning and unlearning. It means living with a harmful narrative of myself and others. A narrative that doesn’t come from within, but takes years to unlearn.

It means experiencing freedom and empowerment when I remind myself there’s no right way to be a woman.

It means learning about the privileges I have and lack. Unlearning the things which make me part of a system of oppression. Learning power in numbers when everything pits us against each other.

It means being afraid to walk at night in my beautiful city. It means comforting my loved ones when they disclose experiences of rape, harassment and guilt. It means getting denied a work opportunity because of my distracting breasts at age 24.

Being a woman now means searching for my elders in womanhood. Thanking those I owe my freedoms to, but wanting to move past indebtedness in order to work together. It means, too often, feeling a generational isolation because of a difference in ideologies.

I have more opportunities than ever before. Some discrimination is dying. But that which remains is being driven further into the fabric of society, hiding in plain sight as the norm. I am made to feel I should be thankful and stop complaining.

It means finding a magnificent source of energy, inspiration and support in solidarity. I am humbled every day to be part of a community which is committed to gender equity.

For me, being a woman now is about fighting against the notion that I shouldn’t be fighting at all.