Sunday, January 26, 2020

Post Three Hundred and One: Softening

The cat breathes, her exhale making a throaty sound. A syncopated humph. The smooth swoosh of a car as it passes outside. From the sound of it, there's still the sweat of summer rain on the road. 

It feels like a nice time to time travel. 

My first home that I remember clearly was the one my parents bought in Wanneroo, Western Australia in 1988 after moving further out from the RAAF base. To this day I could draw you a map of the route from our home at 37 Belgrade Road to East Wanneroo Pre-Primary School. Mum worked there for a while as a cleaner, and being the youngest kid with my older sisters already in other schools, she'd take me to work with her. While she cleaned I'd draw on the blackboards and snoop through the children's desks. I stole stickers and stamps mostly. In fact, I also used to steal from Coles New World. I stuffed my Brownie Girl uniform pockets with a Golden Rough and a Mint Pattie once but fearing the retribution of my father if he ever found out, I returned them back to the shelf the very next afternoon. 

I hated school in Western Australia. I hated it because I hated Daniel Delborello, a five year old that wouldn't leave me the fuck alone. It's always been a challenge to be female, and even as a small child I have memories of understanding that men and boys were awarded many privileges that I would be told to suffer through. There was a boy that I did like, Christopher, who had hair as white as snow and golden skin, but he ended up pushing me out of a treehouse in that year before school and the fall broke my wrist. I don't think we saw much more of him again. It comes as no surprise that I loved my friend Carly more, and I assumed that I'd probably marry her one day if I couldn't get my hands on Ranger Stacey from Agro's cartoon connection.  

One day, I'd say in 1989, I decided that I'd had enough of life at home with my regularly combative family so I packed up my favourite knick knacks in a hankerchief and tied it to a stick. I'd seen Blinky Bill take a hike like this and I was confident that this was all I needed for a life outdoors. Out I went, up towards the school. "Mum better not find me when she goes to work" I said to myself. When I turned out of my street I looked back, thinking how sad it was that nobody yet knew that I was running away. Nobody ran out to stop me. So away I went, for hours, playing in the bush behind the school with all the beautiful kangaroo paw, the Xanthorrhoea and the Chamelaucium. 

I was even sadder when the sun went down and I made my way home. The rough life wasn't for me at five years of age. And no one asked me where I'd been or what I'd seen. It was then that I learned that I could ghost if I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, and in many ways this survival technique saw me through a number of difficult transitions. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Post Three Hundred: Graveyard.

It was a sports day and my blue school shorts offered more skin. I can't remember why we were fighting. Eleven years old, maybe twelve. 

We were two or three roundabouts from home after school, driving through the fancier part of the neighbourhood where the backyards met an unimaginative man-made canal system. Where I imagined that this sort of combat wasn't an every day expectancy. She slapped my leg hard with her left hand, harder than usual. Even with the welting imprint burning up my thigh, I watched her. There were no secrets to discover from the way the muscles in her face sat to suggest that she wanted to communicate more than this fire. She had no intentions of watching me in return.  

I have forgiven, over and over.  I appreciate the grieving that I went through for a relationship that I didn't feel that I had. I'm realising now, at thirty four, that mothering has a mythology of it's own and just because our story deviated from this, it doesn't mean that we have failed to exist. 

Every now and again I will accidentally excavate some experience that causes pain; the time Dad chased mum around the backyard with a rake and my friends and I watched, giggling from the back toy room because we didn't understand. Or my first period, which I kept to myself for months. I stole my first bra from an old stash of my sisters that I'd found in the spare room. I noticed one day from my reflection in motion, half way through a team dance rehearsal, that my breasts were budding. I mourned then. I knew that I didn't want to share whatever this was and it was in isolation that I both blossomed and withered.

I will share my joy with who I chose, and how. My door is open to love, but armoured by a lifetime of attack and defense. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

This one time when I had road rage

Anchored hands jerked the wheel

perfectly ten and two.

tossed liked the hull and bow of a passenger liner 

bowing to Poseidon

back and forth

back and forth

over the violent deep.

The sound of my own voice.
Did I startle at this curdled cry, wet

as a baby.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


It was quiet. No platitudes. No casseroles. No broken heart emoji laden tributes.


I wonder who bought the dress that they put back on the shelf. On my flesh and bones it sat, briefly, tucked into my waist with a pair of bull nose clips. But it was magnificent, and I deserved to see me in it. I won't have the joy of kissing in it next month, but I like to imagine the day in store for it after being hemmed up to the height of the right girl. 

No one died, but there's a part of me calling for the space and time to respect the fallen. And to be acknowledged within my grief and relief. I have both, and sometimes they bicker. 

Where's the narratives to look at that feature women who try and fail. Someone needs to write a guidebook for the ones that got away or got away upon. 

I am not lost, but I lost. 

My ghost of a September wedding. For a bride-to-be that isn't to be, I'm left wondering what I can do with this time. I didn't realise before now that you could observe a countdown even when the vital components of ritual have been deconstructed. 

I have almost lost to time the tactile memory of it, my ring, cold on my skin and nestled between the two low creases of that fourth finger. 


Friday, July 21, 2017

Post Two Hundred and Thirty: Unspoken

I've had this word, unspoken, in my head for weeks. 


I don't know what to do with it. I don't really know what it might want from me. I've played with it, toyed with it as a concept and a tool, and I've let it sit and steep like a tea. 


But where do you start, and how do you stop, when you're polishing stories like knives and forks and serving truths.  

I cringe at the noise of social platforms. I cringe harder at the irony of pointing it out when I contribute to the endlessly rising volume. Considered things, talk and text that fit a smooth narrative. Things that speak of a transparency, but through the lense of creation. Can something formed ever be free of shape? 

Here, I will speak to this, the picture says. 

This is something that you can talk to me about, I say into the screen. 

This is what I feel safe to share.


There are things that I preference. That we preference. And this comes at a cost to the issues that cause us discomfort. That cause me pain.

I am slipping my fingers between the gaps in my thoughts and spreading them open like the threads of a long, thin knitted scarf. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Post Two Hundred and Twenty Nine: Pine and Vinyl

What fears aren't mine, but yours?

What have I carried for you, but have forgotten to put down?

I always had places in my home that I could hide in.

In the late 80's it was easy for me to scale over the edge of the wooden toy box and layer a menagerie of glow worms, cabbage patch kids, and carebears over and around me like an encoffined babe.

By the time that I was six, I had learned to seamlessly disappear from the watch of my sisters and parents and I made a home in the cypress pine tree in the backyard.  A miniature door was constructed out of some scrap metal propped up against the far reaching tree branches and the side of the fence, and unbeknownst to the rest of the world that little door created a magic portal into a space of unyielding potential.  My memories of others joining me in the tree are few, bar a handful of friends from kindergarten that complained of the itchy needles scratching their skin and my sister Deb, who was rapidly growing bored of my style of play being five years my senior. I suspect her absence in the tree house was also due to her being hyper aware of my proximity to her Ninja Turtle card collection which she protected with a matching strength of Poseidon over his Seas.

I'd carefully hung 'ornaments' made out of trash in the branches and intended for them to signify different levels of the cubby. Winding around the trunk in a circular fashion you could easily make your way up through each 'room' to the roof of the house and sit up there, undisturbed, to watch the clouds take the shapes of my Enid Blyton book characters. Eventually, I was banned from the tree because I was covered in scratches and itchy bites, which my parents put down to fleas from the birds that lived within my sanctuary.

My mothers closet soon became a place of wonder. I would gently slide open each drawer in her dresser, with it's wobbly plastic ornamental handles, and innocently sniff each silky nightie or pair of socks. Though laundered, they smelt of her. Often I'd find a block of Cadbury's hazelnut chocolate, with it's purple paper wrap, in the drawer that she thought I couldn't reach. I'd wonder why she didn't want to share with us, to keep this happiness to herself, but I'd never dare to break a row off in the belief that I'd never catch her out in a sneak again.

One particular item of treasure was a blue vinyl cosmetic case that mum hid behind the shoes on the floor of the wardrobe. It could be locked via the strap across the top of the case which clipped in to a close, however Mum never bothered with the key, much to my delight. Inside was a mix of old Avon cosmetics, pearl pink lipsticks with cracked lids that smelt of glycerine soap and blue eyeshadow pallets rarely given their opportunity to shimmer. But thrown into the mix of powders and primers were a few tattered photos from Mum's younger years, old Christmas bon-bon prizes which would fascinate for hours and some clip on earrings that I'd put on and then rip off thinking that they would somehow leave an evidential scar. I would spend what seemed like hours lifting each trinket out of the case, imagining it's life out of the closet, and then putting each one back carefully before clicking closed the clasp. Imagining what it would be like to be a woman was more challenging than imagining myself as a Diplodocus, and I'm not sure if all that time imagining, literally hiding in the closet under the skirts, prepared me for the realities of my born gender.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Post Two Hundred and Twenty Eight: The Couch

I expected that I'd be writing forever here, y'know, and then one day I just stopped. I'm not sure whether it was too uncomfortable or embarrassing, maybe I felt like an imposter in my own home, but I lost connection to the blog that was started so long ago under such different circumstances. It's like picking up a diary from school and following on without break in the ink. And I cringe, yet I yearn for a similar expressive space.

I don't miss the mortuary. I do, however, miss the sense of purpose the job provided. The reward was rich, and helping the dead made things more interesting than now. There was a strong sense of duty and an element of selflessness that seems lost in the wider business operations.

I am only now coming to realise that in losing my daily dedication, I have been in mourning.

People poo-poo dwelling in the past. I can understand why, but I figure that if you haven't quite nabbed why you're feeling a little lost, maybe the past isn't a bad place to visit so that you can wrap up the ends.

I like remembering where I was when I first started writing on the blog, even if the memories are tinged with sadness.

In the beginning I'd ride my girlfriend's bike home from work, take a shower and plonk on the couch with the laptop. Every day I'd rush to write an entry so that by the time she came home I'd have something to show her. When the relationship ended I painted a world that was unshaken, but it was far from the truth, and writing from other couches and with other people wracked me with guilt. The blog brought me other people, but never a sense of pride.

The years passed and naturally the entries stacked so as to follow days, but I've been writing from a distance, away from the couch.

I have been in mourning.