My Hopes, Memories and Dreams

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

girl_mirrorThe mirror at the end of the hallway is old and disused. Smudges of finger marks and sprinklings of dust sit comfortably in the crevices of the gold leafed frame, almost smirking with a self-assured confidence that they will not be disturbed.

I’m tall enough now to see my whole head and shoulders in the reflection, although it’s dark here at the end of the hall way. The tacky timber panelling along the wall shrouds the mirror like an ominous shadow. It appears as if to swallow the creamy carpet up below and branch up through the ceiling above. I reach for the light switch near the door that leads to the kitchen and glimpse over my shoulder to check the sliding door to the living area is closed. The familiar tones of a news program slip through the gap under the door to escape down the hallway towards me. Click. A golden hue illuminates the space.

I am eleven.. twelve… thirteen. The face before me is ever changing. Loosening the hair tie, my long auburn hair falls with relief around my shoulders. Tucking strands behind my left ear, I think of the girls at school who always look so radiant and bouncy. I wanted to look relaxed like them but as much as I tried, I couldn’t. I always felt tight inside, my insides bound by a knot that wound together the nerves connecting my chest and stomach. I suffered from constant attacks of hiccups and was forever attempting to drink a glass full of water with my head tipped upside down. It was a major feat this magical hiccup cure, which usually eventuated with half the water gushing up one nostril and the rest of it running down my shirt. Or sometimes, the tension within me would creep even into my lungs and I would actually forget to take a breath and have to gasp for air. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even notice the short, sharp breaths until someone sitting next to me at school would comment, “Are you alright? You’re breathing funny. “

Leaning slightly closer to the mirror, I acknowledge that my skin is quite nice …bright and golden. I run my finger down the bridge of my nose, landing on the silky smooth tip. There are no signs of the bumpy oiliness that oozes forth inconsiderately from many pre-teen pores. My friend’s mother used to say it was because I drank plenty of water. Her words made me feel good. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but her acknowledgment felt so comforting. My cheeks filled with a warm glow and my lips opened to expose a grin that beamed so bright, my friend squinted back at me, shrugged and left the room. She didn’t understand. Couldn’t. I wanted one like that…a mother who would notice my clear skin and commend me for drinking lots of water. I wasn’t asking for much? Was I? Some people seemed to manage to get one like this. What did I do to be given such a raw deal?, I used to think.

Combing my fringe to the side with my fingers, I wondered if I was morphing into the kind of girl that a boy would look twice at. I stared into her hazel eyes seeking to lose myself, if only momentarily into a place over the rainbow. Here a Johnny Depp look-a-like would ride in on his motorbike, offer me his leather jacket for protection and burn off into distance as I draped my body around his in complete and utter surrender. I tell myself to quit being ridiculous. No-one will want to look at me that way. By the time I was sixteen, my visions had darkened somewhat to paint escapism scenarios of a different kind. I imagined stepping out into the path of a moving car or wading into the ocean until it covered my head.

With a sigh I reach to towards the light switch but it is too late. My mother steps through the kitchen door.  In one swift movement I scoop up my hair pulling it tightly back into a pony tail. She seemed to have an uncanny ability to always know where I was and what I was doing.

“What are you looking in the mirror for ?, she sniggers, “Think you’re some kind of model do you?”

“No”, I mumble and retreat back into my bedroom, shutting the door behind me.


16 responses

  1. Colleen,
    Have you thought of creating an outline for a book, then maybe a book proposal? Every time I read another of your pieces, I feel hearts and minds reaching out to you, like your words are needed now (or soon, anyway) for healing.
    When you began writing it was to heal yourself, but it is clearly about so much more than your healing–it could be a gift to the world.

    October 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    • Pam,
      There are tear drops falling on my keyboard. You are so lovely. Thanks to a comment and link provided by Marstead, I recently submitted a brief outline / intro and a couple of examples of my writing to Harper Collins. Apart from that, I don’t really know where to turn. That is to say, I haven’t really done the research…yet ! At the moment I just feel like I need to keep writing it out. But yes, the voice inside the head has always said “You should write a book”. I get such a kick out of sharing my story here on my blog that I would love to reach a wider audience one day, and hope to weave the message of survival and resilience through my story, for other young people to understand there is a reason we are born into difficult situations…it’s a matter of accepting that and forging ahead to learn whatever we are here to learn from it.

      Now, let me reach for a tissue…..


      October 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

  2. There are many “mothers” who can not accept a female child being beautiful and smart, kind and loving. It’s the wicked step mother all over again. And woe the girl child that has to face that every day of her life. The self doubt and pain takes years and millions of words to wash away. This to shall pass. And in the end look at who you are and have yet to be and do. The world is knocking at your door. Pick your eyes up off the floor, return the look eye to eye, open the door, and let them in. As you can see you have set off a fire storm Ms. Thing. Take a bow. Oh, lest I forget thank you for my award and for the incredible photo of the lagoon fishes.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    • As always Sara, thankyou for your support. Saying the words I need to say comes from a bold new place inside that now doesn’t hesitate before telling the world what was really going on. Here I stand, door wide open. Welcome in everyone !

      October 14, 2009 at 11:34 pm

      • It’s better the second time!

        November 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm

  3. Looking at you, as beautiful as you are, inside and out, I can’t imagine your mother not wanting to lift you high on a pedestal and watch you shine. But as Sara said, there are some mothers who simply don’t deserve the title. I guess that is what it comes down to–the realization that “mother” does not imply “love.” It should, and it does for me, and for you, and for all loving mothers, and we can’t comprehend how any parent could ever treat his/her child this way. Still it happens every day. Colleen, I truly believe that you have a very special purpose here in this world, and that day by day, word by word and tear by tear, you are making it come to fruition.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:52 am

    • oh, how fabulous you all are ! Thank you for you vote of confidence.

      Yes, it brings up the question of how my own mother was raised and what she clearly missed out on. I don’t know that history…just snippets of stories…but I’m not ready to go there yet. Can’t feel the sympathy. Maybe one day. Looking at my own two beautiful girls I just can not imagine…can not put myself in her place.

      Sending Hugs right back at you !

      October 15, 2009 at 3:23 am

  4. I am so moved by this tender exploration of self, this loving look at a difficult past.

    What stands out so clearly is the pure radiance of that young girl… How I want to scoop her up and tell her that she is more wonderful than she can possibly imagine.

    I hope you keep going with this Colleen… I can feel the healing vibrations!

    October 15, 2009 at 5:40 am

    • Thank you Belle. I am practicing scooping that inner child up myself and giving her the hugs and recognition she is entitled to…that every child is entitled to. It is never too late. I truly believe that.

      See you at my place or yours soon ! oxox

      October 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

  5. spiritteacher

    Isn’t it lovely that your children have you for a mother. No matter what your childhood, you clearly found the ability to transcend your parents parenting. Thank God for you and for your lucky children who are being raised in love. Love, Sharie

    November 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    • Thank you Sharie. Yes, I was always very conscious from a young age that I would not repeat the pattern. There has been great healing for me in that awareness over the years. Thank you for visiting.

      November 11, 2009 at 12:47 am

  6. I’m sorry, this goes against what I’m about, but I’d really like to slap your mom! I know it’s in your past and you have gained such beauty in the way you share your story, but sometimes it just sucks we can’t go back in time and deliver a wake up call to people when they need it most.
    loving you here!!! ~

    November 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    • Hi Cindy. I sort of feel sorry for her because I know that she missed out on the joy I am experiencing with my own daughters. But I can not feel forgiveness…yet…and have not had any contact with her since I left home at 16. Though the hurt is not so raw these days, as I commented above to Sharie, there has been great healing for me over the years from the decision to consciously mother my girls with love and light.

      November 11, 2009 at 12:51 am

      • an admirable way to look at things! Forgiveness can be fickle… it seems you get it down ‘pat’ one day, and you’re dealing with it again the next. Healing through and with your daughters is about the best legacy anyone could try for!

        November 11, 2009 at 4:58 am

  7. Heather Conroy

    I find enormous comfort in imagining myself as a young child of 4 or 5 and my mum and dad as children of that age as well. In tough times I put all of us as children together inside my heart to play and just be. I don’t exactly know what we all do in there but my heart softens and I feel better. It has helped me to forgive.

    November 11, 2009 at 7:20 am

    • Hi Heather,

      I have attempted similar types of visualisations such as the Journey Work process of Brandon Bays. Maybe I will revisit it in the future. I am glad though that you have found a way to find comfort and can appreciate the healing that can occur through these processes.

      November 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm

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