My Hopes, Memories and Dreams

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To all my beautiful readers….I would love to invite you to come with me on the next pathway of my life that is unfolding. Pop on over for a visit to Colleen DuBois Medium and Authenticity Specialist

Coming out of the “Spiritual Closet”

Colleen DuBois

celebrate-every-love

“Here we go…” I hear you say…”Another one of those social media posts featuring crystals, angel feathers and purple velvet!” #iamagoddess #enlightenment #soulfood

Well.. it’s actually a bit deeper than that for me. You see, it’s about owning up to being myself. Like any “coming out”… I imagine. It has only taken forty years and in fact I am still a ‘work in progress’, but perhaps it’s the next bold step after half a lifetime of learning to speak out and allow my inner presence to be seen. I have grappled with the fear of being judged, ridiculed, mocked or plain misunderstood but ultimately I am here writing these words as I have come to know that each time we share our soul’s true purpose, not only do we make things easier on ourselves, we can encourage others on their own path of acceptance.

So here goes…

I talk to dead…

View original post 698 more words


Desperately, seeking Miley

A stained red pout

curved

….cracked

……….craving

Bored and boring

…like countless others

Pressed dispassionately

upon the lens

Doe-eyes outlined

in Raven Vixen

belie the shallow pools within

Desperately pleading

seeking

external  capture

….just one small glimpse

of plastic perfection

binding an ego

stripped bare

from

within


Skin to Skin

You lend me your softness

so that

I might remember

the gentleness

that resonates

from touch

skin to skin

and back again

A heaving

of dark days

folded in upon itself

unwinding

amongst the tangles

of

eggshell blue

Egyptian cotton

Your tenderness

spills

like liquid silk

creating rapids

along each softened ridge

to refill

my languishing

vessel

 


Free Falling

 

 

 

 

 

free falling

through the hollow

finger tips straining

desperately, to hold on…

…to what?

That certainty that alludes me…?

one can not grasp that

which is not in reach

I invoke the screams of Alice

beckoned further down the spiral

by the Darkness

that is

my Rabbit Hole

as every nerve cell in my being

chooses to coagulate in my chest

pelting, fruitlessly

like stone cold hail

against the window to my soul

too numb to retaliate

Tired

from the ravishing anxieties

that appear to have swallowed whole

the gravity

of

my being


Silent auction to support QLD flood relief

Clare Richards

Clare Richards, author and publisher of Tropical Cuisine: Cooking in Clare’s Kitchen, has arranged a silent auction of 10 of her books to raise money for the many thousands upon thousands of people affected by the Queensland floods.

I have re-posted her Press Release below. Please visit the Silent Auction page of Tropical Cuisine: Cooking in Clare’s Kitchen

STOP PRESS

In December tropical cuisine: cooking in clare’s kitchen was awarded the Best Innovative Cookbook in Australia by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Category winners in each country have since been judged against other winners in the same category in other countries for the Best in World. The Gourmand judges have now shortlisted four contenders for Best Innovative Cookbook in the world, and tropical cuisine: cooking in clare’s kitchen is one of these top four books.

This wonderful news can help me raise as much as possible by gaining media attention for tropical cuisine, so apologies to the current top 10 bidders but I have decided to extend the bidding deadline to next Tuesday 25th January 9pm AEST. My cookbook and the auction will receive media attention over the weekend and I hope that this helps to raise further funds for the QLD Flood Relief appeal.

………………………………………………………

The impact of the floods in Queensland is currently beyond comprehension, and the ongoing risk of further flooding makes what is already a disaster of extraordinary scale even more daunting.

I have been contemplating what I can do to support those affected by the floods.

Anyone who has been involved in publishing, and particularly self-publishing, would know that it leaves one with meagre resources and takes strong sales over time to come ‘back into the black’.

But I do have one thing to give – my book.

So I decided to run a silent auction of 10 of my books to raise money for the many thousands upon thousands of people affected by the Queensland floods.

Here is how it works:

Australian bids start at $59.95 Australian Dollars (AUD).

International bids start at $99.95 Australian Dollars (AUD) ($40 of international bids will go towards postage, I will cover the remaining postage cost as Australia’s international postage costs are so high).

DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE as winners of the 10 books won will be asked to make their payment directly to the QLD Flood Relief Appeal fund.

(International winning bidders will pay $40AUD of their winning bid towards postage and this portion of a winning international bid will not be tax deductible). Winners will then provide evidence of their payment to claim their cookbook.

Bids are to be made on the Silent Auction page

I will post the bid range daily at 9pm, from the lowest of the 10 highest bids to the highest bid of all. The auction runs for 10 days and closes at 9pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Friday 21st January 2011.

The 10 highest bidders will be the winners of the auction.

Each of the 10 winning bid amounts will be listed on this website, with winners choosing whether they wish their name to be listed or kept private.

Bids must be paid by 9pm Sunday 23rd January AEST via the silent auction payment page, the link to which will be sent to each winner (Paypal, Visa or MasterCard accepted). If bids are not paid by that time the bid will be annulled and the next closest bidder will be notified.

The only cost recouped from the auction will be $40AUD from each successful international bid – all other funds will go directly to the Queensland Flood Relief appeal. If $59.95 is beyond your means to contribute at auction, or if you don’t obtain a winning bid, please consider donating directly to the Queensland Flood Relief appeal.

Books will be inscribed as follows:

“This book is one of ten copies won in a silent auction that raised $…… for those affected by the Queensland floods. Thank you ………… for your generous support, kind regards, Clare”

I hope you will join me in this effort to raise funds for our fellow citizens. Please send the link to this post (http://tropicalcuisine.com/2011/01/11/silent-auction-to-support-qld-flood-relief/) and the donation page (http://tropicalcuisine.com/silent-auction/) to anyone who you feel may be interested, and keep checking in to see how the auction is progressing,

kind regards,

Clare


Flood Ravaged Queensland

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broken waters
from river banks swollen
bore down upon humanity
…unleashing with fury
an urban tsunami

a mother’s heart wrenched
her love denied
for an infant snatched
stolen
by a force indiscriminate
…screams turn to whispers

see arms extended
on roof tops, hopeful
to bodies floating
life sucked upstream
…another tragedy
another helpless victim

the grief of Queensland
sunk in the psyche
of a nation, stoic
determindly dedicating
tear stained pages
to heroic tales
of
heartache
….and rebirth


Only Sixteen

She was only sixteen

They said

Her juvenile notions but fleeting

Extinguishable by a puff

of clandestine condemnation

Like sixteen candles

Stuck helplessly

On vanilla sponge

with cream

 

She was only sixteen…

Caught at the mercy

of life so confounding

Deceit and damnation

The only maiden offering

Her will torn

Dismembered

Anchored in roots

….turned rotten

Whilst visions in shades of joy

and hope

Flickered mercilessly around her head

 

…I was only sixteen


2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,700 times in 2010. That’s about 23 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 65 posts. There were 85 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 92mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 4th with 182 views. The most popular post that day was Riding Rainbows.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogsurfer.us, australianblogs.com.au, 2a24.wordpress.com, WordPress Dashboard, and paulandrewrussell.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for make up case, lunch box, make up cases, open door, and pincushion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Riding Rainbows April 2010
23 comments

2

About Me July 2009
56 comments

3

Dreamtime Lore April 2010
21 comments

4

The Jam Sandwich November 2009
8 comments

5

I am not a pin cushion September 2009
19 comments


Insomnia

Accelerated thoughts

Stream,

              Surge

At 1am

Nonsensical rapids

              of

                   images and words

Racing heart beats out-paced

                                                                           Dark corners taken unabashed

                                                        Such unhinged leaps of consciousness

                                                                            Transporting past to future

                                                                      …in reverse

                                                                            No finish line of sleep in sight

                                                                                       At 1am

                                                                                                  My mind berserk !






Little girl, Little me

Little girl

Me, aged 4

…Little me

Sunshine soaked comfort

Caresses tender, innocence

Salt tainted sea breeze

Augmenting parched desire

An inner thirst

For a want, then unnamed

…Yet secretly possessed

Gratitude exudes

For a pink bunny to hold dear

Your sweetness echoes

in floral strains, near

Such reassurance

In recognition

….A glimmer of me

Caught dancing

between

Shadows of you


Beginnings

A slate wiped clean

Like crisp white cotton

Beckons the Now

To rest upon its’ welcoming folds

A virginal awakening

Giving birth to realisation

Such liberation to behold

In escapement of the soul


Glorious Cairns…Far North Queenlsand…Australia

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Lost and Forgotten

Discharged into the arms of a stranger              
Wearing  a government badge
They sent him out into the world
All of three weeks old
“Public Hospital”
Stamped in blue ink
Across the back of his borrowed jumpsuit
Not even a bag
To carry his mother’s milk
Let alone to pack some dignity and respect into
And they said it was okay…

“This is your new home”
They told him
Pointing to the bare grey concrete floors
And the musty, worn sheets on the bed
A frozen pie for dinner
$1.99..is what you are worth
While he watched them eat steak 
It was a roof over his head
He should be grateful
And he was reminded so every day…

He dared not move
As they pinned down his arm
For “You have been a bad boy !”
Said the scalding hot water
As he looked the other way
But “..accidents happen”
The perpetrator said
Easier to turn a blind eye
He watched the officials slink away
After telling him he was “okay”

These are the stories of the little ones…
Who simply want a safe space to play
And ‘tell someone whom you trust in’
Is all we have to say


Dreamtime Lore

This photograph has been taken from Digital Photo Gallery of Ted Szukalski

They came with their God and their book
Told him he was outcast, naked and poor
Shunned his tucker, language and lore
Tried to bleach him
With their righteous weapons
Their guns and disease
To scrub and scour all trace
Of what had gone before…
They came, sirens blaring
And took his children away
Filling him with their poison
“It will be better this way”
Yet the cockatoos screeched
a raucous chorus of ridicule
That echoed throughout the land
For the white invaders
Could never extinguish
Spirit’s dreamtime tryst
Between
Mother country
…And this ancient man


Happy Family Holidays

“But we always took her on family holidays !” became the familiar retort espoused by my mother in an attempt to defend her ‘excellent parenting skills’ around the time I finally sought help to leave  home. She’d tell anyone who cared to listen… the family doctor, priest, police, social worker, judge…man on the street. She even tried the defense on ME as she barricaded me from exiting the front door on my eventual day of exit from the madness. It was an attempt to paint me as a spoilt, ungrateful teenager; which in hindsight was of course as transparent and feeble as the ice queen was herself.

I had neither the opportunity nor resolve during that period to illuminate those whose opinions may have mattered regarding the truth of what a ‘happy family holiday’ realistically entailed; yet the physical reaction her comment evoked within me was palpable. The inner turmoil in response to her audacity broiled inside each time I heard the defense repeated. My breathing accelerated and the veins in my neck and arms were hit up with intense shot of adrenaline. Yet at that time, even as a sixteen year old I still did not have ownership of the release of expression from my lips. Subsequently they remained in their locked pose, except on the handful of occasions when I simply knew my future depended it. Somehow then, I found the words.

“You’ve ruined my make up !”, she screamed, the accusation sweeping through the two bedroom cottage like the scream of cyclonic wind signalling an encroaching storm. “What have you done? You’ve ruined all my make up”.

I was eight or nine years of age. My parents had agreed that I could invite a friend from school on our trip to the Grampians, a rugged mountain range in the Victorian countryside. I looked at the figure of my friend Siobhan who sat on the opposite bed in the small room we had just begun to settle into after finally arriving following the long car drive. Her small frame shrunk back into the shield of the curtains, surrounded in the late afternoon light that filtered through the ominous mountain ranges surrounding us. The eerie fall of dusk across the vast national park had already set the tone for the first night of our stay. I had tried to shrug it off as my regular “doom and gloom” outlook that must have snuck into my suitcase as I packed that morning. Perhaps it too wanted to have a holiday from the oppression that typically created it, unaware it was hitching a ride with the perpetrator.

Coming to my senses, I quickly leapt up from the bed and stepped into the hallway, urging my school friend to stay put. Poor Siobhan sat frozen with a stunned expression, utterly flawed at my mother’s sudden outburst. I had no idea what I was walking into, but experience told me it was best to try and shield my friend from at least some of the commotion and just get it over and done with.

As I closed the bedroom door behind me, a hand clasped my shoulder and I was spun into the front room of the cottage where my mother had started to unpack her things. I blinked and tried to gather my bearings, unfamiliar with the wooden paneled interior of the holiday cottage.

There !” she pointed towards the dresser where her tan vinyl make up case sat innocently staring back at me with equal amounts of confusion.

“You touched my make up and now look at it. It’s ruined. RUINED”, she screamed hysterically, both hands now upon my shoulders.

My body rocked back and forth to the rhythm of her ranting but my consciousness sat squarely within my head which was spinning metaphorically as I struggled to make sense of her accusations. Whilst I concentrated on anchoring my feet to the floor, as the room swirled around me, I retraced my steps from the moment we had arrived at the cottage. We had all brought various pieces of luggage in from the car, my mother, father, Siobhan and I. Did I pick up the make-up case ? I couldn’t recall. Could it have been tousled about in the boot of the car enabling the contents to end up in the strewn about fashion they now resembled ? Possibly… but dare I suggest it ? I was exhibiting text book behaviour of a victim of abuse at eight years of age by questioning my own actions and sense of responsibility for my mother’s distress.

“But I didn’t touch your make-up!” I cried…then instantly regretted it.

“Don’t lie to me ! You lying, dishonest child” she shrieked as the sting of a open palm reverberated across my face.

I spent the next hour ‘cleaning up the mess I had made’, painstakingly attempting to filter bits of powder back into little bottles whilst Siobhan sat bewildered and most likely quite frightened, in the bedroom. What would I want with your make-up ? I thought to myself angrily as I worked, As if I’d want to paint myself to look like you !

I wonder why my father does not feature in these memories at all. I believe at some stage he emerged from the shadows, by which time the scene had played out and the damage done.

Needless to say, Siobhan was not the only friend to regret agreeing to accompany me on a ‘happy family holiday’. There was more such fun to be had…

(To be continued…)


Riding Rainbows

Little girls
My growing girls
Your sweet giggles of innocence
Still tippy-toe
Across my heart

Hear my whispers
Kissed gently upon you
Listen for their song
That only silence knows

Keep riding rainbows
My Little Girls
For loves, thrills and adventures
Lie eagerly in wait

Stretch yourselves with courage
(And delight !)
Through the clouds that will float by
‘Til your finger tips come to rest
Upon your horizons

And when your dreams and ambitions
Land momentarily
To catch their breath
Toss me a star
And I’ll join you there…


The Wet ~ Tropical North Queensland ~ Australia

Hi friends ! I thought I would share with you some pictures of my world here in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia. Right now we are in the midst of the wet season and it hasn’t stopped raining for days.

Today the kids and I had a bit of fun at the park at the bottom of our street that as you can see has transformed into a lake ! (Fortunately, we live on a hill !) Then we went for a short drive to the Barron Gorge to see her in all her glory. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday !

This is a picnic bench. The seats are below water !

Ash, Chloe and Jack having fun !

The spectacular Barron Gorge

Surprise Creek Falls...about five minutes from home.


The Well Within

I always knew

the well ran deep

A seemingly bottomless pit

So dark and hollow

That for such a long time

I dared not look into…

For the vastness scared me

When I peered inside

Having never learnt

There were walls

Called boundaries

With special nooks

That lay within

To tuck away

Little reserves

of love

Just

…for

Me


Indood.com

A couple of days ago I was contacted by Roger from Indood.com with a request to publish one of my childhood stories Take me too !

Take a look, you’ll also find a carefully chosen selection of prose, short stories and poetry. 

indood

four things worth reading. once each week. submit yours.

Take me too!

by Colleen DuBois

My finger-tips came to rest upon the golden door handle supported by a steady hand, delicately placed with all the resolve of a surgeon preparing for the first incision. It was quite a feat actually considering the rest of my body was shaking and I could no longer feel the carpeted floor beneath me. Continued…


Ebb and Flow

Like a line in the sand                          

You draw me to you…

Each grain of tender energy

Leaves trails

Along the valleys

of breath intertwined

then, exhaled

To settle

Between the ebb and flow

of the gentle, knowing tide

that binds us


Take me too !

My finger-tips came to rest upon the golden door handle supported by a steady hand, delicately placed with all the resolve of a surgeon preparing for the first incision. It was quite a feat actually considering the rest of my body was shaking and I could no longer feel the carpeted floor beneath me. I was aware the slightest movement of the handle would create a squeak and I had not made my mind up yet if I wanted to make my presence known to those on the other side of the door. The internal struggle was creating havoc in every aspect of my being. My lips quivered, sweat ran from my pores and the beating of my heart could not catch up with the pace of my breathing. Thoughts swirled around my head as if my mind was set to a rapid spin cycle. Should I or shouldn’t I? The temptation pulled with magnetic force but the risks involved were also quite prominent in my mind. This could mean an escape…a way out, the voice of hope persisted in my head, Given what’s happening they may not need to much convincing. Yes, but would they really take me seriously?

I can’t entirely recall the events that had lead to my predicament that afternoon as most of the visual memories present as images of the interior of my bedroom. Possibly I had the music turned up in my room to drown out the sounds of physical scuffles and hysterical voices on the other side of the walls. Plus, there were many scenarios in my family experience that were similar to the one playing out before me. This time it related to the youngest of my four brothers Aaron, and the constant struggle he found himself engaged in as he grappled with his intensifying anger towards our parents and his growing acknowledgment of their contribution to the miserable persona that engulfed him.

It is interesting how each child’s personality and specific traits impact upon their experience of survival from an emotionally destructive childhood. Personality impacts upon one’s level of resilience that in turn, affects the inevitable choice to either confront or deny the behaviour. My brother was at last attempting in his own way to confront our parents for the years of soul-destroying torment he had endured at their hands. Tortured by a stutter that manifested as a consequence of the anxiety experienced due to living within an explosive and unpredictable home, ridiculed for his sensitivities and set up to be ostracised by his older brothers, he had a fractured sense of identity that left a gaping hole in his core. I don’t think at that stage he was able to identify the link between the years of their belittling of him and his current state of social isolation and unhappiness, but the anger had risen to the surface and was directed fairly and squarely in their direction. I was glad of it. I was hopeful that in lashing out at them and at the world, he might be steered in the direction of help…outside help that was bigger and braver than anything I at thirteen years of age, could offer.

It seemed that he had already sought that help. And this afternoon’s experience taught me that therapists can sometimes offer rather strange advice. Apparently my poor brother had sought the guidance of a highly respected psychologist who suggested he “have a couple of stiff drinks” before approaching my parents to challenge their behaviour towards him. It may have seemed reasonable to the therapist to offer this type of advice to a twenty year old male but the risk of him taking the recommendation just one step further was indisputable and, I suspect it may have resulted in consumption of more than a “couple” of drinks. During the confrontation that ensued in the living room that afternoon, my parents who were unaccustomed to their authority being challenged, would have looked intently for any signs of influence to my brother’s newly ignited courage and located it on his breath. Unfortunately, this was perfect fodder for their catch-cry claim as innocent victims at the hands of the bullying of their children. And so they dialled 000 and requested the police attend the home as soon as possible.

“Our son has turned on us, he is going crazy and I fear he will attack my husband”, I hear my mother say down the phone in feigned tones of fear and distress.

The presence of three marked police cars in one’s street is not a welcoming look in a quiet middle class neighbourhood. No wonder none of the housewives who regularly witnessed such commotion at number 24 through their lace curtains, ever came knocking at the door with offerings of home baked muffins. As a child my world-view was one based on fear. Every occurrence, every outsider, every belief system or custom that differed from my own, was ingrained within me as having corruptive influences. It took a while for me to understand for those on the outside looking in to my world, the view would have been as scary as hell itself. For almost all, it was in fact too scary, to really want to get involved. I soon learnt there was no hope of rescue by an outsider.

With my ear pressed up to the gap between the bedroom door and the wall, I heard a police officer guide Aaron from the front of the house away from the commotion and down towards the end of the hall way, just outside the door to my room.

“Ok, have you had a couple of drinks mate?” inquired the friendly sounding female constable.

“Well maybe…” responded my brother breathlessly as he tried to elaborate on his distress.

“I can see nothing is going to be resolved here”, the policewoman interjected.

“How about I walk you outside and you head off then?” she offered.

Take me, oh take me too!, a voice inside me screamed silently as my body stood frozen behind the door while my energy pulled violently towards the hallway.

The police had no idea I was there bearing witness from behind the scenes to all that was going on that afternoon. When I had glimpsed their vehicles arrive from behind the heavy curtains that framed the front living room windows, my parents had ordered me to my room. I was happy to comply.

Maybe I won’t need to come out voluntarily. Maybe they’ll come looking for me? Surely they’d want to know if there were any other children in the house?

I stood immobilised as I listened to their footsteps walk back up the hall in the direction of the front door.


Pierced through the Heart

Your absence strikes

Like a needle

Pierced straight through the heart

Desire

        Loss

Craving

…the inaccessible…

Patterns that bleed

Through each year

Each month

    Week

        Day

            Moment

Of the tapestry

That is

My Childhood Story

Those knots

in my stomach

…Stitched so tight

Leave gaping holes

In my core

My sense of love

for myself

So intrinsically linked

        With

                You


Happy Birthday Chloe !

You lay
Where they placed you

A Bundle of Love

Soft and warm
Against my skin
Exhausted
From the twisting, shoving
Little trooper ! ….
You fought for your place
Here
Relaxed
In the knowing
You were adored

Courage exuded
From every
innocent pore
Each limb
Extended
…little shoots
of solid oak
A strength
transplanted
from your mother’s love

HAPPY 11th Birthday, My Darling Daughter Chloe xoxoxo


A Birthday Surprise

EMW9WJYNBAKN The moment I alighted the family station wagon that sunny morning of the 6th of October 1982, I had no choice but to succumb to the senses of hearing and touch in order to access clues to my environment. I allowed my feet to take my body in the direction I was being lead and became conscious of the stony gravel crunching under the soles of my sandals. Some even managed to slip through the gaps in the leather between my toes where dusty sand began to gather. A warm sea breeze played cheekily with my hair, which flipped about in a pony tail tied loosely at the back of my neck. Excited tones of children’s voices lapped at my ears and my heart rose in my chest with the anticipation of all that was to come.

My inner voice was particularly audible in this moment, perhaps due to the loss of one particular all-consuming sense that otherwise took centre stage. The presence of the blindfold, a thick woolen scarf that was successfully meeting its obligation of blackening out the scenery before me, suddenly gave permission to that inner voice to leap forth in my consciousness.

“Just be prepared, alright…that’s all I’m saying”.

I swallowed hard. I knew it. I knew this was too good to be true.  There was always a catch….always a let down. Where there was enjoyment, the claws of disappointment lay waiting for it’s prey. Me. My stomach was in knots by now. The ride was over. Metaphorical kicks landed in my gut…pound, pound, pound.

“Why did you allow yourself to feel it?”, the inner critic scowled at me like I was a silly child.

Well…I was a child…a child excited at the prospect of a surprise birthday party organized by her parents.

“Gee, sorry for wanting some well-intentioned excitement to materialize in my life!”, I retorted despondently.

After all, I hadn’t been completely naive. Nagging thoughts had plagued me that something was not right with this scenario unfolding before me, ever since it was first suggested by my mother a couple of weeks earlier. I had simply shoved them to the back corner of my mind and dumped a few piles of hopefulness on top to keep their muffled screams stifled for a while. A kid’s allowed to have some fun surely!

Even whilst I meticulously addressed each hand written invitation to the eight or so children I had mustered up the courage to invite to my seventh birthday party, I had watched my hand become uncharacteristically shaky as it swapped between rainbow colored scented pens. Reality was never really far from the surface despite my longing to slip into a world of Brady Bunch like contentment. I could not help but ask myself the questions.

Why was she doing this, I pondered with bewilderment and awe. Why would my mother be acting with such sickly sweet generosity ? I gave up long ago on any attempts to decipher her motivation behind such uncharacteristic behaviour. This time she had suggested that she would arrange a birthday party at a surprise location and that I may invite eight of my friends. The laughter filled hub of activity that now surrounded me was materializing as the unidentifiable location, and I was terrified. It felt as if one more step forward on my behalf would be all that was needed to smash though the trip wire that I knew was an inevitable obstacle in my path.

It was time. I felt hands maneuvering behind my head as the tightly bound scarf was given reprieve from its task. I chimed in on the tail end of its’ own sigh of relief, however once my eyes focused on the scene before me, my breath escalated to a high-pitched gasp. I covered my mouth with my hands in shock as my eyes darted over to my mother in disbelief and then back again to make sense of what lay before me. All the other seven-year-old children who were gathered around squealed in delight and giggled in response to my reaction. I could not share their enthusiasm.

Before me stood the tallest, most ominous looking slippery slide I had ever seen. Standing at the base it towered above me, its’ rainbow coloured paint-work shining rapturously in the bright morning sun. But I knew, just like the colourful costume that clowns wear, this was simply a façade that served as an entrapment to an unsuspecting child as they raced up the stairs clutching their heshen sack. I however, saw straight through to the harsh metal base, the perfect conductor for the brutal Australian heat. It glared down at me, causing a chill to run down my legs that were now wobbling beneath me like jelly.

My eyes darted back to my mother and I stared at her intently in disbelief. Then I promptly burst into tears. They knew I was terrified of slides. She knew I was terrified of slides. All slides…any slides…anything to do with slides. Even the local park variety of slide installed within me the greatest terror. I’m not sure how the fear originated but I do recall even as young as four years of age, crying and attempting to resist the coaxing of my older brothers to join them on a water slide at a water park we were visiting during a family holiday. At the time, the thought of the combination of height, speed and rushing water was just too much to contemplate, and in hindsight, understandably so. However, my participation appeared to be a mandatory clause I had somehow overlooked when signing on for this family, and so my father forcibly sat me on his lap and down I went. Once was enough. Apparently this was all that was needed to ingrain the terror in me a little deeper.

And here I found myself once more, with the same urge to run and nowhere to go. Backing out was not an option, despite the copious tears that drenched my party dress. I looked up at my parents in disbelief. Why would they plan this knowing full well of my fear? How could this plan ever be envisaged as the perfect celebration to brighten my birthday and fill me with joy and delight? Oh, that’s right…ofcourse…This was the catch. Again I stared intently into my mother’s eyes and recognized the signs of satisfaction…almost glee, that she seemed to obtain from orchestrating another’s heart-ache. Forgive me if I am sounding melodramatic, but this terror was real and demonstrated previously on countless occasions that made it impossible for anyone who knew me closely, particularly my parents…to deny. And here I stood in a dusty suburban theme park, having been lead specifically to the Magic Mountain of Slides. To me, this was no “Fun Park”.

And then I also had to contend with being confronted by the shame and embarrassment I felt in this moment as my peers and their parents stared at me in confusion. This was a scenario that would haunt me in similar social situations throughout my childhood as I found myself caught in the predicament of rationalizing my responses as my parents stood perfectly composed, presenting their well-rehearsed middle-class niceties, seemingly bewildered by my behaviour. Unable to explain my distress through muffled sobs, I was left looking like a spoilt little brat who was not pleased with her birthday surprise. As my mother tightened the grip on my arm whilst still smiling through her red lipstick, she lowered her mouth to my ear and in inaudible tones to the rest of the gathering, she ordered me to join the other children on the climb to the top of the stairs.