Siren Empire Stories


Here is a little selection of the stories I have been doing over at Siren Empire. I hope you enjoy them!

Here is what to do if you are caught by an energy-zapper! 

This is what it felt like to be in a coma.

Clothes, Shopping and Image.

How to embrace anger.

When alcohol becomes a problem.

This is what love is.

Loneliness.

 

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White Ribbon Day, 2015


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Today is White Ribbon Day and a plethora of emotions rise to the surface, as do memories. I recall when I was living in a small town, there was a single mum of three little girls. She had been subjected to much violence, and was now starting again. She owned her own business, and she and the girls were finally happy. Her ex-husband starting drinking more, which fuelled his aggression. He was verbally aggressive on the phone and in person, when she dropped the girls to the designated meeting spot for access visits. This lady was a fey-like creature, huge orbital eyes, tiny with long golden hair, and it would break my heart when she recalled the nights of violence she had endured. He was a mountain of a man. I was at her place when he rang one evening, slurring his words. I heard him promise to shoot her when she dropped the girls off in the car park of a fast-food restaurant. He did indeed own a rifle. She had the hide to start her own business and offer her children safety and security. I insisted that I go in her place. It wasn’t an offer, but an order. She was terrified that if she didn’t obey the court order, he would come after her and the courts would again punish her. I got out of the car with the girls, and he appeared startled to see me. This bear of a man was frightened! I nervously offered forth commentary on the weather, and other inane subjects. I got back in the car and my clenched hands were dripping with sweat.

I have had knocks at my door at night, and my home has offered refuge to mums and their kids. One dear lady came by with her little boys, having caught a bus from her house. She had been shoved and she had been hit. I took photos of her bruises. When she went to the bathroom, her seven-year old whispered to me, “he yells all the time.” I drew him close to me, desperate to vanquish this hell from their precious lives.

I have had women come visiting, and delight in keeping me company for ten hours straight whilst I tended the routine chores of everyday life. They have simply not wanted to go home, fearing what may happen. Imagine getting into trouble for talking to a barista at the café, for not having dinner on the table. Imagine flinching when there is silence, and at the screaming to come. Imagine having to deal with rage, not knowing what shall set it off from one day to the next. Imagine being left without money. This heartbreaking pictorial appeared this morning, and I sat and reflected for a while, both on the sketches and also on the description of the women therein. It is up to us all as a society, to be vigilant and to be vocal. It is my dearest wish that the next generation don’t have to be termed ‘survivors,’ for they won’t have any horror to survive.

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Fear of Anger.


1396700_661739503859898_417416647_nI have learnt an important lesson, regarding the power of my mind. It excels at terrifying me, leading me to envisage catastrophic explosions. A teacher had invited my daughter and myself along to a festival, to take part in a parade. We would be walking with the Scottish group. I used to do Scottish dancing, and my husband and I both have Scottish heritage (our clans were mortal enemies). This teacher is incredibly passionate and creative. I gasped when I saw her classroom. Every available space-including the ceiling,was taken up with art. Colour and shape, movement and whimsy. Recently, floor space had been taken over by costumes.

She had borrowed quite a few from celebrated dancers, and the kilts were valued in the thousands. I went for a fitting for my wench outfit weeks ago, at the same time my daughter was fitted for her dancer outfit. I lovingly put my dress up and got on with life. Several nights ago, I sat bolt upright with a horrible thought. Where was my daughter’s outfit? Where the bloody hell did I put it? Mine was staring at me, but I couldn’t for the life of me recall where hers was. Oh my God! Catastrophe! My daughter wouldn’t be able to march. Everyone would be bitterly disappointed in me, and the worst part? They would be angry. I was awake throughout the night, worried that I would incur wrath the next morning. I couldn’t find my daughter’s outfit anywhere. I went into school after having turned out every bag I own, every wardrobe and drawer. My friend greeted me and reminded me that the kid’s outfits were ready to be picked up. You mean to say, I didn’t take it home with me? I could have kissed her! All that panic, for nothing. I am a confident and capable adult, but when I am faced with confrontation, and possibly anger, I become a child. I was never allowed to be angry, and if I disappointed anyone as a little girl, their rage didn’t bear thinking about. It’s exhausting trying to make everyone happy, tiptoeing around danger, afraid of letting anyone down. I still have work to do. There are parts of my psyche that need to be gathered and strengthened. I learnt that the adult needs to reassure this kid, and find solutions. She retreated. The threat of anger was just too much. Healing is like an onion, and you peel back one layer, to be presented with many more. It was a wonderful parade.

Anger.


Today, I learnt that a group of bad guys from my past were flourishing, and planned to open a business nearby. My first reaction was numbness. I couldn’t feel anything, nor did I want to. Nervous energy needed an outlet, and I cleaned my guinea pig’s hutches. I paced. I put on music. My daughter could feel the nervous energy and asked what was wrong. I couldn’t tell her. She is seven. It would require a long, convoluted explanation that I didn’t want to give to this precious child. These people almost successfully ensured that I didn’t get to grow up, and have her. I took her to school, and had coffee with a friend, a lovely distraction. I then became pissed off. How dare these people ever be allowed to be in a position of trust again. I want more for kids. I want more for my kid. I want them to live in a world where the bad guys get punished. I want her to live in a world where stuff like this doesn’t happen to kids at all. The truth will come out. It always does. I know that. I have been around long enough to see empires crumble, villains brought to justice and Royal Commissions uncover the reality of various groups. For now, I will treat myself well, go for a stroll in the sunshine and pick my daughter up from school. I can’t wait to play with her this afternoon and hear about her day. We are planning a trip to Nutcote, May Gibbs’ home. A place of Gumnut babies who get away from Banksia men.

My Book Launch.


As a little girl, I had big dreams. I had a mighty future ahead of me. My family was fractured, and I hoped that if I was responsible enough, loving, kind and silent enough, we would get through the darkness, together. It was not to be. I could never have envisioned what was to come. The drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse. The threat to send me away for finding my voice and relaying what was happening. The day they actually went through with their threat… This book wrote itself throughout those years. Scribbled on pieces of paper were each wound, with dates and times. Stuffed under my mattress. If I lived, I would tell. For the sake of condensing my story, I couldn’t relay all that went on, and there was a lot! What was more pressing was to relay that a young girl was hurt, desperately. At thirteen, she tried to take her life for the first time, such was her despair. She was treated as rubbish, and ignored by those who could have helped her. Rubbing two cold stones together, she produced a spark. From that spark, grew a flame. She wouldn’t listen to these people, abusing her, stripping the marrow from her bones. What the hell did they know about faith, about love, about her? Nothing. They knew nothing of themselves either. She decided to create a rich internal world, where the good guys win, and girls like her actually get to grow up. The past two decades have been a tumultuous ride toward healing. Nightmares and scores of operations. Pain and hope. The one thing that she never did was listen to the echoes of her abusers, the stinging words, which rattled about in her mind. What the hell did they ever know about her? That frightened girl, who used to lock herself in the linen cupboard whilst waiting for the police to arrive, who dreamed of leaving and being adopted into a stable family. That girl is me. I got to grow up! I have a wonderful husband, who has been through the inferno with me, often charging in ahead to take the brunt of the blows. I have a miracle daughter. I am blessed. I pray that this is never allowed to happen to another kid. Last year, I discovered that two other girls, one nineteen, and one sixteen, were abused in this clinic. One suicided. This is why I am speaking out. I got to grow up, and so many that I shared this story with, didn’t. I speak for them. Thankyou from the depths of my soul, Jo and Barry. I sent a proposal off, moved house and a year or so passed. One night, I was awoken with a deep need to check the spam box in my email. I was scrolling down, when I saw an email from JoJo Publishers. They wanted to talk with me! If I hadn’t checked my spam, I would never have known… Thankyou to Anne Van Alkemade, an amazing editor and now dear friend. Thankyou to beautiful Meldi and Ariel bookshop for all of your work and incredible kindness. Thankyou to Don Smith from the White Ribbon Foundation for speaking tonight, and Brian Bell for your wondrous poem. Thankyou to Suzanne Grae for supporting the White Ribbon Foundation, and dressing me for the launch. Thankyou to all my beautiful family here tonight. I love you all deeply. Thankyou to Tommy and Lizzie, for always believing in me. I am a blessed woman. I got to grow up.