Haven for the living Princess and the Pea

“Favourite people”, self-love & empowerment

I want to know if you can bear the throb of abandonment,

And not abandon your own soul.

I want to know if you can be your biggest cheerleader,

Your own knight in shining armour,

When no one is by your side.

Continue reading ““Favourite people”, self-love & empowerment”

Love: a double-edged sword

As I have written about in another post, one of my all time favourite stories is White Oleander. The book/film is about a young foster girl called Astrid who moves from foster home to foster home, tragedy following her everywhere. There is a moment in the film where Astrid’s social worker offers her a good foster family. Instead Astrid chooses Rena. Staggering across the yard in high heels, a low-cut spaghetti top bulging with boobs, a pencil skirt, and sunnies, Rena screams bad news. The reason Astrid chooses such a shitty foster home is because the pain of finding love and then losing it is worse than the pain of not having been loved at all. Hope is not always our friend, and the higher we go, the greater we have to fall. Continue reading “Love: a double-edged sword”

A real life Hogwarts

As I was watching Harry Potter the other evening, I was thinking how this hospital to me is very much what Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is to Harry. I’m sure all who have stayed in a psych hospital can attest to that strange feeling separation, or insulation, from the world beyond. Your sense of time changes and mental health is no longer something you have to hide. When you leave there is a distinct feeling of crossing a veil much like platform nine and three quarters. The hospital is a parallel world, and a world I’m finding I much prefer, despite the difficulties I’ve had in here. Continue reading “A real life Hogwarts”

Merry-go-round of life

Cars swirling round and round

Their whir a daily greeting

soon to be followed by the clunk of the cleaner

rattling down the hallway

Lingering, like the pong of chlorine or artificial fragrance,

Scrubbing and vacuuming floors barely trodden

Replacing towels unused

Over and over. Continue reading “Merry-go-round of life”

Blur of faces

“And you stand in your permanence, my name unwrapped on your tongue like an awkward gift when I haven’t got you one.” Prosopagnosia, Ros Barber

Cluedo has always been one of my favourite games, and a game I came to be quite good at. Over the years, however, I’ve found myself playing a different kind of Cluedo. Embarrassingly, I seem to be losing the ability to recognise faces, so have had to decipher who someone is using some quite round-about ways. This strange disability, which I’ve found difficult to talk about, is something that’s landed me in several awkward situations these last many years. There was the time I met a tech savvy man at a filmmaking workshop and he offered to fix my film’s volume for an upcoming festival we were working towards. We exchanged email addresses and communicated a fair bit online before the festival. However, as the day of the screening got closer, I became more and more anxious as I knew I would struggle to recognise and therefore acknowledge him at the screening. A lot of people can sympathise with anxiety over public speaking, work pressures or social events in general, but I have met no one else who’s had to deal with the added anxiety that comes with not being able to recognise/process faces. Continue reading “Blur of faces”

Early morning awakenings (trigger warning)

I’ve been living under a rock the last many years in terms of current affairs, but last night something kept me in the lounge room when my father turned on the television to watch the seven o’clock ABC news. The very first report was about the royal commission into institutional child sex abuse which was conducted between 2013 and 2017 (an article of the news report can be read here). I had never paid much attention to it, but for some reason it had been on my mind all week as I’ve been trying to understand the things I wrote about in my previous post, ‘An invisible scar’. There must have been something in the air. It was wonderful to hear some positive news for once: Malcolm Turnbull apologised to the survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of institutions, and announced the government are implementing many changes to prevent it from happening again, some of which are listed at Continue reading “Early morning awakenings (trigger warning)”

Daughter of Juniper Icewitch

Born of the blizzards, of blankets of white and of trembling water, she is both mesmerising and dangerous. Her world is desolate, and she is sad and lonely, especially as Jupiter Icewitch keeps her locked in a tower of ice.

One day, through the window of her prison, she spies a traveller from a faraway land. The fog is thick but she manages to make out the outline of a young girl. As the girl nears the tower, Juniper Icewitch’s daughter sticks her arm through the bars of the window and waves furiously. She then reaches into her hair of needle-leaves and extracts a branch for the traveller, dropping it through the window.

The young traveller makes her way up the tower, following a spiral stairway until she reaches the door of the prison. As no one ever visited these hostile lands, Juniper Icewitch had left the key in the door. The traveller turns the key and enters. She then returns the key to Juniper Icewitch’s daughter.

The young traveller comes from a land of flowing water and trees which reach for the stars. She is confident, popular and bursting with life. Juniper Icewitch’s daughter envies the girl, so she sprints for the door, slams it behind her and locks it. She then flees her dreary world and tells everyone a story of tragedy and triumph, of how, for years, she was locked in a prison but she managed to survive and break free. She elicits the sympathy and admiration of all who hear her tale. She is commended for her bravery, strength and dignity. None hear the story of the young traveller, who remains in that prison to this day.

The power of forgiveness and letting go

I read a quote once which said we should forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because we deserve peace. I found myself thinking about this when writing my previous post, “An invisible scar”. While there is a place for anger, there is a point where anger just ends up hurting ourselves, like punching a fist through a window. There is no finer example than the story of my friend’s mother and the pathological grudge she carried and took out on myself and my family. The woman died of cancer in her forties, an illness that, I believe, does not happen in isolation from one’s emotional life. Continue reading “The power of forgiveness and letting go”

An invisible scar

“All those years drifting in space
I have known you well, yet I’ve never seen your face
You turn around, looking at me, laughter in your eyes
And now I can see”
Hayley Westenra, ‘Across the Universe of Time’

Some people grow up believing they’re dumb or ugly. I grew up believing I was a rapist. When I was five, I was accused of sexually assaulting my friend. The story, woven by my friend and her mother like venomous spiders, spread through the principal’s office, the classroom and the school yard, and I was no longer allowed to see my friend. The story did not end at the school gate too. It spread into the houses of mutual friends, into the neighbourhood which I unfortunately shared with my friend, and other schools we both found ourselves at years later. I had a number of friends taken away from me due to the story. I was watched in the yard by teachers and when I went to play with them I was told I had to play somewhere else. I had my enrolment declined at one school due to the story. I had my reputation stained. My friend and I both went to the same high school- the local, Catholic college for girls. Here the story was used as a reason to bully and exclude me, and a couple of my friend’s friends- her assassins- threatened to hurt me if I were to come near her or if she were to get expelled for her slander. As a child I often had dreams that none of this ever happened and we were still friends. But then I would wake up to this reality again. I was told that I was as good as a criminal, a message drilled into me every single day. My friend’s mother did not drive and walked everywhere with her children. Whenever they’d approach our house, her mother would lead them onto the grassy terra strip on the opposite side of the road where they would pass our house as far away as they could possibly get without trespassing on our opposing neighbour’s property. Her mother continued this routine for the rest of her life. Continue reading “An invisible scar”

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