Thursday, November 11, 2010


It's kind of scary putting this stuff up here because it feels SO whiney and Hand To Brow Tragic to write out the memories in my head, when really, it's just life.

Which is what I do though. I tell myself that how I feel/felt isn't true, it doesn't/didn't matter, and is based on my own fantasy.

My childhood was great! I was the problem! They suffered though, because of me!

so I feel a) kind of embarrassed to be moaning and complaining, and b) guilty because THEY were perfect, and I WAS the problem.

Which I KNOW isn't true because if you're going to SAY that to a child, then your child is NOT the problem.


I don't know what came before this, but fourteen is dirty. Hide her. Shove her behind you and do not look back.

But I KNOW I washed my hair regularly back then, and I KNOW I showered daily because I remember my parents bitching at me about it.

That's really all I remember. Flashes of being at school, and nothing of home, and dirty hair and being ashamed.

When I look at being fourteen, I can't see her face, it's hidden behind her dirty hair. I know her skin is a mess too. She picks at her skin, and all she sees in the mirror is freckles and scars, so don't notice her. Please please please don't see her.

Her mum should really take her to the doctor about her skin, because it's not that bad, but the picking is.

If my kid picked the crap out of her face, I'd be concerned not angry.

Everything about Fourteen is embarrassing. She can't go anywhere without being so aware of how awful she looks. she can't talk without hearing that voice, that awful lisp from that fucking plate in her mouth. Two years and counting and her teeth are getting worse not better.

I see this age and I wonder what on earth happened to this girl this past year. Seriously, what the hell happened?


Thirteen was destroyed by puberty. All the other girls' mums had put a brown paper bag with a pad in it in their school bags, but Thirteen had to steal one from her mum, and put in a paper bag herself. She's embarrased her mum hadn;t done it for her.

and she wants a bra so badly because she has BOOBS. Her mum tells her to wear singlets instead, but seriously? Singlets?! Obviously this mum REALLY wants her daughter to be a social outcast, or have all the boys tease her because THAT'S WHAT THEY DO, mum.

Getting her period was pretty exciting though because it's all the girls talked about because pretty much everyone was getting theirs this year

Thirteen was at home when she got it, and so glad her her best friend was staying over too, and her best friend had just got hers the week before and Joanne told her everything about what to do and squee! This is SO EXCITING.

Turns out, for Thirteen, it wasn't so exciting at all. it wasn't Crossing the Threshold Of Womanhood, it was the beginning of the end.

Thirteen's mum told her she'd have to keep herself REALLY clean now too, in case of the smell.

and at Thirteen her parents were already up in her grill about the daioy showering so, yeah. Right.

Highlight of Becoming A Woman was when Thirteen's brother had a blood nose all over the bathroom and her dad got angry at her and rewound the old It's Dirty bullshit on her thirteen and excruciatingly embarrassed about Girl Stuff ass.

Thirteen feels like it was ONLY about The Period, and with The Period came the Weight Gain. The PERFECTLY NORMAL weight gain that ALL girls go through at puberty.

Except Thirteen's mother didn't reassure Thirteen when Thirteen freaked out about The Thighs, The Hips, OMG, she agreed with her.

So Thirteen was also about the long, tortuous, and really fucking distorted relationship I still have with my body.

I still don't quite understand why Fourteen feels so dirty and ashamed though.

I mean, I CAN see it, but I really really REALLY don't want to.


To both you girls, I wish you could find someone to tell you you're okay. That your body is beautiful because it's meant to do a million billion weirdass things to you in one short year. I wish you had an older sister or an aunt or a school nurse or someone to tell you it's okay to want a bra, or that having your period isn't your fault. it's nature's timetable, you didn't mean to grow up to soon, you grew up when you were meant to.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Nine is good. she's gutsy, this one. Changed herself when she changed schools. Gone was the cringingly shy social retard, and in came the outgoing, chatty, self assured, kind of endearing blabbermouth.

I have NO idea how she did that, because seriosuly, that's a big task going from crying behind your mother's skirt one day, and leaping out of the box with your arms spread wide. I'm really glad she did because I'm still using the same body armour today. Except without the flying Arms. It was a total scam act then, and it still is now, so this one served me well. Thanks for that, Nine. I'm still a total game show host and you're the reason why.

Nine had the best teacher ever. Shout out to you, Mr Skeers. He was the only one in her entire school life who worked out how to challenge this girl to use her brain, without her becoming paralysed with fear. The rest of them were all "could do better", does not apply herself", and of course "talks too much", and these comments did not inspire her to walk harder at all. Not because she thought "fuck you, assholes" although she SHOULD have, but because she wasn't a non appling loser. She was TERRIFIED of failing, and that kind of bullshit really cemented the giant L she believed hung over her head. Other kids might strive harder and harder to win, some kids opt out altogether. Hello, me.

So he praised her for her attitude, her willingness to rebuild a complicated puzzle, handed to her in a plastic bag with the vague instruction "see what you can do with that".. He shared her excitement for resolving complicated number sequences. He was proud of the path she took to get to the answer, not of the answer itself. He showed her possibilities and he showed her how it felt to be an explorer, and that giant L disappeared for a while.

She was proud of herself and her confidence grew.

Then it all stopped.

Nine's mum had marched up to school one day and told Mr Skeers to back off, "My daughter's stressed and it's your fault".

It wasn't, but Nine's mum wasn't the brightest bulb in the Aware Of Self And Environment pack.

(As I write this too, I wonder if having a confident child where one had once had a retiring wallflower might have been a bit confronting? I do know that families have a working dynamic, and when one changes their role, the others work to restablish the stasis.. Hmm)

Nine wasn't collected from school until five most nights, and her mother was usually later than that. The first time she was, nine cried, literally. "Where WERE you?", and her mother got SO ANGRY she'd even asked. So she stopped asking and became so good at cramming herself into a hole every afternoon at 3.30. Don't feel, don't be. This is how you belong, this is how you survive.

She's spent her life being invisible, so she learned something else at school that year. She learned that she was couragous and determined.

She did gymnastics that year too. (Seriously, this Mr Skeers dude is totally going to get Facebook and I'm going to send him a giant high five). She wasn't particularly good at it, but only because she was fearful. What if, what if? etc, but she loved it. She never, ever ever in all that time did a back flip on her own, but nine never stopped practising. She'd ask for help each time, and she never gave up, and Mr Skeers never stopped reminding her she could do it on her own, whenever she was ready, and that for now, he'd be there helping her through.

Which is why I'm proud of nine. She asked for help and she didn't explode into a million pieces.

Nine seems to be a lot about her teacher, but it's really about her. He was pretty amazing, but unless she had the courage to BE different, she'd never have let him help her be amazing too.


You know what, Nine? If you were my kid and you were a chatty little non applying A grade student, I'd be HAPPY.

Your life has endless possibilities, and you don't need to be more like anybody other than yourself. You are perfect the way you are.

Now go dance and sing and when you need help, keep asking.

I love you.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


For the next however long it takes, I'm to remember myself between the ages of nine and seventeen, and to think of the relationships I have now, with the girl I was then.



I can only picture her from the neck down. I know what she looks like, but I can't see her head. The outline is there, and it's small and birdlike, featureless and grey. That kind of freaks me out.

My initial thoughts are that I wish she'd go away. You don't do anything, you aren't anything. Jesus, you are SO LAZY it's disgusting. You are SUCH a disappointment, but as I think these things, the image of her turns away from me. She's walking away. If she's not there, I won't be angry, and if I'm not angry, my life will be better.

My anger fades rapidly now, because she's me and I know how sad she is. She has no idea she's sad, because she has nothing to contrast that feeling with. She has NO idea who she is. She's paralysed because she knows what she's been told, and she doesn't want to be THAT, but how can she not be that if she IS that? If she doesn't move, maybe no one will notice her.

If I could, I'd tell her to walk away. NOt from me, from THAT.

But she can't be left alone, because being alone is why she's here in front of me, so I take her hand. I'll look after her until she can look after herself, and then I'll look after her forever anyway, for the rest of her life, because it's going to take that long because this girl is so destroyed she can't even brush her own teeth without someone else lifting her arm.

And I feel sad for her, not impatient with her, because she's not even in there. All she is is a shell. I don't even where she is.

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