This post is dedicated to the beautiful Elijah Rainbow; for all that you were, all that you will always be and all that you could have been, with my love x
Several weeks ago I was asked to speak at a Keynote Presentation on Victim Awareness in the Mental Health sector, presented by Angelhands, a not for profit organisation that works to provide support for those affected by homicide or serious personal violence. This was a very big deal for me for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that I feel very strongly that silence and secrecy contributed to Daughter Number One’s death and, like this blog, this opportunity gave me the chance to speak about my beautiful Daughter and hope that in some small way it will help someone else. Secondly, I used to go to these kind of things, back before my life imploded. I used to to eat them up. Learning is fun! I have a folder full of qualifications and certificates from training days and the like that I’ve never used but have collected in my travels. Third reason was that it gave me a boost of self worth and a timely reminder of my value. Which we all need every now and then, don’t we?
Overwhelmingly it was a positive experience for me. Although the only public speaking I have done in over a decade was at the wedding I went to eighteen months ago I was confident I could do it based on my long since past days at the Australian Theatre for Young People when I was sixteen and my desire to get it done. I was hoping to tap into a different head space, than my present day to day one, and I was able to manage that.
Maybe I managed it a little too well. For a little while I completely forgot why I was there. As I said, I’ve been to plenty of similar events where I was on the other side of the podium. As I listened to the other speakers I found myself really getting into their words. I looked around the room and listened to the questions the attendees asked and I could have been one of them. My tertiary qualifications are probably similar. I didn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable or intimidated – which I thought maybe I would.
Son Number Two came with me and as he sat next to me listening to Ian Carter, CEO of Anglicare, speak to Anglicare’s Community Perceptions Report 2014: Family and Domestic Violence (which you can find here) I could see him reacting physically, flinching as he heard the sobering statistics. When Daughter Number One was very young she attended a few protests with me. Not a bad thing. My now seventeen year old Son Number Two hearing some hard facts on Domestic Violence – NOT A BAD THING!
Before, during and after the Angelhands event my glorious friends surrounded me with their love and the positivity and extent of their confidence in me was truly humbling, as always. When I don’t believe in me I believe in them and their belief in me and that has gotten me through on many days. I have been thinking about the girl I was who won the scholarship to ATYP and the one in the photo above. The young woman I was when my Daughter Number One died and the woman I have become since then; the person I am today. I am all of them and she is all of me and then some. I am more than the sum of my parts and the ones who truly love me have taught me that. There are vast expanses of myself yet to discover and explore, and beautiful oasis’ to revisit and I treasure the ones who value me enough to be part of the odyssey that is me.
A couple of weeks ago I had a message from Baby Daddy to let me know that in a couple of years he will be having Daughter Number Two undergo a cosmetic dental procedure to rid her of the ‘unsightly’ gap between her teeth. You know, like the one I have? He has no idea who I am and all the ways that Daughter Number Two is a part of me and I of her. That however hard he tries he cannot erase me from her. Given the approaching season I’ve also been reflecting on the fact that Baby Daddy told Daughter Number Two that Santa was not real the year she turned six. He told her because she had found her presents. This pains me terribly, still, two years later. She’s eight now and still young enough to believe in that magic. But instead she chooses her own Christmas presents and she knows she is getting an xbox this year. Which is super great because as it happens she is meant to be spending Christmas with me but I can’t compete with the xbox buying and cannot deprive her of the Christmas morning she is already looking forward to. Despite all of it I am never unaware that Baby Daddy is her father and as much a part of her as I am. We are all medleys.
I have been very raw lately. Small things rubbing against me like I am an open wound. Not unexpected with major life changes. We cannot stand still, we are always evolving. It is not always comfortable. The speaking opportunity given to me by Angelhands would not have happened if I had stayed where I was. I woke the other night when the soft, velvety head of my darling friend Frankie gently rested on my thigh. I had been having a nightmare and he woke me from it. How does he know? He always knows. As I gave Frankie my heartfelt thanks My One True Love rolled over and wrapped me in his arms, holding me tight.
(Frankie and me 🙂 )
I was thinking that ‘raw’ and ‘roar’ sound the same.
They definitely fit me! Raw can also mean unfinished, which I am. And when I think of it like that it no longer feels like a negative.
a loud outburst of laughter.“her remarks brought a roar of laughter from the old man”
I do that; I laugh loudly. My One True Love is one of the funniest people I have ever known and my children are often hilarious, as are my friends, so I am lucky that I get to laugh a lot. And I’m thinking it’s time to do some more roaring, of all different kinds. Because there are different kinds of raw and different kinds of roaring and they are no more or less than each other. They just are.
So here I am and this is me!
RAW AND ROARING!