Ms Rainbow

18341772_10158615205580383_6259165147268003588_n

There is no one in the month of May that has made me smile more than Ms Leah Kate.

So joy filled is this little person, she exudes happiness and everyone she comes in contact with is immediately affected.

I love spending time with her, no more so than on her day of days – her birthday.

Painfully aware that her request from Santa had recently gone answered, remote control fairies were out of stock the entire Christmas period, I commissioned a very talented lady to make a crochet fairy doll. Though not remote control operated, I thought it to be the next best thing.

As I handed over my gift to my pint size mini best friend, I was unaware that I was to receive the most wonderful of presents that day. Leah Kate was to share her career aspirations, hopes and dreams. At just four years of age she had set herself a very clear path.

Her Mother prompted Leah Kate to share what she had announced to her pre-school teacher earlier that week.

‘When the teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, what did you say Leah? ‘

‘That I want to be a rainbow’

I am speechless.

I beam in the direction of my pint size mini best friend. I am caught up in the magic of this career aspiration. It is priceless.

Leah Kate is laughing. Everyone in the lounge room that afternoon is too.

I do not have the heart to break it to my pint size mini best friend that to those who love and adore her, she is already that rainbow. And as she grows, she will be that rainbow to countless others.

Red and yellow and pink and green

Purple and orange and blue

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optimism

This week my lack of this quality has been centre stage. It it makes me smile. Laugh out loud even, because I don’t actually agree.

I consider myself a pessimistic optimist, otherwise known as a realist. I’ve been dealt my fair share of hardships, so much so that when dealt yet another blow earlier in the year, I accepted it.

This was a somewhat new phenomena, the acceptance thing.

My track record with acceptance was dire….having always opted to ignore heartache and trauma. I’d shield myself from pain with layer upon layer of denial, ignoring my human capacity to self-heal.

I’ve come a long way, have begun to accept things on a daily basis, for what they are and not shy away from complex feelings that may surface.

But to be told that I’m not an optimist – it’s just not true.

I’m a pessimistic optimist, other wise known as a realist.

When my best friend called me this week, before she was to board a flight, bound for the  UK, Italy and Iceland. I answer the phone and utter down the phone ‘ I hate my life’.

I’m part way through the delivering an orientation program to group of international students….but I can’t say these four words with enough seriousness and we both start laughing.

‘You are too funny’ smirks my bestie.

‘Just do little things each day that remind you of holidays’ states the beauty who is about to be spa side in Iceland. I swallow hard on that advice and truly mean what I say next ‘ Have the best holiday’

The following day my personal trainer asked post orientation ‘ How are your student group’?

My response ‘ I hate them all’

We both laugh – that is also not true, in fact, this is the first group that I feel totally at ease with. After doing this role for close to 2 years, I finally feel like I have got my role as internship coordinator down to a fine art.

Reflecting on the week that was with my Mum, her advice was to take a bit of optimism from those in my inner circle. Perhaps what she was really saying was to choose my words wisely. Comments such as ‘ I hate my life’, especially to those who don’t know me would be truly confronting. They would not have points of reference for such jaring remarks, that would enable them to appreciate my black humour.

So I’ll take from this self-reflective practice that one must know their audience. And upon careful consideration I am a pessimistic optimistic realist. And a very happy one at that!!

 

 

Ode to Harry Styles

Those you know me well know my questionable taste in music.

Though I continue to age, the musical soundtrack that serenades me on my way has of late, gotten stuck, fixated on youth, beauty and a strong set of vocal chords ( height and killer check bones having sealed the deal)

And so it is that on high rotation I find myself listening to Mr Harry Styles. Song of choice ‘ Sweet Creature’. Also fond of ‘ Sign of the Times’ , and ‘ Two Ghosts’ and….whatever, you get the picture!

And I had to admit this fixation in public recently. I was at the gym, and my trainer, knowing my preference to work out to music by  artists who passed away in 2016- think George Michael, Prince, Bowie. offered to change the music.

‘ No, please don’t!’I whimpered.

‘ But you have good taste in music’ remarked my trainer

‘ Yes, but I do like Harry’

Then in an attempt to cover up this admission, I started over compensating with endless chatter, disclosing that Mr Styles’ album was to be the soundtrack to a June road trip , when a girlfriend and I would drive from Brisbane to Toowoomba and back again, with only Harry on the airwaves. I disclosed that my girlfriend, a mother to four beautiful children, and I decided that Harry would rock our world for the 4 day road trip, at the completion of which, the album would be gifted to her eldest: Ms Eleven.

And to you dear reader, I admit now that I lied.

I will keep the album , all to my greedy little self.

The grown adult in me needs to be reminded of youthful beauty, height, high cheek bones and a good set of vocal chords. That beautiful ‘ Sweet Creatures’, the Harry Styles of this world, do actually exist.

 

 

 

Flora

Flora

Flora

Flora the cat. She is my world. She is my muse.

That is how I came to choose her name all those years ago. I had paid a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the work of Spanish great, Picasso. It was there that I saw a paining of Ms Dora Mar, one of the artists muses. I liked the idea of having a muse in life, a source of artistic inspiration which is a guiding force.

And to muse over something, to ponder and reflect, is a process that takes a great deal of time. You cannot muse over something in a couple of seconds. rather a number of years, decades even.

I borrowed from Dora, replacing the D with the letters F and L, and so came to be the black cat with anxiety levels to rival mine.

Flora the cat I have mused over her for 10 years and counting.

When I think back to the summer months of January 2007, when I dared to think that maybe this renter could own a cat, I thank my lucky stars that this little bundle of black fur chose me.

For Flora, had you known what was the next 10 years entailed, would you have stuck by me? Would you have bothered to scale the fence of my Leichhardt property and projectile meow into my bedroom window till I begrudgingly let you inside? Why did you single me out and not bother my flatmates? What was it that drew you to me?

Whatever the reason, I needed you more than you could have ever known. Back then I did not know myself.

You willingly comforted me every step of the way along the long road to acceptance. You cushioned the seemingly endless brutal blows with your soft fur and calming purr, you absorbed my tears and provided endless opportunities for cuddles.

Family and friends have been instrumental in supporting me too, but you my little fluffy muse, you have been by my side each and every day, more so than my nearest and dearest. You have seen the good, bad and the truly ugly.

To muse over something takes a good number of years, decades even, That is how long I will think of you Flora, for all you have done for me and for guiding and delivering me safely to a point in life with which I can honestly say I am truly at peace.

Thank you for finding me.

Surprise

With a keen interest in the recent birth a primary school friend’s third baby this story surfaces.

I was 11, turning 12 the very next day ( oh the elation!!) and an all girls Friday night sleep over had been organised. Everyone was invited, all 8 of us Year Six girls.

There was to be popcorn, a horror movie, ghost stories and very little sleep. Our excitement was palpable. The school day could not finish quick enough, and when the school bell tolled, heralding in the weekend, I recall party invites squealing.

But not me….for some reason I was not walking with my girl pals to the party venue – it was to be a pack of 7 not 8. I first had to go on a shopping expedition with my parents, which was to include a long stint in the local bank.

Then I could join my friends.  The host knew this in advance but neither of us knew how long it would eat in to party time.

This was the era before mobile phones- 1990. If I had been carrying a medium-sized brick in my back pack, it would have been ringing off the hook as I stood side my side my parents in the bank queue : ‘ Where are you?’ ‘ How much longer are you going to be? ‘

But there were no phones and the bank teller explained that it would that 48 hours to get currency for our impending Fijian family holiday. It was an explanation that felt like it took 48 hours – ‘ I had a slumber party to get too’ I wanted to scream, instead I opted to slump in complimentary waiting chair , head in my hands, nervous energy surging through my body.

‘ Where have you been? It doesn’t matter!! Surprise!! Happy Birthday!!’

The host closed the front door behind me and I was swept up into a celebration just for me.

A sea of friendly faces all looking in my direction, a birthday cake, complete with candles, beckoning me to make a wish.

I am overwhelmed, taken aback, that my friend had gone to so much effort to make me, humble, unassuming me, feel special, centre of attention special.

My mind could not compute- but this is YOUR party I wanted to say, please don’t shine a light on me, I just want to be a wall-flower. Just being part of this social occasion elevating me to levels of social anxiety never previously experienced. And now this…..

‘ Make a wish Kate! Happy 12th Birthday’

I have never forgotten this brief moment in time. This person made me feel special, signalled me out for some undivided attention with only the best of intentions. The fact that is made me feel a nervous wreck, second guessing my self-worth, a cascading downward spiral of emotions she could never have known.

This young girl has gone on the be an inspiration to many, successful on oh so many fronts. None more so than as a Mother, to three beautiful, most cherished children.

This story is written to thank that person for noticing the beauty within, long before I became aware, let alone comfortable with it.

You have an amazing capacity to bring out the very best in others.

Thank you. I am lucky to have crossed paths with you all those years ago.

Ode to Hannah Gadsby

Last Friday night I travelled from Sydney to Wollongong for a night out. A comedy act that I had long admired was in town for one night only. I booked my solo ticket and caught the train South, smiling ear to ear.

A couple of years ago, I would have never have imagined it possible,  that a comedy show, in the Spiegeltent no less, would grace the Coal Coast. Culture, class and top-notch entertainment finally in the ‘Gong, some 15 years after I left…in search of just that.

Upon hearing of the Spiegeltent’s one month seaside residency, I made a pact with myself that I would support the event whole heartedly. I told any one who would listen that the tent was in town, and with reasonably priced tickets for world-class comedy and musical acts, it was a win win situation.

Perhaps in my heart of hearts, the advocacy work I did spruiking the event, was my way of making peace with my 22-year-old self, who had turned her back on the Gong for the UK in 2001, Who, upon return had lasted but a year before another move to Sydney. Always searching, finger on the pulse for the next comedy show, the next musical, the next music act.

But in 2017 – the Gong, Wollongong, proved that good things come to those who wait. Fifteen years of searching behind me, I was happy to be home turf.

It was the best night out. My Father, who had NEVER been to a comedy show in his life decided to join me. Hannah Gadsby was headlining.

It. was. amazing.

Did the show start with Ms Gadsby stating she was retiring from the comedy circuit? For good? I don’t recall when this remark was made, but I knew very early on that this was going to be unlike any comedy show I had seen before. My Dad….he was in for a ride!

Hannah’s voice controlled, measured and her delivery on point. She did not waver from a common theme thread though-out the hour-long performance. She was retiring after 10 years at the top of her game,  no longer prepared to withhold the personal truths erased from all accounts of her comedy shows, no longer willing to shield her audience.

But not last Friday – with conviction she barely stopped to breathe as she recounted story upon story that revealed deep suffering. From the audience, there was little laughter, her decision to retire was final and we would be free to make what we like of her daring, bold, often confronting stories.

Of course Hannah made us laugh, some cried, her brave account, her honestly, her smile and her generous insight was beautifully refreshing, enlightening, moving, above all, raw.

As we left the Speigeltent that night, John Farnham’s classic played loud and clear ‘ You’re the Voice’. Never had Farnsie seemed so fitting –  Hannah had come full circle, to an understanding of the power of voice, an acceptance of story, and a burning desire to for truth and accountability.

I thought about this show for days after, my Dad did too.

‘ Not all comedy shows are like that’ I told him on the car ride home.

But given the importance of what we had witnessed, the bar has now been set so high that Ms Gadsby, I believe it will be the first and only comedy show my Father attends whilst on earth. Perhaps too my search is over for the perfect comedy act. I’ve seen it – it was hard-hitting, it was Hannah Gadsby. It was in Wollongong, 2017.

So thank you Hannah – an ode to you. In your show you mentioned you have a soft spot for Nanna’s. One of my Nan’s favourite sayings, which my Mother recited at her eulogy in 2014 ‘ Thank you for being you’

Hannah Gadsby ‘ Thank you for being you’ – we need people like you to make us stop and think. And then have a nap.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 113 other followers