Friday, September 11, 2009


Just when you think it is all over dammed dreams come back to haunt you. I dreamt of Sally, my Labrador.

When I was 16.5 yrs old, my parents decided to leave Australia, having promised that Australia would be home. I really did not want to move yet again. I could have stayed. I just had to have somewhere to stay and an adult to vouch for me. I was persuaded by my parents to come to England. The clincher was that Sally would be coming with us.

My two Lhasa Apso, Cotton and Changri, were sold to the first person who had the money. My father didn't care, he just wanted rid of the dogs. My love for dogs was considered unimportant and something I would grow out of. My father only ever saw them as money.

We arrived in England in May 75 and within a week I had a job working in a Quarantine kennel, where Sally was duly booked in to arrive in the August for her 6 month stay.

During my time there, which was not pleasant, my mother said to me more than once that 'anything can happen, I shouldn't get too excited'. But then my mother was always telling us not to get excited. If we laughed, we were told to stop because it would end in tears. Stupidly, I did not suspect I had been conned.

The day before Sally was due to arrive in England, I telephoned the Townsends who had been looking after her. I was told that my parents had had Sally given away as soon as we left. As I was too distraught to carry on the conversation, my boss took over the phone and was told my father had her destroyed when we left.

My parents denied all and to this day I do not know the whole truth but know that indeed my parents had betrayed me yet again. Stupidly, instead of staying away, I went home. I had no choice really. I was already sick with depression and anorexia /bulimia and OCD. How would I survive on my own?

Of course I had to concoct a fantasy that had me as the bad child and them as the good parents. If not, I would not have survived. Deep down I knew the truth.

My brothers were of no support at all and indeed were identified with my parents. I was taking all the flak for being gay and yet my elder brother was living with his boyfriend and not saying a word! He always was a totally self centred obnoxious person. I have no good memories of him at all. I have only one of my younger brother, also gay. He found me crying, huddled on the stairs and he put his arm around me and comforted me. That was the only time he did anything kind to me. He mostly told me I was evil and possessed by demons and told me God hated me. He was a fundy at the time. I had not idea he was gay.

Despite all I had experienced at the hands of my family and of paedophiles and bullies and teachers, I was still naive and didn't see the obvious. I have never felt malice and so I guess I failed to see it in others.

There have been many times I have cursed myself for having been so stupid, for not getting away when I could have, for always going back, for wanting their love and approval, for wanting them to be what they were not. Good loving people who cared for and loved their son and brother. I wanted a home, a place I could feel safe and be myself. My family was not it. I felt so humiliated when I finally stopped trying to be what they wanted. When it dawned on me that I was not the problem I thought I would die of the pain of it.

For so many years I wished to have no memory. I wished some illness or accident would wipe my memories. I envied people who suffered amnesia. I was ignorant though of what that would truly mean. It would not have stopped me suffering because the damage was not in my memories but what I was taught to believe about myself and the world. It was somewhat naive to think I could lose just the bad memories!

Now though, things are very different. I am free of them, as free as I ever will be I think. The fact I still have dreams and flashbacks is proof I am not totally free but today it is different because I do not yearn for it to have been different and whilst the flashbacks and dreams can be disturbing, I know today that there is nothing wrong with me, I am not evil, possessed or at fault. There is/was something lacking in them that made them treat me so badly. I was not defective . They chose to treat me the way they did because THEY were defective.

John is the reason I don't wish my past to be different. John and the life I have now. If not for my past, and the things that happened, like coming here to England, I would not have what I now have. In fact had I not left that small minded bigoted sheep station town in NSW I would probably be dead. If I had not been in the nut houses I would not have finally left home even though it was ultimately to be homeless. Had I not been, I would not have met John.

Had I not met John, I'd be dead, insane, still on streets or still in a locked ward. I would not be the person I am today. I am happy today. With myself and my lot in life. I am very very fortunate.

No John did not cure me. He loves me and he has always given me the space to be myself even when it pained him so to see me in Hell, knowing he could not drag me out of it. Yet had he not stuck with me whilst I found my way out of Hell, I wouldn't have. John became my home, my place of safety, the place I was accepted for who I was. THAT is what gave me the anchor I needed in order to haul my way up and out of Hell.

I never ever thought there would come a time that I would not wish to change my past. That time has indeed come. That is not to say I am glad for my past, or that it was ' meant to be'( I find that sort of thinking crass and offensive and illogical and stupid and ill thought though.) I am just aware that who I am and what I have now is because of my past.

I made the best of it. I fought hard to survive and I did. I can't explain it, but I don't think I did this on my own. I don't know why I survived and why others who had similar pasts have died or gone mad. Why some are trapped in 'psychiatric care' or in prison or in addiction or on the streets or have became abusers. I don't know why I did not. So my attitude is truly one of 'there but for the grace of God go I'. The meaning is there even if I don't think it was God, at least not in the accepted sense. but now I can see a whole new subject is beginning to take shape so I shall leave that, belief, for another time!
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