You have the Light to Fight the Shadows

Recently, I posted the below link on Facebook. Once you click on it, you have to scroll down a little further to watch the clip. When I watched the clip – and I have watched it several times – it went straight to my soul.

I thought of my parents, and their heartache. I was diagnosed at 18 months and my mother often talks about how I always cried when I tried to walk. It must be have been so hard for them to witness and to trace back and forth between doctors to find an answer to their very unhappy child. My mother, no doubt, would have known in her mother’s heart that something was not quite right with her only daughter.

Before you read on, please take the time to watch the clip, below.

Scroll ahead another 36 years in my life and there is so much I need to thank my parents for because it was their pain when I was a child that gave me the courage to strive for more. To be more. To aim for more. And to be more of a person. I always knew I was different. I always knew that I wasn’t physically capable like other children. And I always knew there were certain things I just couldn’t do, couldn’t risk my body. But in that, and through all that, my parents taught me that there was strength in this. There was real value in knowing that whilst I wasn’t the norm, I could be something else, something even more special.

And this is what they gave me the courage to believe – the courage through their own pain and their own heartache to rise above the Art card:

Don’t bite your tongue and spend a life time stuck in silence.
You’ve got the words. The words to change the way.
If no one hears your voice, how will they know your heart?
And how will they know the heart of others?
You have the light to fight the shadows.

In fact, in my early 20s my father once asked me: ‘Are you a man or a mouse? Are you going to let this ruin your life?’ Fuck – at the time, he really pissed me off. I still remember the location, the eye contact, the weather – when these words were uttered. But I didn’t respond. I knew not to respond. I knew what I had to do. I had to grit my teeth and just get on with it. Get on with life. Be better. Be more. Because to live with Art is a life sentence with no chance of clemency. And some days, some moments, some weeks really fucking suck. But, I have the light, and for that, I will be forever grateful to my parents.

Somewhat Permanency

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There is a somewhat permanency going on in Hong Kong. Our little family has signed another two year lease agreement on our 900 square apartment. Before this signing I had not really taken the time to set up our apartment as a home. But, now I understand the importance of doing so. Now I understand that I would never have thought this possible a year ago. I never would have thought that I would be in Hong Kong for another two years. People often talk about giving yourself two years in another country before you make a decision – and they are right.

We are making changes to out little apartment. We are making it more homely. And maybe there are changes in my head about living in Hong Kong?

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It is no lie – I am not a fan of selfies. People taking all that time to get themselves in the right light, the right position, the right angle and the right shade (mono, transfer, instant etc) to get just the right photograph to portray to the world their moment in time right then. I have tried a couple of times, and it is an exhausting process for me, especially with the black bags looming under my eyes, the shards of grey hair poking through, the crooked teeth smile, and the extra weight that sits snuggly around my waist, hips and upper thighs.

I simply cannot be bothered in trying to portray perfection to the world, when the world and its people around me are far from perfect. And that is no lie.

So when I saw this lady (below left) at The Peak on Saturday night with her mobile phone on an extendable rod taking selfies, I could not control the words in my head and the champagne assisted in these words emitting from my mouth: ‘That’s fucked up!” Whilst it is a novel idea – I grant her that – and I in fact was taking a photograph of her taking a photograph of herself (!), what makes people feel the need to engage in this constant selfie business? I would much rather look at photographs of friends and loved ones, and the surrounding scenery, then look back over my selfies. I see me every day. I don’t need to see me every other moment.

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Thoughts have being rumbling around in my head lately. I am soon to turn 38 years old. And yes, I know, that some will exclaim that this is young. But, for me, there are rumblings. Anyone else starting to get rumblings? Or had rumblings around this age?

It all started when my eldest daughter, Amaya, who is 6 years of age, started talking about her memories in Australia. She left Australia just after her 4th birthday. There are memories about her life in Australia that are vivid, like: having to cross the busy road to meet her little sister for the first time at the Freemasons Hospital; her Nana Windy’s soft carpet under her feet; having breakfast in her Nana Chop Chop’s bed whilst she watched television; having sleep overs with her cousin, Grace; and the big white house we lived in amongst the trees.

And you know what? The disconcerting feeling for me is that I too have vivid memories of when I was four years old: kindergarten; my Nana’s little flat; baths at my oldest friends’ houses (Martine and Kim); my dad’s beard; and my mum’s soft hands. Even certain smells can take me back.

How can it now be that I am nearly 38 years old, with a six year old daughter, and we both share memories of when we were four? Amaya loves to hear me talk about my memories, and most times, she wants me to tell her more of them. But lately, I am finding myself emotional about the past, and when we chat about our memories, it is hard for me to contain my pensive mood.

I remember when I was 28: living in the big white house amongst the trees with Luke and engaged; finishing off my Law degree; having dinner with friends; and working at the Australia Open over the summer.

I remember when I was 18: P plates; studying Bachelor of Arts and failing Sociology; working at Bunnings; and endless amounts of drinking and partying.

And I remember when I was 8: my classroom teacher became engaged; I got my first pimple; the Cup Day barbeque; and my family took a road trip to Queensland.

What happened between these ages is also vivid in my memory. And whatever takes place in the middle of Amaya’s ages will also continue to be vivid in her memory. I think it is time for me to turn up the heat. I think it is time for me to get back into, and onto, life. Lately, I feel like have being flat lining it. Between working some long days and long weeks, and then putting in the study hours at home, I feel like life is slipping right through my hands (Powderfinger) … again. I am not overly comfortable with turning 38 years of age and feeling like a flat line. There are changes afloat so that 48 years of age will be full of memories of the life best led.

Face Painting

My daughters love having their faces painted.  Amaya, herself, as you can well imagine, loves painting other people’s faces too.  In fact, she has her own face painting kit thanks to my Asian soul sister, Xuan.  At her birthday parties and her sister’s birthday parties, Amaya is in charge of the face painting.

This weekend my daughters went to their friend’s, Ilse, 6th birthday party.  And they came home with these faces.  There were many tears in the bath when I explained that I had clean their faces as they were not allowed to go to school the next day with their faces painted.

But their faces really did look so cool.  It must take them to a whole other world.  Knowing Remy she probably thought from that moment on she really was Rainbow Dash.  She’s totally obsessed in My Little Pony at the moment.

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