Wednesday, 17 August 2011

You can't outrun your shadow.

"Run as fast as you can, stop writin' and kill it."

I am not who I was yesterday.

I installed LinkWithin on my blog, so now at the end of every post up comes a cheery "You might also like:" ... with links to things I had entirely forgotten I'd written. My blog posting motto? Post and run, baby. Post and run.

Yesterday on twitter somebody expressed surprise when I said that my father had committed suicide. He tore my goddamn heart out and threw it in a fire. I will never be whole again. I make fun of suicide, because it is not funny.

My stepdad killed himself at Oran Park -  a raceway in south-western Sydney, but his car wasn't going anywhere. To this day I wonder what he was thinking as he attached the hose to the exhaust pipe. He was facing jail time. Two days before he did it, he wallpapered my bedroom with a quite ugly blue flower print. I didn't help. He looked at me at dinnertime and said, "I thought you were going to help me."

I wish I had helped him. Not because I think I could have saved him - nothing could save him. I just wished I'd had a conversation with him. What does a guy about to kill himself talk about?

My real dad was Bill Barrie, a Glaswegian who stereotypically drank himself to death. He wanted a son, after his twin daughters .. and got me. I wish he was alive, so I could ignore him. Many times, falling down drunk, I would smile at the sky and toast him. Look dad ... I drink just like you do, arsehole!

I google earthed the apartment he was found dead in:

                          Isn't technology amazing?

He chose the wrong house - falling down those stairs drunk so many times killed him. Poor bruised brain.

If I sound wry and sad and bitter, it is because I am. There is a category in this blog called "Dead Dads!"


I find it hard to sustain friendships. Going to ten schools does that to a person. Always the goddamn new girl with the timid voice.

I can easily coat my heart in a black ash so that it never gets hurt ever again. Spend a few years on heavy drugs, watch the lines in the sand get washed out to sea ... you learn to pretend you don't care. Then you forget you're pretending.


Are you still with me? I'm sorry - for all of it. I did not plan for this to happen. I'm sorry I am not who you thought I was. I am not who I was yesterday.

It was in my late twenties that I realised I was not a pathetic worthless loser. Who knew.

This morning I rattled things off to my nine-year old son, my young man. "Got ya lunch? Hat? Ok mate, be careful ... and remember, you burst my heart open every day."

He is used to me saying things like that. "Ok mum, you burst my heart too. See ya!"

I didn't burst anybodys heart open when I was a child.

Which is why Universe sent me other things, other secrets that only I know. Universe sent you secret things too, if you needed them. It's Law.


A few years ago I sat here, thinking up a tagline for this blog. I was watching Greys Anatomy, and right when I was poised to email my designer a cutesy line on chocolate and coffee, Meredith's voice came over at the end. "Whatever you do, remember ... as much as you try, you can't outrun your shadow."

My blog header has skulls in it. I talk of death and shadows and pain ... and my tagline is a quote from Greys Anatomy.

Every day I try to outrun my shadow. Don't you? I want to punch mine, kill it. Shut it UP. This way and that, it always follows me. Sometimes at noon I stand perfectly still, and it is gone. I probably should only ever post here on those days.


As I was writing this, my husband rode his motorbike into the house and parked it. It smells so cool in here. Smells like Rebellion. I'm talking him into taking some time off work and flying to Spain for a solo sabbatical. Guy deserves it. We sat here, not that long ago, when my belly was swollen ... working out his will before he got admitted to hospital.

I broke, finally, when he got cancer. I'm not ok and never will be. It's actually quite liberating.


My grandmother saved me with her kind eyes. She saw me. She told me I would write a book one day. I don't think I will. Maybe this is my book, occuring here in posts, in real time. I've learnt to wear the world like a loose garment. Simultaneously waiting for the next terrible and extraordinary thing to happen. I will not be disappointed.

I am not who I will be tomorrow.
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