Yesterday I sat out on the front deck for a while and looked at my boots.
I walked around Africa in these boots. You never know where life will take you next ... the trick is to let go and trust where life will take you next.
Yesterday was a horrible day to be inside my skin. I got through. Today is marginally better. It's hard to explain.
My local paper wrote about my trip World Vision trip to Africa. Then the Mayor honoured my Sydney Writers Centre win with a mention in Council Chambers.
Over a decade ago I sat in those exact same Council Chambers and listened as the local community rallied against a proposed move of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre from Katoomba to Leura. I don't blame them ... I wouldn't want a group of vermin addicts moving next door to my house.
Thing is, I sat there years ago as a patient of that drug and alcohol rehab. I listened as one of the Councillors turned to me and my friends and with such a dark look, said:
"A leopard never changes its spots."
Like I said, vermin.
The rehab move was eventually approved. Nothing bad happened.
I chose my mustard cowboy boots today, to get some tough back. Don't feel so crash-hot .... swap you some accolades and superiority for some peace of mind? Like many people on the planet, I wrestle with dark shit inside of me. It's cool. Act cool.
My year five teacher was called Mr Gardiner. He was a huge arsehole. One day after lunch, he stood at the front of the class and said: "Right. Whoever is in The Barrie Gang ... stand up."
I sat there, shocked. Barrie was my last name .. he was talking about me? He snarled at me to stand up so I did, hot tears from being so confused. He barked at the class for the others in "my gang" to stand up.
Nobody stood up, because there was no gang.
At lunchtime a girl had gone to him and told him I wouldn't let her play "in my gang." Years later, I asked her why she lied ... she told me that Adrian Boulder had a crush on me and she wanted to get me back. She saw me as a happy girl who lived in a huge mansion. She didn't know I was completely miserable, with the force of a thousand sads.
I was systematically bullied as a child. Damage was done that I can never un-do. I also went to ten schools - maybe nine. I always forget. I have seen a lot and been a lot, in my time. A chameleon leopard, creeping around the world like a stealth warrior.
I never went to university because my dad had just killed himself and I was too busy drinking to care about anything normal. I taught myself how to live, and I've taught myself how to write - here, in this blog, in this internet, in this Universe.
But man, I am no bully. I am not in a clique or a gang and never will be.
Last week, Janine from Shambolic Living interviewed me HERE. I loved talking to her .. I asked all the questions at first, because I'm constantly worried about what it's like for new bloggers, whether they feel excluded. (Janine it was such a bloody pleasure to talk to you, thank you.)
In conclusion, I used to be a fuck-up but now I'm the hero. Wait - that's wrong. I'm still a fuck-up. Was I always the hero? Are you a hero? Can we all be one? Am I supposed to be professional now? Why do my words keep getting twisted? Who moved my cheese? I'll have what SHE'S having. Are we there yet?
PS Thank you, Mr Mayor. Very much. I accept this honour on behalf of all the Nathan's out there.
PS Some days it's just as hard walking in my boots in my local supermarket as it is walking in my boots in Africa. Wherever I go, there I am.