I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

My balls out blog

on May 30, 2013

I haven’t written a blog in years, i’ve been uhmming and ahhing over it for some time, opened numerous accounts with different sites and never followed through, until now. i’m an all or nothing person for the most part and if i’m going to blog, i want to do it honestly, “balls out” as it were, and the notion of being completely honest about myself in blog form was somewhat daunting. i even wrote and published a pissy attempt a week or two ago, it was some poorly written vague overview of the last ten years of my life, it was a real piece of wank. but, here goes…

i’m a somewhat passionate person, i feel too much a lot of the time. probably in part due to being bipolar and the crazy upbringing i had. i was born to a single mother, to say i was a mistake would be quite the understatement but i’ll go into that another time. my mother was only 20 when she had me, my grandparents were incredibly religious folk and weren’t terribly thrilled at their 20 year old having a child out of wedlock so for the first month of my life we lived in a flat in springvale (for those who know melbourne, it’s a bit of a shithole on the way to the beach where you can probably buy heroin with great ease) after which my grandparents relented and we moved into the family home in burwood.

for the first 7 years of my life we lived with my grandparents and it was very much me and her, we were thick as thieves. as my memory recalls it, a man randomly popped up and married my mother, i can’t tell you how long they dated before they got married but it can’t have been very long because the next thing i knew we were moving into a house they purchased in vermont. his name was andrew, he seemed nice enough at first, his parents lived in balwyn and owned a plane, they took their cat to a cat psychologist and had very fancy things and went to very fancy places. i never really felt comfortable around his family, they were neurotic and incredibly focused on privilige, and i’m quite sure they didn’t really care for me either. i’m sure i seemed like quite the little steamroller in their crystal palace.

after about six months my stepfather andrew showed his true colours as the monster that he truly was and let’s just say his true nature was abusive. i don’t think my mother knew anything for a while, but two years into the marriage she picked me up from ballet one saturday afternoon and instead of driving home we started driving in the opposite direction, “aren’t we going home mum?” i asked, “no, we’re not going there again” she replied, and that was all the explanation i got on the matter. we proceeded to a house in hawthorn where she introduced me to a 25 year old chef named michael, he lived in a house with 4 others who were a mix of chefs and students. i’m not sure how long she’d been seeing him on the side or how they met, any of the details, but they were together.

the house in hawthorn was party central, and i was quite the 9 year old novelty. my mother prided herself on my expansive vocabulary (not so much now, but at 9 i was slightly ahead of the curve) and my ability to cook my own meals. my room was effectively a large closet, full of workout equipment not being used and boxes and junk, i had a small mattress on the floor and quite often i would be invaded at all hours to ‘perform’ for the drunk/drug fucked revellers in the house. i remember one night in particular, the girlfriend of one of the chefs who lived in the house came into my “room” and started asking why her boyfriend wouldn’t commit and what could she do to encourage him to love her more. i was effectively a human eight ball.

after six months or so we ended up back at the family home with my grandparents, (which was now located in forest hill) because michael took a job on one of the resort islands off the north coast of the northern territory. his brother lived in darwin and he wanted to be closer to him, my mother went into a fairly deep depression, i remember some days she’d just lay in bed in the dark, eyes red and watery and a far away look, it was bleak. but then my grandparents were brilliant, not without their faults of course, but brilliant. i think that’s how i ended up being somewhat of a paradox, spending half of my childhood with my mother and the other half with my grandparents was like jumping between different realities. my grandparents were classic middle class, well set up financially, nice things but not flashy. they were deeply religious and took me to church often. my grandfather and i would watch old rogers and hammerstein musicals and my grandmother often took my cousin and i to the ballet or theatre.

when i was about ten, my mum decided to bounce back from her breakup with michael and started frequenting a pub in south yarra called the argo, and somehow i ended up spending a lot of time there too. appropriate, right? yeah. she became obsessed with an alcoholic guitarist named JD, she went to every one of his band’s gigs and i would usually sit to the side of the stage, often falling asleep under tables or wherever i could find a modicum of space. from what i can recall of the situation, they must have slept together but he was reluctant to commit further, my mother would ward off any other females that showed interest in him, i remember her drinking from yardies and her name being chanted as she chugged away. JD lived quite far away, in Corio, which is waaaaay over the other side of town and then a bit farther. one night we drove all the way there, found he wasn’t home and slept in the car in his driveway. i remember needing the toilet and my mother making me poo in his garden, yeah, it was bleak. haha, what a memory. he turned up some time during the next day, they had ‘grown up’ discussions then we left, all i heard of him after then was that he’d gone to rehab in america.

the next year was like a buddy movie, me and mum against the world. she dated a string of barnies, but it was a revolving door, no one stayed for long. she would often decide last minute that she wanted to get away, no matter if it was the dead of winter or whenever, she would get it in her head to go and we’d go. we often stayed at a place called bells cottages near bells beach, or the cabins at the torquar foreshore were another favourite. we’d always go for a couple of nights. i remember when i was 10, we were at torquay and i divulged that i’d tried a cigarette with some kids after school, she gave me one of hers and told me to show her. i took the cigarette and lit it up, puffing away like i’d seen bette davis do in those old movies i’d watched with my grandfather, my mother told me that if i was going to smoke i was going to do it properly, so at the age of ten she taught me to draw the smoke back, no point wasting money on cigarettes if you’re not getting the nicotiney goodness right?

i was 11 when my mother met mark. she had left a really good job at an export company in south yarra and started working part time at the local video store. he was a tradesman doing work at the video store and something big must have happened, because all of a sudden we were spending every friday night driving an hour to pick him up, he’d then stay the weekend and we would drop him home on sunday night (turns out he had lost his license for drink driving, onto another winner). within six months they moved in together, literally six houses around the corner from my grandparents house. my world started to fall apart, i went from being her bestie, spending every moment with her and getting every whim catered to, to being second best to her new man. he was most important now, and i knew it. he had a penchant for alcohol in excess, and the drunker he got, the meaner he became. the physical and emotional abuse followed soon after, i was a chubby kid and he would call me a fat fuck or lardo, whatever felt right to him at the time. he would throw me about and she would yell at him, but nothing really changed. it kept happening, and only got worse when she got pregnant approximately 9 months into their relationship, so i moved in with my grandparents for a while.

just before the baby was born my mother told me things were going to be different, he was drinking less and it would be ok, so i moved back in with them. the day my sister was born i came home from school to find the house locked, no one was there, they’d literally forgotten me. i broke into the house. things were a little better for a few months, i helped out with my sister a fair bit, changing nappies and the usual stuff, but then he got worse again and it was a new kind of bad, so again i moved in with my grandparents, stable and safe again.

i was now 14 or so, and my mother and mark had managed to piss all their money away and weren’t getting by so they all moved in with my grandparents, my mother, mark, my sister ashlee all moved in. my mother was pregnant again. things were tense but we all got by, but after a little while mark felt comfortable enough to start abusing me in my grandparents house, never in front of my grandparents, but still….it kept on. my mother would always tell me the next day that it would change, he was going to get help or he was going to change, but she had started her new family with this man and it was growing increasingly clear that there was little room for me in her new family unit.

i would spend most of my time in my bedroom on the internet, i avoided people at all costs for a great portion of my teenage years. people online were safer, and i created my own little cave of safety. mark would have goes at me whenever he could, so the moment i turned 18 i went to spencer st station and got on the first bus leaving for sydney, i had made a friend online in sydney and i stayed with him and his wife before heading to byron bay for a while. i stayed there for a few months, working at a backpackers for my keep, i met a lot of great people but it was at this point it started to become clear to me that i didn’t fit in with most people, not many people ‘got’ me, so i put up a front of indifferent toughness, i would travel anywhere on a whim, take up dares of any idiotic notion presented to me really, i was finally away from him and i had a lot of anger bubbling underneath. i ran out of money and missed my grandparents so i called them and my grandfather bought me a train ticket back to melbourne, i was only back a month or so when i met a guy and fell crazy head over heels (or at least what i thought was true deep love) for him. he was in melbourne visiting his uncle and aunt, he lived in tasmania, when we met he only had 3 days left in melbourne but the chemistry was crazy so he extended his stay to ten days, after which we decided i would move to tasmania to be with him. i lost my virginity to him and it was perfect, it all seemed too good to be true, i was addicted. i finally had a man’s love and it seemed secure and good. so no more than 3 weeks after meeting, i went to tasmania. my grandfather gave me some cash and i stayed a couple of nights in a hotel before we found a rental and moved in with one of his uni friends.

i was hideously codependent and the relationship ended badly after a year and a bit, so i ran back to melbourne, then back to tasmania, then back to melbourne – we did the back and forth dance for a while till both of us lost our fight and he stood me up on new years, he was meant to be flying up for the big 2000, but he called me from the airport and told me he wasn’t coming, that we just weren’t going to work. he was right of course, but i was heartbroken, so when i met a goofy drummer who was in melbourne with his band doing some gigs around the place, and he wanted me, i decided i wanted him too. i followed him to new zealand where he was from, but was miserable within days. to this day i feel bad for how i treated him, it wasn’t his fault, but it just wasn’t what i wanted or needed. i was 19 and had no concept of what a rebound was but he was a classic rebound. i lived there for 8 months or so and after selling a painting and gathering my fare back to melbourne, i told him i had to visit family and never went back.

next i met my husband, andrew. we got married after only six months together, he is english and when his visa ran out, we moved to england. it was quite the culture shock, i had no idea how isolated i would feel on the other side of the world but after a number of years and having two babies in the uk, we decided to move back to australia for some family support.

we’ve been back here now for about six years, the family support thing didn’t work out so well but i’ll go into that another day, i wanted to sum up my formative years and i think i’ve done that, now…. to post this insanely personal blog?

5 responses to “My balls out blog

  1. crissybwell says:

    I just wanted to say that I read this from the start, I love the ease and flow of it all. I am sorry for all that you have gone through but I am glad that by the end you have come out in a good place. It took a lot of courage for you to write that, it’s quite inspirational to me. I am not really the open book kind of person, so for someone to be able to put that all out there like that, bravo! Just wanted to show some support and say that I appreciate your words and blog and look forward to reading more of your stuff. *hugs*

    • mckarlie says:

      Thank you so much, it took me a long time to gather the strength to start blogging, i knew once i turned the tap on it would pour. I kept everything locked away for a very long time, and i have been amazed at how healing it’s been to just be totally honest about my feelings. If you ever want to share, I’m always interested in others stories opinions and feelings 🙂

      • crissybwell says:

        I can completely understand that about taking a long time to gather the strength and I think that I am finding my own, just not there quite yet. I am glad that you have been able to find it though, I think that is the only way to really reach others though, to find what it is you want to say and reveal what you have been through in your own life and put it out there so that others can relate to it. I know exactly what you mean about the healing feelings you get from being honest and open though, maybe someday. Reading your post tonight, was very encouraging to me though. 🙂 I am glad that I came across it and your blog.

      • mckarlie says:

        Yeah we all need to face things on our own time, but you’ll find a lot of people here on wordpress who have been through similar things and it’s so great that we can make each other feel a little less alone in it all. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I’ve had a look through some of your writing, it’s lovely. If you ever want to share in a less public way feel free to shoot me an email 🙂

      • crissybwell says:

        Thank you for that and for the offer I might so that. And I think that you are right there are a lot of people who you will find to relate though one just has to be brave enough first to put themselves out there. Thanks again. *hugs*

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