December 6, 2009

My Mind - A Freaky Place

This morning I thought about my childhood. I do that occasionally, particularly when I have behaved in an especially neurotic or unhinged way, and need to look for a defining moment in my youth that I can blame on someone else (usually my parents), and consequently get out of trouble with my husband.

I don't have a brilliant memory, but I was astonished at some of the things that popped out from the dark recesses of my mind. And I thought, if I was to make a mind map of these bits of information, my brain would look very peculiar indeed.

Amongst the things I recall , the following memories were particularly vivid:
  • After a game of 'Drop The Hanky' in school sport in Year 3, Martin Hunter told me "If I'd got the hanky, I would have dropped it to you." I tingled all over. Because in those 12 words, he had told me he loved me.

  • Seeing Grease for the first time at the age of ten, I turned and asked my dad what it meant to 'refuse to see it through'. He told me that it meant 'to refuse to see things through to hugging and kissing'. This made absolutely no sense to me at all. It took me years to work it out.
  • In Year 4, I came home from school utterly inconsolable when my best friend Lisa got into the choir and I didn't. I thought that nothing could ever be more painful than that rejection. As I found out a few years later, I was wrong.
  • At the age of ten, during a sleepover, my other best friend, Leeza, caught me using the page of one of her books as a toothpick. She was not impressed. It was one of my earliest episodes in humiliation.
  • In Year 5, I auditioned for all the female lead roles in the primary school play, and was rejected for all of them. I particularly had pined for the part of the 'Narrator', who was supposed to speak with a Yiddish accent. Unfortunately, though, the best I could come up with was a sort of French/British hybrid, which clearly did not do. Instead, as consolation, I was given the very minor role of 'High Priestess Of Ba-al', whose only line was to comment on the gruesome death of another character by snake bite. I tried to make the most of it, but I felt angry and bitter for the duration of the production.
  • I was devastatd when I missed Johnny Bowles' last episode of Young Talent Time - the one where he (apparently, as Lisa told me excitedly the next day) kissed Tina Arena on the hair. I was obsessed by the Young Talent Team. I fantasised relentlessly about being one of them. The fact that I didn't get into the school choir, didn't know how to dance, and had only been deemed worthy of playing the lowly High Priestess Of Ba-al did little to dampen my enthusiasm.
  • When I was in Year 6, I wrote a story that was read out in class. It was about a picture that came to life, and the last line was: 'Then I got the picture. It was all a dream!' Everybody clapped and laughed, marvelling at how clever I was. But it was a complete accident. I'd had no idea I'd made a joke. I never fessed up.
So these are some of my defining moments, without which I would be me, just a different, possibly saner, certainly less scarred version of myself.
What were yours?

24 comments:

  1. Once, when I was 7, I kissed my best friend on the lips. My big sister caught me and forever after if she wanted me to do something she would say, "If you don't I will tell mum and dad and YOU KNOW WHAT FOR." Those four words were the scariest things ever - until mum and dad overheard her saying it and demanded we tell them. We both got in trouble. Suffer in your jocks big sis. (yes I am a little unhinged because of that incident :-))

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  2. I blogged about one like this recently.. the day my brother discovered he couldn't fly... www.emlythstrange.wordpress.com.. but I am told that at the age of 3, I decided EVERYONE in the world should be hereby known as Mary, so I proceeded to call everyone in my life Mary... they all say it was quite cute, I tend to agree!!

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  3. I have so many of these, so many yesteryear forged neuroses and hang-ups that to chronicle them all here would trigger yet another one of them: thinking I've said far more than people needed to hear.

    Emly, I have a flying story very similar to your brother's. I thought I could, and was so convinced I could I begged my mother and brother to trace out large wings on butcher's paper which I subsequently cut out and attached, using masking tape, to both my arms.

    I was giddy with excitement. Why hadn't I thought of this before!?

    I launched myself from the trampoline, and fell on the ground.

    I remember that moment in a sort of crystal depression as being the first, the genesis of all the rest, that made me realise not everything was possible.

    Sucked.

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  4. Wow - so many - I remember in grade 6 pretending to be sick so I didn't have to hand in my sub-standard Maths homework, in grade 4 pretending to have a sprained ankle so Mum (podiatrist) would pay attention to me, hopping down the stairs at school and spraining the 'unsprained' one and being looked after by my headmistress and realsing that was what care was, and writing an epic poem (10 pages long) in grade 3 about Barbie and her adventures with my friends at lunchtimes, teacher very impressed :)

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  5. WOW Rick! You and my brother would get along well, he too loves cigarettes and to this day he *still* tries to argue that it was *my* fault when he face-planted head-first on the gravel driveway.... (shakes head sadly)..

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  6. I remember when I was a little girl we had neighbours whose surname was "Brachmeyer". I once asked a friend if she liked her Brachmeyer's because I honestly thought the people that lived on your left were neighbours and the people that lived on your right were Brachmeyers.

    The confusion and then laughter that ensued is when I learned never to question my friends about their neighbours (or their Brachmeyers)

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  7. I remember many things from my childhood. Many things I wish I didn't remember.

    I spent a lot of time in an imaginary world. I was pretty, loved and had the most loving family. My reality was far from this imaginary perfection.

    I remember being in year 4, living in Hobart. I started getting migraines weekly. I'll never forget the day the principal of my school sat with me in the sick bay for two hours while we waited for one of my parents to pick me up. I should note, my dad worked in the Angelsea Batracks, literally across the little road from school.

    I remember being in year 2, in Melbourne. There was this new boy in our little street. My best friend and I loved making new friends. He was a bit older than us, year 4 I think. He taught us a new game. It involved my bff and I to get naked in his bedroom.

    In year 6 in country Victoria, a teacher decided I was lying about being in the netball team in Hobart. She threw a chest pass at me when I was walking back to the classroom. She called my name out at the last minute so I turned just in time to cop a face full of netball. I spent the weekend in and out if a migraine caused by concussion.

    So many useless stories of my life. It's no wonder I'm so screwed up now!

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  8. I am *still* humiliated to this day about the time I pretended to sing 'Feelings' in front of my parents and Great Uncle. (Even the fact that it was 'Feelings' is humiliating but that's beside the point.)

    I was probably about six at the time. Seated at Uncle Eric's piano, I was pretending to play along with the record that was on. I had watched a lot of Saturday night Olivia Newton John specials, Saturday Night show, YTT and their ilk. So I closed my eyes, swayed my head and crooned along like I was carrying the troubles of the world on my shoulders.

    All the adults burst into laughter and laughed so hard they ended up in tears. I went along with it... yes, of course I was trying to make them laugh. (But really I *was* feeling all the angst of the song.)

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  9. Year 6. 11 years old. We were to have one male and one female Dux of the school.

    I was very excited to be named the girl Dux and eagerly awaited the end of year concert and presentation at which I would receive an award.

    On the night, the boy Dux was called up to the stage, celebrated, presented with his award and lots of books. I was JUST BESIDE MYSELF waiting for my name to be called next ....

    32 years later, I am still waiting.

    The next week at school I received a copy of my individual school photo signed by the principal.

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  11. My most defining moment, was when I saw Dad creeping out of the bedroom on Christmas morning. It was then I realised there was no Santa Claus. I was 27 years old.......

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  12. Oh your using the book page as a toothpick struck a cord and made me laugh.

    I guess the most embarrassaing thing to happen to me was in grade 1 and we were using the bigger kids toilets at school. I started taking down my dacks as I walked into the toilet building instead of, you know, waiting til I was inside a cubicle. Yep, a bitchy grade 3 made fun of me for months. I have DRILLED in to my kids, don't touch your pants til that door is latched, such is the scar.

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  13. I too have a defining moment involving Johnny Bowles, but I think we've already talked about that...

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  14. When I was eight, I was the Dove Of Peace in the story of Noah's Ark (a pivotal role). I had to fly on from one side of the stage and then fly off to the other, and then return with the olive branch. (Are you with me? As I said, it was a pivotal role, with many subtle nuances in my interpretation of "birdness" including much flapping of small arms to give the impression of "wingedness". Really very brilliant stuff).

    Unfortunately, somebody had the left the olive branch on the wrong side of the stage. So I had to hide it up my costume, fly onto stage, get my instructions from Noah, fly off, pull the branch from out of my costume, and then fly back on with it in my mouth.

    I was the consummate professional - nobody in the audience guessed for a moment that a serious props management mistake had been made - and I used the discomfort of having a branch up my dress to inform my perfomance. I'm surpised NIDA didn't sign me up on the spot.

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  15. Been thinking. You want me to dish up more dirt and not just speak of my tri-umphs in the they-atra, darling.

    I may have mentioned this before but I showed my fanny to Justin Jacobs for his autograph the very next year.

    I'm like Britney Spears. A media darling one year, a skanky ho the next.

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  16. Ooooh, fun!

    Scarring memories:

    10 years old: bitching about (probably 20 year old) jazz dance teacher's ineptitude in the toilets of the concert hall after the Christmas concert with friend, only to hear *flush* & see dance teacher walk out of toilet. Mortified, never went back.

    8 years old: ENTIRE Brownie pack passing their "weaving" badge, EXCEPT ME, who couldn't weave a fricking flax kit.

    9 years old: teacher (who was also school principal) telling our class that those "cat's eyes" on the road (otherwise known as reflectors) pop down into a little bath of sudsy water when you drive over them, and that's how they stay clean. I used to jump on them every time I crossed a road, thinking I just couldn't make them pop down because I wasn't as heavy as a car.

    To name a few.

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  17. Ooh, I have many. But here's a couple that immediately spring to mind:

    On one particular road trip with my parents and my sister & her hubby and kids, my brother in law's car kept breaking down. We pulled over for what seemed like the hundredth time, and bored, my niece, nephew and I decided to throw rocks in to the bush. I did one particularly HUGE underarm throw. But instead of the rock flying up and in to the bush, the rock flew up, back over my head, landing on the side of my brother in law's car, right where he was leaning over to take a look at the engine. I remember him jumping in fright and getting REALLY angry.

    When I was about 14, I was over my bestfriend Tracy's house one day. We were dancing (80s style - because it was the 80s) in her room, and I was really being silly and going for it. My friend Tracy stopped dancing, but I just kept moving, doing my best Cyndi Lauper impression. Soon I noticed she had a sort of smirk on her face, and was glancing occasionally behind me. I turned around to see her Mum standing at the door to her bedroom with a big smile on her face. "Nice footwork kiddo," she said, and left. I was SO embarrassed.

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  18. Age 4- Playing "mummy, daddy, and baby" with my friend and her brother. Her bro (age 6) and I would go behind the shed and rub tummies to "make the baby" because that's how we thought babies were made and then the baby would be born- my friend would come out from behind the tree- and then we'd all sit in the sandpit and play house... Haha...

    Age 6- Mother had just explained that sex was what resulted in babies being born. I told friend- "your parents had SEX to have you!!" - she goes home (she lived round the corner)- she comes back- "NO!! YOU'RE WRONG!! My mum says I was born in the cabbage patch!!!" (I told that story at her 18th!! Hehehe...)

    Age 11- Getting the hiccups whilst our teacher was having a massive fit at our class for misbehaviour... He was yelling his brains out and every few seconds there would be this massive, "HIC!" My best friend got the giggles- To which he then slammed his hand on our desk (and I hiccupped again) and screamed, "YOU HAVE A PROBLEM *HER NAME*" and then proceeded to rant about how I couldn't help having the hiccups and she shouldn't be giggling and he was trying to make a point about the class misbehaving etc. etc. Unsurprisingly we both ran out the classroom when the bell rang and burst into hysterics of laughter... To this day whenever she has an issue I will promptly exclaim, "YOU HAVE A PROBLEM *HER NAME*!!" Hehe...

    Oh I have so many memories, but they're the ones that spring to mind. =)

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  19. I had a Grease moment aswell!! I loved the movie, new every word by the time I was 7 and I was watching it with mum, dad and my older sister and at the part with Rizzo and Knicki making in the car when he pulled the condom out and said "It broke, I bought it in the 7th grade." I didn't know what broke and I turned to them and said, "What broke" they wouldn't say anything and finally my sister said, "His watch". It wasn't until I was older and watching it one day i realised it wasn't his watch!!!

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  20. Classic - can identify with all of these - probably because we're the same age...

    except I must say, I was the one who got into the choir (in fact, most of my youth was spent in choirs of one sort or another) and also I didn't really go for Johnny Bowles - now Bobby Driessen, there was a spunk and a half ;-)

    41FP

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  21. Classic - can identify with all of these - probably because we're the same age...

    except I must say, I was the one who got into the choir (in fact, most of my youth was spent in choirs of one sort or another) and also I didn't really go for Johnny Bowles - now Bobby Driessen, there was a spunk and a half ;-)

    41FP

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  22. Ooh, I have many. But here's a couple that immediately spring to mind:

    On one particular road trip with my parents and my sister & her hubby and kids, my brother in law's car kept breaking down. We pulled over for what seemed like the hundredth time, and bored, my niece, nephew and I decided to throw rocks in to the bush. I did one particularly HUGE underarm throw. But instead of the rock flying up and in to the bush, the rock flew up, back over my head, landing on the side of my brother in law's car, right where he was leaning over to take a look at the engine. I remember him jumping in fright and getting REALLY angry.

    When I was about 14, I was over my bestfriend Tracy's house one day. We were dancing (80s style - because it was the 80s) in her room, and I was really being silly and going for it. My friend Tracy stopped dancing, but I just kept moving, doing my best Cyndi Lauper impression. Soon I noticed she had a sort of smirk on her face, and was glancing occasionally behind me. I turned around to see her Mum standing at the door to her bedroom with a big smile on her face. "Nice footwork kiddo," she said, and left. I was SO embarrassed.

    ReplyDelete
  23. When I was eight, I was the Dove Of Peace in the story of Noah's Ark (a pivotal role). I had to fly on from one side of the stage and then fly off to the other, and then return with the olive branch. (Are you with me? As I said, it was a pivotal role, with many subtle nuances in my interpretation of "birdness" including much flapping of small arms to give the impression of "wingedness". Really very brilliant stuff).

    Unfortunately, somebody had the left the olive branch on the wrong side of the stage. So I had to hide it up my costume, fly onto stage, get my instructions from Noah, fly off, pull the branch from out of my costume, and then fly back on with it in my mouth.

    I was the consummate professional - nobody in the audience guessed for a moment that a serious props management mistake had been made - and I used the discomfort of having a branch up my dress to inform my perfomance. I'm surpised NIDA didn't sign me up on the spot.

    ReplyDelete
  24. My most defining moment, was when I saw Dad creeping out of the bedroom on Christmas morning. It was then I realised there was no Santa Claus. I was 27 years old.......

    ReplyDelete

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