Recently I shared my story with an ABC News journalist, it not only went on the news, it went online and shared on triple J radio news too. Since then I have received an amazing amount of people message me; old school friends from primary school, and college. I wore my mask well as they all said they didn’t know. I looked happy all of the time. My nickname by one teacher in high school was, Smiley.
Today I don’t wear that mask. I smile because I am genuinely happy, and I allow myself to cry when I am sad. One of the messages I received has somewhat knocked me off my feet. It opens up quite a lot of doors of the past that I didn’t know were able to open. They were doors from another person’s perspective of a father that wasn’t only a bad person to me. He wasn’t well liked in our childhood community for his treatment towards my brother, his discipline and the way that he would secretly discipline me too. I was given every form of the strap, wooden spoon, even a torch smacked across my face the night I was out with the kids in the street. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. He just wanted me home. He caame hunting for me by torch light, and used that torch to light up the side of my face.
I know he hurt my brother. I know it. My mum knew it. And I wish I could hug my brother right now and say you don’t need to hurt anymore.
The day I kicked my father in the balls was one of the most empowering days of my life.
This particular message that has knocked me off my feet, allowed me to feel a way that I cannot put into words right now, was from a man that lived in our street, a father himself to children around my age. He witnessed a lot, heard stories from my father. He knew my father’s name and more. I am taking this information and I will work through it. I have a lot to do over the Christmas and New Year break, where I will move forward with a lot of the Be Brave purpose. Today the Royal Commission hands down its findings for abuse in institutions. I feel with the doors I have opened and the flood of doors they will open today, we have hope to help children at risk of abuse to live the lives they deserve; one without fear, where they wear no masks, and the smiles are real.
be brave. H