Day 2 – A Journey of My Spiritual Experiences (Listen while you read)
Today I am a woman of fairly consistent understandings apropos to religion and dogma; however, that was not how it all began.
I had yearnings as a young child; yearnings to be with those I loved. And who did I love? I loved those who were given to me as being loving. And who were they? They were the unknown. I had a knowing somewhere deep within that somewhere there were unknowns who were capable of loving me; but, where were they? I searched in various places; places where a young girl ought not to search. I failed to find love. I searched for it in the faces of children at school. I searched for it within my small circle of acquaintances (those other young girls who lived in my street). I didn’t find love. It wasn’t within my home; well, not for me at least. I searched high and low, and love couldn’t be found.
Eventually, I didn’t search for love anymore; it was too distasteful not finding it. I began to assume that it didn’t exist; well, not for me; no, not for me. I found others whose lives were about as empty as mine; however, no love.
More and more I felt that life was a nonsense. It hurt. It wasn’t meant to hurt; was it?
I found a little comfort when in my early teenage years. She said, ‘Come to our church, we have the Girl’s Life Brigade there.’ This interested and scared me. I didn’t have anything to wear.
It was neither approved by my parents nor disapproved; they weren’t really able to define such things. I believe they were like flotsam and jetsam; they floated with the tide.
The green coat I wore over my little cotton dress belied the heat of the day. I couldn’t go without the coat; my clothes were an embarrassment. Three weeks of wearing the green coat in the small Church was enough.
The minister, Mr Bird, seemed frail and without love.
The Girl’s Life Brigade was too costly for my parents, and so ended my brief visit. I had met a number of children; a fellowship they called it. I went on one fellowship outing.
He was a very tall boy, smitten by the new arrival. He offered me his hand as we walked up the stream. I didn’t need it; I was an athletic young girl. He asked me to meet with him at the roller skate rink. We met. He invited me to a concert at the Sydney Stadium. We saw Dusty Springfield, Gerry & The Pacemakers, and many other artists that I had heard on the radio. It was quite an eventful outing. He kept wetting his lips with his tongue. I thought he wanted to kiss me and wished that he would get on with it so that I could refuse. Instead he kept wetting his lips making me more and more uncomfortable. However, I loved the concert. I didn’t see him again.
It was up to me to get things done; I couldn’t depend on anyone.
My father was a violent man. He was hurting inside. I tried to help him. I counselled him whilst the others stayed well away. They would all go into the lounge room, far away from his passion. He would hit my knuckles at the dinner table. You weren’t supposed to talk. No, he had to watch the news at that time. He was the only one who could see the television through the lounge room door opening. Don’t make a noise, or laugh, or even look sideways; especially me. He had taken to disliking me. I had passed the useful stage. His judo club relied on me to assist those boys who came to learn. Time passed, and I passed from the doors of the judo club and, as I did, our shallow meeting passed too. Now that I was older, coming into my own, I no longer held value.
He didn’t like my first lover. He came from a very well to do home in a very plush suburb. His family were ‘a cut above the rest’. When he had the accident he applied for a job at my lover’s father’s business. When he discovered this, he came down on me harder than before. He was humiliated; a most immodest man. His pride prevented him from securing a job because his arrogance prevented him from accepting the fact that my lover’s father would be his boss.
In the heat of his temper he cut my dressing gown with the knife. He’d rammed me up against the wall in a frenzied attempt to hurt me. He grabbed for my dressing gown and sliced it open. This shocked him somewhat, and as he stood there slightly stunned by his actions I ran into the bathroom; it was the only door with a key. I turned it as his fist pounded into the door causing it to break and splinter and moan and groan under his violent passion. I didn’t dare leave ’til I knew that he’d calmed. I could hear mother speaking to him saying, “Charles, leave the girl alone.”
The phone booth was just a little way from home. My dressing gown cut, my nerves a-jangling, I ran for the booth. My lover answered. After speaking with his father his advice was, “Go to the Police station.” His father didn’t want him to get involved. I understood, even at sixteen years of age, I understood. He was a violent man.
Six years, on and off, we dated and enjoyed/needed/came together. His family, although wealthy, weren’t capable of giving him the love that he needed. We were good for each other. His father wanted him to go to England; partly because there was the faint chance that we would marry; a fearful thought for a father who wanted better for his son. Bestobells was a large English concern; he could get a good business grounding there, and return with a more valuable offering. My lover’s father’s business was sold to Bestobells, my lover travelled to England, and I fell pregnant to a married man.
I didn’t know that he was married. After 3 months he’d asked my father for my hand in marriage. My father agreed. He agreed because Daniel was wealthy. He owned a business; a very lucrative business. He owned a big car, spent money on restaurants, outings, plane trips, fun. He seemed a good catch until.
I cried. He said. “Pregnant, oh no.” Then the truth; married with two children. I’d wondered why he had never taken me home. He was married to his work, he said.
He looked after me during the pregnancy. He bought me a car and put me up in a unit not far from my home. Dwayne was born and he was there at the hospital asking me to marry him. How could I marry him? He was a liar, an adulterer, an unworthy piece of _ _ _ _. I was so angry.
I heard recently on the news that the Royal Paddington Hospital for women in Sydney had made an apology to all the women (unmarried women) who had given birth to their babies whilst in their care during the 1940’s through to the 1980’s. They admitted to the openly dishonest way that the Benevolent Society (through whom adoptions were carried out within the hospital) had manipulated young mothers to release their children under the hope that their infants would be ‘better off’. Six weeks they ‘counselled’ me. Six weeks I endured their scathing attacks upon my person.
How could I bring up a child on my own? Why didn’t I see the effort required in raising a son? What did I have to offer him? They could give him everything that he could possibly need. They were coming down in a plane from Queensland every weekend just to see him. They could offer him a life of hope. What did I have to offer? He was a premie baby; needed to stay in hospital they said. Six weeks was the time needed before, as the natural mother, my time to change my mind about the adoption would cease. On that day I’d been severely brow beaten enough to agree. I had nothing to offer; let them take him and give him all the things that I wanted him to have.
She was born 18 months later. My lovely little daughter was mine; no-one could take her from me. Her father, my husband, was a drunk. My mother adored him. She liked a drink. They would whisper in front of me. I would be stuck talking with my father; life just wasn’t fair. I did; however, have a beautiful little girl. We spent time together; she and I. I loved her, and for the first time in my life I understood ‘being loved’. She loved me. She loved me, and I loved her.
He didn’t last long. Sclerosis of the liver, and other problems, caused his death in 2000. We had long parted. Twelve years with this man was enough to make me very ill. He too was a violent man; though his violence was purely emotional.
The next nine years with my daughter were heavenly; so much happened over that period of time to give me hope that life, although it remained very hard, was at least ‘softened’ by our love for each other.
And so begins the ‘real’ part of my journey. The time spent with love as my guide.
Carolyn Page – ABC of Spirit Talk