Monday, May 31, 2010

The first diversion to me... (there will be more!)

I’m going to take a bit of a diversion back to me. Because it’s all about ME goddammit! It’s not, but I want to give you a bit more understanding of me as a person. It’s taken me a very long time accept that I am in fact a rather complex person. I also feel some stupid need to explain my relationship to my parents (your Oma and deceased Opa).

So I was born in the Netherlands on the 5th of December in the middle of the first blizzard of the season. There’s some mythology attached to this that I have never really been able to track down or make sense out of. And to be honest I never really figured it was that important. I never really liked snow that much anyway.

I spent nearly the first 8 years of my life in Rotterdam. And my only real clear distinct memory is of when I was learning how to ice skate. I saw a fish trapped in the ice of the canal we were learning to skate on and I was quite upset by this. I also remember it being quite beautiful, a gold coloured fish trapped in the ice and I seem to remember a rainbow on either the ice or the scales. I asked my father about it, as I was quite upset as to whether the fish would live when the ice defrosted.

He lied to me and told me that yes the fish would live and that fish would forever be a special fish as he survived the winter in the ice. I learnt much later that fish actually couldn’t survive being frozen. I also learnt that my father didn’t want me too upset so he basically fibbed to me. Your Opa was a gentle man and I think I learnt that too late in my life. He was also very generous and I hope that’s a quality I’ve acquired and a quality I can pass down to you both - I won't fool you though, my relationship with your grandfather wasn't perfect but I'll get to that later.

So anyway back to me!

Your grandparents (rather daftly) thought that to save their marriage, they could relocate to Brisbane. Suffice it to say, this wasn’t the best idea (they split 3 years later). My parents’ divorce was a defining moment in my life – the ramifications of which I am still feeling. I didn’t really have much to do with my mother after she left us. I think for a long time I tried to reconnect with her and it just wasn’t ever going to work. We are now well & truly estranged but I will save that particular story for a different blog post.

I grew up in Brisbane. I did call it home for many years. I didn’t ever particularly feel like I belonged there. I went through school always being different. Originally, I went through primary school being different because I had an accent and I was struggling to learn English. Then when my parents’ divorced, I was treated differently because we (your uncle & I) were amongst the first kids at our school to come from a divorced family. By the time we hit High School – divorce was a lot more common and it was actually surprising if people’s parents were still together. It’s funny how the world changes!

Then in high school – I was the fat, gay kid. So again I didn’t fit in and I couldn’t if I tried. I didn’t really particularly try either. I think there’s a part of me that felt comfortable being the odd one out. But being an outsider can be tough.

It’s funny, I just wrote the preceding paragraph and I had to acknowledge that I am still an outsider. I don’t really fit very neatly into very many categories at the moment. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. I always resented labels.