In loving memory of my dad - the “Golden
Prince of Love”
Thank you to my dear family and friends for
your love and support.
To my darling “Conor” for living the
‘beautiful ordinary’ with me every day and for helping me see how happy real
life can be.
To my lovely Muth, for your unconditional
love and wisdom.
To the Big Boy, for your nudges of
encouragement and Chewbacca noises.
To my soul sister Shel, my beautiful cousin
Radhika, to Georgi, Sue-Anne, Lizel, Natalie & Caroline S for your many hours of
To Caroline A, Lhamo, Bev, Lis & Aunty Sue
for your wise counsel.
To “Nick” and “Ria” for being the most
beautiful of mirrors and for helping me see myself more clearly.
“Ria” may you surf the waves of heaven
the ground there is the sound of a symphony
lights are low, the fire is bright…’
Chris Spedding & Richard Kelly – Wombling Merry Christmas
Did you ever wait your
whole life to feel heaven on earth?
A feeling of being home,
of being totally perfect, exactly as you are? A feeling of being completely and
deeply loved? A feeling you couldn’t even put into words because of its sheer
magic, beauty and perfection?
This is exactly what
happened to me one night when I least expected it.
It was absolute relief
from my usual existence. My heart soared like an eagle. I felt I had just been
released from a life sentence in prison and was seeing the world for the first
time. For the way it really was, in all its beauty and glory.
I knew it! I thought,
over and over again. This is how it really is! I knew it all along!
My companion that night,
unaware of the monumental shifts happening within me, lay on his back, eyes
closed. I looked down at him and studied his face closely. His golden hair
flopped messily over his forehead and grains of sand lay sprinkled over the
bridge of his nose, blending with the smattering of freckles there.
We had been friends for
years but I had never been this close to him before. In the glow of the sunrise,
by the ocean, in the warm summer Gold Coast breeze, he was the most beautiful
thing I had ever seen.
Finally, I could no
longer avoid what I had spent the last several years denying and reasoning away.
I loved him.
And it seemed that at
long last I had the confirmation I secretly wanted of his feelings for me, of
our connection. I felt my whole world shift. The strangest feeling enveloped me,
a feeling that my life was never going to be the same again, while
simultaneously my mind worked overtime.
This doesn’t make sense!
Shit! What do I do now?
You might think the
answer would be obvious but there was one small fact I couldn’t ignore.
I was married. To someone
This is where it gets
It would be easier to
tell you I didn’t really love my husband. That I knew all along I shouldn’t be
with him and now was the perfect time to end the relationship for good.
That wasn’t true. I
married a wonderful man. I fell in love with him after a short time of courtship
and quickly decided he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Tall, handsome, funny and
intelligent, with a hot body to boot, he ticked all my boxes. When he proposed
after a year of dating I got the chance to say my well-rehearsed answer out
loud. He became my family, my lover and my best friend, all rolled into one. I
had found my ‘One.’ I adored the smell of his skin and the taste of his mouth.
I loved his ideas and his
zany (and often slightly edgy) sense of humour. I loved nothing better than
being pressed against his chest and feeling his hands softly stroke my hair.
Over the years, however,
our connection had waned. Life had become all about where we would go on holiday
next, what kind of house we would buy next, and which new toy we would get.
These can all be great things, for sure, but at the time they were really just
cover-ups for the bored and uncomfortable feelings that would surface whenever I
would sit still and be quiet.
I still loved him but
after seven years together I had become deeply disappointed with the
relationship. It wasn’t meant to be like this, was it? You meet ‘The One,’ get
married and live happily ever after, right? In love, forever. Any variation on
that theme surely means that something has gone wrong.
Attractions to other men
arose frequently and my thoughts often drifted to an old university friend who I
was aware had had feelings for me in the past. I wondered if my life would have
been better if only I’d made a different choice.
My heart and soul had
begun to yearn for something more. I felt I was becoming stale, old, dried-up at
the grand old age of twenty-nine. I longed for adventure, something to shake me
up, something to make me feel alive again.
As the saying goes, be
careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
The end of 2011 brought
an all-time low.
My best friend told me
she was pregnant. I was happy for her but terribly disappointed for myself. We
had shared so many laughs and good times, the four of us, and I felt some
comfort in the thought that we would have our babies together and watch them
grow. That didn’t seem to be happening for me. My life wasn’t turning out the
way I thought it would.
The day my friend gave
birth to my goddaughter, I sat quietly on our outdoor daybed, feeling as though
life had taken an unexpected turn. It was a sobering realisation. I didn’t know
what to make of it.
I began feeling very strange, particularly while in work. How did I get here? I
felt that it wasn’t ‘me’ who was really here, doing this work. As if I was
watching myself from elsewhere. I had always felt vaguely unhappy with dentistry
but now, before work, I began crying, really sobbing, for no apparent reason.
Nothing terrible was happening. At work my patients loved me. I got on well with
I was concerned I might be going crazy.
After over a year of
mechanical lovemaking in an attempt to conceive a baby and failing, Conor and I
had drifted apart and become immersed in our separate worlds.
At his departure for a
kite-surfing trip one weekend, feeling once more neglected by him, something
shifted inside me. After years of feeling angry and heartbroken, anxious,
abandoned and rejected, I vowed to myself something needed to change. I needed
to start enjoying life, and rather than bending to the whims of others, I had to
start living life for me, come hell or high water.
I realised for the first
time that I had a choice and that, if I really wanted to, no-one could stop me
That night was my work
Christmas party. I had been shopping for a new dress that week, but felt
uninspired by the clothes I saw in the shops. I could not find anything I liked,
or that seemed to suit me.
At thirty-one I began to
feel afraid I was growing too old and unattractive for the latest fashions. A
small voice inside, one I had not heard before, told me to wear the sheer,
sea-green dress I bought at a market a few months before. The voice told me the
dress was ‘good enough.’
This was huge. My inner
life up to that point had consisted of a whole lot of ‘not good enoughs,’ the
sub-categories ‘not beautiful enough’, ‘not sexy enough’, ‘not normal enough’,
along with their relatives ‘too weird’, ‘too emotional’ and ‘too quiet’.