The Beginning

1 May

Where does one start with writing a blog? I figured I’d start right at the very beginning. Surely one can only try to understand a life when they know the important details.

This is me. I was born on October 21, 1988. A fat baby born just before midnight, and almost 2 weeks overdue, delivered by a Doctor Love. Seriously. My primary school teacher thought I’d cleverly made it up (What’s clever about that?). I had 2 older sisters, Samantha born in 82 and Kylie in 84.

My mum said she was planning to call me Natalie, but when I was born, I just looked like a Tracey to her. My middle name, Clare, comes from my dad’s grandmother. I’m not sure whether it was his mum or dad’s mum. Once I repeated the Natalie story to my dad, and he laughed and said he didn’t remember. Either way, I was glad. I would hate to be called Nat. “Nat, done your homework?” “Nat, did you pick up the milk?” Ick. Not that I ever really loved Tracey, but I’ve come to accept it. After all, its who I am.

Mum says I was a happy baby. 

I recently found out I was born with a small defect. I had a hole above my anus, at least an inch deep but fully covered in skin. I can only imagine my poor mum cleaning that hole carefully every day so that it didn’t build up with anything nasty, until I was finally a year old and had surgery for it. She told me that she had done the whole day on her own, told my dad not to worry. By the end of the day she was exhausted and in tears. Royal Perth Hospital is shit now, I can only imagine how crappy it was back then.

In hindsight, I think she probably didn’t want him to come because they weren’t getting along. They separated shortly after my first birthday followed by a divorce. I don’t remember them ever being together. My earliest memory involves chicken pox. We all had them, all three girls, but all I really remember is running through a lounge room in my knickers and the vague smell of oatmeal. I must have been at dad’s rental house, because its not a room I recognise.

I guess Dad and Kay dated for a while. Dad was a sports teacher, and Kay was a receptionist at the school he worked at. Kay had 3 children from a previous marraige too. Tara born in 78, Kellie in 80 and Adam in 82. What was with the gaps back then? So many people had one baby, then another 2 years later, then the last one 4 years later. My earliest memory here is of having to go to a football game. Boring! I don’t really follow sports. It was at night, a cool night, I was wearing a jumper. The game was boring and I didn’t understand it, I was only 3 years old. I was told off for entertaining myself with silly games, had to eat a yucky nutella sandwich when I was hungry (I’d never had nutella before) and it had gone warm. Then Kay made me sit on her lap. Finally, everyone started to stamp their feet in a tune to a song, and singing along. I didn’t know the song, but I wanted to join in stamping my feet. This was the most exciting thing that had happened all night!
Kay wouldn’t let me.

I guess the next memory I have is of them getting married. Why do people have long ceremonies when small children are involved? I had to stand still on the end of the line of my sisters and new sisters and step brother, and be still for an hour. I tried to play with my basket of fake flowers, but Kylie kept swatting me on the arm and eventually pinching me. I don’t remember this photo being taken.


But I love it, because it shows three little blond girls who are really unsure about what is happening. Sam is trying to smile, Kylie looks disappointed, and I just look plain confused. I’m trying to hide behind my Daddy. Note our horrible dresses and the fake flowers that tangled in my crimped hair.

Childhood breezed passed me like a train while you are sitting in your car, waiting for it to hurry up so you can continue. I learned to ride a bike, skinned my knees, had sleep overs, played barbies, read books and loved school.


That’s me in the middle. I did gymnastics, netball, marching, square dancing, music. I could read long before I went to kindy and learned to write. School was easy, I loved to learn and I loved knowing that I understood everything and even more than my peers. I loved sports. I was never a long distance runner, and I was one of the worst at long distance throwing, but I was great at things like long jump, 100 metre sprint and volleyball. I was never the most popular in my class but I had great friends.


My ninth birthday. I loved ladybirds. I loved to play in our backyard, no matter the weather. My sister Kylie and my Mum’s mum, my Grandma, are in this picture, as well as my best friends in the world. Stevie, on the left, and Tegan, on the right. Tegan and I grew up with one house between us. Stevie was the most wonderful person I knew, she was incredible fun.

She was the person I chose to confide in. Because by the time this photo was taken, I had been betrayed by people who were supposed to be caring for me. Not person, people. Sexual abuse was something I managed to hide inside myself for a few years, but it couldn’t last. I told Stevie behind her shed about it. She helped me tell her mum. By helped, I mean, she did all the talking because I couldn’t. All I could say was that I had been wearing my new bathers, I’d finally convinced my mum to let me have a 2 piece set and thats what had happened. Ros called my mum. She told me You’re okay. You are safe. She put on a movie, wrapped a blanket around me and told my mum in the kitchen when she arrived. That was the first time I remember seeing my mum cry. I could hear her crying from the kitchen, over the movie. I don’t remember all of it. I remember Stevie’s sister Carly wanted to know what was going on, and Stevie told her I had grazed my knee. Carly was too smart for that, she wanted to see my knee. But she let it go.

I don’t remember having a councellor in primary school, I know that I did but I know I never told them anything. I didn’t want to talk about something I didn’t even understand. No one had ever talked to me about sexual predators. It just wasn’t talked about back then. We had a book, “Where Did I Come From”, but I didn’t understand it. I didn’t relate it to me. I thought you either had babies out of your bum or out of your pee hole. I didn’t know until someone stuck something in my vagina that it was even there. That’s how innocent I was. I still remember the pain. I remember begging for it to stop. I remember scents and images. I remember too much.

My mum still doesn’t know the whole truth. She thinks that one person abused me, and a person that we don’t associate with. What she doesn’t know is that someone else did too, someone in our family. I remember it all too well. I could never tell her the truth. Because a small part of me feels she failed me by not making me know about these things that could happen, so I could protect myself, so I could know I could scream and run for help. And I can only imagine she does too.


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