If someone would’ve told me this time last year when I was a broke ass student about to graduate from the most prestigious media school in the country that I’d be living back home in North QLD, become the carer of my 14yr old brother and working as an Indigenous Youth Mentor at a High School, I would not have believed you. Its unbelievable what has happened and where life has taken me in the space of the last 12 months.
2011 will always be remembered by me as the year of painstakingly hard times, so I thought I’d write and reflect to put into perspective some of the things I have gone through in the year that was 2011.
Death/A New Life:
What a way to finish 2010. Graduate from radio school, get a job and then lose my mother all in the space of two months. This started my rollercoaster new life. I moved back to QLD the day after my mum passed away; straight back to North Queensland in the thick of absolute grief. I moved into my mother’s house and took over her lease, and in turn, inheriting all of her processions, as well as becoming my brother’s fulltime carer. Keeping in mind, I moved back not having my driver’s license, so I was sitting here every day in this house, house bound, by myself with no family, with just my thoughts while my brother would be at school for the first 6 months of the year.
To say that this whole grieving/adjusting process has been hard mentally, physically and spiritually would be an understatement. I have cried more in this one year than I have my entire life... Whenever I think that there are no more tears to cry, they still come... My mum will always be in my heart, in my mind and in my spirit for the rest of my life and I have accepted that no amount of tears will ever be enough when you are missing someone, and my mum; I will miss forever...
Lifestyle Change/Becoming a carer:
The thing which made everything harder on top of the death of my mum was moving back to this place I hadn’t lived for 10 years, back to quiet, back to lack of opportunity and job prospects, but also back to a completely different lifestyle of now taking on the parenting role. My brother and I were probably at our lowest in the first 4 months of 2011 having to apply to become a carer and what a head ache of a process that was. No money from Centrelink and barely any support from the department until I was cleared as my brother’s full time carer in May this year meant we lived off what little savings I had until it was all cleared in the court system. To have survived this whole year without a accepting a cent from anybody else is something that has made me stronger and will continue to make me a stronger person for the rest of my life. I wasn’t being stubborn, I was just doing what I know how to do best when I’m at my lowest; survive. 11 months down the track, various stressful days and nights later, my brother and I have found our rhythm and are doing well.
Amongst all the anguish and sadness, the hurt, the fear and genuine pain I’ve felt everyday this year, my light at the end of the tunnel has been travel. Being up here without work for the first 6 months meant limited money which meant sitting still for a while... Well so I thought... In moments where I thought, ‘I can’t take anymore’, the opportunity to travel always presented itself and I honestly don’t think without those several trips I’ve been able to take this year, I would’ve been half as sain as I am right now... To get away to Sydney for a week to see Usher with my girl Jo was amazing; it allowed me to see and say a proper goodbye to my good friends who I didn’t get to see before I left in December, and allowed me to farewell my beloved Sydney the way I wanted too.
To be able to take my brother for a weekend to Sydney not long after and spent a few days showing him my favourite city in Australia, take him to concerts and spoil him with clothes, food and music was a good memory of 2011 for the both of us that we will share for a life time. Not too long down the track, I was then asked to help facilitate a radio workshop for my old school on beautiful Thursday Island in the Torres Straits; my very first trip to the straits and I will always remember the hospitality of the people, the beautiful green/blue water, the dingy’s driving by, the beers after a long day of teaching in a hot hall and the returning buzz of radio that I had missed for the 6 months I’d been away from it all. I sat still again for a little while, but not before another trip to Sydney to again teach radio and have the opportunity to do it at my old school... I learnt a lot of things on this trip and was grateful to have the opportunity to again be involved in radio and spend time with my friends while I was there.
From Sydney to Townsville and I welcomed some of my best friends in the world to my house for a few days and can say that it was probably some of the happiest times I’ve had in my life, especially the road trip I took back to Townsville for my first trip back to the city since I had moved in 2009. I’ve never laughed so hard and drunk so much alcohol in the space of 4 days..
Just when I thought I’d be sitting still again for a while, my new job as an Indigenous Youth Mentor at my old school was offered to me and I’ve been working there since August and have loved the new challenge and new a new industry. Radio also came knocking and I was able to pick up a few days producing in Cairns and really enjoyed being back in it. Then came the news that my best friend Bernard was gravely ill and I rushed to be by his bedside in Darwin to see him through it. My bala, who I had come to know and love for the past 6yrs, was laying before me, in a coma and on life support and I refused to lose my mother and best friend in the same year, so to Darwin I travelled to be with him. I hate Darwin and hate the heat, but I did what I had to do to see my bala... Luckily he survived and came through it all and is doing really well. To see him have another shot at life, a second chance and for him to still be in my life, is something I will always be eternally grateful for.
It wasn’t long before I was off to the Gold Coast for a work conference with the High School in October and loved every minute. I saw some old friends, and made some new ones and enjoyed being back on the beautiful coast again. As I sit here and write this, my first blog in a while, I am counting down to my first trip overseas in 12 days time. This trip has taken me about 5 months to organise and has been planned what feels like my whole life. One week in LA and one week in New YOORRKKK with my girl Kodie, to see Kanye West and Jay Z and to escape the year I’ve had, and what a year it’s been... Thank god for travel and this beautiful world I have explored and am yet to keep exploring...
The best part about this year is that I haven’t gone through it completely myself. My family and extended family surrounded me and continue to illuminate love and support for my brother and I as we continue to explore unknown territories together. My sister Jade is my rock, my oldest and only sister and has been there from start to finish with nothing but love for me and my brother. She understands the feelings that I feel and knows how to cheer me up. Another positive about being back home is being closer to her and getting to know her better. Her husband Ben has become a brother to me and has had to endure more than his shoulders probably needed this year, but has had our backs equally and would do anything for us; true family and a true human being. My brother has also had the love and support of my sisters 3 children who we see regularly and they all have a strong bond and hopefully will have long into their adult years. My dad who has helped with transport and looking after my brother while I travelled or needed time to myself has been invaluable, not to mention the love and support he has given to us by being the only parent we have left... It’s been a hard year for all of our family, and especially on dad, and I will love him forever.
My best friends Jo, Nathan, Noella, Coralee, Bernard, Murray, Nima, Shadow, Nagas, Ali, have all been there as the first people who I have called to cry my eyes out too or just sit and listen while I mourned. They travelled to be with me on my mother’s funeral and showed true friendship to the fullest and for that I will be forever grateful to them all. To my Tableland peeps, Linda, Mary, Kristina, Mazzer, Saime, To my Brissy girls Nerida, Avelina, Cristilee, My Sydney girls and boys, Yaleela, Barbie, John, Katayla, Kate, Ren, Kodie, Ebs, Victoria, Josie, Missy, Pauline, Brad, Kaleesha, all of my AFTRS Crew, especially Kyran, To my Townsville crew, AG, Vee, Barbs, My Darwin/Batchelor Crew, Trina, Gilmore, Darren, My Cairns crew Rachelle, Malcolm, Bradley, My boy Pumpkin in Melbourne and anybody else that I may have missed that have been there for me in more ways than one, I can’t say thank to you enough for all that you have brought to my year in the ways of love and care... Just know that when your dark days show, I will be there right beside each of you in return...
When I moved back here, I came to the realisation that I would probably have to sacrifice men and the dating scene; after all, there are not a lot of choices in a place like this. Farmers or young 21yr old lad’s is probably your only option up here and I’d decided that I’d rather have none. Turns out I ended up having a relationship in the most unlikely year of all (neither with a farmer or a 21yr old lad thank god LOL). Although it didn’t last long, and a good friendship was broken by failed love, I gained experience in what I want and need for the future when it comes to guys being in my life which means inevitably in my brother’s life as well.
I loved and was loved, I have no doubt about that, but it didn’t work out, so we move on; thus is life. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some great guys this year and know if anything, I’ve formed some great friendships and learnt some great lessons. As they say, better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all. Right now in my life, I’m as single as they come and want to be for me trip to America... hehe... But in 2012, I wouldn’t say no to any real offers that may or may not come my way.
I guess you never really know what life will throw at you in one of the worst years of your life and I definitely didn’t expect romance, relationships and other things to be a part of 2011 so I guess I’m grateful for the experience’s overall.
Our mother’s one year anniversary will be in a month’s time on the 29th December. The raw emotion of her loss is still fresh within our hearts and minds and I know without a doubt I and everybody in our family and who knew her will take a heavy hit to the chest on that day. When the clock strikes 12 midnight on December 31st 2011, I will kiss this year goodbye knowing I faced adversity at its greatest and came out on top with my brother in tow.
People have said to me, ‘I don’t know how you’ve done it’ and I can honestly say it’s because of my brother that I’ve been able to get up and get on with my everyday life day in and day out. Yeah it’s been hard to get him to listen to me, we’ve had fights, I haven’t been perfect and neither has he, but without each other, we both wouldn’t be standing here strong 12 months later. Having a positive outlook that things will change and hard situations will improve, as well as having an appreciation of the things I’ve got has got me through it all without a doubt.
So what will 2012 bring? Hopefully change, happiness and love for those who I love and those who love me, because when it’s all said and done, what you achieve in life and how you’ve gone about achieving it, will leave a lasting legacy in the minds of others when it’s your time to eventually leave this planet.
To everybody that has seen me through this year’s dark times and it’s good, thank you. Sending you all light love and best wishes for the New Year and see you all in 2012...
One Love, One Life