The nature of my book means that I had to write about what went wrong in my childhood, in order to make people feel comfortable enough to relate to me. What I put in that book had nothing to do with revenge or trying to make my parents feel guilty, it was simply necessary to show where I had come from. Who wants to learn to climb up from the depths of sadness, abuse and confusion from someone who has never been there?
In saying that, I don’t want the last thing I write about my parents to be how they failed. I love them, and there are plenty of things they did right. We are all human, none of us are perfect parents. So I needed to write this for me, and perhaps a little for them too.
I will start with Dad, as he gets the brunt of the shade in my book. As I say in all my interviews, my dad was the way he was because he wasn’t treated well as a child. He tried his very hardest to steer away from what he had in his childhood. So he showered us with love, compliments, cuddles and attention a lot of the time. He took time to create things for us, whether it be tunnels through bushes, big beautiful gardens, music or huge plates of rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables. When we would go on road trips he would turn the backseat into a big mattress with coloring books and snacks (this was before the time of mandated seat belts!) and he would sing us silly songs at the top of his lungs as we drove.
He would blow bubbles, sing, dance, read us books in crazy voices and cook healthy meals most nights. He would draw and write poems for us, and always choose the most artistic and creative birthday cards which he still does to this day. My dad is highly intelligent and I do envy his brain and how it works sometimes. When he gets obsessive about a subject whether it be religion or government conspiracies or plants, he will study it thoroughly over weeks, months and sometimes even years. I admire that about him.
He builds entire gardens out of nothing, cultivating the most beautiful flowers and strangest succulents. He always has pink flowers in his garden, just for me. His gardens really are gorgeous and extremely creative.
He reads books by the hundreds, but loathes to lend them as he can’t stand it when people don’t look after books. He would rather give you a book and buy it again for himself than see you dog ear the pages! My dad is an extremely interesting and complex man.
My mum is also highly creative. She sings and plays keyboards and harmonizes like an angel. Not only is she creative but she is a hard worker. She has worked full time as a teacher for as long as I can remember. She even worked remotely in aboriginal communities week on week off and worked with disadvantaged children.
Just like dad she was also always singing and dancing around. She has an uncanny ability to make a song out of any word or sentence – a gift she has given to Tsari and I (you’re welcome kids). Mum enjoys a wine or two and can always be seen in the background of photos or videos waving or being silly, if she isn’t holding the camera – which is most of the time. We call mum the Paparazzi because she is always insisting we take photos when we are together.
Mum always accessorizes and colour-coordinates her outfits, I am always impressed by her style and colour matching capabilities especially when she matches her nail polish to her ensemble.
She is incredibly positive about life no matter what it throws at her, almost annoyingly so, when you’re trying to be sad about something. If anything at all goes wrong, her response is always, without fail, ‘Just Pray About It’. I feel like she needs that tattooed across her chest (NO RAGRETS – If you know, you know)
As a family we used to play murder in the dark, where we would turn off all the lights and one person would be the murderer and the rest of us would have to hide. It was terrifying and so much fun at the same time. Then we would sometimes retire to the spare room where there was a full music setup with keyboards and guitars, and sing songs. Notably, ‘Ace Of Base’ – a chubby little mini Tsari with her little hair antenna singing ‘All That She Wants’ in her growly deep little voice with mum and I harmonising and dad singing the low back up.
My parents struggled with each other and sometimes struggled with parenthood, but who doesn’t? I love them dearly, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t gone through what I did. I hope they know that it isn’t all doom and gloom and bad memories for me.