Mmm baby

Prompt: Write you earliest childhood memory and create a fiction where this is incredibly significant to your adult life.

It’s 1979 and the television is on. I wasn’t watching it as one of my brothers was watching something that I wasn’t interested in. I can’t remember exactly what I was doing but suddenly I heard music from the TV that I had an immediate dislike for it. “I hate that music, what is it?” I asked. “It’s an ad for Coronation Street, an English drama series that’s coming back to Australia.” The dislike I had for this music was intense so I ask them to turn off the ad or turn it over, “I really can’t stand it!”

Mum hears this saying “That’s interesting, I would watch that when I was home with you after you were born and you would scream the whole way through it”.

Now in 2014 I think how this has had an impact on where I am today, a Professor in the New South Wales Child Behaviour Centre. My research into child and family mental health started from an interest in how, at only a few months of age, the sounds from a television show could have stayed with me for so long and have such a intense affect. Our surroundings from birth, hold such importance to how we deal with situations as adults. Sounds, tastes and smells are really strong triggers for our memory, both good and bad.

Another early childhood memory is of the first time I ate my own food without help. It was from a small glass jar of baby food. The feeling of being independent along with eating something very tasty makes me want to go mmm and bounce with happiness. I do that now when I eat something that gives me delight. I often wonder if I was doing this on my first solo feed.

What’s in your pet’s food?

Prompt for the day: Tell your friends an outlandish lie such as ducks are not technically birds. Insist that you know this from a reputable source and write down the argument.

Before the sun comes up every day on country roads, bulldozers come and clear animals off the road that have been killed by passing cars and trucks. The meat from these animals is then used for pet food.

You don’t hear about this much as animal activists are who manage this in an aim to stop animals being bred for pet food. A friend of mine is part of the operation. They don’t share the information because it creates confusion for their cause but it’s simple really. Road kill isn’t intentional but happens regularly. Using the animal’s meat for human consumption isn’t possible but it is okay for your pets. All the meat and bones get minced together along with some filler and vitamins and sold to pet food companies. It’s been happening for years.

Sliding doors

Writing prompt for the day: Remember the last time you refused to do something that somebody suggested. Imagine you didn’t refuse. Write the outcome.

As the alarm goes off, as it has every 10 minutes for the last hour and a half, I listen to it for a little longer considering whether I should actually get up.

I struggle to open my swollen eyes, pat the cat and decide that if she gets up, I will too. She does, so I head to the shower and get in before the water has time to warm up, letting the cool water run across my face and sooth my tear filled eyes.

After showering I cover myself in massage oil scented with essential oils of bergamot and clary sage. I look in the mirror, my face is tired and sad. I force a smile and say aloud an affirmation for the day, “My work is exciting, my talented colleagues and I are working on projects that will make a difference to society. I am a worthy and a valued member of the team.” I laugh aloud and then repeat it with more vigor and humour.

As I walk into the office building, waiting for the lift, I look at my colleagues, their eyes dull and staring blankly. I smile at them, compliment one on their necklace and how it makes the colour of her eyes sparkle. Her face changes immediately as she tells me how she bought it in New York, smiling reflectively as she remembers her holiday. She goes every year to buy a new wardrobe.

As my day continues, it gets harder to maintain the illusion of lightness.

I start organizing lunch dates and after work drinks ready to say what I really feel about work and to complain yet again about how unfulfilled I am.

Later that day, after a few wines, I can feel the tears well again so I head home, thankful that I am walking, music in my ears, so I can forget and not regret when I refused the option to put my hand up for redundancy package that would enable me to explore my passions.

I try to remember, as my friends say, of how lucky I am to be in such a well-paid job but my heart still doesn’t want to hear it.

Lazy day

Brunswick Heads, NSW

Brunswick Heads, NSW

After a big day yesterday, and pondering moving up this way permanently (even organised to view a house that’s for sale), today was about laying low. Our evening ritual of watching the Kookaburras having their dinner was followed with a light dinner. To celebrate Elvis’ birthday, we began to watch Fun in Acapulco but too tired to see it through so had a very early night (for me anyway).

Back to work for 2013

My office for the day

Back to work today, although still on holidays so it’s not such a challenge. Great work environment for getting the mind going. It’s a pity that this isn’t my usual place of work, at home today it’s 40 degrees celcius and I have no air-con.

The day wasn’t all work though. Finished off the day with comedy at the Byron Bay Workers Club – Austin Tayshus and Megan Nolan followed by midnight snacks on the deck.