I come from a long line of worriers. My predecessors raised this obsessive activity to an art form, even worrying retrospectively when they felt the situation warranted it. My great aunt Gladys was a master at it – worrying aloud that I’d driven through a thunderstorm to visit her when there I was sitting right before her eyes, a little damp maybe, but safe and sound. My own inherited propensity towards worry notwithstanding, even I could see the idiocy. Nevertheless, this insight into the uselessness of retrospective worry did nothing to deter me from going full throttle with prospective worry about pretty much everything – from big stuff like how make a living to insignificant stuff like what I should wear to a party.
Even though corporal punishment wasn’t considered politically incorrect or even vaguely inappropriate when my sisters and I were growing up, our parents rarely used this method of discipline. Unsurprisingly for a journalist, my father’s preferred form of reprimand was always language. As a teenager, when I argued with either parent Dad metred out sharp turns of phrase like, ‘Always wrong but never in doubt,’ or the classic King Lear line, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child’. But it’s his rebuke for answering back or being disrespectful, as teenagers are wont to be, that is stamped on my very being all these years later: ‘Keep a civil tongue in your head’.
Apart from the humidity and uber-crowded beaches, there’s another reason I know when summer’s come to Sydney – the water lilies that blossom in our courtyard pond. Because gardening in general, and tending a pond in particular, are not my strong suits, each year in the winter months when the lilies recede I harbour a small fear that they’ve actually gone away for good. And each year when summer comes, their gentle yet joyous re-emergence pokes fun at my spectacular lack of trust. They also remind me of an art tour of Rajasthan I took with my sister Janet, a month before this Big Breast Adventure began. Bet you’re wondering why, or maybe not, but you know I’m going to tell you anyway right?
I believe Winston Churchill first said the words, ‘Never, never, never give up’, but today’s zeitgeist is so saturated with this sentiment one could easily think it was Lorna Jane or Bear Grylls who came up with the idea! The past few months have certainly heightened my appreciation of this strong message of persistence and resilience. Lately though, I’ve been feeling it’s too warlike and perhaps a tad egotistical, to be of continuing use in my current circumstances.Continue Reading