I was asked to write a biography to go with an application for a volunteer position. I thought it might interest people crazy enough to read my other rubbish.
I love you, my crazy followers!
I was born in a tiny town in Gippsland Victoria, because my parents lived in an even smaller town called Korumburra which is “blow fly” in a local aboriginal dialect, and is just a short distance from the world famous Gippsland Giant Worms.
I was the only child of a teacher and an independent spirit. My mother came from a long line of teachers and farmers from Serpentine near Bendigo. My father came with a long history of undiagnosed mental health problems and was originally from Dalkeith Western Australia. My first word, thanks Dad, was axolotl; my continuing love of animals, science, the countryside, water especially rivers and cold weather may have their origins in my family background and early life. My father’s mental health issues attracted my early interest in the area and probably helped arm my mother and later me to better deal with my own issues.
My parents split up and mum remarried my spiritual father. This divorce gave me a family of people that loved me and a security that allowed me to survive the dangers lurking in my own mind. My step father, Dad, gave me unconditional love and a strong sense of self-worth, he adored my mother & I. My mum taught me consideration and service. My father taught me freedom of thought,and a lot about humour, fantasy & science fiction. We moved to WA for my stepfather to take a promotion, my father followed a few months later and was a regular part of our family life; sharing a friendship & important events with my parents while I saw more of his family.
Despite a constant changing of schools I did well enough in primary school to start high school in a special program at Mount Lawley Senior High School a year early. Unfortunately despite the access to advanced academics, the distance from my home and age gap just deepened my growing sense that I did not belong. After the UFO club disbanded after 3 meetings; discord between the two factions aliens are good vs. aliens are evil led to physical violence, I joined the debating club, where I met my future husband. School gave me an intense interest in learning, an introduction to the love of my life, an intense interest in public speaking and ancient history but also a debilitating fear of writing. English was not my forte and the trauma briefly halted my otherwise lifelong love affair with reading, not completely as I immersed myself in sci/fi, humour and non-fiction.
I started at the University of Western Australia studying a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minoring in Anthropology, Linguistics and Archaeology. Unfortunately the unresolved mental health issues that had plagued me since infancy intensified and doctors advised me to give up on full time study. After 2 years and being utterly dissatisfied with Psychology I switched to Edith Cowen University and a Bachelor of Education, taking my credits with me.
By now my parents search for an answer to my health problems had led them away from conventional medicine to a healer. 6 months later I was a practising tarot reader, medium and occasional healer. I had joined the Psychic Association of Western Australia, I even joined the board. With that and my love of Anthropology my specialist area at ECU was Religion. I am still a Wiccan.
My boyfriend fully employed and university going well we decided to marry & build a home. The dissolution of the Psychic Association Board and renewed ill health returned. We decided to start a family; I was given a health clearance by my psychiatrist. The pregnancy went badly & I had to give up university early. But I delivered my beautiful first daughter. The baby had myriad minor undiagnosable health issues and after my gall bladder surgery when she was 6 months old suddenly my hard working husband had a complete mental/emotional breakdown.
12 years passed in a haze of diagnoses, therapy, social security and education system problems. With one brilliant GP on our side we survived the mire of a system that did not understand us. As all our dreams and ambitions were torn from us I still retained hope for a future. We had wanted a big family and a house full of pets, doctors we respected agreed this was healthy. We have 4 beautiful daughters, 2 dogs, 4 cats, rabbits, rats, and budgies, 2 huge tanks of fish, an axolotl, and worms (but not Giant Gippsland Worms unfortunately).
Then the system caught up and our two eldest daughters were diagnosed with Autism, closely followed by the younger two and myself. Armed with the correct diagnosis we started to get more suitable treatment. The persistent Agoraphobia lifted and I started becoming involved in the schools’ P& Cs and Boards along with the RDA (Riding for the Disabled) board. I have been a member of 8 different boards, serving as treasurer 3 times and secretary 4 times. I also was an experimental Disability Awareness Officer for the RDA, I conducted a workshop, wrote 2 social stories for the ridera and a handbook & smaller pamphlet on autism & riding that were still being used 3 years after a change in board structure & organisation priorities had forced me off the board.
In 2016 I started a new therapy for anxiety; Neurofeedback. I was still looking at a way to try to tame my mind enough to get the stories and pictures in my mind onto paper. The Neurofeedback had an unexpected side effect; suddenly I could write more than a page at a time. I could hold onto my thoughts long enough to write. I joined my daughter’s writing club and started working on my humorous book about my autism. I discovered my fear of some genres was no longer debilitating and plunged into new and different writing. I also found a willing audience for my silly poetry. In another life changing event I was advised to take up Blogging, after attending Annabel Smith’s KSP workshop I found a new world. I have over 700 followers after less than a year.
I have written 2 social stories last year for my youngest daughter and was asked by the school if they could be used for other students. An Occupational therapist also requested to use both the material I produced for the RDA and the school. I am currently working on a science fiction novel, a humorous look at my autism and my blog.
While I was stuck at home I studied. I looked for answers, I looked for meaning and I looked for escape. I have an intense interest in knowledge and in words. For me mathematics is a dance of numbers, words are individuals with ancestry, history, relationships and personalities, and all knowledge is interlinked and interrelated. I find intense pleasure in acquiring and playing with facts and ideas. Despite a lack of qualifications I have a huge breadth and depth of knowledge, much of it obscure or esoteric, popular culture is probably my weakest area.
I bring to the board years of experience and an ability to think laterally. Above all I bring diversity. I am lacking in many of the qualities that many people have. I am Autistic I think and perceive fundamentally differently from most people. I was isolated, mainly self-taught; my knowledge of books is prodigious. I understand my own species academically and as an outsider. The true beauty of diversity is that the whole will be greater than the parts. By working together people of vastly different perspectives and abilities can achieve the unimaginable.