I remember hanging there and thinking, ‘What’s the point?’

You think that as a child. You wonder why you should do different things and whether you’re really going to benefit from this in the long run. I’m not sure whether I benefited from it, but I certainly haven’t forgotten that school excursion.

I grew up at the foot of the Blue Mountains in a little town called Lithgow. Consistently referred to as a ‘hole’ by other people, they weren’t able to understand the beauty of the valleys, the benefits of the gorgeous mountains that surrounded our town, or the clear air that I breathed in every day. To them it was just another place where bogans were brought up and there was nothing to do.

I found that a lot of my classmates held this belief when I went to a private school in Bathurst for my first year of high school. It was a small school and my year was full of people that were entitled and arrogant. Not all of them were like that – there were some down to earth and unusual ones – but I distinctly remember the entitled ones because I actively rebelled against them and their beliefs. I wasn’t willing to go along with their stupidity, their name-calling, or their pranks.

I was no angel myself. I was headstrong, had an aggressive temper, and was stubborn as a rock. Pair that with being from the ‘poor, bogan hole of a town’ and you get a perfect target for bullying. I suppose it doesn’t feel like bullying when the other person comes across as as strong as you.

There are a few things I remember from the year spent at that school. Introducing my Korean friend Sonya to Vegemite. Watching my best friend from primary school turn into ‘one of them.’ The rock that was thrown at my head with such force that it split the skin on my forehead. Getting in trouble from staff for not knowing where the Stable Block was and instead hiding in the toilets. A small group of girls that I still think of as gems but lost contact with. And one more: hanging suspended over a valley filled with fog in the Blue Mountains on a school excursion.

I remember hanging there and thinking, ‘What’s the point?’

We were suspended in a picturesque valley in the Blue Mountains but all we could see was fog. It was eerie and it was beautiful. I remember the silence.

I look back on it now and think of it as a metaphor for that year: I was in a place that had not turned out as planned. I couldn’t see how to get out of it. All around me was fog, confusion, and silence. But when the fog clears… Damn, there’s some beauty around you.

I’ll have to go back.


Feature image: “Vanished” by Tanti Ruwani. No changes made. Creative commons license.

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Mate, who am i?

(I ask myself the same thing)

Travelling can be really hard when you never feel like you're prepared. But, the more I do it the more I realise that being unprepared is the best way to travel. I’m Rowena. I live with depression and an anxiety disorder, which inspires a lot of my writing. My first reaction is to over-pack, over-worry, freak out, and give myself a headache. I’m consciously rebelling against that.

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