Monday, May 16, 2005

Hell of the Long and Winding Road

Soundtrack: Leftfield / The Song of Life

I need to tell you about my sister. My sister is an example, a shining fucking example of inner strength in the face of adversity. If I find myself beating myself up, or feeling blue, or awash in self-pity I can turn my mind to my beautiful fucking sister and draw strength and courage from her. I love her.

I'm not sure how it works but I guess my sister has been gay her whole life. She slept with boys when we were growing up but generally she kept to herself or hung around with me. We have been close our entire lives, best friends in the face of a fucked up home life and the twisted moralities that surround you in situations of domestic violence.

When she was 18 she joined the Navy. My brother had joined a few years earlier and I could see the appeal. Get the fuck out of where we were and instill some sort of order in her life. A schedule. Discipline. All the bullshit that the military is so proud of. Also, she could save money and look after herself and look after me.

She did for a while. Every Christmas the only present I would get would be from my sister, and she didn't fuck around. A bike, a skateboard, a stereo, remote control cars, all the things that we thought normal kids would get and that we always felt we missed out on. She devoted her fucking Navy life to looking after me.

She was attacked on a beach by four men.

She pretty much knew she was a lesbian after that.

I cannot conceive what would run through your mind, the dark doors of your mind after something like that. I cannot conceive how she held her head high and continued to fight on and be strong and not let any fucker hold any power on whether or not she would be happy.

She came out as a lesbian and was kicked out of the Navy. She came out as a lesbian in an article in Who Magazine. Her face was a double page spread with the words, GAYS IN THE NAVY emblazoned across it. That's pretty much coming out.

My mother found out my sister was gay when she bought the copy of the magazine.

My (evil) grandparents admonished my sister and told her to ask the Navy's forgiveness.

Forgiveness for fucking what? Cunts.

So my sister finally began to crumble at this point but you never would've known. She was always the first to dance, the first to smile, the first to laugh and take me out and do silly voices and run down the street grinning and jumping and holding her head high.

My sister was the only one of us three kids who saw my mother as she lay beaten on a hospital bed unable to communicate except for scratching a few lines of ink on a piece of paper. I have that piece of paper. It says, "I love you guys" and I find it impossible to look at it.

The next day my sister flew back to Melbourne and came to my house and we knew...

My mother and my sister always had such a fucked up relationship but they were close. Closer even than my mother and I and I was always the favourite. So when Mom died, I saw my sister's eyes change, I honestly did. They're still, four or five years on, they're still darker.

So she hit the junk. And I tried everything I could to get her out, to get her back but she was gone, gone, gone. So all I could do was love her, show her that she still had something to live for. That I loved her so fucking much. She'd ALWAYS been there for me and now she fucking needed me. But it's so fucking hard watching someone on junk. You can scream, you can beg, you can reason but you'll be lied to. So after a while I threw my fucking hands in the air and gave up.

Well, I didn't give up. I stayed close, but I didn't know what to do.

After a few years she rang me up out of the blue and told me she had been thrown out of her house, she was stuck, she was homeless, she had nowhere to go. I was living with a girl and two other boys but I had a loungeroom so I invited her to stay. She promised me she was clean.

She had been there a week when my housemate came up to me and said he had found a needle in the bathroom and that she had to go. I didn't know what to do. You're asking me to kick my sister out on the street? I rang my brother who lives interstate. His words were, "Gee Matty, you're in a tough situation aren't you?"


I stalled for a day or two and eventually my sister talked her friend into letting her stay. I felt bad, disgusted at myself, angry at her, sad at the whole fucking situation. Fucking junk.

So why am I telling you all this?


Inner strength.

That was a few years ago and now she's clean, in love, working hard and fucking outrageously happy. Once again, she's proved to me that she has the fucking guts to climb back up just when life is at it's darkest.

And here I was today, worrying about money.

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