I always knew…

For kids being bullied…


I remember walking into Sacred Heart College as a 12-year-old, a year younger than everyone else, wearing the wrong shoes, a blazer too big and wondering how life would ever be the same.

I’d moved to Ocean Grove a couple of months earlier and was about to start year eight.

Born and raised in Ballarat my childhood was about the bush, pine cones, bike rides and black hill pool, then all of a sudden I’m in Geelong where it was about boys and fashion; the only thing I knew about boys at that stage in my prepubescent life, was that I looked like one.

I’d just finished year seven at Loretto where I had one of the best years of my life and then a few weeks later was unpacking everything in a town where I knew no one.

For the first three weeks of Sacred Heart I ate lunch in a toilet cubicle alone.

I’d go home, climb into an empty bath tub, fully clothed and cry asking why we moved.

Each day, I’d wake up dreading the fact when the lunchtime bell rang, I’d walk around as if I had purpose, looking for places to hide before I settled into the bathroom to eat my sandwich.

When you move, you rely on the kindness of others, of someone to reach out beyond their circle of familiarity, past the girls they’ve gone to kindergarten and primary school with, and ask you to sit with them.

More often than not they don’t and so you navigate the waters alone.

Eventually I did make friends, but I remember that feeling and it became a part of who I am and how I treat people.

Over my time working as a journalist I’ve touched on a few stories of teens that have killed themselves to escape the beast that is bullying.

Most recently it was 14-year-old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everitt.

As I researched Amy I looked at a photo of her perfect family unit, arm in arm, Dolly with her mum, dad and eldest sister and realised how their lives were shattered forever.

The tragedy about bullying is not the act itself, it’s that to the person being bullied, it feels like the end of the world.

Like there’s no way out.

If we can teach our children anything, may it be resilience and an innate ability to see beyond the present.

High school is a small part of your journey and whilst some have the stock standard time of their life, for others it’s hell and that’s ok.

If I could go back and talk to my 12-year-old self, sitting on a toilet seat, timing my bites between the entrance and exit of my peers, I’d tell myself to go outside and eat lunch in the sunshine.

To be brave and to be indifferent.

Like I was when I travelled to Lagos as a 21-year-old or when I rode the tube through London to sip pints on my lonesome, before I met girls I’d go on to live and travel with.

There is no shame if you’re being bullied, there’s no shame if you’re trying to find your feet.

You have to remind yourself in times of duress that happy people don’t destroy other human beings.

You are not always the problem and there is an escape but it’s not ending your life, it’s taking a deep breath and beginning to live it.

Turn off your computer, turn off your phone, listen to your dad’s bad jokes, play outside with your brothers or sisters.


Forget what it feels like to be lonely, or ostracised or ganged up on.

Dream about your future, about what you want to achieve and where you want to travel to and then do everything in your power to equip yourself with the tools you’ll need to get there.

Study, be smart, and if studying’s not your forte be ready to embrace whatever subject or topic that comes along and tickles your fancy.

Dream as big as your heart and mind will let you and then go to school with the knowledge that regardless of what happens there, you have a lifetime of adventures and experiences awaiting x


Being a stepparent

According to what I’ve read and experienced over the years being a step mum or step father is loving your stepchild like they are your own whilst always reminding yourself that they are not. It’s caring for them but not too much, not enough to take them to the doctor or the dentist if they are sick whilst in your care. It’s not letting them run wild but remembering you have no place to discipline them. It’s driving them to sporting commitments and extra curricular activities but remembering you have no right when deciding if the schedule works or is too much for your family. It’s having people tell stories where the purest of intentions can be twisted and spun into tales of an evil stepmother or stepfather driven by spite rather then their love for a child. Being a stepparent is often trying your very hardest but unlike a biological parent, having someone on the ready to relay any and all of your short comings. Being a step parent is also getting the privilege of sharing the life of a child you did not biologically create. It’s being tied to them through their siblings or their parent and then by a mutual love between a stepparent and a child. It’s the honour of being able to care for and love someone that will grow into an adult under your guidance. For a biological parent be it mother or father, it must be extremely difficult to have to share the child/children you brought into the world with someone you do not know. And whilst there are terrible stories of stepparents there are also wonderful ones. Beyond it all, past all the semantics and tales and grudges and resentment are children that did not choose for their families to be broken. I once read something quite poetic, that blended families are born from the ashes of a family that is no longer. And regardless of what adults may think of one another it is the child’s happiness that should always go above and beyond anything else. Being a stepparent is more or less the same as parenting itself because at times whilst challenging both bring the most beautiful reward x

We wanted to travel and go to uni first

My husband and I weren’t ready for kids in our twenties, we wanted to go to uni first, travel and establish our careers.  We’ve been together since we’re eighteen so got married at 30 and had our first son at 33.  There were no complications with Dane. I felt like I had to have a caesarean so was booked in at 38 weeks.  When he was born, I had a lot of problems with breast feeding. The latch was fine but I got into that whole cycle of feeding, expressing then topping up and it became one big continuous nightmare.  In the end, I was that traumatised I just put the pump in the corner and said to my husband take it back to the chemist.   When Dane was around 18 months we started trying for our second child.  Jason (my husband) has a four-year age gap with his brother and wanted a smaller gap with our kids.  I can’t remember exactly how long we were trying for but it wasn’t happening.  I’ve always had irregular periods and polycystic ovaries so went and had an appointment with a fertility specialist.  I had a laparoscopy to clean everything up and got pregnant straight after.  At my 10-week appointment my obstetrician asked if I was sure I had my dates right because they couldn’t see a heartbeat.  A second scan confirmed my pregnancy wasn’t viable. I was devastated, I hadn’t experienced anything like that and it’s not really talked about.

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We knew it was time for marriage and kids…

Jarrod and I were together for five years when we separated. I was 25 and even though we knew we loved each other, it wasn’t time to settle down. Three years later when we got back together, we knew it was marriage and kids time. My mum was 34 when she went through menopause. She had no idea it was coming, back then you didn’t talk about that kind of thing. Jarrod and I knew we had a time limit for kids because early onset menopause was going to be a factor. We struggled to conceive with Zara and after a year of trying we went to see our obstetrician. One of the first things he did was a count to see how many eggs I had, I was on the low end back then in 2013. I would’ve been 31 when I first saw him. He also did a laparoscopy and found that I had endometriosis that I never knew I had. He said it was completely covering my walls and that’s why I wasn’t pregnant.

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Four and a half months later we were engaged…

I was 23 when I went overseas to London and had been there a year when I met Rocky, four and a half months later we were engaged.   He has a very small family,  his mum is Lithuanian and his stepdad is Australian and were both living in London at the time. When we knew that our relationship was serious we started talking about Australia.  Rocky had always wanted to go even before he met me so it kind of all just fitted for us to move back. It took Rocky six months to get his visa approved, so we spent close to five months apart.

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I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant…

I was 22 when I first found out I was pregnant with Ethan I was actually on the pill.  I was very young and it wasn’t planned, it was a bit of a shock but a really welcome shock.  From a really young age all I really wanted to do was settle down, have a family and get married. I had no aspirations to travel or anything like that.  I was straight into preparations for him, so was my Nan, she was a knitter and was constantly knitting.  I was really excited I did up my own cot, I think I had the nursery set up within the first month of knowing.

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I loved everything about Kristin…

I met Kristin in March 2004 at the Barwon Heads pub.  I worked there as an apprentice chef and was talking to my brother after work when he flung his arm around and accidently whacked Kristin in the face.  She had been sitting on the table next to us and laughed about it.  When I saw her, I thought whoa who’s that and my ears pricked up straight away.  I was too scared to walk up and say hi because I was pretty shy back then.  The next night I was in the nightclub when I felt this kick up my bum and it was her, we hit it off straight away and the rest is history.

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