Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Story {revised}

When I first started writing this blog some 2.5 years ago, I wrote the below story as a means of introduction. You know, life before The Beetle Shack Blog - my family of origin, adolescence, dave and I. Of course I missed some bits out, like my experience with childhood cancer but it's fairly comprehensive.

The Beetle Shack has grown and changed since then, but I thought it might be nice to introduce myself again. If you're new here, Hi!


Mine is a middle class story, a story told from brick and tile homes with outdated decor. For me, it echoes a Tim Winton novel, in its emphasis on family, its hardship, simple mundane beauty, spirituality and most obviously- its connection to the water.

A story of two teachers and their kids. An honourable and quietly spoken man who gently supports his people and a loudly laughing woman who truly loves unconditionally. They attend a stuffy Anglican church in a beautiful white building by the sea. Women don't speak, children don't speak and everyone wears their Sunday best. The ocean is everywhere, its out the windows, down the grassy cow covered embankment, in your ears, hair and shoes. Kitchens are yellow, carpets are mission brown. Terry toweling is cool and fire works are still legal.

It's into this 1980's suburbia that I am born, to loving parents and an older brother who would be my best friend throughout our childhood. Our little home is perched atop the steep hills and cliffs of Kiama Heights. A mass of quivering water can be viewed from every window and it was to the sound of the roaring waves that I was lulled to sleep every night. Life was spent basking in the sunshine, rolling in warm sand, drinking watery cordial and eating hot chips wrapped in yesterdays news print. At the end of the day we would drag our crispy, red bodies up the hill, over the stone wall and be forced to go to bed while the sun was still high in the sky. Life was magical.

As I grew, life changed as did our location. One brick and tile home was traded for another and Easts Beach was lost to new beach side suburb. My childhood joy was replaced by an angsty adolescent depression. My friends became my family as we encouraged one another in our own futile rebellion. Attending school was a chore that I completed sporadically.  Music was loud, Apathy was everywhere. Through these years I could be found climbing a beachfront rock face seeking shelter from the rain and a tangible dialogue with God. The ocean always made me feel like I could understand the God of the scriptures, If only a little. Calm, welcoming and beautiful beyond comprehension- yet ferocious, powerful and in ultimate control.

It was with the introduction of Dave (my now husband) that things regain some stability. A boy from Western Australia- true Winton country- the son of pentecostal parents, raised with a blanket of grandparent prayer over his life. At the age of 19, Dave and I decided to get married, so we did. I can say with  confidence that this was the best 'stupid decision' I have ever made.

For the first time in my life I moved away from the ocean. It's peaceful song was replaced by speeding traffic and echoes of domestic violence (not from my home, from the housing commission that we lived next to). But still, away from the sea I was happy. Happy living in a teeny tiny apartment in a teeny tiny city. Often the sounds of the neighbourhood were drowned out by our own laughter and that of our Friends. Many hot meals were consumed and icy cold beers were indulged in on the cramped balcony of that apartment. So many happy memories were made there right by the main road, in between two towering red brick buildings.

Eventually with our uni degrees behind us and hex debts ahead, Dave and I both found ourselves with secure jobs.

The ocean was calling again- so we moved a little closer, had a few holidays and made a few babies- our greatest feat yet.

I can say almost honestly, that having children is as fantastic as being one - but not quite.

On a summers night with the windows wide open and sand at the bottom of the bed I can still hear the waves crashing onto the shore and rushing back out to sea. Only now my dreams are punctuated by the mummers of my sweet, cheeky son and the breathing of the littler ones.

It is here, now that you find me cooking, cleaning, sewing, washing and dreaming.


  1. That story was told beautifully and I could picture all of it. Very descriptive and enchanting. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  2. <3 from mum of three (from Croatia)!

  3. I found you through Jodi's blog.... bought some poppy pants... found my self here. One thing led to another and now my heart is warm, my eyes are happy.... from every story surrounding this post and photograph. And, hey... I now have some pants to look forward too as well! Thank you for your candid and realness. Truly loved reading.

  4. This was so beautifully written. I've been following you quietly for about a year now from Jodi's blog. After reading this honest, lovely post, I had to finally say hello.

  5. Thank you Emily for sharing your updated story it is beautifully written xx

  6. Beautiful story, I knew I recognised these rolling hills & cliffs that surround Kiama, Gerringong & Bombo. Lovely to be able to click through to your stories while reading this. Just wonderful!


Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em