My wife has been reading these forums and she's changing. She's talked to another partner and she's changed further still and that frightens me because she's starting to act like she loves me again and I really wasn't prepared for this.

I'm posting this in Survivors because I am slowly going to tell my story, but only as much as I can manage.

I was abused primarily by my cousin. She was young, older than me but still young, just before puberty when it started, or when I have my earliest memory which I think is when I was 4 or 5. She also had a friend, a neighbour who helped her out. I don't know if the neighbour recruited her or vice versa. She was in her mid teens.

What I do know as of this week is why I fear two things. Hairy spiders and marshmallow biscuits. I'm sure this would sound like a joke to anyone else but it's true. All through my childhood I hated those dome-shaped biscuits that are coated in chocolate. Because they are shaped like a woman's breast when she lies on her back. Just the thought of them brings tears to my eyes right now. They even have the nipple on top from where I imagine they are squirted from the mashine in a liquid paste. And they're soft. Once the chocolate is gone. I never could understand why they made me sick when I was little. I could eat all other marshmallows, but not them.

And a week ago after my first session with a shrink I suddenly realised why I was thinking about vaginas and spiders for like a solid month beforehand. That friend of my cousins, was it 'Michelle'? I don't rightly know, she showed me her puss and I'd never seen one before and it just looked like a furry spider on her lap. Fuck it's awful now. You want to believe in this myth that women are innocent and without guile, I want to, I wish I could.

I don't know when the blackouts started either. Around the same time, maybe just after it stopped. The most significant one was when we we're camping at Phillip Island and I walked into the house to use the toilet. I awoke the next morning without the power of speech. I could move my mouth but no sound came out. The next thing I remember I was back home in our housing comission flat and I couldn't remember the word for bowl, or spoon too I think. I had this temporary amnesia for about a week. Little things were missing. No one ever told me much, I stll don't know how long I was out for. I have this memory of being held dnow by several nurses, all women of course, kicking and screaming. Actually I don't think it's a real memory, I remember my mother telling me all about it. They were trying to stick a needle in my bum to sedate me, no fucking wonder.

I was airlifted to the Royal Children's which is a shame really, because I remember the ambulance helicopter from other times I'd seen it fly across the shore to the mainland and I'd always wanted to ride in it. And I can't remember the only time I did.

I think I was unconscious or 'not myself' for a few days before I was allowed home. Like other things in my life I was to accept the explanation that it was 'just a freak thing'. I have had myriad health problems that were just freak things too since then, I don't know how many I had before that too.

I don't know how many times I blacked out before or after that. It wasn't much discussed and not surprisingly I don't remember. I feel very strange talking, coming out if you will, about this. I accept that I'm an unflinching angry bastard with no time for idiots and better things to do than whine about my childhood, yet here I am. I'm gradually starting to change and it's not all hard work.

Life for me has always been hard work. I was never allowed happy feelings, frivolity. Some of that is my fault. For some reason I imposed a range of strenuous restrictions upon myself, partly because I wanted to rebell against and outwit my abusive parents.

It's not so hard for a fundamnetlist trained child to pretend he likes Broad Beans and Brussel Sprouts. I suppressed every childish inclination in my heart. When they beat me and screamed at me I would think 'idiots, they behave like spoilt children'. And I don't think I was far wrong. I built an intellectual superiority against my bigoted family to protect myself from their hate. And there was so much hate. I was of course naive, but I didn't have a lot to go on. I was so curious about the world, so inquisitive and every question was met with a thrashing, but I couldn't stop. The wonder of life overwhelmed me. It still does.

My childhood heroes were David Attenborough, The Bush Tucker Man and The Leyland Brothers, and of course Jacques Cousteau and Albie Mangles. I still have the highest admiration for David, he was the father I wished i could have had.

There were other people who have done amazing things for my mind, the first I think was Denzel Washinton's portrayal of Malcolm X. I cry every time I see it. I mourn that same zeal, that passion. There are others who I admire more fully like Ken Russell who makes the films I might have made. Such intellect and emotion paired together.

I recently said to my wife, regarding my abuse 'I know I'm straight, but I would have liked the opportunity to choose for myself'. Which can be said about all of my childhood and adolescence.

My struggle now is letting go of the adult, strained and forceful ideas and let myself have fun again, go back to that little boy and let him grow in his own way, on his own terms and become the man he wants to be.

I retreat into my intellect still, I do it here too often and I am starting to recognise it and meter myself out. I'm giving less advice and simply becoming aware when I have shut down my feelings and make a note to myself to lern why. And learn intuitively, not through force and probing, but let the answers come back to me on the tide. They always do eventually.

_________________________
"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)