Monday, August 15, 2005

A little catharsis in the morning

Hmmm... its lovely and quiet here this morning, the rest are still asleep or off to the city, I've got coffee at hand... what more does a guy need on the first real day of his holidays :D.

Funny thing about this blogging really... I seem to be asking myself all sorts of questions and then answering them myself along the way, along with some well meant, good quality comments along the way. I appreciate the feedback, sincerely, and from what some have said I now know that the feeling of having lost something along the way is a very real part of daily life.

When I get to thinking a little longer and digging a little deeper into my past, I begin to wonder in which ways my parents, especially my mother, were "responsible", in as far as the word can be applicably used.

A child picks up most of its patterns of thought, behaviour and mannerisms from its parents in the initial years and all too often takes on board the foibles and failings, along with the necessary and desirable life skills. My mother, in particular, was a bit like I am now... very unsure of herself in the country she'd ended up in with my father, trying to make the best of things and all too often bringing back reminiscences and anecdotes of her youth in the Netherlands.

My father, on the other hand, wasn't all that troubled by his new environment and not really forthcoming with many details of his past. He usually only let loose when specifically asked or badgered by a couple of inquisitive kids, and then only in broad terms. He'd had a difficult youth, spent several years in work camps in Germany during the war, studied for a few years in Amsterdam after that but left in 1956 feeling totally disillusioned and unable to see any sort of future for himself there. I think he felt totally at home in Australia because he could find the peace of mind he needed in the surroundings and the easy-going way of life.

He died in 1995, my mother is still muddling on although she has found some sort of half-hearted peace in the meantime. I just honestly hope I'm not imprinting my own impressions on to my own children, but even now I see Eldest Daughter developing in much the same way I did 30 years ago and I'm not altogether happy about that.

I grew up feeling totally separated from the country in which I lived because we were "foreigners" who, whilst being totally accepted, were still "different" and treated as such, subconsiously being treated as not "one of us". I know, it sounds harsh and I know for a fact that there was no conscious stream of thought in that way since Australia in the 1960's and 1970's was such a culturally diverse and ethnically rich society, yet there was always a slight undercurrent of the "us and them" thing going. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who are always picking up "vibrations" in some way or another, feeling things unsaid but active in the minds of those around me so there was always some sort of confusion going on in my mind, the rational versus the intuitive.

I had the good fortune though to spend my teenage years in a community which was so totally multicultural that most of the cultural tensions were defused in effective ways. In the years before that, however, in a small rural community almost exclusively Anglo-Saxon by descent the differences were more pronounced and identified as such. Good people, kind and well meaning, all of them, but unable to grasp the realities lived by people who'd grown up outside their own familiar mindset. In a way they were extraordinarily tolerant, in others oblivious to the needs and perceptions of their new neighbours.

It was an extraordinary time, children growing up then took on a lot more baggage than they'd realised, it was exciting, confronting and confusing... I'm glad it was all like that, did much, learnt even more, even though I still need to sift through the mess occasionally.

Never mind, it will save me from getting bored :D


  1. Oi! Empath!
    Do you still pick up other people's hidden stress and confuse it with your own? Thats a beast. If I hear of any decent non-airy-fairy training I'll pass it on.

    Beautiful and funny pictures - great post.

    I have tagged you for a meme - woof!

  2. Lovely post! I think we always pick up much more from our parents than we realise. I know I have picked up quit a bit from my parents, and it's not always something I'm happy about.

  3. I know the feeling. In 1998 my family, except for my brothers, lived in South-Africa for a while. My mother felt so unsure there and really wanted to cling on to Belgium. It's just that you have a past in the country where you grew up and letting go of the past is really hard to do. My father on the other hand likes to travel a lot and he has the job to do so.

    I liked South-Africa, it's a nice country, I had friends there, but I couldn't shake the feeling of being different. I grew up in a different way then the people I went to school with. They had other ways of handling things then we would do here in Belgium. They had time, they would take what they like without asking someone if they should leave somethig for them...

    Even here, back in Belgium or with you in the Netherlands, you can notice differences between the Dutch speaking part and the French speaking part of the country. The region of a country in which you live also has some influence in who you become.

    As long as we respect the differences in everyone, the world can be a better place.

  4. If you focus on the differences, you will be different. If you focus on the similarities, you will be similar. Just as we pick up the vibrations of others, others pickup our vibrations too.

    Cute cartoon.