I’ll tell you a story,
But please don’t ignore me.
Grown up in shame,
Feeling to blame,
This game of telling truths of despair.
A white girl, on Indigenous land,
In the centre, with that glorious ochre sand.
Vicariously feeling vulnerabilities of children lost,
That cost me my pride.
And I’d have lied to say that there haven’t been a thousand nights, where I’d wished I could rip this white hide off my back.
So my story, of growing up on indigenous land,
Learning songs sung in languages lost, that cost me my pride.
My story to tell is one that needs to be told clear.
A story of passion and pain.
A story of anger and shame.
At 15 I feel in love,
With an arrente man with arms scarred and holding jealousy and distrust.
I feel in love, across cultures, they collided,
His family they decided…
Despite wrong skin ways and traditions of them olden days,
I was the right one.
And I felt my heart strings pulled and sung.
And those cross cultural ways, where my western values became delayed.
I was desensitised, so, to struggles of violence,
To struggles of silence,
I learnt to silence my despair.
I lived and loved, seeing beauty in culture strong,
In families strength, in feeling like I belonged.
Where waterholes on midsummer days where my solace,
Where we’d together walk miles,
Where he told me cultural stories, that made every heart ache worthwhile.
But at 18 I needed to escape,
I felt my love for this man was a mistake,
I thought I needed to partake in a world bigger than I knew,
I could no longer do, this cross cultural love,
The jealousy and violence took its toll,
I didn’t want my soul to whither and my live controlled.
I had this elated goal to go forth into the world and stand strong for the people I cared for.
I tried to study law… but it was boring…
And with a young heart soaring,
I tried what I could to support,
But as days and weeks and months and years went on by,
I started to prepare my heart for mourning,
Watching the people that I love disappear.
And an apathetic nation, sell culture as a souvenir.
So rather than let my white skinned hide, wither and wear under conditions of dispear,
I ran, I ran south, to cooler greener pastures.
I let my soul heal a little.
I learnt to feel a little.
And just the other day, I went home to the ochre coloured place,
And was told that my first love, was losing the race.
My heart broken.
At 31, his kidneys have failed,
Dialysis, only a token of how to live a life, I thought.
But when I saw him, that smile and love for life prevailed.
I exhaled and remembered those days of long walks and talks.
Those stories of courage and strength.
If a people so oppressive can maintain a love of life, like its the best,
Then my sense of hope can be restored and I’m going to wipe away that shame, turn guilt into action, and speak this story to you now.
But please know I only tell a fraction.