Wednesday, 28 October 2015

leaving the chaos behind

I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction.  ― Melody Beattie

I grew up in Australia in the 1970's. While lots of girls my age were out experimenting and having a good time, I was being the good daughter who did what she was told and made sure I never overstepped the line. I grew up in a chaotic family with a narcissistic father, a complicit mother and rules that changed regularly - all in my father's favour! It made life very difficult for us all.

I did my best to keep the peace, to do what I was told, to get the good grades at school and to toe the line. It wasn't worth the pain of arguing when you knew that you'd never win, although I did develop quite good skills in passive resistance. Rather than fight, I would sing "Rhinestone Cowboy" in my head over and over while Dad extolled his views on the world and my place in it.

My brother rebelled and ran away from home, skipped school, smoked, did drugs etc etc but I never had the courage to be that type of person. I just counted the days down until I could move out and start life on my own. As soon as I could, I took the first country posting available when I finished my training and ended up 8 hours away from the home in a little mining town called Kambalda.

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au
1981 - my first year out on my own
I was nineteen, living by myself in the middle of nowhere and I found that I loved it. My friends were mainly teachers who were newly graduated and doing their time in the country, but I also met and mingled with miners and engineers and metalurgists and all sorts of interesting people. There were parties to go to every weekend and outings and picnics and trips into the bigger town an hour away, to go dancing or pubbing, or to eat out. It was a different kind of chaos - fun and (for me) living on the edge, but it was life by my rules and not caught up in the mess of my old home life.

I was never going to be a wild rager (I just never had it in me) but it was so freeing to not have anyone telling me what to do, what time to be home, who I should have as a friend, what I should be thinking or how I should be behaving. I managed to figure all that out on my own and have a great time in the process. I worked and played and found out a bit more about myself and who I was when no-one was looking.

That was the beginning of creating my own persona and separating myself from my family - it was liberating and exciting and a little bit scary at times, but so worth the risk of striking out on my own. I only lived there for a year before moving to another country town where I met my husband and started another chapter of life, but this was my year of creating my own chaos and it was a blast!

This post is part of #1word Wednesday - this week's word was "chaos"

22 comments:

  1. Wow, it is so nice to learn more about you. Isn't it interesting how our home life shapes our future to the extent that we have this need to run away. I did a lot of that in my youth as well, to get away from home, and now that I am a a parent I find that I have a great relationship with my dad. So for me it came full circle.

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    1. mine has come around a lot too Mary - not with my dad, but I have a much healthier relationship with my mum than when I was a young adult. I think I can see her flaws and love her despite them. Part of that chaotic life helped make me the person I am today, so it can't have been too bad in the grand scheme of things!

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  2. That story sounds so familiar Leanne! I did exactly the same and felt so free leaving. We have so much in common:) The whole background and all. xx Abby

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    1. you're the younger, slimmer, more cosmopolitan me Abby :)

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  3. Definitely sounds like an eye opening experience and the beginning of your freeing existence in your own life. Thank you so much for sharing here today!!

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    1. my pleasure Janine - I love the one word challenge - it gets me thinking on a new tangent!

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  4. I read this and wonder if, we were able to meet off-line, we are as similar as I feel we are. Good gosh isn't that a terrible sentence :-) but you know what I mean. Your words are so often exactly what I'm thinking or need to hear

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    1. Carla there are a few of us who will be sisters in our next life I'm sure! I love how we think alike and have commonalities even tho' we are worlds apart :)

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  5. I can relate. My parents were BOTH teachers at my high school in a small town. I couldn't have "gotten away" with anything even if I had tried because they knew everyone and everything that was going on. In fact, I once dated a boy from the other high school in town and found out later that my mom had called a teacher friend at the at school to find out all about him! When I went to college a couple hours away, I felt such freedom.

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    1. It's funny how we all need to break away and find out who we are - no matter if your parents controlled out of love or dysfunction it still makes you want to escape and experience life on your own terms :)

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  6. Such an exciting experience! Along with everything else it makes up who you are today.

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    1. that's so true Rena - it all adds into life experience and what makes up our underlying character.

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  7. This brings back memories for me about the time I also left home. Liberating and exciting and a little bit scary at times... YES! I can relate to all of that.

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    1. I think we all look back to those days and wonder how we were so carefree and how we were able to strike out and make our own way after being so sheltered.

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  8. Hi Leanne! So interesting to learn of some of your background. Isn't it fascinating to see some of the ways we are all so different and others how similar, regardless of where we live? I think so many of us took on the roles of good daughter, good friend, good wife, good etc. that sometimes it takes us a while to find ourselves. But when we do--watch out! Chaos can be good! ~Kathy

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    1. I love that Kathy - chaos can be good! I think some people are happy filling the "good" role, but others of us need to find out how much of that is our choice and how much is loaded onto us against our will.

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  9. So glad you broke away and defined yourself, Leanne. I never had the guts to do that and buck the culture too at the time I should have. But everything does work for good when our intentions are right. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I don't think I really bucked anything Corinne - I just used the first escape route available to me that got me out on my own terms - but we've all gotten to where we are now as independent women - so we must have done something right!

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  10. Yes Leanne I was you! I was always the one to 'do the right thing' and then I rebelled. Some things I'm proud of and others I'm not but that is life and that is what shapes the person we are today. Thanks for sharing your experience with us at #WednesdaysWisdom

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    1. I think we all have moments we're not exactly proud of Sue, but if we learn from them they can actually be quite useful (and sometimes they make great stories!)

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  11. I love this! I too was different than the rest of my family. I silently rebelled, but was a good kid. When I went away I was craving the newness, the freedom. But I got lost. It sounds as if you were ready and it was a turning point in your life! Good for you! I have learned more about myself and personality, and I understand the pain of that young girl, and I have changed the way I approach life. For me it is not so easy, but there are things I've realized that can make it better for me. It took me a long time to get there, and sometimes I still care far too much what others think of me, even if they're wrong!

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  12. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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