I was talking to a Laughaholics client of mine this week.
I was conducting a briefing about her team before I go back into the work that I love, therapeutic, team-building laughter sessions branded as The Laughaholics Experience, for the first time BC.
Before Covid. Interestingly, my client lives in the same eastern suburb of Melbourne as me.
I say interesting, because it’s interesting to me. And it got me thinking.
When my parents and I arrived as Ten-Pound-Poms in1963, when Australia still lived (shamefully) under the White Australia Immigration Policy, we lived in former army barracks in Nunawading, an eastern suburb of Melbourne.
If you are old enough to remember, it was the same type of housing that the soldiers lived in, in the 60’s American black-and-white sitcom, Gomer Pyle.
Made of steel and looking like small aircraft hangars, in a 1963 brutal Australian summer, it really did feel like we were living the dream as freshly steamed sardines.
We lived at that hostel for two years and I started my primary school education at the local State School.
A small clutch of nervous, skinny migrant kids, Brits, Scots and Irish, walked the thirty minutes to school, crossing a major arterial road, with no adult supervision. Hard to imagine that now with so many helicopter parents driving their kids everywhere.
In contrast, none of our parents owned cars.
It was rough and rugged bushland in 1965. Sunscreen was not invented and none of us owned sun-hats. If we weren’t exhausted by the walk, we were emotionally drained by the brutality of our teachers.
Shaming, humiliation and physical abuse towards five-year-olds was second nature – and legal. But we didn’t know any better and most of us received the same treatment at home.
It was the way things were.
We were raised by damaged and dysfunctional adults who had been raised and damaged by dysfunctional adults.
Only these days, many of us have the opportunity to unpack our childhood trauma and emerge whole, as thriving and fully functioning emotionally sober adults, thanks to therapy and 12-step programmes.
For me, the last two years gave me nothing but time to do a deep dive into my recovery psyche.
I moved back to Nunawading, the suburb of my childhood, in December 2019, when nobody had heard of the Coronavirus.
Like many of us, I have spent most of the last two years in lockdown yet I choose to look for the gifts of Covid19.
Before the virus arrived, like parents with newborns, I really had no idea what I did with my time, apart from racing and lurching from one stressful situation to the next.
The last two years have seen me brought to my knees as a performer unable to perform, a comedian unable to comedy, a friend unable to connect with her loved ones.
Some of you will know that I am in long-term recovery from addiction, trauma and abuse.
Two years locked up on my own has enabled me to embrace my 12-step recovery model in several programmes, allowing me to emerge from the Covid chrysalis a more grounded and focused version of myself.
Every day I am grateful for Covid 19.
Yet along with that gratitude, I carry grief.
Grief at losing two years of performance match-fitness.
Grief at not bad having had a date in all of that time!
The grief of losing my trauma therapist of four years, who died in February 2021 and, my sadness at not being able to process her death due to a complete lack of professionals of her ilk.
(But please, don’t worry about me… I am finally booked in with somebody wonderful).
So what I find interesting about moving back to Nunawading is this…
The day after I moved in I took my two dogs for a walk telling them that we were going to find a park.
I found that park within two minutes. Saw the theatre sitting in the middle of it and instantly I felt I was back in this suburb to heal my childhood trauma and move forward with a new part of my career.
And so I have.
Ironically, that theatre has now been bulldozed, making way for a brilliant new arts precinct within this community.
And sadly, I only have one dog left.
But excitingly I find myself here, two years later, and truly thrilled about all the great things that are happening in my world.
I am a passionate Permaculture student and (sadly!) nothing thrills me more than creating my own compost! (I know, I need to get out more, who doesn’t, after two years in lockdown?)
I’m thrilled about the new website that you are perusing as we speak; thank you!
I’m beyond excited at the launch of my podcast Laughaholics, where I cherry-pick comedians I love and admire and get to have a good old chinwag with them.
And as I mentioned at the start of this chat with you, being able to go back to work, to have fun being an MC at corporate events and bossing around thousands of people? Well, THAT’S my idea of Super Fun!
Being able to go back into workplaces, and work with teams, breaking down barriers, and showing them how to be kind to each other (when they’ve been bitching and backbiting ) really blows my hair back.
But, if you do know me at all, you know that I have to be completely honest with you.
Sometimes I feel just like that little five-year-old, walking towards the big scary schoolhouse that as the crow flies, is one minute from my home.
And even though I’m a grown-up and a mum, I would be lying if I didn’t say that all of these exciting projects still scare me a bit.
Just like launching a new show for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there is that terror in the pit of the stomach of any writer/performer, just before the curtain goes up.
Where back-stage, we are connecting with a Higher Power, praying that we remember our lines, and hoping against hope that what we are about to deliver is received and enjoyed by audiences.
As I am feeling now.
So welcome to my new website!
I hope to interact with a lot of you, I’d love to hear from you and I look forward to meeting you in the flesh and online, before too long.
Most of all, I hope you like it!