|Sylvia Pattison - Aspiring Writer
There's a photograph on my desk taken just months ago of a woman who bears my name. She's tall, not young but not yet willing to describe herself as old. She's taking dead leaves off a small tree, replacing them with new green, vibrant growth. In the background a dirt road meanders up a hill through dry paddocks, a single tree showing life still exists. Behind her a Bonsai reminds her of who she is. This photograph is intended by the photographer to depict the journey that has been her life.
Born during an air raid in the midst of the Second World War, my first home was a first floor flat in a tenement block outside John Brown's shipyard near Glasgow in Scotland where my father and his father before him had worked all their lives. Life after the war was tough so in 1952 we as a family migrated to Australia living first in a migrant hostel outside Brisbane then finally settling in Melbourne a couple of years later.
Life was great in 1955. I was riding my horse to work as a kennel attendant at a large boarding kennel some miles away. Leaving Scotland had been hard for me but I'd finally settled. The adventure that had been promised in the brochures was now my reality, life was exciting. I was enjoying my new life and looking forward to the future.
But three months after my 15th birthday my life changed. This was when I began to learn that being a girl was different from being a boy in ways I never could have imagined.
Today, being not young but not yet old, I have stories to tell about my own girl's life, of completely losing sight of who I was, then the adventure of rediscovering that lost self at a time when it was supposed to be "too late".
I had begun keeping a journal in my 20s thanks to a chance meeting with Alan Marshal who wrote I Can Jump Puddles. Struggling with the loneliness of my marriage he suggested I write about my experience. "Let it all out," he said. "Don't think about it, just write!" was his message and I did for more than forty years.
It's my intention now that I tell my girl's story, using journal entries wherever possible.