Who I think I am ... or what people think of me.
"It's none of your business what people think of you," K said today, as I was doing the 'handover' of his boat. "It is your business what they do and say to you, but not what they think."
(He wanted me to sign a form saying I'd get off the boat after my sojourn looking after the moorings and batteries. I told him I actually had a home to go to, but he was having none of it. So then I said that while I was a liveaboard, I'd tell all his girlfriends that he'd given me the boat because I was so good in bed. Form solved.)
And there is a fragment of the construction of a personality.
For someone so outwardly bolshie, I have a way-too-fragile internal framework. I find the differences between what people perceive of me and who I think I am are vast, oceanic.
The publicist rang me on Friday about a book trailer. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's like a movie trailer but for a book. They are coming down next week to film it. "Do you want me to come down?" says the publicist. "I'm worried you may not be comfortable with speaking lines."
"Us writers are used to sitting in a quiet room ... so acting, speaking lines?" I say. "I dunno."
She's right. I'm all over the place but the script for the trailer is just right and I have faith in it. I'm more worried that the fishermen will hate it. And the whole idea of going on film freaks the shit outta me.
I struggle with my addictions.
I consistantly forget to buy soap.
Can openers are my daily nemesis.
I'm not beautiful. Handsome maybe, but not beautiful.
I'm letting people down, close people, every day.
At uni, every time I walk in to teach a class, I think, 'They will find me out for a fraud.'
A Noongar man beeped at me as I was walking up the street. He shoved his four wheel drive into the closest parking spot and bailed me up. I know and deeply respect him as a statesman for his people. I thought maybe he wanted to catch up about something we'd been working on lately.
Instead he grabbed my shoulder and said, "I've just been out to your shack, Sarah. Adie and me headed out that way yesterday for some cultural workshops. Adie said, 'you've gotta come and see what this Wadjela woman has built out here.' He just loves it. He said ' Look how she's made a soap holder from an abalone shell.' Both the rainwater tanks are full, by the way. But there's bees in the roof. I checked your hive, none in there."
"You lifted the lid on the hive?"
"You guys crack me up. Did you water the olive trees?"
"Didn't need to. There was a misty rain the whole time ..."
We talked about what happened out there in the 1800s. The massacres and the land theft.
"That's my country," he said.
(I remember when Adie turned up while I was building a veranda. He'd walked into the shack, breathed in the feel and said, 'this is a good place, sister.' I told him about what had happened the night before as I sat by the fire.)
"What you heard that night," the Elder said today, "that was the spirit welcoming you. You are very lucky."
He patted me again. "Thanks. That place is gorgeous. Thanks."
I was too taken aback and graceless to thank him in return.
First generation Australian.
Borne of hard scrabble Irish Catholic immigrants.
Doesn't clean the sink.
Moults copious amounts of hair.
Dodgey moral code.
A forgotten cat kill under the bed.
Can't finish her thesis cos she's too scared.
There's a few narratives going on here. I can make up one persona on A WineDarkSea and another on the main street of town, another through the books I write. None of them would be definitive or in any way honest because most are only serving to plaster over my fears of being uncovered. I am big. I have big hands, big feet, big hair, big personality ... and yet I feel so small.