I never truly found my feet at boarding school in Ballarat in years 11 and 12. I was bored, lonely and miserable. I simply didn't fit in no matter how hard I tried. In the end I got wired to music in order to cope with the pain of schoolyard rejection. I desperately wanted a walkman to escape the pain of warts and the cruelty of the other girls. They would constantly put me down and patronise me. Some hated my music and made fun of it, particularly Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John.
But with music I felt connected. I communicated in my own way to artists such as sexy George Michael and crazy Cindy Lauper. I'd have a little party in my room, which was a little cubicle with walls not reaching the ceilings, so everyone in the dormitory could hear my loud music. Music was my special voice.
Music as a bridge
Music sometimes built a bridge between me and the other girls at boarding school. I remember some girls singing along with my favourites such as Cheap Wine by
Cold Chisel and
Physical by Olivia Newton-John. Other girls openly enjoyed Kylie Minogue and Madonna (about whom I was passionate). I even lent a tape of Madonna to some of the girls to listen and dance, to remove the frustration and claustrophobia of boarding school. Although I didn't join in, music made me feel closer and accepted by some of the girls at boarding school. I wished so hard that people would like me all the time.
Curing a broken heart
Later in life music was a cure for my broken heart. Many of the men I went out with misunderstood me. One of them said I was always
out of it. However when we would dance and listen together, we felt a special bond I had never felt before. I also lent one boyfriend many of my tapes; he was rapt to listen to them. He particularly loved Mariah Carey and Laura Branigan. Afterwards when the relationship was over, I listened mournfully to the music we played together, remembering all the good and bad times.
Music for myself
Nowadays I lose myself in music for hours on end. It is difficult to concentrate with schizophrenia, and the power of music brings relief. When I need a break from work because my head is heavy, music rejuvenates me and relaxes me, making it easier to keep going. It is also great to wake up with the radio, or listen to my digital music player when sleeplessness at night sets in. It also stops all the agitation and restlessness connected to my disability, and even helps me work harder in the gym.
Knowledge and confidence
My knowledge of music is from the eighties. I can recognize a song from that era straight away, and would definitely give my self an A+ for music trivia. I love to sing uplifting hymns in church, and feel myself almost reaching the heavens with my singing.
Music is indeed my favourite activity in life. I would not be where I am today without my music. Without it, I would be totally lost.