I must admit it's a bit fuzzy, my story. Hazy. Shrouded in mystery, like a fog.
But I do know it was on a train from Paris to Russia in the mid-60s that my parents met.
He... handsome twenty-something golden skinned Moroccan, charming big smile, gentle brown eyes, oozing suave in long coats, dress pants, shirts, ties and braces, with a pipe clenched between crooked teeth.
She... refined twenty-five year old angelic English beauty, soft luminous skin with bright hazel eyes, hair elegantly swooped up into a beehive, her slender frame donned in long paisley print dresses, chiffon shawls and silver jewelry.
Two students from opposite ends of the Earth, conversing in French, on a trip of a lifetime. The beginnings of an adventure... one that would end in an unexpected twist.
My mother has never much talked about that time in her life. My father now a faint blip in her history.
Thus, my fuzzy story.
During my first one-and-a-half years of life my mother worked as a nanny in England. Surviving. No longer a student. Until one day she packed up our lives, boarded the Oriana and we traveled the Atlantic Oceans back to her home country, Australia.
At three-years old my mother married my step-father. At six-years old my siblings began to arrive. Three in a row.
Pop, pop, pop.
White as can be. Blond haired, blue-eyed wonders.
And so began my days as the black sheep.
As the odd one out....
Hello darling, are you just visiting?
Bewildered, I stared at the lady visitor with her polite smile, slowly collecting my thoughts. "No...I live here" I said, furrowing my brow as I watched her smile disappear.
As the socially taboo....
So, where's your "real" dad?
My friend turned to me with genuine curiosity, as we sat side by side in the backseat. Opening my mouth to reply I was cut off abruptly by her mother snapping angrily over her shoulder, "That's a very rude question, Julianne!!" Stunned, I shut my mouth.
As that one duckling....
You know that you're ugly, right?
With sincere earnest my white freckled friend locked eyes with mine. Scoffing, I shrugged my shoulders, agreeing without hesitation. "Yeah, of course I do."
Feeling like the black sheep became a way of life. It just was. And over time hatred for my life, myself, and for the way I looked, grew and grew.
To escape, I would lose myself in stories and fantasies and loved books that described magical distant worlds. My favorites being 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' and 'The Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton. And when very young, while my mother still read to me, I loved listening to stories from 'The Lord of the Rings'.
As a teenager I escaped into my day-dreams, barely listened in school, wrote madly in my journals, and lugged a treasured typewriter with me on family vacations dreaming one day of becoming a writer.
I wish I knew what became of that typewriter.
Half a century later (now in my 50s) after years of dreaming and escaping, leaping from coasts to new continents, I find myself returning more and more to my early years, my fuzzy story, with curiosity. With a desire to embrace my past, my "self". The black sheep. The ugly duckling. And to finally settle into...me (whomever that might be).
Here on Journey Dots, as I teach myself to beat my own drum, my hope is to inspire others to do the same. Because I believe in some shape or form, we are all black sheep. And more than that, I believe most of us are black sheep in disguise. Trained by those that came before us, we have become experts at shoving our true selves deep inside. We play the game just as it has been taught.
Well, the game sucks.
And I'm tired of hiding. This is my human journey, road bumps and all.