Ten Things Only a Select Few Know About Me
Let’s take a walk on the sadder side
This prompt has come a long way to land on me, but here I am, wondering if I have the nerve to write about stuff that you probably don’t want to know.
I thought I would never share such personal things, then publish for all and sundry to read. Yet, here I am, fingers poised, ready to completely destroy the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky image you have of Raine Lore.
I am reluctant to push publish because, in my heart and mind, who I am today is a crazy, whacky old duck that went through some serious stuff and emerged, scarred, battered and triumphant.
Hopefully, my ten will serve as a positive outcome story for those of you who choose to read to the end.
1. I was a victim of the babysitter
Yep, it’s an age-old story and I don’t need to trouble you with the details, except I was nine years old, he was a middle-aged bully/pedo, and the assaults occurred many times over a year.
I was too afraid to tell my parents, but I got through it, displaying symptoms that only blind parents would fail to see.
I feel slightly ill writing this down.
2. I was an avid young writer/musician who was offered a recording contract
I began writing at ten years of age, on an old portable typewriter that belonged to my mother. I stapled my stories into little books and gave them to my friends.
One of my friends showed them to her mother who was horrified by the maturity of my writing. I was punished by getting a mouthful from the mother and by her not letting me see my friend for a long time.
Strangely, that particular family had moved into the house across the road that had recently been vacated by the molester. Go figure!
As I developed into a troubled teen, I wrote more and more — poetry and short stories, many of which were composed beneath my bed covers in the light of a torch.
Having had a “setback” in my early years, I kept my writing hidden in a box beneath my bed.
On the outside world, I was excelling in both high school English and music studies.
I won many speech competitions in high school, was selected for school musical roles, and by the time I was fifteen, was offered a recording contract, which my parents vetoed loudly.
My parents were always suspicious of me.
One day my father searched my room and found my writings. He called a friend in the Police Force who arranged for a party of two Police to search my room and lecture me. They reasoned that my writing had to be the result of drug-taking.
Pure bullshit! Nothing, of course, was found, but my trauma levels were skyrocketing. I felt violated and abused without cause.
The lady cop was quite kind. She attempted to deliver a “message” to my parents, but it fell upon deaf ears.
I was not allowed access to my confiscated writings until many years later when my father visited my flat and delivered the box to me. (Because I was older). I hated that box and disposed of it.
3. I had to sneak around to get my first job
My mother was on the spectrum (later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome). She was a full-time worker. Unusual for the time — she hated being a housewife. The only job she knew that girls could do successfully was shorthand/typing.
When I had finished three years of high school, I was placed in a Secretarial College in the city.
I hated it on two counts.
One — I wanted to do other things with my life, and two — most of the time it was a rip-off of my parents’ scant finances.
The teachers hardly ever turned up and we were left to our own devices, which for the most part, did not include shorthand, or typing.
A daughter of close friends of my parents also attended the school. (Probably not a coincidence as she was older and, usually, very sensible).
She declared to all and sundry that she was not putting up with the college situation any longer, instigating a walk-out. I joined her.
We took the bus straight home together, (we lived close to one another), and my parents demanded to know why I was home so early. I told the truth.
They declared me to be a liar (which was their wont).
I asked them to call their friend’s daughter and confirm the problem with the college.
They didn’t want to involve their friends so they conceded and rang the college — I was vindicated, but there was no apology. Anyway, it made it a whole lot easier to tell my parents that during the week, I had used my lunch hour to apply for a job in the city and had nailed it! (Receptionist, Shorthand typist, of course).
Because the college education wasn’t working, I was allowed to proceed with my new job, and quite enjoyed the experience.
The best part was that the other employees loved my poetry and stories and requested hand-written pieces with them as the main characters. It took quite some convincing to give them possession of my writing, but nothing bad came of it. That was fun!
4. I was a bit of a Beatnik
During lunch breaks at work, I frequented coffee bars that were popular with Beatniks. I loved the culture, and the smoky atmosphere drenched with the aroma of percolated coffee. I hated the idea of drugs, though.
I spent many hours seated alone in poorly lit cafes, writing secretly, feeling very artsy-fartsy, and a little bit special!
On sunny days (which weren’t all that many in the city, in my part of New Zealand), I took my absent brother’s Press Pass from his drawer and trolled the city parks.
I loved pretending to be a reporter. People were very open to being interviewed about their lives, and I was open to writing about them.
That was a fun thing to do, and I had learned to find better places to hide my stuff. (I thought)!
5. I was a runaway
Over the two years leading up to my job placement, I had forged a relationship with a boy six years older than me. I didn’t like him much, but when I tried breaking up with him, he became a bit of a stalker, turning up when neither wanted nor expected.
My aunt and uncle were good friends with the boy’s parents, but my parents hated the sight of him. So, I had to keep my relationship a secret, but I would have much preferred to enlist my parents’ help to get rid of him.
I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, though.
In the end, I accepted my lot, partly because the boy/man was the only friend I had, and partly because he was the only one I had ever shared my past secrets with.
In the end, I grew tired of sneaking around and told my parents I was seeing him.
It went badly.
Long story short — the boyfriend had a fistfight with my father and blurted out that I was the victim of childhood sexual abuse.
You can’t imagine my feeling of betrayal — it sent me spiralling into despair.
My parents declared that my story was further proof I was a liar and threatened me with some sort of mental, or punitive institution.
Consequently, that night, I ran away.
Before leaving the city, I called the Police Station and told them who I was and that I wanted them to let my parents know I was unharmed and safe, to alleviate their worry. Over the phone, they mentioned I was the weirdest runaway they had ever dealt with.
I was planning on going back to my hometown which was almost 300 kilometres away. I set out by foot, cross-country, and slept in a haybarn on my first terrifying night of freedom.
Eventually, I was discovered eating turnips in a farmer’s field and was given an attic room in the farmhouse for the night. Of course, the farmer and his wife called the Police and without too much preamble, I was whisked in a Police car back to my unforgiving parents.
Life got tougher.
6. I failed to execute a cool plan
I had been absent from work without leave for a few days, and as punishment, my parents called my boss with their version of events — I was embarrassed to return to my job.
Wondrously, my boss and other staff members welcomed me back with open arms and thoughtful offers of room and board, which I knew I would never be allowed to take.
Instead, I decided to bide my time, and then make another run for it.
My boyfriend’s parents, who lived in my old hometown, conferred with their local Police. They undertook to protect me if I could make it safely there on my own accord.
The New Zealand laws at the time allowed for a sixteen-year-old, (which I was), to live outside of the parental home provided they did not live with a convicted criminal or known drug addict.
I worked, saved hard, (which was difficult because I had to declare my wages and expenses weekly), and ultimately bought a plane ticket. I stashed the ticket in my bedroom, with my hidden writings.
The plan was to leave home for work one day, circle back home after my parents left the house, and then call a cab for the airport. The rest would be easy peasy.
A few days after hiding my plane ticket, I arrived home from work to be greeted by an atmosphere that could literally be cut with a knife. (Not all that unusual at the time, because my parents often waged war on one another).
Unfortunately, my room had been completely trashed and the airline ticket was discovered!
The doo-doo was neck-deep!
7. I was forced into a marriage at sixteen
My parents were finally fed up with taking me to and from work to keep an eye on me. They were tired of dealing with my “lies” of child abuse, and although I had been forbidden to tell anyone else, they were afraid I would spill the beans, (even though I promised not to tell).
They intensely disliked my writing prowess and the fact that I had been singled out on more than one occasion for my singing ability. (When I was offered the recording contract, my father sent the record label people briskly on their way. He decided he would try to manage me himself. I think he could see dollar signs. It didn’t work out for him)!
Because of all of the above, I was instructed to phone the boyfriend and tell him to marry me on Friday. (That sounds laughable nowadays)! I refused. I wasn’t pregnant and had no intention of marrying anyone, especially him, for many years to come.
My choice became simple. Do as I was told, or wind up in a local Borstal for girls, or mental asylum.
I chose the former and did as I was told.
I met the boyfriend and his parents on the steps of the registry office on Friday.
We were married (me in a black hat and black coat that my mother bought, and made me wear), then we were driven back to my old hometown, by my new parents-in-law.
8. I wrote a book that was accepted for publication when I was seventeen
I gave my new life as a child bride the best I could. My new in-laws were quite kind to me, especially my father-in-law, an ex WWII Captain in the American Marines, who became a good friend to me.
I had my first child, a son, one month before I turned eighteen.
During that pregnancy, I wrote a fictional book about life as a teen. In fear of sending it to anybody that might be associated with my authority-connected father, I posted it to a publishing firm in Sydney, Australia.
The book was accepted for publishing with the usual request for edits. At first, I was excited. I was beginning a career that would put me on my desired path!
My husband wasn’t too pleased, but that wasn’t my real issue. I had endured punishments for writing, over and over again, and this new adventure threatened to be the biggest worry of all. I was living in a small town with small-minded people — the consequences of my book could be catastrophic!
One day, between baby-feeds, I sat in front of the lounge room fire, trying to quash my fears, and concentrate on my book edits. The fear won, and I watched as my manuscript, acceptance letter and offer, all went up in flames. Probably, too, any hope of a future as a published author.
I did, however, feel a modicum of relief as the fire burned bright.
9. I endured mental illness and became a divorcee in 1985
I lovingly gave birth to two more children (twins) and found myself in a very unhappy marriage with a gaslighting, crude, and mentally abusive husband.
We emigrated to Australia in the mid-seventies. I persevered, working full-time in whatever jobs I could find. My husband found every excuse he could to not work and blamed me for all his failures.
In the late seventies, I succumbed to a breakdown, a culmination of everything that had gone before. There was no real help available, and because of necessity, I soldiered through, with medication, until I found the courage to try, unmedicated, again.
I started a band and found the nerve to leave my marital situation just before my twentieth marriage anniversary. It wasn’t easy, mainly because there were three teenage children to consider, but we prevailed.
I met Dee in 1983, and the rest, as they say, is history! Yay! He was the reason I found peace and happiness.
Except for several awful visits from my parents, while they were still alive, we have had a wonderful, successful and peaceful life. Yay, again!
Needless to say, I hate conflict!
10. I became a writer for real
Of course, over the years, especially in Australia, I had a few successes as a writer, but none of them ever made me feel fulfilled.
In 2009, Dee and I retired to an isolated country home for a few years. The idea was for both of us to work on our diminishing health, and to blow out the working life cobwebs. We began to plan our future moves.
That was when I started dabbling in writing for real. In 2014, I wrote a novel for preteens, followed by four children’s picture books. I self-published them all and was pleased with the results. I no longer have the picture books up for public sale.
I realised as time went on, that I was preoccupied with children’s literature because it was safe, not because I was particularly enjoying creating it.
That’s when the walls came down, and I began putting myself out there with fiction written for an adult audience. I have grown in confidence over the years and now consider myself to be a real author.
I have nine novels independently published on Amazon with another two just hanging around, waiting for me to find the time to complete.
My wonderful adventure on Medium is making that seem unlikely for the time being.
This has turned into more of a memoir than ten things about me, and I have to say, it has been a difficult piece to write. I have been besieged by unexpected nervous reactions, and once again, I am afraid that this reveal might cause negative backlash.
But, these days, I am wearing my big girl pants, and have confidence enough in myself to put my story out there for public consumption.
I also have faith that my Medium friends will either not see this at all, haha, or will react with their usual empathy and kindness.
So now you know the story behind the sad eyes of the girl in the header image. Those eyes twinkle with fun, mischief and happiness these days, and that will never, ever, change again!
Get back to the beginning of this prompt with Barb Dalton 🇺🇦
Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me
Jumping on a writing prompt to regain some mojo
Will Hull kicked my butt into action. Bet he’s sorry now!
10 Things You Probably Don’t (or want to) Know About Me
Because Barb Dalton 🇺🇦 forgot to tag me
Lisa Osborne had her ten things to tell us about:
Louise Foerster honoured me with her beautiful poetry.
Louise, you understood more than you realised when you penned this piece. Now you will understand why I cried when I read your words.
Once again, thank you!