Upon reflection, Gina wrote this the following day:
It was good to catch up with so many and a shame that I caught up with so few. It occurred to many of us last night that we still only tend to turn up to these things when life isn’t sucking. So to any of you for whom life at the moment is sucking lemons big time, I’ll look forward to the swings and roundabouts of life settling things down so you can perhaps feel comfortable to join everyone for the next one. For those who hated their time at CHS and are not likely to be on this list, I’d still welcome the opportunity to witness your story and acknowledge your experience it in. For those for whom life is full of awesome and couldn’t squeeze it in, thanks for sharing your stories too. So many interesting conversations last night. In one of them it was suggested that back in the day, despite being as white bread as we were, there wasn’t the racism and homophobia that you would expect.
But if you had to hide your salami sandwiches, or your sexuality to avoid a stigma, then you knew it was there, you were just hiding the triggers which would have brought it to the surface. It was all part of our conditioning to conform. A very privileged conditioning in the grand scheme of things. That same pressure to conform still plays out today because of how many didn’t turn up because life sucks. Career shame, mental illness, long term anxiety, trauma, poverty, these are the things that we must still have a prejudice about if folk couldn’t share space with us with us because of these challenges.
I want to take my hat off to the people who I did share time with and who shared their story of trauma with me. 1 in 5 children in Australia experience sexual abuse before the age of consent. Statistically you were not alone in your experience of abuse at that table, but you were alone in disclosing it and the impact that it had on your life. I think the thing I’ll take away from last night is that within all our conformity, there still is no such thing as normal. Everyone who was there last night seemed comfortable to be themselves (I’m sure the drinks didn’t hurt) and that’s what was so great about it. The conditioning is done. We are the result. I guess were not a bad bunch as bunches go. Accepting. Friendly. Very friendly. Each person’s story adds to the diversity of our conformity to the white bread, hetro normative binary and very privileged idea of the world we were programmed to maintain. It was interesting. It was lovely. Thank you Lisa. Still so many stories I’d love to hear. Everyone’s story. I’d love to witness them all. Finally, I would like to raise the topic of Kylie. It’s on reflection that I realised that nobody mentioned her before I left at around 11.30pm. I’ve reflected on why that is.
hehehehe, I don’t think many of you will agree with me, some of you may be offended, but I feel a sense that I can’t talk about her for fear of feeling like a star f*****. hehehehe But really, how is she? I’m as interested in her version of herself as I am in everyone else’s. Kylie is a symbol of our diversity, our conformity and our uniqueness. I think that’s pretty cool. Bless you all, stay safe and well. Gina x
Below is a snapshot of the 27 x-students and 2 staff & 1 x-staff member, who we all appreciated in our years at CHS …