Hi all. Well I've finally made it. I've been online here at Hatrack for around six years now, and it's taken me a while to get here, but I've finally made it to 1000 posts. So without further ado - my Landmark post.
I was born Kelsey Iain Brookes on August 12 1974, at around 10pm. I should have been born on August 16 or so, but my mother?s obstetrician wanted to leave for his holiday, so he induced the birth. No-one complained tho ? I shouldn?t have been conceived at all.
My parents married in their early twenties as the ?odd couple? of their school. They taught in the class-rooms next to each other, my mother was the principal?s favourite ? my dad, his smart-assed nemesis. They always taught with the dividers between their rooms open, and were best friends long before they married. When they jointly announced their engagement, their colleagues asked: ?To who??.
My Dad, Robert John, knew that my mother was unable to have children, and they planned their life accordingly. They started buying property and planning trips through South America. A few years on, my mother (Dorelle June) starts getting sick in the morning. It should?ve been impossible for her to conceive, since she was missing half her womb and one of her ovaries, due to cysts that had been removed years before. But somehow she and I defied the odds. She was advised that for her health?s sake, I should be aborted, but she and my father were both adamant ? they weren?t giving up their one chance at children. I was carried to term without too much difficulty, although that was to be the only child my mother could have.
My parents then redesigned their life around having a child. There would be no trips to South America for them, or the prosperity they dreamed of. From that moment on, they did everything they could to give me every opportunity and chance in the world. When I was five years old, we adopted my sister, Kirsten Susan. We call her Sue, and when people talk about blood-family, I don?t know what they mean. I couldn?t imagine having a better sister, or one that I cared about more. And they gave her every opportunity and all the love they?ve given me. When I ran into financial difficulty in my early 20s, my sister bailed me out. Saved me from bankruptcy, maybe jail. Even though she herself had to flee the country for a while for the ?unorthodox? way in which she acquired that money.
We moved a lot. When I was born, my parents owned a block of units on this little-known strip of beach land in Queensland. They decided that it wasn?t a great environment to raise a child, sold the property for a pittance, then bought a large house in the hinterlands. It was the worst financial move they could possibly make. The strip of land was the beach at Tugan on the Gold Coast ? and the property today is worth around $7million dollars. I spent a couple of years schooling on the gold-coast. I clearly remember my first day of pre-school. My parents had told me to do the polite thing, and let others go first when it came to time get our lunch from the fruit-trays going around. As a consequence, I went hungry, ?cause everyone else just went for the smash-n-grab. I got told a different message the next day. Although, the conflict between politeness and getting what I want has been a continuous source of tension for me throughout my life.
I also remember getting in trouble for being a show-off in grade one. Having jumped up on my desk to do a bit of a dance when the teacher left the room, I was more than shocked when she came straight back and made me stay there. Despite that, I was pretty good at school without really trying. My parents had read to me in the womb, and reading eventually became incredibly important to me. My mother kept a diary of my vocab ? she was an english teacher, and trained me as soon as I started making sounds. Every time I said a new word that wasn?t just repeating something she was trying to teach me (i.e. Used a new word in something approximating the right context), she?d add it to the diary. By the time I was 1 year old I had a spoken vocabulary of over 150 words.
I attended seven different primary schools, and two high-schools. Most of them private Christian schools with exorbitant fees. My parents also bought a farm, the primary crop of which was probably the most obscure fruit in the world ? the Custard Apple. Damn ugly fruit. In fact, my parents really went all-out for the weird-ass lefty-fruit. Lychees (eventually popular, but not while we grew them), Monsterio Delicio and Mulberries were our secondary crops.
By this stage we?d moved to the Sunshine Coast, also in Queensland. My parents stayed teachers while trying to make ends meet with the farm. I didn?t have much fun through primary school, and despite being a reasonably devout young Christian, I also had a hair-trigger temper and violent tendencies. I remember being about 12, sitting on top of my sister and beating her head into the thin-carpet covering of our concrete floor because of some imagined slight. I was a stubborn little b*****d too. I liked reading and would hang out in the library all day. I refused to join the gang of boys at our school, and was beaten mercilessly at every chance. It was a rural school, and that sort of thing is seen as character building. Plus it had that odd country thing that even though you were getting the crap beaten out of you, you still went to all the parties and the barbecues where everyone would play nice. Then they?d catch you down the back paddock of the school and you knew you were in for it. I started laying in wait for them, and I?d catch the gang members when they were alone and beat them senseless. I remember beating one kid black and blue, then forcing him to eat the mud in the field ? or I was gonna drown him.
I tried everything to get my temper under control. Even went to faith healers. It was years before I?d find the solution.
Finally, after my first year in High School, I couldn?t take the private schools anymore, and transferred to a public school ? Caloundra State High, near the beach on the Sunshine Coast. Sure it didn?t have the funding of the private colleges, but there I found kids I liked and teachers who I respected ? and people who cared more about who you were than how much your parents made, and for the first time in my life I started to make some real friends. I found it ironic that it was only outside the private Christian schools that I could find a better lifestyle.
It was also a great school for music. I?d been studying music in one form or another since I was around 5, starting with violin, then piano, then voice, and finally for the CSH Concert Band, Trumpet. I broke my hands in fights in highschool (Hey, I said I got better ? never said I got cured) which pretty much killed my piano playing skills, although I was ready to take my teacher?s exam by the time I was 17. But all I really wanted to do was sing. But either way, it was one of the best times of my life. I was busy as hell, and loved every moment of it. I would do swimming training for two hours every morning, theatre most nights, tae kwon do two nights, most afternoons would have music lessons of some sort. I played golf and tennis on weekends and spent a lot of time at the beach. I once figured out that I was doing 21 scheduled extra-curricular activities a week.
It was eventually Tae Kwon Do that curbed my temper and violence. Over the years I was to eventually reach one rank below black-belt ? because I didn?t want to take the exam: you had to break 8 terra-cotta roof tiles with your hands. Although it was somewhat ironic that I went and did that in fights anyway.
I had an extremely close group of friends during high-school. We hated everyone else and spent a lot of time inventing comedy routines and beating up the computer kids. We were all farm kids as well, for the most part. One of them, a guy called Lawrence Carmichael has been my oldest and dearest friend for nearly 17 years now. On his farm I learned how to round up cattle on horse-back, castrate them, brand them, de-horn and immunise them. I also learned how to pick strawberries and drink beer. I also learned to loosen up; I was a pretty uptight kid, took myself WAAAAAAAY too seriously. He learned that there was more to life than being a hooligan, more to his future than being the youngest farm-hand on his father?s property. He?s an established actor and fight-director now. Neither of us would be the people we are today without each other.
It was pretty obvious that I never had much time to study, but I?m guessing that it won?t be an unfamiliar story for most Hatrackers ? I don?t imagine that many of us had to study much in High School. I graduated in the top 8 percent of the country.
I should also add a side-bar that until Uni, I was a devout fundamentalist Christian. A priest at a Christian boarding college I wished to attend spent hours discussing the nature of religion with me, and I came away my fundamentalist principles destroyed. That was the beginning of the end for me. I now class myself as ?spiritual? rather than religious.
When I graduated, I?d never really considered what I should do. But I?d always been involved in music and theatre, so I auditioned for all the major colleges of music and voice. I got accepted to all of them, but eventually decided to go to the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and study Opera.
I loved it, it was the best time of my life. And I goofed off endlessly. I think I?ll wait for my 2000th post to talk more about life at the Con. Suffice to say the training was hard, the people were great, the sex was awesome and I had a lot of fun. But it was a difficult course and I was the only one of my class of 15 to actually graduate. That didn?t stop my movement teacher from bailing me up outside the Con on graduation day and telling me that I?d probably be better off doing something else ?cause she didn?t think I was cut out for music.
Unfortunately, no matter how many positive comments you get, sometimes it?s the negative ones that stick with you ? and it gave me a sour taste and a general insecurity about pursuing music.
I?ve spent much of the last 8 years since graduation just letting one thing lead to another. I?ve been a sales person and a studio technician. I?ve taught myself about writing for corporate purposes and developed courses. I?ve been a professional web designer and teacher. I now manage a college of web design, multimedia, 3D and digital video. I?ve also spent a lot of time playing and singing in a covers band, and writing for Digital Media World magazine.
I?ve had two great loves in my life. One an English lass five years my junior. If that was the only romance I was allowed in this life, it would be enough. It?s a story for another time, but suffice to say that there was never any problem for us that wouldn?t have been solved by the shifting of a continent or two. I remember vividly, 4 years down the track, exactly what my first year with that girl was like. I wrote about meeting up with her at Christmas ? the first time in two years. And while our communication has been sporadic in that time, it?s clear our fire and chemistry has not dimmed in the slightest. I?m also responsible for the direction her life has taken. I gave her ?Last Chance to See? by Douglas Adams, a book about species on the brink of extinction ? and now that?s her passion in life. ?Will we ever be again??, as the song goes. Who knows, but the level of love we had for each other is the standard by which I have set myself ever since. It?s meant precious few partners, but those few were intense enough for a life-time. The thread on what happened when we met up again this Christmas is HERE.
The other is someone whose life I probably saved, and someone I was literally willing to kill for, although she?ll never know that. Some people here will even remember this episode in my life. She?s also my dearest and closest friend, the one from whom I can never hide anything, or would want to. We?re not together either, but I also see that as a positive thing.
These days I?m essentially frustrated and directionless and have been for many years. The momentum has largely gone out of my life and I don?t know what to do about it. I?m a good singer, and there?s any number of things I could do, but I lack enthusiasm or motivation. So I?m taking baby steps. I?m trying to get back to being fit and thin. And I?m tying to save enough to travel. They?re simple goals, I know, but I?m hoping that by working towards them, and starting to achieve things again, it will give me the enthusiasm that I need to feel to start to dream again.
But don?t get me wrong ? I?m happy and I?m positive. I?ve got a lot to be happy about, and a lot to be thankful for. I live in a great apartment, work with fantastic people and have some wonderful friends. My life is not very hard, by any stretch of the imagination. I?ve got a lovely lass who has just moved two states to find her place in life ? and wants me to be a part of it. She?s fantastic, and I could never have appreciated such a cool woman were it not for the others I?ve mentioned.
Plus after years posting on this board, I?m finally making some real friends here. I?ve always been envious of it before, but my posting was too sporadic to really have enough of a voice, I guess. There are plenty of people to thank, but I?d like just to name some of those who are particularly dear to me, thanks Toni, John, Sara, Mike and ClaudiaTherese, just to name a few ? and there?s plenty of people here that I?ve come to love reading and talking with.
TooTrue, I can't believe you've only posted a thousand under this name. You've been a pretty ever-present part of my life at Hatrack, under one nick or another , and I'm so glad to have read your story.
The women in your life were lucky to have met you, too.
You know, Kelsey, you're one of a handful of men that stops me from occasionally getting upset with the whole other half of the species. If I ever get down about men in general, just remembering your kindness, nobility (and yes, what you've written about your life and relationships speaks highly to this), good humor and genuine decentness brings me back to reality. You are a Nice Guy: a man whose attractiveness stems from a strong healthiness and stability.
Way, way cool. If I weren't happily married, I'd be working on a way to "incidently" travel to Australia.
(When I get down about my half of the species, oddly enough, it's mostly Hatrack women that get me out of the doldrums, as well.)
I just caught this, Troub - nice post - I'm with the rest on two points! I can't imagine you with a temper and wish airfare to Australia were more affordable!
Posts: 5606 | Registered: Jan 2003
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