Entry Blogs

Melbourne Life – a new chapter

The decision to move to Melbourne was huge for me. I honestly did not know a couple of months ago whether I was making the biggest mistake of my life or making best decision of my life. Life certainly changes, with that you have to take risks.. for me the risk was taking a bet on myself; can I adapt to city living or stay in a regional town that was home for many years?

“Was I about to make the biggest mistake of my life?”

I’ve come to realise that no matter how old you get, you learn. I have quickly learnt that I have had to face my fears or loose myself completely. One of the biggest fears for me was driving in the city. I have the worst sense of direction, and yes, lack self-confidence to drive. I don’t know why that is, but I have had to ‘self-talk’ and just drive! I’m doing well… 🙂

My next objective was to find myself after loosing myself years ago. I don’t regret the past but I believe it has actually helped me in the next phase of my life. I do know if I had done it earlier I would not have been ready, and if later missed the chance to do so. Things in life happen for reasons that we don’t know, but I believe the reason for me, was simply ‘coming home’

“coming home”

“Home is in your heart, knowing you can fall and those you love will have your back! This does not necessarily mean ‘blood related’.

Melbourne is full of culture, it has some of the most beautiful restaurants, places and night life to enjoy. I have enjoyed since I have arrived seeing the sights of the city, bush walking, ice-skating and more. Life has changed!

One of the defining moments, or realisation was that it would be fine to be and not change or conform to what some would say the ‘city look’. I realised that staying true to myself was the key. One family member said to me earlier when I arrived that “I needed to update my wardrobe as it wasn’t the same as Bundaberg!”. It actually was difficult to hear that. I thought “what is wrong with the way I dress???” I figured out quite quickly that it was one person’s view and what mattered was staying true to me on the inside.

The inside of a person is what truly matters, It has meant that travelling 2000 km from what was once home was truly only a matter of pure geography. I always have tried to push myself and take chances and yes, like all have insecurities. The key to change – determination, self-belief and breaking the comfort zone of living a familiar life,I do believe that at some stage in life we can be guilty of this….

This chapter of my life has only begun, and I know that 2020 is a huge year. I haven’t forgotten the ones that I have left behind, in fact I miss some even more.I have secured full-time work, plan to do part-time university in March, continue re-connecting with my family, and yes nurturing a new relationship. Life is not about getting through a book in one setting, life is about turning the page and creating the next chapter in your life! I’m looking forward to seeing what the next one is!!!

“Written by Lina Raudino”

Contact me on twitter @Nucha73637221, alternatively on Instagram linsitaliaus

Finding me…

It’s so interesting that as I sit here on a Monday after thirty-odd years I am back in the place I was born, Melbourne. Sitting here I do ponder how life can go ‘seemingly well’ and then before you know it, life as I knew it has changed. The breakdown of my marriage in itself is one of the most difficult decisions to make but finding me has been a big challenge and one that I am still learning to do.

“finding me”

I know that with age things do change and sometimes that change is difficult. The simple act of ‘driving in the city’ or ‘dropping by someone’s place for a coffee’ is daunting. I don’t know anyone here, I know family but that is it. Everyone has their own life to lead, jobs that they go to and families to look after, but myself.. well only I can work out what I need to do in ‘finding me’. It is not easy at all but giving up is not an option!

I have had some unbelievable support from my family which includes those that are not blood, yes family doesn’t mean blood relatives. Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve given too much of myself and ultimately trusting too much with devastating consequences. I know what that means and as open as I am in my writing there are some things that are left better kept to oneself.

“I’ve felt like sinking but have managed through family to keep heading up”

There is only so much that people can do to help you. I’ve been given an opportunity to re-start what I consider to be a “new life”, an improved version of me, but at the heart, Lina is still that … Lina.

“The scenery may have changed, it is now time for me to find myself in a unfamiliar setting”

There are some things that I have found though. You can’t find yourself with someone else, you have to find out who you are first. I believe slowly but surely I am getting there. I know what I don’t want in life, and at my age history will not repeat itself, that I am sure of.

So, finding me is ongoing progress. Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that in my forties I need to know it all now, but that simply is not the truth. I have so much to learn, so much to find and with perseverance, I will get there but I have to be patient with not others, but me. Never make the mistake that it is too late to make a new life for yourself, you just have to force yourself into situations that you are not comfortable in. That is life.

So, finding me, I’m getting there and I know with future posts that this process will be positive and daunting. I do know that as forest Gump said: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are getting!” Watch this space!!

(Written by Lina Raudino)

Navigating a new life….

You cant please everyone, you cant be what others would like you to be, all you can do is be you.. easier said than done!

“you can’t please everyone, navigating a new life”

I have a reflective style of writing and will continue to do that. We all have a story to tell, we change, grow and sometimes with that fear can control what we do in our future.

I can only speak for me and purposely to be fair to all. The loss of a loved one is difficult, and those that know me will appreciate how difficult it was and still is to loose my father. The loss that I never thought I would experience is the loss of a marriage..

The breakdown of a marriage is not something that you see for yourself even though statistics show that marriage’s do indeed breakdown. I married when I was 30 and can say that I had some of the best times of my life. I enjoyed sharing my life who I thought would be as they say “my happy ever after”…

My marriage broke down. The reasons are personal and will stay like that. Being alone after 13 years is a loss that I didn’t expect. I sit here in 2019 and at 43 feel lost. Breaking up is hard enough, but not knowing what to do next is just as hard.

“who am I?” “how do I act?” “what did I do wrong?”

These are the questions that I ponder and realise it will take time. I know that I am not perfect, I have my faults, but I never regret anything in my past, including my marriage. Have I learnt from the loss of my marriage? Yes, to find who I am and trying to find a new path in life. I no longer ask, what did I do wrong.. not because I think I’m perfect but rather it is about moving forward

Moving forward includes my study, finding work and seeing what a new life looks like on my own. Will I love again? I hope so. Will I marry again? I hope so. That is what I do know. If anyone goes through a marriage breakup loss is the feeling I did not expect, it hurts, but I can say that unlike some others, we are still friends. I am grateful for that, always will be. I don’t have children, unlike others who do and I can only imagine how challenging that would be.

Social Media – the beauty and the pitfalls

I believe I am someone that has taken the time to change my way of thinking when it comes to social media. The use of it is one that you need to get your head around, we need to move with the times! This is a platform that I use to share my thoughts and write when feeling inspired.

Question I ask is; When does social media become too much?

It becomes too much when you know you feel that it is pulling you under. It becomes too much when it affects you mentally”

The degree that I have undertaken at Central Queensland University has placed me out of my comfort zone. I now use Instagram, Twitter and my social domain. I enjoy interacting with people who are real and authentic. The use of social media can be damaging when you feel it is pulling you under. Some people will say the most incredible things that can really hurt you, you learn to get a thicker skin and realise with the bad comes the good. That is what I want to focus on;

“The power of people, the power that people will get behind you when your not well, a genuine care with a great heart”

I am very fortunate that I have stumbled across the most amazing people on twitter. This post is in recognition of that.

We don’t know the stories of others, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but the twitter community has become a home of sorts. I have met some of the most amazing and inspirational people.

These people inspire me everyday to live the best life I can. I am far from perfect, but that’s okay. Most will be okay with that and that is the power of the human spirit.

There are so many passions that you can follow. I follow much that is about mental health as I am passionate about raising awareness of mental health in Australia and beyond. I am passionate about writing, I am far from a ‘polished writer’ but I enjoy the freedom it gives me. I enjoy reading the blogs of others and sharing ideas and inspiration.

I am a ordinary person navigating her life, embracing social media. Social media can be so positive and refreshing but you need to know when to selfcare. If it becomes negative and affects you – de-follow, block or simply take a rest.

I am yet to tell my full story in life and when the time is right I will share it, but in the meantime I enjoy meeting people around the world. Not one person is the same. That is the beauty of embracing social media. In saying that I dedicate this post to the beautiful people on twitter who have embraced me as friends and family

Written by Lina Raudino.

What a life without Mental Illness would look like

“Feeling free without a mental illness”

Being reflective on my posts is a way in which I can voice my honest thoughts and share them with my readers. The above picture I did myself, it took me hours to do but when I see it now, I see the meaning it holds for me; freedom

What does freedom mean to me? It looks like living a life without any boundaries, obstacles and being the person I am today. It’s a powerful statement to make because, with it, the implications of what my life looks right now would be very different. For anyone, the life they are living is either ideal or one they would change.

This leads me to a subject which is personal, that of having a mental illness. Discussing what mental illness is has been discussed on this site. The real question I reflect on is that having a mental illness is a struggle on a daily basis. There are days which are good but some very bad. If it is a day with anxiety or a deep low, the thought of escaping this illness is beyond a doubt what I want;

“To be free from the struggles of the pain that the mind and body feels”

Who doesn’t want to be free from pain? Who wouldn’t want the freedom to do whatever they want without any limitations? I thought that was me, and to a degree, it makes sense that the answer would be a definite yes, but as I have grown older I have learnt so many different lessons

“you can’t change what you never knew, every morning a new opportunity to overcome pain is given”

Each morning I wake not knowing if my day is a dark place due to mental illness. I wake to the thought that chronic pain will be my battle for the day. The reality is I don’t know what each day brings, but my response to how I approach these days, are lessons I have learnt. It is unrealistic to say that positive thinking will get me through a bad day. It is what it is, but the truth is that having the opportunity to wake each morning is a gift. Sometimes it’s a gift you don’t want to open.

I do know that a life without a mental illness is one that I simply cannot imagine. I have lived with some form of mental illness since I was 10 years old. How can I imagine a life that I know nothing of? All I know is that battling some form of mental illness is a struggle that drains me some days to the point of sleeping my days away. Mental illness is hard, it rips your insides apart and is so damn painful that the tears that roll down your cheeks are endless. Imagine waking up in a dark tunnel without any light? Imagine crawling in that tunnel searching for something to hold onto so you know the day will get better. I can’t. Imagine waking up with piercing pain in your back and legs and not able to feel parts of your body. It’s my reality.

The question that my post is asking is what a life without mental illness would look like? I can only imagine it would be easier. It would be nice to wake up and know that I wouldn’t have to face any mental or physical illness.

“Would I change my life?”


This picture represents my good days. It represents my bad days because even though I don’t smile on the outside during the dark periods I am learning something new. I have learnt that I am a stronger person than I think. I have survived the worst days and can tell my story.

I know that without mental illness I would not have the empathy for those that share the same journey. The resilience I have has made me a woman that is strong, independent and one that makes me who I am. I can’t live a life without mental illness as I know of no other. Every day is a challenge, but it is a challenge that I am willing to fight.

Mental Illness does not define who I am, it simply is an illness that I can’t imagine not having because It’s all I know. This is not a negative but a positive way that I choose to look at it. I am a courageous woman that is proud of my life, regardless of what I have.

Written by Lina Raudino.

Quote sourced from power of positivity.

My passion: Mental Health

Life is full of unexpected lessons in our life. When we start on what I call “our journey”, we don’t really know what there is ahead of us. I do know one thing; whatever we have ahead we have the ability to learn from it.

“Fear of living”

MH #timetochange

On twitter there are many # to refer to MH (Mental Health). I am one of many that has experiences as an advocate and consumer in Mental Health. To make friends with ones on twitter is a privilege and one that does not go unnoticed by me. I have an online family, one of the fortunate ones.

What does #TimetoChange mean to me? It means that in the year 2019 there is a stigma to mental health that simply should not be there. I have pondered over the years why there still is… the answer… FEAR.

Fear of being discriminated against. This simply should not be the case, but you cant change what it is unless you keep on persevering with a message of hope and reality. I could go on about statistics, but there is no reason to do this. There is not one day that goes by that you don’t hear from a celebrity, news stories or our own personal interactions with others that someone has anxiety, depression, PTSD; only three forms of mental health


As I sit in a hotel lobby, I contemplate many questions, I realise that this post is of great importance to me. #TimeToChange can only be achieved if we know what needs changing. We are now living a life that knows someone has mental health issues. You can either ignore it or EDUCATE. You cant change what you don’t care to change. Sounds complicated, but really quite simple.

If you care about someone in your life who experiences some form of mental illness, do you care enough to find out more about it? Do you love that person enough to find out how you can change? Simply do you care to educate? Education is the key to change thoughts on the sensational stories that surround us. I am not here to preach, I am here to say:


small steps are the best

I cant save the world in one day. I cant answer why mental health illness is increasing today. What I can do is take small steps in changing the perceptions that are present today about what Mental Health looks like. I can tell you that being put in a psychiatric hospital and throwing away the key with movies showing people rocking back and forth does not help. This does more damage and simply irritates me. There is more to someone who has a mental health illness than that!

As an advocate and a continuing survivor I know that small steps without the preconceived ideas above is a good start. Taking the time to look at others around us, and realising that ‘no-one is alone’ is positive. The first small step I believe ‘should be’ stating “I have a mental illness”, but is the person sitting next to you ready to hear that? Are you ready to share this? Only you can answer that! I know I am at a point in my life that if a situation arises, I will now state it. My fear is subsiding, and with that, freedom to be who I am is liberating!

Live your life

All ANYONE with or without mental illness can do is live life on your terms. Its not about pretending to be someone you are not. Life has its challenges, but living a life based on ‘what you should be’ gets old.

Anyone that follows my site knows that I have openly stated that 2019 is my ‘year to shine’. I believe I am taking the small steps to do it, and like anyone I try and do my best. The best is all you can do. Stop pretending to live the life of others

final message

Without sounding repetative, I am implore anyone who cares about anyone that comes across someone in general to ask #ruok. Are you okay? Today I am, in fact today is a great day to share my message. I will continue to spread my message of recovery and today I have decided that as much as I can, my new hashtag on twitter will be this: #TimeToChange. Why? Because if we don’t change something now, when will it ever be the right time?

If living in Australia you need to talk to anyone please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in a emergency 000.

” don’t be afraid to ask: #ruok”

Written by Lina Raudino.

All writing is from personal insight. Photos are referenced personally.

What is the secret to happiness?

“my rose bush on my deck when I need to talk to hin”

A reflective question in a world that can be filled with such negativity that we can forget that question… I was brought up in a strict household that told me what that was, I have figured out that as an adult I have my own personal answer.

I’m not a religious person, but I am a thought-proving person, always something on my mind to say… putting pen to paper.

There are so many books that are “self-help” for diets, anxiety, illness etc, they all have a place as they provide information that is useful, but does it make us happy?


What makes someone happy? Is there a secret to it? Is it based on money? Is it based on power? Is it based on circumstances?

Photo by Samir Belhamra @Grafixart_photo on Pexels.com

“There is no secret”

If there was a secret we would all be happy. Who doesn’t want to be happy is the question I ponder tonight.

I know for myself I believe happiness in being courageous in the toughest of times. Being able to smile because your best friend has made you laugh. Waking up each morning and knowing that it is full of ‘surprises’ that happened that made me laugh or cry.

“my best friends, Cat and Kuga bear”

The people in my life are the ones that keep me focussed and pull me into line when I need it. Having 3 friends since I was 13 is pretty damn lucky, 1 sister and 2 brothers. New ones then have come in my life, I can’t help but be thankful for that. We need a reality check I believe as life does get crazy, we get focussed on day to day living, that we forget the small things.

Did you ring your friend tonight? Did you send a text; just to say hi? It’s the thought that counts.

I have many reasons to make me smile, friends, university, my beloved dog, the memories of my late papa. I just forget to count my blessings and not my worries. Life is what it is, don’t get me wrong, I get it! All I want to say in this reflective post is what my friend Rohan gave me for my birthday

“Written by Lina Raudino or on Intagram on linsitaliaus”

Self-care…is it important?

We live in a crazy world, that means good and bad. Crazy doesn’t mean focusing on the negative, but we all get busy

“Coffee, nothing more enjoyable than starting your day with this”

When I look at the subject of this post I cannot sit here and tell you I am a master of it, in fact, I’m still learning how to balance my life to incorporate it into my own life.

What is self-care? I have no definition from a source, I talk about what the meaning is for me. Self-care is taking care of you when you are busy, living with illness and taking time out of your day or week to focus on your needs, what you want to do that makes you smile.

“Busy at university, focussing on my goals, notice the coffee!”

The key to self-care is to realise that you need to stop and think about this is a conscious way. You don’t want to realise at the last minute that you are on the tip of a breaking point because you failed to recognise the need to look after you.

Recognising that you need to look after yourself is the greateast power that you have. Never take your own health for granted”

We are human. We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, we are anybody that reflects the need to take time out. It is not enough to say ‘I will go for that walk’, it’s important to do it. I preach it but I have found of late that I am not taking my own advice, ironic that I am writing this article about it. I have found that writing (even at5am in the morning) therapeutic. It’s my form of self-care, but as true as I am, there are many things I love to do when things get too much for me.

“The Beach, with music in my ears.. no greater feeling than walking with the salt air surrounding my senses, taking time out for me”

I am happy to say I have very few people that I call friends. These are the ones that I enjoy sharing a drink, coffee, laughs and quality time with. I’m fortunate that we are on this journey of life together.

“Friends that lift your spirit, laugh with you and accept you unconditionally for the person that I am”

Before I hear your inner voice say, as mine has, ‘that I don’t have time’, we need to make that time. If we don’t take the time to focus on us, we can lose who we are as people.

The key is to find what it is that you enjoy doing. I know for myself I enjoy the creative side of my nature. I enjoy writing, art, walking, music; these are mine.. what are yours?

I urge anyone that reads this article to take the time and really think and prioritise what self-care is in their life. It is so important that I took time out for a few days over the last week to catch up on sleep and reflect on what I want in my life.

I write with heart, I am no expert, but I do know one thing if we don’t look after ourselves who will? We can’t rely on others to do what makes us happy, time for us as individuals to take control.

“Find your self-care and you might be surprised at how much you needed it to be a better, healthier, emotionally and physically better person for it”

STOP – after you read this article, think about your self-care, think of what you used to do and what you can do this again or find a new self-care activity .

We live in a fast paced world, take time out for you, it really is important,

“Healthy eating”

“going to the movies”

SELF-CARE – “find yourself in a world that at times we get lost in it”

Written by Lina Raudino

Humour, sensitivity, shy, honest but courageous

Who is this person and why is it important to share these qualities? My webpage has always been open and honest and now is the time to reveal the ‘qualities, blemishes’ of the author of this site, Lina Raudino.

“No-one is perfect but doing the best to love and dream big”

Being able to have a voice is a powerful tool in a world where some cannot express themselves at all. Recent studies at university show that living in a Western society vs Non-Western is a gift when expressing yourself. Today I will express who I am, the misconceptions, my attitudes and what makes me who I am.

Those that follow me on twitter can appreciate how honest I am, that I am proud of. I am an outgoing person but painfully shy to those that don’t know me. Some say that I appear snobby in larger group settings with people I don’t know, simply it leaves me uncomfortable. In saying that if I am with a group of friends who ‘know’ me, I like to joke and express myself with my sarcastic sense of humor. I never apologise for that humor, some like it or some don’t get it, but you get that…..

Am I a sensitive person? Yes. Do I take things to heart? Yes. Have I worked on this part of my personality? Yes, but because I want too. You see, being sensitive can cause problems. I can take things to heart and take things personally when in fact it doesn’t have to be that way. I wish I could say why I am like that but I figured out that it was okay to be like that years ago. Have I lost people in my life because of it? Yes. As Cher would say “If I could turn back time”. I can’t.

I believe that with sensitivity, and humor comes courage. As many of those know who kindly follow my page know, I’m not alone in the fight of pain and mental health. I will always be an advocate that pain and mental illness does not define you.

“You define who you are, no titles do”

The truth is Lina is a strong funny, shy but courageous person that always strives to not hurt anyone. The one person who I wish could see me is my papa, but he is no longer with me but in my heart everyday…..

So, the next time you feel the need too look at someone, as previous articles state, don’t judge. We are who we are and be proud of it. Being funny, shy, honest and courageous is fine by me. I may not be the most popular person, but I am me, that is something I wouldn’t change.

I write from my heart and I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m honest and will always do my best. You know what I call it? I call it a “readjustment attitude”.

My attitude right now is that it is fine to be me, the question I ask my readers is are you okay with that? If yes is your answer, be proud! If no is your answer? A time will come when being you is okay, you will feel how empowering that feels!

“I’ll never apologise for honesty, humour, being shy and having courage”

Stand proud….

Written by Lina Raudino.

Who has the right to judge?

There is so much that I have shared nearly 12 months ago when I decided to try and create a site that would give anyone the chance to think about life and life’s choices.

This post is very straightforward and says what I have been wanting to say for a long time; Lina being honest!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Don’t Judge”

There is no right or wrong in life. We are here to live a life that has been granted to us, a gift. As humans we have a tendency to think we know the best, because our “calculation on what life is about” is the right way… WRONG!

Who has the right to question anything we do? Who has the right to question anything we say?

Who has the right?

People go about day to day life and they make do with the best of a bad situation. What really get’s me going is that people judge. People assume. People are gossips.

With anything in life the ability to judge others is not our right. Am I perfect? Is any advice I give the right one? No. BUT I respect people’s way of living, talking, and decisions. I don’t have to agree with it, but I DONT judge it, I RESPECT it….

Photo by Samir Belhamra @Grafixart_photo on Pexels.com

“Don’t judge, live your life”

The right to judge is not ours, in fact the only person that can judge is you, in your life. Judging others based on your criteria not only hurts but can really damage another individual’s journey in life. The power of the tongue…”think before you speak!”

So while some go along life and gossip, thinking they know what is going on in someone’s life… STOP! How would you like it if you saw someone coming out of a car with a disability sticker and walked normally? Instant gut reaction? “Is that their sticker, doesn’t look like there is anything wrong with them!” Another example, someone who is ‘larger’ and you see them in public eating a burger and assume that’s why they are heavier? Is that right? No.

The fact is you have no right to judge the life of others. Concentrate on your own life. If people spent less time judging others, the world would be a ‘more forgiving’ place.

DONT JUDGE – Its rude, hurtful, unnecessary and simple there is no need for it.

“Don’t judge the steps of others, as we have not been in their shoes, concentrate on your own life”

So if this post has got you questions whether we do inadvertently judge others, well I’m glad. If this post still gives your thought pattern to judge others? Nothing will change your mind. I do believe though is that when you find yourself in a situation you never thought about, the one that you judged others on… well then your realise that you don’t have the right to judge anyone!!!

Thankyou for taking the time to read this post. Please feel free while this website in under re-construction to view others posts, drop a comment and I will get back to you… Your can follow me on Instagram at linsitaliaus.

Written by Lina Raudino, Photos sourced from media library and personal collection

“Take care and tell those you care about it you love them”

The big question.. what is the meaning of life?

Some people will look at this question and either know the answer or have no idea. Myself, as I do with my blog I write from my heart, with honest thoughts.

What is the meaning?
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

Life starts as soon as we are born, some will believe that this happens even inside the womb. All I am here to do is be true to my site and write my feeling’s towards this post.

Many different religions will have their version on how we came to be and that is to be admired and respected. I am not here to say what a ‘religion’ says is right or wrong… I’m here to ponder the question in a world that is full of diverse opinions. Do you have one?

I do believe that we are here for a reason, as to what that reason is I don’t have the answers but I do know my experiences in life could not be in vain. As those of my readers.

I think this question is asked more when you suffer. That being said we all suffer in some way. That can be through the loss of a loved one, chronic illness or struggling day to day. Life is not easy for anyone, some have it harder than others, but we can’t compare experiences.

So, the question for me is “what is the meaning of life?”.

The answer; I don’t know. I do know that life is a gift, one to be treasured. But, in saying that I have not lived my life inline with that gift. As some of my readers would know I have tried by my own hands to end my pain, but here I am writing this article, was there meant to be a reason for that? I simply cannot answer that question…

“There is no right or wrong”

I do know that I have my own meaning. As my twitter blog states;

“I am here to be inspired and hopefully to inspire others.. never judge the steps of others, write your own path”

My life has never been easy, it’s not a sob story, it is what it is. I come from a dysfunctional family, eating disorder, Bipolar II, chronic pain BUT it does not define me, what I choose to do with those experiences does, that is my meaning to life.

” I know life has not been easy but the meaning to life is up for individual reflection”

Some will say money,prominence and having the love of your life with you is the meaning… The truth is…

“The meaning of life, is up to us, we create it, we live it each day.. make sure you live it like it is your last day”

As always thank you for taking the time to read my articles. They come from my heart and experiences.

Written by Lina Raudino

Photos sourced: Media library and personal connection

(you can follow me on Instagram on linsitaliaus)

Growing up ‘Italian’ in Australian society.. ‘wog girl in Australia, simple but true’

She knew for some time that being different meant something strange. She didn’t know anything but that simple language, not the language they spoke to be honest, but she knew hers. That simple language was now of no use to her. That’s when she came out as the wog girl in Australia. Speaking in Italian and not knowing how to speak the English language is something she would not forget.

She worked out how to speak English after pre-school, she even knew how to talk to other girls but being in primary school was so different. Here she was, sitting and knowing what was to come every day. It happened all the time, looking around, her heart was pounding, sweating fingers, she knew what was to come. They all made fun of her, right on time every day, they never missed. Drops came down her eyes, but she couldn’t let them see them. Her heart wouldn’t stop racing, because of what was in her lap, the same stuff all the time, but she saw what they had. That day she decided to leave class earlier, she was prepared. She could hear the sound, hated the sound, but the bell signalled anguish for her, an anguish that only she knew about. The smell was overpowering but it was good food, the inside of her mouth was watering but it did smell like stale bread. The red and white dot food in round cuts felt slimy, but it was delicious. It wasn’t like the others; they had that thick black stuff with butter! They obviously were not educated, oil is much better, that’s what papa said to her;

‘Lincuha put oil with it, it won’t taste the same if you don’t!’

On one occasion she remembered something on television. Vince Sorrenti, said that you needed wine with that food, so she decided to ask her parents, but was told not yet. Today it was going to change. She was determined to do that thing they did in the movies, stand tall and puff her chest out. To her she had everything under control. She thought they knew today was different. Then the girl came out, with the others, blonde hair, pretty and she imagined smart too.

‘Keep it together, this is under control, she had this’

She looked straight at the main girl; she was sure they knew today was different. All of a sudden it felt so soft, but it started hard. Was solid, checked it out before she sat down, but she realised it was the feeling of sinking. Then the girl stopped in front of her and she looked up; she thought she did. She kept saying sit straighter, she did, but they had it in for her that day.

‘No more, this is going to stop she kept saying!’

She got up, looked her straight in the eye, one drop did fall but she flicked it away. Suddenly, she swerved to the front, it was wind coming out, it must have been, then she looked up from the ground, someone had pushed her down. Everyone started to laugh around her, she had to keep it together.

‘Where are the teachers?’ she kept saying.

She didn’t care anymore; the drops were falling, and the ground went dark from the splattered tears. Slowly she pushed her fabric down, those drops wouldn’t stop, she hated that. All she could hear was ringing, was someone calling, did the teacher come and rescue her? Then she realised that noise was coming from her ears. The girl suddenly got her stale smell and threw it in the bin. This was her food, her salami, her lunch. She decided that this was it, she was not going to let this girl do this to her anymore. She would show her. She stood up, looked at the girl straight like they did in the movies.

‘Revenge is sweet!’ That’s what she’d heard on the television and she kept saying this to herself.

That’s when she did it, felt good, seeing her going down, she pushed her! How funny was that! All the girls that hung around her stepped right back. She could only assume they got scared, because their faces changed white, that’s what she saw. There was so much churning, like ants eating away at her, she thought she was the one in control and that felt good. The blonde girl for the first time didn’t do anything. She would regret this, that’s why her friends walked away, that’s what she thought. That sound came back again, all she could think was that something was wrong.

She recognised it from before, she hit the floor again. Something was coming out beneath her knee which was red, and it was coming from below her skirt. As soon as she realised it was blood, she got so angry that she was determined even more to show that this wog girl would stop this now, once and forever. She got up straight away, didn’t bother with the fabric, she did not care! Something was strange, then she looked around. She kept asking herself if she was dreaming? She asked herself what happened? Did she imagine the blonde girl and her group? No, she just worked it out, that noise, not the ringing one in her ears but it was of girl’s shoes running away. They must have worked out they were in trouble, that’s what she thought as the teacher just turned up. The teacher would protect her, and she did. It didn’t feel right to her though, her revenge was now gone, all she wanted was the fabric to go down and, she wanted to go home where eyes to stop hurting from the tears. Being a wog girl felt soft, warm, and comforting from her bed when she was at home. What just happened told her that she did not belong at school, the only place she fit in was at home, and that’s were she decided to go now.

She knew what it was like to be at home, she was raised the right way, the wog way. Unlike when she was at school, she knew how to be a proper wog girl, I assume the others didn’t know. Sitting on plastic all her life is something that she knew everything about, it made sense to her as any spilt food would not damage the fabric.

‘Don’t spill anything or else the lounge will get stained!’ she was told that every day by her mama.

Apparently, others didn’t do that, but that didn’t make sense. She was told that in life that’s how others live outside her home.

 Her next memory would always put a smirk on her face, that’s when the drops were good tears rolling down her cheeks, she often laughed out loud.  

‘How did they not know how to do that?’ she thought.

All that foam, two basins and they only used one, how funny was that. It wasn’t done like that. You fill two basins up, one for rinsing and the other to wash. She did that all the time, it was the cleanest and best way to do the dishes, yet she saw how it was different when others did it. Clean dishes for others, I assume meant wash, don’t rinse. She remembered how silly that looked. She never stopped thinking about how food would still be stuck on plates because they were not rinsed the way they should have.  Mama taught her those lessons and she respected her for that, it was how wog girls did things.

She remembered a friend coming over one day and this friend looked around the house, her face looked strange. She was a polite friend, but she didn’t say much when she came to her home. She presumed it was because she loved it and was shy to say so, jealousy can do that. She thought if she liked the home, the garage would be the best. This friend would see how wog families did things. The smell of fennel in one room, it made her mouth water up. They got hung up with rope, not just one but enough for a year. Pork and fennel, not just that, these were delicious pork sausages. Every year as a family this was done, she looked forward to this because this was home. When she thought about it, funny it was, the blue car with pork sausages hung from the ceiling. I can only presume her friend would like to see how wog girls lived. This is when she would see whether the friend could see how a real home was like. That’s when she thought, maybe she had not seen the way true wog’s do things, she thought she would have been jealous. She still didn’t say much, she decided to take her out the back to see a true wog’s way of living.

She thought dishes and sausages was different, but what she would see next would make her envious. That’s when she felt drops of water come down her cheeks again but, the friend looked funny. The mouth opened with disgust, she could see it and she was standing right next to her. Beyond the green shrubs, she was proud to be a wog girl. It was strange because even though she felt the sting of water in her eyes, she was also annoyed. There was a fly screen covering it, so flies weren’t getting onto it. They were pushed down flat in the hot sun, but that’s how you do them, along with the capers on top. She worked out she would just have to tell her, the friend would appreciate how good these were, she thought this anyway. Everyday she would sneak some of these in her sandwich, the sundried tomatoes were not best friends with her thighs, but she didn’t care. She saw the cellulite every day on her legs. The taste of oil and heat, the first bite was the best. While she was reminiscing about how good these were, the friend said nothing. This was her home and she was becoming irritated, she thought if you don’t want to be in a wog girl’s home just leave. To her surprise she did. It was pitiful really, a lame excuse.

‘I’ve got to go and do some homework’ she said.

It was jealousy, I could only assume. It was that black stuff and butter they liked, she didn’t care, she knew the good stuff and the one that looked like tar on bread wasn’t it. It was her loss; home was special, and she treasured this home, the one she grew up in from 1992. It was a television show that changed things, but she couldn’t remember the name of it. She still smiled at the thought of it. The show had kangaroos, depicting Australians love of them. That’s when she thought of the blonde girl at school. That girl would now be called a skippy. She now had a nickname for Australians, skippies. She was proud to be a wog girl, so if a kangaroo was about Australia, she would give them that name. She had it all worked out; life now made sense. She thought she had it worked out but then this wog girl started work and she realised things were not so black and white.

She was sitting there as she normally did, behind the screen, never really knowing how to act socially. This happened when she left home, not knowing how to act, that’s what you get for being a wog girl. She hadn’t even come across someone like him, she never really saw his type at home, but the manager paired me with him, so she had no choice. She had never come across a black man before. She knew it sounded racist, but the fact is she never did, just wogs and skippies. She saw the blonde skippy near the photocopier and even the red haired skippie but not a coloured man. A two-hour trip for a meeting was uncomfortable, but she got in the car with him, she had no choice, she knew she would get paid and that they would have nothing in common, so it didn’t bother her. She could only presume that he felt the same way, he wouldn’t want to be with a wog girl that even he I presumed could smell the lunch packed as did the girl at school. She tried so hard over the years to change what she ate, but she liked it. The waxed little black hair above her lip, she was sure he could see it, it was something she didn’t do at school but had to do it now.

 She heard his voice before, but never really paid much attention, but it sounded deep when she was closer to him, deep like his colour to be honest.

‘How you are going Lins?’ is what he said.

Taken back she just looked at him and was shocked that he spoke to her. She mumbled some words, but he kept persisting. It was irritating for her to begin with, but she realised they had one thing in common, humour. The real humour that even skippies understood. All she could think was this man was so funny, two hours with him wouldn’t be so bad.

That was the start of a friendship that she now thinks about and realises how it changed her. This person, Richard, he was also a wog, but Torres strait Islander, he was also a family man and understood what it was like to feel different. She knew this because it was spoken of between the ocean and air were no wog or skippie was mentioned. This was something that she spoke to him about and both realised that the heritage that he and she were brought up in was something uniquely different. The funniest things she remembered was the way he described his family gatherings. She realised that they were no different to the ones that she experienced. She also realised that when she heard him speak so proudly of there food and culture, she wasn’t alone. She reflected on how he was looked upon as a black tough man, but she knew he was soft, gentle, like a teddy bear, she could only hope others saw that.

Then the conversation that changed her life happened. Sitting together on the soft grain with the wind blowing around was invigorating for a conversation like this to happen. The ocean was crystal clear blue, that day the smell of salt wafted between her conversation with him. Remembering that chat always made her feel those drops from school and home, but this time it came from sadness and happiness.

On that afternoon during their lunch break she said that being a wog was difficult, which he said he could understand as he was a dark man and experienced similar things. He said to me that day:

‘I don’t care, I know I’m proud of my heritage, are you?’

Those exact words were stated. She realised that growing up being called a wog was something she hated but after talking with him realised she was proud of heritage, just like him. She thought of the good things when she was a child at school and at home. The smell of fennel sausages, touch of oil, the fat on her body because of those damn sundried tomatoes. It was the salami at school that in that moment she realised she didn’t care like Richard said about his food. So many realisations on that beach.

 Being a wog girl was something she in that moment realised made her unique and different. She just wasn’t a wog girl; she was a wog girl with skippie in her. She realised she came from parents that immigrated to Australia and gave her opportunities that other she could presume never had. Questions swirled in her head, just like a washing machine, how silly she felt. Here was a man of colour that was a proud Australian, it occurred to her then and there that for years without saying she was Australian with Italian heritage. She still was that wog girl but this time she realised she didn’t care what others thought, it was about what she thought, how proud it was to be called a wog today, how in that moment things changed.

A group called sooshi mango was now making it big time across Australia and Canada. These group of men were proud wogs who now were making fun of the way they were brought up. She realised that with the help of Richard and this new group of funny men that things had changed so much since school. It really was quite powerful. A power that she lacked at school and at home. What she thought was at times hard to understand was now clear to her. She realised in that moment she was, and still is ‘a wog girl, simple but true in Australia’.

A proud Australian with Italian heritage living in Australia’

Written by Lina Raudino

25th May, 2019