Born the same year as the Melbourne Olympics.
Born the same year television came to Australia.
Born 5 years after my parents married when they were considering adopting.
The eldest of three children in a family where love was assumed but never expressed…no hugs, no “I love you”. But in which me and my siblings were safe and, although not a wealthy family, really wanted for nothing.
A creative high achiever who cried in class, at age 9, when I scored 18/20 on a maths test rather than getting everything right. Somewhere along the line I’d decided that if I could just be “good enough” then my parents would tell me they were proud of me.
I took that mantra into marriage to a man I took a long time to realise was passive-aggressive – it morphed into “if only I can get this right” then the marriage would be happy. The hardest decision I ever made was to sit across the table from my husband of 28 years and tell him I was leaving and, when he said “No” to reply (hands gripped together in my lap), “Yes.”
At age 8, I decided I wanted to be a teacher and followed that course. I taught kinder to year 6, children with disabilities, pre-school, taught high school role part-time, had an adult education role at the NSW Police College, and even did a stint as a chaplain in aged care. My 15+years of casual teaching stood me in good stead when she taught a multi-grade class – seven grades in one room, K-6.
Post-divorce I trained with The Salvation Army, became an ordained minister, running a church and welfare centre. I was privileged to conduct funerals, as families let her into their lives at a time of great grief. My most precious “achievement” was helping a woman living with schizophrenia navigate various medical and government bodies to find a safe place to live. It was during this time that I went to Nauru and worked with asylum seekers – and was confronted for the first time by my biases of racism and white privilege.
At age 60, I stepped out into business on my own confronting my ageist biases about what “women at my age should be doing”. Now, as The Bias Specialist, I do my best, not to seek approval, but to make the most of opportunities.
I am doing what I always believed I could. I am doing, in the last third of life, that one thing I was put on this earth to do – to speak to the unconscious bias that is simply part of the way we think but which lies beneath all the inequity and injustice experienced and perpetuated across the globe.
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