So let me explore some of these other areas of fear that have had an impact on my life. I walk on my own sometimes, but not often. I wonder why? Is it a built-in fear at the back of the female mind of rape? I can’t remember my mother speaking of this, but I do remember running as fast as possible through Caulfield Park in the early evening as a young teenager when I knew it was full of danger and that I should be going around the Park where the streets were well lit.
So to humiliation. Yes, Primary School was full of humiliation. If it wasn’t wetting my pants in the Infant section, it was my Dyslexia (a disorder causing impaired ability to read and spell), which resulted in being kept down in Grade 2. My reading difficulties were overcome in the higher grades of primary school through a combination of the school’s library and librarian; my coming from a household with books on a large bookshelf and my mother reading stories to me and my brothers. Unfortunately the lack of spelling ability has remained with me all my life, right up until now, well into my seventies. Although this has been humiliating when those who think they know more than me make fun of my mistakes, I have had great support from my mother and my husband, both good spellers. Today, with the wonder of Spell Check, there aren’t as many moments of humiliation.
Then there is embarrassment, of which there are several moments. One keeps coming back to me when falling asleep at night. Many years ago I was the Shadow Minister for Agriculture in the State Parliament, so often took my turn at the dispatch box when a bill of low priority was passing through the Parliament. On this particular day the Liberal members of the Government tricked me into believing we would break early for lunch after we closed up a bill on companion animals. Instead of breaking for lunch ten minutes early, they brought on a bill of importance, one they knew the Labor party wanted to argue against. For the life of me I cannot remember what the bill was, except that Brumby , our leader, wanted to speak on the subject . By default I had misled the whip and the leader’s room. No great issue, but a relevant and embarrassing moment for me.
So I don’t cringe, but have waves of feelings close to humiliation and embarrassment when I think of the moments described --and possibly others, too many to mention.