Anyone who reads Melbourne Mum would know my comic side.
It’s something I hold dear and something that comes easily to me. That’s not to say I’m a laugh-a-minute, having them rolling-in-the-aisles kinda gal. I can get wound up, have a cathartic bitch with a girlfriend or fight passionately (sometimes with an acid tongue) for something I really believe in. But I generally look at life with humour and for the potential for shits and giggles in everyday minutiae. I believe in bringing other people up and doing it with a fair dose of self-deprecation.
I’m sure my sense of humour is polarising (and can be *cough* inappropriate at times), but there is a good chance that if you’re reading this, you get it.
But there is another side to me.
It’s not a side that ordinarily comes out even when you get to know me.
My dark side.
Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by the dark side of human nature, the brain, the supernatural and the macabre. I love delving into the psychology of evil and where else it may come from (Hell?). I don’t identify myself as a “dark” person exactly, but I’m not above letting my mind go to those veiled and uncomely places to create stories. Sometimes that dark side even peppers my humour. I know, weird right?
There is thematic stuff that I can’t stomach, such as violence for violence’s sake, but my dark side can come up with some weird, esoteric stuff that may blow others’ brains. It doesn’t scare me unduly, but I don’t think many of my friends, even my husband, really understand that side of me. In fact, I don’t really understand it either or where it comes from, but I do embrace it. I’m ostensibly an optimistic person who looks for avenues to entertain others, so I don’t talk about the “other side” much. It’s also why I’m reluctant to talk about my stories whilst I am writing them with anyone who’s not me.
Which brings me to my dilemma.
As a parent, I think sometimes there is the expectation that you will be vanilla—that once you have kids, you will convert to a sunshine-ridden, daisy-loving cream-pie, strolling through daffodil plantations with your kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se—becoming a mum can change you in ways you can’t imagine, but it didn’t happen to me. I’ve never been vanilla and I’m not getting a frontal lobotomy to be so. I don’t share my dark side with my kids—I think they’re too young—but I don’t want to deny it either. I’m lucky in a way, that I have my writing and my photography (and at one time, my acting) to channel it without having to worry about becoming the next Dexter.
I think everyone has a dark side, you wouldn’t be human without it. Many artists and creatives get the most inspiration from going to that place. But I suspect parenting—in particular, mothering—can be painted with a very nurturing and virtuous brush. It’s a burden that I acknowledge but don’t accept.
Just because you have kids that you love and protect fiercely, doesn’t mean you should change your essence. People may think the sh*t I can generate from the macabre connections in my brain is unsavoury.
But it’s not anathema to motherhood.