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Ryan's Story

Chapter 6

Interesting times at the start of year 11, a lot of my friends had left school in year 10 for apprenticeships and new social cliques were forming. This wasn’t a big deal particularly as I had always flitted between groups depending on how I felt at the time so the transition was pretty easy for me. What I was nervous of though was Biology……were level 3’s as hard as I had always imagined them to be??

I rocked into bio putting on a brave face and there was my teacher, Mrs. Mac. Mrs Mac was a full of beans English lady in what I would guess was her mid 20’s with a cracking accent and a pixie hairstyle. She was lovely! I‘m not sure if she knew my background but if she did she never mentioned it. The year kicked off and I could understand the work just fine. Where I struggled though was I didn’t have any experience with actual studying and I hadn’t ever had to write papers or convey my understanding to this level before. I got it but I couldn’t tell anyone that I got it!

I then had an experience very similar to my 0% maths test in year 9. We had a Bio test and I thought I had done pretty well right up until we were given our results……I had failed badly. My misery burst forth again….I was no good…….I got up and ran out of the class.

A friend of mine came and found me and she coaxed me back to class to see Mrs. Mac. I explained to her that I felt that I knew it and couldn’t understand how I had failed so miserably. Now here was the difference between my old maths teacher and Mrs. Mac………she cared! She asked me if I would put a Saturday aside with her to learn how to study and how to write my answers at a higher level. I agreed and a few weeks later she came around to my house where we sat at the kitchen table with paper and heaps of different coloured pens. That day she explained to me how she studied, having a different colour for every new point so it stood out, what to study and how to expand on my answers. This was one of the most productive days of my life and it changed me forever. I am still no scholar but I have passed through School, the Police Academy, many Police courses and qualification exams, Real Estate Licences and courses and 2 Diplomas. I still use different coloured pens. I passed Bio and all my other classes and was allowed to study higher levels in year 12…………thank you so much Mrs. Mac.

During year 11 I did a lot of thinking about my life and my situation. More than I had ever done before. The more I understood about how different my home life was to other people’s home lives were the more confused, angry and trapped I felt. Why was this happening to me?? What had I done to deserve all of this bullshit?? I didn’t ask to be here!! I didn’t want Mum to die or Dad to be a drunk!! I hated where I lived, who I lived with and I just wanted to be out!!! One night I was awake for hours thinking about it all and I just lost it…..I started crying before the Sun was up and I just kept crying for hours and hours. It was like everything was pouring out of me……all the grief…..all the hate….all the beatings……all the belittling’s and nasty sarcasm….it was just running out of me and I couldn’t stop it.

Sometime during the day my Aunt came out to my room presumably to look for me. She found me sitting on the floor bawling and asked me what was wrong…..I couldn’t tell her because I didn’t know. She then left and returned a few minutes later to tell me that she had called Mrs. Lawson….I was astonished that my Aunt couldn’t think of any way of comforting me herself and had resorted instead to calling a person that my guardians had never particularly been fond of.

In hindsight it was perfect.

After this my relationship with my guardians deteriorated even more. I truly didn’t give a fuck about my guardians and they didn’t seem to give a fuck about me. I was 6 foot and about 95kg by now and I could handle myself well so the punches and slaps had dried up a fair bit. The nastiness continued at the usual pace though………The jibes about my Dad were now replaced with jibes about going to the Lawsons which I did at every opportunity. At one point we were away at our shack and my Uncle was ripping into me when he pulled out the “If you don’t fucking like it maybe you should go to the Lawsons”! I packed my shit up and started out down the road with him yelling at me that I would be back. It took me all day but I hitch hiked the 150km or so back to the Lawsons and presented myself at their front door. As usual I was greeted like family. I then rang the shack to tell them that I was ok……they just hung up in my ear.

During year 11 I met a new guy to the School. We were both obsessed with basketball and rap music (as it was known). He lived with his Mum who was a complete artist hippy …..there were basically no rules in his house. I hung out with him heaps and we did whatever we wanted. We were drinking, smoking dope and roaming the street at all hours of the night singing NWA’s most antisocial lyrics at the top of our lungs. We were complete dickheads but we thought we were so cool! I did and still do enjoy a drink but dope was never really my thing…..I was useless stoned and just sat in the corner giggling like an idiot or made me paranoid.

On one of these nights we were out and about at around 3am being wankers when a car rolled up next to us. It was a couple of detectives wanting to know who we were, where we were from and what we were doing out at 3am. I don’t think we had been drinking but we were obviously deeply influenced by the Classic Rap songs, “Fuck the Police” (NWA) and “Fight the Power” (Public Enemy) so we told the Police that we didn’t have to tell them shit whilst glaring at them looking as Gangsta as fuck!

One of the D’s took a step forward and smacked me hard in the head.

Suddenly we weren’t all that Gangsta any more…..my mate told the cops his details and mine so fast that he sounded like a typewriter! He would have happily told them anything about anyone as I also would have if my ears would stop ringing. The D’s took our details and told us to get straight home before driving off. We did exactly what we were told as fast as possible……

Year 11 was coming to an end and all attention was on my Biology results…… if I passed I could go to year 12 and have a crack at getting my HSC. No pass meant an uncertain future and my uncle being proved right.

I fucking passed!!

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