CHANGE (THE SONG)  by Susan Joy Alexander

 

Writing makes me so much happier than tennis or real estate.

A picture of the front cover of a book called "A Spanish Love Affair" by Susan Joy Alexander.
A Spanish Love Affair by Susan Joy Alexander

Change can make me feel

Sometimes happy sometimes sad

Like I’ve just won the lottery

Or lost everything I‘ve had

 

I’m caught in a swirling river

Struggling to keep afloat

There are times I seem to be living my life

Bailing out my boat

 

When my best laid plans

Just go astray

And disappear from sight

And things I want to happen… don’t

Though I try with all my might

 

Its times like these I have to change,

My plans if not my mind

And if I practice often

It will get easier I’ ll find

 

But if I my dig my toes in

And insist on being the same

I’ll leave many paths undiscovered

Which would surely be a shame

 

Cos change can be such a wonderful thing,

A chance to live my life anew

Do wonderful exciting things

I never thought I’d do

 

So I’ll just grab it by the reins,

Dig my heels into its side

And if I walk, trot or run

I’ll just enjoy the ride

 

For in this life one things for sure that

Change is here to stay

No matter how I try

To keep it at bay

 

Well I really must say

That I DO love change

I get bored with the status quo

Though sometimes I feel

That I’m not quite ready

 

When the tide of change….. begins to flow

 

 

 

La Guerra civil 

 

Yo era una jovencita de 18 anos, una jugadora del tenis Australiana,cuando llege en Madrid en 1967.  Vivi en espana durante el inviernocuando no habian torneos entre 1967 y 1973.

No sabia nada de la guerra civil ni las repercusiones de ella que resono despues.  Pero aunque estaba ajeno a la situation politica note algunas cosas estranas.

Nadie hablaba de politica. Nadie hablaba mal de Franco ni le contabaun chiste sobre el.

Y aunque yo no sabia nada de esta red de intrigas y insinuaciones,me di cuenta que los bancos de las  iglesias estaban llenos, la gentepresto estricta observancia de las fiestas religiosas y opus dei, la mafia espanola governando el gallinero.

Durante este periodo cuando Franco estaba vivo el goberno con un punyo de hierro.  Fue reverenciado, temido, despreciado y siempre obedecido.  Supresencia ominosa flotaba en las habitaciones traseras, taxis,restaurantes y casas particulares en forma de una multitudinaria red de espias, escuchando y reportando sobre cualquiera que hablara en contre de el.  Franco pronto despacho a esos disidentes y todavia estaba firmando ordenes de ejecution en su lecho de muerte en

La corrupcion durante estos anos abundaba y aunque no habia eldivoricio los matrimonios podian anular su matrimonio por un precio determinado pagado a la iglesia.

Durante este periodo los catalones, los gallegos y los vascos no se les permitiaran hablar sus idiomas.  Como puedes imaginar Eso causo mayor descontento.

 

En 1984 cuando volvi a espana para areglar unos papeles por mi hijo vi que ha habido una revolucion social desde la muerte de Franco. Transvestis estaban solicitando topless en mi vieja calle General Oraa aunque era invierno.  Marihunaa fue legalizada.  Hubo divorcio.  Y Pedro Almovodar, el famoso director estaba lanzando unas peliculas que eran casi pornograficas.  No sei si algun a visto « Nasty Habits. »

Markus y yo tuvimos que dejar el cine cuando las Monjas empezaron a tener sexo con leones.

En 2015 cuando yo volvi una vez maz a Espania para caminar elcamino de la Plata con mi marido, Markus los bascos, gallegos y catalanes puedieron hablar sus idiomas.  En Barcelona todos los menus estaban en catalan. Y Tuvimos un problema con nuestro gps por que solo hablaba espanol –  nos perdimos todo el tiempo en cataluna, el pais vasco y Gallicia.

Cuando estabamos en Madrid no pudimos resistir a ir a ver donde habia vivido Franco. Despues la guerra civil, vivio en el Palacio Real de el Pardo situado a unos 15 kilometres fuera de Madrid. Originalmente era un parbellon de caza.  Mas tarde convirtio en la residencia alternativa de los reyes de Espana hasta Alfonso el ocho se murio en 1885.

Franco se mudo alli despues de la guerra civil. Principalmente por seguridad.  Siempre estuvo preocupado de que lo asesinaran.  Con razon sin duda.

El palacio es énorme, con yo no se cuantas habitaciones elegantes y lujosos, con muebles franceses antiguos y pinturas famosas.  Pero el dormitorio de Franco y su mujer era humilde, con muebles muy basicos, una cama doble con un banco tapizado al final para sentarse y ver la tele.  Pero encima de la cama estaba una estatua mas grande de Jesus que se extendia a lo largo de la pared del fondo.  Me resulta dificil entender como pudo reconciliar el asesinato de tanta gentecon sus creencias religiosas.

En este momento en espana habia estatuas de franco por todas partes.

Pero En 2019  cuando volvi con mi hermana todas estas estatuas se habian ido y substituido por estatuas de Los Reyes Catolicos Isabel y Fernando del periodo 1474 hasta 1504.   Esta es una  fascinante historia para un otro dia.

 

 

JUST TO SAY THANK YOU

I would like to thank all the people who bought a copy of “A Spanish Love Affair” during the promotion while the Australian Open was on.  I sold 21 copies.  One of my new readers is English.

Nothing a writer likes better than to have people reading their book.  I hope you enjoy sharing my journey.

Susan Joy Alexander

PS And thanks to Robert from the Narrabeen Newsagents and Navi from the Black Honey Cafe for their support.

Sexual abuse – the aftermath

 

 

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If you have read my Memoir “A Spanish Love Affair” you will know that when I was 11 I had a love affair with my 19 year old tennis coach.  Or rather I thought I did.  I felt all the feelings you have when you fall in love, just like I did later on as an adult.  Unfortunately, I think most of my tennis coach’s feelings were below his belt.

I was not one of those 11 year olds going on 18.  I was small for my age as you can see in my school photo and hadn’t yet gone through puberty or bought my first bra. My coach told me I didn’t have to worry about falling pregnant because I hadn’t had my periods yet.  I had no idea what he was talking about.

In case you are unaware what grooming entails, my coach told me he loved me and that I was beautiful.  He also groomed me and my family by coming to breakfast every morning before coaching me.

The affair went on for nearly the whole year I was in 6th class. I was deliriously happy until at the end of the year when he went to play in a tournament in Tasmania and wrote to tell me he was breaking off our relationship and wasn’t going to coach me anymore.

At first, I didn’t believe it, but the truth dawned on me when he didn’t appear to coach me after he’d got back from Tasmania.  I was heartbroken – absolutely shattered.  It turned my whole world upside down.

Second row 5th from the right

I went from being at the top of the class to the bottom and from being a well-behaved student to a teachers’ nightmare.

Back row third from the left

I dropped all my nice friends and took up with the rebels and scallywags. I became rebellious and obnoxious.  I sprouted pimples and attacked my hair with the scissors and a variety of different coloured dyes. I developed an eating disorder and took up smoking, both of which somehow, I managed to keep secret.  I cried myself to sleep each night.

The worst thing was I kept it all to myself. I didn’t tell anyone about it over 40 years.  My parents put the change in my behaviour down to hormones and the teenage blues.

If only someone had asked me the right questions, I would have blurted it all out.

Many children who are sexually abused turn to drugs, alcohol and often self harm. I was one of the lucky ones. I managed to survive because I had a very stable, loving family and I was good at tennis.

I finally told Mum what happened when I was in my 50’s.  I was worried she wouldn’t believe me, but I was so overwrought when I told her, that she was left in no doubt.

People who haven’t been sexually abused don’t understand that the repercussions last for years. For some they never go away.  Here I am, now 72 and I still feel them. I have never managed to completely regain my equilibrium.

I still attack my hair if I feel anxious. Over the years I have had it permed, short, long, medium length and spiked, purple, streaked, black, dark brown and blonde.

I base my self-worth on my body shape and weight.

I don’t disclose what happened to a lot of people, but when I do, I cry.

I don’t trust my intuition. I am reluctant to trust people and don’t like to get too close for fear of getting hurt.  If someone hurts my feelings it is a deep and extremely painful affair.

I find it very difficult to make decisions. I fear commitment which no doubted accounted for 13 broken engagements and I don’t know how many disastrous love affairs which I underwent until I met my rock, Markus.

And that sighting of my coach’s erect penis when I was 11, certainly put the kybosh on my sex life for many years.

The positives

The old saying and ill wind doesn’t blow anyone any good is true in my case.

Being sexually abused led me to be more empathetic, considerate and aware of other people’s feelings. I became involved in personal development and explored my inner life and learnt to listen to the wise voice inside to resolve problems and issues, meditate and ultimately to become a writer, song writer and poet.

What I find difficult is I never know which parts of my personality are as a result of being sexually abused and which are not/me.

 

 

The Backward Dance

 

When people start to get to close

I feel discomfort and anxiety

I don’t like the feeling

Of too much intimacy

 

But then I feel lost and hurt

When they start to move away

And start to dance the forward dance

Without too much delay

 

I come on very strong with someone new

And adopt a friendly open stance

Then they become confused when they move forward

because I start to do the backwards dance

 

But I’ve noticed everyone does the backward step

To some extent just not as much a me

I do it so I won’t get hurt

It’s ingrained in my personality

 

PROMOTION DURING THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN

If you haven’t had a chance to buy a copy of “A Spanish Love Affair yet, you may be interested to know that I am doing a

PROMOTION DURING AUSTRALIAN OPEN

                                     17TH TO 30TH JANUARY 2022

FREE COFFEE WHEN YOU BUY A COPY OF “A SPANISH LOVE AFFAIR”

                                                          $25

                                                            AT

Narrabeen Newsagency for the book with coffee at the Lakehouse Café, 1322 Pittwater Road, Narrabeen

Black Honey Coffee Shop book and coffee 3/18 Ocean Street, Narrabeen.

‘A Spanish Love Affair” is young Australian tennis player, Susan Joy Alexander’s story.

It is about:-  Growing up in Narrabeen in the 1950’s

Going overseas to play tennis in Europe.

And Spain

In the late 60’s and early 70’s There was no money in tennis so Susan couldn’t afford to go back and forward between England and Australia.  She decided to stay in England over winter BUT on 10th October at 10am in the morning it was too cold, dark and wet so she hopped the train to Madrid.

The story really hots up when Susan falls in love a handsome and charming Spaniard.