When I was 15 I caught the overnight train home from boarding school. We lived in the outback so the ‘kids from the bush’ travelled by train through the night and transferred to various buses next morning for the last leg home.

Some of the kids from another school had smuggled alcohol on board. I hung out with everyone until it was late and they were getting rowdy and then I found an empty dogbox and went to sleep.

On my arrival home, my mother told me she’d heard there’d been trouble on the train. She demanded to know if I’d been involved. I actually felt flattered, the cool kids did that – did she think I might be one of them? How little she knew me.

I almost laughed at the thought but no, I said, I wasn’t involved. I told her I’d slept for most of the trip. The next thing out of her mouth was this:

‘Because if I find out you were involved young lady I’ll half murder you’.

I was stunned, I had stupidly thought she’d be proud of me. I got in more trouble than those who were actually involved.

But today, all these years later, I understand.

If I’d got into trouble on the train, there was evidence to support the notion that the reason our relationship was in such bad shape was because I was rotten kid.

But I didn’t give her that evidence.

The truth was she did not have maternal feelings for me, and a huge cover up went on for years around this. But scapegoating can only happen if those around the scapegoat allow it. And those around me did, to this day.

This happens in all sorts of relationships – at work, in couples, among families.

I could almost understand this if I’d gotten into trouble, if I’d been a problem child or defied them in some way. Even then I’m not sure.

But I was the poster child for Goody-Two-Shoes. All my school reports say how quiet I was. I got good grades. I was too scared to get into trouble. And my future was all I had to hang on to so I took no risks with it.

I had been tamed to the point where there was no room to express anything of myself. Even my wild hair had been cut off.

Today I know I’m not a rotten person. I was silenced and sacrificed on an altar of lies to perpetuate the myth of the good mother.

I hope you won’t let anyone sacrifice you. As a child you have no choice, and by the time you become an adult the slanderous damage is done. But as an adult, you can demand to see the evidence of the things you’re being accused of.

Evidence does not include ‘she told me you said….’. Evidence is something that is seen and heard directly, first-hand. Anything else is hearsay, and if people choose to believe something negative about you without hard evidence, ask yourself why.

Your true allies are the ones who take the time to really know you and see the truth for themselves. They believe the best of you. Anyone who doubts you based on something they’ve been told is not your friend.

It’s taken me years to learn this, I spent so much energy trying endlessly to explain and defend myself to people who weren’t listening, who had their own vested interests in believing the lies.

The most important thing is you don’t start believing them yourself.

You must keep remembering who you really are. The source of all your power is your own true nature. This is the treasure that will enable you to show others their own power as well.

That’s why tomorrow I lead a courageous circle of women into the wilderness on a treasure hunt. We have been dreaming we were someone else, and so we are going where most people never go.

We go there to bring back the light, to unearth our hidden untamed self who has always been there in the shadows.

It is the sword of truth that vanquishes our dragons. It is following our bliss that will lead us home.

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