Mum said I learned to speak very early on. But it wasn’t until my teens when I really discovered my voice.

I was raised in a subculture during a time where it was revered and even positively reinforced to physically stand up for yourself.

It was the 80’s. Smacking wasn’t yet illegal, and it was considered an essential rite of passage to toughen up. Being physically resilient made you powerful.

But I never knew that my words could also yield power and could have a reverberating effect, that could hurt people in other ways.

On one occasion when extended family came to visit us, an aunty made some disparaging remarks about me. I ignored my mother’s attempt to whisper hiss me into silence and retorted by insulting her right back.
It was the first time that I had effectively defended myself to an adult and I was initially smug that I had “won” the argument.

Although my statements to her were technically accurate, I’d inadvertently implicated her husband, and outed some private indiscretions between them among other family members.

My lack of impulse control didn’t feel so effective anymore, and I was remorseful about the ramifications of my thoughtless remarks for a long time afterwards. The sense of closeness I’d previously shared with my cousins was never quite the same after that weekend.

I became hesitant to use my voice as a tool, much less a weapon for many years after that. Initially, it occasionally affected my confidence to stand up for myself, but over time, I realised that the power of my voice could be used for good.

There were times when I would advocate for under privileged clients, or when I’d work in domestic violence or child protection. I was also lucky enough to have teaching opportunities in the dance and yoga world, lecture on teacher trainings, as well as facilitate workshops and reiki trainings.

The choice between the archetypal warrior, and the self-regulated observer can still be more of a battle than a dance within me, but I am forever learning, as I am forever yearning, to be better at it. I am becoming more accepting, that not all battles are mine to fight.

In my heart, I knew that if I could watch my own ‘sliding doors’ moment, I may have chosen to study journalism instead of social work. In my 20’s I might have had the bravado to travel to gnarly war zones as a reporter or an investigative journalist.

There has always been a part of me that has wondered if I’d ever explore that option so that I could continue to write, but more to share people’s stories so that others could be inspired.

Through many serendipitous events, an opportunity to give a voice to the unseen role of a carer was created this year, and so was the podcast that I now proudly host, called ‘Carer Conversations’.

It satisfies my insatiable desire to ask questions, shine a spotlight on something I’m passionate about, and share a story or resources in the hope of encouraging others, especially in a role that has traditionally been invisible to society.

Some of you know that my dad had a stroke early last year and now requires 24/7 care. It has changed the trajectory of who I am, how I show up in the world, and has even impacted how much I am able to work.

The first episode will outline what the Carer Gateway is and how it can help carers that need support in their caring role. But the second episode is where I get to interview my first guest, who shares her tips on how to overcome grief.

Although some close to me have made allegations about me being quite hostile to backseat drivers, almost 30 years have passed since I have learned to harness my voice power for good rather than evil.

The podcast is officially me on my (mostly) best behaviour. I hope you like it.

Patty Kikos