I have been getting asked to do these more and more lately, but I’m terrible in front of crowds and have panic attacks about speaking in public.
However this was for the Rafiki fundraiser, Rafiki is special and close to my heart and I have the utmost respect for the women who run it, women who save the lives of traumatised children every day… makes my nervousness seem kind of insignificant.
Byron Bay was everything and more than I expected. The hotel was situated inside an actual rain forrest, everyone was wearing flowy bohemian clothes.. I actually felt like I had died and gone to heaven.
I walked into the hotel that they had booked for us and Bill and I were greeted with presents, Rafiki jumpers for the kids, products created by local businesses, a new dress. My head started to spin, I’ve never been spoilt like this before, never. I couldn’t help but feel like I was not worthy of all of the attention and special treatment.
The women who run this show do FAR more than I ever did, fuck even the women that I have brought with me have dedicated more of their lives to helping others.
I remind myself to just be grateful and clear self doubt out of my head constantly, it creeps back, that’s just human nature.
I finally got to meet the women who started and run Rafiki, even though I felt like I have known them for a very long time, this was the first face to face meeting we had had and like I expected we all felt like family. They are funny and real with beautiful husbands, normal people that just happen to dedicate their entire lives to saving children in Kenya, I should have been star struck in the presence of such greatness, but these chicks were normal and comforting, I suppose you have to have a comforting nature to deal with traumatised people every day.
Missing the kids is always hard for me, I see a pool, I think of Arlo in it, I see a tree, I think of Billie-Violet in it… I don’t really think of the twins much lol but come on the are sooooo god damn hard at the moment.
My sister came up to see me from Melbourne, my bestie from Sydney and I brought my closest friends from Perth, everyone wanting to support Rafiki and have a night or 2 away from our kids, it was sort of like a dream come true. I kept expecting to wake up.
Lisa Magill from Terminally Fabulous drove down with her entire family of Irish greatness, Kat Abianc brought her famous model son Parker for the night, Celeste Barber graced us all with her presence and we were gearing up for a brilliant night. My nerves were creeping in, I missed the kids and I didn’t feel worthy of a quarter of the attention I was receiving but I gave it my best and headed over.
Public appearances are strange, you meet all these people that you have heaps in common with, in every day life I don’t meet many people at all that I have anything in common with. Yet you only have a couple of minutes to chat to everyone because you need to move onto the next people. Queens were sharing very intimate details of their lives with me, I wanted to do my usual and find a dark corner to just chat and drink the night away but I was pulled to the next group, where I would fall in love with another queen and the same thing would happen.
The speeches at a Rafiki fundraiser will touch your heart in places it hasn’t been touched before. When they show videos of the children talking, when you hear Sarah and Annemarie talk, the sponsors and supporters talk, you just become overwhelmed with joy and sadness all at once. Moved is an understatement.
I spoke, I was 3 wines in, I saw some ladies had sat on the floor and I thought that it looked a lot less nerve racking, so I sat on the stage and I made Bill sit with me, he did so, he was kind of my rock and everything was actually ok, I enjoyed speaking and felt like I was talking to friends.
I noticed people in the crowd, a drunk chick who was heckling me with love bombs, a tall goddess like chick with a flawless outfit on and long thick hair, an older lady possibly around 70 with white hair and an amazing lace outfit on, all so admirable, all beautiful.
After the speeches I went back to meeting people, it was fun, my guards were down and I was really enjoying myself.
I went to the toilet, it took 15 minutes as I ended up toilet room chatting and taking selfies the whole time.
As I walked out of the door, the first moment I had been alone for even one second and I was approached by the older women that I had been admiring.
She came over to me all gracefully and I stopped to talk. The words she said stopped me in my tracks,
“Constance you do not belong here”
“Sorry?” I responded
“You have destroyed tonight. You have destroyed Rafiki. You talk about sex with your husband publicly, you are completely driven by your own ego. Your ego and trashy nature has ruined this foundation.”
The room started spinning as I waited for the punch line. My guards were completely down, everyone had been so nice to me. I actually have never had so many nice things said about me as I had that evening and now this. Everything that I had thought was so beautiful about this women changed as I realised that she had waited all night to get me alone so that she could try and hurt me as deeply as she could.
I didn’t respond. I instantly walked out onto the court yard where another Queen gave me a hug and asked for a selfie. I burst into tears.
I’m usually so strong, I get trolled all the time and just ignore- Block- ignore- block but this was completely unexpected, all the feelings of not being worthy of this treatment, missing my kids, vulnerably speaking in public just piled on top of me like a wave that finally pulled me down.
My sister and my friend, like all big sisters and protective friends were furious and found her immediately asking her what her problem was. She stayed true to her word, told them that I don’t belong here. Even called my friend a cunt which was almost impressive of a women her age, while I tried to bring myself back and get on with my night.
Nothing was really getting through to me, everyone was so supportive and calling me a queen and telling me to straighten my crown but my panic attack was strong and I was struggling to pull myself out of it and considering leaving. Until a beautiful heavily intoxicated women pushed everyone out of the way, handed me a drink and said this.
“Con, you know those women that you love so much, the ones you call your Queens?”
“Yeah” I responded
“Well guess what? A large majority of them feel like this every day. Probably not to this extent but there is always someone making them feel like shit about themselves, an in law or the ‘perfect mums’ or just some areshole on the street… And guess where they turn to laugh it off?”
“You fuck head. Now get over it, we all meet arseholes.”
And just like that I skulled a wine and I got over it, I felt less alone, I remembered my crew, my Queens. I decided to hone in on the millions of lovely things I’d heard all night instead of the one cuntish thing.
Eventually this lady was escorted out, her family and her were standing really close and glaring at me while I drew the raffle tickets, Queens were reporting that she was approaching them with more poison, fucking with me is one thing, fucking with my Queens is a total other story. To be honest I can’t explain it, I can’t explain it, I have done stupid things, selfish things and Ive responded to things in ways that I am not proud of but one thing I don’t do is go out of my way to tear people down, that kind of nastiness is rare and its out of my realm of understanding.
I know that isn’t the last time someone will be horrible to me but now I’m learning to keep it in perspective.
The rest of the night was an absolute ball, I drunkenly stayed up until 2am having profound conversations with other drunk queens, probably solved the worlds problems before falling asleep mid sentence and deciding it was time to let go of the night.
I had the best time in Byron Bay and thanks to Rafiki I am moving through my fears of public appearances and even managed to speak without my irritable bowel taking over the stage.
I am endlessly grateful to be a part of Rafiki and to have been taken there and spoilt like a true Queen.
Back to reality and my house was even messier than I left it, my babysitter had reversed my car into a tree, my kids refused to go to school because “its not fair that you got a holiday” and I gained 2 kgs while I was away.
But along with this dose of reality comes a refreshing stability. It’s a beautiful reality to be privileged with.
Until next time Byron.