Destined to Play, Feel, Fly Trilogy, p.1Indigo Bloome
Destined to Play
Destined to Feel
Destined to Fly
About the Author
For my mum, whose unconditional love, support and nurturing since birth has enabled me to live my dreams many times over
‘Do you ever feel like you were destined to play?’
‘Only in my dreams …’
If I had known then what I know now, would it be any different?
I’m not sure why or how my life changed so dramatically so fast, yet it continues as if nothing has changed at all. It began with one weekend that perhaps, in hindsight, should never have happened, but deep in my soul I have a vague nagging that it was always meant to be …
This leaves me embroiled within a psychological and sexual tornado that landed without any advance warning or forecast — or maybe I just missed the signs? Either way, what has happened, has happened, what will be, will be. I just don’t know how it will end, or whether I will survive the journey.
‘No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night.’
— Theodore Roosevelt
I’m pretty sure I have everything organised for the family before I walk out the door.
Kids’ bags packed.
Extra food prepared.
Outdoor gear organised.
Jordan and Elizabeth are going on their first wilderness expedition for a week with all the dads charged with helping out given the nature of outdoor activities they will be pursuing. Great idea from a mother’s perspective, but we all know in our hearts we will miss them from the first night they are away. The kids were devastated when the expedition was almost cancelled due to a lack of funding and support for the Tasmanian Wilderness Foundation. Thankfully, some last-minute sponsorship from the Fathers4Kids program enabled the expedition to take place after all. The kids are so excited. Actually when I think about it Robert, my husband, seems more awakened and engaged by this adventure than I have seen him in years. Must have something to do with men and their exploring tendencies — the mysteriousness of the confounding thylacine providing the perfect avenue — or maybe he is just happy to be away from me. Either way, he’s excited too and they haven’t been able to sleep in anticipation of the great adventure traversing the west coast of Tasmania’s wilderness in search of the elusive Tasmanian tiger.
I’ve decided to make the most of the children’s absence from my life to complete a series of lectures I had been deferring for the last few months until the ‘time felt right’, so I’m preparing to fly to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne to deliver my latest findings to postgraduate students, academics and other professionals in their given field of expertise.
I now really need to focus on getting myself organised for the first lecture this afternoon in Sydney. Mentally, I go through my checklist — I have my notes, slides, discussion themes, workshop challenges, laptop and mobile phone, so all good. I am still fascinated by the research I have been conducting on visual stimulation and its impact on the development of perception and even now I find my mind wandering off and becoming lost in my work, considering a different spin on some of the provocative challenges I have developed for the lectures …
All of a sudden, I become intensely aware of butterflies in my stomach, so much so, I have to lean against the kitchen bench to steady myself. How strange; I never usually get nervous before giving lectures, quite the opposite, as I really enjoy it. The challenge of engaging new minds, intellects sparring with one another on a quest for deeper, broader knowledge — fantastic! But where on earth are these butterflies coming from?
I pause for a moment to investigate these feelings and attempt to locate their source, which might seem strange to some people, but it is something that has always intrigued me. They are more intense than usual, and it certainly isn’t the lecture making me feel this way. Perhaps it is the trip away from family. No, it is not as if I haven’t been away from them before, particularly for work purposes. I broaden my mindset to include the rest of the weekend when I stop suddenly — as my stomach flips again. I surprise myself as I instinctively inhale at the thought of my 5.00 p.m. meeting at the Hotel InterContinental with Jeremy.
Doctor Jeremy Quinn. My uni buddy, my best friend, the man who opened my eyes and my body to the world in ways I never considered possible. He knew me inside and out when we were younger and we shared an incredible array of experiences during our time together. It is hard to believe after all of our tomfoolery during many years at university, that Jeremy is now one of the most respected, pre-eminent medical research doctors in Australasia — I can’t bring myself to say ‘the world’ because it’s Jeremy, after all. He has just returned from presenting ground-breaking research at Harvard University with Emeritus Professor E. Applegate.
Jeremy always had a knack for pushing conventional boundaries and wisdom, continually searching for the unknown, the unexpected or unanticipated solutions to some of our most insurmountable medical problems. I even read in a newspaper article recently that he had been in meetings with none other than Melinda and Bill Gates in conjunction with his and Professor Applegate’s research in New York. It seems as if he is certainly mixing it with the global movers and shakers. I suppose, on reflection, he always had the determination and potential to achieve mastery in his chosen field. It is amazing what he has achieved in less than forty years of life. He is an exceptionally gifted human being, intellectually and emotionally, and people just adore his company. No doubt all these traits, along with his hard work, have enabled the success he is now hopefully enjoying.
My career needs to fit in with my family life, well, the kids really; Jeremy’s career is his life, more or less. He has always been tenacious about his quest for sourcing medical cures and has been involved in discoveries that the western world almost takes for granted these days. With that sort of personal motivation and drive, it’s not surprising he hasn’t had time to settle down or find anyone special to share his life with. At least I’m not aware of anyone. He has always attracted interest from the opposite sex, like a George Clooney of the medical world; he certainly doesn’t suffer from lack of attention.
Anyway, that’s what is making my stomach do flips, which is utterly ridiculous at my age. I allow myself a small smile as I find it mildly amusing I am still capable of that sort of fluttering teenage reaction. I am excited and a little nervous about seeing him after so long. The memories of our university days still flood my mind and haunt me whenever I’m alone and in a dark sensual mood, usually in the early hours of the morning …
What is happening to me? I’m going to miss the plane if I don’t get moving!
‘Right, kids? Where are you? I need kisses and cuddles before I leave — I won’t see you for ten whole days!’ Big family hugs all round. I tell them I love them more than life itself and wish them a fabulous adventure in the wild west as they endeavour to track that elusive tiger; apparently legend has it there have been recent sightings. No doubt a camp of school kids is just what they need to be discovered again! However, the kids’ excitement and optim
‘And keep safe,’ I declare, promising that I can’t wait to hear every detail of their experience when I return.
I hear the honk of a horn indicating my taxi’s arrival and do my last-minute check to ensure I have everything I need. I am thankful the butterflies have finally subsided. My lips barely touch my husband’s cheek as I tell him to take excellent care of my children and ensure he keeps them safe. A fleeting thought passes through my brain wondering when our relationship became so plastic, so platonic … I have too many things on my mind to delve further and quickly wish them all a wonderful adventure as he dutifully places my bag in the car and I wave goodbye, blowing kisses to the kids from my window as the taxi pulls out of the drive, airport bound.
Focus, focus, focus! I keep saying to myself to little avail. My mind is in a state of complete distraction today, which is highly unusual. I hear the captain speaking, good weather, clear flight path, not expecting any delays. Flight attendants are telling me to put my seat belt on and tray up for take-off as they do every flight. It’s not like I don’t know that for goodness’ sake, I think, my irritation surprising me. But of course, I do what I’m told expeditiously as I don’t want to cause a scene. I reluctantly put my notes away and close my eyes momentarily as the plane slowly manoeuvres toward the runway. I feel my chest rising and falling lightly with each breath. Jeremy’s face flashes through my mind, his gorgeous cheeky smile and smoky green, seemingly bottomless eyes … his lips gently kissing my neck … his fingers lightly caressing my nipples … then teasing them to life …
What am I doing? I force my mind to a screeching stop. This is absurd. I force myself back to the here and now and suddenly notice we are in the air and the seat belt sign is off. I breathe a sigh of relief. Now, back to my lecture. I talk myself into believing I am disciplined enough not to let my mind wander off for another second.
I am good at being disciplined, I tell myself. I run an organised house, career and life overall. I love my family and my work and have studied long and hard to achieve what I have. Dr Alexandra Blake. I work between the business world and academia given my studies in both commerce and psychology. This combination has worked well for me financially and I am forever grateful that I am one of the lucky people in life who love their work and are passionate about what they do. Enough of self-talk and affirmations … I need to think about the presentation today.
Once again, I ponder the topic of the lecture which I will be delivering to approximately 500 people in just a few hours’ time. This fact finally snaps my mind to attention. I consider using some additional questions and challenges to open discussion and promote their thinking. I like the idea so I note down the following points on my notepad to use for the end of the session.
How important is visual perception to your mindset?
How much do you depend on visual stimulation to interpret your world?
What senses do you believe would most compensate for a lack of visual perception? Why? How?
Given research shows that body language — a visual sense — accounts for more than 90 per cent of communication between people, the significance of these sorts of questions becomes exponential.
I’m feeling much calmer now that I am once again absorbed in my work. The rest of the flight goes smoothly and I arrive on time at the University of Sydney.
‘Dr Blake, good morning, great to have you back.’
I look ahead and smile toward my PhD examiner, Samuel Webster. ‘Well, good morning to you too, Professor; it’s great to be back.’
‘You know you are always welcome, Alexandra. It’s been too long. It seems to be very difficult to draw you away from the south isle.’
‘Hmm, on reflection, it’s been a while. I guess time flies when you are having fun.’
‘I’m glad to hear it. You have certainly been busy on the research front. We’re looking forward to your lecture this afternoon.’
‘And as ever, I’m looking forward to hearing your insights and expertise. Thank you so much for your support in bringing this together.’
‘My pleasure, my dear, my pleasure. Do you have time for a quick lunch with some colleagues before you take centre stage?’
‘For you, Samuel, always.’ I smile again warmly as he leads me along the manicured lawns beside the beautiful, historic buildings. It feels good to be back.
At lunch with Samuel, I reflect on what an honour it was to have him oversee my PhD. He specialises in defensive (passive and aggressive) behaviours in the workforce and was instrumental in developing my thesis. His global connections both in the corporate world and academia are second to none and his knowledge is immense. He’s recently been working hand in hand with the Brain and Mind Research Institute, which enables him to analyse many of his revolutionary hypotheses about behaviour and sexuality in the field of neuroscience. I find his work truly fascinating and being with him today allows me to see how passionate and absorbed he has become in this branch of his research.
I find myself reflecting just how much of an impact Samuel has had on my career. The support and the sage advice when it all became too hard, made me feel obliged to hang in there for both him and the future rewards. He drives his PhD students hard and wants no stone left unturned. I smile internally at those years of insanity and frustration, pleased I completed them and relieved they are behind me.
Samuel had offered me a senior lecturing position at Sydney University and was not happy when I turned it down for a similar role at the University of Tasmania. He taught me so much, I felt indebted to him, but he understood my reasons, that it was a lifestyle choice, particularly with a young family in tow. He promised he would stay in touch and support me both professionally and personally, and he has definitely been a man of his word. Samuel was instrumental in getting my research on visual perception off the ground and more recently became my chief academic sponsor, which is how I come to be presenting this lecture series today.
I’m touched that he has taken the time to introduce me to his team of, in his words, ‘elite researchers’, who appear to be hanging on his every word. I suppose I looked the same way when I was a new postgrad. Brad, Max, Denise and Elijah, all of whom are doing fascinating work within the world of psychology and neuroscience. It makes me feel alive, interacting with kindred folk again. It certainly isn’t the type of discussion for the average dinner party. Very quickly the specifics of their research unfold and it would be remiss of me not to say I’m more than a little astounded by the path that follows. Given the calibre of people engaging in the impassioned discussion, the comments fly around the table almost too fast for me to assimilate.
‘Even the source of the female orgasm is still to be scientifically determined, unlike the male orgasm which has been extensively funded, researched scientifically and agreed medically.’
‘Basically, medical science continually refuses to acknowledge the physical reality of the female ejaculation and unfortunately it is not a priority. Lack of funding has impacted the ability to provide coherent education on the study of women’s sexual behaviours. We are hoping to change that.’
‘Even today, there is a notable disconnect between medicine and science in relation to the female orgasm, to the extent that the primary understanding of female ejaculation is still urinary stress incontinence.’
‘Did you realise that no one has been able to medically agree on the source of the orgasm, whether it be uterine, clitoral, vaginal, vulval or a blend of any of these combinations? Even though this concept of the female orgasm has been recorded in literature throughout history?’
‘The main problem being a distinct lack of participants able to generate orgasmic fluid in a clinical environment.’
‘Nobody can agree on the most effective way to generate the female orgasm which in effect makes sourcing it extremely difficult.’
‘The physical, emotional, hormonal and environmental states of the female all seem to play a significant role, but at thi
My mind at this point envisions rows of women wearing white robes all lined up in hospital beds with legs spread open attempting to generate an orgasm to be captured in a test tube. I quickly shake my head to dislodge the disturbing image penetrating my brain. I notice I have barely touched my lunch; I’m so caught up in the flow of the discussion.
Samuel eventually concludes: ‘As you can see, my dear Alexandra, there is much more to understand and discover regarding the intricacies of the female orgasm, including the impact of intellectual and emotional components. The research is still highly subjective, personal and seemingly dependent on each woman’s individual experience of orgasm. We can only aspire to develop a more consistent approach regarding our research and conclusions.’
I can’t help but be enthralled with the history and mystery that seemingly surrounds this subject. I had no idea the topic was still so contested medically and in some areas considered career and research ‘taboo’, for want of a better word. How it is possible that the female orgasm is so under-researched, when the male orgasm is considered scientifically and psychologically a fait accompli is frankly shocking to me, to say the least. I can’t quite believe what I’m hearing, and indeed wouldn’t have had it not come from the mouths of the people seated around the table. I manage to quickly swallow a few mouthfuls of food before Samuel and his crew wish me luck as we pack up and make our way toward the lecture theatre.
‘Would you care to join us for a Friday night drink, for old times’ sake? I’m sure the team would love to share some of the insights of their research so far.’ Samuel has a twinkle in his eye as I feel my cheeks flush a pale pink.
Destined to Play, Feel, Fly Trilogy by Indigo Bloome / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes