Mothers little helper

Valium Essaouira Morocco © Katrina Newman

Valium, mother’s little helper. I was probably 15 when my mother gave me a small piece of Valium in her effort to try to calm my nerves before my brother and I entered a ballroom dancing competition. I’m not sure that was the intended use the Doctor prescribed it for, I’m not sure it assisted me either.

I don’t see myself as very competitive, in particular in competitions that require a lot of physical exertion like swimming for example.  I’ve always been a bit backwards in coming forwards competitively, though I have been caught up in a few.  I have entered several more jewellery competitions since graduating from high school however they were unsuccessful.  The most recent back in the 90’s,  I will pursue other opportunities as time continues.  I’m a bit like my dog now. If there’s competition for the ball she’ll let the other dog take it before reclaiming her ball when the other dog loses interest in it.

We came second in the ballroom dancing competition. It was a circular waltz that I could repeat to this day.  It makes me dizzy just thinking about it. It was a small dance floor in a small room, it was hot and stuffy, occasionally we had to stop to avoid colliding with other contestants, it wasn’t like the glitzy ballroom competitions of today.  I was probably wearing an old-fashioned full circle skirt that bloomed out as we twirled around the floor, Yuck! It really is not my style.  I would have much preferred the Charleston or to dance freely and expressively to music.

Approximately 5 years later I entered a small dancing competition at the University College where I lived for 1.5 years in my early years in Canberra, it was John 23rd College, Australian National University. It was a competition that went all night.  I danced and twirled all night with other competitors. I watched the other competitors drop off like flies as the night moved into early morning. I was swept up in a delirium induced by the exhaustion. This was a competition that I won, and I still hold my trophy on the bookshelves in the study. It came with a bottle of champagne stolen by other students in the college that night. I recall feeling so proud when I walked out of my room all sore and stiff the next day.  I held my head high and walked as though I felt nothing, but was in terrible pain with each step. The things we do.

This photo was taken in Morocco in Essaouira, a small town where it is not unheard of that rock stars including members of the Rolling Stones take their holidays. Coincidence has it that the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song Mothers Little Helper and recorded it back in 1965.  There are a couple of clips put together on YouTube that give some insight into Valium with the Rolling Stones music as a back drop. Click here for an example

I didn’t see any famous people in Essaouira Morocco, and I wasn’t looking.  I do remember though sampling some grilled squid in the local seafood markets.  It was served oozing with black ink.  I managed a couple of mouthfuls before wrapping it quickly into a few serviettes and feeding it to the street cats that looked so hungry and neglected.  I usually prefer my squid disguised creatively into small rings with a little flour, salt and lemon pepper combination and fried momentarily.

I am a sea kayaker and although I haven’t kayaked recently I know how well I feel when I do, it is like a panacea, like making jewellery, dancing, eating cake and being creative. They are my little helpers. What are yours?

Boat yard Essaouira Morocco © Katrina Newman
Essaouira Morocco © Katrina Newman

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