Not My Story is my first book; a memoir of a home invasion, assault, recovery, parenting and a love affair. My kitchen sink memoir. The mosaic image that appears on the cover was inspired by an excellent radio program on Post-traumatic stress I happened to catch one day. The interviewee noted how important it is for trauma survivors not to think about putting the pieces of their lives back together, like a broken vase where the cracks and weakness are all too apparent. Far better to create something beautiful, special, strong but different – a mosaic that uses all the broken pieces but rearranges them in a sturdy, transformed, stunning new framework which is stronger, beautiful, and different from before. In the more than 12 years since the home invasion and the book's appearance, I have tried to ensure Something Good came out of it all. I tried to find meaning in the madness. I learned that there are no meanings and many meanings, and this is just one of them; my mosaic piece, Not My Story.
Memoir – Not My Story Pip Brennan
Not My Story started taking shape on 11th of May 2002. That was the morning after The Assault. On the 10th of May 2002, my home was invaded by a man who sexually assaulted me in a very brief attack. My daughter, three years old at the time, was in the house, and bless her, protested loudly throughout on the other side of the door where the offence occurred, which I am sure accounts for the brevity of the assault.
On that day, I vowed that “Something Good will come of this”. I desperately needed Something Good, to put myself back together again after this awful event.
The biggest piece of the Something Good puzzle is writing my book. I wanted the book to be comprehensive, to pick through all the layers of meaning that I tried to ascribe to a violent, meaningless event.
I called it Not My Story because I am not defined by the events that are outlined in the book. The title is inspired by an Eckhart Tolle quote “You are not your body, you are not your story.” Irony I know, as no-one would know if I never published the book. But… this stuff needs to be talked about. It is Not My Story, but a story that needs to be told.
My Something Goods have been many and various in the intervening years, covering everything from community based volunteer work, systemic advocacy, talking to media and participating in restorative justice initiatives.
I listened recently to a radio program on Post-traumatic stress, and how important it is to not think about sticking the pieces back together, like a broken vase where the cracks and weakness are all too apparent. Far better to think of creating something beautiful, special, strong but different – a mosaic that uses all the pieces but rearranges them in a sturdy, transformed, stunning new framework – stronger, beautiful, and different from before.
The book’s ending has proved elusive. When should it be? When he was caught? When I moved back into the house? When he was released? And so more than a decade has passed. But I’ve learned that there never really is an ending and there never really is a meaning. There are many endings and many meanings, and this is just one of them; my mosaic piece, Not My Story.