Welcome to my blog

Congratulations and welcome to friends, family and others who have found something of interest in my blog. The reason that I have created this blog is to share some of my experiences regarding my own journey of writing and publishing my autobiography. I am really excited and motivated about this whole process. I hope that what I write about is interesting to you and thank you for your encouragement and support.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oprah's coming to Oz

Did you know that it is exactly 2 weeks today, until Oprah Winfrey will be hosting her show at the Sydney Opera House? I sure am excited and can feel the anticipation rising around the nation.  Stuff the Christmas shopping I'm focused on shopping for tickets.

Even though today’s blog might seem to have drifted away from my story, I will try my hardest to still capture your attention and show you how this is still part of my publishing journey. 

Now according to the official Oprah website it was announced that there will now be 2 shows on Tuesday 14 December 2010.  Oprah’s production company, Harpo Productions, announced that tickets for the show would be “randomly” drawn via a ballot/lottery process and I believe that there will be seating for about 12,000 people.  I am not sure if this includes her 300 audience guests that she is bringing from America.  Apparently 350,000 people have already applied to see Oprah.  So there will be a lot of disappointed fans.

I would, however, be interested to know what proportion of the audience will be Aboriginal Australians?  Considering that 2.5% of the Australian population identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, I think that it would be reasonable to expect at least 300 tickets allocated for ATSI guests.  Surely!

To register for the lottery there was only a few days window of opportunity and that has now well and truly  closed for Oprah Show tapings in Sydney, Australia.  I know that the tickets for the random ballot have already been drawn and announced and I only know of one proud black woman who won a ticket.    

Dr Anita Heiss our own Indigenous author, poet, satirist, social commentator a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales.  Check out her blog about the moment she realised she had tickets to Oprah’s show and yes I too was envious!
So if you are still determined to be in the audience or on the Australian Oprah’s show what things can you still do?

My first and foremost advice is to never ever quit!  

The next piece of advice it to use Oprah’s own advice and believe in “The Secret”, which is the Law of Attraction or ultimately the Law of Love. (see my previous post on this blog). Know that if you want something in your life then you can draw it into your life.   This is dependent on the way you think, which creates your reality.

So see it in your minds eye, meaning, visualisation.  When we can think and feel like we are already in possession of something, then it becomes an emotion, which pushes our subconscious mind into action to help attract situations that create our reality.  

When I first heard that Oprah was coming to Australia I felt like bursting with pride as I was sure that I was personally responsible for her making that decision.  So I will admit it everyone, it was me and my thinking that attracted Oprah to our shores  ;)  True!

People who know me well already knew that one of my goals is to sit right on the couch next to Oprah on her stage.  So when it was announced that she was coming down under I nearly jumped out of my skin.

Me and Oprah - 14 December 2010
Even though I’ve set a goal, I must explain that there is a step before you set the goal and that is knowing the “why” you want to achieve something.  Once you know the “why” the “how” takes care of itself.  I knew why I wanted to achieve all of the things in my life to date and yes the how did take care of itself.

Now as Oprah says, the rest is up to me.   We should all repeat;

“I am responsible for my own life,” 

This is called an affirmation, which can really assist in so many areas of your life.  You should make up your own and put them somewhere you will see them every day.  Like on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror or a less appealing place may be on the back of the toilet door.   

So let’s break it down;

Step 1:  Ask yourself, why do you want to achieve this goal?
Step 2:  Set your goal.  Use your “will” power to do this.
Step 3:  Visualise it and believe it.  Have faith it will happen.  “I know it’s on it’s way”
Step 4:  Feel as though it’s already happened.  Feel what it feels like to be there or have it.  Use all of your senses.  Sight, sound, smell, feel and taste.
Step 5:  Take continuous action and be persistent, refuse to quit.
Step 6:  Help others along the way.  What you send out comes back to you tenfold.
Step 7:   Be grateful for everything that you already have.  Gratitude is the attitude. 

Ways to get to the show:

1.  You can apply to “Be on the show – Tell us your story” - The Oprah Winfrey Show is looking for guests! Find out what topics and shows they are still looking for guests and tell them your story. You could be featured on the show!

2.  Go on the 7pm Project website and explain in 50 words why you want to get free tickets.  You do have to register with Channel 10 though.  http://7pmproject.com.au/oprah.htm

3.  Austereo’s Today is joining with Channel 10 and local radio stations to give away Oprah tickets.  Check out the details at http://www.throng.com.au/oprah/network-tens-oprah-show-ticket-giveaway

Remember ~ what you believe you can achieve! ~ Stay focused and be persistent!

I'd love to hear any of your success stories on achieving your personal goals and any tips that you have that will help others achieve their goals.

Joy  :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

National Apology

What were you doing on the 13th February 2008?  I don’t know about you, but I was in Canberra attending the "National Apology".

Sometimes I think that people are fearful and resistant to change, mainly due to a lack of information or knowledge about a subject.  Therefore my aim in today’s blog is to provide a brief overview and historical lead up to the “National Apology” that was delivered by Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP.

I had the absolute honor of being present in Parliament House for this unforgettable occasion.  It actually was one of the most emotional and special days of my life.  It was the day that Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, moved a motion of Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples with specific reference to the Stolen Generations.

As a resident of South Australia and the National Apology being delivered in Canberra (ACT), I knew I wanted to be part of history in the making and arranged to go over and meet up with two other “Stolen Generation” women.  One of these women was originally from South Australia and the other was originally from Northern Territory, both had been separated from their birth families.  These women had been my soul sisters and support networks for many years previous to the National Apology.  It was all a bit of a last minute decision, but in the end we did manage to get organised and get ourselves over to Canberra.

L-R: Trisha, Joy (me), Mary
We didn’t really have a plan of action about where we were going to sit or whether we could even get into Parliament House to be physically present for the National Apology.  We were not part of the group of Stolen Generation representatives that were honored to sit in the House of Representatives Gallery at Parliament House for the National Apology.  However, we were allowed to view the proceedings from screens set up in the Great Hall. There were thousands of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians watching the National Apology from the lawns outside Parliament House on huge screens too.   The National Apology was also being broadcast live around every state and Territory in Australia; it was an occasion of National significance.  

The National Apologies main message was;

'For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.'

Kevin Rudd says "Sorry" - National Apology

The National Apology was basically an outcome of the just one of the 54 recommendations and findings of the “The Bringing Them Home Report”, which was a Royal Commission (a major government public inquiry into an issue) into the practices of removing and separating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and was tabled in Parliament on 26 May 1997. Read more:   http://reconciliaction.org.au/nsw/education-kit/stolen-generations/#bringing
After “The Bringing Them Report” was tabled on May 26, 1997, the day became of National significance and became known as “National Sorry Day” as supported by the National Sorry Day Committee. The first Sorry Day was held in Sydney in 1998, it is now commemorated nationally with thousands of Australians from all walks of life participating in memorial services, commemorative meetings, survival celebrations and community gatherings to honour the Stolen Generations.  Read more about the National Sorry Day Committee: http://www.nsdc.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=20&Itemid=51
Since the National Apology it has been contemplated and debated amongst Aboriginal people whether to continue to have a “National Sorry Day” on May 26th, every year or whether to embrace the new day of celebration and commemorate the 13th February to acknowledge the day when the nation stopped and said “Sorry”.  I know my answer to that question, but you will just have to read my book to find out the answer.

If you want to keep up to date with my posts click on the "real simple"  RSS feed icon here or next to the above URL.  

Until next time.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's your addiction

Do you have an addiction that is out of control?  What do you do to make the pain go away?  What do you do to stop yourself from thinking about it and feeling the pain? 

So what is an addiction?  An addiction is a non-specific hunger for something that seems to be missing in your life or … a gnawing emptiness within that is never filled”
(Mittiga, 2008, p.17)

I don’t think that any of us can honestly say that we have never suffered from an addiction.  The reason I say this is because I know that addictions are ineffective things we do to help us cope with the pains, hurts and worries we have in our lives.  I know that there is not one of us that have never been hurt, worried or suffered.  Therefore it is just the degree and type of addiction which varies between individuals.

Addictions can be severe or they can be mild, just like the problems, pains, hurts and worries we have.   Sometimes we like to use our addictions as a reason why we do what we do.  It’s like a licence to say why it’s OK.  I’m an alcoholic because….  I’m a drug user because….  I’m a gambler because… I’m a smoker because ….I’m a shop-a-holic because… etc.  It’s like people are saying well if you had to deal with what I deal with you’d need something to get you through too.  The stronger an individual connects or identifies with their addiction, shows the depth of their pain.  Addictions allow others to visibly see our pain.  Emotional wounds cannot be seen.  They aren’t like a broken leg or broken arm, which is obviously visible and immediately gets you sympathy and you are given time to heal.  

So what does an addiction do for you?  It gives you attention and sympathy and gives you a nice warm feeling of love, belonging and acceptance.  Most of all it gives you a break from thinking about all of your pain and stills your mind.  It takes you away from reality to a place where everything is perfect and quiet and nothing can interrupt your thoughts.  Why do you think so many of us are addicted to reality TV?

Just to give you another glimpse of my book, here is a small excerpt about my own addiction;

“So how did I fulfil my unmet need to discover my identity?  I did what anyone with an unfulfilled need does, turns to an addiction.  So! I hear you are screaming out to me, what was your addiction?  What was it that filled the void inside you and made you feel whole again?  What was it that made you feel better?  Once again the answer was simple; I was at my happiest when…”

Oops sorry I can’t give away all my secrets on my blog.

To help better understand addictions you might want to ask yourself some of the following questions?  What are my past pains, hurts or worries that I want to avoid, forget or get away from? What are my unfulfilled needs?  What things trigger my addictions?  What does my addiction give me?  Can others see my pain through my addictions?  Who am I really hurting? 


My entire book is about my own struggle with an addiction.  I am looking forward to sharing with you how I have worked to overcome my own addiction.  

Please check out these empowering and useful links:

You Gotta Be Strong - George Warumpi Band
New Therapy for Gamblers - ABC News Adelaide

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two worlds apart

Hi everyone.  Welcome back I know that it has been a week since I last posted anything and I have done this on purpose, so that as many people who want to follow this link and blog will get a chance to add it to their favorites and get on board early.  http://joymakepeace.blogspot.com/ 

The other thing you can do is click on this RSS feed icon or next to the above URL which means you will be regularly updated when I add a new post. 

So far I have had nearly 1000 hits on this page, which I think is just amazing.  The majority of viewers are from Australia, but there have been viewers as far and wide as the United States of America, Alaska, Philippines and Germany. I am overwhelmed with everyone’s feedback and have been completely reassured that what I am doing is not just for my own benefit, but is to be shared with so many other interested people who have similar stories and feel a deep connection with the information that I am sharing.  

There are also readers who are quite new to this whole topic and are thoroughly enjoying my “openness”.  I may live to regret this decision, but my life as an Aboriginal person has often been under the microscope, so I don’t feel concerned by this, in fact I am used to it. For the past week I have been trying to work out what to share and I think that the time has come to introduce you to some of the members of my families.  I say families because as you are now aware there are two of them and I love them both dearly.  I therefore live in two worlds and I write in great depth about the challenges of this in my book, “Finding the joy within”. 
I have just taken an except from one of the chapters in my book to try and give you a taste of what is to come.

“Ya don’t sound like a Nunga and ya don’t you act like a Nunga?”  I must admit, I can’t even begin to remember what I said or did to respond to that question, but I sure know that it was a turning point in my early life in which every ounce of knowledge about who I was, was questioned by this one mans hurtful comments.  I went home that night and was absolutely boiling with rage. Rage at him, rage at myself, rage at my birth mother, rage at my adoptive family, rage at the Government and rage at society, both black and white. 

This experience really made me take a look at myself and see for the first time that yes I was different and yes I probably never will fit into the mould of what most people think an Aboriginal person looks and sounds like.  But you know the flip side of this situation is that non-Aboriginal people don’t accept me or think of me as Aboriginal either.  Nearly every time I go to the hairdressers you can guarantee that they will ask me, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what nationality are you?”   When I proudly tell them the truth “I’m Aboriginal” they say, “Oh, but you don’t look Aboriginal”.  They say it like it’s a compliment and that I’m one of the lucky ones that could get away with being mistaken as Indian, Sri Lankan or from some other foreign cultural background.  I hated it and hated that I didn’t have the right words to put them back in their place.  In the past it was an ongoing dilemma that I was faced with and one that found me feeling as though I was trapped between two worlds.  One in which I felt as though I didn’t belong in either world.  Even though in my heart I felt Aboriginal, I continually felt as though I needed to justify myself to both black and white people.

I would now like to introduce you to some of my family member, both black and white.

Makepeace family


Mum - Audrey

Audrey – is my mum and she is now 70 years old.  She is my #1 fan.  She has always been there for me and has always encouraged me, no matter what I decided to do.  I love her dearly and thank her for everything she has ever done for me.  

Kate – is my eldest sister.  She is 14 years older than me.  She moved out of home to attend boarding school when I was still very young.  She is a real lady and the elegant one of the family.

Fenwick – is my big brother.  He is 12 years older than me.  He lived at home for about the first 4 years of my life and then moved out.  He is a fantastic and talented artist who also has a great story waiting to be told.  He always tells me he will be rich and famous one day and even though he says it jokingly I truly believe one day he will achieve his dream.
Robert my brother and my great nephew Billy

Robert – is the brother that I grew up and spend the most time with.  He is 6 years older than me and I was his shadow.  He is very accident prone and has a very strange sense of humour.

West family

Mick my older brother
Mick – is one of my older brothers in the West family.  He grew up with Bob in country NSW.  I only met Mick in 2001 and from what I can tell he is a man of few words.   We continue to try and stay in touch.

Bob my brother and me

Bob – is Micks younger brother and my older brother.  Bob and I met in 1999 and we seemed to instantly click.  He too is casual in his approach to life and he always makes sure that I’m doing OK. 

Beverley - is my big sister.  She is like my soul sister.  We were definitely carved from the same rock.  We have the same taste in clothes and we have similar astrological beliefs.  

The following movie trailer captures some of the humour around the fact that I am black, but sometimes living in two worlds can be very challenging.
“See no evil, hear no evil” – Movie with Richard Pryor

Until next time. 

Joy  :) 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

But you weren't stolen

A few words from Joy - Please check this out after you have read below.

Hi Everyone.  Today I want to talk about and clarify the term “Stolen Generation”.  I don’t actually talk about this term a great deal in my book, probably because I assumed that everyone knew what it meant. 

I have since realised that;

“We should never ASSUME anything, because it just makes an ASS out of U and ME.”


Anyway, it has become apparent to me that there are people who think “But you weren’t stolen” so you can’t describe yourself as a member of the stolen generation.

The term “Stolen Generation” refers to so much more than the two individual English words that it is made up of.  When combined these two words capture the essence of Aboriginal Australian history.  This sequence of Australian historical events and policies can also be traced in a timeline that reflects like a mirror in so many Aboriginal family histories.   The method of removal of Aboriginal children does not determine whether individuals can be classified as “members” of the “Stolen Generation”.  The mere fact that an Aboriginal child has been removed, despite whether it was with or without permission, indicates to me that something has been taken away.  In fact, despite the child being willingly given up or forcibly removed, what is being taken away or “stolen” is the child’s connection to their culture, language, land, community, customs, traditions and knowledge.  Therefore the specific circumstances are irrelevant because the result is the same and the assimilation policy continues to perpetuate.

So no, I wasn’t “stolen” and yes, I do acknowledge that my birth mum did return me to the hospital, for reasons that I am sure were heavily impacted by Aboriginal Australian history.
 I am therefore not going to give you a black Australian history lesson here.  However, what I will do is to provide you with the most powerful tool in the world and that is knowledge.  This involves using your mind, however the only thing is;

“It’s a bit like a parachute; it only works when it’s open.”

Here are some useful links;
Please take the time to have a close look at the following reports and documents and remember every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family has been affected by these past policies.

Stolen Generations fact sheet
 Stolen Generations timeline
 Bringing Them Home Report (link)

Another related and useful resource;
Rabbit-Proof Fence (movie)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Joy Makepeace life at a glance with photo's

Today I am going to give you a quick glance at my life in a photographic time-line, which should prepare you for the journey that I will take you on in my book, without letting out all of the secrets.

I was born in 1972 in a little country town called Wee Waa in Northern New South Wales.  In my birth family I am the 9th child of 12 children, which is made up of 7 boys and 5 girls.  

In my adoptive family I am the baby of the family and have 1 older sister and 2 older brothers.  Kate, Fenwick and Robert.   

I have met most of my birth siblings at least once, but am still searching for 2 older brothers, whom I have never met. 

April 1972 - Became a Ward of the State 

Me and my adoptive famil
August 1972 - Was fostered to the Makepeace family This is one of the first photo's that I have of me and my adoptive family.  As you can see my brothers and sister were quite a bit older than me.  I was the baby of the Makepeace family and was never short of being loved.

August 1981 - Birth mum passed away.
My birth mum - Joan West
1982 - Was adopted to the Makepeace family
Me and my brothers and sister
This is my brothers and sister that I grew up with.  In this above photo I was 10 years old and didn't have a worry in the world. 

1983 - Met triplets
L-R:  Ben, Geordie, Joy and Olive

I vaguely remember this day that I first met the triplets (who are the youngest children of my birth family).  We were in Tamworth (NSW) and I don't think that any of us really knew that we were actually brothers and sisters.  I treasure this photo now.

 1984 - Moved to Queensland

This is a photo of Dad and me on our 100 acre block of land in Queensland.  My Dad was a carpenter and built this log cabin style home from what was known as hog-backs.   We had no electricity or running water.  We had a huge veggie patch and I had a horse and motorbike.  I had some of the best times of my life at this place.  Lots of fond memories.  I was 12 years old here.
1987 - Adoptive parents separated and divorced
1987 - Moved to South Australia 
1989 - Finished High School
1990 - Went to University and graduated 
  • 1995 - Got married                                 2000 - Got divorced    

 1996 - Travelled overseas

1996 - Had 1st child – Jordan 

Jordan - Nov 1996 - 2 days old

Jordan was born in November 
1996.  This took me on a journey 
that I share in great depth in my

2004 - Settled back down

2004 - Had 2nd child - Jai                                        2005 - Had 3rd child - Violet

Violet - Born June 2006
Jai - Born October 2004

2008 - Completed post-graduate studies

 Joy's Masters in Social Science Counselling
2010 - Joy Makepeace - Author of the forthcoming book, "Finding the joy within"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Releasing the anger and healing the pain

Hi Everyone.  What a glorious day and weather we had.  I hope you all took advantage and made the most of it.  Today I thought that I'd cover a bit about the biggest emotional stumbling block that I had in my life.  At the time I don't think that I actually knew what it was.  All I knew was the effects that it was having on my life.  Right through my teenage years I felt fine and my life was relatively smooth sailing.  I was just setting out on my journey of finding out more about who I was and where I was from - my identity.

When my son Jordan was born my life literally turned upside down.  You can read about this in full detail in my book and it certainly is eye opening, especially for new mum's.  I spent the next 5 years trying to work through all of those emotions, which really were not the result of Jordan being born, but they certainly were triggered when Jordan was born.  I know I felt so angry with the whole world.  I was full of hate and I blamed the government for removing me from my birth family and I was unconsciously grieving for the loss of my birth mother. 

Joan West - my birth-mother
I was hurting and had found no way of safely healing the pain.  So I turned the pain, anger, resentment and bitterness inwards and did what so many of us do, which is to punish and hurt ourselves.  Despite being loved, I choose to suffer from days of depression and I couldn't see any hope in the future.  It wasn't until I pushed everyone close to me out of my life that I came to the point of realizing that I needed to let go of the anger and unresolved grief and loss that I was feeling.  I knew that I had to go back and heal the past before I could even think about the future.  It was after much self-healing through counseling, self-development and personal growth work that I now can live fully in the present moment.

I found this lovely link about "Forgiveness and the freedom of letting go"  it's worth the time having a look.  


Peace and love 

Joy  :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where it all began!

Hello again everyone!  Thank you for all of your wonderful and encouraging words, they are gratefully appreciated.  So now down to business.  

Today I thought that I'd go a bit backwards before I move forwards.  By this I mean, I will tell you where my idea to write my autobiography came from.  Obviously I won't be telling you everything that is going to be in my book, but this post will be like the "making" of the book details.  I've got to leave some elements of surprise for the book!

I first decided that I needed to write my story after my eldest son Jordan, who is soon to be 14 years old, was born.  Prior to Jordan being born my life had been relatively "normal".  The only difference was that I was an Aboriginal girl growing up in a white family.  It wasn't until I was a young adult that I realized that I in fact was also a member of the "Stolen Generation".  I don't think that the impact of this knowledge really hit me until I became a first time mother.  I am certain that it opened the emotional floodgates that for the previous 24 years had been securely locked.  It was this emotional release and turmoil that later kick started my determination to bring my story of seeking my true identity to you.  Hence 10 years later, plus a few more tales and life  lessons learned I will soon be sharing my life in the form of my book.  

For the benefit of those of you who haven't seen any of my childhood photo's I have provided a photo of mini me at the age of 6 years old. 

 Until next time, stay posted.   Joy  xoxox