‘My father is a murderer and I’m not ashamed’
FOR most of my life, I've hidden who I am.
I got that lesson for the first time when I told my primary school teacher that my mum and dad had met in prison.
A look of horror flashed across her face, just for an instant, but long enough for me to realise I'd said something wrong.
We like to think that we are born into the world with a clean slate, but in reality, that's never the truth.
We're born onto an uneven playing field, loaded up with the baggage of those who came before us. This can work in the favour of children who are born into privilege; doors are open to them that may never be glimpsed by the rest of us.
For other people, the stigma of where they came from can be a heavy burden felt from an early age. My mother certainly worried about that for me. She did her best from day one to hide the truth about my father from everyone - even me.
When I told her I was making a podcast about my father, her biggest concern was that I was forever publicly marking myself with his crime, something she had fought so hard to avoid.
But I no longer care.
I'm no longer worried what others may think. This is my coming out party - my father is a murderer and I'm not ashamed.
I'm not afraid to let the world know.
Why? Because his crimes don't define me.
I want every child who is born into a rough situation that they didn't choose, to know that they should feel no shame. You've done nothing wrong and you can shake off those feelings and go on and do great things.
For too long we've allowed this classist attitude defined by our parents to dictate our entire lives. We all need to open our minds and accept people as who they are, not where they came from.
The crimes of our fathers aren't ours, and that also rings true for our parents' accomplishments. Don't take on the burden of others' wrongs, but also, don't rest on your laurels over things that you didn't earn.
Removing stigma means outsiders aren't alone.
One of the biggest themes in My Father, The Murderer is 'outsiders' - people who spend their lives on the fringes of society, either because they are unwilling to conform to the rules and regulations of normal society, or because they don't feel welcome.
Because these people exist outside of the normal system of schools, work and jobs, they often slip through the cracks and miss out on valuable support and intervention that could help them to achieve a happier life. It also puts them more at risk of committing crimes, addiction and hurting others.
When we take away that stigma and say "it doesn't matter where you came from, we respect who you are" we welcome these outsiders, we form connections that help to bring them into the light and get them the support they need.
To read more visit myfatherthemurderer.com.au. My Father The Murderer is brought to you by Foxtel. The six-part Australian drama series, Mr Inbetween, is now available. Watch live or stream on demand.