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Jock Cheetham: Bathurst Storyteller

I got involved with This Is My Brave Australia in Bathurst because I want to advocate for men in distress and pain. Having been through my own grieving process, indeed still going through it, I’m aware of critical issues that men face. One is their reluctance to talk and share about their problems and pain. Perhaps it’s even an inability to talk about it.

The other issue is people’s unwillingness to listen to anything that might be shared. More importantly, I want to raise the issue of people reaching out to those in distress. I believe people should feel less afraid to reach out to people in pain or distress. The consequences of reaching out are not as bad as people might fear.

These are two sides of the same coin. One side is the supply: can or will the man open up to share his pain? The other side is the demand: will people reach out to men in pain to let them know they will listen? And will they then listen?

That’s why I jumped in to share my journey and the story of my late partner, Neroli Colvin. We endured and enjoyed our last 18 months together, because we were able to find joy and love amid the pain and distress. Along the way, I’ve been able to delve deeper into my thoughts on the matter and sit with our story in a new way.

One result of that is that my own barriers to sharing, my reluctance and fears, have been greatly reduced. I suppose the more you do something, the easier it gets. And sharing is getting easier for me as a result of the compassionate listening of my This Is My Brave Australia team mates.

I have also benefited from hearing their stories in rehearsals. I can hear their struggles and feel less alone. I can hear them and help them feel listened to. I can learn what life is like for other people. There’s been a learning and growth element to being engaged with this event and these new friends.

I’m grateful, therefore, for everyone else sharing and I hope my sharing provides something similar to others.


This Is My Brave Australia Inc. is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

ABN 28 892 123 669

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