Ten Years Later: 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires

Tomorrow – February 7th – will mark 10 years since my house burned down in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Ten entire years, and I still don’t think one single day has passed without me mentioning – or at least thinking about – the fires.

As I mentioned in my post on the eighth anniversary, I actually never thought the fires affected me all that much.

Sure, I was homeless, as were our two closest friends, but I was alive. I hadn’t known anyone who had died and, whilst we didn’t have any kind of insurance or savings, we did okay afterwards.

I still went to school that Monday, and we found somewhere to live pretty quickly, so I really couldn’t bring myself to complain about anything considering how lucky I had been.

I remember at the time everyone around me being concerned that I was too okay with it all. I didn’t cry when it happened, or afterwards. I talked about it to anyone who wanted to know exactly what had happened.

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For all intents and purposes, I was fine.

But I have since realised that I’m not 100% okay, which is to be expected after going through such an ordeal. If you’ve read my earlier post, you’ll know that I was actually there when my house caught on fire, and that the other house we stayed also partially burned down.

What I went through was traumatic, but for some reason, it took a few years to start affecting me. The first few years afterwards I was too caught up in my own life to think much about the fires.

The year of Black Saturday was my first year of high school, and afterwards I moved four hours away from everyone I knew to the worst town I have ever been to, so I didn’t really think about the fires. However, eventually, certain things began to arise that made me realise that they had affected me, and still do to this day.

As one would expect, I am petrified of my house burning down again. It is my biggest fear. Daniel and I have certain rituals we do at night and in the morning before leaving for work to ensure that we check all switches and lights are off, just to give me peace of mind.

I am also still really, really nervous around things like ovens, stoves, heaters, and even lighters. As a baker, you can imagine how difficult having those fears is when I’m going to take something out of the oven, and suddenly something doesn’t move the way I expect it to or something like that, and I instantly freeze up and freak out.

Of course, this doesn’t always happen. I have good and bad phases, and I am confident in saying that I am mostly okay with those things – but every now and then, I’ll have a bad day with too many close calls and I end up having to just lay down on the couch and watch something funny or go to sleep to calm me down. Those days really show me what an angel my boyfriend is, as he always looks after me so well.

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I often feel really stupid for being so freaked out by simple things, but he always calmly reassures me: “Your house burned down, you’re allowed to be afraid of it happening again”. He also tries his best to help me overcome my fears without pushing me to do something I am too uncomfortable with.

I really wish I could say that my house burning down didn’t affect me, but I think the fact that I put up a strong front for so long (which has a lot to do with how I was raised too, but that’s a story for another time) ended up making me a lot more vulnerable now, as I am making up for subconsciously hiding my feelings all those years.

I still remind myself every day that other people went through so much worse than I did, and that’s even more important on the actual anniversary of Black Saturday. All things considered, I am still so incredibly lucky to have come out of those fires alive and unscathed, and I will never forget that.

Tomorrow I will be thinking of all those who had it much worse than me, and hoping that the people who are still alive and lost so much more are doing okay. But, I will also be thinking about myself, and allowing myself to feel whatever I happen to feel, because my feelings are valid too. My fear and sadness is valid too, and always have been, it just took me a while to realise it.

Until next time,
Indya xx

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18 thoughts on “Ten Years Later: 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires

  1. You are so brave to shave your story, I bet that was traumatizing for you girl! I am so proud of you for opening up about this fire, I had no idea this happened to you. I can totally relate to the way you felt about keeping your feelings and emotions inside for so long, but I’m so proud of you for working through this! Sending you love, and glad you are here today, flourishing xoxo

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    • Thank you so much for this lovely comment! I try to keep my blog and social media pages as a source of positivity and happiness so I don’t often bring up topics like this, but I think it’s good to let down the curtain once in a while and share an important part of my history with my followers 😊 Uplifting comments like this make it a lot easier to open up, too! Thank you again.

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    • Thank you! It is interesting thinking that you never know what people have gone through, especially online. I don’t often talk about my past on my blog so it’s always a shock to my readers when I share tidbits about it here and there, but I think it’s good to let people know that everyone’s had their own rough patches!

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  2. I am sorry you had to go through that but you are such a strong woman!! Way to make that experience into something so good and having the confidence to share with all of us(:

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  3. That is a huge event in your life, and it makes sense to me that you are still dealing with the stress from it. I’m glad that you’ve realized your feelings are valid and that you have a wonderful partner to lean on when you need to.

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    • Thank you, it really means a lot when other people say things like that, it makes me feel better about still dealing with it, even after so long. I am definitely healing more each day though, mostly thanks to my partner. I am very lucky 😊

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  4. Goodness – I can only imagine the effect this might have on somebody. A friend of mine had a really bad fire in their house in high school, but the home stayed in-tact, yet to this day she still has really awful memories regarding it. But I’m glad you’ve been working through it all these years. You’re so strong!

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    • That’s awful, I feel for her. It is such a horrific thing that can happen, and it affects everyone differently, even if it only *almost* happened to you can be enough to scar you for life. Hope your friend is doing okay!

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  5. What a heartful story that you were so brave to share. It is heartbreaking to hear you still experience the loss and fear of fires. And, it may never go away. ;(

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