With her first book finally released, Australian writer and psychologist Julie Catt is relieved that the three-year writing process was worth it.
“The reviews so far are pretty good, and the people I love have responded super well, so now I’m equal parts chuffed and relieved,” Catt said.
The autobiography, ironically titled Normal, is an inside look of Catt’s life, which has been anything but normal.
“When it comes to families, there is no such thing as normal. Even with families that appear ‘normal’, if you scratch the surface there are always surprises,” she said.
Subtitled The true story of a complicated family, Normal tells of Catt raising six kids on two continents with two husbands, a boyfriend, and a pretty hot girlfriend. But they’re just the basics.
In between, there are romances, long-lost families, feral lesbians, jealousy, grave parenting errors, laughter, tears, and cosmetic surgery.
In the memoir, Catt states her reason for writing. “Maybe the writing will make the living easier.”
“Writing has always ‘made the living easier’ for me,” she said. “I often recommend my clients use journaling as a way of sorting out their thoughts when they’re in difficult situations.”
However, writing a memoir added an unexpected complexity to her life.
“Suddenly all these people, my friends and family in particular, know me way better than any of us had ever expected.”
Catt prides herself on being both a psychologist and writer, fusing the two to help her patients.
“For me, being a psychologist embraces both the creativity of writing with the more intimate, profound elements of developing a therapeutic relationship with someone and working with them as they grow and change,” she said.
Catt is open with her kids about sexuality, believing they should not be brought up with a narrow view of the world.
“I firmly believe knowledge is empowerment,” she said.
“All my kids accept that there are all kinds of different ways to have relationships and families. They’ve never known a world peopled solely by heterosexuals, unlike most of us growing up.”
Catt is a founding member of Rainbow Babies, a support group for GLBT parents.
“Rainbow Babies came out of a mother’s group at RPA. A few of the women there were lesbians, and decided after their babies were born to continue to catch up.”
After a few months, this grew into a dozen.
“Now there are several hundred on the mailing list and the whole thing is bigger than Ben-Hur! I’m so, so proud of what we did.”
info: Normal is out now.