SPEAK Season 1 Episode 1: Mother of all Dragons

Debbie Ratcliffe: The Dragon Dance Dynasty, 2016

Speak Episode 1: Mother of all Dragons Featuring Debbie Ratcliffe

[00:00:00] Hi, I’m Rachel Grey. And I’m Debbie Ratcliffe, and welcome to our podcast, SPEAK.

[00:00:08] Yes, a podcast from Being Studio. Being Studio is a community of artists with developmental disabilities. And this podcast will bring you the stories and voices behind the artwork at being.

[00:00:23] And this is my story. Welcome to my world.

[00:00:27] I am a dragon as well as a human. The Dragons called me mother. Well, actually, they call me the Dragon Mother. I am an artist. I was born in 1966.

[00:00:46] My father was in the Navy. So we travelled around a lot all over the world. I lived in Ottawa when I was a little girl. I was walking out in the yard one dayand I found this tree that was shaped like a dragon tree. And when I got closer to it, I fell in a hole and I kept on somersaulting all the way down. And when I finally stopped falling, I landed in this one Urus world and this wonders world. There was a dragon that asked me who I was. And I told them my name was Lily. They had a big banquet for me. There were orange dragons, blue ones paying purple, yellow, grey, black, turquoise, all the colours of the rainbow. And they had this huge feast for me. BerriesI’ve never tasted before, thistles that I’ve never eaten before. My three sisters started looking for me. She couldn’t find me. Days turned into nights. Nights turn into weeks. Weeks turn into years. One day she said, I didn’t have any clothes. I was allowed to go back and get my stuff.

[00:02:23] It’s like, where is everybody? Everything is gone. The house had nothing in there anymore. It’s like an old house now. It’s old, old, old. When I said yeldon there. Hello. Everything started to crumble. That’s when I became the mother of all dragons. Because they wanted me to save their world.

[00:02:53] Is their world under threat?

[00:02:55] Yeah. Because of no colour, there was no colour, no vibrant colours at all. It was just Brown and Kerry.

[00:03:07] There wasn’t any colour until I got there. There was no colour at all.

[00:03:13] And then once I arrived, everything just exploded in colour. There were colour colours I can’t even mention because I don’t know the names of it.

[00:03:26] They use colours to communicate. I use words. We use words to communicate. But in my dream room, I use colours to communicate with dragons.

[00:03:41] Are there things that can be expressed through colour that cannot be expressed with words?

[00:03:48] Yeah. Rage, I would say. Rage, rage, love, sadness.

[00:03:57] Can you tell us a story about a time where either you or one of your dragons experienced profound rage?

[00:04:08] When I was about 14 or 15 years old, the doctor told my dad I had to go in for heart surgery. So when he told me the first time I threw a fit, I hated everybody at first. I accidentally slammed the door on my dog’s face because I was so upset about it. I finally got my temper under control and told my dad I was sorry for yelling at him. I let my dog out of my closet. He stayed with me right up until I had to go in the hospital.

[00:04:53] Tell us about the experience of waking up after your surgeries and kind of coming back into life and her a lot.

[00:05:06] It really, really hurt. You had to have your chest broken open before they could get to the heart.

[00:05:15] They had opened me up in the front and I had stitches from one end me down to my belly.

[00:05:24] The year after the first operation, which was my front one, they had to do another one on the side of my back.

[00:05:36] So they had to break my ribs to get to my other part of the heart.

[00:05:43] What’s your relationship like with your heart now?

[00:05:46] My heart’s great. It has like a galloping sound and then a farm. So it’s like a god go.

[00:05:55] I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my heart operations.

[00:06:00] Is pain something that dragons experience?

[00:06:04] No. No, they don’t. No, no, I’m wrong. Yes, they do.

[00:06:10] They do feel it when either a father or mother or a child passes away like they feel it. And when their human dies, they shriek. And then they fly away somewhere. It sounds like like somebody scraping some down a chalkboard combined now. Well, when somebody slams on their breaks.

[00:06:42] Do you think dragons watch the human world?

[00:06:45] I think so. They find. Kids that are either lonely or or sad and then they try to communicate with them.

[00:06:57] And why do you think dragons do that?

[00:07:00] Maybe they’re lonely, too. Maybe they want somebody to love them, too.

[00:07:07] How would you describe the sensation of loneliness or what it means to be lonely?

[00:07:14] For me, it’s. It’s being lost and wishing that something or someone would would find me and say, hey, it’s okay, I’m with you.

[00:07:29] Do you think the dragon world is better than this world?

[00:07:33] Yeah. I would say so. No violence in the Dargan world. There’s always peace going on in the dragon world and everyone loves each other and the dragon world.

[00:07:49] Why did you come back to this world?

[00:07:53] I missed my family. I miss my friends. But they understand that in the dragon world that I do have to come back. It’s sort of like like a rip in time.

[00:08:09] You only got a little space in between that time and this time they get back and forth between it. It may be three years in the dragon moral, but it’s only one day in the real world.

[00:08:23] One day I was in the fantasy world and one of my dragons wanted to take me for a ride.

[00:08:31] So I climbed on its back and it decided the earth look better from afar. So it decided to take me to the moon. When we started going up by, I had to hang on really tight to the scales so I wouldn’t fall off. Once we got past the Earth, it looked really beautiful from the moon. The moon was very warm. It smelled like flowers.

[00:09:09] Like orange blossoms. Roses. All sorts of flowers. So we played on the moon for a while and then we decide to head back to Earth.

[00:09:23] I’m just wondering how knowing Dragons has changed you over time.

[00:09:28] It’s made me a better person.

[00:09:31] Blake, I’m not as lonely as I used to be because when I lost when I lost my mom, she was my world.

[00:09:42] She was everything that I ever wanted. Like cheese of patellar. She was a protector, she nurtured us. She took care of us.

[00:09:57] And.

[00:09:59] I lost her, lost. I lost a lot.

[00:10:04] So, yeah, it was hard until I found dragons.

[00:10:11] My mom was very talented. She made mine and my sister’s clothes. She baked a lot. A lot of bright in the house, lots of different smells like cookies and inbred in French bread in all sorts of things. I miss her laugh.

[00:10:36] She had a really bad temper.

[00:10:38] But then offset the temper. She had a very kind heart. Very kind heart.

[00:10:46] And she loved animals, too, just like I did. Do you think you’re like your mom? Yeah. I think I am. Yeah. I don’t know if I have her laugh, but in other ways, I’m. I’m like her. I love dogs. I love animals.

[00:11:06] Do you think of yourself as strong?

[00:11:09] Not always. Not always, but most of the time, I think I’m strong because I survived two open-Heart surgeries.

[00:11:22] I think I’m strong that way. And I can handle pain really well.

[00:11:30] I can be very stubborn. But I love to laugh. So. I really loved to laugh. I try to find something that always makes me laugh. Beat my dog being silly at times or my sister saying some are my or my brother in law saying son, ma, my my nephews or nieces saying something funny, you think laughter is a kind of spring?

[00:12:00] Yeah, it is. It’s the best medicine you can have if you’re not laughing.

[00:12:06] You’re not happy.

[00:12:07] Do you think of dragons as strong. Very strong. What gives them their strength?

[00:12:13] I’m not sure. I would say maybe.

[00:12:19] Love of each other, because when I think of you and your strength. One thing I think of is the amount of care you have for other people. To me, that really seems like a strength that you have.

[00:12:35] Yeye Karabo, a lot of people I care about, my family, my friends, my co-workers and even people I don’t really know.

[00:12:48] That’s really a strength because it’s.

[00:12:50] Easy for people’s hearts to get exhausted or poor people to react to pain by closing off their hearts in some ways, but I don’t know. Done that. [00:13:04] Yeah, sometimes I wonder why I keep showing everybody my true self. Some people don’t like what they see the.

[00:13:15] But I think one thing that does for the people around you is make it easier for them to show themselves as well.

[00:13:27] Yeah, maybe I could help, though, show them a better way to show themselves.

[00:13:34] I really think that’s true. I think that when you have the strength to bring your self out into the world, other people see that and it makes it easier for them to do that for themselves as well.

[00:13:49] I think so, too. Some people just need a little nudge. But other people need to see it for themselves.

[00:13:58] What do you think is at the core of your relationship with Dragons?

[00:14:02] I really don’t know why they chose me for a certain reason, but I don’t know what that reason really is right now. Like, they haven’t told me much. Only they needed somebody in their world to help them repopulate and help them with with their kids and stuff like that.

[00:14:27] It really seems like a gift that you’ve received from the Dragons.

[00:14:32] Yeah. They’re special to me, too. It’s not every day you wake up and you got like a mountain full of food waiting for you at your door.

[00:14:43] Yeah. And it’s not every person here has another world to escape and to or to feel free inside.

[00:14:53] Yeah. The first time I went, I wound up with all sorts of bruises and stuff.

[00:15:00] They healed me, actually. It’s a given take sort of place.

[00:15:07] What is a give and take sort of plagues my dragon world.

[00:15:12] I gave it life when I first step into their world. All the flowers began to bloom.

[00:15:20] Colours in colours started showing up everywhere.

[00:15:25] So they asked me to stay there with them. It gave me a place to to really settle down, really to focus on me and my dragons.

[00:15:42] And how would you describe your life now full of adventure?

[00:15:50] It’s certainly OK if nothing’s wrong with the Dragons, then there’s something wrong with with something else like a flower or a bug law or animals.

[00:16:06] So that keeps you busy. Yeah. Keeps me really busy. Sometimes I get to see a dragon being born.

[00:16:17] What does it feel like to see a new life like that?

[00:16:20] It’s special because I get to name all the Dragons.

[00:16:25] I feel really good about this interview. That’s great. Do you wanna come to my world? You have. Course I do.

[00:16:35] I’ll bring you some my books when I see you again. That way you can join me.

[00:16:42] SPEAK is hosted by Debbie “the Dragon” Ratcliffe, co-hosted and produced by Rachel Grey, music done by Jesse Stewart. Our audio technician is Erin Flynn and the podcast is presented in collaboration with 89.1FM in partnership with Bronson RISE, a collective impact initiative of the Bronson Centre.

[00:17:11] Thank you for listening. If you’ll like our podcast, please tell your friends, your neighbours, your family, any buddies that you know.

[00:17:22] Thanks for listening. Bye bye.

I am the mother of all dragons.

Here is my history.

Hear my roar.
Behind the Scenes:

BEING’s original podcast series Speak is presented in collaboration with CHUO 89.1FM, in partnership with Bronson RISE, a collective impact initiative of the Bronson Centre.  

Host: Debbie Ratcliffe

Co-host and producer: Rachel Gray

Music: Jesse Stewart

Audio Technician: Erin Flynn

Website Design: Luisa Ji

SPEAK is a BEING original podcast.

SPEAK brings you the stories behind the artwork at BEING studio.