Photo 6 – How am I not dead?

At the end of 2013, I began a photographic story showing the state of the home I lived in with my father. I received many responses to these pictures. Mostly reactions of horror from people I know, who never really knew the extent of the conditions we lived in. They had never been witness to it. My father was very clever at disguising certain parts of the house and his dangerous eccentricities and careless nature were always well hidden. Friends and family were only allowed in the showy and presentable parts of the house. I however, saw the truth every day.

The kitchen was one of the worse rooms. It also happened to be the largest room in the house much to my father’s happiness (he saw it as his domain). Guests who visited always commented on how big it was; he loved that. But what if they had looked closer? Would they have seen the dirty and crumb filled toaster from,

(See My filthy life – Photo 3)

would they have stepped into our adjoining garage and discovered his hoarding obsession?

(See My father the hoarder – Photo 2)

Would they have walked around and seen the state of the cooker? A piece of kitchen equipment that I used every day living at home with my father. An appliance that I could not do without. An essential aid to making my life as normal as possible, something that would bring me sustenance and provide me with a basic human right. But what if that appliance was spoiled, unhygienic, unsanitary and rank? What if you were forced to use a machine that hadn’t been cleaned for ten years? It was another task my father had placed in my list of chores to do. A list that went up to eighty four. A mental list that I never lost count of and never completed. My father refused to help in any way. It was not his job. It was MY fault it got into that state and MY responsibility to resolve the tainted problem. Except it was too much for me. He gained so much enjoyment watching me on my hands and knees scrubbing his precious kitchen. I could not stand the humiliation and fearing the examination of my work after.

Why did I ever let myself live like this?

I mean, how am I not dead?

Image

Dictionary.com

un·san·i·tar·y

[uhn-san-i-ter-ee]  Show IPA

adjective

not sanitary; unhealthy or unhealthful; tending to harbor or spreaddisease: unsanitary living conditions.
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29th July 2012 – The wedding.

29th July 2012 was the day I was maid of honour for my best friend’s wedding. I had been looking forward to it for a while. The day was a chance to put everything that was happening with my father to one side, to forget and enjoy, to create new memories with close friends.

I had gone to K’s place the day before the wedding. David’s parents had driven me up there. I had warned my father that these three days would be very busy and that it would be unlikely that we would be able to speak. It was partly true. I did not want to check up on him at the wedding. I wanted to relax. I made the conscious decision not to call him. It was the right choice.

On the 28th, the night before, my father ignored my request. He called whilst we were eating dinner and watching a film together. It could not have been a worse time as after that I was no longer calm and relaxed. He was able to change emotions entirely.

I shouldn’t have picked up. I should have let it ring. But that would’ve been mean and he most definitely would have rang again and again until I would have to call him back. Then his wrath would be so great my evening and following day would be ruined. It made sense to answer it.

The first thing he said was,

“Call me back”,

before hanging up. My father never had any manners, he wanted me to ring back because it was cheaper on my phone. Every time he called, I had to call him back. The man had money! God, it infuriated me, but I suppose the little things always do. Back in conversation my father argued my text about no contact for the next three days. I didn’t really fancy a tirade from him in front of K so I attempted to usher him off the subject. It didn’t work and he continued to moan down the phone. I just wanted a few days off from it all. I wanted a clear head and a chance to feel free. With him, I was chained up, tied to his demands and restricted by his control.

I allowed him to rant without responding myself. K could see me becoming upset and stressed. He carried on complaining saying that I cannot expect no contact for so long and that I was “needed”, he said to call on the 29th just to check he was okay.

I refused.

He was silent for a moment. Knowing what was about to happen, that his anger would burst in the most inappropriate way, I quickly added a defence to my refusal.

“It will be a hectic day and I will be switching my phone off. I have to show respect to my friend Daddy”.

He listened to the word ‘respect’ although he did not like when I felt it for others as he knew there was no feeling of respect for him.

He made me promise that I would call on the 30th. I told him I couldn’t “promise” anything.

But that I would try.

Happy 1 year anniversary K.

Thank you for including me in your special day, it truly was an honour.

xx