To my Old ‘Friends’.

Dear Old Friends,

In the time we knew one another, what did you really think of me? A couple of you vented your anger at me towards the end of our relationship with unfair irritation over things that were out of my control. You clearly got me all wrong.

There must have been something in me that you liked once. Bizarrely, I never changed. Yet, you found something so unpleasant in me it was enough to walk away.

I know that I was closed off. It was my safety net. You only needed to know so much. When I did let my guard down and revealed some truths, you used them against me as a weapon or a bargaining tool. How could I trust you after that? I was insecure. I doubted myself and any confidence you may have seen was a clever shield of protection.

I was and am a loyal friend, supportive and caring. Your longing to be popular and superior pushed me to one side. I do not want those things. I never have.

To the so-called friends who attended my wedding. You had the free meal and wine and then you disregarded me like an old newspaper. What happened? It took the space of my ten day honeymoon for me to return and find you had changed. No explanation, only distance. You still can’t properly look me in the eye now can you? Are you ashamed of your behaviour? You should be. I am worth ten of you. I would never treat someone like that.

What did you have against me? It is clear that perhaps you do not agree with this blog. You do not feel it is necessary to bring up the past and portray my deceased father in this horrific light. All I am doing is shining the light on the truth. Many run from it but I am facing it. Not only for me but to help others in the same situation. Not every choice is selfish. My father was a bad man. He was a cruel and ruthless man. Just because he is dead does not mean he gets to rest in peace. I do not need to honour him. I have no respect for him, living or dead.

What is abuse to you?

Do you get that he destroyed me? Are you willing to look past your own feelings and see what he did to me? Probably not as you are shallow and narrow minded. You see life in black and white and that is why we were never meant to be true friends.

If you were all such angels, perhaps you would not think it was okay to drop someone like that for no given reason. Maybe you aren’t all as innocent as you like to think you are.

L, it is funny that for someone who came to my engagement drinks and wedding, that now you ignore me if we arrive on the same train platform occasionally. I won’t ever forget that oh so recent day when you clocked me in the corner of your eye and deliberately headed to the furthest point of the tube carriage! I’m lucky I didn’t get a complex from that! It is pathetic. I have done nothing to you. It is almost as though getting married was the only thing going for me in terms of personality. Charming.

M, you’re the same although perhaps a little worse. I trusted you. I classed you as a close friend but that all came to a head when you and P ruined my hen night. If money was so tight why an earth did you both agree to come in the first place? It wasn’t as though we had planned an extensive, expensive outing was it but to leave half way through the evening is really taking the piss and to make matters even worse you took most of the party with you!! Outrageous. I had only planned to have one hen do in my lifetime you know so thanks for cocking that up (!)

I do not wish for you all back. Everything happens for a reason and to be honest, I do not think my life would be any better with you all in it.

Enough said.

Ros.

 

Power of Light.

Uplifted

Shown the way

Guided

Through clouds

My path is lit

Iridescent

Brightly burning

Resplendent beauty

Carries me ahead

Colourful rides

Invincible

Open and true

Delivering hope

The power of light

shimmers radiance

I’m dazzled

Happily blinded

Drugged

No hallucination

Just illumination

Proof of Love.

Showering of gifts

filter on through 

proving your love

in ridiculous ways

Drenched in luxury

soaked in hurt

proving your love

means no control

Downpours of decadence

wash over me

proving your love

showing your power

Floods of extravagance

fearing your rule

proving your love

wasted on me

Tsunami of treats

backed into corners

proving your love

cannot be tempted

Submerged in gluttony

a callous mistake

proving your love

proving my hate.

 

Flirtation VS Assault.

After posting “A Very Different World” last week (about the short French film that focused on a total role reversal and challenged viewers’ preconceptions on sexual predators and abuse) I began a discussion with my mother around the subject of ‘boundary breaking’. I am no prude. I’ve always been known as flirtatious. However, I – as many women do – have boundaries. I have personal lines that should not be crossed especially when it comes to the opposite sex.

I posted a comment on my blog detailing an incident that happened to me at the beginning of the year. I told another blogger how that on my way to meet a friend for an evening drink, I fell into a difficult situation. During the winter months in Britain, it tends to get dark around four in the afternoon. I left home at six so it was pitch black. At the end of my road is a little corner shop which slightly lights that part of the street. Outside the shop stood two men. They seemed young but I could not tell their age immediately. I was not dressed provocatively. I was covered up in a very warm coat. I was not expecting them to behave the way they did. Both men were wearing hooded tops. Their faces could barely be seen. They were both standing blocking the path. I felt wary as I approached them. Striding past, a strong and overwhelming gust of marijuana flew past me. Both men were smoking in plain view. Within seconds, they began making kissing noises at me with one even muttering something (I only caught him saying “darling”). I looked up but continued walking. Worryingly, I missed my bus and had to continue walking to the next bus stop which happened to be a bit of a distance away.

I began to feel nervous.

I practically sprinted to the next bus stop. Was it wrong to feel so anxious?

As I approached the dimly lit bus stop I looked back. I was happy to see no one was behind me. I was now by the side of a busy, main road. Cars were rushing by. Surely I would be safe. However, after a couple of minutes, one of the men appeared. Horrified, I stepped out of the dark bus shelter and closer to the busy road; it was the only way to be seen. The man stared at me as he passed by. I tried not to catch his gaze.  Relieved that he had walked by, I started to relax. That was until he decided to turn back. With darkness as his cover, he approached me.

“What’s your name?” He asked abruptly.

I answered. I couldn’t be rude in fear of what he might do. There were many bushes around. He could have easily dragged me into one if I dared to insult him. So I was polite.

“Give me your number,” he ordered in a monotone voice. How he thought this was seductive or appealing I’ll never know.

“No!” I answered jokingly, trying not to show my fear.

“You have got a tight little ass haven’t you,” he said, biting his lip and staring at my behind.

That was it. The words that made me worried but what could I do?

“Let me take you out.”

“You can’t. I’m married.”

“And?”

That is not the first time a man has responded that way when I have replied that I am not single. It is completely disgusting.

Just then, my bus came. Relief can not even begin to describe my feelings. I can honestly say, I have never been so pleased to see a bus in my life.

If that can happen at six in the afternoon then imagine if it was ten at night. I can’t believe that people feel they can say whatever they want to whoever they want! Have some boundaries! What gives someone the right to speak so inappropriately to me, to make me feel like a piece of meat? When does flirtation cross into assault?

My mother told me about a time when she visited New York back in the seventies. She went and stayed with my father’s brother and wife. On a day trip out, whilst walking alone through the Bronx, a man passed by and casually assaulted her, he then walked off again as though he had done nothing. Horrified, my mother ignored it with the fear that speaking out to her brother-law would be met with ridicule. Alone in a big city, it was inconceivable to find help and admit such a derogatory incident.

I just cannot comprehend something like that.

I have flirted with men in nightclubs before, I cannot deny that I have not been physically flirtatious but we all know the unspoken lines. I would not grab a man by his crotch yet why have I had a man attempt to put his hand up my skirt before? Did I invite that? Was I dancing too provocatively? Some people might agree to that. Isn’t that the excuse of rapists, that she was deliberately trying to turn me on or she shouldn’t have been wearing such seductive clothing.

Why is it becoming more and more acceptable to behave this way?

Back to Work Blues.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work after a week off. I can successfully say that this was my least productive holiday in the sense that I have done f**k all this week! On purpose may I add. The most work and attention has gone into my blog which has been great. It’s been fantastic to have the time to sit down, especially in the day (normally I blog straight after work, completely shattered) and write. Poetry Week has been a total success. I was wary to post my poetry. After reading so many of my fellow peers’ and poets’ work on WordPress, I was not sure mine would compete in the slightest but each one has received some lovely support and likes. I really appreciate that (it’s still pretty new to me!).

Based on your reactions, I think I’ll make Poetry Week a monthly post 🙂

I do have back to work blues. I hope I do not walk straight back into stress again. The last five months have been extremely stressful at work and home hasn’t been much different. However, I am now more aware of my body and the triggers of stress. Hopefully, with the aid of my new-found breathing exercises, I can maintain and keep my stress levels under control.

Today will be my final poetry post till next month. In March, I will begin a series of letters that I wish I had the courage to write in reality. I am hopeful that it will provide and serve me with a little more closure.

March 2nd is also my birthday!

Feel good.

Having only properly discovered Spotify recently (yes, I’m so far behind for a thirty one year old) and after finding some essential tracks for each mood, I have come up with a few playlists that I wanted to share with you guys. Music has always been a fundamental key to my survival especially during the abuse. It has been the one consistency through the trauma, the one thing I have always relied on to raise me out of the lowest feelings. It can heal you. Lyrics that have been penned from the darkest of souls who seem to understand your pain for that sad moment, lyrics that capture love and heartbreak and the rare times of happiness. Music has saved me in many ways. The nights where he screamed obscenities at me behind my locked bedroom door as I lay in bed with my headphones over my ears and the gentle sounds of the radio played through my stereo and rocked me to sleep.

I love putting playlists together.

I totally listen to certain songs at certain times and it all depends on my mood.

Here are my favourite ten songs from my Feel Good playlist.

1. http://youtu.be/g0_FvK51wOQ

My, does this song change my mood. I cannot feel unhappy after hearing this. Cheesy? Maybe. Classic? Probably. Feel good? Yes, definitely. The tune and melody instantly captures me and Michael McDonald’s voice is crazy. How a man can reach those notes is beyond me. Love it.

2. ‘Change the World’ – Eric Clapton

This not his biggest song. I do love Tears in Heaven but the heartbreaking story behind it crushes me. It does not belong in this playlist. Change the World is gentle and easy yet has that American, acoustic guitar I like. It’s simplicity. I like the lyrics too.

3. http://youtu.be/P_OK_H8F2g0

Blur or Oasis? There was never any contest for me. I was Blur all the way and in 1999 they released ‘Tender’ which has firmly become one of my favourite Blur songs. It may not seem “Feel Good” but with the help of The London Community Gospel Choir, the song is transformed from softly haunting to melodic genius. It is uplifting as well as calming. It brings back great memories too and who can argue the lyrics, “Come on, come on, come on, get through it. Come on, come on, come on, love’s the greatest thing that we have”. Beautiful.

4. http://youtu.be/dNmpoj2Izwc

This is an acoustic version of the original which is actually more of a dance genre. I like both versions but I picked this one to share as it features the model Cara Delevingne on vocals. She is one my style icons so it made sense to use her version here. Will Heard is on lead vocals and his raspy tone is addictive to listen to. Not only is it feel good but mesmerising. I am in love with his hazy voice and have spent time listening to it on repeat.

5. http://youtu.be/QbsAqs3YHyg

Could not care less what anybody thinks of this! Not only is their music video for “Pray” cheesy and cringe-worthy as hell even I, their loyal supporter cannot control my laughter. No matter what, I adore this. It is wrong and so right at the same time!

6. http://youtu.be/Sds5SpNd1Mw

Bruno Mars can be a little hit and miss for me but he got it so right with “Treasure”. It is: turn it up, hit the dance floor, create a very “un-cool” routine to kind of song. Doesn’t matter. It makes me feel good.

7. http://youtu.be/y_elVdQppTU

Luther Vandross was such an inspiring man, a great loss to the music industry. There was no question he would be in my top ten. I love ‘Stop to Love’, so catchy.

8. American Boy – Estelle.

Great British songstress who only really had this as her biggest hit. Shame we never saw much more. Nevertheless, ‘American Boy’ is so feel good. Back when Kanye was less bizarre and more about the music. This tune makes me want to dance on a beach somewhere.

9. http://youtu.be/bBQVrCflZ_E

Oh god, I am not showing my music taste in a very good way! Well I never pretended to be “cool”. I love eighties music as much as I adore eighties films. This is a quintessential eighties anthem and has to be on this list. You are made of stone if this music video doesn’t make you smile.

10. http://youtu.be/NMNgbISmF4I

Not only ‘Feel Good’ but this Aerosmith song goes on my list of favourite songs of all time. I adore the video and loved Alicia Silverstone when I was younger (I am the generation of ‘Clueless’). I love the sense of freedom in it even though it’s essentially a love song. I longed to be a rebel like the girls in the video. I also wanted the trust and love that the two friends had. I have never found that. The song was released when I was twelve but I saw the video for the first time a few years later at fifteen. It was a bewildering time in my own life and the element of escaping that Aerosmith shot in their music video appealed to me very much.

Without music, life would be a mistake.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Back from a short hiatus.

I’ve been off WordPress for three days. A long time by any bloggers standards! I have not even been near a computer! Impressive. I have spent the last few days at my husband’s parents’ house for a family visit. Into the depths of Essex we went haha. It was a lovely little trip although not very productive as the rainy weather kept me indoors for the majority of the visit. The main highlight was seeing my nephew for the first time. Everyone who knows me knows my love for babies. He was as beautiful as I imagined and more. An ever so tranquil baby who was calm with anyone. A lovely start to the New Year I’d say.

On a slightly more “depressing” note – I go back to work on Monday! Cue miserable face. I hope it will be less stressful this term. I am going back as positive as possible and staying strong. Gone has to be the defeatist attitude otherwise there will be no progress. I’ll let you know how it goes on my first day back.

Have a good weekend guys!

The Pledge – 2014.

First things first: Happy New Year!

It is the first day of a brand new year. We all have a new path to follow, a clean slate, a time to build bridges, a chance to take more risks, we should embrace the opportunities before fear kicks in.

I am going to make a pledge. No resolutions. They don’t work. I can’t promise myself anything but I can aspire to be a better me. Aspiration and hope mesh together. It does not require constant monitoring or worry that you’ve betrayed yourself. Who needs that kind of anxiety? Instead, I am making a pledge of 10 hopes and aspirations for this year. 10 is an easy number to reach. It is not impossible but gives me time to fulfil them.

  1. Finish my autobiography – I began it in 2010 and it still remains the most difficult task to complete. Only because it requires me to draw up and remember the most torrid of memories, some so bad that I cannot even bring myself to blog about.
  2. Find an exercise I enjoy – I’m not a gym-goer, I’ve tried but I can’t seem to find any enjoyment in walking on a treadmill – alone, with dozens of fitness-mad people surrounding me. I’m not the greatest fan of the “outdoors”. I’m not a hiker, I hate the English weather. I haven’t tried Yoga, perhaps that’ll suit me more. I love dance. I run the school’s dance and musical theatre club at work each term so get a regular burst of exercise then. But I need to find something more consistent that I equally enjoy.
  3. Look in mirror again without fear – I need to like my reflection. I do not think this will be an easy task but if I want to overcome my BDD, this may be the only way.
  4. Take more courses – Last year I went on an Assertiveness course at City Lit in Central London. It is by far, the best thing that I did in 2013. I learnt so much, not only about myself but the way in which others treat me. I am due to take a tap-dancing workshop this month (yes hilarious! I have tap danced before though) so hopefully it will the start of many more.
  5. Say No – A follow up from my assertiveness course. It will be incredibly fulfilling if I can achieve this. It is time to put my needs first.
  6. Take a holiday – Surprisingly, this seems to be an impossible task. Money isn’t the issue; it’s time. Although I get regular breaks through the year (I work in a school), my husband cannot necessarily take the same amount off work as me. We will sort it out this year and take a much needed holiday together. Somewhere luxurious please!
  7. See my friends more – I have become a bit of a hermit. By accident more than anything. This year I must spend more time with friends. I miss them.
  8. Start writing to agents – It’s a beginning. A new one. I need to focus a little bit and have some direction. If I want something then I’m going to need to put in some work. I want to a writer. I better get on it.
  9. Celebrate my birthday – I didn’t last year. I went for a quiet dinner with my husband which resulted in a week off work with gastric flu. This year I will celebrate getting older. My life is worth celebrating.
  10. Believe in myself and what I can do – I must stay positive. I got through a lot worse all those years ago and I need to get my fight and drive back. With hope and a little confidence, I will look to the future with brighter eyes and an open heart. I am capable of many things.

Good luck with all your pledges. I hope you too set some achievable and reachable goals that make you happy.

Love Ros xx

2013: A review January – March.

Ten more days to go until the first day of 2014. Once again, another year of my life has flown by and I am looking back on quite a year. This time however, I get to look back and share it with a new group of people: my WordPress followers, readers and fellow bloggers. What a year it has been. Lets look back together.

JANUARY

On the 6th of January, I decided to begin a blog on WordPress. It was a dangerous and risky decision. It would expose a life I had hidden from many people for over fifteen years. It would reveal truths some people would rather not know. It would portray a man (who many trusted) to be an evil, ruthless, callous and hurtful father who destroyed his daughter’s soul. It would be my story, a story that provoked people I had not seen for years. People who felt it was necessary to “warn” me and give their advice. They made it clear that I should keep my personal life “private” and that I might “hurt people”. I made it clear back that I had not set out to hurt anyone. It was much more than that. It was closure. It was freedom. It was truth. It would be a chance to speak and finally be heard. It would be the best decision I had ever made (bar leaving him of course).

FEBRUARY

On the 4th of February I celebrated five years together with David. We set our anniversary from our first kiss. It was a moment that changed my life. Gone were the men who used me and took advantage of my loyal nature. A new man had walked into my life. Little did I know that day he would make me as happy as he does now.

During this month, I received an abundance of support from old school friends and past colleagues about the blog over Facebook. I was taken aback from their kind words and blown away by their words of encouragement. It meant so much to know that there was no judgement, that people could see into my past and believe it, acknowledge it and most of all – accept it.

MARCH

I celebrated my 31st birthday on the 2nd. David took me to a South African restaurant in Central London for dinner. It was decadent and adventurous. I felt a little out of my comfort zone but enjoyed it nonetheless. Unfortunately, the food didn’t sit well within me and after a day I began to have horrific stomach pains. Within moments I was nauseous and lying over the bathroom toilet. I thought I had food poisoning but it was a severe case of gastric flu. The week after my birthday was spent at home ill. To top it off, my virus passed onto David who joined me for most of the week holed up in bed. Well Happy Birthday to me!

On WordPress I recounted the triggers that remind me of my father and his abuse. Fruit, movies, plastic knives and forks, making beds and self-help books were the entries I made in March, they continued into April with Furniture stores and Toothpicks and table manners. These triggers still happen. If I see certain objects or hear a particular piece of music, if I visit a particular place or even hear a phrase he might have said; it propels me back to a specific time where life was frightening and upsetting every day. I become emotional very quickly and find it difficult to calm down. A panic attack can be the worst reaction to one of my triggers.

March was the month where a colleague questioned my “motives” for writing this blog. She accused me of taking “revenge” on my dead father. That it was unkind and unfair to do so. It surprised me that she could not empathise with my situation nor could she understand my reasons for revealing my truths. I was annoyed by it. I did not feel I should have to justify my choices and actions to her. She did not know my father. She had not met him. She only had her morals and principles and values to go on. I have morals. I have principles and values too. That is an important part of why I decided to do this, because of my values and principles. I would not be following them if I hid away and “forgave” him for all the hurt and pain he caused.

Dead or not, the truth will always shine through.