The obvious.

He takes and takes and takes,
He drains and blames and aims
He lies and whines and cries,
my heart no longer breaks.

I give and give and give,
I fear and wear and tear
I ache, berate and wait,
For life to start to live.

I am, will be yet cannot see,

what’s staring right in front of me.

A Right to Expression.

Just swaying off the letter writing for one post as I encourage you all to find a safe form of expression. 

Mine is WordPress and I would like to make it clear as to why.

Venting anger in a safe way is important. Through writing, I can allow myself to feel negatively without letting it transfer into the outside world. I tend not to be an angry person and I am not a fan of confrontation but I feel I have the right to speak when I feel hurt or bruised. If anger is bottled up then it can cause severe distress in the long run. 

I may not present to the world that I am hurt in any way but that itself is a sort of safety barrier. One may not agree with the idea of blogging. It may seem self-indulgent and epicurean to some but that is not fair. I do not write for my own healing only, I write to help others release their emotions and pent up frustrations. Their responses are what matter.

I feel safe through WordPress. I do not offload onto my family and rarely onto my husband. I try to keep things positive with my good friends only focussing on the happier things happening in our lives. Of course, we do rant, don’t get me wrong but even I know that dissecting my abuse history with them might not be the best way to spend a coffee afternoon.

I apologise if what I say does offend. Just remember this. Others have people to talk to. I don’t. I don’t feel comfortable or feel comfort from talking about me. Certainly not directly to anyone. I find that very hard. Writing on the other hand, comes naturally. It is my form and right of expression. It is my release. Even when no one responds, someone is listening.

I only ever want to be heard.

UK Devastation.

My mother, husband and I awoke to a huge 10ft tree fallen on her garden lawn yesterday morning. Storms have gripped Britain. The winds have taken a break today and clear sky covers London. Bright sun only worries us. Is it a warning of what is to come? The weather forecast is not looking good. Here in London, unlike the rest of the country, we have been relatively lucky. The unfortunate incident that happened to my mother yesterday is one of many in the area. Trees are a danger. The winds were so violent Friday night, we could hear the walls moaning. It was quite frightening.

The rest of the UK are fearing the next set of floods. They are coming. We have all been warned. Devastation is tearing through the country. Families have lost their entire worlds as homes they have grown up in have been totally destructed and ruined. People are dying on the street from falling trees, they are being electrocuted by stray power lines tangled and hidden among the broken branches. It was reported yesterday that a young woman was killed whilst driving through Central London when past of a building collapsed on her.

My thoughts go out to the country. I hope the government stop charging people for sandbags to protect their homes from the never ending flood water and pull their fingers out to help. People are angry. They are suffering massive losses and feel incredibly alone.

Through the eyes of a teenager.

I have been doing some Sunday reading today. Mostly my old diaries from 1999 onwards. A blast from the past? Not really, more like a painful hit of memories. I did spend most of my morning cringing however after reading my “boy troubles” and the desperate want for a boyfriend. Thankfully, those issues do not exist any more. A few pages in each diary caught my eye. In my first journal, I wrote something on the 22 December 1999, aged seventeen,

It’s 2.40 something in the morning. This is now noted down in history as the worst Christmas ever. I’ve had a major argument with my bastard father which resulted in him telling me that he will no longer pay my drama school tuition fees and that I won’t “get a penny”, that I am to move out the following morning and that he never wants to see me again. Well Merry Christmas to you too.

I hate my father. No, I despise him. He doesn’t have a clue how to be a parent. I miss my mum. I can’t even stay at hers, my shitty sister is too “stressed” she says. Well bollocks to her. All I know is that I can’t handle this shit any more. I don’t know what I’ll do. 

Another entry said,

My dad is the devil. I HATE him with passion. He asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I asked for a trip away with my friends. Then, he proceeded to tell me how irresponsible and untrustworthy I am. Why did you ask me what I wanted if you are going to put me down for the rest of the night because of it? Bastard. 

In a different entry in November 2003 I speak about my mother:

My mum’s gone to India. She flew out last week. I REALLY miss her. She doesn’t know that I am ill right now. I won’t tell her. I’ll call her when I’m better, otherwise she’ll start to panic and worry when she hears me. Anyway, I’m not wheezing so I can’t be that ill. She had loads of trouble getting there so I’m glad she’s okay now. She comes back in February. I cannot believe how long that is!

On the 12th December that same year I wrote,

I spoke to Ma. I miss her. I hate being here with the ‘devil’. He’s making me hoover the entire house tomorrow. I’m sure he’ll be checking if I’m doing it right too. He is constantly telling me I do nothing around the house and he does everything. He’s driving me crazy. I feel so angry and I have absolutely no way of venting it. All this anger and bitterness is building up inside of me and all I want to do is scream. I’ve not been allowed to get angry for the last six years. I’m like a volcano waiting to erupt. When I finally do get angry, I usually end up taking it out on Ma which is so wrong as it is nothing to do with her. HE doesn’t let me get angry. HE wants me to be emotionless. ME. The girl who cries all the time! It’s depressing. I hate this so much right now.

It is quite hard to look back on the past. One thing I have discovered is the way I have always felt about my mother. It has never changed. Although my sister convinced her otherwise, my love for my mum has never faltered. Even during the worst of times, when my loyalty was to my father, I thought about her every day. During the abuse, she was constantly in my mind. I am thankful for that love I felt. I think it saw me through. Without her love, I would’ve been totally alone.

Before I was born.

From what I hear, this was a decent time for the rest of my family. Although my parents did not have the best relationship, their hatred was not as magnified as it later became. My sister has fond memories of this time; the eight years before I was born.

The family took holidays together and spent time socialising, it seemed happier. That’s not to say there were not problems. My father was incredibly abusive to my mother behind closed doors and bang in front of open ones too. My sister was definitely a witness to the fights and abuse. Overall however, it was nothing like it would become.

My mother’s desperation for a second child was the catalyst in ripping the family apart. My father did not want me, he made that very clear to her but she longed for another baby. This obvious desperation only exaggerated his despise for her, he hated weakness in people. What’s a natural feeling for a woman was a weakness to him. He would never understand that feeling, a want to love, a longing to pour love into someone.

To give love, you need to feel love.

Eight years is a big gap between siblings. My mother was pregnant before having me but sadly lost her previous babies. He wasn’t there to support her through that. Instead he berated her and used it as another way to criticise her. He was moody and implied to her that he was not responsible for the loss of her child. He was that much of a narcissist that it had to be all about him! His love for her had faded and there was no respect. Within days of returning from the hospital my father was giving my mother demands. The want for a second child only amplified.

As my mother edged towards her 40th birthday her second daughter was born three weeks early.

He seemed happy – at least for a while.

5th September 2012 – The funeral Part 1.

I have to blog about this nightmare of a day in two parts as there is just so much to tell you all.

Below is an extract detailing the sequence of events that I endured that day, taken from my autobiography. The beginning of the extract explains the lead up to the day, part of which I have mentioned in an earlier post about the phone call with my sister but as it is part of the chapter and important to the story, I will keep it in.

Part 2 will follow on Saturday.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – THE NEXT CHAPTER

 

My father’s funeral took place on September 5th 2012 in East London. It was based at his church and fully organised by my sister. I was sent an email confirming the date and time.

On the only phone call after my father’s death, my sister rang to talk about the arrangements. I wasn’t really a part of it but to keep up appearances, she called anyway. It was an awkward conversation, the first without my father present. It was like speaking with a stranger, with someone who knew nothing about the history with Him. Yet, she was well aware of everything. She was just choosing to make every excuse in the book to defend him. She talked consistently about the funeral. I remained silent. What was there to say? I felt I could not speak my mind. That was until she began talking about songs and flowers.

She mentioned that a song, my father’s favourite song, would be played as his coffin entered the church.

That song was, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

When I think about the lyrics,

I see trees green, red roses too. I watch them bloom, for me and you and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

These are not the lyrics that remind me of my father. They only make sense to me in reference to him being gone and me being free. I’m pretty certain my sister was implying the opposite.

It was also a lie.

What a Wonderful World was actually my mother’s favourite song. Somewhere along the line, my sister’s lines had become blurred. My father never really cared for music.

In regards to the flowers, my sister casually asked me how much I would be willing to pay for my half of them. She listed the types of flowers and what would be suitable to surround the coffin. That was as much as I heard before I couldn’t contain it any longer. The tears I had held back for years, the trauma and the stress all exploded and in one breath I made it very clear I would not be contributing in any way. Everything poured out. I couldn’t hide it anymore, she needed to know.

Through endless streams of tears, I mustered the strength to reveal as much as I could. She listened, at best, she was silent. I could never tell the difference. I told her about the last time I had been with my father – the afternoon in the car in July. I opened up about the way he behaved and the fear I felt. Expecting my older sister to understand, I was shocked by her response.

“He was very ill by then,” she said as she began pleading his case, “he was probably tired; he couldn’t help it”.

She wasn’t even there and she silenced me.

Why did I think my father’s greatest supporter would back me?

I left the conversation immediately.

 

5th September 2012

I had been dreading this day for the previous two weeks. It had finally arrived and I had to gather any courage I had left to face it. My friend Natasha offered to come for the service. I accepted her offer, she and David were my protective barrier that day against the people who just couldn’t understand.

His funeral service was held in his church in East London.

As the burning sun beat down on me, I wiped the nervous droplets from my brow and entered the church. My sister and her husband were stood in the corridor greeting everyone. I hugged her, reaching out for some kind of emotion but I received nothing so I continued my way through to the church hall where the funeral was taking place. My brother-in-law did not acknowledge my presence.

I looked around the barely decorated room. It was filled with people, friends of my father’s, family and neighbours. Everyone was smartly dressed, paying their respects. I was wearing loose black trousers and a bright green peplum top. I needed to wear something bright. I needed to show them I was not mourning. Green was the colour that calmed me; it was the obvious colour to wear. My eyes immediately met with my mothers’. I headed straight to her. A man appeared by me as I struggled to keep my emotions together. He gestured for me, as my father’s daughter, to sit at the front. My breathing quickened as I placed my hand tightly on my mother. I could only muster one “No”. The man didn’t understand my refusal. I looked at my mother. She understood. She knew I was not going to pretend nor be part of the farce I was about to face. She told me to sit where ever I wanted. That turned out to be the front of the back section of chairs left out for late arrivals behind the congregation. I positioned myself directly ahead of the aisle.

My mother turned back to see if I was okay. I smiled. I was glad she had come especially with the support of her close friends. It was important for her to witness it.

My sister entered with her husband and a band of people followed her. She was being comforted by his friends. I watched as she made her way to the front row. She hugged one of his pastors, a man who thought very highly of my father.

Music began. Thankfully, it was not What a Wonderful World. Heads turned as his expensive, wooden coffin was carried in. It was placed on a stand directly ahead of me. I stared at it; I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

I was determined to get through the charade. I had brought a notebook with me. I focussed on putting all the feelings I was going through into it and wrote down a detailed account of the following two hours. Writing was the one thing that kept me going through that horrible, deceitful service.

Next Tuesday.

A week today will be one year since the beginning of my horrific ending between my relationship with my father. This summer will be gruelling as things are still quite raw and as much as I have escaped his hold, the result of his control and mental torture still lingers inside me. 

I will be blogging each moment of my journey last year on every day that led to the end.

I hope you will all continue to read and share my experience by my side.

This will be an emotional look back and challenging to relive the memories of last year. However, it is a journey I need to take.

What are you afraid of?

I fear many things. I wish I was more daring and able to take more risks. I used to be able to especially as a child. Fear was something I lacked. I spoke my mind and challenged bad things, I defended myself and took emotional risks. I let myself fail believing that there was a lesson to learn from it. 

Fear grew quite quickly. By my teenage years I was becoming more afraid. I had been criticized by my mother and sister for being selfish and self-centered as a young child. The world revolved around me apparently. I was a confident child being punished for living life. Soon, the fear came. 

During the divorce and the pressures of choice, I feared everything. Outwardly, my family saw a show. I appeared to be calm and in control but mentally I was failing. I knew I was about to make the wrong decision but in fear of becoming targeted and bullied for even thinking it, I went with my father. It was, in my mind, the easiest thing to do. I had backed myself into a corner that could not be further from my mother and sister; we were practically strangers. I had to go with him and I was scared to do it. I did not know that he would be the man they said he was but I had my doubts. I had the fear. There was the possibility. 

My fears magnified when living with my father. they became embedded in me. Not only was I clearly petrified of him, I became a shadow of the girl I once was. To me, I was no longer myself. I was a nobody. 

Rejection.

I fear this still as an adult. I am married and I don’t feel it with my husband luckily. I do feel it in most walks of life especially with friends. I try to avoid it when I can, rarely asking anything of anyone. I thought I could depend on my father, he always told me I could but each time I confided in him or asked for anything, my request was rejected and berated. I have been rejected recently by some people, people I still see. One in particular I took as being a close friend but she has recently, within the last year, decided I am not worth her time. I do not know what happened as there was no explanation yet she continues to smile and play nice. I allow her to do it. I refuse to “chase” her and mend what was clearly already a broken friendship.

Criticism.

I often wait to be critiqued and devalued by people. I expect criticism. I fear it immensely. It is my biggest insecurity yet something I cannot confront.

Tempers.

I fear fights and aggression, I try to stay out of it but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I cannot stand someone raising their voice at me, it frightens me. I hate it. It only brings back every time my father did it. How he used his volume to belittle and demean me. 

Death.

Unbelievably, not my own. I often think about dying. I don’t think I am going to live very long. David hates it when I talk like that but to me it’s a matter of fact. I fear my mother dying. It is, at the moment, my greatest fear. I think about it a lot. She is 70 now and I have begun predicting how long I will have her for. When I speak to her I worry it’ll be the last time. I cry nearly every time after the phone has been put down. It took us so long to get a normal, loving relationship, I feel as though all those years fighting a pointless battle were wasted. Time has disappeared and I may not have her for long. I am angry at my sister for what she has done to her. My mother is a shell of the woman she once was. I know in many ways she resents her life. I hate that she feels like that. I fear the day when I won’t be able to hug my mother. Her touch immediately soothes me, her voice calms me, her little idiosyncrasies make me laugh. I don’t want them to be memories yet.

Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Charles Stanley 

4 spiteful girls – Part 3.

was a girl I met at secondary school. Our friendship became closer when we were fourteen as before that we had a different set of friends. She and I came from similar backgrounds, we both had sisters and our families were from the same part of the world. We could laugh about the stereotypical values and characters of our relatives and relax in the thought that we weren’t alone.

Her father was controlling in some ways too. He had a constant, watchful eye over her as a teenager even though she was incredibly innocent. It was often suffocating as she just wanted to be trusted by the people she loved.

On one trip to the cinema aged fifteen to see “Jerry Maguire”, N’s parents actually followed us to check what she was watching. She had told them we were seeing “Mars Attack” – a perfectly harmless film about aliens to them. They should have checked and realised that it a satirical, political comedy that also had a 15 certificate. They just did not want N to see a film based on romance with the possibility of N seeing any nudity or sex scenes. It was ridiculous. They berated her when they discovered her lie, but what could she do? She needed to live her life.

At secondary school N and I were like sisters. We weren’t the most popular girls in our class but we both shared the ability to move from each friendship group and talk to anyone. We were friendly and likeable; rarely getting into any conflicts with other girls, something that was unheard of in a small girl’s school as a teenager. I felt a strong connection to her and our friendship eventually strengthened.

I was happy that we both continued our A-Levels at the same school too. This school was much larger and we did not share any classes. Our tight friendship became relaxed and as she built up new friendships with others, my shock revelation and discovery of my real father was hindering my chance and confidence to find new friends of my own. However, within the second year of college, I had managed to establish some different mates of my own. It felt good to meet new people. They were fun and vibrant, something completely opposite to what I had been exposed to before. They were cultured and experienced and in many ways I was in awe of them, never really feeling a true part of their lives.

N and I still caught up and gossiped about life.

She lived quite locally to me so we spent a lot of weekends together. I had always talked honestly about my father to her. She was the only person I felt I could truly be honest with. We spent hours on the phone both complaining and chatting about our parents, both exhausted and stressed by the pressures put on us.

She was my confidante for many years. All the truths and discoveries I had found out was heard by her. She was supportive, regularly building up my confidence and reassuring me that I was better than him. Our friendship was one of the most important things in my life.

At Drama School, N and I began to see less of each other. We were taking very different directions in life. I only saw her a few times in my first year. I don’t think she was very happy about that. Drama School was a release for me. It helped me to gain strength and channel my hurt and anger against my father into something much more focused and something I gained immense enjoyment from, it was an escape. I did throw myself wholeheartedly into it perhaps forsaking our tight friendship in the process. N and I began to disagree more. Our personalities were changing.

N became obsessed with appearing “trendy”. She ached to be popular, surrounding herself with countless “friends”. She loved attention and to be praised for her character. It became tiring, I did not want to constantly compliment and feed her ego. Her other friends did that. Gone were the days where we laughed on the phone till we couldn’t breathe. Phone calls in general were a rarity.

I was confused when I met her friends. They were all so different. It was like she had a contrasting set for each mood she was in. Some were pretentious and snobby like her, others down to earth and easy to talk to. Then there were the ones she went to gigs with and lived out her trendsetting life with. None of them crossed over and I was unsure of where I fitted in.

She had changed significantly as well. She was someone I no longer recognised. I was struggling to find a sense of who I was at the time. My life was moving quicker than I could keep up with and with the constant abuse at home I was straining to keep myself mentally afloat. N had what she had dreamt of: popularity. She was admired by others, climbing the social ladder and placing herself firmly at the top. There was no depth to our friendship and she slowly slipped out of my reach. I didn’t want to compete for her affection, I felt I shouldn’t have to. She was my friend to begin with.

We started to find fault in each other. I wanted her to spend time with me alone instead of parading her army of followers at every chance. She wouldn’t let them go or give me what I wanted. I was expected to fit in to her fashionable circle and bond equally with everyone. They weren’t my sort of girls. They were catty and aggressive, intimidating and bitchy. It was too much hard work when I just wanted an easy life or to grab a latte with my best friend.

There was never a moment alone together. Things were only worsening at home and all N ever talked about was music, clothes and men. I felt I could no longer speak openly when I was crying inside for support and help. She did not want to face my truths, that I was depressed and silently screaming to be heard. She brushed over any upsets changing the subject back to her own selfish life. I had become a problem to her.

Her friends mocked me too. N and I had become total opposites and they could not see why we were still in each other’s lives. She was heavily influenced by them and respected whatever they said to be true. I have no idea what kind of things they had said to her but they certainly had a negative impact.

Soon, I felt useless to her.

In August 2003, aged 21, I went on a holiday for two weeks to Corfu with her and four of her friends.

It would be the holiday from hell. A holiday that would destroy any hope of our seven year friendship lasting.

Keep reading to find out the future of our friendship.

It is only the great hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly, Can never know what true friendship means.
Charles Kingsley