July 10, 2012
A few months back, I had a few quid in ITUNES vouchers. When it comes to music I’m pretty eclectic. Listen to all sorts. And my collection of ‘Christian’ music – whatever that is – is pretty limited. So I asked for some suggestions/recommendations. One of the responses was to tell me about Joy Williams. The suggestion was her album ‘Genesis’. It is an amazing album.
The album has several incredibly powerful songs, and this is one of them. It so resonates with me deeply in many ways.
Here are the lyrics. Do they mean anything to you?
Hide by Joy Williams
To anyone who hides behind a smile
To anyone who holds their pain inside
To anyone who thinks they’re not good enough
To anyone who feels unworthy of love
To anyone who ever closed the door
Closed their eyes and locked themselves away
You don’t have to hide
You don’t have to hide anymore
You don’t have to face this on your own
You don’t have to hide anymore
So come out, come out, come out wherever you are
To anyone who’s tryin’ to cover up their scars
To anyone who’s ever made a big mistake
We’ve all been there, so don’t be ashamed
Come out, come out and join the rest of us
You’ve been alone for way too long
And if you feel like no one understands
Come to the One with scars on His hands
‘Cause He knows where you are, where you’ve been
His scars will heal you if you let Him
my love affair with twitter ended over the weekend. you might laugh, but seriously, since i joined twitter a few years ago I have had positive experiences. thats not to say i was naive enough not to think that people spouted whatever they wanted to on their feeds. however, this weekend when the news was bought that amy winehouse had passed away, it also bought a host of tweets and retweets that i found so sad to read. sad to see and be so aware of the lack of sympathy/knowledge/empathy that the life of a relatively young person, in fact, in the same age range as i am, is dead.
I am aware that some people may say, and have already been saying ‘but there are more important things happening in the world …’ well, its true that there are OTHER things happening in the world, but when did we as humans become limited to only caring about and being sad for one thing at a time? surely we have enough heart in us to be able to express emotion on alsorts at one time? people are suggesting that tweeting/news outriding the Norway attacks meant that people dont care about the horrific tragic events in that country also over the weekend. I beg to differ. I’d like to suggest that the norway incidences had been in the news long before the breaking new of any winehouse’s death was. however, since when did it become a competition? just because someone has tweeted a ‘sadness’ about the death of such a talented yet troubled person does not mean they dont care about africa/somalia, norway, hackgate or anything else thats been thrown out there.
there has been some vitriol out there the last few days. which has been so sad to read. and its tempted to me to blog my self on this topic. and as always, as i start to write i give you a disclaimer. i tell you i am not a professional, i have no qualifications and do not profess to have some ‘important’ view that people should listen to. I dont.
what i do offer, and what most of my writing does come from, is the experience of life. and of that i seem to have plenty. so i am told anyway. the experience of having a family member affected by the demon that is drug and alcohol abuse. i write from the experience of growing up around it, being surrounded by it, and having some of the days of my life that were supposed to be happy ones, unhappy. i write of the experience of the ‘phone call’ that russell brand was so eloquently writing about in his blog article today. the phone call you spend your life expecting, hoping that it is from the person themselves begging for help, wanting help to turn their life around, but mostly it being phone calls of devastation when you are told that person is n o longer alive. For me, so far the phone calls we have had are ones that have turned our ives upside down, the ones from the person who wants money, has no food, gets abusive, or calls to say he has been arrested/in hospital or the various other ones that have happened. It hasnt yet been the one to say they have died … but you spend your life expecting it.
so, i am sure when mitch winehouse and his family received ‘that phonecall’ although it was a shock because who would have expected it that particular time and day … maybe it was not so unexpected. it definitely wasnt in the public despite some peoples reactions. because drug and alcohol addiction is a killer. assuming thats what she has died of. because of course, as of yet, no one is quite sure, are they as no cause has been released? it would be fair to suspect it is very highly that drugs played a part however.
despite the horrible tweets i have read, i have also been humbled by others, for example @lesanto who is a local ish person to me, who i have yet to meet sadly, but who has also lived the life of waiting for ‘that phonecall’ and sadly who did receive it, the final one, to tell him the sad news of the death of his young son. do check out his twitter account @lesanto as he does have something to say on it all, and he knows.
as usual, i started out with an idea of what i wanted to write on this blog, and it seems to have changed as i ramble on. but i guess what i really wanted to suggest/ask/plead for is some compassion. some empathy. and for people who have no idea about it to stop being so callous and to maybe speak to people who have first hand experience.
amy winehouse did not deserve to die. personally i believe she was unwell. as unwell as someone with a mental health illness, or someone who has broken their leg and who needed crutches. who knows why she was so unwell. some one on facebook suggested it was because of her ‘poor background and upbringing’. that tends to often be a response doesnt it … the ‘oh she didnt have a chance’ but as far as i have read, she didnt have that poor an upbringing. she got through stage school didnt she? now i am not professing to know much about her background, but i think its a pretty poor show when it is assumed that someone is an addict ‘just because of their upbringing’. i am sure many people would back me up on disputing that.
as i have written before, about mental health illness being so indiscrimate, i truly believe addiction can affect anyone also, and anytime for any reason. the rich, the poor, the common, the posh, the black, the white, the famous, the every day guy, the employed, the unemployed, married, single, loved, unloved. it can hit anyone.
and it is not just the person who it ruins the life of. its the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, the friends.
the people who are there for every minute of the trauma, the people who are there to take the abuse often, or to desperately try and get them into rehabs, help, support, the people who pick up the pieces every time, the people who dearly love them, but who wake up every day wondering if this will be the day when it all ends.
some tweets suggest that, for example, no one cared about amy winehouse. i dont think that could be further from the truth. as her song would suggest, they did try to make her go to rehab. and she did actually. but it just wasnt meant to be.
a few years ago my mother told me about the time she sent my older brother off to a different country for a ‘backpacking’ time. some would suggest that was a bad decision, but she was at the end of her tether. not getting any help or support from anywhere, no funds for rehab, no funds for anything really, despite pleading, and someone in a different country who could look out for him. it was a gamble, he would either go out there and make the most of it, or he wouldnt. my mother waved him off at the air port, and expected to never see him again. we are lucky, we did see him again. and do see him again. but there often isnt a day that goes by where we/i wonder if we will get ‘that phone call’.
there is so much more i could write about the effects of drusg and alcohol on a person, and on a family, but it would turn into an essay which isnt what i want.
one of the twitter responses of late has been ‘they should just kick the habit’ … which is said by people who truly have no understanding of ‘the habit’ or just quite how it affects life/lives.
i think what i want is to ask people to have some more compassion for those who have such broken and hurting lives for whatever reason. please. and to not publish comments that are hurtful when you know nothing abotut what you talk about.
RIP Amy Winehouse, Nimai Le Santo and all the other victims of substance abuse, and thoughts and prayers with those and families suffering from it today x
April 11, 2011
I have no idea where this post is going, but, anyway …
my life is full of milestones. lots of them. lots of ‘its been x amount of years since this … or that’
today is one of those milestone days.
its been 3 years since i tried to take my own life. and failed miserably (well, at the time it was miserable failure)
i got my dates a little confused last week, with something else, but having clarified with my faithful old journal, today is the day. 3 years ago. wow. where have those 3 years gone? sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday, sometimes it feels like it was a long time ago.
and what an immense journey it has been. the journey beforehand was immense anyway, so i guess its been extra immense since.
Sometimes i try to put into words just how incredibly hard the last 5 years of my life have been. And i am never quite sure if i have managed to do it justice, or whether or not i just come across like some whining woman. I hope i dont. Something I think about quite often is how 5 years ago I had no idea how life was going to roll for the next set of 5 years. Same with 10 years ago. Who knew that 10 years ago the roller coaster ride of my life would bring me to this point.
Who could ever have imagined that when you are already at the very bottom, end of the rope, struggling to hang on anyway, that life could get 100 % worse. That one moment life meant one thing, and the next moment it meant another. I was already unwell, struggling with childhood memories, abuse, self harm, faith and God, big time, and then came the assault.
I wrote in a blog once, this blog, some time ago, about feeling like a glass vase, being broken in to pieces. And then each piece of glass being broken even more, into tiny shards. The smallest bits, until there were no bits left, just dust, sprinkled all over the floor, for people to trample on. Thats how i felt. It was all too much. Too too much.
i had to do something. to get out of it. on reflection, i now feel guilty. i didnt leave anything, for anyone. my head was in a spin. i was being irrational. even to this day, some very close family members do not know, because it would hurt them too much to.
I could not see any other way, i felt like life would be better with out life. i already had no life, so what was the point in breathing? I felt like everyone elses life would be better without me in it. i was too messed up, too complicated, too many issues, too much hurt/pain, too much for anyone to do anything with.
so i tried to die.
it didnt work. now i say that thankfully! it didnt work. i do believe here by the grace of god i stand (the story of how i was found is a whole other blog for another time)
thing is, its fair to say, despite it all, there were people who were able to do something with me. people who loved me. who cared.
who helped me pick myself up off the floor, and slowly turned the dust back into shards, and then into fragments. Ever so slowly and lovingly teaching me that life can be worth something. that life IS worth something. that I am worth something.
its been a long ride, and one that isnt over yet. but 3 years on and life is slowly turning. I am learning to live with myself, and some of the pain. I am learning to laugh again, to smile again, to have fun again. i am learning that I am never going to forget the past, but there is a way, and a time to move on from it. to not be beholden to it. that doesnt mean i dont have my dark days. i do. nights when i cant sleep because the nightmares have kept me awake, or i am so restless because something has triggered a memory. however, the intensity of it all isnt as intense. I dont want to die because of it!
the last thing to say that i am learning to do again, is to love and accept love. i am learning to love people and life again and accept that people and life love me.
I would like to say such a deep huge and heartfelt thank you to all of the people involved in my life the last however many years.
You have all had a part to play in the fact I am still here now. Thankyou.
thank you for everything you have done and do for me. you really have and do make a difference.
lots of love
March 1, 2011
I have been reading an old hand written diary. One I wrote roughly three years ago. In about 6 weeks time, I will be celebrating a 3 year milestone in my life, and so I thought it time to read back at how life was three years ago. How I felt, and what I was writing. Three years ago, I was a mess. A bigger one than I sometimes am now! Life was a big struggle, in fact, everything had collapsed. The letter below, I wrote, to my biological father. I wrote it the same weekend I decided I couldn’t live any more. Its very poignant to read back. To read this back. Its also poignant for me to publish it. For some of you to read. Because it signifies moving on. For me anyway. A couple of years ago, about a year or so after I wrote this, I met him. For the first time in many years. It was an incredibly emotional experience. However everything I’ve written below still stands. I never sent the letter. He has never read it. Maybe if I was to write another one now, it would be a little different. Life has changed over three years, however the hurts are often still around somewhere nearby. They never go far.
I have so much inside of me, that is never going to be said to you. So much that I want to say and so much that I just want to put at your feet. But I never will. I will probably never let you know how much you hurt me when you walked out that day. When you left that day, I was only young. A small child, but do you what one of my earliest chilldhood memories was? You. Walking out. I even remember which way your huge motorbike turned as you went out of the driveway. I have never been able to admit out loud, in voice how much that actually hurts. How much it hurts to have no happy memories of you. The summer holidays we had to endure with you were hell. Did you know that? Did you know that when you were beating me that day, in that room, my brother, your son was learning from you. Do you know that he then went on to copy you? When you were not there. Do you know that? Do you give a damn? I think not. Do you know how every word you spoke made me cry inside. Every single nasty word. Yeah, I smiled, at you and everyone else, laughed it off. Promised to try and change. Be a better, different person. But I did wonder whether even being a different little girl would have made you happy. I tried so hard to be everything you wanted me to be but every time I reached a goal you would knock it down. And how do you still have the ability to do that? Even now? Even now, while I am an adult you have this power to knock me down to the ground with your words. Do you know how much my heart used to cry because you were not there? And then how much my heart used to cry when you were there, for those 2 weeks of the year because of your behaviour and action. Did it ever occur to you how much harm it did for me to stand at that window that day while you had my brother in the garden? Did it occur to you what you were doing to my brother and I? I doubt it. How could you.
Will you ever know how much pain I then had to endure with my brother? My darling brother. Who couldnt cope with your behaviour towards him. Who turned to drink and drugs to blot out the memories of you. Who do you then think took the blows when his anger let out? That would have been me. So, I was at school, and being bullied there, and then I would go home and be bullied there too. Bullied at home is probably a tame way of saying what happened. Bruised, beaten and hurt are prbably the words that describe it best. Will you ever know how hard it was to live at home, taking it from my brother, as he let rip? And where do you think he learnt/got that from? Where did he learn to hit, smack, punch, burn, taunt and spit out words that will probably never go away from my memory?
Do you know how hard I tried to please you? How hard I tried to please everyone? And did it ever work? You will never know that as I sit writing this, the tears fall. The tears I have never cried. The tears you believe show weakness. I have spent so long being strong, not crying, because what would it do? Change everything? Make it all better? I doubt that very much. But does anyone care? Do you? Again, I think not. I usually doubt you even loved us at all. Maybe we just an inconvenience.
I dont know what it is I have to do to make you proud. To make you love me. Sometimes I ask myself why it even matters. Why you even matter. And I wish I knew. I wish I could explain.
I have never said this to anyone, and I don’t know if I ever will be able to say it to your face, but do you know how angry and frustrated I sometimes feel. Sad, angry and hurt with you, at you and your behaviour. Why couldn’t you or don’t you love us? I know I am not good enough but isn’t a fathers love suppose to not be about that? Were you not supposed to love us no matter what? Why do you disappear from my life for months on end, and then when I am finally coming to terms with you not being in contact you ring or email. Sometimes I long and long to hear from you, but then when I do I cry.