January 24, 2013
I’ve been trying to write this for weeks. In fact since the 15th November. Since I read the ‘Paedogeddon: of God and Monsters’ written by Sara Kewly Hyde and published on Threads here;
I’ve been trying to respond since then. And I have written and rewritten this blog several times now. And then I decided I would write it, and try and put down in words some of my personal thoughts. The thoughts I had initially.
Because however hard I try to come up with something deep and meaningful, I am not sure I can. However hard I try to come up with something that is ‘seen’ as ‘theological’ I am not sure I can. In fact I am sure I cant.
I’ve discovered all I can actually come up with is my own personal, deep down, gut instinct response to what Sara wrote.
I have been challenged. Big time. I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Since I first read what she had to say, it has played on my mind, and I have thought about it at least once a day, often more.
I am a survivor. I grew up being abused by the people who should have been caring for me. By the people I should have been able to look up to. The man who should have been a father to me abused me. I was abused by someone else who was unable himself to deal with being abused.
I also, as a young adult, in my early twenties was assaulted one day, in the street, just down the road from where I was living at the time. When that happened, that day, my life changed. Forever. Yet another thing was taken away from me.
I had nothing left. It pushed me to the brink of death, because just over a year later, I would try to kill myself (here by the grace of God and all that).
Sometimes I am able to eloquently describe and talk about what it is like to be abused, and raped. And sometimes I am not. Sometimes I am able to put into words the pain, shame, fear and torture that fill your mind. It is torment.
However hard you try to wash, scrub, cry, scream, cut and plead away the pain, the memories, the nightmares, they don’t go.
They will never go. They will always be there. And even though in time, you may be able to try to start living a life, a different life again, those memories will always exist. Sometimes they are more painful than others. But a day does not go by, when some memory surfaces. Somewhere, sometime during a normal day, something will trigger a memory. It could be a smell, a word. Something. Anything.
But what I have learnt as I grow stronger (and I shall be forever grateful to those people who support me in this journey) that life can be lived, and lived well. And that is the journey I am on, learning to live life, and live it well.
I am learning to laugh again, to smile, to be loved, and to love.
And it is going well. I think.
But then every now and then something comes along that halts you. Makes you stop. Makes you remember even more intensely than you already do. Makes you reflect more so than ever before. And makes everything so loud once again in your head.
That has been my experience since the Jimmy Savile expose happened. Since it was revealed that he was a predatory child abuser, and that his victims could be as many as 500 and counting.
Since everyone has been talking about child abuse, and rape. Since it has not left the front page, and Internet, the conversation in the street. Since the topic has been everywhere. And that is why I wrote this:
To put into words, and convey some of my thoughts and feelings that had been aroused so much more than they usually are.
However, reading Sara’s Paedogeddon article made me realise that my response was just that. It was my response. It was the emotional and personal response of someone who has experienced the pain of abuse.
And this is where the clanger kicks in for me: it was NOT a Christian response. And it was not a response that considered the offender. In fact I never really thought about it from those points of views. I never really thought about what it means to be a Christian and a survivor, to the point where I have to then think about how I think about and respond to people who rape and abuse. Not properly anyway. Not deeply. Not with any meaning.
Until I read Sara’s thoughts. Her article was so well written. And it touched on topics I have not wanted to, have not been able to, and have tried to ignore.
But I have no choice but to. I have no choice, as a Christian but to confront these issues.
So how would I respond? If I was face to face, or in the position where I had to be with or engage with an offender.
And this is where I come a little stuck. This is where my head goes round and round in circles, and this is where I have written this blog so many times, and still not managed to write a coherent answer.
The best I can offer is I don’t know.
The best I can offer, after chatting about this to many people, including close friends, other survivors, and my minister is this: I don’t know.
The truth is, I really know how I would respond to someone who I knew was or had been a child abuser, or a rapist. I don’t know how I would love them, or even if I could. I don’t know how I would respond to someone sitting in front of me in church, who was a known sex offender.
Maybe I would want to hit them. Maybe I would want to scream at them. Maybe I would want to walk away and never have to think about them again. Maybe.
Or maybe I would want to talk to them. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t.
But I ask myself this: do I have a place myself, a place in a Christian community if I am not willing to accept this line that Sara wrote:
‘The church needs to be a place of acceptance and healing for the abuser and the abused’.
But it is true. Painfully true.
If I talk about, and expect, and desire, and wish to see His church, THE church understand, accept and have a place for a survivor of abuse, then surely I have to accept that it is also a place for an offender. I have to accept that there can be/is/has to be a place for them too. That they also need to be part of a community that will accept, love and support them. I have to accept that they are people too.
She says this
‘There has to be grace for those who have committed even the most atrocious, life wrecking crimes , and those cripples by the effects of these crimes, otherwise the cross is a nonsense’.
As a survivor, and a Christian I HAVE TO BELIEVE that Jesus came for the people who abused and raped me too. That He came for people who abuse and rape others. Otherwise, as Sara put it so well ‘the cross is a nonsense’. And deep down, no matter what state my relationship with God is, I know it is not nonsense.
But that is big. That is big stuff to get my head around. But I am trying to. Slowly.
But how does this actually play out?
And again, that’s where I come to ‘I don’t know’.
I could give you the answers I’m ‘meant’ to. The answers where I say I would greet them with open arms, welcome them into my community, my family, and love them. But whether I would or could, I don’t know?
I could give you the answers that I have thought about for the last few weeks, that have gone round and round in my head, the ones where I have tried to be deep and super spiritual, but actually those answers wouldn’t be being true to myself. Because the answer I have is I don’t know. I simply don’t know.
But I do accept that there has to be a place for them. The church has to have a place for them. Because deep down, deep down where it hurts so painfully, I know Jesus has a place for them. He loves them, like He loves me.
Knowing that is not easy. Trust me. I don’t say it in a blasé way.
But it’s the truth.
I have to accept that these people have the right to be engaged with, supported and part of Gods Kingdom, like I do.
But I also have to accept that I do not have to everything and anything to everyone and anyone.
When I threw this topic out on to twitter a few weeks ago, I had a chat with Jon Beech who you can find here: @_jonb
I asked something on the lines of, how as a survivor should I/could I engage with offenders. His response startled me. I was not expecting it.
He asked back whether I should have to.
His point was: I cannot, and not have to engage with absolutely anyone and everyone I come across. I do not have to be all things to all people. I can’t be.
So I have to accept my limitations. Whilst accepting child abusers and offenders may have a place in my community, and probably already do, that I just don’t know about I have to accept I don’t HAVE to engage with them. And that unless God somehow struck me with lightening and convicted me in such a way that made clear that I was meant to, that actually I can keep myself safe.
At the top of Sara’s article on Threads, it says this in a blue box ‘ who has all the answers? Not us, that’s for sure. But ignoring the questions doesn’t make them go away’.
And that’s the truth. Who has all the answers? I certainly don’t, but the questions will not go away. So we must keep discussing them. We must keep talking about them. And we must be honest.
So, I bring this to an end, probably without writing about what I started out intending to. I am a Queen of tangents.
But rest assured, these topics are ones that roll around my head on a daily basis, and are never too far away from my thoughts, so if you ever want to join in the conversation with me, feel free to contact me. I’m open to all thoughts.
October 31, 2012
Most days I sign into here and I often glance over how people have ‘found’ my blog. Its often by googling something, and then they land here. And often the things people type are relating to surviving abuse, depression, church, mental health, self harm amongst other things.
Sometimes people land at Fragmentz by typing something like ‘is there hope …’. Is there hope for … a self harmer? A depressive? A survivor?
My response to those people is YES. LOTS. And I really hope by stumbling across this blog that those people who are typing those things are able to find hope in this space.
And that those people are also able to find hope in the life they are living.
Because there is hope. Maybe it is small grains of sand shaped hope, and maybe it might be something bigger. Maybe it is something very quiet, or something very loud.
But however big or small, quiet or loud there IS hope.
Whatever it is you are facing, whatever storm you are in the middle of, keep hanging on to hope.
If you are unwell with depression or other mental health issues: there IS hope.
If you a survivor of abuse and/or rape: there IS hope.
If you battle with self harm: there IS hope.
If you struggle with suicidal ideations: there IS hope.
If you are fighting to stay above the water, for whatever reason: there IS hope.
I believe this for you, if you are a Christian. I believe this for you if you are not a Christian.
However some of the searches people have typed and found my blog with, related to battling issues and Jesus. I truly believe Jesus still loves you, whether you are depressed or not. Whether your self harm or not. Whether you battle with God or not. Whether you are a survivor or not.
He loves you. And has a hope and a future for you.
One of the most important bible verses when it comes to hope, and my own life, is this:
Jeremiah 29 verse 11 – ’I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for’ (The Message)
Please know, wherever you are, whoever you are and whoever you believe in,
you are precious.
You are valuable.
You are beautiful.
There is a hope.
There is a future.
As I sat writing this blog, the last verse of a poem I wrote called ‘the whisper’ came into my mind. It is this :
As the years pass by, the scars never go, but begin to get lighter
She sits down, and watches life go by, and the sun getting brighter
And as she confronts all of the things in her life she fears
In the stillness the previous whisper of ‘I love you’ is all she hears.
I dont pretend there is an easy way for life to happen. There isnt. Life is tough. But please know and live in hope that brighter days can exist. That even though the memories never go, they can be lighter, things can be brighter.
Please know you precious, your are valuable, you are beautiful.
You are loved. Loved. LOVED.
October 13, 2012
The most talked about topic of discussion in my work place for the last few weeks has been Jimmy Savile. In fact, the most talked about ‘current affairs’ topic I have talked about full stop has been Jimmy Savile. It is what everyone is talking about. Even sat waiting in the Dr’s surgery earlier for my flu jab, were two little ladies sat discussing it. Discussing the ‘story’. The accusations. The revelations of the alleged, but now as the Met seem to suggest, not so alleged abuse. And those revelations have been coming out, thick and fast and as the days go by they seem to increase. So I thought I would try and coherently type out a few thoughts. I have had some passionate online conversation in various places, including Twitter, and have heard many many views/opinions spoken. Some sensible ones, some sad ones, some shocking ones and some unbelievable ones. But opinions never the less.
As always, when I write, I will say I am not an expert. Because I am not. Nor am I anyone who many people take any notice of. I am just a little drop in a big ocean who is finding her way through life and who likes to write as a way to process and say what I am thinking. What I have to say on this issue may not be relevant to anyone/anything. In fact it is most likely not to be. That is fine.
As said above, I’m not an expert. And thats true. And I start with saying that, but I don’t always start with what I am. And what I am is a survivor. A survivor of childhood abuse, from people within my family, and people around me. I was seriously bullied at secondary school at the same time as trying to deal with being abused as a primary school aged child. As a teen I was also, on top of the other abuse as a younger child and bullying, physically (violently) abused by another member of family. So I am a survivor. I am also a survivor of a totally unrelated ‘assault’ as an adult, one day whilst walking down a street I often walked down, in daylight.
I am a survivor of ‘trying to die’ because roughly 5 years ago life was so hard and tough that I felt there was no other option or way out. I am a survivor of hard knocks. I am a survivor who is learning to live again, learning to laugh again, learning to love again. And learning to be loved. Its a long process and I am always and forever grateful to those people who are in my life/choose to stay in my life and continue the process with me. Its not an easy one sometimes.
I am learning to live in hope. I am also learning that I can be a voice. Someone who can speak out. Someone who can tweet, write, talk, share and hopefully raise an awareness of what ‘surviving’ is like, whether that is surviving abuse, or surviving mental health illness. And as I continue to learn to keep growing as a person, and keep living in hope, I am learning to use the voice that I have. To speak out, to be that person who can potentially make a difference to someone, anyone (this is why I am not so worried about blog ‘stats’ – because if one person feels they are not alone by my sharing on here, then it is worth it). I am learning to, want to and try to be someone who IS able to speak out, on behalf of those who are not. And those who are not able to are many. More than you can ever imagine. And I used to be one of them.
One of the main reasons I got to the point of being suicidal (aside from the abuse) was the fact that I was unable to talk. To speak to anyone. To let anyone know the pain I was in. The hurt. The anger. The shame. The guilt. How could I possibly sit in front of someone, who would potentially judge, potentially tell me not to be silly, potentially tell me to ‘not worry about it’, to ‘get over it’, to ‘forget about it’. How could I, as a child possibly tell the people around me what was being done to me. The very person who was hurting me was an ‘outstanding member of the community, with an exemplary military service record and so on …’.
So, it has been interesting, and quite hard at times to hear peoples views of the victims of Jimmy Savile. The Jimmy Savile who for years was ‘held in high esteem’ for his charity work, his brilliant television career and other things. (If you have no idea who I am actually on about, and the kind’s of work/volunteer/fundraising stuff he did, google him). The Met Police released a statement in the last few days calling him a predatory child abuser. That gives the impression that there is no doubt that he carried out these alleged crimes. I can not possibly write all the accusations that have been revealed. The fine details of the case. But if you want to know more, just google, or go to one of the UK’s newspaper sites. Or the BBC. Its all there. The whole story gets more and more shocking and sadder as the days go by.
There has been much conversation about the ‘insitutions’ that Jimmy Savile was involved with. For example his involvement and work for the BBC. The hospitals, and schools that he fundraised for/volunteered with on his days off. Much of the earlier conversations I was involved with/heard was a conversation of disbelief. ‘What? Jimmy Savile? No! Don’t be silly. Not Jimmy Savile. Not the children’s/teen’s programme presenter. Not the fundraiser. Not the charity worker. Don’t be silly. Anyway, even if he did do something ‘dubious’ they (the victims) probably asked for it anyway’.
When I first, very first heard this break, I was horrified. Shocked, in a non shocked way. Shocked, because as a child, I idolised Jimmy Savile. The weird guy who wore odd shell suits, on TV, fixing up the world for children. I idolised him, and what he did. I wanted to write to him. For him to come and ‘fix’ my world for me. To ‘fix’ my problems. To ‘fix’ anything I wanted. I wanted him to be my second Grandad. He was amazing. As I grew up, got older, I became aware of him being an eccentric old man. I would never have thought ‘Jimmy Savile’ and ‘child abuser’ in the same sentence. Never in a million years. Yet, when I heard the news, at the same time as being shocked, I was not shocked. Because it is all so plausible. All so real. All so credible. And whats more, people who abuse can be anyone. Absolutely anyone. Including the powerful, rich and famous. In fact, those people are able to better disguise what they are doing. Better able to keep it away from the public, from prying eyes, and much more able to ‘pay people off’ if anything ever was muttered that was not favourable to them.
So, I fully believe it. I fully believe the victims. Because they need believing. They need, for once, at last, someone to say ‘yes, we will stand with you’.
Two of the ‘views’ I have heard a lot of this week have been ‘well why didn’t they report it back then’. ‘Why didn’t they just say ‘no”.
Because as the case has continued on, it would appear that some of these people were braver than I ever was as a child. They did report it. And yet were still ignored. The power and money of Jimmy Savile proved more than anyone was able to contend with. So what does that say to the others? Those who were unable to (understandably) find that voice to speak out, what does that say to them? Nothing whatsoever encouraged those who were unable to initally speak out, then to do so.
As for the second point. Anyone who utters the words ‘why didn’t they just say no’ truly does not have any understanding of how abuse works. Its not so easy as ‘just saying no’. ‘No’ does not work. ‘No’ has no power when you are being raped.
I have been quite shocked at times to hear the vitriol towards the victims. Another question thrown out a lot has been ‘well why did they wait until he was dead’.
My response? – They didn’t. There are records, investigations, programmes made that were shelved. Police starting to look into things and then mysteriously stopping. They did not ‘just wait until he was dead’. Many of them tried to speak out before he was dead.
From what I have read and seen, and understand, Mark Williams Thomas who is a child protection expert, and private investigator was the guy who ‘heard a rumour’ soon after JS’s death, and began to look into it. He then made a documentary, after speaking to one person he knew of. That then led him to the many other woman. My understanding, of the moment, in the documentary where he said ‘he then was lead to other victims’ suggests that he dug. He approached people. He made it clear what he was doing. And this gave courage and power to those people who have been victims of JS.
Imagine you are sitting in your school class, and you get called out by your head teacher. There is someone well known in the town, lets say the Mayor for example, who just happens to be rich, famous, and very well known and popular. They take you in to a room, and rape you. Abuse you. They are twice the size of you, and although you do say no, you scream, you kick, you try to get away they are able to overpower you. Hold you down. And they tell you that if you ever utter a word to anyone, you and your family will be made to suffer. Killed. Or you will be ignored. Not believed, and your life will be hell. They tell you that you are a slut, you asked for it, and deserve it. They tell you that is what people will say and think if you breathe a word. Imagine being so traumatised by what has happened, and so scared of it happening again that you have to do what they say. You have no choice. You are so ashamed of yourself, you spend your evenings scrubbing your skin, trying to get the dirt out of your body, carving your body to release some of the feelings inside of you. Your life is never going to be the same again. You turn on the television, and on the news there you see your head teacher and the Mayor. The Mayor has just fundraised and donated millions of pounds for a new tech facility at the school. The crowds are there. Its amazing. Everyone is talking about how fantastic these two people are. But you, you know different. You know what they did to you. But who do you tell? What will they do to you if they find out? Who is going to believe you? You have no idea that they are doing this to several girls in your class. Because, they like you, fear these two big powerful men. They too, like you dare not speak a word, because, hey, who would believe a 14 year old teenager who has been in a little trouble, like any teenager.
So you don’t say anything. Neither do the other girls. No one does. They get away with it for years, while you some how have to work out how to live. You get a job, start a family, live life. But the memories never go away. And then one day, in the paper you find out the Mayor has died (the Head teacher did years back). And you hear a little rumour that someone is talking about … apparently they used to rape young people. And then you realise this thing is so much bigger than anything you ever realised. And as an adult, who now has a voice, who now has nothing to fear because they are dead are able to, for the first time in your life speak out.
You realise there are many more people out there like you. More victims. And you are able to find courage to say what happened to you. To back others up. To add to the chorus of people speaking out, raising awareness.
Imagine that is you.
Would you have acted any differently?
I dont know if you would have.
I dont know if I would have.
But I certainly don’t blame or think that the victims were wrong to not be able to speak out back then.
And we must remember those who did. And who were ignored.
Which is what I think this current investigation will start revealing more information on.
WHY were those people who did speak out ignored?
WHY were people who were in positions of authority back then, and then continued to be in high powered places not say anything.
WHY was this allowed to happen?
So many questions. So many thoughts. So many views and opinions and so so much more that I could write about. Discuss. Talk about. Mention.
But what I would like to end with, for now, as I may well come back to this again sometime, is please don’t forget the victims. In all of the talk, the chit chat, please don’t forget that out there are people, woman, and maybe men who are victims.
People who have had what can only be described as the worse possibly life changing abuse perpetrated against them.
Whether we think they ‘should have spoken out sooner’ or whether we accept that they were unable to for the various reasons outlined roughly above, and the many other reasons that I probably have not even touched upon, whether we think they are ‘out for the money (which incidentally is going to be extraordinarily hard and very doubtful for them to get) or whether we think they are very brave people who have found strength because of circumstance, because of the fact that they are no longer afraid, and because other people are speaking out they are able to voice their experiences, please remember they are the victims.
They are the victims who, at the time and most likely for many years after felt so alone, now have found out they are with others. Others are with them. They are not alone.
Let us stand and let them know that. Because being a survivor can be a very lonely place to be.
My friend, Concetta who is an amazing Mosaic artist has a wonderful website at glitteringshards.com and she also wrote a blog on this, which was very moving, tear inducing and beautiful. Please read it heres if you have the chance.
Please know, if you are a survivor, you are not alone. You are not guilty. It was not your fault.
May 6, 2012
Spent some time last night reading my old blogs, something I do occasionally. And I also read an old journal, that I kept, mostly in 2008, and around the months when I was at the bottom of the bottom. Below is an entry I found and read. I spent a long time chatting to my beautiful Godfather on the phone yesterday, and he is only one of two people I know in my life now, who knew/knows my biological father. Its always thought provoking to discuss my biological father. Below is an entry I wrote, in 2008 about an incident when I was young. In fact, one of the tamer times really. My father was an abusive bully, who ultimately broke the lives of the people around him, and the lives of his children. Sadly my brother was to then take on the traits of him, as he grew up, and only knew how to deal with the pain with anger himself. That left me being being in the position of being abused by father, many different times, and in very many different ways, but then as I grew up, also by my brother.
Life really is like a box of chocolates isn’t it? You never know what your going to get, or be given.
Most of the time we were at house ‘on holiday’. I dont really remember exactly how old we were but one week we spent most of the time in the garage with the babysitter, playing games. Or my stepmm would look after us. I think I was perhaps 10 years old and remember missing my mum so much. We were the other side of the country from her. I would cry. At some point I must have done this in front of my step mum, for her to simply say ‘wait until your Dad gets homes’.
When he got home, I was hiding upstairs. I dont know where my brother was. I remember him shouting my name whilst he sat on the the double bed in the spare room. He has taken off his belt and shoes, and I knew I had to go and endure the beating. It was better to go, and get it over with then endure ‘the chase’ so to speak, because then it would only have been worse.
Apparently I had upset my stepmum and disrespected her by missing my real mum. While being beaten reasonably black and blue with his belt and steel capped military shoes he kept telling me to never dare to cry again.
Maybe thats why over the years, crying became such a problem. I never dared to cry in front of them again, and in fact for many years never dared to cry again in front of anyone. In fact I never really cried at all full stop.
That same week my brother and I went skating around the base my father lived on. At the top of this huge hill were the armed guarded gates, and we’d always go to the top to say hello to the soldiers and show off our passes that said we were allowed to be on the site. Maybe we broke the boredom in their day, I hope so, but I know we enjoyed those moments. We would then skate down the hill as fast as we possibly could. Being a child at the time, the hill felt huge (it probably wasnt that good) and it was great fun.
Except for this one time, when I fell. Just by accident, it was no ones fault. Least of all my brothers. But he got the blame. He was made to sit on a chair, when we got back home, in the middle of garden whilst my father towered over him, shouting and berating him. This huge man standing over a very young, skinny, pale faced and scared child. I remember watching what happened, and yelling at the window, even banging at it. But I had been locked inside the house. What could I do? I dont know, but I should have done something.
I had dinner with my mum tonight, and during the conversation I asked her if my Dad had ever hit her. She said no. So I asked her why she thought he did us. Her reply was ‘because you couldn’t hit back’.
I believe my father did what he did to us, because exactly as my mum said, we couldnt fight back. Whatever he did to us, whatever type of abuse he endured on us, he was always the stronger person.
But I am an adult now too. And I can have the ability to be strong too. I loved a quote by Gibbs from NCIS the other night where someone said ‘I am not a victim’, he replied ‘No, your not, Your a survivor’.
And so through it all, I am starting to learn and believe that actually, despite his abuse, the bullying at school, the pain inflicted on my by my brother, the subsequents depression/selfharm and pain I inflicted on myself and then the assault in London which finally finished me off and led to what some would say a bit of a breakdown, that I am surviving. And I can survive.
One of the most important lessons over the last few years I have learned, with regards to faith and God, was given to me by someone who I love dearly, and whose family have accepted me, and love me as I am. Not long after trying to kill myself, I spent some time staying with them, and we sat in the garden one evening and their garden table, talking about the universe. I was so so angry with everything and everyone, and my view at that point of God was that he was a sadistic Nazi (I know I know, I was very angry at that time!) … and I was also frustrated and fed up with people/Christians who would say ‘well, you know God has intended all of this for good to come out of it’. Honestly? Well if you look at it that way, or think off it that way, then how can you not think God is cruel? He isnt this kind loving thing if he deliberately causes alsorts of unknown pain on someone just so good can eventually come out of it can he.
Anyway, Andrew told me this … God never intended the bad to happen. It was not His plan. In the world, or in people lives. But what He can do, and does so is somehow weave the chaos and the hurt, and eventually make something good out of it.
I was so profoundly affected by that, and its stayed with me for a long time, and been a huge part in bringing me back to a real sense of God in my life.
When I first started blogging, years and years ago, my very first blog was quite a faith blinded one. So full of life and a love for God – who was to know at that point my world would be turned upside down, and the very things then I knew i believe in would be broken. I for sure didnt.
But right now, it feels like I’m coming back full circle, but as a very different person. My faith is growing. Deepening. Through it all, even the times when I could barely utter a word to God, or when I did they were just screaming profanities, I never didnt believe in God.
So here I am. A survivor. A survivor who can now cry (a lot at times) but who is learning to live and love life, and God, again.
April 11, 2012
Its quite a strange feeling … being alive when your not supposed to be.
I guess some folk would say I am meant to be but the way I see it is I’m not.
Four years ago I took an overdose. People would say that people who take overdoses are not serious, and are only crying out for help. Maybe that is so for others but it isn’t for me. I truly wanted to die. And as far as I was concerned I had taken enough stuff, in a big enough cocktail to ensure that I did die. I didn’t plan on surviving. Its fair to say my state of mind was a bit irrational. Thinking back now, my mind was screwed (it still is) but back then it was screwed in a much bigger way.
It is really hard to describe the day, four years ago. In fact a lot of it is blurry. I just remember being so desperate for the pain to go, that I could not see any other way out. My life was never meant to have worked out the way it had.
Stuff that had happened was never meant to happen. When I was a very small child, I could never have imagined what was going to be ahead of me. When I was a child the things that happened to me that were wrong were normal. Wasn’t everyone abused? (It wasn’t until I got older did I realize the answer to that is no).
I have written before, a few times about the darkness, the pain, the hurt, the desperation. The no way out and no where to go feeling. The heart wrenching all hope is lost feeling. Because that is how is felt. I had nothing. I was nothing.
So what was the point in being alive? I didn’t see any …
So I tried to kill myself.
Imagine the feeling of waking up, a bit hazy, dazy and realizing that instead of being somewhere else (I had no idea where I was going to end up, I think my head thought it would be a hotter kind of hell than living, because that would be what I deserved) however even that was the better option than actually being alive (does not make much sense really when you think about it does it, but then I didn’t (still don’t often) make much sense) …
I was devastated to be alive.
But that was four years ago.
I keep saying four, because I cant quite believe it to be honest. Four years! It feels like it has been a long long four years, yet it also feels like it has flown by.
The biggest thing I cant quite believe, and would never have imagined in a million days would be the change since then … how life has moved on.
Yesterday I tweeted something on the lines of ‘it’s the day before the day I tried to kill myself four years ago and instead of smoking, drinking and self harming I’m getting ready to go to Spring Harvest – a Christian conference’ – (obviously it was a bit shorter on twitter!)
I have the honour and privilege of being at Spring Harvest this year, and I’m really thankful to the people who have made it happen. And as I was getting packed to come, I was thinking about the fact its been over a year since I last cut, I don’t smoke any more, and I have the odd drink, but that’s it.
Last year I arrived at Spring Harvest on the back of a bet with someone who reckoned I wouldn’t survive a week at a Christian conference, despite having already been to a few. Not only did I survive the week, I think I survived it quite well.
Everything I thought it was going to be, it wasn’t. The fights I was looking for didn’t happen, and I went away from the week realizing that actually, despite my protests and issues sometimes I am a Christian. Yes, I am a Christian.
I am still trying to work my way round, understand the true meaning of Gods love, and really get to a place of belonging. There is a heck of a lot that I don’t understand – a heck of a lot … but I am firmly on the journey of trying to understand. I still need to learn more about why I am here, what the meaning of my life is and why the stuff that has happened happened. I know that there are no easy answers to any of these questions, and that they are things that I am going to have to explore.
This afternoon, instead of going to the seminar that I had planned on going to, I went and spent an hour chatting to someone from the Pastoral Team here at SH. It was something I was a bit hesistant about, but something that I felt my soul stir into doing and I’m pleased I did. I felt like I was given a little clarity to my thoughts and feelings about today. And how God fits in to it all. Because He does.
I know that process isn’t going to suddenly become easy, but then I’m used to not easy.
But it’s a process that has now started.
One of my new years resolutions for 2012 was to spend more time concentrating and focusing on the future. Thinking about where it is heading, trying to ascertain the pathway I’m meant to be on, career wise, spiritually and personally.
And so, I supposed you might read this blog and think it is not doing that. Which is true, kind of.
I want to keep moving on wards, forwards, and part of that process is to process the past. I know I have spent some time talking about the past, four years ago in fact, I feel I have to. I have to mark it somehow. And the marking it somehow is more about celebrating the fact that I am alive . Its about remembering where I was, thinking about the years and the journey I have been on because that’s all so important when it comes to thinking about the future, my future.
I feel like I am marking it by writing this blog. Short of shouting out to everyone here, at Spring Harvest that It has been four years and I want to celebrate life right now the only way I know how to mark it is to write.
IT HAS BEEN FOUR YEARS, AND I AM ALIVE, AND THAT IS GOOD!
What has happened is a part of me. I can not erase the past. I can not erase the scars that my body bares, and I can not erase the torture that sometimes haunts my mind.
But I can use some of those experiences, exactly how I don’t know yet.
But I want to look to the future.
I want to talk about it. I want to share my story.
I want people to know my story because more importantly I want others to know they can survive too, and that can happen by me sharing my story.
March 15, 2012
Just a little poem of sorts, written as my own thoughts to the #ididnotreport hashtag and tweets that flooded twitter a few days ago. Some incredibly brave tweeters, and a beautiful (but incredibly sad) thing to see so many people finding a voice.
My own response is about being abused as a child, teenager, and then as an adult in an event that was totally seperate to any of the stuff i’d experienced as a young person.
(its probably not the most poetically grammatically correct btw)
so here we are, my little poem
#ididnotreport because who would have heard?
#ididnotreport because who would believe?
#ididnotreport because i could not utter a single word …
#ididnotreport because it meant more punishment i’d receive.
#ididnotreport as I got older, for what would be the reason?
#ididnotreport as things moved on, but the memories remain,
#ididnotreport as years went by, and life moved into a new season,
#ididnotreport as i always felt i deserved the pain.
#ididnotreport because i had nothing left worth trying to save
#ididnotreport because nothing mattered to me any more
#ididnotreport because i could never be that brave
#ididnotreport because even when i tried, someone always closed that door.
#ididnotreport for it had all gone plus more
#ididnotreport for everything i had left was taken
#ididnotreport for I had been shaken to the very core,
#ididnotreport for my whole life had been broken.
#ididnotreport but sometimes I wish I had.