Life, mental health, self love, Uncategorized

Side note: A different side of blogging

I wanted to acknowledge, and apologise for, the fact that it takes longer after each blog for me to post another.

In all honesty this is because I didn’t anticipate how writing this blog would make me feel. I thought I was over it all and moving forward. To a certain extent, that is true. But it’s not the whole story.

Writing about my childhood was easy, it wasn’t hard to take a different perspective and find the good in all that happened because it’s like it was a different life. It was so long ago and because it doesn’t affect me day-to-day, I genuinely have managed to move forward and be grateful for the good.

My teen years were similar but harder.

By the time I got to my late teens – Magaluf – I was confident, almost cocky about my blog not causing me any pain. I felt on top of the world because I was proving that nothing could phase me.

Then, I wrote about Magaluf and that world I was on top of COLLAPSED. That posts effect on me was monumental. It made me feel like I had stood naked in a room of everyone who read my post or would ever read my post and described what had happened.

Since, I’ve been having a lot of bad days but a few good. I am writing about them in the hopes that owning the feelings will allow me to move forward with them. And then, I hope, from them. And of course, I am hoping that someone may understand and feel them too and then neither of us will have to feel so alone.

A few days after I wrote the post about the attack, I was scrolling through Facebook for photos of that time (to use in my next blog) and scrolled right into a photo of that old housemate. It felt like being that young, vulnerable girl all over again. For a few days, I am ashamed to say, I kept looking at that picture and hoping for answers or to at least see a sign in his face of what he was capable of.

I spoke to friends about this and was encouraged to stop looking, which I managed to do.

Then the anger started, I have been getting moments, sometimes hours at a time where there is so much anger flowing through my body that it hurts. All I want to do at those times is lash out but I know that I can’t.

That triggers the feeling of powerlessness for me, the fear that comes with that and the shame that comes with that.

Looking in the mirror at my own face has been a struggle – I feel like I don’t recognise myself right now.

I don’t really have the answers, or the ‘goods’ to share right now but here are a few things I’ve been doing to bring myself back;

  1. I’ve been forcing myself to look in the mirror, have photos taken of me. In the future when I look back to getting past this, I want to remember how I looked at the time.
  2. I’ve been getting myself out even when I am terrified of being there. I don’t want my life to pass me by.
  3. I’ve been opening up to my boyfriend and my friends as much as I can and trying to take their wise advise.
  4. I’ve been telling myself all of the things I would tell a friend in this situation. One day I will believe it.

I look forward to one day coming in here and writing about how I got through this and picking out the good in the situation.

But, for now, I am going to keep writing my story so that I don’t get stuck in one chapter.

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Taken today in my happy place – by the water

 

Life, Relationships, self love, Uncategorized

The night a dog saved my life, and other short stories

I flew home from Magaluf in the October. I only told one person when my flight was, Roxy, my best friend that had planned to come to Magaluf with me. She came to meet me at the airport when I’d flown back. It was so amazing to see her.

We spent the whole journey back to her parents house sharing news and plotting for the weekend. The plan was for me to hide there until the Saturday night when she had arranged a night out with the girls. I was going to surprise them. The surprise kind of back fired as there had been a second plot- a party at Roxanne’s to welcome me home!

I felt so lucky to have such amazing friends, I still do. That night we went into Cardiff, drank, danced, shared yet more news and the rest was a happy blur of laughing. I stayed out that night to extend the party but was sure Roxy would be up when I got to her parents house. She unfortunately wasn’t so I hunkered down at her patio table in my tiny white dress and hoped not to freeze. As I started to snooze, I felt this heavy thing land on my lap, I looked down and one of her German Shepherds was cuddling me, then the other came along and did the same.

By the time Roxy’s mother saw me through the kitchen window I was as warm and cosy as could be with the dogs. I must not have looked that way though, she was sure I was dead at first. Whoops!

After these escapades, I realised that I needed to find a place to stay and a job too! My elder sister (2nd oldest) took me in, I stayed there for a week or two but I couldn’t find a job and wasn’t allowed to sign on. I also spent all of my free time writing to or talking to Squaddie. Needless to say, I was a terrible house guest! So, I moved back in with my friend after a year of being away, I got a job in a pub with her help and tried to be better there than I was at my sisters until I could find somewhere more permanent.

The plan was to move in with Roxy when she moved into her flat. I fell in love with that flat the moment I saw it and could just imagine some of the amazing times we’d have there.

In the meantime, Squaddie was planning for R&R and wanted to come and see me. Of course, I jumped at the chance and we arranged that he would come straight to me from Brize. It felt like a dream to me at the time when he did just that.

Instead of going straight to Newcastle, he came to me. We spent the night in a hotel in Cardiff Bay and had our first real date. I think it was dinner and a movie but I can’t think what we would have watched. The next day, he didn’t want to leave me and I didn’t want him to leave.

So we both got on a train and went to Newcastle. I spent his entire R&R with him.

I met all of his family, friends and exes while I was there. Even his family from down south. He showed me around the Toon and took me to my first football match.We were inseparable when he wasn’t driving his ex to college. I let this slide because I believed him when he said he loved me and felt bad because she still had feelings for him. He wanted to let her down gently.

Ladies and gents, this is very rarely true. Just saying.

By the end of the two weeks together, I was convinced that I loved him too and this would last forever. I immediately wrote him a letter to tell him.

And when he received it, he changed. I was hooked. Less work for him. But I am jumping ahead there.

I moved into the flat with Roxy the day I returned and decided to leave the fact that I’d essentially quit my job to go to Newcastle for another day.

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Life, mental health, self love

Some sort of ‘love’ story…

So, we are still in Magaluf. The trip that changed my life completely, in many ways.

A few weeks after what happened in my last post, I was at work selling jelly shots as normal when I met a group of squaddies. They bought most of my tray so I stayed and had some banter with them. I went back and forth to their table a couple of times that night, they were good buyers and I thought one of them was quite cute, let’s call him “Squaddie” for obvious reasons. It turns out that he thought the same about me. We chatted and flirted for a little while that night and then I went off with an extra spring in my step but thought no more of it.

A few days later, I saw Squaddie again. He was alone at a table where I worked, waiting for me. He told me that he had been in every night since and had ditched his friends to find me as they were a little sick of hanging round the same bar every night. I told him that I couldn’t talk, I had to work, so he bought my whole tray of shots so I’d talk to him. He was treating me differently to the way most men would. I fast became his “little angel”.

After work that night, we went on a sort of date. He had waited in the bar for me while I sorted out my tray and cash, he was pacing when I got back, saying he thought I’d ditched him. We got a few drinks and went for splash in the sea, we talked and laughed. He told me that I was too good for the life I was living. It was all a bit much but it was all I wanted to hear. It had been a year since my mother had passed and so much had happened in that time with exes and friends that I just felt so alone.

I was crying out for love.

After Squaddie flew home to Newcastle the next day, he found me on Facebook and begged me to buy a new phone as mine had been stolen at the beach. I did and he would phone me daily, never talking to me for less than a couple of hours. I thought that this was a bit much but rationalised it as me not being used to men being nice to me. Besides, he was going to Afghanistan soon and wanted someone waiting for him. He asked me daily if I’d write to him, I agreed that I would.

Over the next few weeks until he went, he got more and more obsessive. He didn’t like me being a shot girl anymore- because people would treat me worse than I deserved. If I didn’t answer my phone- was I with someone else? That sort of thing.

We spoke about it a little and he said it was just nerves about going away and his friends had been teasing him about me. I didn’t really take that as a warning sign, I was just happy he cared enough to be jealous.

We weren’t in a relationship yet, but I knew we would be soon. I was over the moon as I felt like he might love me one day.

I was desperate to be loved.

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Life, self love, Uncategorized

Who holds all the power?

Before I get into writing this blog, I want to share how scared I am of it today. The part of my story that I am about to share is so personal and has taken a very long time for me to come to terms with- ‘how’ is a story for a different day. I am scared to the point that I am shaking and feel sick right now.

‘Why write it then?’ You might be wondering. I am writing it to release it into the universe and in doing so, free myself even more from it.

So, we left off in Magaluf. I was 19 and hardly knew anyone. For today’s story we are still there; I suppose a part of me will always be there.

I was settled into my life there; my job, my room, my apartment that might as well have had rotating doors as people left and moved in a lot. There was just one person left who had ‘always been there’ after a while- the guy who was there before me. We got along well most of the time; we watched movies, had dinner together, food shopped together, did general sober things. When one of us (or both of us) were drunk it was different, he would try it on all the time and I would reject him. For a bit of the time it was because I had a boyfriend but that didn’t last as he couldn’t handle my job as a jelly shot girl (now in a much busier bar), for the rest of the time I rejected him because I just didn’t see him like that.

He would get angry if I’d got with anyone and would often come in to my room naked and shove his d*ck in my face. I’d always tell him where to go. Then one day, he announced that he was going to be moving out. I was so excited for the day to come as I wanted his bedroom for some extra space and privacy; I also wanted the constant come-on’s to end. The come-on’s ending were secondary as I didn’t really perceive them as a threat, just an irritation.

The night before he moved out was a normal night, I went to work at around 7 got hammered with my colleagues and shot buyers and then went clubbing after. I got home and passed out in my own bed.

Waking up was not normal, I was not in my own bed and there was someone on top of me. I felt paralysed, I was already being hurt so didn’t see a reason to fight and get hurt even more. I didn’t shout because there was only one person to listen. I didn’t say no because ‘no’ clearly didn’t mean anything. I stayed quiet and compliant to save what small bit of safety I had left. Afterwards, I got up and went back to my own bed.

I told nobody and reported nothing- all I could think was that if I carried on as normal that things would become normal again. Besides, who would have even believed me? I didn’t even fight back. I felt worthless.

The next night, at work, one of my colleagues told me that my old flat-mate had been bragging to anyone who would listen about what had happened with me. She told me what she thought “he raped you, Becky. He is disgusting and is bragging about it”. I wouldn’t/ couldn’t accept those words yet so I shrugged it off and changed the subject. It had turned out that my other flatmate had been home at the time and hadn’t said that, so how could this woman be the judge of it?

After that, I had no trust in men left at all so I’d give them what I thought they wanted before they could just take it. That’s what I genuinely believed that they would do. I completely abused myself and my body before anyone else had the chance. I got into a lot more situations that I didn’t want to be in. But this time I had the power, right?

Wrong. That’s the thing about power. I don’t belive that anybody really has it.

People do whatever they can to hold on to their power for as long as they can, even if it hurts them. In my opinion; how can you be the one with all the power when you are so scared to lose it, when it’s hurting you to keep hold of?

And if that is power, do we really want it?

The funny thing is, I feel most powerful now with the knowledge that I have no power. I know my truth and I am happy regardless.

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Life, mental health, self love

Chasing the summer dream

It didn’t take long to prepare to spend the summer in Magaluf. I planned it all out with one of my best friends (who was going to come with me), bought a one way ticket, gave notice at work and that was pretty much it.

I didn’t give any notice with the flat as I owed so much rent at that point that I doubt I would have been welcome there much longer. I did, however, offer my furniture back to D’s parents. They took me out for a goodbye/good luck dinner and told me that they didn’t want anything back and to sell what I could for a bit more financial security.

As the end of my notice period got closer, I got more and more excited to leave. My friend and I spent so much time talking about what we would do there and how fun it would be. She would be there first- on holiday – then I would join a couple of days before she was due to fly home. Solid plan. Or so we thought.

The day came to leave and all last minute plans were made. A friend of a friend (P) was doing the same so we had it all arranged to fly together. My brother in law (B) took us to Cardiff airport, my eldest sister took my keys to hand back to the council and that was it.

On the flight, we met someone who already worked out there so asked for (and accepted) loads of tips and advice. He shared a taxi from Palma with us when we got there and told us where to find him if we needed anything. I didn’t think we would need much, if anything, as I had my plans with my friend. When I got to her hotel things started to go wrong quite quickly.

There was no room for P, and my friend really didn’t look well. P and I found a room of our own in a hotel on the strip and set out to look for somewhere to live and a job the next day. Luckily enough, we had received tips on where to ask for a cheap room so getting a place to live wasn’t hard.

I managed to get a trial in a bar that night but it didn’t work out. All that time behind the bar at the rugby club didn’t help me- I am naturally a truly terrible barmaid!

I had a night out with my girls on my second night- right after moving in to the apartment and failing my first job trial. I decided that I’d look for a job the next day with my best friend when the rest of the girls had flown home.

It did not work out that way, not at all!

It turned out that my best friend had contracted swine flu and needed to go home. I was on my own!

I didn’t really know what to do in a different country with no real friends so I did what any 19 year old would do in Magaluf. I partied, I sunbathed, I worked (selling jelly shots) and partied some more. I made friends with my flat mates. There were 2 girls and a guy already living there when P and I first moved in. The guy started to try it on with me immediately but I put it down to him being a chancer with all the ladies and laughed it off.

I was having lots of fun blocking out all the pain I’d been feeling in Wales. Or I thought I was at least.

In reality, my self esteem was getting lower and lower and the risky situations I was getting myself into were unreal and this was my first job there (the quiet, family vibe, safe one). I was disrespecting myself and my body from the get go. I didn’t realise that I had a duty of care to myself.

I won’t berate my teenage self for this now as it’s not deserved. It’s easy to go off the rails when you feel so worthless and full of pain. And besides, even the stuff that comes next made me who I am so I can’t regret or want to change it.

I love who I am.