Life, mental health, Relationships, self love, Uncategorized

It’s not abuse if it doesn’t leave a mark… is it?

Soon after moving in with Roxy, I managed to get a full time job at a bakery. That, alongside my weekend job at the Rugby club kept me busy.

Unfortunately, busy doesn’t equal paid well so I was back in the hole of not being quite sure how to budget to pay rent, bills and support my living costs. I was lucky to be living with Roxy as she did help me to budget so at least my bills were paid and I was eating. She also helped me look for a better paid full time job, which I found after a month or two of living together.

It was in a factory, I was not allowed to wear make up, show my hair or face and had special clothes, gloves and shoes to wear. He never directly said it but I know that Squaddie would have been over the moon with this. He was extremely jealous of my job in the rugby club and would constantly quiz me on who I’d been speaking to and what had been said after working there.

It turns out that he felt that way about a lot of areas of my life as he’d call me as much as he could from Afghan to question me on my whereabouts. His favourite time to call was at 2/3am (UK time) when I had to be up at 5:30 to get to work on time. If I didn’t answer immediately then I’d be in trouble. I’d have to find a way to prove that I was in bed alone, this was hard as he wasn’t the trusting type.

After a little while of this frequently happening, I broke things off with him. Then the guilt came for breaking up with someone who was fighting for our country. Then I panicked that nobody would love me like that again. So I asked for him back. Honestly, he should have just said no. What he did instead was make me beg and plead, he recorded my begging and made me listen to it back. He was laughing at me and saying all of his friends would hear it too. I was humiliated; exactly as he wanted. Only then did he say yes and take me back. I was grateful. How warped.

Within a few weeks, Roxy was coming home from work to find me crying almost daily. I couldn’t understand why Squaddie wouldn’t just trust me. He was due back soon and was just getting worse.

Despite this treatment, I was still doing my best to enjoy life. I’d spend my day off with my eldest sister and her (at the time) two little ones as frequently as I could. “Monday club” was what we called it. Shift work was great for getting two days off in the week!

I’d also go out with friends (old and new) as often as I could, I was still a bit of a party girl. This clearly didn’t please Squaddie but I was fast learning that nothing did.

Before long, Squaddie was back in the uk and of course, I went right up to Newcastle to see him as frequently as he was there- his main base was Germany. He’d come to Wales to see me too. And we could now use Skype. We made it “work”.

Now that he was back, I assumed that his jealousy would subside but it just got worse. The first time we saw each other after he got back, he asked me to write a list of all of the men I’d had any sort of ‘contact’ with. I told him about what had happened in Magaluf and asked if I was supposed to write that flat mate down. His response was along the lines of “of course you should write him down, I’ll bet you loved that attention that night. You dirty slut”. I don’t remember the whole tirade about it but I remember that. How could I forget? It was my worst nightmare about what people would say coming true. And it came from the person that I genuinely believed loved me most.

I think at this point, some people will wonder why I didn’t just leave him. And the truth is, we had some amazing days that made up for the jealous days and the days I felt like I was being mentally tortured. At this point in time, there were lots of good days to make up for it.

Over the next few months, he used that list to torment me. He’d make me repeatedly write it out and if I forgot to write down even one name he’d call me all the names under the sun. Well, all the ones that translated to “whore”, that is. He’d force me to write the name of the guy that attacked me every time too. Because I’d played it down when it had happened and not reported anything, it wasn’t real. Apparently.

So I squashed it down; cut contact with all the men that he asked me to, took all the jealous phone calls, accepted being called names, repeatedly wrote down the name of the person that attacked me on a list that Squaddie had no business asking for in the first place and “got on with it”.

That was my life for that year in Wales.

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, self love, suicide

The calm before the storm

The last couple of blogs may have felt like nothing much was happening, that’s because it wasn’t. We had a limited time left with our mother and it was ‘the calm before the storm’. The beginning of this blog will feel the same. I am so grateful for the down time, it was necessary.

I, again, need to say that I often lose the order of  what happens leading up to these memories, often if the memory is traumatic so forgive me for jumping from one memory to the next quite fast. I feel that they are important to share anyway so that as close as I can get to my full story is out.

After my first boyfriend and I broke up, I was surprised to find other boys were taking interest in me. This was odd to me as I’d never felt like the pretty one. I’d always felt like the stupid one who made weird faces and didn’t quite fit in.

On reflection, I did ask stupid questions and didn’t have as much common knowledge as my friends. This was partly because I’d never really had an adult around permanently that I wanted to ask certain questions. I grew up with strangers a lot of the time and who wants to look daft in-front of strangers who appeared to be designing your fate?!

Another part of it was people listened when I spoke, they found me funny. I knew that they were often laughing at me but I didn’t feel bullied at all. I felt like people liked me and they liked me to be a certain way. I never acted as if I knew less than I did but I also didn’t hold back on asking questions and making statements that I probably didn’t need to make. In short, I was being inauthentic because I believed it was the way to keep my friends. FYI: it wasn’t.

While I was being chased by boys, my eldest sister fell pregnant with her partner and my mother met someone not long after! Cupid well and truly had his arrows out. My eldest sisters partner (let’s call him B for brother in law) moved in with us for a while until they had a house to move in to. This was great fun, it added something different to the house and he became part of the family immediately. I missed them both so much when they moved out but had my own life going on with GCSE’s approaching and parties/ camping every weekend.

Everything was great, we had a new baby on the way to the family – a nephew born on the day of my friends 16th birthday party.

My 16th was not long after and was very eventful, my mother was away for the weekend with her boyfriend so I had a house party. Of course I did! We invited some boys from the year above and managed to get hold of quite a bit of booze, everyone managed to get absolutely wrecked (which made church very interesting for me the next day- I still went quite a few times a week); there were girls crying, boys trying to pull- some succeeding and parents being ‘fooled’ when they picked their teens up. It was great fun!

Christmas was not so great that year though- my mother had started drinking quite heavily a few months before after being caught up in the whirlwind of new love. This didn’t really have an effect until Christmas Eve when she went out for cigarettes and disappeared, we spent Christmas Day without her and Boxing Day too, I think. She was found in a hospital, it turns out she had collapsed on the road side on the way to the garage. It was so cold that she stayed asleep for quite a while. She was very lucky physically but mentally was severely unwell and spent a few weeks in hospital again. That Christmas was the first time we thought it was possible she was dead. She hadn’t disappeared like that before. She was spiralling again but her starting place was a lot lower.

After that, the promise we had always had from her that she wouldn’t kill herself felt a bit empty. We all knew deep down that she wanted out. I thought I’d known the true meaning of fear but until this point in time, I’d had no idea.

Life, self love, Uncategorized

A life changing return

At the age of 14/15 something major happened in my life, my Dad came back.

I am not clear on how he made contact, I think it may have been something to do with my amazing Bampi (Grandfather) but can’t be sure. I remember him coming back clearly though, he was with his girlfriend, the one I have spoken about so they must have reunited when he went on his own journey.

My sisters and I were happy about his return but also very wary and cautious of putting to much faith in him. We’d go out for lunches with them and on shopping trips. He got my fist pair of Vans so I was ecstatic (I never skated but loved the skater boys and Avril Lavigne…). There were a few hard words spoken between a couple of my sisters and my Dad so it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine but it was so good to have my Dad back. I’ve always had a forgiving nature if people show change so was probably the easiest to win over, although I definitely don’t see this as a bad thing.

My mother was especially wary of my Dad and his girlfriend so there were some difficult chats with her. It shook her up as she was the one who fought for us back and raised us for these years and she now felt ‘second best’. This was not the case but my Dad was definitely a shiny novelty for us so we did gush over time spent with him. She became very unwell soon after his return and became hospitalised one very harrowing night. She wasn’t in for long, a few weeks perhaps? But my little sister and I went to live with my Dad and his girlfriend for a while. My little sister was in her element as she got to spend weekends with my Dad on their bikes and I was in mine going shopping, for meals, girly days and cinema trips with his girlfriend.

I missed my mother terribly but the peace of not jumping when the cutlery drawer opened was amazing so the time away was necessary. I was getting full nights sleep and doing very well at school. My little sister moved back to my Mams sooner than I did, a couple of months sooner. She wanted to be nearer to my Mam and her friends. I was bonding with my Dad and his girlfriend more and more.

My choice to move home came later, after I broke it off with my then boyfriend and made a few new friends. We liked to do things like going camping (aka. drinking in a tent  by a bonfire in the woods) so I wanted to be closer to them. My mother was also getting more and more upset that I wasn’t home with her so that massively swayed me too. I was happy to be back but knew that the good times wouldn’t last for much longer, my mother was spiralling again.

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I was super cool…