Life, mental health, Relationships, self love

Self love starts with self-respect

After Squaddie and I split for good, there was a period of change for me.

For a while, I’d spend my days convinced that nobody could ever really love me. Again, being ‘alone’ made me feel suicidal. I believed that I was not loveable and that I was in everyone’s way. I’d stand at the side of the road thinking “if I jumped in front of that car/ bus/ lorry now, they’d be going fast enough to kill me”. It was a genuine fantasy of mind for too long.

After a while of feeling this way and believing that if I was “stronger” I would have ended it by now, I spoke to my housemate, Hannah, about how I was feeling. Well, I actually told her EVERYTHING. My entire life story. She understood completely how I felt and there was no judgement. She encouraged me to go to the doctor for help.

They put me on Citalopram (20mg a day) and added me to the list for counselling. It took about 6 weeks before I saw my counsellor- we had 10 sessions booked. My counsellor was an amazing woman, she didn’t do much more than listen and prompt me to find solutions to my own issues. I struggled at first to talk to her but after a couple of sessions, I’d got into the flow of talking frankly with her.

We came to the conclusion together that my issues were not based on failed relationships. They were based on my own fear, guilt and shame for things that had happened in my life. My belief for a long time was that I was inherently bad and unloveable- in my eyes, my story confirmed this for me. In my eyes, I would alway be the girl who’s mother didn’t love her enough to stay and get help. Although at this point my counsellor still didn’t know it all. In fact, it was session 10 by the time I told her about the attack in Magaluf. Something that I couldn’t verbalise (still struggle to verbalise). I actually wrote it down and handed it to her. I watched her without blinking as she read it expected to be kicked out early with disgust. Instead, amongst a lot of other things, she said “what he did was disgusting and you were not to blame”. Something that even now I find difficult to fully believe.

After each session, I would come home and discuss every detail with Hannah, who would add her own insights and words of encouragement. Between the sessions and the ‘after session sessions’, I started to feel like I was finding an identity that didn’t have to be depressed or designed for men.

Watching the way Hannah studied and persevered to get to where she wanted to be in her career filled me with dread at first. My initial thought was “I am not intelligent enough to be friends with this girl”. I think I’ve mentioned my old reputation for being “stupid Becky” before. A belief that I carried around with me for years.

After a little while, I started to think “maybe I could do that too- study and get a career”. So I began signing up for training at work, reading more intellectual books and looking for promotions. I started discuss the training and books with Hannah, with the expectation that I would have missed the points or would sound stupid trying to be clever. But that expectation never became reality, quite the opposite actually. I felt intelligent for the first time in a long time.

We were still partying almost every weekend but I started to hang back from “meeting men”, I didn’t need as much validation as I’d previously needed. I was happy to have a best friend so close to me who I could be myself around.

Before long, I managed to come off the antidepressants and got promoted into a different department. IT Training- a department that I never thought I would have the brains to be working in.

I also began working closely with a man in IT that I knew through nights out but had never been able/ allowed to talk to. There was an instant connection. Something told me that he would always be in my life, if I wanted that. We soon became really great friends, we’d go out for a few drinks a couple of times most weeks and would talk about mostly everything.

I started to do really well in my new role with a promotion that I wanted in my mind, and sight. This ‘believing in myself’ was really working for me. I was feeling better in myself with very few times of depression. I was making deeper connections )with new and old friends) and was feeling proud of myself. I was developing some serious self-respect.

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Life, Relationships, self love

Mel Wells’ Self Love Summit (aka. A dream day)

Hi! This is a long post for me, you might want to get comfy to read this and make sure you have 10 mins or so.

I am starting this blog with a little spoiler alert. One big thing that changed my life for the better was a book called The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells. For reasons that I will explain in a future blog, this book resonated with me so much that I joined the Academy.

In my own words, the Academy is a programme that helps women to transform their relationships with themselves and their food. For more information, check out Mel’s website.

When I joined the Academy, I got 2 free tickets to the Self Love Summit and immediately invited my eldest sister to come with me. Partly to show her how I have come so far, partly for her to get some more self-love in her own life and, I am not going to lie, partly for comfort.

During the Academy live round, I joined a WhatsApp group with a bunch of women who I didn’t know so that we could lend support and hopefully make friends. I didn’t expect a lot from it but can honestly say that there has barely been a quiet hour in the group – never mind day! These beautiful, amazing, funny, soulful women very soon learned more about me than I have ever shared and became my tribe so quickly. Of course, we made arrangements to attend the Summit together.

On the weekend of the Summit, I travelled down with two Goddesses from Newcastle who I have met a couple of times before. I had fears that the journey would be awkward but it was so natural to be with them. I met my sister off the coach from Wales at Victoria and we travelled to Greenwich (where our hotel was) and had dinner with a few of the Tribe. Again, so natural, so fun and sooooo not awkward at all.

The next morning, we got up at 6 (bright and early for me on a Saturday) and got ready to go and meet the rest of the tribe (sadly, minus 2 who could not make it) and one of my favourite girls that I’ve known for a few years outside of the Academy (and in the Academy).

We arrived at the Canary Wharf location at around 8:30 and the queue of Goddesses was UNREAL. Massive well done to Sarah Little and the gang for signing us all in on time!

We took our seats, which had a scarily accurate card from Rebecca Campbells new deck on (Some people had Shannon Kaiser’s cards)

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My card from Rebecca Campbells deck

Mel arrived in style by doing an amazing dance with Zoe McNulty. Talk about powerful, sexy women!

Mel spoke first and immediately got us thinking about who we are and what we bring to the world. She spoke about how ‘you love yourself’ is said as an insult but shouldn’t be. We should all love ourselves! It’s not self-indulgent, it’s not being a big head. It is necessary.

She got us shouting about who we are. “I am Becky. I am brave. I am energetic. I am funny.” and dancing around the place. She got us giving Goddess hugs.

Goddess Hug. Verb. Like a hug but lasts much longer and the emotions go a lot deeper.

I was buzzing! Almost literally, the energy in the room was so electric that the blood was almost vibrating through my veins. If I could bottle that feeling, I would. And I would release a little of it every day.

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Mel, rocking it

Shannon Kaiser was up next. What an incredible woman! She spoke about self-love and gave 5 steps on how to do this. She said a lot of things that resonated with me. Including the following.

“How can you be happy if you don’t love yourself?”

“Be your own best friend”

“You can’t love yourself if you’re not being yourself”

“Don’t waste time with negative thoughts”

She also talked about theme songs and getting one for yourself. Picking one that spurs you on and encourages you to embrace yourself. She then played hers (Rachel Platton – stand by you) which we all sang and danced to. I chose True Colours sang by Kesha as my own.

A group of us got up on stage with Shannon and Mel, where I got to give Shannon a hug and tell her she is amazing. I also got a goddess hug from Mel and was able to thank her in person for the dream day she created and everything she has done for me. And let me tell you, that hug was the ultimate goddess hug. This woman has the ability to look right into someones eyes and make it feel like she can see your soul. The type of person I aspire to be like.

Rebecca Campbell was next on stage. She immediately commented on the energy in the room, which by this point was so powerful that I felt high! She spoke to us about the room being a group soul at that moment in time and I really felt it.

She spoke about constantly growing as souls and about intuition being the voice of the soul.

She told us to “harness the mysterious force of life” and “surrender to the feminine”.

Next, she got a group of us on stage and we did an incredible chant “Heaven. Heart. Earth. Heart.” to the sound of Warrior – Jeremy Wheatly mix by Aurora. It was one of the most mesmerizing experiences that I have ever had.

Before the next introduction, Mel spoke to us more and quoted Tony Robbins “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”, this stuck with me.

She reminded us to turn our lights back on!

Suzy Ashworth spoke next. My word, what a woman!! I’d not really heard of Suzy before but she was so compelling. She made me laugh until my belly hurt, made me think, put tears in my eyes.

She spoke about love bombing yourself (ie. showering yourself with loving comments toes to head). She gave us the priceless tip of how to escape the tunnel of self-loathing (STOP. BREATHE) and to remember how we want to be in 12 months when we do need to just stop and breathe.

Julie Montagu was after Suzy. She reminded us to take at least 10 minutes out of the day for self care. Some things that I will be doing are; Yoga, Meditation, getting outside, breathing exercises and journalling.

She said “Self care is the foundation of which everything else can be built on”. WOW! It really is that important.

She got me thinking about my importance in the world, again, what I can bring to it.

She reminded us that “We have a 1 in 400 million chance at being born- do something with it.” A piece of advice that I have already shared.

She advised to keep a journal by the bed and to write 3 things that you are grateful for every day.

We then had lunch and got some gorgeous goodies from some stalls that were there. On my way into the ladies, I saw none other than the gorgeous unicorn Megan Jayne Crabbe

Let me tell you, I fan-girled embarrassingly hard. I shouted her full name in her face. She said hello and asked where my “beautiful dress” was from. I said her full name, again. She asked again where the dress was from. I asked for a photo. She obliged and asked again where the dress was from. I finally told her and then let her leave. She must have thought I was insane! Haha.

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Fangirling

 

After lunch, we got more acquainted with Zoe McNulty from the School of strut. She was so powerfully sexy. I literally went up to her and told her that she was the sexiest woman I’d ever seen in real life. I’d love to be half as potent.

She got us dancing and owning our own sexualities with it. There were a lot of laughs because she is a funny lady but also because I got way too into the dance and head butted the chair in front. Whoops!!

Then, Persia Lawson came on like an absolute rock star with her bare feet and a Ukele and sang Jason Mraz – I’m Yours with us all. She spoke about relationships, gravitating towards the familiar, even when it is sh*t and being afraid that things might go right.

She told us about how she connected and still connects with the love of her life with music. I was in hysterics by some of the ‘smut’ she came out with, it was so spot on and relatable.

She gave us the tips; sing and dance daily, get your own theme tune and read a sonnet every day.

She spoke to us about Shakespeare being a genius by writing his sonnets in iambic pentameter which is like the sound of a heart beat and read one with us- hands on heart.

She gave us a quote to live by.

“Surrender to the festival of life and let her take you wherever she wants to go.”

She and Mel then sang Let it Be by The Beatles and had us all join in. It was magical.

Between speakers, Mel was giving us talks, getting us dancing and thinking, and leaving us with words of wisdom.

She got us writing lists of gratitude, lists of key takeaways of the day, lists of possibilities and dreams.

Up last was Megan Crabbe (who I have already introduced). She spoke about our bodies knowing what is best for us, the failings of the diet industry and the history of the ‘perfect body’.

She reminded us that hating ourselves is a learned behaviour and “We cannot take on the world when we are hungry.”

In the wrap up, Mel spoke with us about self sabotage and how we do it to keep ourselves safe in our old stories.

She helped us to write our intentions and choose what we wanted to believe about ourselves.

My intention is to continue to write my blog and share my stories and experiences in the hope of inspiring at least one other person to choose to believe that they can love themselves.

I self sabotage because I am afraid to be seen and known as that may make people reject me. But, I choose to believe that I am loveable, no matter what.

Then, we got to all mingle and meet each other and the speakers. And I was lucky enough to, once again, thank Mel in person for the day.

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After the day was over, a very emotional tribe of goddesses (me and my tribe) made our way to Soho for dinner, cocktails and making memories that are once in a lifetime.

Thank you Mel Wells, Shannon Kaiser, Rebecca Campbell, Suzy Ashworth, Julie Montagu, Zoe McNulty, Persia Lawson, Megan Jayne Crabbe, My Tribe and every other Goddess in that room for the perfect day!

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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, 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.

Life, mental health, self love, suicide

Attempting to escape

I was 19 when I realised I was in debt, being secretive about how I was feeling and letting my relationships slip. Over the months, my sickness level had gotten a lot worse at work and I had to be honest that I was struggling with my mental health. I told my team leader as much as she needed to know but no more.

Early into 2009, D and I had drifted a lot (him with his new job and uni friends that I didn’t know well, me with trying to deal with what I was going through). In fact, we drifted so much that we split up shortly after I spent Christmas with his family. This hit me hard as it felt like I’d lost so much more than just him, I’d lost my reason to have a relationship with his family.

We tried to remain friends as we were in the same circles but this wasn’t easy when we were also trying to move on. I put myself out there and got quite a bit of male attention after the break up, at the time I saw it as an ego boosting distraction. I found comfort in one lad I met in the rugby club who met my need to feel special and liked for a while but it was very on/off because neither us of was really available. It all just ended up making me feel more lonely.

On Easter Sunday that year, I woke up feeling even more lonely and low than usual. We had always had Easter morning together as a family so my flat, empty barring my two adopted cats, felt extremely lacking. I was hurting so much inside that my outside hurt too. I decided that painkillers would help. I had a couple of boxes of ibuprofen and Paracetamol at home but decided that it wasn’t enough so went out for a few more boxes. I wasn’t really planning anything but took them all when I got home, washed down with all I had in to drink- a little straight vodka and some Bacardi breezer. I sat listening to music, crying and writing until I could feel the pills in my stomach then just felt more pain. I tried to self harm, like I had seem my mother do in the past, thinking I’d get some release but it just hurt and I didn’t like the look of a knife going into my skin so I stopped. I called Roxanne after that. I hadn’t realised she was out with her boyfriend but she assured me that it was okay. We spoke for a little bit and then she went off to call for more help. She rang back immediately after and stayed on the phone until her mother , Kim, and sister arrived.

They arrived quickly and Kim comforted me while an ambulance was called. She was extremely upset herself but gave me water and kept assuring me that I’d be okay, I was loved and would be helped. Roxanne and another of my friends arrived just before the ambulance so came with me on the journey to the hospital. The paramedics were awful, when I started vomiting they mocked the fact that I’d washed the tablets down with Bacardi breezer and told me that ‘a few paracetamol wouldn’t kill me’. I was mortified.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was put into a ward right away. The girls were allowed to stay with me the whole time and, luckily, because I’d vomited there was no need for my stomach to be pumped. The nurse asked me if I’d done what I had because I didn’t like my easter eggs. Nice lady.

I had to stay over night in the hospital as my blood pressure had dropped so much that they wanted to see it hit a certain number before I left but the next day was finally allowed to go home. The friend who had come in with me picked me up and took me home.

After that, I knew I had to get away so started to make plans to go away for the summer. I had two girls holidays soon after to get the instant gratification of getting away.

While I was away, I wasn’t myself I spent most of the time drinking to excess and acting out of my usual character. On one holiday in particular, I argued with my friend one night as I was having severe nightmares every time I tried to sleep. I was ratty and horrible to be around. Sadly, she saw the reason one night for herself when she was woken up by me screaming in my sleep. I felt so guilty that she had to deal with that.

I knew that running away for a week or two at a time was not helping me so when I got back, I made serious plans to spend the summer working in Magaluf.

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Attempting to escape
Life, self love, suicide

At what age does life begin?

I had my first girls holiday before going back to my second year of sixth form- Gran Canaria. I was so disorganised that my passport didn’t arrive until the day before we flew! I could not live like that now. My mother did what she could to help with spending money and holiday clothes as I didn’t earn much at my weekend job; I think we did well to pull it together.

The holiday gave me a taste of what I wanted most in the world; freedom from worry. While I was there, I can honestly say that I didn’t worry about anything more than whether to have schnapps or tequila and what bikini to wear. It was amazing. Two weeks of being a normal teenager on holiday.

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Both bottles were chosen, in case you were wondering…

I came back to Earth (okay, Wales) with a bit of a bump after that. The girls I’d gone with were going off to uni, as was D but I was staying put and my mother was not getting any better. The second year of sixth form started abysmally to be honest; my attendance was lower than ever and I was constantly being pulled up on lack of effort. I had lost all ambition. At that point in time, I believed that I wouldn’t amount to anything so there was no point in putting in any effort. Going to uni didn’t feel like an option; how could I study and play nurse to my mother? It didn’t feel like the life destined for me.

My mother turned 40 that year and I turned 18. We both believed the same thing about our respective ages; that life would now begin.

Just before I turned 18, in the November, my sister gave birth to my beautiful niece. We were all really happy for a little while after that.

My 18th birthday went by with only the usual teenage angst- who to invite and where to go. It also brought on the need for a big decision from me, as a technical adult now I could work full-time and support the house a bit more- as well as be able to afford other things I wanted to do. I made the decision to not go back to school after Christmas and get a full time job instead. My teachers seemed genuinely upset by this as they could see all of the potential in me. I just wasn’t in a position then to act on it.

I got a full time job in the Wimpy pretty fast. In all honesty, it’s one of my favourite jobs I’ve ever had. I worked with some great people and learned a lot.

A couple of months – and a lot of breakdowns from my mother – later, my mother and I had a pretty big fight. It got very heated and I ended up hitting and pushing her in self-defence. She was lashing out like she didn’t even know it was me. I phoned my eldest sister in fits of tears over what had happened and she ended up taking my little sister and I in for a little while. It was a nice break to live with her, B and my nephew and I ended up staying longer than my little sister.

I went back to my mother after a couple of months, I think, but went to stay with my dad soon after. She was still too ill and I couldn’t be around her, she was always drinking these days and her episodes were getting worse and worse. D and I struggled with me being at my dads as it was further away from each other than we were used to so I arranged to move in with a friend for a while. The night before I moved in with my friend, I got a text from my mother. “I know you’re living at your dads and it’s okay. As long as you have a roof over your head and are happy then I am happy. Love you, Mam x”. I haven’t seen this text message in years but I still remember it word for word.

Things with meaning stick.

A week or so after moving in with my friend, I went to my mother’s house. She was sat on the settee alone and looked so sad. I felt a childlike need to cheer her up so went and lay next so her with my arms around her waist and head on her lap, just like when I was a child. We stayed there for I don’t know how long. I kissed her and told her I loved her before I left that day.

Just a few days after, I got home from work and received 14 missed calls from my eldest sister. When I called her back she told me to get to my nans house fast as I could. My mother should have been on a ward but I had a gut feeling that she wasn’t.

I got to my Nan’s to find my family in the kitchen. The words that followed floored me.

“It’s Mam, she’s gone. She’s dead”

Life, self love

Sweet 16 and going to court

After that horrible Christmas, things got a little better at home. And by that I mean we didn’t fear that our mother was dead for a good while.

She was still drinking more than she should be, we didn’t say anything as she seemed a bit happier in herself. She was still in her relationship so was out a lot but not too much to notice that my little sister was too. This resulted in the police being called out a lot- my sister was only 13/14 and wasn’t coming home for days at a time, our mother was beside herself with worry.

After a few months of the police being called most weeks, they were sick of it. Foster care was being talked about again for my little sister and my mother didn’t know what to do. One night, a pair of police officers that we were getting used to were around again and clearly quite sick of chasing a teen who simply didn’t want to come home. They showed their frustration and began to leave while my mother was still talking about what my sister had been last wearing. My mother was a little tipsy, mentally unwell and also frustrated so she put her hand on one of the officers shoulders to get his attention.

The next thing I know, my mother was arrested for “Assaulting a police officer”. I was there, she did not! Even with me as a witness, she was released on bail but we had to prepare to go to court. I was not only a witness to the incident but a character witness. So after some preparation time, off we went to the magistrates for me to hopefully not see my mother carted off to prison.

I was questioned by my mothers solicitor who asked me things like “what exactly do you remember happening?”, “where were you?” and “where were they?”. Then I was questioned by the police solicitor who asked me things like “could you have possibly missed your mother pushing the officer so hard he toppled over the settee?”, “you were on the PC, what were you doing?” and “do you have a boyfriend?”. Seriously?!? All I’d actually been doing was English coursework and chatting on MSN messenger. A bit inappropriate but my mother and I laughed so much at that one. I am pretty sure the magistrates found the whole a joke too as they released my mother that day with no charges (excuse the terminology, I don’t know…).

I still look back and smile about that day in court, trying to imagine my mother pushing a fully grown police man over the settee.

I was very close to sitting my GCSE’s at this point so trying to study, keep up with my friends, keep up with church and not worry too much about my family was my main focus. I was completely exhausted when I sat my exams. I was predicted to get average grades in most subjects- except French, where I was told I’d be lucky to get a D.

I’ve never really liked being told that I can’t do something so made it my mission to prove that teacher wrong.

After the exams were done, school was done. Roxanne was going to Australia with her family for what felt like the whole summer so our first party that summer was to see her off. We got messy drunk dancing to all of the current charts and some “Men at Work”, obviously… Her mother was really good about the whole party and carried me home (literally- only a few streets though) with no real judgement. She probably thought that my head the next day would punish me enough, which it did.

That summer was similar to the last after that, except for the fact that the boys in the year above now had cars so were much more interesting.

Collecting my GCSE results was an experience- a couple of friends and I had a party the night before to prepare ourselves. I did really well actually, an A, a few B’s and a few C’s. I got a B in French and still bold from the drinks the night before, sassed my French teacher about the difference between a D and a B (oops).

I’d done enough to get to 6th Form and study what I wanted; Law, Psychology and Religious Studies. I was really excited for the future.

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