hello again blog-o-sphere

Its been a while since I properly blogged. As in wrote a blog – in fact, not since the 24th January 2013 (I did republish a blog a few weeks ago because I felt stirred to). But its been six months since I’ve written anything new. The intention had been to have a break, a quiet, unannounced break from blogging. 3 months. Not 6, but here we are 6 months on.  And here I am writing again. I’ve been penning a few blog’s the last week or two which will appear at some point.

There have been one or two milestones that I would have usually written about during these 6 months, including reaching the 5 year ‘anniversary’ of when I tried to commit suicide. Instead of blogging, I spent the day tweeting with the hashtag of #gladtobealive – it was beautiful to see many people join in celebrating with me in that way, that day, and to also celebrate by texts, emails, calls and visits to the pub with friends who have and do mean so much to me.

I’ve also now been driving over a year, which has been amazing. A real sense of freedom, that makes me wonder I never really did manage to get act together to sort it out before now.

The last 6 months have also seen me in and out of hospital with much frequency, I’m starting to lose count now. Several times have been pretty serious. One being the most serious of all when it looked like it might not have been something I would come round from. Luckily I did, and am still here to tell the tale, granted still in and out of hospital, still on and off, and back on again many medications etc, and currently in the process of being referred to more specialists elsewhere, with the hope they can help pin point what is going on. Its pretty hard going at times, and is proving to be quite life changing. I’m having to make many changes, some really practical ones, some a bit harder, and some tough decisions like having to bail out of a trip with the Church to Africa next year to spend a few weeks with friends who run a YWAM base. But something else will come out of this, I’m trusting there is a reason for all of this.

The last six months also saw me volunteer at Spring Harvest, having been as a guest for several years in a row, I felt it time to offer something back. I was not quite sure what I could possibly give to them, but was found a role supporting young people with learning disabilities, in the teenage youth venues. It was an exhausting week, a week with such fun and laughter, hard work, tears and tiredness, but a week of absolute beauty. I’m not sure if I could do it justice by trying to describe it really, but I might give it a go sometime, as it deserve some space on its own really. I was changed, again, that week.

Anyway, some of the above things I’ll write in more depth about in the coming weeks and months and I have some other topics/things I have half penned/half thought out to write more on.

But for now, if I still have any reader/blog followers, hello again – how are YOU guys doing?

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A Bitter/Sweet Fathers Day

‘Happy Fathers Day Dads! AND to all those who take on the role. Have a fab day x’

 ‘Laid in the bath thinking about ‘fatherhood’. Wonder if my biological male parent even remember he has children any more. Thankful tho that I get to have lunch today with the person who IS my dad, and who does all the things a Dad should, and none of the thing they shouldn’t.’

My biological father was and probably still is (who knows) a violently abusive person, and the kind that makes me pleased divorce exists.’

Above are the tweets I tweeted today, regarding ‘Fathers Day’. For non UK readers, we have days that celebrate ‘fathers’. (We also have a ‘Mothers day, but that is usually in April).
So, today, – it is still today as I write but by the time I press publish it will be well into the next day – , today is the 17th June 2012. Fathers Day. The 27th Fathers Day I have been alive for.
And as always, it is a bitter sweet day. In years past, it was often a bitter day … in as much as it was always an unhappy one. As the years went by, they became a mix of emotion, half and half off bitterness/sweetness, and then over the last few years, the days have been filled more with sweetness than the bitter, but still they are always always tinged with a little bit of sadness somewhere.
(side note: i use the word ‘bitter’ loosely, to describe a huge amount of emotions. So when I write that word, i mean unhappiness, sadness, pain, hurt, anger and more … not necessarily ‘bitter’ per se, but I am just coining the phrase)
As the clocked ticked over into today, I was awake, as per usual at this time of night, and my first thought was to wish those of you on twitter who are dads a ‘happy fathers day’. And as always, I include those who take on that role. I truly believe you don’t have to be a biological father to someone to be their ‘dad’. You don’t even have to be a ‘step parent’. You just need to be that person who plays a fatherly role in the life of someone. Someone who need’s it. Which is why I always always think it is so important, that if, as some churches do, your giving out ‘presents’ in large groups to people who are ‘fathers’ you don’t make it exclusive to those who have biologically connected children. Anyway, so my first tweet was one of celebration. I went to bed thinking about the attributes of a Father. The attributes I would pray any man I ever had children with would have. The attributes that anyone who is in a position or role of being a father figure should have.
(The most profound Fathers Day sermon I ever have heard was a few years ago, and I don’t even remember where it was now, but it encouraged ALL the men in the room to stand and be counted. It encouraged ALL men to be fathers. It said that you don’t have to donate your sperm to be a role model, to be involved in the life of someone who so needs it, to be that person who can teach someone about life, to be that person who is fatherly. I remember being tearful watching the men around me stand and be counted)
So, I stand by my first tweet. I wished and still do wish that anyone who is a Dad, biologically or not, had a wonderful day.
When I got up this morning, I went and laid in the bath, for a long time. A very long time. In fact far too long, however i dont suppose you really need to know that do you? as usual, I had filled the bath with lots of bubbles, and had taken a book into the bathroom with me. As usual I got deeply distracted by my phone (one day i’ll end up dropping it) …
So there I laid, in the bath, reading twitter on my phone … and there were the most profound tweets being tweeted. By what seemed like everyone. My whole timeline seemed full of tweets about Fathers Day. What an array of messages. What an array of varied messages. Some beautiful, heartfelt and meant ones, wishing their dads, and those who take on that role a great day. And some messages and tweets acknowledging and reminding people, that actually, for some, today, this day is hard. Painful. Tough. Emotional.
I am not alone in having a biological father, who wasn’t all that he should have been. Although sometimes I wonder if i even know what that ‘should have been’ even means. I used to dread Fathers Day. Especially, when as a younger child, there was a unsaid rule that I was to ‘buy and send’ a card. Or when in primary school, we were expecting to ‘make’ a card. I would do it, but then throw it in the bin on the way home, if possible. I am not alone in finding today tough in so so many ways. Up until a few years ago, I used to dread it. The expectation of having to do something/send something/think something I didnt mean was tough.
Every year Fathers Day means something different to me. It brings up different thoughts. This mornings was ‘I wonder if my biological father even remembers i exist. All the signs over the last couple of years would suggest he does not. Or that he chooses not to. Choose not to entertain the fact he has children. Two of them. I guess thats his choice. There is not anything I can do about it. And however much I try not to dwell on it, and I try very hard, it hurts. It really hurts. Even though he was violent. And abusive. And I am glad my mum divorced him. I know that, especially in christian communities it can be a controversial topic. I dont care.
As one of my tweets today says … ‘My biological father was and probably still is (who knows) a violently abusive person, and the kind that makes me pleased divorce exists.’
 I am glad they divorced. If things were bad while the were married, and while I had to as a child growing up endure ‘visits’ approved by courts during holidays, they would have been even worse if they remained married. I dread to think.
 I am glad that he moved to a different country, and that I don’t have much to do with him, or that i have to ‘pretend’ to even like him, however much i pretend that I am ok with the fact he is not in my life, actually, being brutally honest, it stings. Sometimes it still stings that he thinks so little of his children that he would be happy to have no contact.
A day like today rises up the issues of pain, anger, hurt and much more. That he would treat us the way he did. That he would behave the way he did, and that he would still behave the way he does, even though it obviously is in a much less physical way.
The way my biological father behaved towards my brother and I, brutally harmed the way we see ‘fatherhood’. The way we relate to men. The way we accept love. I’m often not sure what my father has done for apart from assist in my birth, but actually, one thing I am sure of that he did was ruin our perceptions of the things a father should do/be.
I could write on for a long time about the impact of my fathers actions on my life, and the life of my brother. But you may get bored. Suffice to say, its impacted me, largely. And so I guess you get a glimpse of some of the destruction that he has strewn into our lives by reading my blog and getting to know me.
Although, it is fair to say, and I want to make this clear, I have come a long way with dealing with some of those issues. Dont get me wrong, they sometimes dwell in my mind, sometimes in a big way, sometimes in a small way, but i’m on a journey of working through it, and have come a heck of a long way …
Anyway, moving on … because this is not meant to be a blog just about my woefully inadequate biological father. I mentioned the bitter/sweet thing. And I guess the above addresses the bitter bit. The sad bit. The painful bit. But there is a ‘sweet’ part. And over the years I have become more and more able to recognise that and celebrate that with others who have known nothing other than family joy on a day celebrating fathers.
‘Thankful tho that I get to have lunch today with the person who IS my dad, and who does all the things a Dad should, and none of the thing they shouldn’t.’
the above is the second part of the tweet i wrote whilst laid in the bath contemplating.
As the years go by, and as I get older, and as I am able to process my childhood/past experienced more effectively, and as I learn what was wrong, and as i deal with that, I also get closer and closer to the person in my life who represents ‘Dad’.
I know I am extrememly blessed. At the same time as remembering that hasnt always been the case, and isnt the case for many many people.
I AM lucky, and fortunate that many years ago, my mother remarried. She married someone she loves deeply, and who deeply loves her. And us. Someone, who despite being an affirmed bathchlor until he was 50 took on 2 children, one a wayward teenager and one about to enter that stage. No mean feat. Fair to say he went grey haired very quickly! Over the years, as I’ve learned to deal with my issues, as the ‘bitterness’ has slowly faded my love for my ‘step’ has grown.
Yes he drives me mad sometimes. I reckon I drive him mad too. But I reckon that is pretty normal …
My step is someone who does all the things that a ‘Father’ should do, and none of the things they shouldnt. He does not abuse me. He does do any of the horrors that should not happen. He DOES turn up in the middle of the night when I ring ‘home’ to tell them I cant breathe. He does turn up at the house with bags of shopping every now and then. He has helped me pay for driving lessons. He has paid for a hotel room so I could join him and my mum on a long weekend away with them. He has done many many other things. I could write forever about them.
Im thankful, that despite his eccentricities, I was able to go for lunch with him today, and give him a little present, which expresses my gratitude and love for him. I hope he realises the verses in the card are meant, so much.
I hope I have managed to stay on topic, somehow. And somehow explain why I used the ‘bitter/sweet’ phrase as a title for this blog.
I hope it sums up a little bit of why, for me, today is bittersweet. It always is. Maybe it always will be. It is a day of such overwhelming emotion, happy and sad. Bitter and sweet.
Anyway … enough of me rambling on …
IF today has been a day of rejoicing, celebration, happiness and gladness, that I am glad. If you have a Dad, a biological one, or one who takes on the role, as a step, or as a role model, or as a male figure in your life, I hope you have been able to/have enjoyed spending time with them/or celebrating them in some way. I join you in wishing those people Happy Fathers Day. In fact I wish my own stepdad, and one or two other very special people in my life Happy Fathers Day.
IF today has been a day of remembering loved and lost ones, then I hope in your grief you have been able to remember the good times.
IF today has been a day of pain, hurt, sadness, anger, darkness or any other negative emotion and IF today has done nothing but remind of someone you have never had, or of someone who has hurt you beyond your wildest dreams then I am sorry.
I have been thinking of you today.
Love Fragz
x

Childhood memories, God and I.

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. 

Mandela and Merton

Below is a quote that was read out yesterday at a day I attended which was about exploring our future vocations. I found it incredibly powerful. It was used by Nelson Mandela in a speech he made, his inauguaration I think. I dont know who actually wrote it – do let me know if you do.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

also read out was the Thomas Merton prayer I have blogged once before, but will post again, because even through my unbelieving times and my ‘angry at God’ years, I have had this prayer on my wall for years and years.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. 

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. 

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. 

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone

death.

I didn’t realise that it has been over a month since i last wrote on here … when i was taken into hospital a few weeks ago, and then ended up having quite a few weeks off work, i thought i’d have so much time to be able to catch up on blogging, however i dont think i realised fully the extent of how unwell i had been … (much better now!) so, its been a bit quiet here, but i’m back …

i hope this post finds everyone well, as ever … and that February is proving to be a fab month for you …

for me, its proving a challenging time, but then what would my life be if it was not a challenge. I’m not sure i’m ever destined to have one of those ‘easy lives’ (do they even exist? – i think they must, but just not that i’ve seen yet).

when i wrote my reviews of last year, and mentioned the fact i’d had some breathing problems which has inspired me to stop smoking, i dont think i reckoned on the beginning of this year being full of the fact that it has stepped up a gear.

to that end, walking home one day from work, a few weeks ago, as i do most days, i found that i simply could not breathe. i could not get my breath, and by the time i got to my GP surgery was turning a funny colour. i’ve never been ‘blue lighted’ into hospital before … and if i could remember it i’m sure it would have been very exciting, alas i dont. i wish i could say it was ‘interesting’ to experience the immediate emergency care i received that day, and a couple of days later when the same thing happened again (while at work this time – a bit embarrassing being stretchered out of the place you spend most of your waking hours) but i also don’t really remember that, all that well. Of what I do remember however and can comment on, is how amazing all the healthcare professionals who have looked after me were. From my GP, to the paramedics, to the emergency care teams at the local A + E and the criticare staff, and then the normal ward nurses and doctors, everyone was brilliant.

so here I am now, having to take daily medication and inhalers, and attend endless appointments with Respiratory Nurses and Consultants, and my regular GP. How grateful am I for the NHS? VERY! You often hear the crappy stories, and trust me, working in the healthcare profession myself, I am not blind to them and the realties of when poor care is provided, HOWEVER i think it is so important to also highlight the GOOD care, the good experiences, the people who work in hospitals who are professional, committed, kind, caring, compassionate. One moment I do remember, is the second time, a few days after the first incident, is coming round in the a big scary room in A n E with lots of equipment around me, and needles in my arms, and tubes up my nose (oxygen) and bursting into tears … it hit me where i was, what was happening, and how crap I felt … I wont ever forget a nurse, whose name was Lisa … standing by bedside and holding my hand, comforting me. She stayed with me for about ten minutes, until i calmed down. She provided tissues, and kind words. THOSE PEOPLE ARE AMAZING.

Anyway … the reason why i’m rambling on about all of that is that the following days that followed were days that kept me inside this hospital, on a ward, in a bay with three very elderly people (hell yeah could i tell you some funny stories about them, especially about the one who tried to get into my bed nearly giving me a heart attack!) … and that meant, being confined to a hospital  bed/chair I had not alot to do, other than rest, watch crap tv, listen to music and look out of window and think.

It was the latter I did plenty of … thank goodness for good music/ipods/phones and the lovely view from the 8th floor is what i say!

So i thought aplenty i did … and despite my often tweeted tweets about being thick and rambling on alot about nothing (which I do do alot of, sure) I do actually sometimes think … and the topic i could not stop thinking about was life and death.

as some of you know or may have picked up from previous blogs or twitter if you follow my feed, i work in a home with mostly elderly people, but a home that specialises in care for people who are dying … so they may be elderly and gradually declining and pass away through age related issues, or they may be people of all ages who come to us to be cared for in the last hours/days and weeks of their lives if they have terminal illness. We see and care for a huge range of people, with a huge range of needs, and over the years I’ve worked various roles in the same place, most recently as a senior member of the care team, and presently as the activities co ordinator/overseeing the pastoral and emotional care of our residents/patients. Its an incredibly challenging role, thats see’s us/myself on a very regular basis being with people as they are dying, as they do die, and afterwards. In all of this we also care for and provide support for the relatives of the person we are providing the care for We try our very hardest to practice something called holistic care which takes into account the person as a whole being and their situation, and their families come into that too. For some people, they have no family, and we the staff are the only people they have.

As part of my job, I find myself very closely involved with these patients in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes its spending time with the distraught families, comforting them, chatting, providing endless tea and coffees as they vigil their relative, sometimes holding their hands … sometimes sitting with them after their loved one has gone. Sometimes it advising them on what to do, whats next, where to go from there, sometimes is about just being a listening ear. I spend many hours with the patient/resident themselves, doing whatever they want me to be doing, sometimes its playing music, sometimes its reading to them, sometimes is just chatting. Sometimes its just sitting there, and listening to them. I also stay with residents who are gravely ill, and who may be close to going, so they are not alone, if thats what they wish. So i find myself sitting with people, and holding their hands (usually when they don’t have relatives or their relatives are not present) as they take their last breaths, and float into whatever comes next for them after death.

I cant lie and say my job does not impact me … it does, hugely. For example, yesterday I spent many hours with someone and with their relatives, a family we have had contact with for a few months. And i did sit at my desk just before going home, and shed a little tear. Because in everything my life has involved, one of the hardest things i find i have to do is face people dying so regularly, and have to support/console and try my best to look after a family who is grieving, in their very many different ways. Seeing pain on peoples faces makes even the hardest heart (i used to think my heart had been hardened by life) soften. Maybe my heart is not as hard as it once was (thats probably a whole different blog) …

anyway, so, back to being on a hospital bed on the 8th floor, with an amazing view over fields and roads, and at night houses all lit up, all I could do, as i often do when walking home from particularly challenging days at work, all i could was think about death and dying. Especially because, although I dont think I was going to die in the emergency room, when you feel like you cant breathe, it does make you pretty scared, and think you might possibly die …

and all i could think of then, and in this bed, and whilst thinking about all these people i look after and support was, I’m not ready to die yet. I dont want to die. And what will happen when i do??

A few years ago, all i wanted to do was die. I could not cope with life. It wasn’t what I had dreamt it ever to be. It was what I thought it should be, and i could never see a way of getting out of the big black hole I was in … I could not cope with having to deal with being a survivor of childhood abuse, dealing with the my biological father being who he is and behaving the way he did, and still tries to now, not that i’ve heard from him in a long time. I could not cope with being assaulted in a city I was living in, that I had wanted to try and build a life in. And then moving back to be nearer my Mum and lovely stepdad did I ever imagine finding myself feeling so isolated, turning to alcohol and self destructive behaviour that I still have the scars from now … and trying to end my life. I never thought life would be the way it has been (and i could write so much more about things i have experienced but i dont want to depress you) … and that i could be a normal person who wanted to live. because I wanted to die (i wrote a blog about wanting to die if you want to read that).

however, now I find myself in a place, where I dont want to die. I want to live. I want to have life.

But I am faced with death on such a regular basis that I cant switch off from it. And that leaves me with big questions.

what is life about? what is it for? what are we doing here? what is the ultimate purpose of being alive, and what does happen when we die?

where have all the people i’ve sat with and held the hand of as they have passed from this earthly life into something gone?

and where will i go when i die?

and so, that is ultimately what I spent my time thinking about while I was in hospital (cheerful i know – and please dont think I am in the depths of despair right now, because i am not, these are things i often think about, cant avoid)

so, anyone got any thoughts?

its been 3 years.

I have no idea where this post is going, but, anyway …

my life is full of milestones. lots of them. lots of ‘its been x amount of years since this … or that’

today is one of those milestone days.

its been 3 years since i tried to take my own life. and failed miserably (well, at the time it was miserable failure)

i got my dates a little confused last week, with something else, but having clarified with my faithful old journal, today is the day. 3 years ago. wow. where have those 3 years gone? sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday, sometimes it feels like it was a long time ago.

and what an immense journey it has been. the journey beforehand was immense anyway, so i guess its been extra immense since.

Sometimes i try to put into words just how incredibly hard the last 5 years of my life have been. And i am never quite sure if i have managed to do it justice, or whether or not i just come across like some whining woman. I hope i dont. Something I think about quite often is how 5 years ago I had no idea how life was going to roll for the next set of 5 years. Same with 10 years ago. Who knew that 10 years ago the roller coaster ride of my life would bring me to this point.

Who could ever have imagined that when you are already at the very bottom, end of the rope, struggling to hang on anyway, that life could get 100 % worse. That one moment life meant one thing, and the next moment it meant another. I was already unwell, struggling with childhood memories, abuse, self harm, faith and God, big time, and then came the assault.

I wrote in a blog once, this blog, some time ago, about feeling like a glass vase, being broken in to pieces. And then each piece of glass being broken even more, into tiny shards. The smallest bits, until there were no bits left, just dust, sprinkled all over the floor, for people to trample on. Thats how i felt. It was all too much. Too too much.

i had to do something. to get out of it. on reflection, i now feel guilty. i didnt leave anything, for anyone. my head was in a spin. i was being irrational. even to this day, some very close family members do not know, because it would hurt them too much to.

I could not see any other way, i felt like life would be better with out life. i already had no life, so what was the point in breathing? I felt like everyone elses life would be better without me in it. i was too messed up, too complicated, too many issues, too much hurt/pain, too much for anyone to do anything with.

so i tried to die.

it didnt work. now i say that thankfully! it didnt work. i do believe here by the grace of god i stand (the story of how i was found is a whole other blog for another time)

thing is, its fair to say, despite it all, there were people who were able to do something with me. people who loved me. who cared.

who helped me pick myself up off the floor, and slowly turned the dust back into shards, and then into fragments. Ever so slowly and lovingly teaching me that life can be worth something. that life IS worth something. that I am worth something.

its been a long ride, and one that isnt over yet. but 3 years on and life is slowly turning. I am learning to live with myself, and some of the pain. I am learning to laugh again, to smile again, to have fun again. i am learning that I am never going to forget the past, but there is a way, and a time to move on from it. to not be beholden to it. that doesnt mean i dont have my dark days. i do. nights when i cant sleep because the nightmares have kept me awake, or i am so restless because something has triggered a memory. however, the intensity of it all isnt as intense. I dont want to die because of it!

the last thing to say that i am learning to do again, is to love and accept love. i am learning to love people and life again and accept that people and life love me.

I would like to say such a deep huge and heartfelt thank you to all of the people involved in my life the last however many years.

You have all had a part to play in the fact I am still here now. Thankyou.

thank you for everything you have done and do for me. you really have and do make a difference.

lots of love

fragz xx

Dear Dad.

I have been reading an old hand written diary. One I wrote roughly three years ago. In about 6 weeks time, I will be celebrating a 3 year milestone in my life, and so I thought it time to read back at how life was three years ago. How I felt, and what I was writing.  Three years ago, I was a mess. A bigger one than I sometimes am now! Life was a big struggle, in fact, everything had collapsed. The letter below, I wrote, to my biological father. I wrote it the same weekend I decided I couldn’t live any more. Its very poignant to read back. To read this back. Its also poignant for me to publish it. For some of you to read. Because it signifies moving on. For me anyway.  A couple of years ago, about a year or so after I wrote this, I met him. For the first time in many years. It was an incredibly emotional experience. However everything I’ve written below still stands. I never sent the letter. He has never read it. Maybe if I was to write another one now, it would be a little different. Life has changed over three years, however the hurts are often still around somewhere nearby. They never go far.

I have so much inside of me, that is never going to be said to you. So much that I want to say and so much that I just want to put at your feet. But I never will. I will probably never let you know how much you hurt me when you walked out that day. When you left that day, I was only young. A small child, but do you what one of my earliest chilldhood memories was? You. Walking out. I even remember which way your huge motorbike turned as you went out of the driveway. I have never been able to admit out loud, in voice how much that actually hurts. How much it hurts to have no happy memories of you. The summer holidays we had to endure with you were hell. Did you know that? Did you know that when you were beating me that day, in that room, my brother, your son was learning from you. Do you know that he then went on to copy you? When you were not there. Do you know that? Do you give a damn? I think not. Do you know how every word you spoke made me cry inside. Every single nasty word. Yeah, I smiled, at you and everyone else, laughed it off. Promised to try and change. Be a better, different person. But I did wonder whether even being a different little girl would have made you happy. I tried so hard to be everything you wanted me to be but every time I reached a goal you would knock it down. And how do you still have the ability to do that? Even now? Even now, while I am an adult you have this power to knock me down to the ground with your words. Do you know how much my heart used to cry because you were not there? And then how much my heart used to cry when you were there, for those 2 weeks of the year because of your behaviour and action. Did it ever occur to you how much harm it did for me to stand at that window that day while you had my brother in the garden? Did it occur to you what you were doing to my brother and I? I doubt it. How could you.

Will you ever know how much pain I then had to endure with my brother? My darling brother. Who couldnt cope with your behaviour towards him. Who turned to drink and drugs to blot out the memories of you. Who do you then think took the blows when his anger let out? That would have been me. So, I was at school, and being bullied there, and then I would go home and be bullied there too. Bullied at home is probably a tame way of saying what happened. Bruised, beaten and hurt are prbably the words that describe it best. Will you ever know how hard it was to live at home, taking it from my brother, as he let rip? And where do you think he learnt/got that from? Where did he learn to hit, smack, punch, burn, taunt and spit out words that will probably never go away from my memory?

Do you know how hard I tried to please you? How hard I tried to please everyone? And did it ever work? You will never know that as I sit writing this, the tears fall. The tears I have never cried. The tears you believe show weakness. I have spent so long being strong, not crying, because what would it do? Change everything? Make it all better? I doubt that very much. But does anyone care? Do you? Again, I think not. I usually doubt you even loved us at all. Maybe we just an inconvenience.

I dont know what it is I have to do to make you proud. To make you love me. Sometimes I ask myself why it even matters. Why you even matter. And I wish I knew. I wish I could explain.

I have never said this to anyone, and I don’t know if I ever will be able to say it to your face, but do you know how angry and frustrated I sometimes feel. Sad, angry and hurt with you, at you and your behaviour. Why couldn’t you or don’t you love us? I know I am not good enough but isn’t a fathers love suppose to not be about that? Were you not supposed to love us no matter what? Why do you disappear from my life for months on end, and then when I am finally coming to terms with you not being in contact you ring or email. Sometimes I long and long to hear from you, but then when I do I cry.