I wish I had known; life after childhood abuse.

I am happy now, the road has been bumpy and could have been made easier. Here’s what I wish I’d known during those times.

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As a survivor of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, what would I tell my teenage self?

  • You are smart, never put yourself down again.
  • Stop hiding.
  • Bullies will stagnate, you will flourish.  Stuff ’em.  Not in 20 years and after counselling, but right then and there, tell them to go stuff themselves and never look back. You are magnificent. 
  • Other peoples troubles are their own.  Empathy, yes.  Giving up your freedom for their happiness, no.
  • Don’t give people your money because you believe their story.  They believe their story.  It’s still a story.
  • The best way out will be education.
  • Nobody’s told you this yet, but if you are not good at something straight away, practice makes things easier and you improve.  If you find maths hard, practice it a little more.  Don’t just do the homework to receive the mark and move on.  Learn how to master the principle.
  • That kid you’re playfully teasing for being a swot, you’ll wish you were him on exam day.
  • Go to University – even if your teacher pulls that ummmh face to derail you, no matter what it takes and no matter who opposes it.  Find a way.  Again, other peoples troubles are their own.
  • Spend less than you earn.
  • Have fun where you are.
  • Take the taxi.
  • Curfews are for idiots.
  • Let them worry, you are fine.
  • Shake it off and move on.
  • Buy that house you wanted.
  • Buy the second house you wanted too.
  • Buy those other houses you could afford but were talked out of because you thought other people must know better.
  • Move abroad when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Buy the VW Golf, not the Ford.
  • It works out magnificently because you demand it to be thus.

~

Single Moms are AMAZING.

As a single mom, I have this covered (fingers crossed knock on wood). We’re doing great, thriving like we’ve never thrived before. Here’s how.

I am a mum, a mom, a single mum, I am single mumming it.

I am the adult.  I am the adultiest adult in our house.

If look for an adultier adult, it dawns on me that I need look no further than the person standing in my shoes.

I work for a living outside the home.  It is how I stay sane with adult conversation and company, and how I keep the lights on and the tummies fed.

It is a humble job, it’s long hours, it’s not paid particularly well, but well enough that we have most of what we need and some of what we want.

We are doing great, knock on wood, fingers crossed.

Although it is tiring, with a big knock on wood, it is sometimes easy peasy.

There are some things I would like to point out at this juncture.

  1. It is a happy life.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything mediocre.
  2. I am busier than you if you are in a 2 adult family.  I don’t care how hard you work, how poorly you feel, how many kids you have or don’t have, how large the corporation is that you head up as the CEO, how hard it was to broker that Peace Treaty ratified by the UN which brought about world peace, I am busier than you.
  3. There is no wiggle time to goof off.  Everything, even the fun times, must have a purpose.  Every car ride is an opportunity to check in with my teen or sing with her.  Every dinner at the table is an opportunity to listen to the music and watch the YouTube she’s listening to and hear about how school was. Every visit with family in another city is to foster bonds between my teen and them in case I died. Every visit to the theatre is to encourage art appreciation and creativity. Every church activity is to help her recognise the things she needs to recognise so that she can forge through life with courage.
  4. I have an enormous responsibility to drive safely and get home every evening; it is at the fore of my mind daily.
  5. The list of things to do to keep the house and us ticking with a roof, power, water, heat, wi-fi, clean clothes, homework done, the place tidy enough and enough interaction with others that we stay sane is almost endless.  If I sit down, I know there is something else I could or should be doing.
  6. If I am leaving my kiddo with someone so I can go to a function, we need to get it done and I need to get home.
  7. Friends are cherished.  Good friends are people for whom I would jump through a hoop of fire. Just the one, though!
  8. I love hearing your triumphs and problems.  If we can be laughing hard at life, that is a joyful moment for me.
  9. I like helping out with your kids if I can fit it in and I’ll do all in my power to fit it in.  As a firm believer in “it takes a village to raise a child” I am happy to put in the love and the time to be there for your kids as you have been there for mine.
  10. My resources, physically and financially, are very finite.  They run out quickly.  If I am taking your child to an event when there are two of you adults in your house, I judge you, harshly.
  11. There are a few things which pique my interest but nothing about which I am obsessed. I like seeing you folks go nuts over stuff but I just don’t get it.
  12. My favourite thing is seeing anything done well.  Anything.  Reversing that truck around a corner first time, erecting scaffolding, thatching a cottage roof, surfing with panache, stitching that dress, a great presentation to a room full of strangers, making food that looks like art, even making food that’s not burned, I stand in awe.

It’s not a competition, but if it were then I’d no doubt win!

I have all my stuff together (knock on wood – we do a lot of that around here) and I might make this look less hard than it actually is because you become accustomed to your lot in life and knock on wood things are going ok right now.

I actually find life quite absurd and funny.

I appreciate that your life is taxing too, I can empathise.

However, don’t tell me you know how I feel because your husband went on a boy’s weekend last year and it was hell, don’t get in the way of me getting back to my family, and if I’m looking worn out don’t tell me I look like hell because chances are I lost precious sleep trying to raise my kiddo or help another person raise their kids too.

I’ve got this covered.  We are totally rocking this life we chose, or which chose us, whatever!  If there is hope on the horizon for you, a little partnering up with a  spouse, even if you have to wait to the weekend, it is not the same, it will never be the same, there is no sameness, don’t pretend it is the same.  There is nobody coming my way to take any of the load off, even for 10 minutes.  I am the line, the buck stops here, I am the only one who’s got this in my life.

In the mean time, I’ll continue to tell awful pun based jokes and continue to wrestle the kid to the sofa to get the remote control… There’s a lot of fun to be had.

 

 

 

 

3 Years after the separation.

When you make a great choice to leave violence behind, it takes a while to get back on your feet…. but it does happen. This is Pollyanna, reporting live from on her feet in Doing-Pretty-Well-Ville.

Nearly 3 years ago, “the incident” occurred which changed the trajectory of mine and my child’s life forever. 

Fortunately we are very much over the initial impact, have landed on our feet after bouncing a few times on our tushie, we are within acceptable parameters for emotional strength and wellbeing.

  • We have a roof.
  • We have food and a table to eat it at, for many months there it was pasta every night and I was grateful through the grimace.
  • We have clothes on our back and shoes on our feet.
  • The child decided to have a growth surge two days after we left and has grown about a foot and gone through 4 sizes of shoe since that time. She was humble enough to wear some of my clothes until we could replenish her wardrobe, it broke my heart to have to do that but she rocked the look and it made me love her a little more.  Now we are fighting because she procrastinates putting away her copious amounts of laundry.  I see the blessing and recognise how daft the disagreement may be in the eternal scheme of things.
  • We have beds, working White Goods in the kitchen, and petrol in the car. Each of these things were in limited supply.
  • Our house is warm and cosy.

To go from paying half for everything to paying everything for everything was a leap, an enormous leap, and if I thought I lived frugally before it was nothing compared to now. The crushing responsibility of keeping another human being alive, on your own, kept me awake more nights than I care to recall in detail.

I took lots of my possessions and sold them. One particular time I took my things to sell and received the cash, the child came out of school with a letter for a school trip for £7 less than I had secured that very day. She obviously went on the trip.

You’d be surprised what you can do without.

You’d be surprised at which items you are happy to sell to make ends meet.

You’d be surprised at how much stuff which had seemed so important now looks like one more thing you have to carry next time you move.

Simplifying is the easiest way through.

When I eventually get a forever home, I am going to buy an ornament, a small and ugly thing.  It will stand as a reminder that apart from dusting, I’ll never have to pick that thing up again and move it all the days of my life unless I want to. 

I am looking forward to going out ornament shopping.

That will be a happy day.

But you know what, I’ll just add that particular happy day to all the others we have accrued and banked in the past 3 years, of which there are many to choose from.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gets better, hang on in there.

Girl Nephi: Mormon girls notice

Mormon girls need life skills, guideance, role models and options. Either provide that or step aside please.

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One of my kiddo kids this weekend said
“Can I tell you one of my minor irks with Church? The girls are always told to plan for marriage and babies and how to have a loving home, but the boys are taught to be successful, plan for success, get good jobs and be like Nephi”
“Honey, I’ve always thought of you more as a Nephi than Sariah”
“That means a lot to me, Mum, it really does”.
Now, I have a girl-Nephi on my hands.
She rocks.
She is funny, intelligent, witty, serious, thoughtful, gentle, sporty with boy sports, she plans back up plans for her back up plans, she does not lose gracefully.
She knows that it shocks people to see her truly be herself, so she protects you folks from all of that until you are ready, did you know that? She’s done that since she was 18 months old and saw the adults clutch their chest in wonder and exclaim to one another in astonishment as she discussed ideas and situations using full, fully understandable sentences.
She, in a loving way, is being told to prepare to give up “outside the home” ideas of success and make room for her male counterparts.
I do not see this ending well.
If you believe in a Loving Heavenly Father, who knew us from before the foundation of the world, he knew that Kiddo was formidable, he knew that her intelligence was second to very few on this planet, he knew that she had the fire of ambition in her belly. Her personality, drive and determination were part of her from the day she was born.
Cookie-Cutter stereotypes are the less effective method of inspiring all of the daughters of Zion to reach their fullest potential. It is stifling, uninspiring, and already she is facing opposition from within the Church from not so well meaning adults who think she should reign it in, all this competence and ambition.

Some folks get it, and help her reach her own goals and own potential. If she choses to be a stay at home mum, more power to her elbow, I’ll support her wholeheartedly because it is her choice and she has the Agency to do just that.
Here’s my response to those who think they know what is best for her ….
Help, or move out of the way and be quiet.

The lottery and homelessness

How I would fix the worlds ills… it’s pretty easy, really.

It’s a Euro Lotto roll over this week, something in the region of £101 million Jackpot prize fund.

Someone on £10 per hour would have to work 10,100,000 hours to make that, that’s over 10 million hours.

My shonky maths estimates that to be 5,372 years at work, based on a 40 hour work week, with 47 weeks in the office per year.

5300 whole lifetimes of cash, moolah, dosh, not taking in to account the age of childhood or retirement.

I am sitting here like Homer dreaming of doughnuts – aaaahhhggggghhhh.

We got to chit chatting about what we would do with such vast sums of cash.

In the past, people have told me that they would pay to have all their details erased from all records and go “off grid” in luxury for the ultimate privacy. Continue reading “The lottery and homelessness”

How do I help?

A brave friend is also very scared and tired all the time… how do I help?

My friend has a problem.

This is a different “friend” than last week’s post.

My friend is the most genuinely confident person I ever knew while at the same time is terrified of everything.

Let me try to explain.

 

They would walk in front of anyone to protect those they love, and those they’ve never met who need help.

They would up sticks around the world to proclaim what they believed to be true for 18 months, frequently meeting hostility, frequently having the most amazing experiences they’ve ever known.

They would start over, time and time again with hardly a blink.

This friend picks up for the weekend and goes on adventures to discover new parts of the country.

This friend walks for fun, around reservoirs, through town, just walks long-ish distances.

 

They are afraid to walk to the corner shop in case they don’t make it fearing that their energy runs out and they can’t get back.

Continue reading “How do I help?”

The ugly side of friendship

When friends go weird

Don’t even know where to begin.

Friendship.  That tricky beast.

So long as people are at arms length and have no influence in a persons life, things run along swimmingly.

More like friendly acquaintances.

It gets more tricky fun when people start to shape your world along with you.

Shared experiences become your own history book, your own reference book.

The lines of where you end and they begin become blurry.

Loyalty. Dedication. Laughter. Love. Evolution. Devotion. Celebration.

Then one gets mardy.  Do you know that word?  It’s a good word.

When the one gets mardy, the others look at each other with a “huh? was that just me? did I cause that?”  but no, it wasn’t them, it was Mrs Mardy in a moody.

Then the moody mardy episode turns to a year long way of being and the others are all still concerned.  They refer to their friendship history book.  Wonder if there’s anything they can do to help.  Offer genuine help.  Then they get resigned to the fact that Mardy now has new friends she can be a buddy with who don’t know that she is being a cow to the older group.  They’ve yet to meet Moody Mardy.

You tell yourself that mardiness is born of fear, anger, upset, unfulfilled expectations, jealousy.

You try again to hash it out to little avail, while adding more love to the mix.

And you know what, you wish them well and you make sure you keep a plate in the cupboard for if they ever sort themselves out in the future, so that you know they’ll be welcome at your table if they ever want or need to.