My nightmares about “someone” as I alluded to are the more common out of the three types. This someone is a female relative, closely related by blood and genes… are you there yet? If you guessed mother, you are right.
My mother and I never got a long brilliantly. Even when I was little. She was erratic to say the least, she used to throw me out of the house a lot just for doing little things wrong which meant my dad had to pick me up which I didn’t mind and I know this is cliché but for me it was normal; something every family does. It wasn’t till my brother was born that I realized this was wrong. She used to leave us outside and call our dad to pick us up usually because she needed “space” but as I got older it was because I was better at arguing than her. My arguments were full of facts while hers was full of cursing and when I eventually bested her she called me “ungrateful” “selfish” and “controlling.” I was spoilt (especially by my father) but I wasn’t ungrateful. I used to share everything with my brother so I was hardly “selfish” and as for “controlling”, I wasn’t controlling I just had to learn how to be a mother at age 4. But that cycle continued for a long time and it probably would have continued until sixteen when I was legally allowed to move out (or be kicked out) unless the events of 2008-2009 hadn’t of happened and it was nightmare making stuff.
My mother got a boyfriend. I didn’t like him. You could argue he was caring because he worked in a Charity shop (a mental illness charity shop no less) but I didn’t like him from the beginning and whilst I wasn’t hesitant with expressing my views, I didn’t express them at every chance I got either. But her and I used to have arguments about him a lot because I didn’t want him around and since I wasn’t even there on weekend she could have at least granted me that courtesy. But he was abusive in all sense of the word; he used to hit me – open palm or fist whichever I suppose he thought I deserved the most. I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. I was anorexic at the time, I hardly ate and exercised a lot but I don’t think it was to “look better” I think I just had this fear of eating. I used to do press ups a lot and at my best I got to 50 press ups. I suppose, being that thin could make me look nice but I wasn’t even in my teens, I was hardly into double figures of age when he decided I was ready.
My mother, my brother, him and the two dogs were going to the park one afternoon and to me that was a family outing. He wasn’t part of my family as far as I concerned. We didn’t share genes, we were not even related by marriage and so I had no interest in joining them on some stupidly cliché outing. So like any ‘child’ I refused to go and when challenged, I threw a tantrum. Arguably that was not one of my better hours. My mother, my own mother refused to deal with the situation and instead of living me in the house alone like she had done time and time before she sent in her boyfriend to do her dirty work. I’ve been calling him ‘her boyfriend’ because his name makes my teeth itch. Objectively it’s not a bad name, my GCSE history teacher has the same name but I can’t stand it and I think for the purposes of this I will say his name. The name burned into my head for the rest of my life, the name I curse and if I were to meet someone of the same name I would not say but just so you know I’m being completely open and accessing the pain a writer is supposed to access when writing a heart breaking novel, I shall tell you: Steve. Just seeing it on my computer makes me want to tear my eyes out of their sockets.
But I digress; I was lying on my mother’s double bed because her bed, like most parents’ bed was big and comfortable unlike my single bunk bed. He came up stairs and demanded I come to the park with them and I said I wasn’t and he grabbed my ankles and pulled me and I kicked as hard as I could. My most favoured exercise was the trampoline so my legs were actually considerably strong so I managed to kick him off my ankle but by trying to hold onto me, my pyjamas which whilst they may have been 4 years under my actual age still didn’t fit me very well so they came down and as someone who ran around the house in their underwear till age 9, it wasn’t the oddity for me. Until he held my wrists and looked me square in the eye and began to pull down my knickers. I knew this was wrong, my father told me to dress in private rather than in front of him or my brother like toddlers could (not that I was a toddler) and the primary school I was at had began to separate the boys and the girls when changing for PE. As not to paint a very disturbing graphic picture in your head I will just put into one blatant sentence what he did. He touched me. Those three words I can’t say to anyone. He didn’t rape me, which is why I never said anything. I wasn’t naïve, I knew rape was wrong, illegal and I knew that if someone was raped they should report it. But I didn’t know what to class this as. I later learned you classed it as sexual assault. But by that time, by the time I realized I should have said something, I was 15 and it was too late to tell anyone. I don’t remember much of that day. I couldn’t tell you what I did later that day or earlier that day, the only thing I could remember was that and the fact the window was open and that was a soft breeze and the sun was out quite brightly and it was warm and the sun was on one side of the sky and if I knew how you classed compass points without a compass, I would tell you the direction it was in.
After this, it sent me on a downward spiral. I was already in a bad place mentally. I was anorexic, possibly depressed. I had my appendix taken out in 2006 as I was suspected to have an appendicitis but after taking it out they realized that I hadn’t be suffering from one and the cause of my stomach pain was stress. I was seen by a CPN which is a psychologist for “anxiety due to housing situation” and that was not my problem at all and then 2008 I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which is usually triggered by severe stress. Which considering all that happened with my mother’s boyfriend happened in 2007, it made sense. But as I was saying, my spiral. I think, at first I was in shock and I was young, I was 11 and I didn’t know how to process the emotions so I began to suffer from depression but what is more likely is my depression got worse.
We moved house soon after and whilst discussing my room, my mother’s boyfriend flicked me in the ear in front of her and whilst you may think “that’s hardly a big issue” and you may be right. But to me it was, first it meant he knew he could get away with more secondly, I had severe ear infections for several years and due to that my eardrum was scarred and I was half deaf in one ear (the scar has healed by the way) and when I told my mum and dad about it, they couldn’t understand why I was making such a big deal about it. So I told my mother that he hit me (but I didn’t tell or show her the full extensity of it) and she called me a liar and told me I was making it up to get rid of him. So we argued about and other arguments usually circled back to that. Then we had one big bust up and I went to live with my dad and I stayed there for a week or two, her conditions to my return were that I change my attitude, stop being so vindictive and controlling and my conditions were that I was to do neither and if I had a choice not to return I would prefer that. But my father persuaded me saying my brother was there and to go back for him and so I did. But my mother likes to stay on with the same argument over and over and eventually it all becomes very repetitive and tiring.
Just to show you that her bad parenting skills didn’t just stay at arguments and throwing out, I shall just quickly recall one Christmas until I tell you what finally ended us living with her. One Christmas she went to town and really you have to enquire why someone who doesn’t like shopping in crowds goes to a town centre a few days before Christmas. She went into Primark which is a British clothing shop that sells things very cheaply (and I am not going to go into any alleged issues with that) and so we went in. It was packed, it had two floors, escalators (which she was scared of) and it was just not a good place to be if you had little time. Anyway, for a long time I was a tomboy and at this point still was, so my interest in clothes didn’t much extend past do they fit and do they smell and so a clothes shop was boring to me and so to pass the time my brother and I began to mess about and hide between the clothes. My mother only wanted a pair of leggings but she eventually became annoyed with us, threw the leggings down and walked out and gave us the silent treatment all the way home. Which I enjoyed. The next day, she hands my brother and I some money and told us to go back to Primark and buy the leggings and I was hardly in double figures of age, ten, eleven which would make my brother 7, maybe 8 years old and we were going to a busy town by ourselves in the winter. But we went, we got the leggings, had a McDonalds, he bought a toy and I bought some Christmas earrings from Claire’s. I didn’t bring my phone with me so I couldn’t ring her if I got lost and by the time we even got back on the bus, it was dark. We were riding on the bus and suddenly the bus stops by a road which didn’t even have a bus stop and we were all told to get off; why? Because somebody was smoking cannabis at the back of the bus and they were calling the police. Meanwhile another bus came and my brother and I had lost our tickets but I think the bus driver felt sorry for us and let us on anyway. We got off about a mile away from home, in the dark and we proceeded to walk home. I tried to keep my brother entertained by talking, playing with his toy and I tried my earrings on and it took us a while to get home and when we did, her and her idiot son were there and she just said “oh, I was worried about where you were” and if I was anything like I am today I would have argued with her but I didn’t.
So a long digression from the story I was supposed to tell. We continued to argue, a lot. Constant snapping at each other. I only have one anorexic picture of me on my birthday in jogging bottoms and a long time, easily three sizes too big, holding a cake which I hardly touched. You could see my cheek bones; my wrists were small and delicate. For my age, I looked terrible. Little did I know, I would recover from anorexia soon.
In February 2009 it snowed, I love the snow; it makes the world look like a blank canvas and can make even the worst of scenes look beautiful. On Tuesday 3rd February, my brother and I had the day off. I can’t remember whether it was school closure or just the fact she didn’t want to drive in the snow but we had the day off and we spent the day building snow men, I had this coat which had an elastic bottom and would pull up my top at the back when I bent down and as a result, it got a lot of the cold air and my brother’s snow balls so when I woke up on the Wednesday; my back and I were ill. My mother called it a chill in my back. So I didn’t go to school that day, I’m usually woken up first as my school starts at 8:20am whilst my brother’s starts at 9am. Well at that time. So I went back to sleep (ah, sleep) and I awoke to yelling. I was still quite dazed from the sleep but I knew I needed to go handle the situation as my brother wouldn’t. My mother locked herself in her room after yelling “fine, you’re not going to school” and so I went to ask my brother, the more reliable witness. He told me that she wanted him to wear wellingtons to school and he didn’t want to because he didn’t want to look stupid and he didn’t want to walk to school either which whilst childish, did not warrant her reaction. She was locked in her room, he was playing on his playstation 2 and I went back to bed, still tired and ill.
I was awoken at midday and told to hurry up and get ready by my mother. Being half asleep, I did so poorly. Putting on the comfiest clothes that didn’t look like pyjamas and heading out the door with my brother and mother. We began to drive down to this street where we went every time we went shopping but where we usually park, it was full what with everyone panicking that they wouldn’t be able to get out again due to more snow being forecasted. Whilst driving my mother was arguing with my brother and was 9 at this point and then my mother called him a (sorry for the language) ‘cunt’ and that just made me intervene and suddenly my brother was no longer included in the argument, all this aggression was directed at me so whilst she parked behind a children’s park which took about 10 minutes, I sat there just listening to a torrent of swear words and abuse. I was naïve enough to think that when we got out the car, she’d stop and have some public decorum. How wrong I was. She just continued, shouting and so my brother and I slowed our pace so we could look like we weren’t associated with her. But I got sick of it. I stopped and stood by a tree, it amused me how far she went before she realised we weren’t behind her listening to her abuse but when she realised she stormed back down the path, smoke coming out of her ears and began to yell at us, she then decided that we were the ones being immature and walked off to do the shopping. I got out my phone. I’ve questioned for many years what possessed me to bring my phone, I only had it for if she threw us out again and I didn’t call anyone recreationally so I never usually took it out. But on that day, I grabbed it and took it with me but I am so glad that I did. I rang dad and we both were used to this kind of call but whilst on the phone, she came back and told us to come with her and I told her that I wasn’t coming because I refused to be yelled at in the street. I told dad that he should come pick us up.
After 10 minutes, my brother and I went into the park rather than stay on the path that goes around the outside. Everything was covered in snow and the air was bitterly cold, due to this we couldn’t even sit on the benches, so we walked around instead. We were standing by the slide and she came back and once again, just yelling and swearing at us and I told her she could be as childish as she liked because I had called dad. She then got in her car and drove off, so my brother and I were stuck on a freezing cold day, with no one in that park due to the snow and that children were at school at this time of day. I wasn’t scared for myself, like a mother my protection instincts went to the child, my brother. Whilst there only one person came onto the park, a worker from a nearby shop who lit up a ‘cigarette’ but it’s not the kind with tobacco, it was the kind with cannabis. How did I know? Well firstly, who goes into the corner of a children’s park and smokes tobacco. Secondly, even though I was a fair distance away I knew that that didn’t look like a cigarette you buy, more a spliff. He left and our mother came back. I was more shocked to see her back as her car wasn’t in the usual spot and she walked across the skate park which meant she had to of parked at the very other end of the park. She yelled at us, yet again and told us she expected us to walk home. Two children, neither one in their teens had to walk at least 4 miles by themselves in the snow whilst one is ill not actually knowing how to get home. That wasn’t going to happen. She drove off again. We waited 10 minutes but we were both freezing and so I told my brother that we should just go to a nearby café and tell dad to come get us and pay the bill but as we were walking up the road, we saw our dad’s car, we got in and he drove us away. My personal opinion is, there was too many odd things that day; coincidences and such. But it’s what got me on the track to recovery so I’m grateful.