So here I am, nineteen years of age, got my whole life ahead of me… yet I feel flat. I feel like I’ve experienced everything life could possibly throw at me already, what more should I expect?
Sometimes I cringe at how much of a sob story my life really is; I’m one of those people that everyone feels sorry for, or everyone thinks, ‘I wish she would just get the fuck over it’. But the truth is, everytime I get over a dilemma, something else hits me straight in the face. So it’s just like, why bother? I live my life expecting to be dealt awful news, so, I guess, I can’t be living at all really.
Maybe I should start at the beginning, help you get a better perspective on the whole situation — prepare to be a member of the ever growing pity party.
It all started on October 10th 1993, the day my drunk Mother was taken into hospital to finally have her baby. I was a few days late, so she took the edge off by having a sherry — a bottle of sherry. I don’t know how long she spent in labour, but I was born dead. I guess that should have been a sign really? She always tells me how she didn’t even know what sex I was, but there they were, trying to resuscitate me, right in front of her eyes.
I am my Mum’s second daughter. I came along completely out of the blue, considering her and my Dad were already divorced by the time I was conceived. That’s right, my Mum and Dad had been married and I still came out a bastard — how often does that happen?
Straight off the bat, my Dad refused to believe I was his, even though I, like my elder brother and sister, were the spitting imagine of him. He chose to spend the time whilst I was being born getting drunk in a pub somewhere, or so I’m lead to believe. From what I can gather, my Mum and Dad continued to sleep together after their divorce — when one or the other had one too many at their pub of choice and there was no one else available. I was, literally, a complete accident.
Nevertheless, I am constantly told that even though I was an awful baby, my Mum absolutely doted on me. She had always been troubled as a teenager, she choose to rebel against her parents, get mixed-up with all sorts of people and was constantly breaking the law. I guess after her divorce from my dad — who continued to use her as a human cum-dumpster — she had just had enough. She became really depressed, and, common as it was back then, she choose alcohol to take her pain away.
I had been removed from her care a few times before it was finally decided that she was unfit to look after her children and we all got taken away. My eldest brother went to his Father, my brother and sister already lived with our Father — who just couldn’t make it work with a young baby as well — so, I got passed around the system a bit.
That was until my Mum’s younger sister, Donna, took me in. It was a month or so before I turned three; I don’t really remember much about it, but I’m told to begin with, I was awful to anyone but Donna. My earliest memories of her are something quite special; she was so amazing, so beautiful and so kind. She lived in this big semi-dethatched house, at the end of a really nice street. She had three of her own children, two girls and a boy — they were all older than me. I was finally part of a family and somewhere I could grow up and have a bright future.
Eventually my Mum managed to, just about, pull it together; she met someone called Bob, who she moved in with. They lived in a small dark house, in a not very nice area, but she was doing better.
By this stage, I thought Donna as my Mum, I called her Mum and her children my brothers and sisters. I was always aware of the actual situation, I just thought of it as I had two mums, and a whole lot of brothers and sisters. I was allowed to visit my real Mum for a couple of hours at the weekend; I remember meeting two of my elder siblings there too.
And that was it for a few years; my Mum and Bob moved, then they broke up and lived in separate houses, but always ended up back together.
I don’t remember seeing my Mum in any ‘states’ until after she had my baby brother. For the first time, I wasn’t the youngest anymore. I absolutely adored my baby brother; He was premature when he was born so he was so tiny, only just a bit bigger than a bottle of Doctor Pepper.
I suppose it was after then that my Mum started going downhill again. Her relationship with Bob was not a good one; he used to verbally abuse her, call her all the names under the sun, treat her like his slave most days. I don’t know if all that stuff just got on top of her, or she just couldn’t handle being sober, but she started drinking again. She would rarely eat, she was stick thin and an absolute mess.
There had been an incident with my brother: what looked like a burn mark on my little brothers leg; Bob told the social services he thought she had burnt him with a fag. Bob ended up getting custody of my little brother full-time. After that, in order to spend time with my brother, my Mum used to have pay Bob to stay at his house while he sat around all day and did fuck-all.
By this time I was six and I was allowed to stop over, just one night, as long as Bob was there to supervise. It was really strange; it was like walking out of one life, and walking into a completely different one. The good part was that I always got to back home to Donna, who was one of the most stable people on the planet and who kept me safe from all the things that went on in my Mum’s world. Most of the time I spent at my Mums was same old same old, sometimes she would drink, sometimes she wouldn’t, nonetheless, she was emotionally, physically and mentally drained, she barely noticed anything that went on around her most days.
One weekend, when I was stopping over, I was playing with my little brother in his room when Bob called me into his bedroom . All I remember is going into his room, him being there with barely any clothes on, under his sheet in his bed, he asked me to do something for him in return for some money to go to the shop for some sweets. When I asked what, he pressed play on the video recorder and pornography started to play on the TV. I watched, horrified by what was going on, and then he says to me, ‘Put me in your mouth like that girl on the telly and I’ll give you a pound to go to the shop, but you can’t tell anyone’. And so that’s when that started.
I can’t remember it happening a lot, I suppose I just chose to block it out, I just remember running off to the shop to get my sweets. I never told anybody, I knew how much it would upset my Mum and I never wanted my little brother to grow up without his Dad like I did, I couldn’t cause him that much pain and upset. I remember once, at the end of it, I went to the other end of the room and cried infront of him, I told him I wasn’t going to do it anymore, that it wasn’t right, then I got up and left, never spoke of it again.
It wasn’t long after, back at my actual home, that things started going downhill for Donna. She had fallen in love with a man who owned the local shop. He seemed alright at first, we even had Christmas there one year with his family, who spoiled us all rotten. But when the novelty wore off he started treating Donna badly, she even walked in on him having a candle-lit dinner with some random woman. Donna was absolutely heartbroken and she struggled to deal with the depth of her feelings for someone who could hurt her so badly.
Let’s just say things started to spiral out of control, she started drinking. She was the only one of her siblings that, until then, hadn’t suffered from a drinking problem, but she hit the alcohol, and she did it hard. One night her and my Mum went out somewhere, and on the way back decided it would be a really good idea to hit the pub for a casual drink. Hours later they poured in, absolutely shit-faced. And it came out of nowhere, they started arguing, over anything and everything, then they got onto me, the daughter they had to share, and I guess things just boiled over. They started kicking the shit out of each other; I was no older than seven and I was watching the two people I loved most in the world rip each other apart. No matter how loud I cried and screamed, nothing stopped it.
I’m not sure how it ended, but they were covered in blood. My Mum got dragged from our house, and Donna was left a right mess.
Things just continued to go downhill from there. I remember Donna drinking a lot; I remember finding empty bottles of vodka stashed around the house; I remember being a little girl and having to walk her home from the pub because she’d had one to many. There was one time when she promised us she was taking us to the cinema, but on the way she decided we would stop of for some dinner at a pub around the corner, we all ate our dinner and she just knocked a few drinks back, and by the time we were leaving she was drunk, she slept and snored all the way through the film at the cinema.
One time she was found asleep on her Dad’s grave at the cemetery. It was heartbreaking to witness her downfall, because she was someone who came into my life, when my real Mum couldn’t even look after herself. She was, literally, my guardian angel, and she was suffering so much. Nothing I could do could take her pain away, I couldn’t save her like she’d saved me.
When I got home from school one day, she was sleeping on the sofa because she had a cold — she was asleep but at least she was sober. The phone rang and it was one of my friends from school who lived up the road asking me if I would want to go out and play and I said three times, ‘My Mum’s poorly, I’m just going to stay in and make sure she’s alright’, but after a bit of nagging, I agreed to go over for an hour. By this time she had woken up and was in quite a grumpy mood, I told her I was going to play out and then reminded her she had agreed to give me the money to post my sister’s birthday present, which was the following day. She had a bit of a snap at me, so I answered her back, slammed the door and off I went. I can’t even remember what it was I said back, I just know it wasn’t pleasant.
I’d been playing in my friends sandpit in her backyard when I looked up to see my brother standing at the back gate, he looked like something was going on but wasn’t sure what it was, I asked him if he was okay and he replied, ‘Mum’s had an accident, she’s fallen down the stairs’.
All of a sudden, I started crying hysterically, picked up my shoes, ran down the road with them in my hands screaming, ‘I want my Mum’. At the end of the street I could see the ambulance on our drive, I ran down the street in what felt like slow motion towards the house, and when I got to the driveway someone, I don’t know who, stopped me and wouldn’t let me get any closer.
Everything went so slowly after that, they had sent the wrong type of ambulance, so we had to wait even longer for the paramedics to get there and finally wheel her out of the house. I got taken into a neighbours’ houses — one of my friends from across the street. I remember her Mum hugging me as I screamed and cried frightened tears into her chest. I was nine years old, I didn’t know what was going on, and without even asking I knew it was serious.
It didn’t feel like I’d been there long, when Nigel, Donna’s ex-partner and the father to her kids, came to pick me up and take me to his house to be with my brother. I don’t remember sleeping well that night, I was waking up all the time, hoping it had all been a bad dream, like I was going to wake up and Donna would be there. The next morning, it was just my brother and I in the house, no one else was there. I left Peter sleeping and went downstairs, sat down on the sofa, turned the telly on, turned it back off, washed up, put everything away. I remember the house being so quiet; it was like there was no sound left in the world. Then finally Nigel got back, his sister, Julie, was with him; he looked absolutely awful, I remember thinking that he looked like the saddest person in the world. He walked passed me without even saying anything and went into the backyard. Julie stood in front of me and said, ‘Last night your mum had an accident…’.
And I said, ‘Yeah I know, I was there, I saw’.
She shook her head, tears were pouring down her face and she said ‘No. She didn’t make it, she’s died’.
My world literally stopped spinning.
How was I, a little girl of nine years old, who had experienced such horrible things in her life, who had been saved by this amazing, kind, gentle woman, supposed to go on, when my guardian angel had gone from the world?
I cried all day that day, there were brief moments when I’d forget it happened and then when I remembered it would be worse. I went to school and people kept asking me what was the matter. My teacher got a bunch of my friends together and told them, we all cried. I was completely numb. I had lost the person I loved most in the world and I could never see her, speak to her, touch her ever again, it was cruel and unfair.
After that I spent years blaming myself, I had told myself I was staying inside that day, I wasn’t going to leave the house, and I did, and now she was gone. I felt so guilty every day; I hated myself well into my teenage years.
Nigel took me in; we stayed in that house and the guilt and the sorrow ate away at me every day, everything was a reminder of her. I was about 13 when I got caught punching a wall at school, that was when it came out that I’d been harming myself. I told myself I deserved the pain, that if I hadn’t gone out I might have been able to change what happened, or it might have been me instead of her. I was so angry at the world for taking her away from me. I started rebelling, making Nigel’s life a misery, because even though he used to cry and beg me to stop when he saw the cuts on my arms, I didn’t care how much he cared about me, I just wanted Donna back. I wanted to kill myself so I wouldn’t have to be without her and I tried more than once.
That was the second time in my life, that if someone hadn’t have stepped in, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I started seeing a child psychologist, he told me I had been through more than most of the adults he had worked with, and I hadn’t even told him about the sexual abuse.
Dave Spellmen was one of the only people I trusted would listen to me and not judge me. I described it to him like there was me, the person who wanted to leave all the depression, anger and guilt behind and start getting on with my life, and then there was the other me, the one that could not let go of it. That was the me that kept hold of the pain which was stabbing me in the chest, the me that reminded myself how much I deserved to feel pain and that I should be harming myself because it was my fault Donna was gone. The battle between the two was hard at first, it felt like there was a big burning hole inside me that made it really difficult to breathe sometimes.
I also had a counsellor at school, Mrs Ellison, who made going to school just about manageable.
I despised people, anyone who hadn’t been through anything as much as me, and complained about day to day shit. I wanted to kick them in the face, I was so consumed in my depression that I held a grudge against every other person out there, because it had happened to me and not them. Mrs Ellison made it all seem that little bit easier, she used to give me pep talks, she told me that one day I would be worth something to someone, and more importantly to myself. I had to work every second of everyday to keep myself up, sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was the hardest thing.
My Mum rang me one day telling me, she had been granted custody of my little brother for a while because Bob was in bother with the police. I went around visiting her and when I asked her what he had done she replied, ‘I’m not allowed to tell anyone.’
I simply asked, ‘He’s a pedophile isn’t he?’
We talked about it for a while, but my Mum didn’t even click on.
I eventually told her when she rang me drunk one time. Maybe I told her because I knew she probably wouldn’t remember, but it just came out. Later, I learned that there had been a little girl with special needs who lived on the street and sometimes went over to Bob’s house to play with my little brother. Bob had managed to get her in his bedroom, and from what I heard she got it a lot worse than me, he never touched me — his DNA was found all over her.
And for the second time in my life, I was sick with guilt, I felt absolutely awful, If I had said something when he attacked me, this poor, innocent little girl, who would never really understand what happened to her, wouldn’t have had to experience any of it. I got very down, all the self-hatred came flooding back, I had to tell someone who would listen.
I decided to tell Dave, and right away he promised not to tell anyone until I was ready for it, he listened and he tried to tell me that what had happened to that little girl was not my fault. In a way it was like a weight was lifted. So the next time I met with Mrs Ellison at school, I decided I would tell her. What I had forgotten was, when we started the sessions, she told me that if I told her anything criminal or dangerous, she would have to tell somebody else. And that’s what happened, before I knew it, I had members of staff talking to me, Social Services were called out, and then I was told I was going to talk to the police, they had already rung Nigel and told him. Suddenly I had to deal with this thing that I had always avoided, I didn’t want to have to deal with that as well, I’d been through enough.
There were interviews, video statements and two trips to court. It took a long time, but eventually in my last year of school, he was sent down. Twelve years he got, guilty on all accounts. I was happy he was getting what he deserved, more for the little girl than for me, but I still had to watch my autistic little brother cry for his Dad, because he didn’t understand what was happening. It broke my heart to not be able to answer his questions, I made him lose his Dad; his Dad might have deserved it, but he didn’t.
So I left school, started college, dropped out of college, had a few shitty relationships that I always got too invested in and ended up being absolutely devastated when they broke down. I didn’t deal with people leaving me very well, but when it came down to it, people always left. I had a very up and down friendship with a girl who can only be described as the worst best friend ever. I had been through so much, that I wasn’t really sure of who I was.
I met a guy at a party one night — that night was an absolute train wreck — I was always so emotionally unstable when I was drunk, but somehow he still wanted something to do with me. He very quickly became my entire world, I felt amazing when I was with him, I’d never felt anything like it. His family accepted me into their world right away. I was happily in love with someone who loved me back, or so I thought.
September rolled around and Matthew went off to university and I re-enrolled at college. I travelled three hours to see him from college to Salford, I was excited to do it, felt like I was escaping the usual stuff that went on in my life. But soon enough he changed, he was always angry at me, always calling me names, like ‘whore’ and ‘slut’, there were a few times he lost his temper and lashed out at me. He once put his hand over my mouth and wouldn’t remove it untill I was crying my eyes out begging him because I couldn’t breathe. He would threaten to punch me if I did something he didn’t like. But then sometimes he was the same guy I met in the summer, cute and kind, and completely loveable, but it never lasted long.
He seemed obsessed with letting other people watch us have sex, sometimes he would turn his webcam on and log onto Omegle, a chat room where you can video chat complete strangers. Of course it was full of pervs, I was none the wiser until afterwards when he would show me what he had done. He spent all his time with some other girl when I was back home and insisted they were just friends, anything more was just me being paranoid. In the end he finished it with me, saying that just seeing my name pissed him off and he couldn’t stand to be around me anymore. Shortly after he made it offical that he was in a relationship with her — the girl who he was just friends with, who I was being paranoid about.
So yet again, I was alone, hating myself. All the horrible disgusting words he ever called me spinning around in my head.
I threw myself into my shitty job at McDonalds so I didn’t have time to dwell on it, I would go to parties, get pissed out of my face, not give a fuck where I ended up, alot of times, i would wake up and not have a clue where I were or how i got there. I wen’t completely inside myself, all of my positive traits wen’t out of the window. All of a sudden I was the person I was in high school all over again. And months wen’t by and nothing changed, and then I met Jack.
Jack was a mutual friend, who i met over christmas, we got talking one night and he invited me over to watch films, I accepted because I really couldn’t stand being at home at my dads, or being over at my mums. After that night, I never left him.
So here I am, nineteen years of age, got my whole life ahead of me… yet I feel flat. I feel like I’ve experienced everything life could possibly throw at me already, what more should I expect?