Letter 1

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Dear L.

Isn’t it funny how lonely people make life? You may have people around you, yet you cannot fully confide in any of them. That’s on you kiddo, not them. You are the one who built up the walls, and shut off your tongue. You pushed away anyone who got too close, and it’s now easier for you to say “I’m okay thanks” than to say anything else. You’re not okay though, are you? Your chest is tightening, there is a lump in your throat and there are tears just sitting silently behind your eyes. You know this, don’t you?

I know your thinking. You’ve gotten through it before, this time doesn’t need to be any different. It is different though, isn’t it? For it’s no longer the past just catching up with you, it’s the uncertainty of the future.  How ironic that you spent so many years of your life not really thinking of planning a future, yet the moment the future became important, you get told that you have an illness that means the future is more uncertain for you than you had thought. Oh the karma for throwing away many moments not feeling like you deserved them. That feeling pales in comparison to that you feel now though, right?  Get over it though girl, that’s life, and where you are and who you are, is of your own doing.  Put on that smile, say “I’m okay thanks”,  don’t burden people with yourself. That’s your problem, not theirs.

Speaking to God

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*potential triggering*

I can remember the very first time I prayed to God. Sincerely. The first time I said, “dear God…” hopeful that he was there.

For someone who doesn’t believe in God, I look back and wonder why I prayed?

Why in a time in need did I seek intervention from an entity I do not believe in?

When no one else could save me, why did my mind go there?

Was it because I was at the end of my hope?

Was it because I don’t believe that he would let me learn such a life lesson? If he existed, that is.

I can still smell, no, taste the air. A mixture of cheap, sickly sweet alcohol and the acidity of cologne, all masked in dangerous lust. The iron taste of my split lip.

One minute things were fine, next I was alone with them. My boyfriend and two of his friends. I don’t even know what happened next, or how. And then I heard the noise. The noises. The ripping sound of material, the unfastening of clothes, the zips, the murmers and laughter.

And the words –  a murmer ending in “yourself to blame.”

And so I froze. This could not be happening. Yet it was. And it did. I froze but my mind was running at a million miles per hour.

With the strength drained out of me, my body like lead, fingers over my mouth, I prayed. I begged for God to intervene and make it stop. That I’d believe from now on, and I apologised profusely for not believing beforehand. Just do anything to make it stop.

Maybe prayers don’t work, if you use yourself and faith as a bargaining chip? Maybe I wasn’t praying correctly? What were the words that were needed? Was there a waiting line?

Maybe after being picked on for all these years, and being told I was going to hell for not believing, was true, and I was getting a taste of it. In that room, by people I knew, my body just a ragdoll to their agenda. To their movements.

Well needless to say God didn’t show up in the hour or so of hell that happened. Not since.  I learnt that miracles don’t happen. I learnt that not believing suited me, and that if there was/is a God, then I understand, no hard feelings from me but we view life and the living differently.

I get it, if I couldn’t save myself, neither could he.

 

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It always comes back to me, and me = at least half the battle. People cannot help you if you cannot help yourself. And if you cannot help yourself, therein lies the problem. It’s a cycle. A vicious cycle that keeps on going. Until you say stop. That is if you are able to do so. Say stop.  If you want your voice to be heard, to stand out in the millions.  To matter.  Not to be the centre of attention, but to actually deep down matter.  To have someone ask “are you okay? What can I do to be there for you? ” . If you are always the strong, silent type. The one who just takes on the hurt and drama, who seemingly takes it on head first. Or so it would seem. Yet instead let’s it seep through like poison.

20 Questions

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  1. My first memory was probably when I was about 3.  We were on a family holiday in Blackpool, England.  It was off season, quickly approaching the end of the year, and we had taken the trip with my fathers parents.  We had set off to see the illuminations (light display) in the evening, and my dad was carrying me down the street.  It was the kind of chilly evening that you could see your own breath in the air, and had a crisp smell in the air.  I distinctly remember pulling off my pink, fluffy, bobbly woolen hat and throwing it to the ground.  My dad had to stop and pick it up and put it back on me.  I think I was disappointed to have to put it back on again, as I threw it to the ground repeatedly.  The other memory from a similar time was when we had gone camping but something was wrong with the tent, so we had to camp out on the car.  It was a hatchback so mum and dad had put me and my two bigger sisters on a mattress in the back, and they took the front two seats.  I remember it being hard to get to sleep, and my purple pillow sliding out from beneath me, resulting in me banging my head.  I ended up sleeping on my mums knee in the front of the car instead.  Quite the feat given my mum was pregnant at the time.
  2. The one thing I am proud of is my daughter.  I look at this kind, sweet natured girl and regularly ask myself how I have gotten to be so lucky and blessed to have her in my life.   Not only is she beautiful but she spends so much of her day smiling and laughing.  She has been a wonderful baby and I look forward to seeing her grow every day.
  3. The hardest lesson I’ve ever learned is quite a tricky one for me to think of, as there are probably quite a few.  I think the harshest lesson I’ve ever learned is that trust is something to deliberate on before handing it out to people.  It’s true what they say that trust should be earned.  Also that to properly think through who I trust before doing so.
  4. Unlearning something is actually tougher than I thought.  It’s almost like putting what you believe and think and putting it into reverse.  I think of the most important things I have had to unlearn is the idea that mistakes equals certain failure.  Mistakes happen, sometimes of our own accord, sometimes because of others, some times just because.  My initial reaction when I make a mistake, or fuck something up, is that will cause this huge, big domino effect, resulting in failure in some capacity.  Normally leading to overall mass failure.  I’m learning, or rather, trying to learn that this isn’t always true.
  5. Most embarrassing moment is also a tricky one.  I guess it depends on what kind of embarrassing is meant.  I was always a bit of a wallflower in social aspects, or I could adequately, fake it.  However, falling or accidents always made me feel embarrassed.  So here are a couple of my major examples.  When I was walking home from school in the Autumn.  The leaves of red and brown left a golden, velvet carpet.  Coupled with the rain that had been falling all day, however, and it had become a golden, velvet slide.  It certainly didn’t help that, as per school uniform regulations, girls had to wear heels and a skirt.  Footing on this trip home was going to be something else.  It felt like putting your life in your hands with every step. Obviously, I fell and proceeded to slide down the hill, by a few meters.  Or there is the time I had a panic attack at work in the locker area.  Surrounded by co-workers.  That in itself is embarrassing enough for me, however, by Laura standard, I had to escalate it somehow.  So in my moment of panic, I wanted to get away from everyone, so naturally I stood up and proceeded to crack my head off a colleagues locker door which she had left open.  Again, embarrassing enough. However, I had to go one step further and in all the commotion and drama, the hitting of my head had resulted in blood trickling down my face and me subsequently vomiting. Not to mention the concussion that followed.  As a ‘put together person’ who keeps panic/anxiety attacks quiet this was all highly mortifying.   Or there was the time I was 7 years old and riding my bike.  I was speeding down the hill (it was the biggest hill in the area) and I was flying down it on my blue BMX.  Then a couple crossed the road and straight into my path.  Without thinking I braked hard to avoid collision.  I braked hard with the front wheel brakes. And I went flying. Straight over the handlebars. And I landed on my face. Scratched face and a bust up lip.  An elderly gentleman was in his garden, which was beside where I landed.  He looked at me “you’ve made a hole in the ground where you landed…now I want to see you back on that bike and riding home”  Being only 7 I actually did think I had caused a huge hole in the ground.  I was mortified.  Even now, when I know he was joking, my very initial reaction, recalling them memory, is embarrassment.
  6. My role model is my mum.  She didn’t have a particularly good childhood.  Her mum passed away when she was a child, her father remarried, and her stepmother was cruel, and fitted the bill of evil stepmother.  And despite being thrown out of her home aged 14, she made something of herself and her life.  She trained as a nurse and has spent her life, not only taking care of her family, but others.  Always putting others first.  The other thing I greatly admire about her is, how she and my dad, raised me and my 5 sisters.  They raised us to be kind and caring, and close.  Even as we are all older, we all agree that we are best friends.  They brought us up to be independent and loving.
  7.   First time I experienced anger, that I remember is when we went looking for houses, and I went off in a strop after being angry at my parents, as they said we could not buy it.  It had more rooms than our current house, and also had a rose garden, that I knew my mum would love. It was a beautiful house.  Why would they not buy it?  I was about 5 years old, and I couldn’t understand it. There is even a photograph of me, arms folded, as proof of my mood.  The first time I can remember being in a rage though, was when I was 10.  My friends and I were out playing on our bikes in the lane behind the house.  Out of nowhere my friend decided she was going to knock a branch of blossom flowers out of the over hanging branches.  Unable to reach, she grabbed a fair sized, chunky stone, and threw it up into the branch.  However, as we know, what goes up, must come down, and I was landing pad for the rock.  It hit my hand on the way down, before rolling in the ground. I shouted at her, and then insert expletives. (Not directly at her). I was sure I didn’t even know that amount of cursing words. Clearly I did.  It was also the first time I had shouted at someone (outside arguments growing up with my sisters).
  8. A funeral.  That word makes me feel funny.  It makes me think of crisp clothing, a musty smell in the air, tears and blackness.  And questions.  It leads me into a spin of wonderment.  And not normally in a good way.  It makes me feel lost, empty and contemplative of life and beyond.  It makes me think of the people we have to say goodbye to.  My Grandpa, who still had an estranged relationship with my mum.  Who my real knowledge of was limited, and confined to seeing him in a hospital bed. Sneaked in, so as to not let his other family know we were there.  I will never forget as we got out of our car, to head over to the church.  It was pouring with rain, and all I knew was I had to be strong for my mum.  The hearse drove past us, and my mum cried out “oh dad”.  Looking back, that was the moment I realised that despite the heartache he had caused my mum, that she loved him and that he was still her dad, and that whatever had happened between them in a smaller detail, didn’t change that. I will never forget it.  I’ve also had to say goodbye to my great aunts who were like grandparent to me and my siblings.
  9. A high school sweetheart.  At the time I thought I had one. At the start of the relationship I did. He was tall, and dark haired.  He was not one of the cool guys, but he was charming, and new how to carry himself.  He had a way with words.  He didn’t attend my school, but rather a school a few towns over.  He was best friends with my best friends boyfriends. Double dates works. However,  I was cautious and a sensible girl who was looking for more than just a relationship of teenage lust.  I am not one for necessarily saying you have to wait until marriage, but I was definitely under the idea that it was my body, my choice. My mistake. “You’ve only got yourself to blame” he said, as he and his two friends left the room. Yeah, high school sweetheart equals high school nightmare for me.
  10. I don’t think I have ever caught anyone in a huge lie.  Maybe little white lies, that invariably come out in a natural way, in their own time.  The biggest lie I can think of is my sister-in-law, sneaking about with her most recent boyfriend. Her parents don’t approve (don’t ask – that is a story of it’s own).  Her parents suspected her of sneaking around, and she needed someone to confide in.  Insert me. In the middle. Ironic, given only 5 years ago, my sister in law actually told me she wished me dead, as I was ‘stealing her brother.’
  11. If money was no object I’d probably still live in the area I currently am. Near my home city.  I’d just have a bigger house with more space.  I’ve lived in Australia (where my husband is from) for a year, so I would probably have a small house over there, so that when we would visit, we could have our own space, and I wouldn’t feel stressed for staying with my in-laws.  I’d also, selfishly have a few properties in a few countries. One in America.  Somewhere peaceful with a porch to sit out on in the summer evenings.  One in Spain or France – a crisp, gleaming small place. One in Estonia, a log cabin of a sort. My grandmother was from there, so it would feel like connecting with my roots. In a way.  It may seem greedy but I would lease them throughout the time I wasn’t using them, to families who were struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Before buying all these houses, I would make sure that my parents, sisters and child(ren) would have properties for life and be financially sound.  If money was of no object I would donate to many charities, and lead pretty much the same life I do now. Just without the added worry.  I’d set up my own craft business, photography workshop, spend my days writing, and open a cafe.
  12. I don’t think my parents scarred me.  They shaped me.  Not in a bad way, just in that I grew up to be and independent, go-getter, strong-willed person, and so on days where I don’t feel this way, I still do whatever it takes to come across this way.
  13. Birthdays.  I don’t really celebrate them.  So there was no sweet 16, 18, 21… It doesn’t help that my grandpa died the day before my 14th birthday.  So I was always more tentative on my birthday, so as to not upset my mum further.
  14. My biggest mistake was putting trust in those I shouldn’t have. To be a bad judge of character.  That night was my biggest mistake, in that I let it happen, and I have let it shape who I am and how I live my life.  And thus, maybe that is my biggest mistake.  Me.  Only those on twitter ( normally who have read between the lines know (their is safety in it people who are not in physical reach knowing), my husband, and a select few friends, who I no longer keep in touch with. I still cant say certain things out loud.  I know this would help me ‘own it’ and possibly help in the long run. Sounds easy, but when I want to just vomit and lie on a bathroom floor at the thought of it all, I dread to open my mouth.
  15. As an atheist, how I feel about the church is a strange one. I think at times it has caused more troubles in the world.  Potentially more trouble than it’s worth. I have had some experience with it at school, where the minister said some horrid lies and was using it, using religion, as a personal platform for him to spout his own beliefs and opinions. Of which most were outdated and, dare I say it, wrong.  I can’t help but feel that with the church, that if they had just stuck to the scripture and it’s tellings, it’d be an easier pill to swallow.  Growing up as a non believer, I had children and adults alike, say confusing or cruel things.  Countless times I was told I was going to hell (I responded, that at least it was warm there) or that I was of ‘that sort’.  I was made to feel alienated and wrong for not believing, which was hard to fathom, as what I knew of religion, was to be kind and welcoming.  However, I do find churches to be something of wonder, and I do get a silent flurry of butterflies in my stomach when I go in them.  I don’t understand the ‘institutes’ and the way they conduct their affairs, but I do understand why people believe.  In other thoughts on religion and the church, I always feel ridiculously stupid when talking about it.  Almost like I’m inferior and my knowledge is less and unsubstantiated.
  16. I bounced back because I had no choice.  The arm of friendship was taken away almost instantly, and I couldn’t bring more shame to myself or any to my family.  So a hot shower, with any and every cleanser I could get my hand on, a bandaid on a cut or two, and appropriate covering of clothing, and it could almost be like it didn’t happen. I bounced back, because that is what I do. I embraced it, and tried to use it as a learning curve. I internalized the hurt and the pain, and put the blame on me instead. I found and still do find it easier to take the shame and blame and lay it on my shoulders, than be forever angry at others for their actions. Bounced back may be the wrong phrase though, stumbled aimlessly through the years is possibly a more accurate description.
  17. I find the goodness in the little things: the dawn chorus, the sun rising and setting, the rain drops trailing down the window pane, the cool breeze on a summers day, the love and kindness in people’s eyes,  the smile of a baby, my family, my child.  I keep going for them, not for me.
  18. If I could write myself a letter to a younger me, who felt certain on life, I would send a quick note to 16 year old me.  I would tell her to be more cautious.  I’d tell her not to worry too much about figuring out what she wants to do in her life career wise (that redundancies will happen, and that she will still be clueless in that department).  I’d tell her not to compare herself to others and people please. Oh, and I’d tell her to lay off the eyeliner and lipgloss. It isn’t needed.
  19. As my daughter is only 14 months old, I don’t think I have hit any big parenting fail. Yet.  I fully expect to.  It’s a journey for us both.  At the moment though she is always cared for, well fed, bathed, clothed, cared for, spoken to and loved unconditionally, and those will always continue.
  20. The one lesson I wish I could teach the world is that karma and fate, and plans, and how cause and affect has a lot to answer for, but ultimately, we hold our life in our hands.  However, 18 minutes at a TEDtalk is a long time, so maybe I should just stick to my party tricks of paper origami birds, batten-burg cake chessboards and how to drink a 6 pack of beer or bottle of wine in under 5 minutes.  I’m good at those.  Maybe not the philosophy side of life.

Forgiveness and what it means and entails.

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Last night I did my usual and started to think about  life, the world and I. Normally when I do so it tends to escalate quite quickly. Last night was no different from the usual. So I took to twitter -as I recently have been doing, as a place to ask these questions, to say it out loud so to speak, maybe sometimes as a rhetorical question, but mostly so I can see other people’s opinions. So that they can open my eyes to new ideas and thoughts and reasoning, sometimes to change the idea I have, sometimes to give me the support in my own thoughts. Anyway, I go off track.

Last night I asked “does everyone deserve a second chance, or a third, or more? Does everyone deserve forgiveness?”

And I was met with the answer “yes 100%.  Everyone or no-one”.  And the truth is I get this. I kind of agree, but it throws up a whole load of other questions for me. I, for not a second, claim to be a perfect person, I know that I am not. Give me enough time and I could list from dawn til dusk all the things that mean I’m not, but I try to do good. I try to be non judgemental, I try to not cause hurt or harm to others.  So in the theory of all is deserving of forgiveness, does that mean I stand beside the horrid people in the world. Does that mean that I am the same? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in 2nd chances, multiple chances in a sense, but it’s the pearly gates scenario again.

The reason forgiveness comes into question at this time in my life is that an old friend, an ex friend, is seeking forgiveness from me, for something that happened a long time ago. And she doesn’t just ask for it, she pesters me for it.  This lead into the next question. Does the person have to give forgiveness, or can it be left to a higher entity idea (I paraphrase).  And the response I received was the one that I felt (but just don’t want to hear) that yes people should forgive. It doesn’t mean relationship has to be formed.

I want to forgive, I actually do. I hate the idea that someone out there is seeking forgiveness from me, and is dealing with the anguish. Yet, I don’t know if its genuine.  I don’t feel like it is. Is it not enough for her to seek forgiveness from ‘god’ or whoever and leave me be? Her actions that night added to the trauma and have thus changed my entire way of making friendships etc. It made everything unbearable. Yet then is that me being unfair on her, and not taking responsibility for my own actions and the subsequent effects of my own choices.

The problem is I know in giving forgiveness to her I will then cast the blame on myself. See the thing is I feel like I’m getting close to breaking point, and I feel like in forgiving her, I will potentially combust. All this makes me feel like a terrible human.

Taking the blame, sharing the blame. Shame. Ashamed.

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*may be triggering*

You know when that feeling appears in your stomach. That sinking feeling. That knot. That tightens and some how rises up through you, grasping onto everything on its way up. Up further and further until you no longer just have a knot in your stomach, but a lump in your throat, a throbbing ache in your heart. Not forgetting the intense drumming in your head. That feeling hit me this week. In the early hours of the morning as I lay in bed. Thinking. Casting my mind back. A book I had read had me thinking, and I ran with it, and it had lead to me analyzing relationships. Namely past ones.

I had a life altering experience when I was 17 (in that my at the time boyfriend decided to, one night share me with 2 of his friends. Putting it politely.) I became an expert of taking feelings, taking emotions, taking hurt and trauma and burying them deep. I had my coping mechanisms and I was good at hiding them too. And so we fast forward 5years (when I was 22) and I am still coping in my own way, and I am making some good friends at my work. Here comes, said relationship. He was really approachable and friendly. He was unassuming and kind. A thinker and a listener. And well somewhere along the line we became good friends, and after a really rough night for me, he became concerned. Resulting in me confiding in him. Fast forward 6 months and we are closer than ever. He announces his break up with his girlfriend and weeks later he tells me he likes me. Like likes me. And he is the first guy since age 17 that I could feel at ease with. And before I know it we are in this kind of relationship, not physical. Other than a few instances. He doesn’t want to commit. He doesn’t remain interested unless I comply to his texts. And his requests. Stupidly I do. Afterall he liked me despite my past, and issues. After a year, a new girl in the office begins and he starts to divert his attention to her. I’m no longer interesting. Looking back he would sometimes berate me, be angry at me but mainly just distant. After that we grew apart.

And so this horrid feeling appears because I have just figured it out. I think it’s fair comment to say that he took my vulnerability and used it to his gain. I did things I wouldn’t normally do. Or at least I don’t think I would. Things he knew I wasn’t comfortable doing. Having said that I can’t let him take all the blame though. I did it. It was me. I just feel ashamed and horrid. Dare I say it dirty and used. I know it’s probably an over reaction on my part, but I can’t help but feel to blame. Again. Ashamed. Again.

So I confided this in a friend who lives on the other side of the world. A good friend. Nothing more or less. Someone who has a counselling background who I confide in from time to time and was greeted with the response “Laura you’re flawed beyond repair, and always will be. I think that’s what makes me love you.” So now I’m feeling even more responsible for everything and maybe I am flawed beyond repair. Maybe the sticky tape holding me together isn’t doing too good a job these days.

Words

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I love words…written, spoken, sung….any way imaginable…I love words.  Words in the form of ink spilled into a page of notebook have long been a friend to me. A source of comfort and sanctuary when the world has left me feeling isolated and cold.  And yet, like so many people I have known over the years, words too have left me. Temporarily. At least I hope just temporarily.  It’s fair to say the past year of my life has been a rollercoaster and has left me feeling dazed and shaken. A knot has found a home in my stomach, a lump has found sanctuary in my throat, tears are easily called to my eyes and yet still I cannot find…the words I need to say… the voice I have within. Or maybe I just haven’t found the ears that will listen.