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Words are our mercy

I have to read a few quotes of Oscar Wilde’s 100 page letter to his lover whilst incarcerated in prison for homosexuality called ‘Profundi’ ( read full article at end of post)

A few people I have spoken with about Wilde’s works dislike him.

He wasn’t a sexist. How could he be? He was for civility or equality and many of his musings and poems big up women & make fun at men.He was abhorred by society for being a homosexual.

For loving some one with his entire being.
Most of us may never feel that intensity of love. To love even if your life is at stake, your career – your status takes utter devotion.

Society is cruel,it really is and from reading this post I truly believe that words are our way to freedom. The one thing / people that we are not at mercy to .

Words are our mercy.

Quote Natasha Bodley

A trip to Oxford reading prison is now on my bucket list.

I became so emotional reading parts of it in this article.

One of my favourite parts of his letter Profundi

I want to get to the point when I shall be able to say quite simply, and without affectation that the two great turning-points in my life were when my father sent me to Oxford, and when society sent me to prison. I will not say that prison is the best thing that could have happened to me: for that phrase would savour of too great bitterness towards myself. I would sooner say, or hear it said of me, that I was so typical a child of my age, that in my perversity, and for that perversity’s sake, I turned the good things of my life to evil, and the evil things of my life to good.

What is said, however, by myself or by others, matters little. The important thing, the thing that lies before me, the thing that I have to do, if the brief remainder of my days is not to be maimed, marred, and incomplete, is to absorb into my nature all that has been done to me, to make it part of me, to accept it without complaint, fear, or reluctance. The supreme vice is shallowness. Whatever is realised is right.

[…]

Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.

BRAIN PICKINGS

Even Academics can get into Violent relationships

 

I AM SO A GRADUATE WITH A BACHELOR OF ARTS WITH HONOURS (in the arts and humanities)

I haven’t had my graduation ceremony yet and with all that has happened this year, I totally forgot that I have finally finished my degree. My other half was going ballistic (in a good way) and looked at me and asked me why I looked so down. I guess either I am still in shock or I don’t think it is that big a deal compared to what other goals and shit I have had to focus on this year. So let me high 5 myself and reflect on how the path to get my degree became – the successful one.

Way back in 2007,I had just come out of the hospital with a BMI of 16. I enrolled at my local college in the U.K. to do my BA in acting performance.

I was with a lovely group of talented individuals and managed one term. I was quickly losing more weight again and my mental health went down. I could not maintain a low BMI. I either had to go lower or higher and I went lower. I managed to get merit (when they still called it that) for my classical acting. How amazing is that?

I wanted to engage with my group but I couldn’t shift the anorexia. I had become a sub-host to it.

Back in 2008, I decided to have another go at it. I had gained a normal amount of weight. I met a seemingly lovely man who swept me off my feet. He worked in the army and ended up going on tour for 3 months in Canada. I went to live in Barcelona with my Aunt for a few months and partied hard. Hit Ibiza with my cuz and when I came back to the U.K I was ready to piece my life back together.

The night I arrived back in the U.K. was the same night the army guy got back and he came straight to see me, bringing me little gifts back from his tour. I was so touched and couldn’t believe we had another chance to get to know this one another again and give him my heart. I invited him for a meal at my Nan’s house the following evening as he was rather ‘fatigued'(such an elegant way of putting it)  from his flight.

The following day he texted me to tell me he was getting his car serviced and would see me later. Later turned into 6pm And 8pm and then 9pm. The curry was losing it’s cool. I rang him asking him why he hadn’t pitched up and he completely dissed me on the phone and told me he was with his family and I can’t make him choose his family over me! WTAF?

If he had explained that he wanted to be with his family then I would of got it.-The lovely army guy broke my heart. He didn’t want to be with me. I internalised all this as my fault. I had put on weight, I had been homeless and had recently found somewhere in the U.K. to live and I thought I wasn’t good enough. I remember walking my Nan from my new home to the bus stop and I broke down. I didn’t know how much I liked this guy until I felt my heart tearing. Each sob caused another tear and another.

In 2009 I was finally in a better place and I was ready for another attempt to get a degree in the arts arena. I started a  two Foundation Degree with 24 students. By week two that had whittled down to 7 students. Again a totally different bunch of lovely people. I fucked up. I stopped taking my meds. I was trying so hard to fit in but I guess I felt a bit intimidated by all the talented actors and talent. I didn’t know then that they were all just as frightened of failing as me. At first I  was coping and I managed to go out get wasted and silly and form friendships. Standard uni stuff. One night a girl on my course rang me and told me to come out. She said the night was on her. I got dressed and put on my party face even though at that time I was taking 100 laxatives a day.

When people asked me out I would say ‘Awesome. I will be there’  I had a bad habit and once I had taken those tablets I was ill. I mean of course, I had the shits. Haha. Never thought I would be typing this but the moment before I purged I had stomach cramps that pushed and pulled and stabbed at me from the inside. I couldn’t walk from the spasms. SO that night I gave a big fuck you to Anorexia and went out to have some fun and bond with some friends.

My taxi pulled up at ‘the only reputable club’ in that locality and I saw my college friend wave at me and she was laughing and she gave me £50 and told me to come with her. It was a bit. Well, I was sober and everyone else was hammered. I didn’t find it funny. I wasn’t in the zone yet. I went to the bathroom and then I went to look for the pack and I couldn’t find them anywhere.

My mobile battery died and I turned around to the first person I saw to ask that person if I could use their mobile. I happened to bump into the person who went on to degrade and disrespect me in the most colourful and inventive ways. I couldn’t find anyone so we went back to mine and drank until………… I passed out mid-sentence.

This guy wouldn’t leave me alone. He was lovely at first but really full-on. I tried to back away. My friends told me he looked creepy. Leave him alone.

A guy from uni came up to me and told me that creepy ex was well and truly creepy and to stay away. Did I listen? no, I let my insecurities get the better of me. I melted into his world. At first it was flattering that someone would want to be around me so much. I didn’t think I was going to get in a relationship with him. I was trying to make friends and I had my eyes on someone else.

Out of respect to my daughter, I won’t go into a diatribe of events. He tried to take my soul. When he couldn’t have all of me he came up with a cunning plan to try and take my life away from me. Our daughter. During this time I could feel Anorexia clawing it’s way back inside. Cold, damp and merciless. I couldn’t allow it home again. I reached out to a couple I know and went on to meet my future husband to be. Before you judge- I have had my karma. I nearly lost my daughter as you may know from previous posts.  I had time on my hands. Instead of being a full-time Mom to my daughter, I was a 10 hour per week Mom instead.

I decided while I battled it out in the court arena with social services and my creepy ex I would resume my studies. This time not in a mainstream uni but an online one. I worked my toosh off and today I can say I am a graduate. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my partner and my family.

DON’T JUDGE -if you can help it.  That is a huge lesson I’ve learned. This piece of paper means so much more than the letters printed on it. It is a symbol – a tangible piece that reminds me of how I got to this place where I am today. I’m a bride to be with a gorgeous daughter who will be four in October. I’m working with mental health charities and I am a stable weight- super healthy. I don’t smoke. I drink mostly water ( with the odd cocktail of course) , I exersise. I am a success. I am proud of me. No one can take that from me. I won’t let them. Always be ready to learn a bit more. I may have officially finished learning but I will not let that stop me from learning in other ways. I treat every experience in my life as a learning curve. Always look for the silver lining no matter how bleak.

Thoughts about Social services & Justice

*First posted 2015

Content: How I got my daughter back-  and issues of control/being out of control

This morning I woke up with a feeling of loss and  a heavy anchor weighing me down. I should have been buzzing. I was three hours away from meeting up with a girl who works with a mental health charity and to work together on a one off workshop to close the stigma between the volunteers and the people they help. Below is all I had to type this morning: warning alert: very woe! woe! woe is me !and not WOW WOW look at me go.  

THIS IS WHAT I MANAGED TO WRITE  YESTERDAY MORNING :

Why do I only see ugly? What is wrong with me.I can’t love my cat or daughter or partner cos I have trouble accepting me? Why is outer beauty so important to have when I see the beauty of people in all their different guises? My heart has been rung out . The salty ness stings increasingly as it courses through my veins. Pumping –you are ugly  you are not good enough.Why now? Why these feelings now? My next challenge — like a bull waiting , snorting – A Red mist descends. Red mist that at the end will be.

  I had writers block I couldn’t think of anything poetic to say. All words seemed shit and I felt shit. 

So let me get real and tell you what is really on my mind My head has been doing 360 degree turns lately like that possessed chick in every movie about hauntings and possession.  Except it has been me not some movie.  My weight has been going up and  up – I have had no control. Even with me eating healthily. The numbers have  kept on  going up. I have been getting a  daily beasting from the  Goddess of hard core exercises -Jillian Michael. No bullshit. No pansy-ing about. No quitting. I am no quitter.Not a sinker. No Titanic. Why is this fucker in my head fucking with me now? I’m finally getting somewhere with myself and what I want to invest all my working time in.

Yup, so I have really been struggling with my mind for a few months Isn’t that crazy? Me wanting to help people who are struggling? I’m struggling.

I had to let go of the figures on the scale. I’ve never done that. How did I  do it?  Well,  I decided  I like eating (yes, Anorexics can like eating)  and I eat healthily  already so, I was not about  to go hungry and become ill again. No, this is my time. I wasn’t going to start taking overdoses to cope with the madness inside me — skewered. Grilling me .It was bedlam in my head. True bedlam.

I stopped weighing myself every day. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER.  I carried on with 40 minutes of  an intense cardio workout . I didn’t carry on doing 3-4 hour workouts like I have done previously. I did not start monitoring my fluid intake.  In fact I did the opposite and btw  my skin looks the best it ever has. I had to get moving. Get out the house and live.  The critters inside jittering and chattering and  fluttering  chaotically in my mind could carry on.I  carried on with life.

I got out there and I followed through on my next goal. I have my daughter back . I’m already a student with full BA(hons) in Arts and the humanities. I’ve booked our wedding for next year. The one I was never ever going to have. I am finally in a place to help people.

I don’t care if I don’t get paid I’m getting so much back from this.

You know what is even more chaotic than my recent state of mind?  Okay -ready?  The training I have been put on to do, is all stuff I worked out on my own and with my family when social services wanted to put my daughter up for adoption.

Why didn’t they get HOME-START in first?

Or THE FAMILY INTERVENTION TEAM?

How come they didn’t tell me about a 12 week course called called WRAP ( WELLNESS RECOVERY ACTION PLAN)  that helps a person put together a support package if a person’s  health starts to get distressed?

This is not some new concept or specialised training. It’s been going on for years and being taught in prisons and schools today. Why didn’t any of the social workers I know signpost me in these  directions?

I stayed up into   the early hours of the morning for weeks. Researching online to find an answer to convince  social services that I could be a mom and  have times when my mental health isn’t all that cracking.  In my research I came across something called ‘ the circle of protection’ (very Lion king – the zulu bit -you know what I’m on about?) An epiphany or something.

Why had none of these highly qualified social workers, guardians of the court, these professionals but myself thought to put a contingency plan in place?

When my daughter  was put under an interim care order. Obviously, I  attended court. The letter for the court date arrived days after the court hearing. I was lucky that I had my family to give me the heads up. I didn’t know that the  alleged assault charges against me , that had been dropped (because their was no physical evidence to suggest that I shook my 12 week old daughter) was only the beginning of  an incredibly long f*ck*ng journey home. I was like Hercules and his 12 labours.

Back to the morning of 14/12-Confused, in a state of panic-The former manager of social services – I like to call her Miss Hannigan-you know from ‘Annie’ the movie?  I swear she looks and acts like Miss Hannigan – every professional I described her too-could not keep a straight face.

They knew exactly who I was on about. Anyway, so after court, the wooly and rather snivel  cardigan came into view-like a red flag. Her voice was the second thing I noticed ,she sounded like one of Marge’s sisters from the Simpsons.

I was like : Where is my daughter going? You can’t just take her from me!

She spluttered in that voice.  

Stop the drink-stop the shit and sort your life out . I wish she could take her own advice.

I found out about a 12 week group called the  FREEDOM PROJECT that was running in my neck of the woods. In a nutshell it is a 12 weak group that helps women understand why we  enter and stay in abusive relationships. I took Miss Hannigans advice  and self-referred myself to my   LOCAL SUBSTANCE MISUSE TEAM and  I  engaged with a wonderful woman to work out what my drink issues were and how I could manage them. We tried various plans until we  both agreed  that whilst all this was going on, drinking was probably not going to be drunk for the ‘right reasons’.

I went to every mother-baby group I could could go to.

 I could only see my daughter 10  hours per week. I missed 7 contact sessions in 12 months. There was  a local contact centre only 5 minutes up the street from where I lived. I had no problems with anybody in that contact centre. Lots of positive feedback.  The contact worker who had become emotionally involved told us she had been taken off  as  our contact worker. Social services and my ex felt that the contact worker was being biased. It is not my fault that every other person who met him thinks the same thing. Whatever that may be.

A new contact lady comes on the scene. We did not mix well. It happens in life. I can’t love everyone.

Next thing I know and I was now taking  two buses to go and see my child — in a contact centre monitored by cctv like a criminal. This is how the dynamics of our relationship went. If I got on with spending time with my child and didn’t talk much with the contact worker-she said I was being hostile. If I did chat with her-she said I was distracted and not mentally focused on my child.

This contact person has no mental health qualification. Her job  is to collect children from carers/family homes and take them to  a ‘neutral’ meeting/contact centre and to make sure the child or children get back home safely. She is a chuffing human. All her notes ( she was a fan of all the Disney songs — those notes were just as agonising to hear)  were being gurned  into the social workers reports.This is one opinion from someone who was not even qualified. It felt like she was there to prod and provoke a reaction out of me.

I asked the court to authorise  a hair strand test for alcohol and drugs  to be done. The test was only done 7-8 months after my baby was taken into foster care.  It came back negative that I was an alcoholic and drug taker. I am on prescription meds  so that obviously came up.  The non alcoholic levels  of drinking found in my hair proved to them I had drunk alcohol but not at the levels they were making out.From  the period  I decided  to go teetotal the levels had reduced even more.  It all  came back negative.

I was in a very violent and manipulative relationship. This  ahem… man treat me like something he found in the gutter. He warped my mind.  My mental health was exacerbated in that relationship. I dealt with this issue and I don’t want to say more on here out of respect for my daughter. He walked away when he lost control. When my daughter is at an age she can make and formulate her own opinions  that will be the time I decide to give her the information about her paternal father and seek him out and ask him whatever questions she wishes too.

I paid nearly £400 to do a parenting course online because social services stated I could not do a certain group because my ex was attending it and my daughter had to be over 5 years of age.  He got on it because he has two sons under 18. I got my daughter back under a  full care order-on the 28/04/2013 .  She was not even three  years old and all of a sudden I could attend this 12 week government funded parenting course for free. I had THIS IRO ‘professional’ come into my home and threaten me. She tried to wind me up because I made a comment about her not even having met my daughter and she was the person to ratify the adoption plan. She sat on my living room suite and re-iterated that it was her that ratified the adoption plan and still held that view.  If I had a problem with her then I could change  IRO’s.

I looked her straight in the eyes and I said ‘NO, you and me are going to see this through to the end.-It was like something out of a western movie. Eyeballing one another.

‘Yes. we will’, she puffed out her chest and chuckled to her ‘henchman’ .The person she brought with her to intimidate me. What makes me want to poke out her eyehole is at the final LAC review meeting she was hugging me and saying I had taught her something about people with mental health issues and  she realised how ignorant she had been. This woman works with dozens of cases like mine everyday. Mental health is not a new endemic in society. I hope ,you the reader can see why I am ranting at this…

I always say ‘I hold up my hands  I am far from being perfect‘. I would actually like this to be engraved on my grave. I have said the phrase so many times.  The thing is  I put in the effort in and they did not want to own up that they screwed up and I wasn’t what they read on paper and what they thought I would be like. ALL PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE DELUDED RIGHT? HAVE NO SENSE OF REALITY

Here is my point, It didn’t have to go straight to adoption but it was easy for them to place  my innocent  12 week year old child. Blue eyed  with blonde hair and  not soiled and tainted from being ragged around a defunct system.  No behaviour issues. An easy adoption case. They call it ‘twin tracking’

Ha , you should have seen the  guardian’s face when I told her that the chances of my daughter being adopted after being told that mental health issues run in her paternal and or maternal family drops. She was 25% less likely to get adopted.  Oh they loved me. My legal team were ace. I communicated and I asked questions and I researched.

As a volunteer I have a ticket to go to this PARENTING AND MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE

I hope a few social workers will be there to learn something about mental health .

I’m not angry. I finally know why I went through all this shit. Now I  can do the professional training and help other people.  I’m not bitter- AM I F*bitter-F*CK? 

 Thank you social services for giving me such a hard time. It has led me to take the actions to   where I am in this new chapter in my life. I am strong and empowered and passionate and every time I have fallen in my life,  I get up.

 Every time.

These other less invasive  helpful  services should  be taken into account and be brought to the attention of a person before they start taking kids off their parents and family without the full facts. I’m not talking about the families where abuse goes on. I’m telling you what I have experienced  There is so much wrong with the system. I’m gonna volunteer my heart out.

Thank  fuck for silver linings.

I not only have my daughter and my partner and my beautiful  family and friends  to live for but I have been given a gift of knowledge and I will be trained to help people who need some support and advice. I must share this knowledge of how I got my baby girl back and how much I have changed and how  exhilarating and terrifying   it is but it is worth the fight. I’m not the only one. There are so many more who are terrified to talk because they feel threatened and bullied by social services.

CHANGE  must happen and I will do anything I can to be a part of that.  If you have read this far. Thank You. Never give up your right to speak . I had a  ‘gagging order’ imposed upon  me when my child was a ward of the courts( This is the law in England) . I don’t anymore and I am well within my legal rights to post this.  I want to use my skills and my creativity in writing and acting to help people remember  how to communicate again and it is a right of theirs to have a voice…

P.S. I still am partial to a cocktail or two  when I’m not looking after my health  for one thing or another-usually for a dress to fit in to  go somewhere.

P.P.S. I have written a stage play inspired by these events with a Brecht like influence. I wrote it for my final end of module assignment for my degree at the Open university and I got a 1st for it.  I might put it up sometime . I might not.