It was 13/10/2011. Icelandic temperatures in the U.K. We had zero cash and I was not afraid. Everyone around me; My Nan, my Mom and my Aunt were giving me advice and asking me questions.
“Have a bath. Have sex. Have a curry. Have a bath. Have a … inundated with many opinions and suggestions
My daughter was still not due until a week later. In one week I had had three stretch and sweeps. My Nan had to give us money for fuel to get back to the hospital. After my lovely bath, I went to lie down but I felt rather contrary and decided to check back into the hospital. The midwives said I still had at least 5 cm to go.
So we trudged back into our car for the seemingly long journey home. 10 minutes into the drive home, I felt something that I thought could be a contraction. It wasn’t painful but it was consistent. and it was a real ‘feeling’. I turned to my Nan and said I think I may be contracting. The car swerved and headed back to the hospital. At the hospital, the contractions started to pick up in intensity (not sore just an ‘alien’ feeling). The nurses led me to a room and said they would be back with all their midwifery gear. My Mom and my Aunt arrived.
By this time I was going into panic mode because I didn’t know what to expect. I demanded my drugs and started hitting the gas and air (That was all I asked for). If only I knew how ill too much would make me. I sat on this massive pink blobby ball, bobbing up and down like a confused Buddha. Mom was massaging my shoulders like I was in the wrestler’s seat ready for round one in the ring. DING! DING! DING!
Out of nowhere, I had the urge to get to the toilet. I don’t want to be vulgar though the feminist in me wants to flip the bird and give all the gory details. We need to get over the fact that birth can be ugly.
Moving on. This immense pressure hit me and it felt like I needed a shit. REALITY PEOPLE! Though, it wasn’t the same feeling like the usual order of the bathroom purge. I ran/made a move to go to the toilet and I sat down on it. My mom followed suit and said to me,
” No grandchild of mine is going to be born on the toilet” so she and my aunt took an arm each and propped me up and headed in the direction of the bed.
I got on the bed and screamed out what I needed to do. I wanted to push.
“PUSH” they cried.
Okay…. so I pushed really hard. I heard my Mom say,
” I can see her shoulders, push! “
I gave one almighty push that started from my head (with thoughts of ‘ ‘one more push’ ‘body will obey’) One more push and it was ‘SHOWTIME’, I felt her shoot out of me. A chill stirred by my snakelike placenta laying frigid in between my legs. No cry. The midwives burst in at this moment with a Spanish inquisition manner of urgency about them. All tooled up for their big moment.
“We need to pierce the placenta.”
My little girl was born in the full sac. My body didn’t even have enough time to send a message to tell my body ‘waters you may now burst’.
Still no cry. Then a tiny mew of a cry and they placed her on my chest for a nanosecond and then took her away to make sure she was in top form. They took my girl to another ward to observe her breathing and to make sure the medication I take had not affected her in any way. The midwives broke my waters!
My Mom and Aunt were clapping like a bunch of sea lions and then kissed me on the top of my head and dashed out of the hospital to catch a bus to London! I almost looked around for any discarded popcorn.
I did grab for the gas and air because my daughter had torn me and I needed to be stitched all the way around like a hem of a skirt. I needed some post-labour-pain relief. The whole drive back to the hospital and the labour lasted less than three hours. My baby girl was born on the 13/10/2011 at 03:15 a.m.
All the other Mom’s were super jealous. The easiest birth ever. The worst part was actually having to go to the toilet and not scream out in pain when my stitches had been so cruelly awoken. She has never been a hassle from her birth right up to her fourth birthday. She is such
a placid kid, she is always smiling from morning till night. She tells people they are beautiful and she comments on what people are wearing. She sings and dances. She shares. She is so courageous. There is an old wives tale that children born in the placenta sac are ‘special’. Centuries ago men travelling at sea would wear a part of the sac around their neck as a talisman – it was thought that it would give them protection and stop them from drowning at sea.
So much has happened in my daughter’s 8 years on this planet. People expected you to act like some feral child but no you are the most chilled, charismatic, hilarious, intuitive and smart child I know. I see you blossom and I blossom too. When I hug you to my chest that connection. That surge of emotion puts everything in perspective.
I LOVE YOU!
Our pinkie promise: I promise to love you forever and ever and I will never stop loving you and you will always be my baby girl, pinkie promise.
I know a special girl whose heart is full of sunshine She dances her way around the world to deliver her own special punchline She laughs so distinctly that people cannot help but become infected It is a sight to behold when this observation is detected She is gracious and kind and is delicately inclined the phrase 'she is an angel' are the only words that come to mind Her name means beautiful-that of body, mind and soul and to have her touch so many lives confirms her title role She is my modern day princess -so noble and full of grace I love her with all my being and she is a person that I cannot replace HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my sweet child. You are the true gift I found it in your innocent eyes and that was the day my world truly began to shift
Maybe I’m not who I say am.
Maybe I’m too prised shut.
Im certainly not the man
More likened to a clam.
Plenty of fish to test my lack of faith.
Caught in the net-
Delivering me to an Ill designed fate.
Tag me with an aphrodisiac.
Swimming in the theatre room
Hang up my ten phalanges
To ward off the inner crowd.
Grains of sand obscure my funny elbow.
Morose in all affairs
Wander afar from the nudists-
They emulate all my common fears.
They are my foes.
Grains of sand.
A Stormy clap of hands.
Alone in this operation,
The agenda is to make sure I get by on an innuendo.
Fear to be me-
To let the tears show up my negativity.
Look for the silver lining…
Be happy or die trying.
This is a message in a bottle
Fish are borderline crying.
In yer face
Creative of my right palm.
Read in between the lines
I’m the maker of my own divine crime.
Who is this lady? She is elderly, yes. A grandma,a mother a sister, an aunt, a great grandmother. I don’t know. I have forgotten. Hang on a minute… Aaah yes there was this one time that I was sat in her house -plush, ‘propre’ , stylish and I couldn’t sleep. I kept on getting up to go to the cupboard on the far right of la cuisine that housed all the gigantic Cadbury’s chocolate. I ate and I ate and I ate some more. I always seemed to be able to eat more.
I didn’t it like it when she bought the dark kind. So bitter. So classy, so not me.
But back to la cuisine. Footsteps pander lightly behind me. I turn and look around and I look into the eyes of a lady with pure class-sans maquillage. This seems to counter my non- class evolved youthfulness. The lady asks me a question ‘Ca Va?
I’m expected to answer with the same ‘ca va.’ but it is something like 3 am in the morning. Obviously ‘ca va’ is not appropriate for this setting.
I don’t know why I can’t sleep, I confess. I’ve shoved a load of pills down my throat in an effort to be like the one whom I shall refer to as the Manic depressive. The lady sits me down and makes me a Sleepytime tisane – . Good herbal shit. We sit at the kitchen table with our ‘Sleepytime’ tea, I can’t remember what we talked about.
I have a habit of forgetting things, you see. It is so frustrating. I go back to bed feeling cared about. Why didn’t I feel grateful then?
No regrets. Have no regrets. Okay. I try not too. I wish I had paid more attention, then maybe I wouldn’t forget so much.
I can hear her laughter in that loud roomy part of my brain, it’s threatened me it will become a real auditory sound that knocks me sideways with fright turning me into a paranoid wreck.
I have to remember that laugh. She used to laugh at my jokes. She loved me. She told me she loved me all the time.
She also loved another – another woman-my mom. Angelic looking, graceful, naive and I don’t know – wonderful? This lady helped me out with the angelic-looking lady. Yes, I remember, one poignant night, the angelic-looking manic depressive and I had a vicious fight. I took a braai fork to her neck. I was fucking going out to drink and get strung out on drugs and Miss Manic Depressive could mope in her stupid illness and fuck right off.
Well, she took that big FU literally. We had this stock of prescription pills that could take our local pharmacy out of business – bad joke- that’s why I rely on comedians for such amusements (Omid Djalili and Gabriel Iglesias being two of my favourites ). Nothing like a next-day hangover and a shrill ringing phone to make me grab a handful of downers. I’m not ready for the sunshine just yet- maybe not ever. The lady on the other end of the phone wants to know if the manic depressive is okay. Of course, she is ok……
I turn over
…but she isn’t. She is one tunnel turn away from death. I need some Rohypnol and valium and I need that lady on the end of the phone.
She says she is going to get the next one hour flight from JHB airport to Durban and I need to get the manic depressive to a hospital. I don’t have health insurance. I’m 15 years old.
A cocky shit who obviously knows it all but nevertheless in my narked upstate I somehow manage to get the angelic Manic Depressive a space in a run-down public hospital in Africa – in a- I kid you not – broom closet. Sick people were lying on the floors, covered in congealed blood, in the corridors of this hospital. So I count my blessings that we had some type of room and a bed.
The lady meets me at the hospital. It’s touch and go. We are rooting for survival on this one. Black tar leaks down out through a tube from some part of the manic depressive’s body.
She is okay- stable.
She is in a coma.
The Lady transfers her to a more upmarket private hospital. She has the master card. We spend the night next few days at the Oyster Box hotel – in a chalet. She takes on me and my two cats. Lilac and Mocha- and we all sleep in the same bed united by our love for the angelic manic depressive one.
We don’t know if she is ever going to walk again. I mean it was an overdose with powerful intent. No, pithy cry for help as some believes a suicide attempt is. The angelic manic depressive has a new name angelic, rapid cycler Bipolar.lady in The other lady is my grandma- as you probably have figured out. We go and see her every week. She broke her hip back in Feb 2015 and can’t walk anymore.
Okay… so that happens with a lot of old people. Yeah, but this lady, my grandma has been stripped of her dignity, identity, memories, and she can’t remember she can’t walk. She is stuck on a loop – every few moments she tries to get up and screams in frustration when she can’t. This lady sitting in the middle is my relationship with someone I love who has Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
I know I’m not writing something fucking profound but she means something to me and her family. She is living a world with no faces, no colour and the world speaks another language to her. How is she meant to interpret all this shit?! People talking. Loudly?
Other elderly people not moving- crying, shouting, fondling themselves to remember that they too can feel. My Chronic Anorexia 10 stone self could envy my grandma’s current weight. 5 stone if that. She forgets how to eat. Imagine that?
What type of existence is this?
This is where I get political. Let people die with dignity.
I signed up for the campaign years ago. Who is this lady? She is so much more than she looks. She has had a life people probably can’t even dream up and a life where people would also be horrified how she survived such heartache, ( love is the answer here, folks) but for today we can’t go back into the past too much without forgetting. I don’t want to forget, not today. Those two memories I can hang and frame in the gallery of my mind. They are mine. No one can take them away from me but Alzheimer’s can. Dementia too. You know what really makes me sick about all this? When a person with these illnesses die, Alzheimer’s and Dementia don’t take the credit. The diagnosis of death is usually a secondary symptom. How twisted and messed up is that?
Does she remember her husband? Where does she go?
I should have been a Neuroscientist or something. I want to know what is going on in her head and fix it. All clichés but they are my clichés for today. Can you believe people are being diagnosed with these maladies at as young as 25 years of age?
I would rather choose to die than have everything taken from me. Would my Grandma say the same? I wish I had asked her.
Me: ‘So Gran, let’s talk about something so morbid as to how you would like to die.. ‘
I’m putting it out there. Me? I don’t want to suffer and I don’t want to feel pain and I don’t want to not be understood. That is not living that is stuck between two perverse worlds. I want my family to pay the ferryman and for him to take the money and take me along the river Styx to Elysium and let me die with dignity.
Information on the dying dignity campaign http://www.dignityindying.org.uk
Fall – leaves turn shades of browns and greens.
my heart dips and I don’t feel that same sense of summer’s beams.
Alone. I look to my left. Creativity shines- glitter, stilettos- latex, white faux fur coats. All legs.
Like a string of pearls flung across a room, a musky scent wafts across my midst.
Temptations persist. Glamour. Warmth is all I seek. Summer, why do you have to be so cruel?
I know if I cross over to the other side – I’ll be feeling the warmth – it will be pimped out inbox ring styles – I won’t have time to dodge the fists.
My body will burn up an exotic shade of hues. I will have no rest.
Hell is the other side of Summers gluttonous jazz bassline.
One hit. One vein. Blood – artificial nirvana could infiltrate my being.
I won’t have to think of the biting cold that is ringing in my ears. Muffled will be the ice cone, frozen on the edge of my nose. It doesn’t matter who sees that I have been seen.
Bus shelters full, spikes erect from the corporate underground – I can’t sit down. I know it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown.
Energy is all I have to see me through this cycle of undomesticated abuse. October may be Domestic abuse awareness month.
If I hadn’t left my keeper, I would still have a roof over my head.
I would still be touched.
Better the devil you know – I know every one of his moves. I know when to dissociate –
detach my mind
from my body.
Floating above the marital, martial art stylised bed – I see myself and that devil I married, grabbing folds of my skin. He doesn’t notice the smell of the new conditioner I bought at Asda or how soft the sheets feel now they have been newly spun.
Dryer. I’m dry. He doesn’t notice the lack of moisture. He doesn’t notice that all of that fluid has shot up to my eyeballs. I refuse to let them free flow – I am not her. I’m floating.
Fly on the wall. Caught up in a spiders web. I have to watch. It doesn’t matter if I have a crick in my neck – oh hang on a minute is he choking me?
Leftover food languishing in the sink drain. He switched the waste disposal on to automatic.
Arrested, I am back in bed, under him. Time to vogue with my lips and give him a little pucker.
These white sheets have turned red in his need to let off steam. I come out in blisters hovering underneath his vapour.
Turn my neck – feels like I need a box of throat lozenges for having to get all deep throat.
5 am flashing in stimulant green.
I’m 5 months pregnant. I am going to be late.
Grab the nearest decent clothes. Pull-on my Adidas trainers. Scrape my hair up into a ponytail.
Finally the motivation to go on the run. I don’t have to time myself. I know his schedule well.
An Olympic torch passes into my hand. I’m running for freedom. Liberty is my destination.
I can start over.
Spring – blues, violets, colours in a perfect union – uncompressed. Naturally dressed.
For the first time in months, I feel like I belong. I too am a medley of colours. I blend in.
Natures milkshake collects in my breasts – 4 months to go until I give birth to a miracle of pure life.
Not branded a colour – just innocence – a chance to see a light – work on my soul and tackle it all. This is the only cure.
I am no Killer.
Life goes in cycles. It passes by fast. There are no traffic jams when you have to pick up your feet and walk.
Eyes cast down, belly protruding.
Christian volunteers crouch down next to me- hand me a card.
Die and be reborn.
They can help me. I just have to give my old life to our saviour. I’ve never met him but he sounds
Forgiving, comforting, caressing- a handwash with extra Aloe vera – calming properties.
All I have to do is offer my unborn child to him and I can enter paradise with the rest of my weary comrades.
Eyes raise up to the bitter sky. I’ve always thought whatever is up there twinkling and winking down at me is having a far better time than me.
My unborn deserves a place in heaven. Earth only promises scars and wild jungle roots to keep it grounded to the spot.
The ultimate sacrifice.
Did I fold in with this cult out of cowardice?
I will drink my poison.
Maybe this winter I will be reunited with the one that let out a sudden cry.
Lead me not into temptation. I lie down, no need to be afraid, child. I close my eyes and sigh.
Hope is my last premise.
* Inspired by domestic violence awareness month*
HERE IS A LINK TO A POST I WROTE,ON 11TH MAY 2016 , ABOUT MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN A D.V. RELATIONSHIP , TO RAISE DOMESTIC ABUSE AWARENESS IN MY COMMUNITY AND SOCIETY.
CLICK ON THE PINK HIGHLIGHTED LINK BELOW
*photo credit Rhode Island Francesca Woodman, Benjamin Moore *
Writing prompt -Scars
One scar I have is huge – it almost wraps all the way around my upper wrist -it is 2-3 cm wide. Indented, It reminds me of a dried upriver.
Before I continue…
Domestic abuse & Toxic relationships
Rape -NO means NO.
I’m going to state the obvious here.
Domestic violence is a relationship fucks about with your mental health, whether you love the person or not.
Toxic relationships have usually tipped me over into using shitty coping mechanisms like drinking too much, taking drugs, overdosing and not managing my medication or my eating disorder and Bipolar.
So back to the blood river scar.
One night- no
Another night of heavy drinking and arguing, I found me in a house -not mine- that looked like a slaughterhouse. all dirty browns. There was a rusty scent of blood impossible to ignore.
Every time I inhaled, the scent would drip down the back of my throat like a tap -I could taste it too.
I had mixed copious amounts of alcohol with my medication and all I remember is trying to push my ex away with my left hand ( I am left-handed), he grabbed my arm and I struggled back.
a massive shard of re-enforced window glass- barbered- poking out of my right arm.
the back of my exes legs and back running up the stairs.
WHERE IS THE ORANGE JUICE?
WHERE IS THE GLASS?
WHERE IS MY EX?
An arm coated thick with blood. I wear it like an accessory
Blood makes noise.
I hear screaming.
Ex reappears and tries to grab me.
I try to run away.
I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE.
Why is my ex naked?
In the middle of the street?
Rolling on the floor with me- trying to muffle my screams with his hand. Trying to stop me from running away...
MIND FUCKERY at its best.
“Look what you have done…” ex says.
6 hours later – location: hospital.
The doctor asks to speak with me in private. My ex doesn’t want to leave my side.
I don’t say anything. quack quack! quack quack! quack quack! the word on a loop…
“What happened?” he wants to know.
“We don’t know. We were drinking. I can’t remember. It was an accident.” my ex speaks for us.
My head bows down,it almost appears as if I am nodding. I can’t quite remember.
What I do remember feels like I have made it up, it is so detached from my mind and emotions. It is about as close to me as Pluto or Saturn.
3 days in hospital my ex never left my side.
Not even to go home to wash or brush his teeth.
I wasn’t alone- my mother was with us too.
I was high on morphine for the pain.
Why didn’t they operate sooner?
Did they want to monitor me?
three days later… I’m being wheeled on the hospital bed- away from the stale, coughing ward…
“countback with me from 10,” says the anaesthetist.
“ 10 , 9 ,8 ……“
“1”. my eyes burst open. I gasp a breath. It is like I’ve been living in a homemade sac filled with half shallow water and half air.
I look down at the artwork the surgeon has done.
No more blood.
re-stuffed re-patched, recovered,
by a micro surgical hand.
Back to the carnival freak show.
I enter his home – a massacre.
Dry blood everywhere.
If only it could serve as a reminder of what actually happened that night.
“I don’t remember” the ex says.
How can he and I not know?
Every time I look at my scar I am reminded of the chaos that was my life for 4 years.
This scar says –
This scar reminds me to NEVER be silent in the name of so-called love or a sense of loyalty to one who claimed to love me so much he would do anything to keep me.
When I left him, I did not take his threats seriously.
What he did next gave serious competition with the scar I see.
That everyone can see.
Toxic relationships result in a severe loss – sometimes that means your life.
Think carefully about what and who your life may include.
I was reborn again on the 06/05/2015.
The day the court ordered social services out of my life.
The day that my ex turned his back on me, is the day I realised I had been holding my breath for years.
I had forgotten how to breathe. I might have been dead- a wanderer.
06/05/2015 -I remembered not only how to breathe again but why.
Life -not just my own but that who is of me.
Life is precious
Life is my responsibility