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Confessions about the illusion of class

Class is an illusion or an in trusion

 

Don’t mix your dish clothes with your serviettes

Ever heard of that one?

My Gran drummed that into all of us as much as she could.

She was born with money but lived the life of Cinderella because she was pretty and Grand  Mamam remarried and acquired two not so pretty daughters.

She fell pregnant at 16 and was made homeless and went to work as a femme de menage and then trained to be a beautician.

She fell in love again and had my Aunt.  Her Love left her like a  stolen kiss and she then had two children to look after.

 

She had to put my aunt and uncle in a children’s home so she could work and survive and send money to them.

It’s not a train smash.

Ever heard of that one before?

My grandpa drummed that into all of us as much as he could.

His parents left Russia in 1918, took on a Polish sounding name and ended up leaving a good life for the slums of Paris.

Grandpa was born in the slums of Paris.

Grandpa took to cruising Paris with the other street kids, always hungry on the lookout for food.

One day Grandpa got a chance to change everything. He got a contract with L’oreal to bring the brand and introduce it to the dark continent that is Africa.

Always an opportunist he took the contract, found my Gran along the way, got married to her (much to the disapproval of my Grans family) and left for Madagascar, then Zimbabwe and finally South Africa.

 

My Gran couldn’t leave her children. She had to tell grandpa that she couldn’t leave France. He asked why and she only managed to tell him about her daughter – my aunt.

My grandpa took my aunt out of the children’s home and gave her his name that very day. My gran couldn’t bring herself to tell Grandpa about her other son. He would remain a secret until he wrote a salacious book about our family many years later.

Grandpa would have taken on my estranged uncle too if he had known.

They went on to have four more children.

Grandpa made a lot of money and finally got live the life of O Riley in South Africa.

The fridge was never empty again.

I got to live a pretty good life too.

Did having money and class make me a better person?

It got me into a lot of trouble.

I had far too much money from my Dad and my Mom’s side of the family.

I got into plenty of trouble.

 

I ended up living in squats and places of poverty. I was always more accepted there for wanting to get high than with other wealthy friends.

The reason: I didn’t hide who I was.

I don’t regret becoming a drug addict.

It taught me that just because I was white and privileged that didn’t mean I was exempt from getting hooked on the same drugs that only the poor and coloured ( is a race in South Africa and not a slur), Indian and black community did.

Class doesn’t buy you happiness.

Drug dealers hated me.

They didn’t get why a white girl with seemingly everything would be wanted to live a ghetto life – have black boyfriends and live in squalor.

One thing having  class did help me with is get me out of a lot of trouble

Before you say money doesn’t buy class.

I already agree it doesn’t.

But have you ever noticed that some people carry themselves a certain way and others have an inbred look?

This is subjective and

Harsh, yes!

Don’t tell me you haven’t ever had that thought!

That person looks like …. (insert your thoughts here)

What I love about the Word Press community is I don’t have a clue who has money and who doesn’t unless of course, a person tells me.

It still doesn’t make a difference. All Good  Writing is classy in my book.

 

 

What irritates me is even though I am living on the poverty line not because of choice but because of choices I  have made – people who don’t know my financial situation assume that the reason I got my daughter back and managed to manage my mental health issues is because of how I present myself and because I look like I have money.

I communicate well.

 

Being privileged does not make me make better choices.

It doesn’t make me better in any way.

There are many people who live in poverty who just like me want to learn. crave to learn.

I truly believe ‘knowledge is power’.

I communicate well because I have educated myself.

Everyone should have this chance

 I’m in debt because I wanted to study in higher education. I am willing to get into more debt to get my Masters.

The problem with the class is the privileged have a better chance at learning to communicate and getting their point across in a “rational” manner from an early age.

We are all born with emotions. It is as natural as breathing

 

For many reasons when we display our emotions in society, we are seen as bad and showing ourselves and our family and friends up.

People with mental health issues -Rich or Poor get outcast as soon as they start leading their life in emotion without knowing the rules of how to be “civilised” to try to get what you want.

 I didn’t get lucky because of my background.

I got clever and I studied and I learnt. I watched people and how they interact. I went on self-discovery courses to find out what my priorities and beliefs and values were and what makes me tick.

I have had at least one chance to marry for money. A pity the person was double my age, got a great pension and couldn’t communicate unless in anger or affection and drunk.

I have never had a rich boyfriend.

 

I think the closest I had to a boyfriend with “Money” was a brief love affair with someone in the army who had so many issues that he accused me of only wanting him for his money.

Funny story. I actually crushed on him because he had travelled like me. He had opinions and ideas. He was creative and he made me feel special.

I am married for love.

My mom is not rich any more but she has a lot of class and really great taste in fashion.

She has been my wedding planner and if our day looks privileged: it is because she got clever

We got clever. We got our priorities right.

I am rich in love.

 

My husband to be was born in a place where everyone who hears the name thinks ghetto, drugs, inbred families and rough around the edges.

Granted Gaz looks like he may smoke a bit of the green stuff.

He has never smoked or taken drugs.

He doesn’t drink. Hasn’t done for nearly 5 years.

He does know how to communicate and get his point across better than a lot of the Rich people I have had the opportunity of conversing with.

His mind is open. He is not ignorant. I love him for that.

We get on so well because we try to put the world to rights, we are inquisitive, always ready to learn and find out about our world and even beyond it.

We laugh. A huge turn on.

Make me laugh or buy me diamonds?

Oooh, what will I go for?

 

 

 

 

 

Pets & neglect

I thought today would be a good time to get a bit closer to home with the animals that we choose to adopt into our family.

Here is a word

NEGLECT

and another

ABUSE

What does this mean to you?

What does it bring to mind?

Something deliberate?

Sometimes  these words conjure up images and words of

  • Shooting

  • Stabbing

  • Setting an animal on fire

  • Stop-Animal-Cruelty-Dont-Be-Sorry-Do-Something.jpg

 

A lot of animal neglect may not be deliberate.

It can be as something as simple as forgetting to put out fresh clean water for a pet or a farm animal.

There is a strong link between animal abuse and violence. My ex-partner was violent with his dog.

 

Is there a relationship between domestic abuse and animal abuse?

When I sought out my local woman centre about the violent relationship I was in. I had to do score test to find out which band or stage of severity my abuse I was in.

One of the questions was if my ex-partner ever hurt an animal. Animal abuse

This is one of the four predictors that may indicate that a partner will be violent to a child or a partner.

I remember a long time ago, I can’t remember where I was living but there was a man who was always abusing his dog. I don’t know what he did to it but the animal was clearly distressed. So much so I reported it.

So can animal abuse give some indication towards abuse to people?

Social workers /professionals are supposed to be trained to look at an animal’s living conditions in a household and gauge how they are treated to indicate if they’re some kind of clear break down in a family. There can be many reasons for this.

  • Poor mental health

  • Unable to have Empathy

  • Substance misuse

  • Animal hoarding

Animal neglect does give a better picture of any child /Domestic violent abuse that may occur in a household.

It seems like a no brainer and it is..

 

MEMORY ALERT

I remember when I was about 4/5 years old. I was playing with my ‘My little pony’ kingdom and the kitten we had at that time came to say hi. I don’t know what I was thinking but there was a ribbon on the floor- the memory is a bit blurred.

I tied the ribbon around my kitten’s neck and then tied it to the leg of the table my pony kingdom was on and I kept on tightening the ribbon until my kitten was hanging.

Something in my brain shattered. I realised if I didn’t do something my kitten would die because of me.  I scrambled to get my kitten free and I was in tears- horrified that I had nearly killed my kitten.

My kitten was fine by the way.

What if my mother hadn’t been a mad cat/animal lover like me?

What if she hadn’t taught me to love and respect animals?

Just a thought I guess….

She doesn’t know about this event.

 

So is animal abuse normal in children?

This can indicate that a child is a high-risk youth. Children from violent homes of abuse and neglect can act out abuse on animals.

I don’t know what this says about me.

Was I acting out on some unconscious level what was going on in my home at that point?

Possibly.

I think for me what is important is my instinct kicked in and I knew this was wrong and I never wanted or tried to hurt an animal again.

Some experts would agree that intervening early with a  child at risk of developing abusive traits can be more therapeutic in stopping the cycle of violence.

Why should I get involved in reporting animal abuse if it is not my business? How can I possibly be making any difference at all?

It is about looking at the bigger issues. If you report to the police/animal protection society of any abuse that you see, then this will be recorded on the crime database and it can lead to investigations and prosecuting dangerous criminals, keeping them away from society-ie in  prison.

 People who act out on crimes such  as

  • Damaging property

  • Violence against humans

  • Drug and Disorderly offences

can all be linked to animal abuse

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? I hear you ask

 

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/tips/cruelty_action.html?credit=web_id83147831

Report all animal abuse. Animal abuse can indicate that there is something seriously wrong with an individual. It is not normal or acceptable.

 

The more we as a community alert police and the law to animal abuse, it becomes a clear message that this is an issue that needs to become more of a priority. It is a stand we take- that we will not accept to live in a  violent community. Law enforcers will need to become more serious about how they deal with this crime because we won’t ignore it anymore.

The result will be a safer community for our families.

 

Confessions of an Animal lover

The A-Z challenge starts tomorrow.

Oh, zeeeeeeeeeeee excitement.

I’m probably going to have to put a pause on my ‘Beliefs’ posts, which in a way, I’m actually dreading because I love being silly and writing comically.

 My theme is animals. I’ve always been more compassionate to animals than most humans.I don’t know what it is that connects me to our earthling friends.

(Singing)

“I like big cats and I cannot lie…”

This may sound bordering on psychopathic tendencies ,but I think the connection was made when I was about 3/4 years old. I was playing with  ‘my little ponies’ in my bedroom – remember them?

Our kitten came into my bedroom. I spotted   a piece of string on the floor and for some (evil) reason I tied the string around my kitten’s nec, it was too short.

I nearly hung my kitten, as soon as I saw it struggling ,I untied it then proceeded to burst into to tears.

I’m not evil.

Kids do experiment.

It’s not funny, it is going to be horrific, I expect many of you may not even read the posts because you can’t bear to listen or read or see an animal suffering or abused.

Don’t turn your eyes away from something because it upsets you. I expect to learn a lot. I hope you will take the time to raise your own awareness to all our earthling friends. Be brave enough to take the time to read what abuse/disrespect so many have been through.

I’m their voice for the month of April. I’m going into serious mode. If anyone has read my

“I  love cats and all our earthling friends. I have  nearly had massive fistie cuffs with people about my passion for animals.  I’m not trying to sell anything. Rest at ease, soldier.”

Daisy Willows

 I can laugh at religion( some people can’t). I can’t laugh or ignore animal abuse and neglect  though some people can.

It’s a good job we are all different hey?

thoughts about the crazy girl

*REPOSTED THIS-I had only been blogging for a couple of months when I published this.  (19/09/2015)

WOAH! Okay. So not only am I co-facilitating an Anti-stigma mental health workshop in October but I have agreed to stand up-publicly-not behind the comfy boundary of my room and blog. I have been asked to speak about my own issues related to mental health and any discrimination I may have felt. I  expected to have thousands of examples on this topic.

I couldn’t stop asking myself the question throughout my day to day activities today. I actually had to lie down (so dramatic) for an hour. I decided I have felt it happen to me.  When I have thoughts fired at me by myself and I can’t get anything constructive done in my day to day life, I usually exercise, do some cleaning, get out, spend time with my daughter, read or sleep. Sleep helps the thoughts to give me a break and some mindful silence.

Here we go. I am using this post as a soundboard.

I don’t have a presentation to give, all organised and ready at a click of a button. That is not my style. So, on that note, I’m just gonna talk and talk and see what comes out.

 Okay so, I was born in South Africa. I had a colourful upbringing. Lots of drama. I have done a lot of talking therapy and going to psychologists to not go too deep into my past. I have dealt with a lot of my issues from my upbringing. What I would like to point out is: I was always insecure. I had a lot of tantrums as a toddler and crazy dreams. Arguments and conflict are themes that stand out. The smell of  Mandrax, weed  and alcohol is always part of every experience. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 2 years old.

My mom got remarried to an ex-boyfriend who had just come out of doing his conscription. My Dad got remarried to his current wife — my step Mom. I don’t recall seeing my dad and stepmom until I was about 8-10 years old. I’m not sure why and I don’t hold a grudge.

My Mom struggled with her mental health for years and years. I don’t think her being in violent abusive situations helped ease the stress. When I was about 5 years old my mother found  blood on my underwear. I think my ex step father sexually  used me. We left him and our cat Muffet, in the middle of the night to go and live with my Aunt. My Mom was desperate to give me a secure home and we finally found a two bedroom apartment to live in.

Things  and people I remember from that time

  • I remember coming home from school one day and not being allowed in the apartment.

  • I remember a letter I had written to the caretaker of the flats. Something along the lines of ‘please don’t make us homeless’ . I’m a pretty shitty persuader haha…

  •  Me always walking home on my own because my nanny was late

  •  Eating SMASH and loads of ketchup

  • My annoying cousin/brother who was exactly the adjective I described. He was a total pain in the arse!

  • I remember Mom suntanning in the complex swimming pool.

We went to live in my Gran’s home and I was intolerable. I wouldn’t go to school. I was always throwing tantrums. I lived outside my own boundaries. I connected with no-one but my Mom. My Mom’s mental health was getting worse and my Gran had her own issues to deal with. There was a phone call and a few words exchanged. A car drive. Headlights,  me half asleep under a duvet.  Destination: Nan’s house.

Woohoo! Nan = party time.

Mom was crying the entire weekend. What on earth was going on? On a Sunday Mom came into Nan’s room. She said some words. ‘I love you’ was threaded and sewn into the sentence many times.  I looked into her eyes and saw my own fear. My Nan was designated distracter of the day. I put two and two together and I ran to the window and saw my Mom’s car bonnet driving down the cobblestones.

I spoke regularly with my Mom. There are a lot of gaps in my memory of this time.

Travelling and living in Miami back and forth-back and forth. I went back and forth to andfrom Mom’s home to my  Nan’s home. Two people who love me making the best out of a shitty situation.

I made a close set of friends and a family who adopted me as one of their own and they provided me with all the normal childhood milestones and experiences.  Skateboarding, inventing stuff to do, getting money to get soft serve ice cream with a flake, body boarding at the beach , movies, music, lots of laughter and lots of love.I never knew how destructive I was until I took a major overdose (12 years old),after a disagreement with my Nan. I ended up overdosing on all her vitamins, so my wee was super colourful for a bit.

I ask myself over and over why did I turn to drugs and starving myself? Who wants that kind of label hanging over them? I turned to drugs and it was social and a laugh to begin with until I craved more and more. My Mom was diagnosed with   “Manic depression” and tried to maintain a full-time job. My Nan was working full time.

My Dad and my step mom and my half sister moved next door to us and worked full time. Why didn’t I move in with him?  We did — once. My Dad with me and my step mom with my step sister and then my half sister. It didn’t work out. I was getting more and more out of control.

The rave scene wasn’t enough. I went through most of my life from 9 years old to 16 years old as blind as a bat.  I needed heavy prescription glasses or contacts. I couldn’t see shit.  I don’t know what people thought. I thought about that a lot. The fact I couldn’t see properly. I decided to make decisions from a different source and those sources were my thoughts and misplaced emotions..

I found myself driven to go down the whole rebellion route. I didn’t stop. My Mom came to live with me in Durban when I was 15 years old.

I had been to 4 rehabs for my eating disorder and drug taking thus far. I had been ordered by the court to‘ the land of the forgotten and damned‘ in ,Magalies  Oord.

There is a story how that came to be but not in this post.  It was in the middle of nowhere. I ended up running away several times.

 One night we waited until ‘lights out’ and we took our mattresses and threw them over the sides of the barbed wire fence and ran to freedom. We nearly boarded a plane to go to Port Saint Johns but we got caught as we were about to board the plane. I was sent back to Magalies Oord for an indefinite time. I got out in three months with a crack habit because the ‘ counsellor’ looking after me( along with three other under 18-year-olds) had got sacked. She in retaliation decided to release us from hell and the fucking daily wars with the peacocks.

They were like Odysseus’ sirens, except you knew from the start you did not want to listen to them because they did drive a person mad. There must be hundreds of Peacock graves n Magalies Oord. That I am sure of.

The recreational drug taker became a 30 pill per day Mandrax addict who only left the house to go and score other drugs. I got myself into a lot of shit. It would take too long to explain. By this stage, I seemed to be following a path with bright blinking arrows pointing the other way in which I  was heading. My friends left. They couldn’t help me.

I met a medley of characters: Dirty cops.

“Privileged” crack users.

Cocaine may be seen as the acceptable drug to take but for them and for me it wasn’t enough. I would go many weeks missing with bizarre people(the road travelled is indeed a fucken trippy one-drug addict or not).  Diamond Smugglers. Mercenaries. I had a few longer stays in rehabs and hospitals. I became not only an illegal drug taker but I had been diagnosed with Anorexia-a bad heart and a Unhealthy mind.

I experienced stigma from my friends and family members.

There were 4 people who still saw some kind of hope in me. My Gran, My Mom, My Grandpa and my Nan. I moved and entered England as disgracefully as possible.  I went cold turkey and had a major seizure. I carried on with the eating disorder – My entire English family had never come across someone like me. They did not and still do not understand me. No loss to me but one to my Nan. I only would make an effort for my Nan.

My grandad was diagnosed with Cancer round about the same time- and My Mom and Gran and then me all moved to France. I was drinking at least one bottle of champagne a day.  I got so drunk I stole some of my Grandads morphine tablets. I lived gutter low morals with a mismatched luxurious lifestyle.  I eventually came back to England and started full-time work.

I had boyfriends and friends but I didn’t let people get too close. The more my mental health deteriorated the more reclusive I became. I ended up resigning from a travel career I loved because I allowed Anorexia to get into my head.

BOOM!

Multiple lengthy stays in Eating Disorder clinics. I tried to be ‘normal’. In 2007  I decided to enrol in a local college and get some kind of stability and life back. I had been out (of an 11-month stint in an ED clinic in York) for less than a week and signed up to a foundation degree in Acting. I didn’t know how to communicate with any of my peers.

I would tremble when I spoke because I hadn’t spoken to people — normally: for so long. I withdrew. I managed one term. I got a distinction for my classical acting and then ended back in hospital again for another 7-month stint in Cheadle.

A few of us girls went for a day out as a privilege to Blackpool for good behaviour and consistent weight gain.   I was  still too ill  but one of the nurses said to me ‘ Ignore them-they are ignorant.’

I asked her what she meant. Apparently, a group of people passed us on the street and were taking the piss out of me and how I looked and being human, I guess. I didn’t let it bother me.

I left Cheadle and went back to college to carry on with my studies and then CRASH BOOM BANG I got involved with ‘he who shall not be named‘-I’m not going into to it too much at this point in time. Long story short. Shitty relationship. Bruises. Overdoses. Alcohol. Concerned people at college and then indifference. I didn’t see what they saw. Hindsight’s a bitch. I suppose I felt discriminated then.I do feel that every time I have felt judged or side carted it has been for a justified reason.

Then I was put through another challenging test of giving birth to a child and having that child taken from me and then having three years of lengthy legal proceedings to get her back.

 THIS WAS WHERE I FELT THE MOST STIGMA.

Professionals need to be aware of mental health. What I saw happening in the courts and in the social service meetings shocks me even to this day. I’m not perfect but I was asking people to help me and my daughter. I did everything possible to get my baby girl back. She was taken from me on the 13/12/2011 at 12 weeks old due to a horrific accusation fuelled by hate and jealousy.

I finally got her back 16 months later under a care order. Social services and I shared parental responsibility. I’ve never felt more helpless and discriminated in a system that professes to help people with troubles.  I cut ties in the relationship with the ex for good.

My anxiety levels came down naturally from being in my own home and feeling safe and I naturally didn’t need to misuse drink anymore. I didn’t need to overdose. I did need to get my baby back. She should have come back to my care much earlier than she did.

They threw Domestic violence at me.

Alcohol misuse. ( I did a hair strand test that came out negative to alcoholism).

Drug use.  Clean.

My past- my family.

One psychiatrist came out with this gem ‘ the past is a great indicator for future behaviour’ .. Doctor, Let me prove you wrong.

I did. They moved the obstacle when and as many times as possible. They did not want to lose this case and take responsibility for where they had gone wrong.

We were one day away from going to a 12-day court hearing and I told my legal team to annihilate them. As it already was they were charged by the court to pay money from their penny fund for their ineptitude in our case.

6/7  social workers and many arguments with the independent reviewing officer and having a black storm cloud over my head we went back to court and the care order was revoked on 6/05/2015.

They sung my praises in court. I was advised by my legal team to address the judge myself. I was more than capable and I didn’t need anyone to speak for me.

This is why I started to use  all my  extra time into mental health charities and working with them on issues like a stigma. This issue within the government and institutions need to change. I want to show parents and carers how they can find a voice and what they can do to gain them some leverage against social services. How to work with them as a team.  I know where to signpost troubled parents. It doesn’t stop there.

I have so many people I am in touch with to work on projects for people with mental health issues in the pipeline. I get to use my creativity and my writing. I’m excited and kind of shitting myself at the same time. I don’t know what I am going to say at this workshop.

I do know one thing if I said no to talking I would have strengthened the stigma barrier for people with mental health issues.

I am not perfect. I still have days when I get it wrong. I do use different coping mechanisms to help me more than the older safer and not so helpful ones. I can finally truly feel what it means to be control of my destiny.

 

Sunny side up

Daisy and her Bee showing how to do park life Life-osophy.

Pause to make moments to smile.

Out of darkness stems light. Light gives hope.Hope leads to success and happiness