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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Meeting my Stretch

Picture From Winchester lunch

Picture From Winchester lunch

I had been found by my sister Stretch and her daughter The Doc. And thus began the media avalanche.

Because she lives in Joburg and we’re in The Cape we were limited in the contact we could have. We quickly became the ‘Email Queens’- later extended to the ‘BBM Beauties’.

I remember one morning I was doing the set up at the restaurant and pictures were sent through to my Black Berry. Not suspecting anything I opened it and there, for the first time, I laid eyes on my mother.
Well I nearly lost the plot. I was 43, had searched my whole life for her and there she was – living in my phone!

It’s a strange thing to finally get what you’ve wanted all your life. It felt so surreal. I was ecstatic to see her despite the fact that they were taken years previously, I was gobsmacked that it was even happening AND I was saddened. Kids who are seperated from their birth parents often have this fantasy that when they see their parents they will have a sense of recognition, of familiarity. I didn’t. She was a stranger. I spent most of that day looking at the pics and pretending to work. I was completely ‘discombobulated!’.

Finally after a few weeks Stretch arranged to come down for a visit. There wasn’t enough rescue remedy in the world to prepare for such an event!

The day before she came down I was in such a state of nervousness, cleaning the flat, trying to decide what to wear, say, do. By the time I got to work I was completely frazzled. Seeing the condition I was in, one of the lady chefs gently took me aside and started sharing HER story with me.
Her husband had been seperated from his father and somehow she had managed to find out where he was, and without telling her husband had arranged a suprise visit.
She very gently encouraged me to be myself. She reminded me that I was good enough as I was and besides if I suddenly primped myself up in ‘girlie clothes’ and miraculously agreed to wear make up, it wouldn’t help, because my sister would eventually discover that I was in fact a tomboy who loved t-shirts and jeans and considered make up a harsh and cruel punishment!
So bless her heart, thanks to the chef, I went to wait for her downstairs, complete with my trusty blue ‘Miss Giggles’ t-shirt and raggedy jeans.

Heavens she was tall! How is it possible that all my sibs were tall and I was the short shit in both families? Damn mother, you and I will have to talk! AND she had the family eyes, gorgeous ocean blue – I of course have pool dirt brown….grumble, grumble!

Now adoptives usually have all these very intricate fantasies of how they would meet their families and what would be said and done. My fantasy of Stretch had gone along the lines of knocking at the door of a cottage and the door being opened by a solid, buxom, bulky blond with her arms across her chest, barring the doorway.

‘What do you want with me mum you wee bastard?’ would be the first words she grated out as I stood in the snow, trying to be brave.
In retrospect I think I’d watched too many B-grade movies!

Of course I was hopelessly inaccurate!
She walked into the foyer and hugged me.
She was tall and beautiful with the gentlest voice and the biggest heart.

I had sent my youngest, The Diva, to her dad for the weekend so that we could talk uninterrupted. and talk we did! What I found out that day blew me away. I won’t go into all the details but not only did I discover that Stretch hadn’t grown up with our mum either, ‘but eeeer did you know you have a brother too?’, nearly toppled me off my chair.
We finally realised that neither of us had eaten that day and we were running out of time so we went trawling off to the Waterfront, ending up at the Spur. When the friend she was staying with arrived to pick her up , she duly hopped out of the car and hugged me too!

Whew!

The following day I had booked us a table for the jazz lunch at the Winchester Mansions Hotel. Stretch had arrived at the flat with a humungous package wrapped in paper which she wouldn’t let me see until later.
BIG SECRET!
So we duly get in the car and on the back seat I see 2 stones of rose quartz. ‘Wow these are gorgeous’ I said, ‘yes’ says the friend, ‘you got the big one, those are for Stretch!’
Bloody hell! Well that ruined the suprise. OMG I thought my sister was going to crack! Stretch had bought me a rose quartz rock, the size of a small dog! It took a while for us all to stop laughing at the Mega-fail, but I think I finally managed to splutter a thank you before reeling off into another fit of giggles!

Well off to The Winchester!

When I had booked the table I had asked for a small, quiet table because my sister and I were meeting for the first time. When we got there and were seated the manager came over and asked if we were ‘The Sisters’. The next thing we knew he had offered to photograph us and while we were eating had arranged for one of their drivers to shoot down to the Waterfront and have the pics developed. Round about dessert time he had returned with 2 photo frames with the words ‘Family’ on top, one for each of us.

We were completely gob-smacked! I eventually, on his request, I wrote a piece for their webpage, complete with photograph. We were famous! Our day there was great, but bless him, he made it fabulous.

That afternoon The Diva came home and met her new aunty for the first time. Loved her immediately! Discovering that Stretch was going to be in town for another day I duly begged the work to give me a day off so that I could spend as much time as possible with her.

Saying goodbye was HARSH.

I don’t know why we got so lucky. There are many family reunions that are devastating.
We connected by email, connected by heart and then connected in the flesh. I adored her on site.

Now anyone who knows me also understands that I’m a talkative, tough, ciggy-swinging maniac. But when it came time to say goodbye I felt like a child. I was lost for words. I didn’t want to let go of my new big sister.

After all who the heck was going to read me my bedtime stories!!!!

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Adoption Journey

 

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Bats in the Belfry

I do strange well

I do strange well

Warning to all the relatives:

You might want to skip this post in order to maintain the illusion that I’m just a sweet NORMAL person……….

Over the years I have been told I’m mad as a hatter, a crazy chick, barking mad etc etc – all of course in good humour and with good intent, but how close has that come to the truth?

I’ve never been willing to park my particular blend of crazy in the disabled bay, on the contrary – it has provided me with years of entertainment!

My earliest childhood memories were of the things that went bump in the night. I have forgotten great chunks of my life, but these occasions I remember.

One of my earliest experiences was when we lived outside of Jo’burg in this huge house with this really creepy cellar made up of connected rooms that you got to by crawling through these tiny square openings in the wall.
I loved that house but perhaps it held memories that helped to edge me off to the ‘desert plains’ – mentally speaking of course.

I remember hearing terrible screaming coming from our nanny’s flatlet – her boyfriend was apparently giving her a beating and my father armed with a bread knife up his sleeve, went off to try and sort it out. I’m not sure what happened after that but dad returned with the bread knife intact and the nanny returned to work the next day…… I think.

That was also the time of the Fox Street bombings. Nowadays that would barely make the papers, what with all the other violence in this country, but back then it was horrifying. It was also the time that we returned from church and discovered that our big goldfish had eaten all the others and was floating bloated belly up in an otherwise empty tank – how was that even possible?

It was the house where we’d owned a piano which I found I could play quite comfortably without any lessons. And hail, the size of golf balls which we collected in a big green bowl and stuck in the freezer. It was also the time where my brother The Prof had ripped his poster of the boxer (Charlie Weir?) off the wall in disgust when he lost an important bout. There was also the crazy person down the road who used to scream incoherently and try to grab you when you walked past.
That was also the first time I fainted – at pre-school no less. I dropped like a rock and was swiftly picked up by a very tall girl with bushy hair (perhaps another Lioness?).

It was the house where the bread knife made another appearance, my father in a rage of monumental proportions, used it to shred my moms clothes…..

Years later I found out that it was also the time the big family secret was revealed. I don’t remember things specifically changing, but if I think back that must have been around the time my mom attempted suicide for the first time. I don’t connect that house with that attempt but I do remember being kept in a room with my brother in a convent somewhere for an entire day. I was screaming to be let out. I remember my aunt, The Nun coming in to quiet us down, or rather ME down.  I remember feeling afraid. So perhaps what I don’t remember were indeed the things that started the ball rolling.
Funny the things you remember you often want to forget and those you forget you’re desperate to remember.

The day I saw the werewolf I had just woken up and was sitting up in bed. He was walking on his hind legs out of the bathroom and down the passage. I screamed myself stupid and when the family came running, tried to explain it to them. They were convinced it was a nightmare, I knew I’d been awake.

The second time was years later and we were sleeping in my granny’s house. I had the bed closest to the door, my brother was in a twin bed next to the wall. I remember lying on my side with my back to the door and being woken up by something poking my back. It took a while for me to register what was happening.

My brother was playing a joke!

I opened my eyes and saw The Prof sound asleep. The nudge came again! I turned over and there was this boy standing there with a sword, which I presume he had been using to wake me. He looked like Peter Pan, wearing funny clothes and a strange hat. He stood for a good few seconds and then dissappeared!

Now I can say ‘Holy crap, what the hell was that!’ But back then I was too young.

The third time something weird happened I was a few years older and I remember lying down for my afternoon nap. I was again just waking up when I heard what sounded like a crowd of voices shouting in anger. I remember lying there for ages, feeling frightened and waiting for it to stop. When I questioned my mom she had said that no one else was there, that I had imagined it. I knew it wasn’t her and my dad, there were more than two voices.

Voices and visions and years later the nightmares started, at least that’s when I remember them starting. And then the weird knowings began. Oh those were fun!

Funny enough the ‘knowings’ as I call them really only developed once I was an adult. Weird nudgings of intuition that had no basis in fact but still managed to prove true. Knowing when a friend was in need, knowing when someone I hadn’t seen for years would suddenly rock up. They were subtle events, and perhaps they had been there all my life, but I just hadn’t paid them any particular attention. When I did of course, they slowly began to develop.

That creepy old house and that damn bread knife! What a journey they started!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Short side of Crazy

 

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Aunty Snitch and the two Thieves

Many decades ago when I was young and sprightly and didn’t have a drop of common sense I met a boy – we’ll call him The Restorer. He used to buy old and broken cottage furniture and restore it to it’s original glory. He had a love of wood and somehow worked miracles where none should have been possible. Despite this fact he was completely under-appreciated and like me, was always one step away from ruin.
He had a mop of unruly hair and was gorgeous. Funnily enough we remained friends and as far as I can remember never attempted to engage in any relationship shenanigans. Our friendship was fun and laugher and as you will see later, almost an incarceration too.

Well one night we decided that it would be a terribly good idea to head off to Hermanus (about an hour and a half out of Cape Town), in the middle of the night, after imbibing a good few buckets of cheap wine.

How we got there in one piece I’ll never know! Our ‘transport’ was The Restorers panelvan – complete with a full Union Jack painted on the roof and dark blue everywhere else. Besides it’s rather dubious appearance it also had the distinction of being the ‘hot wire car’ – in every sense of the word!
The restorer, being of modest means, had been forced to continually fix his van himself, and as a result there were loose wires hanging down from the dash (and strangely enough also from the roof), and because his starter motor had got trashed or he had lost his keys- I’m not sure which, he was forced to hotwire the van to start it.

So there we were, pissed, giggling and driving a deathtrap with a blazing flag on the top when we arrived in Hermanus.

Of course it was the middle of the night, of course our music was blaring, of course everything was VERY funny. So what do two pisscats get up to in a small town that is fast asleep?
Steal plants of course!

I haven’t been there for years, but ‘back in the day’ Hermanus was tiny and had the most beautiful, quaint little shops, all cottagey and personalised. Most of them had their own stoeps out front with gorgeous plants and flowers to make it homey. We loved homey!

For whatever godforsaken, idiot-motivated, gobsmackingly stupid innebriated reason, we decided to load up as many plants and flowers as would fit into the back of the van.

Now we had already turned our music down, so as not to be a public nuisance……..but we’d forgotten to stop laughing. As it turns out we had been giggling and cavorting so loudly that we had woken up an old aunty who lived above one of the shops. She had immediately called the police to come and investigate.

So there we were trying to squash yet another plant into the back when we were suddenly mesmerised by a very bright blue light – aliens?
Two policemen got out of their car slowly and politely asked us what we were doing. I assume we gave a semi-coherent answer and I assume we were still giggling because they decided not to immediately arrest us. They realised we weren’t hardened criminals, just two young idiots!

We had to put all the plants back while they watched, which was hysterically funny. We were tanked, how the heck could we figure out which one’s belonged where.
‘Oi you! did we take that green one with the purple thingy’s from this stoep or that garden????’
For better or worse we returned all the plants.

It was time to face the music. Despite the fact that the police had decided NOT to arrest us, they were however, going to make sure we left their town. So The Restorer was put into the cop car and I had to ride in the deathtrap with the other policeman.
He was enormous, the deathtrap wasn’t.
The conversation went something along the lines of :
‘watch your head…Sir, there are live wires hanging down from the roof.’
‘you’ll have to drive cos I’m too drunk and besides, I don’t have a licence and only drive when sober…..’
‘keys? there are no keys, you’ll have to ask my friend which 2 wires he puts together to start the car……’

So eventually we were driven to the outskirts of Hermanus with 2 kind but somewhat unamused policemen who asked us sweetly NOT to rush back, EVER!

Looking back it’s still damn funny, but for those of you thinking of trying the same thing – DON’T!
Before we started wiping each other out by getting trashed and aiming our cars, things were more lenient. Nowadays you would get locked up, fined and have your licence suspended and that’s just for the driving – stealing plants would be added to that too.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Short side of Crazy

 

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Schoolboy Sir and The Demon Child

All dressed up as Bride of Christ' at First Holy Communion

All dressed up as Bride of Christ’ at First Holy Communion

I realise as I’m writing this blog just how angry I was as a child and then later as a young adult.

I was raised in a Roman Catholic home where church every Sunday was compulsory. No matter the fights at home, the tears, the accusations – we would always attend. After even the most raucous fights we would all dutifully go up to the altar and receive Holy Communion and pray and sing as though we believed in the sacredness of life.

I remember being about 10 or so and going to first communion classes. There was a monster German priest – we’ll call him Father Rip & Tear who insisted on greeting all the children by giving them handshakes. The problem with Rip & Tear was that he was a sadist AND an idiot. He would grab your hand and squeeze it until you gasped in pain. No amount of telling the folks would help. We were all forced to endure this monster week after week. He was a man of God after all, how could we possibly be right?

I think I could have almost tolerated that if he had served some spiritual purpose. He used to drill us on the bible. It fascinated me but I always questioned the things I didn’t understand and he never had answers, never! The great hold-all that God is God and his ways are above our understanding only really fits for a few miraculous occurences, the rest require real information.

Rip & Tear refused to engage us on even the most basic level, and then after class we would often still have to go to confession with the idiot!

Each week the pattern was repeated, Rip & Tear would hurt us, then frustrate us, then expect us to beg forgiveness and say a million Hail Mary’s to prevent us from going to hell.

Dude, we were already there!!!

So that being the background to my religious experience, I eventually started High School. In those days I was still sweet and kind, but I had a few immovable blockages, one of them being religion. Religious instruction was part of the syllabus and into this disaster walked a new teacher, we’ll call him ‘Schoolboy Sir’. He was a small man with the sweetest, youngest face imaginable. He walked in wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. We all thought he must have been an exchange student.

The poor wee man was in fact a new teacher, part of his workload – religious instruction! It was feeding time at the zoo and little did he know it, but MY lunch was carrying a briefcase!

Oh heck, Run Forest Ruuuuun!!!

I fortunately don’t remember All the things I did and said, but two incidents I’ve never forgotten.

We were being taught about the walls of Jericho and when all the other kids were drawing lovely pictures of brave, faith-filled souls, I launched into an artwork of manic proportions.

My picture had the walls bursting into flames, with an enormous monster hand clawing it’s way through the earth with blood dripping off the long fingernails in great big globs! and of course the dead people were piled up everywhere, awash in a deep crimson tide.

Schoolboy Sir was HORRIFIED!

And then of course there was the time that he wasn’t able to answer my questions, though in his defense he did try. Eventually of course after I had gone on in an anti-religious rage he had sent me out of the class.

I picked up my bible …..and threw it at him!

Now if you’re still young you might think that my rebelliousness was the worst thing, but it wasn’t. In those days throwing a bible was completely sacriligous and unforgiveable. I was in a world of trouble! Detention became my home and whatever chance I had to explore my spirituality at that stage, was lost.

It’s a strange thing being unjustly unkind to a loving human being. It doesn’t fill you with joy. Ugliness simmers in your mind, sometimes for years and definately pays no rent to make it worth it. I know I have said many thousands of hurtful things in my life, but they haven’t stuck like this episode did.

When I was in my twenties and working for the newspapers and yet again searching for my family, I began to think of him. By this time I had gained a measure of balance and understanding. I had been a mother for a few years and the combination of motherhood and the search for my family had inspired me to think and feel again.

My impulsivess is one of my best and worst traits – in this case it was a blessing. 15 years or so after the event I called my High School and asked if they still had the contact Number for Schoolboy Sir as I had soemthing important to discuss with him.

Imagine my shock and horror when they told me that he still worked there and was in fact standing close by!

OMG! No time to think – he immediately took the phone.

I introduced myself and said that he probably wouldn’t remember me – ‘oh I remember you quite well’ he said in his gentle voice.

‘Oh dear’ I said….now what?

I stammered a bit at first but eventually managed to tell him that I had phoned to apologise for my behaviour. I said that I had been going through some hectic things at home and was mad as hell at God at that time, but that despite that I knew I had treated him badly and that even then I had known that he was a kind and gentle person.

Being uncommonly gracious he didn’t expect me to belabour the point. He had known that I was troubled and thanked me warmly for apologising and for having the courage to call.

It wasn’t a particularily long conversation, it didn’t have to be. I wished him well, he thanked me again, we said our goodbyes.

I’ve had to make many apologies over the years, but this one stands out as one of the best.

When I put the phone down I was on a complete high. The feeling of release was enormous. I learnt that day that when we go ugly and nasty, we bruise not only the people we’re fighting with, but ourselves too.

Who knows what negative energy is set up in relationships when we fail to love. All I know is that my sense of freedom that day was beyond anything I expected and judging from ‘Sirs’ tone, so was his.

It’s a lesson I’ve never had to re-learn. Most times I may still kick against the goads, pounding on in my own particular flavour of ‘righteous indignation’, but I always somehow manage to come back to a place of humility and truth.

Of course there are times when my anger is justified and it’s the walls of Jericho all over again….

and I can live with that!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Strings of Sentences

 

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Hunting The Tiger

I have been blessed with 2 lionesses in my life. Both are tall, fearless women with manes of blonde hair and fire in their bellies.
The second one is still in my life and you know who you are, but for now I want to talk of the first one, lets call her ‘The Terminator’.

Approaching the welfare was a terrifying business. They had been called before when the parentals believed I was running around clubbing and drugging – sad that, because in reality I was working and occasionally starving – but that’s another story. So the second time round was frightening but fortunately not only did I not have time to be frightened, I also had less opportunity once I met The Terminator.

I sat in her office and detailed what had happened and waited for the backlash of judgement – it never came.
Instead she stood up – which in itself was impressive because she was REALLY tall (I was the size of a hobbit next to her), and jumped into action.
Before I knew what had hit she had organised me an appointment with the childrens court to get a restraining order. The following day fiercely clutching the order – she went hunting.

I was horrified! The Tiger was going to attack her and then when he was done, turn his crazy on me. In perfect Lioness style she turned to me and (growled?) exclaimed – ‘Let him try!’

The Terminator, restraining order in hand and a quivering, jibbering ‘yours truly’ in the seat next to her started sniffing out The Tigers’ haunts.
Eventually we found him. I was going to throw up or die or both. Not the Terminator! She jumped out of the car and marched into this dark and murky hairdressing salon (he was friends with the owner), and read him the riot act. He didn’t say a word in his own defence, I think he even called her m’am once or twice.
Restraining order delivered, we left.

I learnt about the weakness of bullies that day. I learnt that people treat you the way you teach them to. I learnt to laugh again, because truthfully it was so comical and mixed in with pent-up hysteria it was the only response that made sense.

From there things started to smooth out. The Tiger made a few guest appearances – from a distance, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
My father had jumped into action and called an attorney buddy of his. They arranged for a lovely Afrikaans chap with the face of an angel (and the heart of a rabid rottweiller) to handle my divorce. Again, no judgement or criticism, just action.

I had a small hiccup in that Tiger had heard about my desire to divorce him and had begun to make himself scarce. If we couldn`t serve the papers, I couldn’t divorce him. So I woke up my wiley side and hatched a plan to catch him. I contacted him on the phone and told him that I was sad that things had gotten so bad and would he be willing to sit quietly with me and talk things through.
With the help of The Terminator we hooked up with a contact of hers in the sheriff’s department who agreed to help. So I set up a date with the Tiger, he arrived on time, as I knew he would, and as he entered, said sheriff walked up to him with an unaturally beautific smile and handed him the papers!

My attorney said that we would have to wait for a court date which would take at least 6 months.
I again called on God, the Universe and the Divas of foolish women and BADDA BING!, a cancellation had me divorced in exactly 3 weeks from the day I stepped into the attorneys office. With a fierce woman advocate I marched into court and exactly 90 seconds later I was free!

I learnt many lessons from that time which I`ll talk about later, but one of the most important was the more you strain against the Universe the worse things get. We ALWAYS know when we`re making bad decisions and no amount of excuses will exclude us from the consequences, no amount of denial will negate our responsibility for those decisions.

And more importantly than even that – man is not an island!
If you need help, ask for it!
Young mothers struggling alone will not flourish. I don`t care if every member of your family has shuffled off to Buffalo, if your priest and pastors are dogs, if your neighbours hate you, keep going until you can find one person who`ll listen. There`s always one, always.
Swallow your pride, straighten your resolve and knock on every door until someone listens. I did, despite my fear, despite my embarrassment.

As to the minister who’d told me I belonged in the gutter……
well a few years later I happened to attend a service where this particular minister was forced to resign and to make a public apology to the congregation for diddling the church books……

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Short side of Crazy

 

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All of my family

Daddyo and I – taken about a year before he died

While re-reading my posts I see I have a gaping area of confusion which should be clarified.

It was only after finding my ‘natural family’ that I began using words like adoptive and biological.

I was raised by two people who were my parents and I grew up with my brother ‘The Prof’. Despite the murkier aspects of our family life there was never a time when I was the ‘adopted daughter’. The attitude, like so many others, came from my parents attitude towards me. I was their child, they were and are still today, my folks. They took me in and I was theirs.

Adoptive and biological are words I now employ when discussing the various parts of my family and ONLY to distinguish one from another. I now have an enormous amount of relatives and personally have no problem in bombing them all into one group – ‘family’.

Because my home life was hectic one may be forgiven for thinking that now I’ve found my ‘real family’ – the one I grew up with can now be put aside. My ‘adoptive’ parents have both passed away, so what the heck, trade up? down? sideways?

In my mind it’s really quite simple, I have 2 moms, 2 dads, one sister, 4 brothers and a multitude of cousins, aunts, uncles …..  and lest we forget two different troupes of ‘outlaws’ (my gorgeous families from my kids fathers).

I have also ‘adopted’ my brothers wives who now enjoy the rather dubious role as my ‘other sisters’.

I am ecstatic at finding my biological family and can’t wait to meet the rest of them. There are many times over the decades that I would have loved to swop one for the other. In fact it was I who used my adopted status to drive my folks nuts and to excuse my lack of care at one time or another. ‘You’re not my real parents’ was one of my favourites, and yes in case you’re wondering, I was a horrid little monster for many years.

My family life was hugely complicated and some of it will spill out into the blog, but before that happens I want to categorically state that my parents did they best they could at the time considering what they were going through and how hurt and broken they themseves were. There were times we hated one another (no, hate is not strong word, it’s a realistic one). There were decisions they made that were off-the-wall crazy, stupid and downright outrageous, BUT and hear me well all you who are reading this……..

I loved my parents. I still do. I miss them like crazy and wish to God I knew then what I know now. I wish they were alive now to meet the new and improved version of me. I wish that my mother had lived longer so that I could have got to know her. I only knew her pain, and it was too much too bare, so I ran away. Fair enough, but if she were here today I would have known how to bring balance to our relationship. I would have the strength to say yes when I agreed and no when she crossed the boundaries.

I was luckier with my father. After years of ripping and tearing, he and I made peace and became friends. He was still in many ways, the same difficult human being, but he had also softened, as had I. He eventually became my rock, my chommie and somehow also – my greatest fan.

There were many things we could never agree on, but we chose to form a new relationship, from scratch, despite that. I’m deeply saddened that my mom didn’t live long enough to do that with me too.

Even if I meet the rest of my ‘biological’ family and fall completely in love with them all as I have with the one’s I’ve now met – they will quite simply be the ‘extra grace and blessing’.

My adoptive family, for better or worse are my past and my present. With my Biological family I am creating a future.

Our lives are perfect circles from birth to death, the only difference with mine is that there are a few bumps in the circle where I’ve squeezed yet another family member into the space that the universe gave me.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in An Overview

 

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Two Twits in a Twist

Not a good pic but  shows how young I was - taken either before or after 'the marriage'

Not a good pic but shows how young I was – taken either before or after ‘the marriage’

So two idiots, one boat, no paddle – it was never going to end well.

Before I launch into yet another chapter of  woe is me I feel the need to add a bit of a disclaimer:

My life as you will see was pretty bleak at times. What you may not realise is despite that, I was making choices – bad one’s. We all do the best we can with what we have – that’s a given, but unless we’re born with a pre-existing medical condition that renders us blind, deaf and unable to think – we are still responsible for our choices and most importantly we are very much responsible for our reaction to our enviroment. There are always a multitude of REASONS for behaving in a particular way, but there are no EXCUSES for behaving badly.

Before I met Tiger I had been in wonderful relationships – and trashed them! By the time I met him I had become selfish and often times cruel and detached. I had been given many opportunities to flourish and grow and to be loved by very worthy men and had not appreciated even one of them. By the time I met The Tiger I was ripe for a lesson from the Universe, and up till today he was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

The Tiger had been married before and had a son. When I met him he was not in contact with them (restraining order?).

A few days before we were married he received a phone call to tell him that his son who must have been 20ish had been killed in a motorcycle accident. To this day I have never seen a man cry like that. He ran to the bathroom and collapsed on the floor sobbing so hard he was struggling for breath. If I think back, that day was probably the impetus that our relationship needed to fast forward us to the church. He needed me, it felt like love…..lets get married!

We made the decision to get married on the same day we were married – hence the t-shirt and delightful ceremony. We literally called the minister and my folks and a few hours later TA DA! Mr and Mrs Idiot were official.

My new husband was highly intelligent, charming and totally convincing in all that he said. He was also broken and violent and had zero emotional control. His possesiveness I translated as love, and everything else that I suspected, was translated as his past.

As it turned out his past had included restraining orders, a stint in prison for manslaughter etc etc etc.

We had known each other for about 3 months before we married, he was fantastic with ‘The Seasprite’ (my eldest daughter), he was fun and ‘protective’of me. After we were wed we were happy for 2 weeks before the hell began.

Fortunately I can’t remember my behaviour at the time, only his. In retrospect knowing what I know now, I have no doubt that I found a thousand ways to increase his possesiveness and insecurity. It took a month for me to learn to walk with my eyes on the ground, because God-forbid I looked up and there was a man standing in front of me – an enormous fight would ensue.

I had married through desperation and he knew it. He in his own broken and crazy way had quite possibly married for love. Every fight we had came from a place of loss and fear, connected not only to our pasts, but also to the truth of the present. I was in it for the money and security no more, no less.

Violence became our constant companion. Mostly he was emotionally and verbally abusive, but as these things often do, it escalated. Domestic abuse is terrifying and as far as these things can go, I was lucky. Considering how strong he was and what he was really capable of, a few bruises here and there were child’s play.

I think the worst thing about my husband was how scary he was. I lived in a state of constant terror. He would wake me in the middle of the night to scream at me and the fights would go on for hours – literally. After 3 months I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I had done what I could to protect The Seasprite from hearing and seeing the madness, but growing up in a home of violence, I knew it was only a matter of time before things got really ugly.

During this time I had finally accepted the mistake I’d made and went off to see the minister to ask for help. My husband got to him first. By the time I spoke to him, his response was that I belonged in the gutter and that was where I was going!

I left ‘The manse’, bruised and battered, crying my eyes out. By this time I was reeling. The one person on the planet who should have helped had done this! The only good to come out of that was that ‘The man of God’ had convinced my husband to move out of the flat.

And so began ‘the stalking’. He would stand outside screaming and shouting and threatening violence. He would break into the flat, follow me, suddenly appearing on the corner of the road I was walking into, absolutely terrifying! The police were called umpteen times but their response was that they were not able to get involved in domestic disputes – I would have to be dead or obviously injured before they could act.

It was around about this time that I was rescued by my daughter. I had done my best to protect her, but hadn’t really taken the time to make sure that she was actually ok. I was too caught up in the drama of surving. One day I looked at her, really looked. What I saw nearly broke me. The pain and fear in her eyes stopped me in my tracks.

I knew I had to get help.

The following day I took her to school, dropped her off at class and went straight to the principals office. I didn’t care if he pulled a ‘minister’ on me, I didn’t care if I was called the scum of the earth, but I was going to find help if I had to speak to every teacher to get it.

Miraculously the principal turned out to be the most gentle and loving man on the planet. He didn’t judge or ridicule me in any way. He was instantly willing to help. While we were chatting ‘The Seasprite’s’ swimming teacher overheard what was happening and within seconds had offered to look after my daughter for as long as it took for me to get out of the mess.

I was gobsmacked. She was warm and loving and funnily enough had the same name as me AND lived at the top of our road. Not only would my baby be safe, but she would be close enough for me to visit whenever I wanted to.

I also did what the parentals had threatened, I went to the welfare. I swallowed my pride, I swallowed my fear, I went to ask for help.

I needed to hunt The Tiger and they were and still are, the best game rangers for the job.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Short side of Crazy

 

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