Mary And Shaun

Once upon a time, there was a village full of tiny little houses in a no so far away land. The village was at the edge of the kingdom of Leicedom, very far away from the king’s palace, on the outskirt of the city. The people in the village struggled to travel, so they had occupations within the little village. Some of them could not work, and some of them tried to work. Due to the distance and the barriers, though, some had to rely on the King’s and his Minister’s donations when he visited the village every two weeks.
In this village, there were many families and many children. Most adults were frustrated by being outside the Kingdom, so they tried to be invited by the king to live in the City.
The young children spent their days playing in the streets, watching the people at the market, playing with pets, and spending time with their parents. The older children used to go to school then spend the rest of their time with their families.
Mary was a little shy ten years old girl, and her brother Shaun was nine. They were very different as Mary was very mature and responsible while Shaun, even though only one year younger, was always getting into trouble, leaving Mary the arduous job of resolving the problems he created.
There was the time when he stole a loaf of bread from the bakery, and Mary took him back to apologise to the shop keepers. Mary had to help when the bully hit Shaun in the playground, and she had to clean his scratches when he fell from his bike.
Mary and Shaun’s mum was a lovely lady called Amber, and she was normally in the house, as she was unfortunate, she didn’t have a job so she felt sad and struggled to help the children leaving the responsibility mainly with Mary.
The children loved their mum very much; however, these days, they tried to stay outside all the time to avoid seeing her crying and being sad.
It was this way that one day, walking in the village’s square, they met a young girl called Allion. She looked different from them as she wore long colorful flowery gowns, and she had natural eyeliner, so Mary was very curious to get to know the new girl.
They spent days playing together then started playing in Allion’s garden. They spent more and more time together and, once in a while, Allion’s father would come out and give the children some magic tarts that they all loved. Magic tarts were little chocolate tarts covered in unicorn sprinkles, and they made them giggle as the sparkle would get to the children’s’ noses.
Mary and Seun were a little intimidated by Allion’s father as he was a wizard and wore long starry gowns. As the children had never met a wizard, they didn’t know what to make of his appearance.
The children enjoyed playing in Allion’s garden throughout the summer and the first few Autumn days. It was only natural when they continued playing with Allion in her little cozy lounge at the arrival of the cold days.
Most of the time, Marlon, Allion’s father, would be in his study, and at the time, he would be pottering in the kitchen. Generally, after greeting the children, he would make himself scarce, leaving the kids playing together.
Mary was delighted as, since meeting Allion, Shaun had stopped getting into trouble, and both of them felt serene and settled in their newfound routine. They were also happy with not feeling permanently sad by looking at their mother, who was struggling to cope with life.
Marlon asked Mary to help him fetch a chicken stuck under a small tree in the back yard one day.
Mary was only too happy to oblige as Marlon offered them shelter and was such a nice man. She slid to the bottom of the edge and, after a little struggle, managed to fetch the runaway chicken and return it to Marlon. To say thank you, Marlon offered some Mint Tea to the children, who loved it, and settled on the sofa, where Marlon proceeded to read them a story from his favourite book. The children fell asleep on the sofa, cuddled up by the warmth coming from the fire.
In the next few weeks, the children spent all their time cooped up in Allion’s house, playing and laughing in the little cottage in the company of Marlon.
The children felt as if Marlon was a family member by now and were very relaxed in his presence. So they thought nothing when, one evening, Allion asked them to stay for a sleepover, and they all ended up sleeping in the large bed in Marlon’s room while Marlon slept in Allion’s bed.
The two children felt very fortunate to have found these two, and in fact, it was as if their, once small family, was now complete. They, after all, gained a father and a sister. Things couldn’t have been any better, it seemed.
After spending the whole winter indoors, playing games, eating nice meals in front of the fireplace, and only going home occasionally to check on their mum, the two brothers were looking forward to the summer and the promise of sunny days to spend in the open air.
One evening, after everyone had helped clear up the kitchen and after Marlon had read them another bedtime story, the children went to bed, and Marlon asked Mary if she wanted to stay up with him since she was not tired. She obliged, and they at first played cards, then Marlon asked her to sit on his lap for a cuddle. Mary once again obliged. He was hugging her. At first, it felt nice but then, as he increased the pressure, she felt trapped and could not breathe. She asked him to stop, but now his face was red, and he was breathing heavily. She stood up and moved away, scared and, at the same time, worried by his red face and heavy breathing. He apologised to her, saying he didn’t know what possessed him, he asked her not to say anything to the others, and they parted their ways as if nothing had happened. Mary tossed and turned all night, unable to relax after the attack. As she had promised, mary kept quiet about the strange event, and life carried on as before. Mary never thought about what happened as she was settled in her life.
One day Marlon invited Mary for a walk in the forest. Mary was excited about it as the children were only allowed in the forest with an adult, so she started walking towards the house to call her brother and her friend, when Marlon told her this time it would be only them as she was special to him. Mary felt overjoyed at his words and followed him in the forest. They had a long walk and reached the top of a hill from where they looked down towards the village. Marlon hugged mary from the back, and they stood there for a while. Marlon kissed her on the neck, Mary felt warmed up, but then, as the kisses moved towards her mouth, Mary felt uncomfortable and struggled to get out of the pressing embrace. Marlon pleaded to her that he was alone, and he loved her, so he was doing nothing wrong, hugging her. Mary allowed him to hug her as she felt sorry for him, and that maybe it was her fault as he was such a lovely man. In the next few weeks, Marlon’s ‘cuddles’ became more and more frequent. The other children seemed to accept that Malcolm favored Mary, giving her the biggest meals, taking her with him for walks, and even sitting on the sofa together. Mary didn’t seem to mind.
One day, in one of the rare visits the children made to see their mother’s, Mary confided in her mother, saying she loved Malcolm, and she opened up about the ‘cuddles’ and the hugs.
Albeit deflated, her mother told Mary that what was happening was wrong, that grownups should not touch children that way, that this is called grooming, and that bad thing could happen. Mary’s mother forbade her from going back to Malcolm’s house and stopped the children from playing with Allion.
Mary and Sheun were not happy as their days went from being in a warm, cosy environment with a present adult to having to play alone in the cold house with their permanently sad mother.
In the next few days, though, slowly, Mary started to understand that what Malcolm wanted from her was not right.
She made some new friends, and, to her great pleasure, her mother started making more of an effort in the next few weeks. She got up and started cleaning and cooking again. The children were happy as she was spending time with them and was not sad all the time. The house was warm now, and there was always hot soup. Mum even started reading them the same stories they loved so much at Malcolm’s house.
Mary’s mum only understood the importance of spending time with her children when she realised they were at risk.
The children understood that they always must tell their parents everything that happens to them, especially things that other adults ask them to keep secret.
And they all lived happily ever after in the safety of their home.
What about you? Are you safe? Do you tell your parents all that happens to you? Stay safe!!

The Purple Chick

Modern fairy tales re-written for today’s children and adults

Once upon a time in a far away land there was a young chick who lived in a chicken farm with many other chicks.

Her name was Cluck and she was very pretty, with a shiny white and black coat and a red beak. Cluck was a dreamer and her dream was to visit the world and discover what was outside the field. She was biding her time as until now, she had never been able to run under the human’s legs and get out of the wooden gate at the end of the field. She felt she was different from the others who, instead, were happy and settled in the life within the field.

All the chicken lived happily in the farm spending the sunny days in the vast field near the river and the night inside their cosy coop resting together.

The chicken were very diverse from each other, even though, when people visited the farm, all they saw was chickens.
There was Ma’ Chu, the eldest chicken, her feather were not as shiny anymore and most of them had fallen by now, but she had a heart of gold and a lot of experience. She was the one to teach Cluck how to hide her eggs in her continuous trial of saving her babies form being eaten by the humans, she was also the one teaching all of them to move away when humans came into the field as they had such huge feet they could kill one of them if not running away.

Then there was Prechoo who was definitely the prettiest of them all. She was young and strong and had a certain attitude. She would always run in the middle of the fights and stopped the others from attacking each other.

Then there was CJ which is Chook Jane. She came from another farm and was really cool, she was scared of nothing and, when anyone said something she didn’t agree with, she would face up to them, unfortunately at times, she would be the one to start fights.

Chookle was a funny chubby chicken, she was the sweetest and she spent literally the whole day eating. She ate so much that the feathers were now stretched over her body with some sticking out for the pressure. She had red feathers and they were incredibly shiny.

Shycoo was a tiny, short shy chicken who followed Ma’ Chu at all times as she was scared of being attacked or confronted by the others, so being with the eldest chicken gave her a sense of security.

Chee and Chua were two lovely white chickens, they were best friends and spent most of their time together looking for any spare corn missed by the others in the yard. They also used to sing all the time dreaming of a stardom future.

Choren was a sturdy big hearted chicken who acted as a protector for all the other chicken and often stood up to the cockerel when he started with one of the most shy chickens. Choren was in love with another chicken called Chash who was a pretty delicate and poorly chicken who needed a lot of help. Choren spent her day with Chash helping her and supporting her when Chash was sad.

Then there was the Cockrel, his name was Tyson. He lived at the end of the field. Tyson was shiny black and red, he was strong and twice their size. He would come across as arrogant as he knew he was handsome and he knew he was the only male in the field so, as no competition for him, he thought he was ‘god’s gift’ to the chickens.

There was a pond at the bottom of the river and you could find Tyson standing on the edge of the pond, in sunny days, looking at his own reflection on the water while trying to flex his muscles and stretch his feathers. Aside his narcissism, he was a nice guy who would go in the girls’ field once in a while, pick one of them, court them making them believe they were the best, spending the night with them only to leave them in the morning without saying good bye. The chickens on turn would cry and be sad for the behaviour of Tyson and this is when Ma’ Chu would comfort them and reassure them that he was the problem and she would tell the younger chicken to be careful as she had been seeing him doing the same all the time. Unfortunately all the young chickens admired Tyson for his body and because, after all, when he looked at them, they felt unique and important, even if only for one night.

One day, a few weeks ago on a lovely summer evening, Cluck was still out of the coop looking at the sparkly stars and the moon and dreaming of the world who was outside the field when she felt something behind her. Turning around she saw Tyson looking at the same stars, they looked at each other and the magic happened. He told her she was the prettiest chicken in the field and how he was embarrassed to speak to her as she was way nicer than him, he made her feel valued. For a moment she decided to forget all Ma’Chu’s warnings and she gave in to the moment. They spent a romantic evening together, away from all the others who were sleeping inside the coop. He took her to his pond where they looked together at their reflection on the water. She disclosed to him her dreams of travelling the world to see what was after the field and he promised her he would take her away and they would travel together. They drank water from the pond and shared dreams and plans. In the morning she was sure Tyson had been misunderstood, and he was in fact a lovely cockerel. She was happy in the certainty he would take her out, and they would travel the world. Up to then, she would have to keep the secret so that nobody would follow them or tell the human about their plans. She went to bed just when all the others were getting up and a new dawn shone on the chicken’s field.

A few days went by without any visits from Tyson, Cluck had been feeling very strange after their night and now, she was unable to leave her freshly laid eggs and go outside, she didn’t know why but these days, all she wanted to do was to sit on her eggs so the human would not take them from her.

There was a legend amongst the chicken. When humans came to collect their eggs, these were brought into the house for one of the pretty humans to look after and the chicks would become humans’ babies. So all chicken didn’t mind when their eggs were taken. When, however, the eggs remained, the whole community would be ecstatic and rejoice together with happiness at the breaking of the eggs and the birth of new chickens.

Cluck was happy now, she knew the trip needed to be delayed but the happiness of becoming a mother made her ignore the fact that Tyson had been again few nights before and spent the night with Prechoo who then cried all morning.

Cluck’s only focus became her four eggs and she spent days and nights indoor, looking after her unborn babies. Slowly, listening to the other chickens’ adventures, she realised Tyson was saying the same things to each chicken he came to visit, and she in fact wondered if he still remembered the many promises and plans they made that romantic night.

One early morning, when everyone was still asleep, she felt something was happening underneath her, she could feel something gently moving, she excitedly stepped aside and saw one of the four eggs slightly moving. Cluck stared at the four eggs who in turn, step by step opened to reveal one, two and three little heads emerging from the eggs. She stood in wonderment until all the eggs were open and she had three little chicks that looked exactly like her. To her great surprise, then, the fourth egg opened up and a little white beak protruded followed by the most unusual purple chick who happily emerged from the egg emitting little cute chirps.

She didn’t know what to think as she had never seen a purple chick, she stood back for a second to admire the newly arrived babies and covered all of them with her wings. She cuddled them and gave them the warmest welcome to the new world. She felt the happiest she had ever been, and the fact that one of them looked so different was soon forgotten, as to her they were all the same.

She spent days cuddling her chicks and wondering whether Tyson would come to look at their babies but soon she realised he really didn’t care and she was the one expected to do the whole parenting thing.

She didn’t mind as she was totally besotted by the new arrivals and all she wanted to do these days was to be with them. She named her chicks as their personality emerged so they were: Chuckkie, Choochoo, Chack and Chopu. As you can guess from the names Chuckie was a giggly little girl, Choochoo was oriental looking, Chack was a solid and tubby little chick and Chopu was .. purple.

Soon the chicks were able to leave the coop and wonder the field, where all the other chickens rounded to admire the new arrivals. All the other chickens were shocked when they set their eyes on Chopu as they too had never seen a purple chicken. Some of the other chickens recoiled in horror and moved away, while some of the others gently approached the purple chick and sniffed her, then touched her and, once they understood that she was the same as the rest of them, they accepted the difference without any further actions. However, some of the other chicken could not understand why Chopu was so different and they were scared. Some of the other chicken didn’t know why they were scared of her but, nonetheless they felt petrified by her presence.

Cluck grew more and more attached to Chopu as she could sense the hostility from some of the other chickens, while her chicks were growing up and she always took Chopu to the pond to eat the food untouched from the other chickens, she always wrapped Chopu in her wings at night time and she was constantly worried by other’s chickens possible behaviour around Chopu, who was growing into a beautiful chicken with this unique purple coat. When the humans came into the field, everyone always commented on the little purple chicken and Cluck was very proud of her daughter’s uniqueness. ‘If only the others felt the same way’ – she thought.

When Chopu was outside the coop playing with the other chicken, there were instances where some of her playmates would exclude her from games because their mums had told them not to play with the purple chicken. The interesting thing – thought Cluck – was that the chicken from clever mums were not scared and hardly noticed any difference, while the chicken from the less clever chickens showed fear, maybe their ignorance stopped them from getting to know her daughter and allowing their children to play with her.

Cluck thought and thought and came up with an idea. Just outside the field, the human used to keep paint. Cluck saw him painting the black gate with it once. Cluck thought, if she could get hold of that paint and dye all the other chicken in a dark colour maybe, just maybe, the rest of the group would understand that colour was just a colour and that, even if they were of a different colour, they would be the same chicken as they always were.

Cluck went to the pond to speak to Tyson as she knew she needed to scare the human to sneak out of the gate and get the paint.

At first Tyson didn’t want to help her, then, after an evening spent together where she reminded him of all the promises and plans they made all that long time ago, he accepted to help her in her plan.

The very next day, as the human was going through the black gate leading to the field, Tyson jumped at the human face, pretending to beak his face, the human, trying to protect his face, let the gate open, that remained open, just the time it took Cluck to run out towards the shed where the paint was stored. She ran like crazy as she knew that Chopu’s happiness depended on her now.

Once she managed to get hold of the largest tub she could carry, she slowly carried it from her beak and made her way to the field, where Tyson was waiting for her.

Tyson got the paint from her and Cluck slowly pushed and pushed through the barriers of the now closed gate, in order to get back into the field where she finally joined her children who, unknowing of all the drama, were waiting for her mum.

In the evening, with Tyson’s help, they moved the paint on the top of the coop and turned the tub making the paint fall all over the chicken who were sleeping, included Chopu.

No matter how hard the chicken tried, they were unable to get rid of the paint so in the morning the human was shocked in seeing all the chicken were black, only Tyler and Cluck were their own colour.

After the initial time when all the chickens tried to remove the colour, they gave up and the confusion was total as now all chickens looked the very same and they recognised each other only by the voice and the shape of their body.

Guess what? Chopu was now one of them and everyone was happy to play with her as now everyone felt she was part of the community, she was not any longer the different chicken. She was just like them.

And this is why some people don’t appreciate anyone different, the problem is theirs as they are scared by what they don’t understand.

I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need to do things such as these. We should all learn to value difference as we are all unique but we are all… chickens.

Like drops of water

The drop falls, freely dancing in the air

changes shape, rolls, twirls,

aimlessly descending in its journey.

Unaware of surroundings, it keeps falling

travelling the distance, suspended

in the carelessness of it all.

No questions, no will, but firmly attached

to the same direction, unable to change it

as it falls, it travels its entire journey…

till the end.

Thought

Quiet careful whispering thought

Suspended lingering in the night air

Like a weightless feather dancing in the melodie

No root no tie no limit no effort no aim

Just the beauty of a free twirling idea.

like a feather, floating in the air

Deep thoughts are occasionally moved aside from a light, frivolous dancing thought.

i smile. Just like chasing smoke and watching the thought develop, roll, transform then vanish in the air. At times i spot hope, if emerges from nothing, then lifts in the air, it turns, twists, rolls over, changes shape until when, just like cigarette smoke, it vanishes into thin air.

When these hopeful thought arise i smile. For a minute i think of the many ‘what if’, imagining different scenarios of what might have been, lightly ascending, twirling in the illusion and suddenly plummeting in the realisation of the ‘here and now’.

i fought abandonment and isolation all of my life, only to trap myself in the predicament when i chose to stop complying with the pretense of being the way society expects me to be. I am tired to try and fit in only to be accepted. i am tired of loving careless selfish men who always make me miserable. i am tired of trying to create an ephemeral utopia of a happy family i dreamt about since the first two cells aggregated in mother’s womb.

i am tired to be careful of what i think and say to avoid hurting others, in case the others are looking for a topic, expression or idea to claim offence and gain their much needed attention to quench their energy’s thirst.

i have ran out of energy, of the ability to get excited about life, as if, after seeing and living much, there is no spark left to get interested in others or in the next step of my life. No more adventures, no more interest, no more goals for me.

i am 52, defeated and lost. Still alone, unable to stretch a hand to request help as i am not even aware of what help could improve my current position. So i stay. i wait. i survive one day at a time. i have been doing this for the past nine years. I feel no stimulus in getting up and starting once again to try and reemerge from the puddle where i am presently soaking in the deepness of my despair.

Looking back creates problems as i lay adrift in the pain of past memories, and while i try and resolve the many issues, searching for the origin to all my triggers, a sense of foreboding invades my present owning it. Looking forward, imagining my future is pointless as i have been here too long. Just like someone stuck in the desert, with only enough water for a day or two, who cannot see any target or any possible promised land, i am here dwelling on the damages, analysing the past unable to envision some positive illusion that might happen to me in the future.

Once i left society’s rules, expectations and pressures, i got stuck in the realisation that i am unable to imagine a future i want as opposite to a future that was embedded into me by society.

At times i feel like an astronaut who is helpless in his floating in the space, linked to survival by a rope. There they are, only able to observe life, their surroundings and the stars, scarily attached to the only security of a rope in order to be able to go back home.

Well, i am aimlessly floating in an empty space where my only survival link are my children. i am still linked to life by mere inertia, linked to the rest of the world through my children’s presence.

i fought all my life to be me, to not subdue to society or culture only to find myself in this empty void where i no longer need to obey to society’s constraints but without any inner goal or aspiration.

i question whether the imposed rules, embedded cultural codes and all the regulations and the expectations imposed by society are there to keep motivating us to surf through the sea of life, i feel trapped in my conquered freedom.

i don’t depend on men, not from anyone else, nobody can tell me what to do, what to eat, how to speak. Goal achieved. But, in the process of reaching this goal i have exhausted all the energy i was given and i am unable to feel any better. i am exhausted. What now?

It is like a person achieving all the goals they set themselves. What next?

How can i come out of this perpetually still, empty void that i achieved with a lot of effort?

Good bye

From deep inside the darkness hiding

back into my memories sicking

the vermin comes wicking

back inside my mind humping.

The sociopath relentlessly tangoing

into my life and hers appearing

i craved the psycho psychopath perjurer

i craved the psychotic pestiferous pig.

My mind still strays to leers

still checking the fridge for his beers

i understood and i asked him to comply

with my desire to lastly say goodbye.

Tied to a chair

Sitting on my bed, with the laptop on my lap, surrounded by my 7 dogs i feel at peace. My daughter is coming back today from visiting her father.

I woke up a while ago and chose to stay in bed a while longer. My thoughts drift to the many unanswered and open questions that often make too much noise inside my head. Too many for my mind to be able to rest. So i pick one and i decide to explore it entirely. Maybe as i do this, i will be able to relegate ne more episode to the paper and remove it from the list inside of me.

Writing this blog is helping me to pick one by one, all of the many bad experiences and exhaust them by writing them down, editing them adding all the details i can remember. Finally, when i read them as a spectator, i am able to rationalise them and it feels that the weight is less heavy on my shoulders. When people email me or comment that this happened to them too, i feel that maybe i was meant to got through these thing to help others. i find a reason to having been in that circumstance as it is of help to others.

Adolescence is a tough period. It is when youth rebel to the family and create a distance between them and the family. This distance is fundamental for us to explore the world, create social connections and forge our own independent opinions.

My adolescence? I was a slave having to clean the house, unable to speak to anyone on the phone whilst father was at home. i was demanded to give total submission and trust to a man who had no respect and no love for me, a man who admitted many years after that he didn’t know what he was doing.

The daily physical and emotional attacks made me into a rebel when instead, as i was a pleaser i would have complied with his demands, had he chosen to go about it with kindness, but then again he didn’t know what kindness is. he is a self-absorbed, selfish, tight, uneducated man whom i could define as narcissist and ego centric manipulator. A father who used many techniques to destroy me: from gaslighting to physical violence, to entrapment to repeated emotional and physical abuse. He knew that, by repeating someone false lies and isolating them from others, you will eventually submit them to your will. The result made him feel a hero as i would only be able to rely entirely on him. At this pint his ego woul feel rewarded, ignoring however, that the submission was forced and not given freely.

I was 15 or 16, i was attending Grammar School, which i hated. I wanted to study languages, which i find easy to learn, but he decided a different path for me, wanting to kill the part of me that was showing to be on line with my mother’s family. At the time, schools were very political so, it came to pass that in that particular year, 1985 i think, there were many strikes at school for a variety of reasons. We would arrive at school, and, when outside we would see a group of people who was going or not going to the daily protest. At times the school would close without any notice and we would be told to go home. Home for me was the place of torture, so often i would go to friends’ houses and spend the morning with them. Other times some of us would go to the beach or just to a park. Obviously i would omit to tell father about the outings as he was not only obsessively jealous but also terribly controlling of me.

On this particular occasion, the school notified us in advance that the school would close the following day so, father had an idea. In order to keep me at home and not allowing me to meet anyone, not even by talking on the phone, he came out with his brilliant parenting plan.

After we both got up, this particular gray November morning, he asked me to go to the toilet. I went. On my return he ordered me to sit on the brown fake leather chair that was near the old reclaimed table i used as a desk. He was holding a roll of metal wire and some pliers. I was too scared to ask what he wanted to do so, quietly i sat on the chair. He told me to put my left hand down and he wrapped the metal wire around my left hand attaching it firmly to the chair.

I was astounded. He was shouting i would have to stay at the chair till his return. father came back at 6 pm and now it was 7,30 am. He said i made him do this to him. he said i should do school work all day and, as i had just gone to the toilet right then, i should wait for him to come back to go again.

For a minute i thought he was trying to scare me and that, in a minute, he would untie me. But i was very scared at the realisation that this was it, he had imprisoned me and i would be unable to ask anyone for help. At that moment i acknowledged he had my life into his hands and , as there was nobody able or willing to help, he could kill me at any time, as he often reminded me.

Do you know when you are so shocked that words fail you? Well, i remember the feeling of helplessness, of outrage and total disbelief i was feeling at that very moment.

Today as a woman and as a mother i am enraged, furious, defeated by having to have gone trought his episode.

This could be the root cause of my consistent reaction of rebellion when i feel i am put into a corner and pressurized to do anything.

he put my school books on the table and ordered me to study. he walked to the door, jinging his keys, opened the reinforced door, walked out, closed the door, locked the door security lock, called the elevator. The elevator came, he opened the outer door and the 2 little inside door, he walked into the elevator, then closed the large door, then the 2 small doors and pressed the button. The elevator motor started whirring and i could hear the elevator going down as my desperation raised.

I didn’t move for a long time, i was listening, just in case he changed his heart and would come back, after realising what he just did. he did not come back.

What should i have done? What could i have done? The house phone was in his room and the room was locked. i was tied to a chair so, even if the door was unlocked i wouldn’t have been able to move from my bedroom. i tried to move my hand from the constraint but it was very tight so no movement was possible. i tried to look and see if i could have opened the tie. The metal wire was cut and turned strongly with a plier and i had no tools to cut or loosen the wire.

i realised that, once again, i was trapped in the very same room where i was trapped many years ago, when my mother committed suicide in the kitchen, next door, and left me in my cot with a pack of biscuits and a bottle of milk, thinking my father would come back after few hours, while he came back the day after. Once again i had been trapped by someone who was meant to love and care for me.

I looked around me and even though the light came from the window, the room felt dark. He had switched on the table light secured to the table by a bolt. My attention was drawn to the table. I was not able to read as the tears flooded from my eyes, and, to my annoyance, i was unable to stop the flood of tears that were joined by deep sighs and moans as i acknowledged my predicaments. i was crying an animal cry, a slave cry, a helpless moan and sobbing being the only mean of communication from my broken soul.

During those hours i made my plan to escape, i made my decision that, as soon as i would be old enough to leave i would run away. father always provoked me by telling me to kill myself saying i was crazy like my mother. he often said mocking me: -where do you think you can go? Nobody wants you’. He also often menaced me that, should i try and leave him, he would make me declare unfit and unable to live an independent life by a court, and i would have to stay with him for the rest of my life. I was so trapped and without any escape that the suicide thought seemed the only way out. That day, the day i spent tied up to a chair in my bedroom, whatever molecule of love that i still had for him disappeared and i knew that, if i wanted to stay alive, i would have to do it as far from this place as possible.

i spent a very long time crying and feeling sorry for my predicament. i remember staring at the brown cloth covering the table and at the wood panel he placed on top of the blanket because the old table was bumpy and i could not write directly on the table. The cloth was brown and , even today if i close my eyes, i clearly recall the pattern on the cloth, the wood and the light puddle on the table.

i was unable to do any homework. i cried for help but nobody came. i spoke to myself trying to encourage my inner child and telling myself that he would come back and free me, that he would understand he did something wrong and he would never do it again. I kept thinking where my friends would be right at this very moment and if any of them would wonder why i stayed at home. Some of them knew what happened in my home but not all of them as i didn’t want people to look at me like they did in primary school where i was looked down and pitied from some, bullied from others, for being the orphan.

The day passed very slowly and, if you remember at the age of 15 and 16 each hour feeling like a year, you an understand what that day felt like for me.
I am not sure i can highlight enough the consequences of this episode, i am not even sure i know how deeply this had hurt me and damaged my mind. i am sure that still today i struggle to rationalise and put a reason i can accept behind this episode.

The thing that hurts the most is that when, after not talking with him for over 20 years, i spoke to father and offered him an olive branch, he simply said he could not remember. He doesn’t remember this episode or any other episode. He cancelled what he did to me from his memory.

Obviously this is his survival strategy as who could live facing up to the constant abuse he carried on me and my mother? How can he live his life knowing that he drove my mother to suicide? How could he? So he chose to forget. Ok. But how do i get closure? How do i get over the fact that destroying me was not even worth of any accountabillity? he destroyed my life. I am still paying the price. he forgot. i cannot get closure. i am still trapped.

PTSD

i always hated Audi cars, people dressed in brown, chipped glasses and plates, the noise of keys and messy beds. I hate dirt and smells, i cannot stand mess. i feel agitated if i am in a messy room, i get angry if i am subjected to unpleasant smells.

Up until last year i thought these only being part of what we like and dislike, you know, like we like a certain colour or food. I thought they were simple dislikes.

Only last year, during a series of Hypnotherapy sessions it became clear to me the fact that these objects are trigger to my PTSD (never diagnosed).

During the regression session, while i was in a deep relaxation state, i remembered one episode that functioned as a catalyst that sped up my PTSD identification and realisation.

We were at father’s countryside abode, a large piece of land with a simple house built on it, in the middle of nowhere. I was drying the dishes i had just washed up. The dishes were all different and all chipped, as were also the cups and the glasses. father never spent money so all we had in the house were donations from other family’s members. I hated drinking from the chipped glasses as i always ended up cutting my mouth at the joint between the upper and lower lip and it would take ages to heal. I often ended up drinking directly from the tap without a glass to avoid this.

i was 16 at the time. i was growing up convinced i was ugly, as this was what i was told on a daily bases by my controlling father. In the last few months though, while i was out with my cousins walking on the Lower Road of the village, somehow, a very handsome boy called Mark had started looking at me, beeping the horn of his Vespa when he spotted me on the road, smiling at me. I was flattered that someone so nice would even notice my existence so i had started smiling at him back. This provoked him coming near father’s land to try and have a glimpse of me. father, as jealous as he was, noticed the young man and decided to question me very aggressively, while i was cleaning the stove. As i was in a permanent state of apprehension around him, petrified of his reactions, i lowered my gaze to the floor avoiding eye contact while i responded saying that i didn’t know the boy and that i didn’t know why he was there. I didn’t know the boy, i never even spoke to him. father’s anger immediately escalate to when he threw a dish at me while throwing at me a tirade of insults, as per usual. He said i was ugly, that men looked at me only for cheap sex, that i was a whore, this is why the boy was sniffing around me, that classy ladies did not attract scum and on and on and on. i must precise that at the time i hadn’t yet had any make interaction, except some kisses.

As he menacingly stepped towards me i felt trapped between him and the sink so i quickly moved out of his reach, as the volume of his shouting kept increasing, i felt the breath leaving me and my heart pounding inside my chest and inside my ears, i was certain he would kill me. i ran outside and out of the open gate, i knew i had to run if i wanted to stay alive. As i ran onto the country lane alongside blackberries bushes and thorns, i was praying to God in my mind and was trying to think of where i could hide, i had no money on me, and i had nowhere to hide. As i continued running along the country road i heard a car engine approaching and revving up so i stopped, moved to the side and i saw father in the car menacingly speeding towards me, i was petrified, as i increased the pace of my feet thumping on the floor, all i could hear was the blood pumping through my ears. As the car quickly approached me i moved to the side of the road, near the brambles. Suddenly, i was hit at the back of my legs and i fell forward. As i was on the floor i turned and all i could see hovering on top of me was the frontal Audi logo. The four circles became a menace to my life, as the car engine roared in anger, i went in total shock. i was unable to think straight, i was sure he would kill me. I scrambled to my feet and started running again feeling pure terror, convinced this was the way i would die. father approached me driving to the same speed i was running to. he started shouting for me to get into the car, that if i continued running he would kill me. i was defeated, i was sure this was the day i would die, so i helplessly opened the car’s door , sat to the extreme edge, as far from his as i could, i closed the door and sat still, waiting for a beating.

We drove back into the property as if time stood still, neither of us talking. Inside the house i sat on a chair and father proceeded to menace me as he didn’t want to be shamed in the village by my behaviour, how i was the shame of the family, the back sheep. Stepping closer and closer to me and imposing on me as i was sat down he told me, once again, how he would have loved for me to have died instead of my mother. He then reiterated why i was a failure and a looser, how i would never amount to anything in life and all the other repeated offences that he dished out daily to weaken my ‘rebellion’ and to make me comply with his ever growing demands.

I never realised why i hated Audi cars, who when i even sat on one, i would feel physically sick to the core. Only through that hypnotherapy session it all became clear to me. i now understand i suffer from PTSD. I always associated this issue with soldiers and people who had suffered and endured tortures and prison. Even after my psychology studies i never really looked into this, i just assumed these were my personal dislikes and tried to avoid Audi cars, chipped plates and cups, people dressed in brown and dirty beds.

What about you? Do you have personal dislikes? Do you know anyone who suffers from PTSD? What are the symptoms? How do they get through them?

From a dream to a daily nightmare

When i tried telling people what was happening at home while growing up with my controlling, narcissistic and violent father, i was told that, at the time fathers were possessive towards their daughters and that being smacked was normal back then.

I don’t know how many of you can relate to being smacked while growing up, however i have decided to discuss this topic as i still struggle to understand what happened to me.

At the age of ten, as i felt the intruder at my auntie’s home, i asked father to take me to live with him at our home. All through the staying at auntie since the age of 2, i was repeatedly reminded by my cousin of my ‘guest status’ so in order to remain living there, i had to comply with her despotic demands. It was then that at age ten, after a summer holiday i begged father to take me to live with him and he accepted, i was on top of the world. I would go and be at home, my home.

Up to that point, i had only ever seen father during holidays or at weekends, when he could be bothered and came to see me. i was totally besotted by father as he was mine, i felt that i belonged with him. He was the only certainty in my life. He was fun, attentive and would hug me all the time and he smelled so good. i remember as a child, telling him that when i grew up, i wanted to marry him. I was only a little child and he was my everything, my hero. Going to live with him was what i considered going home. I was ecstatic. i imagined infinite holidays, jokes and cuddles.

As he worked all day, he enrolled me in a local private school managed by nuns. I would be dropped in the morning and, i would stay at school till 4.00 pm, then i would walk home where he would join me at 5,30. There was nothing he could do that i would see wrong, i lapped up all the attention i finally had from MY father and i hated when the various girlfriends stayed over as they would take his attention away from me. he was my best friend.

In the evenings we would cook then watch television together, often falling asleep on the sofa while cuddling up. We were very close, maybe too close.

On Saturdays we went to the market and did our shopping, we would cook something that would last the whole week. At times we would spend the weekend with his family, in his village and other times, in winter we would go skying. In summer i would go to spend some time with my auntie at the seaside.

When father went on a date, i would stay with another auntie who who lived in the same city where we were. My grandma lived there too, with auntie’s husband, daughter and son. I hated going there as i could feel grandma disapproval and auntie’s hate for me. It was so strong that i could feel it physically.

Father was a normal looking man, who, when not at work, liked to wear open shirts showing his hairy chest, he was bolding, medium body, blue eyes, a smirk on his face, a huge hooked nose and he was a heavy smoker. To this day i still don’t know why women liked him.

i remember going to the new school hoping for a new exciting beginning but, after a few days only, i remember feeling excluded as my accent was different from the other children, i dressed differently, my hair was frizzy and unkept and i didn’t know anyone. But most of all, one day, a nun came into class and asked all the other children to be nice to me as i was an orphan.

Oh my God, i wanted to be swallowed by the floor when she said this, as all children looked at me in horror and, soon after this i was isolated and ignored. I had became Annie the orphan.

I remember lying and saying that my mother was away and she would come back. Up to that point i had never had the need to rationalise what had happened to my mother, as all i knew was that she was not there. But the children were asking all the time, they were scared of me, as if being an orphan was contagious. I started asking questions, most of which remained unanswered.

During the time i was living with my auntie, only my cousin was scared of the idea that mother was dead and she would chase me around the house saying: ‘i am a ghost, i will catch you’. i didn’t know why, but i ran away form this. My cousin also would torment me by opening my auntie’s wardrobe, where my mother’s fur coat was stored and would say;’ your mother is in the wardrobe, she will come and get you and you will die’. i was petrified by the idea of death, but would run and hide inside the wardrobe when i was upset, as that was the only presence of my mother, the only proof that she existed and that i too had someone who onve loved me.

Now, in a new school i struggled to make friends and was never invited to parties or sleep overs. i somehow managed to make one friend but she was in the other form, and we didn’t meet up easily or often enough. For the next 4 years i was confined to this monotone existence of going to school where i had no friends, then back home where i spent all my time with father or on holidays with father. As i said, summers were spent at auntie’s home where, however i was still the guest.

i remember this period as carefree and full of love, this was definitely the period i associate with feeling loved and feeling at the right place, where i belonged.

At weekends we would clean and tidy up the house before doing something together, and i remember loving the idea of being the ‘woman of the house’ and taking on more and more chores to please my father in order to gain his approval.

I don’t recall when this became my job and stopped being an option, but, by the time i was 11, i remember the cleaning had became my job and he didn’t help at all anymore. The reasoning was that i was home before him and so, if i helped, we would get more time to do things together.

Soon as this became my ‘job’, he expected this to be done at a good standards, i remember the slaps starting. The house was 200 square meters with a huge converted terrace that was now a lounge. At the time we had a bucket with rags to mop the floor. I have always been tiny for my age, so i remember the struggle trying to lift the bucket from the bathroom and dragging it to the lounge, so i only half filled the bucket as i would not be able to move it otherwise. This meant though, that the rag was not clean and the floor had strikes. Father was very annoyed and could not understand why the floor looked dirty even though he had shown me many times how i had to clean and mop the floor. No matter how hard i tried, i could not get the floor clean. I remember mopping and crying as i knew he would not be happy and he would surely be angry with me. I was not only scared of the slaps, i was scared as he would stop loving me, i hated that i was losing the only person that mattered to me. I started losing sleep and became very sad and withdrawn, i didn’t know how i could make him love me again and i felt alone.

During the days when i was left alone at home i started opening my mother’s chest. When she left me, she requested for all her things to pass to me, even the towels so, father had placed all her things inside this metal chest that was located in a room we hardly ever used. I had found the key so, at times, i would get the key and open the chest. I would wear mother’s clothes, smell her perfume in the talcum powder box and look at all the pretty little flacons and bottles inside her make up bag. I spent afternoons looking through these treasures, then wearing her dresses and her high heels. These items were all i had to prove that this person had existed and maybe had loved me. I was looking for traces of her existence believing she must have loved me after all.

Through the next years we continued falling apart, with father getting more and more angry and me retrieving inside myself. Gone were the cuddles and the laughter. By now the slaps had became proper beatings that left me with marks, bruises and a defeated ego. I soldiered on as this was my reality, i believed it was my fault, that father was a wonderful guy and i was a bad girl annoying him and making him angry. It was my fault, and i had to be grateful to him for loving me even though i was unlovable. Didn’t i see how he was the only one loving me? After all, mother left me and auntie let me go, so he was the only one, if i didn’t start behaving i would be sent to an orphanage. This became the repeated threat that kept me in check, not that i needed it, as i was subdue and so desperate to please him. I accepted the beatings as he told me this was normal, and at first, after a day or two, he was kind with me, so the beatings were a small price to pay to have someone loving me.

I am still devastated remembering the beatings that would start with face smack, punches to my chest and stomach, grabbing of my hair and tugging, pushing, shoving me, throwing me around the room. After an interminable series of hits punches and slaps i would fall onto the floor where he would kick me to when i stopped resisting or would faint. Of course all this supported by shouting, swearing, name calling and telling me i was ugly, unlovable and i had to thank God for him as i would be on the streets if it wasn’t for him, that mum left me and it was my fault, that i was crazy like her.

The reasons were multiple: the floor was not clean enough, a school report not being at the top grade, me asking to go out with friends he deemed unsuitable, someone telling him anything he didn’t like about me, someone ringing home and not giving their phone number to pass on to him.

As i grew up new reasons were often added: too long on the phone, not answering the phone fast enough, arriving home late from school, being inside an elevator with a man, not cleaning enough, not eating the rotten food, stealing money to buy food, using too much toilet roll, a teacher sending a note home, not understanding maths, disturbing him while i hoovered, falling asleep when he would spend hours to try and help me with maths (in these occasions he felt he was a genius but he would start from page 1 on the book saying he needed to see what we did before, by the time he eventually got to page 156 i would be asleep and unable to hear him anymore so i stopped asking for help), speaking to a waiter or responding or giving eye contact to any man who asked me a question, smiling to people he thought not worth (i needed to know who these were), not understanding what he asked me when he would demand to ‘bring me that thing from the other room’ and many more.

I was always hungry as he would buy frozen meat once a week and, after cooking this on the Saturday, i had to eat the same food for the rest of the week. We bought break every two weeks and i was instructed to remove the top mould and eat the rest of the bread. This had a foul taste so i stopped eating all together with only coffee for breakfast. i started stealing the coins he left inside a drawer to buy food. I would eat all put in front of me whenever we were au auntie or i would go to stay with some friends or family friends. People always wondered why i was so skinny even though i had a huge appetite. I remember at home having empty cupboards with only packs of pasta, tomato can, bread in the fridge and old meat cooked on Saturdays. One week we would cook beef in tomato sauce and the next week in white wine. Full stop.

The result was i was getting used to hiding all this from friends and from his family because i was scared of being sent to an orphanage. I was ordered never to say anything to anyone and i obeyed. When father and i were together, he would constantly talk bad about everyone else with the result of isolating me from the rest of the world, like he did with my mother.

I was repeated over and over that everyone hated me and he was the only one who would put up with my bad behaviour.

At the same time he was telling everyone else what a bad daughter i was, and he created an easy to believe profile of this ‘black sheep’ he was to put up with, to gain support from everyone else outside of our little family.

Looking back, after i gained insight into disorders and psychology, i was able to clearly see what other adults should have seen. I wish back then there would have been social services or any type of support for children. I was a nuisance for him, poor father who was doing his best and was supported by so many adults, who, in supporting his erratic behavior and lies, confirmed in his eyes the acceptability of his treatment of his daughter. My only relief was to go to visit a lady who lived at the floor below ours, with her two children and who could clearly hear what was going on above her head. She was too scared of father to say or do anything.

Unfortunately some people of his generation (he is 85 today) have the idea that boys are more important than women as they carry the name of the family. My big fault for which i was being punished was something completely out of control. I was born female. Still today he thinks that way.
Having a male would protect the family while females are weak and need to be protected. Also, as females are much desired by men such as him, he needed and needs to control all females around him still to this day.

The lady who lives with him today never leaves the house and has to use the excuse to go and walk the dog in order to secretly call me and his sister on the phone. He is unchanged.

Smacking is now illegal, and when i discuss violence with other people i am often reminded that ‘back then most parents used to hit their children’. I am sorry but i am not going to accept this reasoning as i am not talking about the odd smack (still unacceptable to me) but i am talking about ferocious and unmotivated beatings.

At times i felt he was trapping me as he would tell me i was doing something wrong but he would not tell me the right way so, after an initial beating for doing something the wrong way, i almost surely would get a second and third beating until i did the thing correctly (without guidance).

This behaviours and the attacks carried on for years. They grew worse the day someone opened my eyes and told me that i had to stand up to him and to rebel to him as what he was doing was not right.

What do you think? Do you have similar memories? Were you a victim of domestic violence like i was?

What’s your name?

My name is Laura, i AM Laura. A common name when i was young, in my Country. I remember there were 3 girls called Laura in my class.

Who am i? i am a strong, assertive person who chose a name for herself to avoid been subject to the embarrassment of having to spell her name to people as they were not aware of the correct spelling or to have to feel the rejection of other people everytime she had to say her name.

When someone ask: what’s your name? I answer: Laura. They reply with their name or move on to the next topic. Ace!!!! Result!! Phew!!!!

Why do i say this? Well, recently there is the trend to give children weird names, variations on traditional names or even making names up, all to make the children unique.

As a teacher i have had to struggle for years with misspelt names, names with a bunch of unfitting consonants, names written back to front, names such as LS (elles) Mafanwy (pronounced MyFanny by uneducated children), Regina (called Vagina) and more so i must admit I love traditionally spelt names such as Daisy, Mary, John and Anne. No fuss, no embarrassment and no need to ask: ‘How do you spell it?’ . As a Head of Year, one of my jobs was to deal with bullies. Most times the bullying starts from the name, others from the physical aspect of a child and sometimes from the visible accessories like glasses, earing aids, braces.

My favourite comedian called Michael McIntyre does a sketch on names that is right up my street. This is the link for you https://youtu.be/eDIy9WrgDB8 After watching this video you will never think of names the same way. LOL

So going back to my story, i was not born as a ‘Laura’. You see, where my paternal genes come from people give their parents’ names to their children as a form of respect towards our ancestors. So since i failed the first birth selection having been born female and could not be named after his father,( the great figure he still uses today at the age of 85 to inform the world he is a VIP), he named me after his mother who unfortunately had an awkward name and hated me.

Needless to say the name was weird and unusual and not only i was born premature, with fuzzy hair and had the misfortune of being dressed like a kid in 1970s but i also had a weird name and had to face laughter and smirks while growing up with a control freak father figure…. nice. It’s like the universe looked at me and said: ‘Mhhh, this little girl is premature, not pretty, with a huge forehead and lips like a duck, a scrawny skinny, unkept, neglected child with ugly hair and colour changing eyes, obvious braces to try and fix the front teeth that were only too similar to these of Freddy Mercury, but what else can I do to ruin her life? Oh yes, i know, lets give her a name she will have to be laughed at! As if all the rest was not enough!

Then, with my mother’s death i became ‘the orphan’, tossed around in various family members’ homes where i was always the guest, not feeling i belonged anywhere and ashamed of my name as well as my appearance. A name that became the constant reminder of my struggle to live, struggle to be happy, to be settled, to feel loved and to achieve a sense of belonging. A name that embarrassed me to the point of avoiding meeting new people and asking friends to call me with a nickname, all to avoid the sound of my persistent embarrassment. With the developing of the abuse the ‘name’ became a link to my paternal figure, to his family and a constant reminder of the rejection, of the persistent abuse and of the daily gaslighting. As soon as the law on names’ change passed in my Country I applied to have my name changed to a more normal name, a name that would not put the spotlight on me, a name that could hide me amongst all the other people, a name that would not have the reaction ‘Yuck, weird, that is a granny’s name…. really?????

There are many nasty and sad episodes i could retell about the ‘name’ but this is not for today. My message is to all parents – the struggle is real, you might think of a name as a sign to make your child unique but other things will make them unique, not a name. A name is the first point of contact with society. Humans are not all kind and often while growing up they need to assert themselves trying to put others down and a strange name is just that – a battle for your child to fight at the beginning of all human interactions. A battle not needed or wanted by any child. A battle that will make them tired, resentful and finally victims or rebels.

People look up at celebrities (like Beckham with Half past 9, hang on , sorry Harper 9 or David Bowie with Zowie Bowie or Bob Geldolf with Peaches) and wishes their child to be successful. For this reason they copy the same celebrities and give finger-pointing unique names to their priced newborns. What they don’t consider is the environment their children will grow up in, the people they will have around, the schools they will attend against the private schools attended by the celebrities’ offspring. For the joy of telling people the strange name you chose and make people admire your courageous choice you are inflicting on your children a life sentence, a problem they have to resolve every time they meet someone new.

I closed a friendship with a lady who decided to give a name to her newborn that was a statement and not a name, badly spelt and ridiculous. I refused to speak to her again. I still won’t speak to her because of the name curse she decided to inflict upon her defenseless child. Please think about it and refrain from making choices that they will have to pay the price for and they will have already a lot to contend with.