Hiding The Bruises

incognitoI am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.

Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.

When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.

Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses

But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:

embarrassedBut it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.

I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.

As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.

I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.

But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.

Aaaaah!

Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/daily-writing-challenge-nov-27/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/dismal/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/your-daily-word-prompt-lost-november-27-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Leave

My Day Off

I broke free from the world for just one day…it was my time to let myself breathe, to let myself weep, to let myself mourn. For I am still in mourning. I am the legendary fish trying to live out of water, the bird whose wings have been clipped.

People, Girl, Woman, Alone, Hair, Cap

You see when people who don’t know what I had, the life I lead, the purpose of every moment, tell me to let go of the past, and make new memories, build a new circle of friends…they don’t know, they don’t know where I came from.

I will mourn until I am back where I belong. I snub the new people in my life who tell me to turn my back on my real life and be content with something trivial and meaningless.

Your goals are not my goals. Your dreams are not my dreams. I have no interest in the commercial world. In my bones there is a desire to get down on my hands and knees and work until this earth is as it should be. I reject the life you put before me. I will never ever be yours.

I embrace the life I have led with passion, with conviction, with a deep self-sacrificing love. I will never abandon my quest to be back where I belong. I belong to a way of life I sacrificed every other opportunity to gain.

Or perhaps, I will go to sleep one night and wake up back in my home. Jack will be there whispering to me that it was all a bad dream, a nightmare.

The Restoration

The night is well along. The darkness is giving way to the first signs of dawn. The sky becomes murky. Many begin to awake from slumber as the sky brightens.

Paradise, Landscape, Holiday, Water

Morning is taking hold, banishing the darkness. The rays of the sun warmth all the earth breathing life and colour into our world. Birds sing in jubilant chorus to welcome the sunrise. Creatures everywhere busy as they start to gather their food for this day.

The healing continues. Broken hearts are healing. The earth is cleaner than we ever knew it. Our air and water are pure. Our senses seem to be heightened as we gain the full enjoyment of life.

But of all that we have witnessed, of all we have celebrated, it was seeing our dear ones wake up. To see life restored to those who had lost it is going to be the most thrilling and joyful time in all human history.

I saw five deaths with my own eyes in as many days. I watched people go to sleep. They stopped breathing. Remember them. Treasure every detail of who they are and all they are – every thought, feeling and memory within them. Keep those details safe in your limitless memory. I want to be there when they wake up.

My Time Is Precious

I need to sort my head out before Jack comes back to England. Over the past five weeks I have felt myself withering up because of these crazy hours I am working. It’s been bad for me. I have ended up hating my paid job, dreading it each morning. I resent it because it is interfering so much with my real life.

Model, Woman, Conceptual, Fashion

I don’t want to be miserable when Jack is back. But I am sure he will see a difference in me. I am rushing all the time to squeeze things in. The frenzied pace of my life is making me on edge and I have neglected all sorts of little things. I just want to have twenty minutes to sit down and give myself a manicure! My nails are hideous at the moment.

But the nails have had to be neglected because I have to work those 60+ hours a week and do my housework, my shopping, cooking, laundry, sleep and make a little time to socialize with friends. (If you don’t have time to do some socialising, then something is very wrong.)

My nails don’t matter in the long run…which is why they are being neglected, but there are other things being neglected too. Lots of little things are falling by the wayside because I am stretched to my limit.

waipThese paid hours are destroying me. I am not getting enough sleep, enough switch off time. I am always watching the time, always worried I am going to be late. I have less mental energy, my memory is suffering, my concentration is suffering. My headaches are getting worse and more frequent. I am finding it harder to smile. This is not good! Jack will not like it.

I have set a deadline in my head. If it becomes obvious that the chances of someone else being recruited to join our team are just a fantasy, I am going to accept one of the other part-time jobs I have been offered or go back to self-employed work. The paid job I am in is strangling me and my life and my joie de vivre! We can’t have that!

LIFE IS PRECIOUS…TIME IS PRECIOUS…

 PAID WORK SHOULD BE FOR JUST WHAT YOU NEED

VOLUNTARY WORK BRINGS REWARDS FAR GREATER THAN MONEY

IF A PAID JOB THREATENS YOUR VOLUNTARY WORK…

…MOVE ON TO A DIFFERENT PAID JOB!

Sayonara!!!

 

A New Turn On The Road Of Life

I keep on thinking about this time last year. I was pretty lost. It was towards the end of January, the beginning of February that I was really wondering why I felt so sick all the time and made an appointment to see a Doctor.

Road, Turn, Mountain HighwayAnyway…the reason I mention it is that I am amazed at the drastic change in my life. I never expected Jack to make contact like he did last September. Sometimes as I live my life and it takes the oddest turns and changes in direction, I wonder where on earth I am going to end up.

But I have learnt not to be overly anxious. The journey itself is sometimes riveting. I learn so much along the way. I meet other fascinating travellers journeying through life. The scenic views are rewarding. The sense of accomplishment, the “look how far I have come!” sensation and the wonder at what the road ahead will hold.

Sometimes things might be going in a direction that concerns you. You may feel you have little control. But do what you know is good, kind, loving. It is amazing at how a situation can be reversed, sometimes very suddenly.

I am glad that Jack came back to find me. I love journeying along this road of life with him.

What On Earth Will This Year Bring?

lifr2019 was one interesting year for moi. What drama! What a rollercoaster!

I spent the first few weeks of 2019 feeling lost without Goldfinch. Then I found out something spectacular. There was a reason I had been feeling sick for some time. I spent the next few weeks wondering how my life might change and wondering what little one would be like. Then a tragedy. Very sad, one of the saddest things I have ever experienced. My little apricot, Annabelle Jayne Goldfinch, rests up in Snowdonia now.

Being more determined than ever to go out to Australia to see Goldfinch, saving my pennies really hard to be able to afford the plane ticket. Going out there and feeling pure happiness to be by his side for the summer (Australia’s winter). Coming back feeling sad because I didn’t want to be without him. Feeling kind of lost again.

Couple Sitting at the TableThen…out of the blue…Jack making contact. Peace, joy, love. An amazing autumn with him. An autumn full of romantic weekends and just hanging out with someone who I always realized was as close to a soulmate as I was ever going to find. It has been so great being cocooned with him.

And now…my family (and his family of course) know that incredibly Jack and Caramel have healed their four year rift and are a couple! Our friends are now finding out too.

What a rollercoaster! What on earth will happen in 2020. Well, 2019 taught me something….IT REALLY REALLY COULD HAPPEN!

So I am going to live bravely…and live with gusto! Because I have no idea what might happen in the year ahead. So I want to be ready for it!

A Rose Tinted 2020 Vision

2020 vision1.jpgWhat will next year bring for “Jack” and me?

This post I am writing before I go away to spend some time with my family during the holidays. Both he and I are going to tell our close family members that we have been “dating” and plan to continue doing so.

I am going to tell my family something they may find hard to grasp, because they didn’t want to hear me say it in the past. I am in love with him. Despite everything that went terribly wrong, I never stopped loving him.

By the time this post is published, they will know and will have had time to question me at length and understand what is going on. I have given it a lot of thought. I have been writing things down to tell my family. I may even take the opportunity to finally introduce them to my posts on CRUSHED CARAMEL.

lovely viewJack has an event early in January, at which I will be making my first “public” appearance alongside him. Sick with nerves? Oh yes! But I am keeping my focus on how much I love Jack. It am anxious about the challenges that will come. It’s not pleasant to be at the mercy of opinionated comments from strangers. My main strategy to deal with it is going to be simply not to look. I am just going to keep my rose-tinted loving outlook.

How will our relationship develop? I don’t know. The past few months have been so wonderful. I can only hope things will be equally as wonderful despite possible challenges. The big question mark in my mind is…what about our lives? He is still immersed in the lifestyle I led before I was victim to a crime. He is involved in all sorts of projects for various charities. He has events and projects (some abroad) planned throughout 2020. He has been asking me to reserve certain dates so I can attend charity functions and social occasions with him.

long road.jpg

But what about us? There is a long road ahead. Is it going to be even possible to merge our lives together completely? I don’t think I can re-qualify for international volunteer status. My head is still a problem. They can’t use me the same way. So if we were to merge our lives…he would have to give up international assignments, because they won’t split couples up (well, married couples). So…if he wants to stay in his purposeful life…we will have to continue to live separately. Or if he wants to put me first, he will have to be content with UK assignments only, which is all I qualify for at the moment.

2020 together.jpgIt’s going to be hard for him to make that kind of decision. I don’t want to pressure him in any way. In fact, I don’t want him to have to give up that life. It hurts to think of having to slow him down in doing something we both passionately care about. Maybe that means that it would be better just to carry on the way we are, so that he can live the life of an international volunteer. He already has an assignment in the Middle East and one in Central Africa in the next few months. I am going to have to get used to him being away for weeks at a time.

This is hard because if you love someone to the extent that you want to go where they go and always be close to them…the thought of having to live separately until the person you love is ready to give up the life they love for you – it is hard. So so hard.

I am just going to be content with what we have now. I am his caramel blonde girlfriend. I am his lover. Come 2020, the whole world can know about it. He is my lover!

 

She Loves Him

watch.pngThis Sunday is working well. Jack is laughing and laughing while watching Madagascar Escape 2 Africa…and I am fussing around him. Something I made is baking in the oven. and now I am about to do my ironing. It’s one of those soggy Sundays when we are very happy to be indoors in the warm. I love fussing over him. I love just hanging out with him. Happy happy happy feelings.

We want to go for a walk later for some fresh air, but most of the evening will be cosy, the two of us making dents in my sofa.

MotoMoto is making me laugh so much! King Julian is making Jack cry with laughter.

There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Fish

plastic in seaWhen I was out in Australia with Goldfinch, I remember some conversations we had about the scale of pollution that has become manifest in recent years. I could tell that Goldfinch feels angry about nature being “raped”.

I still hear shocking opinions. I was working with a man recently, who said that scientists don’t know what they are talking about. He reckons there is nothing wrong with the earth and that whatever we put into the air and waterways, the earth can deal with it. Interesting chappy…especially when he told us his life story. I realized he was not the kind of person I wanted to end up in a deep discussion with. I don’t know if you ever chat about these subjects with family, friends or colleagues but it can be easy to start going round in circles.

burning fossil fuelsWhose responsibility is it to change? Is it governments? Is it us as individuals? Some have already made significant changes to their lifestyle hoping they will help to make a difference. They may feel frustrated at times, wishing that more would follow in their steps.

I said to Goldfinch that I believe the scale of changes needed is enormous. I expressed my view that not only do the “controls” need to be handed over to someone capable, powerful who cares about Creation and not about profit, but in addition the wants, the aspirations and the dreams of all of us need to change. I mentioned to him a story I have heard several versions of many times.

pressre.jpgRecently I was talking to a friend who is passionate about climate change and living a environmentally friendly lifestyle. She was telling me about how strict they are with their teenager who is preparing for exams. She said that he needs to pass those exams to get into a certain school. He needs to get into that school to have the best chance of going to a top university. Because they want him to have opportunities to have a lucrative career and to be able to afford some of the things her and her husband haven’t been able to provide for their family.

I was looking at her wondering whether she realized what she was saying (by the way her teenager is stressed out by these exams and is argumentative because his parents won’t let him hang out with friends when he wants to, because they want him to stay home and study). It sounded to me as if they are planting dreams of wealth and luxury into his heart – but they are hoping he will also be passionate about veganism and recycling.

contentAnyway…while people are not content with how beautiful life can be with just a little…while people want more and more and more, and dream of possessing ludicrous fortunes…what chance do you think there is of pollution halting?

Well here is the story that you may have seen before. It made a huge impression on me when I heard it and it has shaped my life and my attitude to earning my bread and butter. I rejected the goals that my school teachers waved in front of me. I have loved living simply so that I could spend most of my time as a volunteer, rather than earning money I did not need.

Fisherman, Fishing Boat, Boat, Fishing, Sea, Water
Myriams-Fotos @ pixabay.com

This story has been told thousands of times with many variations.  This is one version I heard.  It is a story that makes me smile from ear to ear as it shows up something pretty stupid about this striving after the wind, striving after endless more that is promoted today.

supper.jpgThe fisherman returned home in his pirogue and was met by an expert in economics who was working on expanding the economy in that developing country. The expert asked the fisherman why he was back so early. He replied that he could have stayed out longer but that he had caught enough to care for his family.

“So now, what will you do with your time for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman responded: “Well, I do a little fishing. I play with my children. We all have a rest when it gets hot. In the evening, we have a meal together. Later, I get together with my friends for some music, and talk with other villagers.”

The expert interrupted: “Look, I have a university degree and have studied these matters. I want to help you make your life better. I recommend that you stay out fishing longer. You would earn a lot more. Soon you will be able to purchase a bigger boat than this pirogue. With a bigger boat, you would earn still more.  Before long you will be able to build up a fleet of trawlers.”

HQ.png“That sounds interesting.  What I would do then?” the fisherman inquired.

“Then, instead of selling fish through a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the factory or even start your own fish-processing plant. Do you realize you would be able to leave your village and move to London, or Paris, or New York and run the whole thing from there. You could even consider putting your business on the stock market and earn millions, perhaps more.”

Raising his eye-brows, the fisherman asked, “How long would that all take?”

“Perhaps 15 to 20 years,” the expert answered.

“And then what would I do?” the fisherman continued.

“That is when life gets interesting,” the expert explained. “You see, then you could retire. You could move away from the hustle and bustle of it all to some remote village.”

smiler 1“And what then?” asked the fisherman.

“Then you have time to do a little fishing, play with your children, have a siesta when it gets hot, have supper with the family, and get together with friends for some music.”

WHO DO YOU THINK REALLY HAS THE RIGHT IDEA ABOUT HOW TO LIVE A SATISFYING LIFE ON THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET WITHOUT GREEDILY TAKING MORE AND MORE AT GREAT COST – THE DAMAGE OF FAMILY LIFE, COMMUNITY LIFE AND THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET?

When I hear people complaining in the western world about not being able to afford a new phone, or a holiday…I wonder…well, I just wonder!

 

 

 

I Must Be Completely Mad

sleeping soundlyMy sleep is so sweet at the moment.

Have you ever become exhausted by worry over a situation and then at long last relief appeared? Is it normal that after years of wondering and worrying that has worn me down and made me weary, when the opportunity to talk things over finally arrives…I have found I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the hurt, I don’t care about the pain. I am just so thoroughly utterly glad and relieved.

I feel I must be completely mad! I’ve been won over by what seemed like a heartfelt genuine apology and beautiful words and sentiments. This is either the biggest mistake of my life, or the grandest blessing of my existence!

completely madSo much has melted into unimportance. What used to matter no longer matters. There are a few little things that matter. I have said absolutely no to him posting any kind of photograph with me online for the moment. He is snap happy! I have made it clear I still do not trust him. It’s as if he cannot control his enthusiasm. Don’t worry, I said it in a nice way. I told him he is sometimes like a firework that shoots up into the sky and bursts out in all directions, because he is so excited by things. That is partly adorable. But in the past it has caused problems when he became excited too early. It’s too early now. We need to build trust. I think he is taking on board what I am saying.

bizarreI am scratching my head wondering what is going on. I am still in a dreamlike state. It’s so bizarre. Goldfinch has been fantastic. He is as I expected. He is a wonderful man. He always told me he wanted me to meet someone and fall in love. I don’t think he imagined this would happen. In fact I remember us having the only discussion close to an argument we ever did have, up in Coventry because of my ex-flatmate. It’s all melted into unimportance. When you love someone, misunderstandings do melt away into unimportance. You move on because of love and trust.

Anyway…just enjoying the being alone…before the craziness begins. It will come. He will want to take photos of us and post them on Instagram. But not yet. Not until the trust is stronger.