I have to admit (with difficulty) that I seem to be internally wavering far more than I usually do. I want to give myself a little bit of a break with feeling this, and wait for it to pass, but, and I sorely hate to admit this, my anxiety levels are at monstrous levels.
This year would have tested the most strongest of person. My family have suffered horrific times, a desperate person broke into my car and stole “this life’s” work, I have been incredibly unwell, with repeated hospital admissions, including one as an emergency to have 3 blood transfusions and I have opened myself up as openly being in recovery from an alcohol addiction (a fact which carries huge shame within me), which of course creates feelings of vulnerability…
Do you judge me?
Do you think that, actually, I have not stopped the vicious cycle of repeating itself?
Do you wonder what sort of mum I was? How could I claim such a paradox as being an addict and a successful mum?
Of course – I will never know these answers – and my kinder side tells me that actually this is the devil of my childhood feelings coming back to haunt me, unworthy, unkind, dirty, smelly, unwanted, ashamed, humiliated etc etc etc etc etc etc blah blah blah, and that “I need to fake it to make it”. Know that one? Where you carry on as if, and one day you wake up and its no longer fake. Reminds me of one of the most famous challenges I received in Care and in Rehab, “take your mask off Jenny and allow yourself to feel pain”, yeah yeah yeah I repeated over and over. It’s served me well throughout my life as a Care Leaver. And I ain’t letting it go.
However, I have to admit, it’s getting harder to put the mask on.
I gave a lecture in Scotland recently, and, my mask fell. I was contacted by a worried friend, who told me to start looking after myself, emotionally. I do, I said. I’m part of a 12 step fellowship. I’m protected. Well actually, that’s not entirely true. I haven’t been to a meeting in months. Why? I’ve lost the faith that things will turn from fake to real, that’s why.
The personal struggles which one of my children has had this year, has almost destroyed me. The person however, has showed us such courage, tenacity and bravery that my heart swells. I am finally accepting, that maybe, just maybe, we can get through this, as a family. This person is a shining light, and will come back from the darkness and be the beautiful soul that they are.
And this brings me back to my demons coming back to haunt me. You see, when something goes wrong, I can instantly blame the fact that I was a “Care Kid” on why these things happen. Why should I expect anything else?. I’m supposed to fail aren’t I? Arn’t we all, us “Care Kids” Well actually, no we bloody are not. And i’m not. And I won’t.
I recently received an onslaught of confrontation on Twitter, which knocked me, a lot. I struggle to understand the concept off unkindness and hostility. I do not confuse these statements with assertiveness. Goodness, I have been trained in assertiveness to its death. I don’t underestimate that this has touched feelings from my childhood, and given me a couple of days of reflection, trying to work out why I feel so sad. I realized an hour ago, which prompted me to write this blog so that I could sleep, that actually I never could understand these concepts, even though we were frequent receivers of such behaviors as neglected and unprotected children. One wonders if these feelings ever stay buried forever. “I’ve dealt with them, i’m okay now” – err no you haven’t. They are waiting, waiting, waiting, to bite you on the backside when you least expect it.
I also figure that by writing a new presentation today, and inputting all of the photo’s I have of my Social Workers from yesteryear, many of whom I loved from the bottom of my heart, and of the photo’s that I have of the ones that have come back into my life, bought feelings of what if. What if I had not contested to my final move. Could I have remained in my final children’s home? Rather than being shown the door at 16, with all my dreams discarded? To be fed to the wolves of unkind and uncaring people who called themselves Foster Carers (they were not worthy of the title), and transported back into my childhood years of neglect and being unprotected. Could I have dealt with my feelings better when I was 13, and not put myself in such dangerous situations that my Social Worker felt she no choice but to apply for a secure order, 3 times. Could I have – Could I have – Could I have……
Boy, was life in Care a roller coaster. One which you never truly heal from. Loss of your Social Workers. Unjust decisions. Horrible foster homes.
But, you do go some way to heal, if you can keep the resentments out.
As I finish this blog, i’ve realised that i’ve kept this mask on for too long this time round – it needs to be put back in it’s box to give me time to feel the pain, just as my beautiful beautiful social workers told me so many times.
Love Jen Aka Hackney Child