A Few Questions

I was asked some general wonderings, too, when I asked what people wanted to know. I guess that these are things I can’t quite cover in the book, so I’ll answer them here. Anything else I might not cover, just ask on my page or here, or message me. 🙂 I try to answer as best as I can.

These come from Kimberly:

 

“What happened to Nathan? “

 

We were friends until I was around 27. I still see him on Facebook, but we don’t talk that much really. He doesn’t live far away. As far as I can see, he is happy. We drifted apart because as my mental health got worse, I started to cancel things and eventually, he stopped asking. I miss him a lot, though.

“Are you still friends with anyone from college? “

 

No, aside from Facebook, I don’t see them anymore.

“Do you still live in the same area? “
I don’t live that far away from where I grew up. Probably just a 15-minute drive.
“How are you doing without being in therapy?”
I found therapy useless to be honest. I do better alone. My last one, last year, was pretty bad. He wouldn’t let me talk about anything. He’d say, What does it matter? It’s in the past. And had me down as having low self-esteem issues, which I don’t.

I did have CBT for my OCD at one point, but it didn’t cure it, just helped me to calm it a little. I needed that back then. I was living in a bubble.

I went to one therapist about my PTSD and the badman. He pretty much accused me of having an overactive imagination and said we’re all afraid of the dark when we’re on our own.

So, without therapy, I cope as best as I can.
“Do your children know anything about your abuse?”

 

They don’t have a clue. They know little things, like me not having a bed until I was 9, but no, they have no idea really, and I am glad about that.

 

“I’m also curious why your brother hates your dad so much. Was he aware of the things going on maybe, and just didn’t say? Was he abused in some way? Do you have a relationship with either of your brothers?”

 

I don’t exactly know why my brother hates my dad so much. I think it’s just a bad relationship and that our father is selfish, and he sees that. They fell out really when my brother asked me lots of questions, like whether my Nan used to beat me, like our parents had claimed. He realised it had all been lies and that made him angry. I don’t think he was abused, but he has issues from living in that house. Maybe he saw things. He was in the same bed as my father and I. He doesn’t live too far away. He comes and goes, but we talk. My older brother lives abroad now; we talk on Facebook. I have other siblings from later in life. My youngest sister is 12. I don’t really have contact with them, though.

 

 

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Day Two!

Day two. Yes, day two of no self-harm, quite an achievement, especially when I didn’t start the day that way. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to face the day today, but I did, I got out of bed before that harming feeling took over. I wanted to share something today, it’s from a reader, he gave me his permission to share this. If all my books ever do is help children like the one he speaks of, then they were so worth writing and sharing. I’ll paste it below. I wish everyone in the world could have this kind of insight.

It took me a while to realise he was talking about me and talking about that little boy from long ago. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood, but here it is. Thank you Colin, and everyone else for the bundles of support I receive every day. I hope you all know how much it means to me.

Hello James my name is Colin. I don’t know where to start… It feels like I’m sitting down to write an essay… I’m 43 living in a small town near Shepparton Vic , Australia.. I’d like to tell you about a small friend of mine.. He doesn’t know me but I feel I know a small piece of him and his life.. He decided to write about himself and published a series of books. He wrote in a fashion I could understand about his misfortunate upbringing and day to day life….. I’d like to tell you how much I cried and still cry on a daily basis of the horrors this little friend went through and I believe still goes through every minute he breathes.. I can’t understand and I never will how he feels. He doesn’t know how much his books have changed my life forever…. I have lived in a gay relationship with my partner of 12 years, He’s a GP and has been there for me in the past month for when I felt really down and helpless reading my little friends books.. I couldn’t help him and I got heavily depressed… But that was ok, My feelings were nothing compared to what this boy was going through. My partner was very understanding and I feel for him too as he has to try and diagnose people with their own problems.. Recently my bike was stolen from my house by a 14 year old boy, He was caught and charged. I thought nothing more of it until I received a phone call one day.. I was requested if I had the time to be apart of a group conference for the young lad. I find out later this boy is living in a foster care type of accommodation and is only allowed to see his mother for 2 hours a week. I thought long and hard about doing this, I was in the middle of reading my small friends book at the time and took a different view of this young thief. I did go to the conference. I’m a funeral director and to be honest with the job I do I really couldn’t care less about my bike. What I was more concerned about why had this kid got into the state he was in… The funeral industry has changed my views on a lot of things, one being, life is too short as it is to worry about material things… I explained this to the kid and how in the first few months of doing the job I had to prepare a 14yo girl who had suicided for her funeral… I explained how I cried and that she had made a bad choice, he on the other hand still had his whole life ahead of him.. The long story short he seemed like a nice enough young man and had been influenced by the conference. I got a good feeling from it as well but then heavily saddened by what life he has gone through to get where he is. I would like to help this kid so I’m making a few phone calls to see if there is anything my partner and I can do for him. We have to be careful as some of the public are still on the belief that all gay people are perverts… Anyway It brings me back to my own plight, While reading the books I felt there was a heavy bearing of my own life in them.. I too sniffed petrol from a very young age and from a broken family of alcoholism on my father’s side I had my own questions to ask. As a child of around 7yo I remember overnight stays with one of my mother’s male friends of the time. I don’t recall any bad doings from this man except sleeping in the same bed. Confirming this with my brother and sister I think I was fine. My mother has passed away so I couldn’t ask her anyway. I’m sorry I hope I haven’t rambled on.. James I think you know my little friend very well, I’ve started to cry again as usual while typing this but he has taught me that’s ok.. please cut him some slack and give him a big hug for me.. That’s all I can do.. I still feel helpless but I hope for the best for him and yourself.. One of your photo’s say “sometimes when you see a person cry…….. I am here!…..” You can re-blog my letter if it makes any difference

Please tell our little friend how much he means to me… Thanks Colin

 

I know you all can't hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

I know you all can’t hug me, but when you send messages, even when I am too sad to reply, this is how it feels.

To Mum and Dad

To Mum and Dad

I’m sorry. I just needed to say that as I near the end of writing the last book of Teddy. I need to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry for writing. Sorry for the way it makes you both look to the world outside, one that doesn’t know you the way I do and doesn’t understand. I just needed to get these things out. They’ve stuck in my mind for so long that they are part of my everyday thoughts, I couldn’t keep it all inside anymore. I’m sorry. im-sorry

I don’t write them to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you at all, not ever. I know you’ll be upset if you ever saw my books. Probably deny everything too because you’d read the words the same way any reader, reads them, like it’s your fault. And I know it isn’t. I know these things that I write about are as much me as they are you. I know deep inside if I had never been your child you would never have partaken in the activities you did. I created you just as you created me and I’m sorry.

I wish I could go away, not now, but in the past. A long time ago when I wouldn’t matter to anyone at all. I didn’t matter to you because I was so bad. Why did you not just go that step too far? Why did you not kill me for the things I did and the things I made you do?

I want so very much just to cut through my skin and make it hurt, to stare at that face in the mirror like I did as a boy and watch him suffer. He deserves it, but the face isn’t little anymore. He’s hiding somewhere I can’t reach him. I’d make him pay if I could. He deserves it.

I’m sorry for showing the world our secrets.

 

Therapy

After much deliberation, I have decided that I am going to give up on therapy. It’s ironic I guess, that this is what I am training to be yet, I find that it is not right for my own things. Maybe, I am just a better listener than a talker.

Recently I did a session of EMDR. This was probably the session I realised therapy is not for me. I cannot connect with this therapist or any that I have gone to, before him. The textbook answers, and the fact that they are paid to listen, hinders my mind, and I know that really, they don’t care. How can I give my darkest, and deepest things that are so hard for me to say, to someone who after I leave, will probably think nothing of me for more than five minute?.

I found myself going over this in my mind a lot and then I thought about the therapy itself. I really don’t think healing is a thing that is possible, not in a way that it is all gone. How can a lifetime of things be undone by talking to someone? How can the broken parts of me ever be put together the way they were so long ago, when its before I can even remember? The most I can hope for is to learn how to calm the child inside. To care for him when he is sad or upset. To understand when triggers happen, and not to fight them, but to sit down with that part of myself, and just allow it to be there.

I’m not really sure how I will achieve this, but as I learn more and more in my psychology classes, I understand myself better, and the child from long ago.

Writing the Teddy books helps me. It’s giving him a voice when he has never had one. I am not sure what I will do when I finish this final one. I plan to write it all to the end now; Teddy 3.5 as it is called, and if you have read my others, then you understand why I cannot called it Teddy four.

My father suffered a heart attack recently, and whilst I know many readers of my books will perhaps think, this is a good thing, I found myself shocked at my own reaction. I put the phone down after I had been told, and wondered what if he dies. That would be it. I would never have a chance to tell my father what I thought, and never the chance for him to be a father.

I know these things will never happen. I have to find some way to accept that. I think what shocked me the most, was my own upset and breakdown, on the phone. So much of a breakdown that I couldn’t even talk, and someone else had to take the call for me. I realised that I care, somewhere inside, for my father, because he is, after all, my dad.

Back Alley Kid

So many friends and I am alone. 

Cast in the shadows of one hundred people. Unseen. Unneeded. I sit. The sound of silence weaves an empty hole in my ever-pretending soul.

One day to be me. One moment.

I draw deeply on the cigarette; pulling the wondrous poisons inside so I might feel something. I don’t care what it is, it’s better than what I have.

The ache of nothing.

The sun beats down on my back. But I do not relish in it. Its prickly heat disturbs my solitary silence, annoying me. Forcing me back inside the darkness of my residence.

I sit alone on the steps. No view but the urine scented, trash-filled alleyway within the dregs of our society.

Another hit is all I wish for, but not today. It’s just a fantasy of my drug deprived mind as it hungers for change. Twenty four hours feels like a lifetime as I try and fight off the natural tiredness left over. Even the raised hole in the crook of my arm laughs at me in cruel delight. Each throb is a reminder and not a penny in my pocket that I can call mine.

The bare scratching of food in my home are all but gone, save for a stale loaf and a can of peas. Nothing to sate the hunger inside.

“Excuse me,” says a voice from the direction of the alleyway and I give an almost silent groan, resisting the urge to tell the owner of the voice to get lost.

“Can I buy a cigarette off you?” He asks and steps into my yard without invitation.

I glance up and for a moment wonder if I really did sleep off the hit from the night before.

“What are you? Like five?” I ask him.

I see he isn’t much bigger than my own son who is four. He mutters some words that I can’t quite grasp save for the odd one that is beyond his years. His clothes are dirty. His hair is a mess and he has enough bad language to fit right in at a working men’s club.

“I’m seven,” he tells me like it’s supposed to make some difference to me. “Can I buy a cigarette?”

“No,” I say.

“I’ve got money.”

He opens his hand and shows me his ten pennies.

“And who did you get that off?”

He’s getting as annoyed with me as I am with him.

“Can I buy a cigarette off you?” He asks me one more time, ignoring my negative answer before.

“No you can’t.”

He mutters a derogatory name under his breath and walks away. I draw one last time on my own cigarette and stub it out on the ground, crushing it under my boot.

I can hear the kid’s voice not so far away. A torrent of words not fit for a mouth so young. His words aren’t directed at me, of course, but his child-like volume carries over. I sigh, get up, and walk into the alleyway.

Two older boys are there. Around my own age. At a guess; eighteen or nineteen. I shake my head knowing that the kids asked the wrong people. They’ve taken his money, but not delivered the goods. Of course, the kid doesn’t have the sense to just leave it. A lesson learned perhaps.

“What’s up mate?” I ask with a nod of my head, as I walk over to the three of them. “You okay?”

“I’m fine,” he says to me.

His small pride is still intact as he stomps off penniless, leaving me between him and them. He invites himself once more into my yard.

The two lads leave, but not before yelling their obscenities in the direction of my unknown new friend. They utter a few to me too. Lucky for them my poor mind is too busy thrashing in the throes of withdrawal to care.

“They stole my money,” the kid says before I even have chance to get into my yard and sit back down. “It’s your fault.”

“Oh, of course it is,” I say. “And you didn’t go begging for a smoke and hand some strangers your money when you should be at home or in school or something.”

I don’t really want to argue. The pain in the side of my head jabs at me as I think about raising my voice to tell the kid of my annoyance. I pull my packet from my back pocket and toss him a cigarette. He isn’t my kid, why should I care if he smokes?

“Got a light?”

“Want me to smoke it for you too?” I ask, as I light my own cigarette and then swap mine for his.

He takes it and draws on it like the small version of a man that’s seen too much and not like a boy of seven who should be home relying on his mother.

“Do you live here? Do you know Mark and Woody? Do you have anything to eat?”

He rapid fires his questions not giving me time to answer them and my tired brain doesn’t get a chance to think about what he asked me first.

“No I don’t have anything to eat.”

It’s not even a lie. I don’t. I don’t have the money. Not until the morning at least when my benefit cheque comes through and half of that is owed out already.

“Can’t you eat at home?”

He shakes his head and smokes his cigarette.

“My mum’s sleeping.”

“Wake her up.”

“She’s drunk,” he tells me.

“Your dad?”

He shrugs his shoulders. “My brother makes my food, but he’s not here.”

I curse under my breath, not that he seems to notice. Every part of me wants to send him on his way, but something inside niggles. I see him; a small child no food and it reminds me of things so long ago. Sending him away wouldn’t be an option, he would perhaps make it to the next block before my conscience kicked in and had me dragging him back. But I have no food to offer him. I don’t have anything other than cigarettes to feed an addiction he shouldn’t even have.

“You any good at keeping an eye out?” I ask him. “In the shop over there?” I point at the local store that’s just a small building with faulty cameras. Handy when in dire need of something I can’t afford.

“I do it for my brother all the time,” he says.

“Where is your brother?”

“Inside.”

I don’t ask why he’s inside.

The store isn’t that hard to steal from. The cashier I think wouldn’t even notice if I walked out with a full pack of beer. I don’t of course. Im not so much into stealing for needless gain, just what I need at the time.

“Don’t touch anything,” I tell the kid before we go in. “Just stand close to the sweets. He’ll watch you and leave before I do.”

He nods. My inside wars with itself at making such a small child help me. But the growl in my own stomach and the look of hunger on his face as we walk passed the takeaway urges me on.

He does as he is told too. He goes in first and stands where I said and then I follow, but I head towards the back. It’s not so hard to shove a small pack of bread rolls inside my coat and a tin of beans in my jacket pocket. I’ve done it so often there isn’t even the fear from it. What’s the worst they can do? Make me leave the store?

The kid walks out and so do I. I don’t address him as I walk down the street back towards the alleyway to my home. Not that I’m ignoring him, but I know better than to set off someone’s overzealous actions. Just in case.

The meal isn’t grand. Toasted rolls and baked beans with the butter I found in my fridge, but the kid eats it like he hasn’t eaten in weeks. I stare at him wondering what I am supposed to do with this stray creature that landed on my doorstep.

(To be continued)

Telling Teddy

Coming Soon

It’s been a few days since I last self-harmed.

That’s not bad for me right now. It had been an almost daily thing that I couldn’t fight and I found that I wasn’t writing. Not really.

I got myself into a schedule and set about the re-writes for Dear Teddy 2. Once I got into it, the self-harm stopped. So far.  In a way, maybe writing helps me dig out what I am trying to reach with knives.

I still don’t have a voice except when I am writing. Perhaps that is the only voice I have right now. It seems an effort to talk. Of course, I have managed to talk to people but I have had to make myself. In these last few days, it has been harder. Today, aside from one person, I have not talked at all.

I put that down partly to a bad night; partly to myself. Perhaps, finishing my book has made me silent today. I have no words. Fifty-two thousand words; two drafts. It has been through edits and proof reading and now to be beta read.

Dear Teddy 2 is done;  to be called Telling Teddy.

I feel the loss of not writing it. That is normal from any writing, I know, but the empty hole I try to fill feels bigger today.

Writing Tell Teddy has certainly been an interesting journey. I think, in ways, I am somewhat numb to it. Aside front the odd chapter the last one, on its own, took more to write than the entire book.

A friend of mine reads it as I go along. Her reactions to what she has read differ. Sometimes, I wonder why she can’t see things my way or why things she read are so black and white. It is because I forget she is looking in through the eyes of a boy. She is not the boy.

She read a chapter a few days ago; one where an official questioned me and then clearly walked away. She said that I got failed a lot and she was sorry for that. I think maybe this is a part that gets misunderstood.

I am glad that I got failed. I’m not sorry they did. To those reading, I could have been saved from a pair of monsters. To me, I would have been taken from my mum and dad; the only family I had.

And while I wished they didn’t do the things they did, they were ‘my’ mum and dad.