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My Journey Begins

I started writing this blog so many times over the past few years (in my head) and now I am finally getting down to putting my thoughts out there into the Universe, albeit it being much slower than I had anticipated. I have allowed FEAR to suffocate many opportunities that have been presented to me throughout my life and the sad thing for me is, that I have dedicated my entire career to helping and supporting people through their own life challenges of trauma, pain, grief etc… and didn’t feel worthy enough to heal my own immense pain that I carried.

I made a decision last year when I turned 50 that I would start living my life on purpose and do all the things that I long to do. I decided that I would live my life coming from a place of being true to myself, being more creative with my writing and poetry, begin public speaking and in general work towards a healthier mind and body.

7 months on and here I am just beginning with the writing bit…

I am writing this blog for me.

I am giving myself a space to be free of the critical restraints that I have so beautifully bound myself up with.

I am giving myself a gift, of loving myself enough, to be okay with being who I am, just as I am and being alive because I am worth it.

So my journey begins with me being as open and authentic as I can be right now. This is the start of something new for me and I am excited and a little nervous too but I know thats okay.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2919

A tale of unfortunate events

I think Lemony Snicket was on call yesterday

It’s 1.54am in the morning and I have been lying here for the past two hours unable to sleep and thought I would write about my eventful day yesterday.

I was booked in for a Hysteroscopy and arrived at the day surgery ward at 11.10am feeling fairly relaxed and ready to get it over with. The booking in clerk told me that I was last on the list and added that it was going to be a long afternoon’s wait.

Armed with 3 second hand Hello magazines and an iphone, I was directed to my designated cubicle for the duration.

And what a long day it was…

Three nurses along with a healthcare assistant ran the show absolutely rushed off their feet all day long. Different uniformed people flowed in and out of the ward but the nurses (and their voices) were the faces that became familiar throughout the day.

The first check I had was the normal blood pressure, temperature, questions etc and of course the ‘tagging’ to make sure they operate on the right person and the right bit of my body!

This nurse started her shift at 6.45am.

An hour or so later and 3 magazines done (I only like the pictures) the Anesthetist came and had a chat. Throughout the conversation and the legal warnings that have to be said, he constantly held the cheekiest smile upon his face. It seems that any given moment he could have burst out laughing which in turn made me smile and banter along with him.

I signed his consent form.

Next came the Gynecologist who wasn’t the consultant named on my admittance form and with him two trainee doctors. He was tall and slim with a wispy grey moustache wearing all beige. My friend katie and I have a long standing joke between us that whilst she chooses vibrant exciting colours, I go for, and in her very own words ‘beige dear‘ time and time again. It always makes us laugh so I figured that was a good sign.

I signed his consent form too.

It wasn’t too long after the beige man’s visit that the young trainee doctor returned with a request. He asked if it would be okay to examine me?

“What right now?”

His face coloured a little red and he replied with a;

“No! I mean when you are in the operating theatre.”

I asked him why and he explained that after the Gynecologist had completed his task, he would like to take a look too and that it would help him to learn. The young man looked around the age of 19 I’m not kidding and I proceeded to ask him what year of learning he was currently in and he replied year 4.

Anything in the form of education is a must from my belief so I agreed and signed yet another consent form.

One by one the patients on the list were taken away. It used to be that you would undress in your cubicle, put your theatre gown on and hop up on to the wheeled bed.

Oh how things have changed…

With an aching back and numb bum through all of the sitting around, my time finally came.

Yet again, more of the same questions just to treble check and then a lovey nurse led me down to the theatre by foot; porter and trolley in hot persuit behind us.

After stripping off and gowning up I was then allowed to get on to my bed and was pushed in to see the happy anesthetist.

At this point, I stop smiling and so did he – things aren’t so funny anymore!

I look away as he attempts his first cannula in my right hand;

“Sharp scratch” he says, “nothing to worry about” and then, “oh no its ruptured.”

The anesthetist has another go in my right arm and the flow of fluid is incorrect, so it has to be taken out. His third attempt is in my left hand and after much banging and squeezing and the use of a tourniquet, fails.

At this point my legs had started to shake uncontrolably and I was freezing cold.

The not so smiley anesthetist begins his fourth attempt when the theatre nurse politely reminds him that he is not allowed to try again as he fumbles at my arm suggesting it will be fine and we all need to calm down.

Protocol is three attempts and then call for a consultant anesthetist.

Another one is called and my whole body is now shaking.

I started to breathe deeply trying desperately to calm myself down because at this point I was super anxious about what was happening. My body seemed to be disconnected from my mind for a period of time as I struggled to control the shaking even though I knew that it was totally possible to get myself in to a relaxed state.

I just couldn’t calm down. My old familiar friend fear, took over…

Two more people arrived in the tiny room so that made six altogether. They were talking amoungst themselves about the problem and how they were going to manage me.

“Her veins are very weak,” was one comment, we could try…. and at that point the shaking at risen to my whole face with my teeth unable to keep up with the rythym of the rest of my body. They tried to keep me warm by laying a warm blanket over my feet.

Just my feet if I may add and it appeared heavy and uncomfortable so I asked them to remove it.

Did they forget about the rest of my body?

The Consultant Anesthetist spoke very calmly and whilst rubbing my right arm. He stated that everybody in the room needed to calm down especially me and at that it was all fine, he will get the cannula in no problem.

At this point I was ready to run.

Remember! I am a runner it’s my normal pattern of trying to escape – I couldn’t run anywhere I just had to stay and face to onset of massive fear. I prayed silently in my head yet again and hoped that someone was on call to help me and I attempted to surrender the fear over to anyone who was willing to take it from me; God, Dad even Alan.

Was anybody on call that day?

This smooth dark skinned, soft speaking anesthetist had three goes and this time in my left arm twice, with his last attempt in my left foot (the nurse told me that this one would sting a little more than the others).

Really!!! Do you think?

And what a surprise, none of the cannula’s were successful.

This man suggested that the ONLY other way of getting the cannula is was to insert it into my NECK to which I told him directly NO WAY you are not touching my neck.

At this point my vocal chords had kicked in. I told them all that I believed that everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason was that I wasn’t mean’t to have this operation at this point in time. The anesthetist replied with; “that’s a great way at looking at things,” – Oh please…

I also told them that I was freezing and that fact wasn’t helping me as my whole boy shook in front of them.

A few suggestions were made with a few other’s in disagreement and I said loudly that if they can’t do it the normal way then I was leaving and they could wheel me back to the ward.

So in comes the number 3 consultant anesthetist (not sure whether his title should have capital letter’s or not?) because at this stage I was losing the will to live… get me outta here! He brought with him another Dr, male nurse or even another ANESTHETIST – who bloody knows who the extra male person is at this point because I didn’t, he wasn’t introduced.

That makes 8 medical’s in the room now.

This man was stockier than the others and had a bald head. He said in a competent loud foreign accent; “Hello there, whats all this fuss about then?”

I politely told him that this was the last attempt (number 7) that any one of them was going to have, as they clearly can not sort the problem out and I’d had enough. He agreed with me and asked if it was okay to try just one more time?

Holding back the tears, I agreed.

The man who came in with him, held my right arm very tightly in a downward direction whilst the anesthetist put his glasses on. I gasped a sigh of relief due to the fact that he was the only one wearing glasses and told the the audience of medical staff and they all laughed.

Glad I could oblige.

He used an Ultra Scan machine to try and find an appropriate vein.

“Ahh!” he said, “a big beautiful vein” and the man who came in with him tied a tournaquet around the arm and the bald headed anesthetist pushed the cannula in with success.

You see! (literally) It was all about the glasses…

I was in that little room for about 45 minutes before they were able to sedate me and after the operation, my eyes were already in tears before I opened them in recovery.

Bless the male nurse who looked after me in the recovery room who confirmed that I’d had a rough time in there… and that it was all over now. He gave me a sip of water and a mouthful of Oramorph.

After what seemed about only ten minutes, I was wheeled back to where my day had begun and given two bits of dry toast on a plate with some butter and a knife.

Looking back now, I am sure that if they had just placed the warm blanket on my arm for a while a nice vein would have been ready for the impending cannula. When my father in-law was going through his chemo treatment the nurse always warmed his arm first because she found it difficult to get the cannula in so the warming up process served a great purpose.

I wonder if any lessons weren’t learn’t that day by the medical staff?

Maybe they all need to get there eyes tested might be one of them?

The nurse that booked me in, in the morning was the same nurse that signed me out in the evening and at that point her shift was 13.5 hours long.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip 2019

A beautiful interruption

Born with the freedom to dream
your innocence was given

in natural gesture
and stolen by a devil's hand


So damaged was that hand and oblivious
to the mighty force

that left trails
of significant wounds

An inner world so barren
a desolate place to be and
yet in that world no-one
could interrupt

and freedom could prevail
if only fleetingly

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip 2019

Number 13 – The house that nobody wanted

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live – Norman Cousins

Its cold outside today.

The weather has changed considerably.

The house that nobody wanted became our family home.

13!

Unlucky for some – unlucky for us.

Its not a case of luck really! The truth is that the families that lived within it’s walls, experienced such loss and sadness.

I’m not sure why my parents chose to move across the road and my guess is that the house was semi detached instead of mid-terraced. It was still a two bedroom property and we were a family of five (well seven if you include the dog and cat).

The previous tennants were a couple with two teenage boys and tragically one of the boys aged 17 died of suffocation in the upstairs airing cupboard. I have no idea how the tragedy happened and I didn’t find out about it until I was a young adult.

Knowing about the poor boy, escalated my fears of being alone in the house.

Number 13 stood empty for a while and it seemed that no other council tennants were remotely interested in making it their home accept for my parents of course!

And why not? You couldn’t get more of a religious, complete hypocrite of an un-Christian like father such as ours who would override any decision that wasn’t his.

But preach he did…

And listen we didn’t!

My father and Godfather separated the larger of the two bedrooms by erecting a false wall with a sliding door. I had the first small room which my brothers had to walk through to get to their room where the airing cupboard was housed. I remember them having bunk beds, a wardbrobe and an old dark wooden chest of drawers. The room was small, especially for two boys. When they were teenagers, my mother found a box full of condoms (un-opened packets) under the bottom bunk when she was doing the housework and I recall her being mortified to think that they may actually be having sex with their girlfriends. Feeling embarrassed, she never mentioned it. Well not to them anyway and personally, I think that it was incredibly responsible of them both.

My bedroom was small too – it seems we were cheated of space. I had a single wardbrobe, a small bed and a scruffy wooden toy box full of old jumble sale toys. The wall between the rooms was so thin that it was like being in the same space together and I often heard my brothers whispering to one another. I wondered what they were saying…

Little did I know how significant my bedroom would become in years to follow.

There are many difficult memories attached to living in the house that nobody wanted and I have often remarked that I couldn’t careless if it burnt down just as long as no one was harmed.

Writing all things difficult can take its toll and in particular this week, I have struggled and edited this post several times. So I’d like to share a fond childhood memory that warms my heart.

My brothers and I played a game of Mr & Mrs, talking through the wall whilst laying in our beds late one evening. The game show was popular on the television in the 70’s and our parents used to watch it and we copied the idea, asking each other silly questions. We were supposed to be going to sleep and I must have been quite young possibly, under the age of 10 but old enough to remember that we had to speak quietly in order not to wake the sleeping dragon. I remember the laughter we shared that night and the feeling that my brothers had included me in a game. That’s quite significant because of the age gap between us – it wasn’t a normal thing that we did. Something tells me that it had been a difficult evening in the house with our father and they were trying to alleviate my being scared as I was unable to sleep.

I am so grateful for my brothers.

I understand who they are 💙

A picture of our house drawn by my eldest brother. Approximately 54 years ago.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Keep living until you are alive

The force that stormed through the door was untamed.

He was a mad man.

The man I loved unconditionally and yet feared unlike any other human being alive, arrived with the big black case in hand.

Remember the case?

I froze – engulfed in terror, my mother a couple of feet behind me and to be specific, she stood in the right hand corner at the back of the front room.

I was her shield.

Like it was okay?

The dog was going crazy, barking in a frenzy of confusion running in all directions. He was my father’s dog and very much loved.

The mad man – hair messed, face contorted, eyes wide with RAGE started bellowing at my mother and the only thing I remember is;

“I’m going to kill you.”

and he hurled the big black hard sided case with such force, across the room at Her and as she threw herself out of the way, her screams of begging and pleading went un-noticed by any person outside.

It was a near miss.

Smashing against the wall.

The dreadful volume of noise – shouting – screaming – crying – barking – it was utter chaos.

I can still hear the hysterical cries from her and the fury filled shouting from him – I began pleading with him, begging him to stop, telling him I was scared, using his love for me to try and persuade him to calm down;

“If you love me Dad then please, please stop!”

I was in my very own nightmare and needed help. I couldn’t get him to stop and physically I didn’t have the strength to hold on for much longer. The situation escalated as he kicked the dog out the way and started to push me back and walk in her direction so I threw my arms around him, hugging him, telling him I loved him, sobbing; my feet slipping on the carpet as I pushed back as much as I could.

I tried I really tried hard; I pushed back

and prayed frantically, with speed, in my head to a God that I believed was there.

He was there, wasn’t he?

Then something changed – slowly, he began to calm down and as I held on to him for dear life, he demanded to know where his drugs were. My mother told him and he prized my arms off from around him and walked out of the room.

I prayed every day as a child.

For my father –

What is this love
this powerful force
This energy of love
Can strip the volatile naked
to reveal a truth
not often seen
Rage can hide behind love
and fear behind the rage
Fear is the truth
that rage will not speak
Love is the gentle dance
to heal a broken heart

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

TRUSTING THE PROCESS

I haven’t written for a few days.

I read on another blog that people aren’t really interested in reading your story unless you are giving them something back and I have been throwing myself the ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ line – (that’s an old pattern)

I’ve given back my entire life.

It has taken me years, literally years to do this and yes, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking for any feedback, acknowledgement, healing – of course I am. Isn’t everyone who chooses to open themselves up when writing a personal blog? I have also read numerous times that there is a book in everyone and yes, I want to write a book. Will this be the content? Who know’s… but for me it’s a start in my writing something down even if this get’s lost in a sea of a million other personal, painful life experiences.

I’m writing.

I can offer so much.

I can and will teach other’s how to change their live’s through writing and speaking – it’s my life’s work my purpose for being and right now I am allowing my inner children to speak freely without judgement (from me) for they have been suffocating slowly, for many years.

Blogging is very new to me and I find WordPress quite difficult. I am still learning about tags and categories and some would say that it should be self explanatory but it’s not for me! I know that I also need to learn about copyrights and quoting others – what I can and can’t do.

This is my journey.

I am grateful for this space and I am grateful for anyone who read’s my story so I will ride the waves of not feeling good enough and see where it takes me…

Namaste

To be more childlike, you don't have to give up being an adult. The fully integrated person is capable of being both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe. - Dr Wayne Dyer
Ryde Carnival – Little Red Riding Hood 1972

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

26

My big brothers looking very little.

We lived at number 26 Jellicoe Road until I was 4 years old.

My recollections of that house are small in comparison to what I remember of number 13 which was situated opposite.

26, had a large front room which housed an old gas fire. The kind with the off yellow tiled herth and brass coloured, extendable fire screen. In later years, I would use that screen along with an old sheet and pillows to make a house.

The kitchen sink was white and seemed huge. Nowadays, a sink that people would pay good money for. The significance of it being huge could be connected to a memory of my eldest brother having his mouth washed out with soap by my father. I have a movie in motion – in my mind of Paul being dragged kicking and screaming towards that huge sink by a huge and scary Daddy.

Paul is 7 years older than me.

Poor, poor little boy. What pain he must have endured.

In the hallway by the kitchen was an understairs cupboard and Paul told me some years back that the old man used to lock him in there after a beating.

Mum said she knew nothing about it!

A REJECTION on both counts – parents are supposed to love and protect you.

Upstairs, the floor boards were dark in colour with a few rugs scattered here and there and I remember at some point a large train set being laid out on my brothers floor.

Another vivid memory of living in number 26 is of me having a bath with another little girl who was wailing loudly in utter protest. Our Mother’s were the best of friends and we attended ballet lessons together. The girl had an adopted brother who lived, detatched from their house in a kind of shed-like room and as I grew older when we visited, I knew that was very wrong. He was left out in the cold (literally) and always presented with ill health. Both mother and daughter communicated abruptly to the boy and his obvious exclusion was heartbreaking to watch. I felt sad about the boy who lived outside and I remember asking my Mother why?

There was never a definitive answer.

Even at such a young age, I felt a deep connection for other’s and the natural desire to help them.

Maybe our parents belonged to the, ‘it’s acceptable to abuse children club’ or even, ‘it’s okay to turn a blind eye club’- maybe it was fashionable in the 70’s?

I am choosing to be human in this present moment as I write using sarcasim and a certain defiance. As a therapist I have the skills to look beyond their collective behaviour and begin to understand the reasons why so much abuse was delivered. Of course there is always more to a story and every person that I write about here has their own past that shaped who they became and how they behaved.

For now – just for now, I am tired of being the one that understands, the one that justify’s the one that clarify’s…

It was moving day. I was riding my blue and yellow, hard wheeled little bicycle along the pavement dinging my Magic Roundabout bell. I remember my father hollering at me to STOP because I was heading straight for the road.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Or else!

My daughter was invited last minute, to a sleepover last night.

Driving home after drop off, I could feel the anxiety slowly building inside. Just the thought of staying on my own in the house all night long was enough to set an old, out of date, pattern off – Full swing.

I pulled the blinds and shut the curtains in the whole house; the evening was still so bright.

I shut the doors to the bedrooms, dining room and kitchen leaving a space that felt enclosed and safe.

I live in a bungalow.

I turned the light’s on in the hallway, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, lounge and my bedroom.

They remained on all night.

Unable to open the windows for air, the heat from the summer evening was unbearable so I stripped off naked and stayed that way until 2.55 am having watched 6 parts of “Thirteen Reasons Why.”

Sleep was not an option until I could no longer keep my eyes open.

When I was a child I can remember going through a stage of being very frightened to go to sleep in the dark. My father was strict and there was a ‘no nonsense rule at bedtime “or else!” – after saying our prayers I would wrap myself up in my thick yellow eiderdown, leaving a tiny whole to breathe.

Then I would pray some more.

Dear Lord

please forgive me for the sins that I have committed
please keep
Mummy Daddy Paul and Ashley safe
don't let anything happen to them
please take this itching down below away
thank you

Amen


I had the most horrendous internal irritation when I was small. It seems like I endured it for a very long time. I tried with every effort to describe it to my Mother and the Doctor and being so little, neither seemed to understand it or me.

That prayer was recited for many years, well into adulthood. I literally could not; not say it, just incase!

My Mother worked at a local factory five nights a week for 10 years.

I was 3 years old when she started.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019