Well, having been asked about happy memories, I have just been looking at my old ‘Homeless’ blog, which is offline. ‘Homeless’ actually contains my full story, but would confuse you a lot because all names and place names were changed because it was written in 2011, before I knew about the Jersey bloggers, and when I was living in fear of the diocese of Winchester and was on the run.
This post was written on 25/11/2011. It is not the post I was looking for for Tony, but there are a lot of other posts on homeless that I am now browsing, which I will transfer in order to tell my story, but I will have to make sure you can understand it as I changed all names and place names and will have to change them back.
This post was written in it’s entirety on November 25th 2011 while I was on the run from the Diocese of Winchester, I have not altered it apart from changing names back to originals and correcting spelling mistakes.
There are a few readers of this blog who used to read ‘homeless’, until it came offline in 2012, and who will recognize this post and others that I will be posting from homeless from now on.
I thought I would try to write some of the good side of the island very briefly.
The island was an escape from some of JM’s control over my life and influence on me (until she re-involved herself in support of my abuser), when I arrived in the island it was a new adventure for me with none of my old friends nearby to support me, I had to completely stand on my own two feet when I went to the Island, there is no welfare benefit system there for non-natives, so I was going to make it work by working and not letting depression or anything else get in the way.
The island offered such a variety of activities, miles of dunes and beaches and heathlands for walking, running, climbing, miles of sea for swimming, learning to surf, learning to sail, jetski, water-ski, kayak, I could rock climb, I could sit out on the rocks and enjoy the sea and spray and freedom, for the first time in my life I had quality of life. I managed to start doing some watersports when my Employer at the Horticultural Nursery gave me a ticket that allowed me to visit island attractions for free and access free and half price activities such as watersports, and all I wanted was to be near the sea, out on the sea, interacting with the sea.
One of my most memorable sea days was when I was on a guard boat for the rowing races between the islands, there was just me and the skipper and we were looking after a two man rowing team, all the way between the islands there were thousands of jellyfish, thousands, of all shapes and sizes, it was lucky that the sea was fairly calm and no-one ended up in the water, it was a long hot day but I was proud to be second in command of a guard boat.
I remember the surf instuctor asking me if I had asthma or a heart problem when I was learning to surf, because I couldn’t easily run and do the warm up exercises for my surf lesson, but back then I didn’t know I had asthma, so I said that maybe I was just tired from helping the church move heavy furniture all morning, something that St A’s church deigned to let me do though they wouldn’t normally let a mere woman be involved, because a good kind man there believed in me and my ability, (he is now dead), though my abuser kept up a stream of sexist comments and kept assuring me that I wasn’t as strong as him (male insecurity oh dear oh dear, he was like that.).
The island had many attractions that I enjoyed visiting, the castles and forts and ancient tombs and defences. leisure parks and museums, I loved these places, history became fascinating to me.
Also in the time I was on the island I tried all sorts of new things and became involved, the island was very well equipped, there was a college where I took courses, short courses in dealing with my neck pain and longer courses in languages, I also put myself in for IGCSE exams there to continue to make up for my lost school years and spent many happyish and occupied hours studying for my exams. The island also had a very well equipped leisure centre that was at the top of a cliff overlooking the harbour, I spent many happy hours up there playing badminton with the club and enjoying the jokes and laughter, learning karate (where my problematic hip was noticable again), and looking at other possible activities to take part in. And also just standing at the edge of the cliff looking at the harbour and watching ships and vessels come and go, the ships were a fascination to me, and I used to track their movements all the time and watch them dock and sail, I even tracked them on the computer on the AIS trackers, I loved the ships. This is an example of an AIS tracker http://www.shipais.com/currentmap.php?map=portsmouth
I ended up swapping karate for football on a pitch near the airport and being autistically distracted sometimes by the airoplanes coming to land. Karate was great but I had always wanted to play football and the stretches and physical contact in karate were potentially going to be too much for me, even though I really really liked the people, the other thing was the almost ‘religeous’ side of karate, that I could hear my dad’s voice condemning, I know he would have hated me doing it. My ‘abusers’ were also against it but thats because they said it was violence.
That reminds me, I actually started to going to karate to avoid an activity that the adoptive parents/abusers got me into, indoor bowls, bowls itself I had nothing against, I used to like watching A&R playing carpet bowls, and sometimes I had a go, I also liked skittle bowling, and carpet bowls was fun, but the slipway church people who were there were not all ok people, I didn’t want to see them, they were close to my abuser and he always had control of me when I was there and I was treated in a patronizing and prejudiced manner, and so I escaped and started doing karate instead.
There was so much by way of cliff path and coast path to walk on the island, so many miles of beach to run and walk on, and so many challenging and risky cliffs to climb. I also liked going to the port to watch the ferries and walk the harbour walls.
The island had a historic working farm and a maritime museum that I loved, and miles of woods and country lanes and reservoirs to walk through and enjoy.The ticket my employer gave me when i arrived in the island allowed me to visit most of the historic attractions free of charge, and I really enjoyed that.
I started learning to sail with my adoptive dad, but continued with sailing courses and sailing clubs that cost me almost nothing and were nothing to do with him. Sailing became a passion for me, a quality of life that I had never dreamed I would enjoy, and in the end I had my own little boat as well as being very involved in the sailing club and doing boat maintenance, racing and sailing distances to the other islands and the nearest mainland which was not England.
(the main reason I studied languages at college on the island was so that I could speak the language of the mainland when I went there, it was a purposeful thing that means here back in England I have no reason to learn languages, my dreams so shattered that there is no point. The island had it’s own language or dialect and I learned some of that and was also going to study that at college.
I also had opportunities to sail on tall ships, and when I was forced to leave the island it was at a time when I had been given full funding by a charity for a full length tall ship voyage, I never had that voyage, I never will now.
I helped out with the boat shows and worked hard to ensure that people were made aware of the sailing charity that I belonged to that allowed me to sail cheaply, I loved the people in the charity, we had such fun together and every saturday I would leap out of bed early and hurry to join them for breakfast before we went dinghy racing or cruising the yacht or if the weather or tide forbade sailing we had a great time on boat maintenance, or if it was a weekend for sailing over to the nearest mainland or the other islands we would often meet on Friday night and set sail with the tide. This quality of life after years of struggle made it seem as if all the struggles had finally come to something good, but there in the background was the abuse and the repercussions of the abuse and reporting the abuse, I never healed and I was never free from the matter or the way I was treated because of it.
The island was rich and full of entertainment, there were always events, fairs, carnivals and shows on, the arts and theatre side of the island was strong, I was trained as a volunteer steward at one of the art and film centres (the most nervous and quiet steward you could hope to find), and also acted as a marshall for the island’s carnival (again, the most nervous and quiet marshall you could find, but amazingly, just as at the Village show, I could do this kind of work and I loved it, deeply stressful as it was).
The other main event in the island each year was the air display day, where wonderful and historical airoplanes flew over the bay and did their tricks in front of fascinated crowds on the coast road, a lot of people would have a half day to watch the display as they did on carnival day, but my air display days were ruined from the start by my abuser playing mind games with me at that first air display day, and also the abuser’s wife’s boasts about her son in the RAF, I associated air display day with my abusers and the way they hurt me and the way the wife looked down on me. I also never had a role helping out with air display day as all the local cadets were involved in the volunteer roles.
Photography was another of my new hobbies, starting with taking pictures for my friends in England, the Island was so photogenic and beautiful that I took so many pictures, (sad to say they are all lost now). I had pictures of the islands landscapes and seascapes and cliffs and rocks, but also pictures from the boats, pictures of dolphins and seals, pictures of other boats and ships, pictures from the tall ships, pictures of the other islands, I spent hours on this quiet hobby, and it was so relaxing and such fun.
I also got into low water fishing, my landlord at the time was a native islander and an ex-army chef, he took me low water fishing and taught me how to do it, it was a wonderful experience and he would cook the catch when we got home and he was a good chef indeed, when he decided to leave the island and told me that the only thing he would miss was the low water fishing, I took to fishing on my own, out there on the low of the vast spring tide, the cold empty desert of sand and reefs, it was magic. I don’t blame him for leaving a corrupt and troubled island though, he said the only thing he would miss was the low water fishing. He was island born and had spent his whole life there, at the time I could only imagine that if that was me I would have been heartbroken to leave the sea and the sand and the rocks and cliffs and all the new quality of life I had, we lived right by the sea and I would walk down there in the morning and evening to meet the tide and to run.
I had to run when I was in the TA, how I managed to get in the TA and stay in so long I don’t know, physically and mentally I was never fit for it, I was in during the worst of the church problems and as the asthma and my legs got worse, and yet I managed to pass CFTs and keep running and communicating enough to interact with the others, I managed to keep ironing
Before the island though I had many interests and many things I wanted to do, I had little opportunity to do as much as I did here.
On the island my volunteer work also stepped up a gear, with work for two Romania aid charities, marshalling and stewarding for events, work for a horse rescue charity and a dog rescue centre (dog walking), conservation volunteer work (ironically for BBC springwatch after the terrible way the BBC treated me over the abuse case), work for the Autistic Society (mainly counting money, helping out the back of the charity shop or stewarding at events), helping with a charity that provided support to parents of poorly children, there were always things to help out with, and I loved helping out, just as I did in England. But my biggest role was a more official role for the Stroke association, this came about after my dad was taken ill and died, and I contacted the stroke association in England to learn about strokes and what had happened to my dad, they put me in touch with the Island stroke association and I became an information volunteer, delivering and distributing information about strokes, and enabling people to access information, I had to be enhanced CRB checked to do this, and I had a clean record, but the role didn’t last long as the church’s actions left me in a breakdown and with no car as later on before I had to leave the island. I was also due to take part in a marathon for the stroke association during the time the church crippled me and I am left guilty of letting the stroke association down, but on the good side I managed to get them free walking frames and sticks that were surplus from where I worked then, and managed to use my role to put someone in touch with them who didn’t know about them and was in a bad way. If nothing had gone wrong in my life my role would have expanded so I would have been a befriender to stroke patients, possibly those at my workplace. I can’t start thinking about everything I have lost, it is too much.
Life was busy once I got into all these activities, but the church and the problems were always in the background and my depression and despair meant that sometimes I had to have time out from my activities.
I was so proud when I started playing football, a dream that had never been realised, the football team were all tough girls, most of whom had played for years, but I loved football, though my undiagnosed disabilities really showed sometimes, to me at least, the asthma that meant I was always out of breath, and the leg problems that made running hard and painful. But I was so proud when I bought my own pair of football boots, so proud to have them in my shoe tray and wash them in soapy water after a game.
I got my own kayak towards the end, something I had always wanted, my abuser’s wife always boasted about kayaking, and I was hopeful of doing my kayak courses, not because of her, but because I loved being out on the water and a lot of my sailing club and charity friends often spoke of kayaking and their kayaks, and I thought that anything that helped my nautical competence was good, and I wanted to explore the cliffs and caves that my abuser’s wife used to go on about. Sadly again I never got far with kayaking due to the church’s actions that lost me my home.
There was so much more I wanted and intended to do as my life collapsed in ruins and I had to leave the island, I wanted to scuba dive and was invited to, I wanted to join the rowing club, I wanted to do so many things, it was a whole new world of things to do after simply struggling for all those years, I was alive at last, and I thought that maybe God was making up for some of the bad and the loss in my life, but in reality the background church problems and my health were suffering.
In my last months in the island, as well as being awarded a full bursary for tall ships sailing, I also won a rather special sailing award that would allow me to continue my sailing qualifications. This award was special in that it was fiercely competed for and went to sailors with real ambition, competitive sailers, usually young people, in my case my application didn’t win the main award but was granted an extra special second award, and I was delighted to be looking forward to continuing my sailing training, I was photographed in the press and asked to give interviews and I had very scared and got controlling messages from the church safeguarding officer asking why I was interacting with the press, I think she anticipated having to do another damaging press cover up because she thought it was about the church, and so she left me feeling scared of what the church would do to me over the award and press coverage, but surprisingly the BBC who had damaged me so much in the church cover up simply phoned and left a message asking to interview me over the award, I put a metaphorical finger or two up to them and didn’t phone back, my picture was in the paper and the church muttered about it. But when it came to the time of me using the award for my sailing, I was physically and mentally too broken, I was not strong or alert enough to handle the same boat that I had sailed so often on my previous courses and I nearly drowned when the boat capsized and I couldn’t right it as I had done so often before, and this was in the last days, so my sailing became impossible and I had to give up. My room remained full of sailing and knot tying books, and I had my own little dinghy which I bought cheaply and repaired, and I had a book on the type of dinghy that I had, signed by the author, I was proud of my little boat and my hopeful future with it. I remember books everywhere in my room, boat books, education books for the exams I was studying and the courses I was doing, sign language books, language books, exam revision books, I loved my books, I loved coming home from work and running a bath and climbing into the bath with a book, before I lost my laptop in a suicide attempt due to the church, I used to put my laptop on after bath and start studying languages, music, sailing theory, and all sorts of interesting things, as well as chatting with my international friends who helped me with my language and were easier friends than those I had to struggle to communicate with face to face.
Another deeply wonderful thing I got to do on the island was to be part of a sign language choir. Earlier in my story of 17+ I studied sign language because my receptive dysphasia could seem like deafness and I thought signing might help, now here I was given an opportunity to practice sign language with a signing choir who led church services for deaf people and took part in church services for deaf and hearning people, I loved my kind signing choir, they were accepting because half of them were deaf and knew what communication disabilities were like, so my autism was ok, they all had a sense of humour, they all loved the real God, not the cult God. We had such fun, and some of us were going to college to learn sign language as well as doing it just as a choir, I was preparing to return to college and re-study sign language and get a higher level, our leader was profoundly deaf, born that way, and she taught us to sign songs, she also taught music and piano, which is amazing, and at last I was going to have the opportunity to learn music and piano properly. I tried so hard to teach myself, but it was difficult to change my one handed playing by ear into two handed music reading playing, I had so much music and song inside me that I had always wanted to express musically, and I got myself a keyboard and some CD-Roms and tried to teach myself as best I could, and I was going to be able to learn properly because of our signing choir leader. I figured that in a way, now that I was going to learn piano properly and I was getting to do my GCSE’s, I was almost as good as (George and Jill’s) privately schooled grandchildren with their piano lessons and top grade grades that were always told to me in detail. Maybe if this went on I would almost be good enough for the wealthy church people and everything they flung in my face about their quality of life.
But sadly again, this was coming towards the end of my time in the Island, and I would never be good enough, the church destroyed me and everything I tried so hard for, forever.
It was all this good, this quality of life that made me try to stay on the island, and I loved the island, the beauty of it as an island ( the cult and corruption side of the island people was not beautiful). I thought that God had finally sent me some quality of life, but I didn’t understand the badness of the church side of things at all.
I also loved the job and work that I finally got, the best job I ever had, but in the end the church took that from me as horribly and humiliatingly as they took everything.
The only good thing about the church was that I made a good friend, who was also taken away by the church action. I met her through housegroup, when I used to go to a housegroup connected with the cult church, crazily I used to go to a housegroup run by the daughter of one of my abuser’s friends, the island magistrate who became the home affairs minister, he was a church reader as well, I had no chance of getting anything done about the church and my abuser, especially as the diocese and safeguarding officer in England refused to believe that the abuser was supported by power or that I was suffering from it, England and the corrupt circles in the island are so separate that someone in England cannot comprehend this, and they denied it. Anyway, back to my friend, she was a Christian, she was invited to housegroup and I met her there, I made her a cup of tea, because my duty at housegroup was to help with refreshments, and she and I got on well, we became friends who would go out to movies and for meals and hot chocolate, and we would go back to her flat to watch DVDs and have snacks and fun, she would encourage me to keep going to church, even to the cult church with her, late on, but it would send me into distress. I never got to say goodbye to her, she had just lost her job and I think she lost it because of Island cliques and ways, she couldn’t even talk about it, but she was a good honest well-educated person and there seems no reason at all for her to suddenly be sacked.
I got to know and be friendly with other people on the island but my friend was the closest of them, she was happy to act like a kid and mess around, I relaxed and had fun when I was with her, but she seemed lost and unhappy like me in the end before I went.
Everything I have written here is all gone forever, I will never be fit for work or sport again, I will never be allowed to do volunteer work again, I will never have any reason to try and study and learn again, I live on the streets with a backpack. I never made the grade for the rich and privilaged church people who put me down and sneered at my lack of posessions and abilities, I never got myself up to their standards even though what they do and say is not Christian and the abuse and lies and corruption are wrong and I don’t want to be good enough for such an organization.
There is no point in trying to develop myself further or finish my education now, I will always be a criminal in the eyes of the church and the world, and nothing I did or do for good reasons is of any worth or good enough for the church and their God. All that vast wealth of opportunities that I eagerly grabbed with both hands after all my years of starving for quality of life, it is all gone forever.