Let’s go back, part 7

JM was funny, I remember her saying she was going to paint her toenails for her day off, I was equally funny because I told her that my mum and dad had told me it was vain for people to point their nails or wear makeup or anything along those lines, because people should just keep themselves clean and not be vain. JM explained it was not vain, and so I continued to try clear nail varnish and lip gloss, but thankfully I was allergic to other makeup. JM paints her toenails but cannot paint her fingernails because she has ruined them with chewing.

Shaun, Shaun the Monk was JM’s friend, JM told me how FM used to get angry with her because she used to stay up till the early hours of the morning with Shaun, getting drunk, JM and Shaun loved each other, but they didn’t marry, JM said she felt she had to marry FM in order to not leave him alone when she moved away, I think that was her move from Lincoln to a rural parish.

While I was friends with JM, Shaun, who I met, was no longer a monk and married someone else, JM made no secret of being broken-hearted, and said she had hoped Shaun would wait for her, because she also made no secret to me that FM’s heart bypass work will not last forever and that she felt she had to marry him to look after him and she thought when she married him that she could tame his temper that broke up his first marriage and ‘make him better’ by force and love, as she tried to with me, she blamed FM’s terrible childhood for his temper. Anyway, JM was extremely critical of Shaun’s new wife, and I think FM was relieved Shaun had married, he knew about JM’s love for Shaun; JM said that FM had said something about Shaun not stepping into his shoes while he was still in them.

When FM and JM had really bad fall outs, JM would go to Bishop Trevor for help, she said Wolvsely were not very sympathetic. And one time things got so bad that FM went to the council to see the housing officer about being rehoused away from JM, but I don’t think he wanted to lose his comfortable life at the Rectory, and JM’s mother was saying ‘Good, go!’, so JM said nothing and FM changed his mind and stayed. This was not related to FM sexually interfering with me; this was a few years later on and was just one of many of their rows. I think it may have been the row after they did the marriage course at ********’s house.

Regarding the unwanted sexual advances I did continue to be troubled by that and told JM at one point that I had wondered about reporting it, though for her sake I didn’t, she immediately told me that no-one would believe me anyway, and that it would be my word against FM’s, I was not keen to report him and cause JM any sort of distress, but it did come out in my distress in conversations with S. when ******* ****** was arrested, and with conversations with the hypochondriacs and with M.F who was supposedly confidential. And finally in Jersey when I realised I had to let Jane Fisher know about it when JM was involving herself in the matter in Jersey to my detriment.

(The above was a detour, we haven’t got that far)

After my Christmas in the bed and breakfast, I was at JM’s house in her study and FM came in and said to JM, ‘why don’t we have ****** to stay here in the little bedroom upstairs, we could get the money to pay for her from the housing department’, Apparently JM had told him how much it was costing the council to keep me in the mad shabby bed and breakfast, and he said about costs and how it would save the council money, JM said she had been wanting me to come and live with them, and she had been waiting for FM to come round to the idea.

She came and collected me and my mad jumble of possessions from the bed and breakfast, she was humming ‘here comes the sun’ as if it was all a great happy day, she said it was only temporary until I could get a permanent home from the council.
JM’s mother would sit at the breakfast table every morning with the newspaper and make adamant concrete and often, in my opinion, incorrect judgements on pretty much every article in the newspaper, then she would move on to doing the same about members of JM’s congregation, or the family, JM would join in, in a much milder way, and not always agreeing with her mother, but equally concrete and judgemental, and again it was her opinion, but her mother always had the last word, even if she had to shout it, which sometimes set FM off as well, JM’s dad sat there nodding, muttering quietly and graciously agreeing with everyone, he was very deaf.

The anti-depressants were making me sleepy and withdrawn, I kept putting myself to bed and JM kept coming in worried and bearing cups of tea, I did not really know that it was the anti-depressants, I just told her I didn’t feel like going out much, and she said that that was because I was in a home for the first time.

 Me and JM weren’t getting on well, I resented the way she was presenting me to people and talking about me, I resented the way she had taken me from college and taken over my life, and I just found her bustle and bossiness too much when my head was singing and dizzy from the anti-depressants and I felt sleepy, sluggish and sick all the time, JM with her opinions and FM with his unpredictability and me trying to keep FM nice by being obedient and smiling at him was too much for me, sometimes he would bark orders at me as if I was the dog, I was in my room and could hear JM talking to her counselling supervisor on the phone in the room below, she said she was climbing the walls about having me there when I was like a four year old and she was climbing the walls about something else not to do with me, I didn’t understand what she was talking about, I told JM I heard her saying that and it hurt me, she said why was I listening to her conversation, I told her she was talking at the top of her voice and I was only in  my room above her office. Anyway, she could not be my counsellor and have me living there could she?

It was a difficult time, and not just for me, people seem to think that I think everything is just about me, but despite being autistic, I hate to upset people or see them stressed, I do not mean to be the way I am, JM was stressed, not just about me, she lived in a permanent state of stress, she chewed her and bit her nails until they were a very serious mess, and she had been doing that for many years, it was not my doing, her nails and fingers were monstrously  misshapen and bumpy and bleeding and ragged from where she had chewed down to the quick, she had frequent headaches and sore throats and stomach problems from stress, and part of this seemed to be that she needed to do things ‘perfectly’, she had to personally do things rather than trusting the lay preachers or PCC members to do things, and when I asked her why she had to be perfect like this she said something about me being too astute and said it was because she worked for God and He was perfect so she had to try to be.

Even the confused autistic disturbed me knew that that didn’t sound right.  It got to a point where JM was very very short staffed because Tim left to go to Cornwall, and this was before all the new priests and readers came in, and JM was having a terrible time trying to keep the services running at all three churches, as it was only three then, and FM was kicking up a terrible fuss and saying thing about the diocese and how they should have been helping JM. Anyway this was all a bit later on. I remember turning up to dog walk for JM and being asked to come back later as ***** and some others were trying to lay hands on her and pray for her depression and stress.

After a while at JM’s house, she sent me to a place in Dorset called Pilsdon Manor, which was a ‘Christian Community’,  I was to go there on a three-day trial, unfortunately the people who ran the place were away over that three days and only came back on the day I left, and no one else seemed to know what to do with me, they gave me a soft boiled egg with toast for my breakfast but I had never had a soft boiled egg in an egg cup before and had no idea what to do with it and so made a mess of it, I ended up involving myself in shifting barrowloads of stones for a construction project, apart from that I was ghost, no one explained to me about going to chapel, no one explained anything really.

 The other woman who arrived at the same time as me was loud and overconfident, telling everyone about her divorce in great detail, and apart from a disturbed young man called Mark who had found a haven there and a lovely tree surgeon called Rupert, who had had a breakdown, I was alone and a ghost, lost, by the time the leaders of the community came back I was stressed and unhappy and worried about getting my period as I had no sanitary towels and there was no shop nearby, they asked me to stay longer to get to know me, I said no, because I couldn’t ask them for sanitary towels, that afternoon as I waited around invisible I walked away from the community and started walking, JM found me a few miles away and took me back to L. I had spent three anxious days wondering if I would remain an abandoned ghost in this place.

JM’s Mum openly resented me once I returned, she thought I was extra work for JM on top of her already too heavy workload, which is true, but JM and FM were the ones who had created this situation and arranged with the council to get money to keep me there – (though I have no doubt whatsoever that it was not money that motivated either of them, don’t misunderstand me, it was a commitment by them for different reasons, and I was vulnerable, I did not force myself on them, they decided, and in FM’s case it was for wrong reasons).

 JM’s mother really worried about her and cursed the diocese for overloading JM with work. But JM’s mum called me names, which was not nice, and JM told her off. I was helpless, it was JM who had insisted on taking over my life and JM and FM who had brought me home, I could not have gone to live at Pilsdon, apart from anything they were not  just a Christian community, they were a business who charged huge rents per week for each client, and they expected the client to pay a substantial share of that with the rest coming from housing benefit, I certainly had no money to pay them, and I couldn’t even imagine JM plucking this money from somewhere either.


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