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Category Archives: Believe

Thank You…

I’ve always been a slim person, I’ve stayed fairly active most of my adult life and kept to a size 10 even after having kids. I was one of those people that could sit in Krispy Kreme and eat 3 or 4 of the yummiest glazed doughnuts and not put on an ounce… until about 7 years ago when I moved to a small town where I knew no-one, I was pretty unhappy in my marriage and with my life so I began comfort eating and not going out as much as I did before. The pounds piled on and I got to a size 16 and stayed that way until last year. My marriage was over and I ended it, I started to get out more and meet people and I stopped comfort eating. The weight started to drop off and I became more active so I felt happier than I’d felt in a long time.

I’m now back to my ‘normal’ size 10 and I’m happy and healthy. I’m 5’4″ and weigh a healthy 9 stone and my bmi is in the normal healthy range. My anxiety has decreased, my back problems have improved and my dry skin is clearing up.

But it seems that other people aren’t so happy for me! I’ve had a few comments from people (not even to me but about me to others!) saying I’ve ‘lost too much weight’ and I ‘look ill’. This really got me down when I first heard the comments because I’ve actually worked really hard to get here. I joke around and say it’s ‘the divorce diet’ and it’s having a stressful life but in all honesty I have really had to work hard to motivate myself to getting back to where I was happy with myself.

I wake up an hour every morning before my kids are up so I can spend an hour doing yoga and some positive affirmations, I do the school run and then run/walk (mainly brisk walking and a jog at best) around 10km-15km at least 4 times a week and I also meditate for an hour in the evening to wind down and relax. I eat a well balanced diet and yes I do still have the occasional full English breakfast, pizza or halfpounder, I love food, I’m not starving myself!!

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But I am healthy, fit and feeling absolutely great about myself! My friends have seen the change in me, I am so much happier and stronger than I’ve been in a long time. My friends are glad to see the ‘old me’ back again and to be really honest, so am I.

This body has seen me through 43 years and carried and given birth to 5 amazing babies. I love my body, stretch marks, flabby bits, saggy bits, lumps, bumps and all, so to those who have been positive and complimented me, I Thank you. x

 

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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in Believe, Fitness, Life, Thoughts

 

Today I Burnt my Childhood.

This last week has had it’s really low points, I really thought I’d destroyed a good thing because of my insecurities perhaps and my desperation to find a job and move house has stressed me out.

So I’ve decided to tackle a few things and deal with them head on and put them to rest with any luck and bring the positivity back into my life.

Today I spent the morning burning my care files. Files written about me and my life by ‘professionals’, their opinions and perceptions in a collection of reports on incidents in my life, issues and problems I have with development and behaviour, rejections and disappointments…  I don’t want to remember my childhood as that. I was a child, a human being, with qualities, attributes, emotions, likes and dislikes, a personality… I was a terrified 3 year old when I was taken into care, when they started on those damn files. Reports and concerns and medicals and case reviews written by health visitors, doctors, social workers, care workers, foster carers, teachers, psychiatrists, counsellors, therapists and police… 15 years worth… 1975 – 1990.

But nothing in there was written by me. None of my opinions were in there, none of my aspirations or ambitions… Nothing in those typed up reports was anything positive about me. Nothing about what I was feeling, or what I thought I needed. Nothing about the real me. Who I was underneath all the bullshit of those reports that were written by people who came into brief contact with me as a child. In all honesty they didn’t even have all the facts, had they ever asked me about my own life, I could’ve probably divulged a hell of a lot more that had been locked away for so long and maybe I wouldn’t have gone through as much as I did.

As I watched the flames consume those papers, I wonder how many of those professionals have given me a fleeting thought over the years, those that expected me to fail at life, what would they say if they knew what those years of paperwork means to me now.

 

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Believe, Care Leaver, Life

 

I Did It!!

I did it, I can’t believe I actually did it!

I finally found the strength inside myself to end the toxic relationship that was drowning me. I feel like I can now move forward with my life with an air of new found confidence, a confidence I thought had been lost a long time ago.

I feel so free, I feel like I can breathe again, I feel like I’ve been choking, suffocating.

I can smile again… it seems so long ago that I smiled… I can’t stop smiling. I text my closest friends… I did it! They all know exactly what I’ve done and all want to know how I feel. I feel amazing. I feel so happy.

Thank you for giving me the strength… you are my rock yet again and you still have no fucking idea.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Believe, Faith, Life

 

When You’re Just Done…

Life hasn’t been great lately.

I can’t even explain why, it has to be brushed under the carpet as it always does while I suffer in silence, feeling guilty about the step forward I want to make, need to make because I know how devastated my kids will be.

I cry myself to sleep most nights, and nights have never been easy for me but my tears are silent and my heartache unnoticed.

The police are always so sympathetic and understanding and I always apologise profusely for the situation I feel like I’ve put them in. What the hell am I doing? Why do I tolerate this shit? This isn’t love! I cant even remember what love feels like anymore. Pain, that’s what I’m feeling, and hopeless, and weak…

I am listening to people’s sympathy but it’s all aimed in the wrong direction and I have to nod and agree with them, knowing the truth and all the while lying to people who are being so nice and acting so concerned and I feel afraid that they’ll see through the lies and realise the truth and pity me or worse.

So I cry myself to sleep again, but tonight I’m alone and unafraid…

I’m done, there is no love left, the respect has gone, I want to stay alone… I can do this.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Believe, Faith, Help!!, Life

 

New Years Resolutions.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, they just make you feel shitty about yourself when you break them.

I prefer to set myself targets like doing the Race for Life or registering as a bone marrow donor or helping to install the Tower Poppies last year. Realistic targets that have no reward but to just feel good about what I’ve done.

Well this year my Resolution is to set myself at least one target a week where I carry out at least one random act of kindness every week with no expectation of reward… That’s 52 selfless acts in 2015 that make a difference to someone but my only reward is to feel good about what I’ve done.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Believe, Life, Things to do, Thoughts

 

Benefits Street.

Okay, so there’s this new series on a certain TV channel called Benefits Street…

The main characters all live in houses on what appears to be a run down street and they all claim benefits and are unemployed.

I’m totally split in my opinion of the show…

One half of me thinks that the production company has hand picked the worst examples just to turn the country against people that claim benefits.

I’m not going to name the characters or go into details but there are people with poor hygiene, bad etiquette and rough speech going to get their payments then shoplifting alcohol from hardworking shop owners and laughing about it, There are people claiming benefits as single people but are in a relationship who have had their benefits stopped but are complaining that it’s not their fault and the benefits agency is in the wrong, the children are grubby looking and eating crap and the house is a tip… 2 adults are at home all day and the house is a bloody tip… They are rough and brash and if you were walking down the road with them, their calls of “oi wanker” to their friends would make you cringe…

Then the other half of me remembers how my life used to be and what sort of friends I had and I remember the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness and depression and confinement.

I remember the ‘fuck ’em’ attitude I had towards the world.

In my last few year in care, when I was living in a bedsit at 16/17, I was asleep and the guy from the room next to me snuck into my room, I woke up immediately, I was used to being on alert when I was asleep… he had a hammer in his hand, it was wrapped in a blood stained tea towel and he was trying to hide it. I was terrified so I let him hide it and then he realised I was awake. To cut a very long story short, he forced me to sleep in his bed and lie to the police that we’d been there all night, I had felt safe there until that night. So I clung onto other teens in my position. We’d all sleep over each other’s bedsits, we’d shoplift for food and clothes, we’d spend any cash we got on drugs and alcohol. I didn’t care about what drugs they were, who cared? They blotted out the bullshit of life and made me feel like I was living someone else’s life. I really didn’t care less if they’d kill me, life was seriously shit and I couldn’t handle it without drugs, men and a sharp object to harm myself and anyone else who took the piss. We’d fight, we’d steal, we’d commit criminal damage, we really didn’t care.

I used to sit on the tube watching other 16/17 year old’s with their parents with bags of new stuff, laughing and hugging, on their way home to somewhere safe, they could sleep without fear and I’d seriously feel hatred… no-one was there for me so ‘fuck ’em’… they’d get home and probably realise their purse was missing, the money spent on drugs they’d never have to take to blot out the life they’d never have to live… fuck ’em.

When social services had finished with me at 18, they handed me the keys to a flat 10 miles from where I had been living and a bundle of benefits forms, a leaving care grant of about £500 and a community care grant form (that I had no idea about) and that was it…

I was a scared, pregnant 18 year old girl, standing in a cold empty flat with no support and no idea what I had to do next.

I filled in the forms and messed that right up, I managed somehow to scrape some furniture together and of course I met the locals… I stopped the drugs and tried to sort my life out but knew that the local junkies would get you anything you wanted for a much lower price than the shops… all you needed to say was ” I need a new kettle” and half hour later they’d be on the doorstep with a £50 kettle asking for £20. You could easily haggle it down to a tenner and course you never asked where it was from but of course everyone knew.

People were always getting evicted or going into prison so furniture was easy to get hold of cheap or it’d be dumped at the back of the block for the kids to set alight to later for a bit of entertainment.

I had an on-off relationship with my eldest son’s dad and by 19 I was a single teenage mum of 2 little boys… A right gobby bitch, smoking, drinking, swearing, stealing, fighting, looking for trouble at the same time as trying to stay out of it and the local police knew my details on sight. That was life, it was normal, it had been normal for years… it was what people expected from an angry careleaver, it’s what they expected from a teenage mum and most of us knew no other way.

Then something happened to change my life forever. I woke up and saw things differently, I saw what I was and what I could be. I learnt to value myself and to value those around me. I learnt about ambition, education, about love, about accepting and letting go of the past, embracing the present and jumping headfirst and grasping onto the future.

I learnt to love myself and value my own life and in turn value other people. I learnt compassion and empathy and tolerance.

I did parenting courses, I went to college and gained childcare qualifications, I spent my days trying to be a better mum and a better person. I made better choices, I started working and being productive, I found a boyfriend, he joined the army. Our army friends had no idea of our pasts so it was easy to change, no-one could point the finger and say “That was her that did ****”.

I changed because I was lucky… I am still in touch with my friends that weren’t so lucky, and I’d love nothing more than to change their lives, but it’s so so hard… they’re not getting away from ‘Benefits Street’ any time soon.

I’m not that much better off now, I live in social housing, only just above the poverty line and I can barely afford the bills, I’m unable to afford to replace our broken cooker or carpets and we have no real luxuries.

But now we pay our own way, we never break the law or take drugs, we’re a world away from Benefits Street but I’m under no illusion… it only takes a small action, a marriage split, getting laid off… we’ll be back on Benefits Street and I’m well aware of the struggle to survive…

So when I watch Benefits Street, I watch it with open eyes, I see the state of the woman’s house and see she has no support, she has no reason to keep a tidy house, it’s going to look just as bad with the toys away. The guy drinking is trying to blot out the bullshit of a life with nothing, and it is a life with nothing.

I ask those of you who have nice jobs and live in nice houses in nice areas, would you trade lives with those on Benefits Street? I am assuming the answer is a resounding “HELL NO!” So free money and free housing isn’t a great life.
Have any of you tried to live on £70 a week? £15 on gas, £15 on electricity, £5 tv license, leaving £35 to divide between water rates, food, phone top-up, bus fares, clothes, and everything else a person needs to get by. Now you can see there’s no money to make a home look nice, can you see that the house will never look tidy? Tired old carpets and walls?
And hardly enough to fund a drug or alcohol addiction is there?
And before someone even thinks about that issue of all the benefits claimants owning big TVs etc… Ever heard of Bright House? It’s one of those shops that no matter how bad your credit, you can get a nice modern tv, and better still, you can have it and pay just a few pounds a week… But for a few years! You’ll pay 3 times the rrp for the privilege. A bit like those provident loans where you can borrow £400 to get through Xmas or buy a new sofa but you’ll be paying back £700.
The poorer you are, the more you’re exploited.

You have to be so careful when you’re judging another person’s situation… there is a much bigger picture and no-one is truly happy to live on benefits.

Entry level jobs are hard to get…
You can’t walk onto a building site nowadays an pick up a broom and become a labourer… You need a cscs card before you can get on site. And to get a cscs card you need to be literate, pass an exam and have a few quid for the card… £50 will get you the card alone… Out of your £70 weekly benefit.
The big corporate businesses like British Telecom have sold out our job seekers. Instead of those jobs being available to our unemployed, BT and other companies use call centres in countries like India because it’s cheaper than paying British people a living wage.
And we are constantly being told how single mothers are a drain on the system… But our government is happy to help with child care and pay childminders to look after children so they can force single mums back to work, but are unhappy to pay the mums that same amount to take care of their own children for just a few years?! It makes no sense.

But our government and our media will continue to demonise those on benefits… not the 50% that are pensioners… Nor the disabled (though they are beginning to be targeted) but the 4% of claimants that are unemployed. This is like a modern day witch hunt. Only the media is a much more powerful tool for the hunters….

And remember… Child benefit, DLA, state pensions, housing benefit, child tax credits, working tax credit… These are ALL benefits and those who live in glass houses…

 

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Always the Attention Seeker…

Ok, When I started this blog I wanted to write it as a care leaver because there is so little written about or by care leavers which ultimately makes us feel very alone and misunderstood especially as we become adults. We lack much of what most people have growing up and becoming adults and all that most care leavers have in the way of support are other care leavers with their own set of fucked up problems or social workers who really have no clue and who most care leavers avoid unless they really mess up!

I was going through the comments on one of my other posts and there was this one comment (on the post about being there not being enough for my friend) that didn’t much grammatical sense but the jist was that I needed to stop whinging about my life and stop being attention seeking on my blog…

now here’s the thing… firstly I’d like to point out that it’s MY blog so I can pretty much write whatever I want, and to be honest I never expected anyone to read it, it’s just my way of speaking aloud, it’s my therapy as it were. Secondly, all care leavers are accused of being attention seekers but to be fair most of us spend the majority of our time trying to blend in and appear ‘normal’ so as not to bring attention to ourselves.

Of course that isn’t to say that I can’t be a bit of an extrovert, but that’s usually a front or with a few glasses of wine and the right crowd. 😉

Anyhow, I don’t write about my life in care to gain attention, I have to write about some of the shit times, not to be attention seeking but because it would be difficult to connect with someone unless you know a little of their story, and believe me I only touch the surface on here.

As for whinging, I think I’m pretty positive about how my life’s turned out, yes I have my negative moments where I find it difficult to move forward and get a little trapped in time and find it hard to escape my memories, but they’re the times when I recoil from life a bit and avoid being around people, but hey you can’t be positive ALL the time!

The things most people work towards; education, work, home, friends, family, life, happiness… are things that are much harder to come by for most care leavers, but with a lot of hard work they are attainable.

I am incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved against the odds.

Care leavers statistics

From now I will only leave positive comments on this blog, I don’t mind a debate but there is no room in my life for negativity so if you have nothing positive to say, please say nothing at all.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Believe, Care Leaver, Life, The Past.

 

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