8 Years Ago: If Things Were Different

It’s very odd not writing everyday after a solid six months of daily output in some form or another. I accepted it as necessary as I was starting work in the outside world again and I’d finished my memoir and couldn’t do too much until it was returned from my editor, I felt the pause was natural and would be good for me. My memoir has now been returned and I’m keen to review it and plan my next stages but I feel a resistance too, I wonder if it’s because I’ve become so busy again.

I’ve neglected social media lately, I’ve not been writing in my journal or on here, I’ve become rubbish at maintaining contact with people, life is starting to feel a bit of an effort; it’s all very familiar. I know these things are signs of my depression creeping up, all signs of some need in me being unmet and I’ve not felt this so acutely since before lockdown; lockdown for me was a positive experience as it allowed me time and permission (from myself and the expectations and ‘shoulds’ that circulate my being) to just write and express. I wrote my memoir, published my poetry book, created this blog and learnt numerous poems that I recited whilst walking the Cornish coast path and then posted the videos on twitter and Instagram. It was a productive time, I felt well rested and enjoyed being able to live each day in alignments with my needs. I nurtured myself with long walks and time absorbing nature, I read so much, exercised and enjoyed the simplest things. I spoke to friends on the phone and kept up regular contact without effort.

Now my head feels scattered and I’m longing for the time to just stay at home and write all day, to just bumble about in my own quirky way; solitude is calling me, as always a call to heal and reflect, to pay attention to what my body and mind are trying to say and not just forge on regardless. When I don’t write I don’t have these conversations with myself and these conversations are needed. I’m smiling as I type these words as it’s nice to connect with this voice again, I’ve missed it.

I had my first rejection for my memoir last week and I was quite pleased to get that out the way, I knew to expect it but of course had that frail hope that many of us do about being an instant success and a string of publishing deals offered. The rejection didn’t get me down but not having time to do something about it bothered me, I need to work on my query submission and proposal, I need to spend some time learning about this and improving, I don’t find it easy to sell myself, which is a funny thing to say with my sex working past. I wasn’t selling myself then, I was selling anticipation and desire, perhaps I need to look at querying in the same way!

I got out my journals and found the pages for September 2012, I was using heroin daily, sex working and working with police to get justice for historic sexual abuse by my secondary school teacher. I was living with my boyfriend who was also a heroin addict and just trying to hold myself together each day; drugs helped with this, but at what cost?

September 2012

On the train to Exeter, staying at a lovely hotel night with Mr P.

I love travelling by train, the Tarka Line is very pretty, lush with green trees and bright grass, and the river winds and curls along, really quite splendid.

I can’t shake off this anxious feeling for some strange reason – I think I’m just confused about what I need to do with myself and life whilst waiting for rehab. When I was walking earlier I asked the cosmos to guide me with all the school teacher stuff, I’d love a clear sign to reassure me that I’m doing the right thing to pursue justice, guidance on how to proceed would be very helpful as I keep getting overwhelmed with doubt, so many go through all this and don’t get closure or justice, why would it it be any different for me, am I just setting myself up for a massive disappointment, it’s too much to think about really.

One thing for sure, I’m very excited about all the options that’ll exist once I complete rehab, I could move towards London and work on plans to be a writer or researcher. I want to help others, I want to share my experiences and hopefully encourage others to pursue recovery, or to challenge poor service provision in mental health and substance misuse services. I’d be prepared to share all of my story if I thought it could support or provide comfort to others, I’d like that very much.

It doesn’t take much expertise or skill to work out that the abuse I suffered caused or at least contributed to the problems in my life. Leaving jobs because of boundary issues, bad relationships, low self-worth, sex work, addiction to escape and manage my feelings. I trained in mental health and psychology in a bid to help others but really it was me that needed help, it was me that I needed to understand, and still do. It was when my mum died and I had my episodes of realisation about the abuse, this unlocked something from my memory and suddenly I saw it all as it was, clear as day. From that point I’ve been unstable, I can literally feel my shaky foundations. I went on a massive self-destruct mission and this led to more issues. I can’t help but wonder how my life may of been if things were different, if I’d had a more stable start in life.

I would’ve completed education in a straight forward fashion, would probably have completed my Masters by now and working in a professionally recognised role as a psychologist, social researcher or CBT Therapist, perhaps I’d of completed a PHD, I’d be married or in a stable relationships, perhaps I’d be a mum. But no, I didn’t complete these things as planned, due to my paranoia with others, my lack of trust and self-respect, my inability to manage my mental health all these things got fucked up, and just a whole load of other stuff to feel bad about, to feel inadequate about, to feel like a failure about.

Marcel just text from sea, he’ll be back Saturday night, will be nice to see him, I do get a bit anxious as I get used to my own routine and when he’s back I slip back into old roles, I need to be more assertive about my needs and wishes, I always give in. Hopefully he’ll be back for 24 hours and we can share a nice time and then crack on with things again. Marcel told me about the octopus they caught by accident, it escaped from the box and pulled itself up the inside of the boat and over into the sea, Marcel managed to get a video of it. Clever octopus making a brave escape!! I love nature.

Reading this entry reminds me of the life envy I have every now and then, sometimes I’ll look at other people and their families and consider what I’d be with the same opportunities or relationships. I often feel moved by families that seem right to me, the relationships between parents and children, the investment into their lives and wellbeing, the knowledge of their family history and heritage, having the stability of community and home that is free of fear and tension. Rather than be saddened by it I try to use it as an indication of what can exist, as proof that happiness and love are possible within a family.

These journal notes also remind me of how easy it can be for me to fall into self-pity and feel a bit too sorry for myself, it’s ok to indulge a little but feeling too much the victim of life’s unfair circumstances is not helpful, and just creates more apathy and a lack of confidence to change. I can still suffer with it now and have to shake it off and laugh about my woeful ways, taking the mickey out of myself has helped pull me through lots of helpless periods, it’s never good if I take myself too seriously, I end up getting all serious and full of frown, and that literally brings me down. Yeah yeah, poor you Pops, life sucks, get on with it!!

Thanks for reading and popping by, I hope you enjoyed the post. If you would like to contribute to my creative work and the continuation of this blog you can do so here, all support is much appreciated. Have a lovely day!

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2 responses to “8 Years Ago: If Things Were Different

  1. Hi Poppy. Why don’t you try my publisher, Potters Grove Press. The main guy there, River Dixon, is a published poet and I think he would like your work. He blogs at TheStoriesInBetween. Feel free to namecheck me. Stephen.

    • Apologies for the delay in replying, life has been rather full and I’ve neglected online affairs in a bid to conserve energy. I’ve been back to work in an employed capacity and often work waking nights, I’ve found the adjustment a little tricky to navigate as grew accustomed to time at home during the lockdown, it suited me well and certainly helped keep my mental health in check. As I work with people in a supporting capacity I find an even greater need for solitude and retreat when at home, so digitally detoxed too, I’m now trying to catch up on things and set about establishing a new routine that allows me to write regularly again, I miss it!! I will contact your publisher and really appreciate the guidance and support. I hope all is going well with you two. Kindest regards, Poppy x

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