I needed another career, I needed to earn money but what could I do?
Although I fell back into my routine quickly, the money was insufficient as the children were now doing different activities and they were getting older. I had no intention of asking D for help…
Even though I was more contented I was getting more regular dreams, the good thing was they replaced the dreams of my mother and the dreams were now mainly about Jamaica and the family I had left behind. My sister and I were always younger in my dreams. The only thing that puzzled me was whilst I was in my dream, I would be inside my dream telling someone about the dreams.
How could this be….?
Confusing I know, but. I would have dreams of my sister and the rest of family, but whilst in my dream. I was actually telling a my friend about these dreams I was having. I was also hearing voices, the voices weren’t talking to me as a separate entity but I could hear the voices in my head telling me I will be ok no matter what happens; of course I didn’t understand this at all.
I would have pleasant dreams such as….
…walking to school with our father as a child ,this was long before my younger sister was born, and my eldest sister would be in front of us with her bag on her back, whilst I would be walking beside my father or at times skipping, and even as I type this I can picture the scene as I smile to myself. As I recollect these events I can almost taste the flavor of fudge this was a white frozen ice cream on a stick. My father would always bring us some and I can still visualise my father walking up the lane with these ice creams lollies in his hand recalling how we were like a dogs after a bone. .
I was pleased that I was now having pleasant dreams! This helped me with my next decision, that was to get another job. I needed another career, I needed to earn money but what could I do? After all I had left school with no qualifications, I had worked my way up, but knew I needed to try to do something else. Although by now I had worked my way up to residential social worker, it felt like it was not enough.
One Day I visited my best friend we were speaking about various things when it came to me, that I would become a social worker. After all with my experiences maybe I could help someone else, I was always a naturally caring person, and I loved helping people; So this career seemed perfect. This sounded like the ideal job, and I tried to convince myself that was the reason, but deep down I knew I just wanted to prove to myself and children that I could get somewhere in life.. I also wanted my mother to be proud of me. Yes, I was still seeking her absent approval from afar…
Here I was within six months of being back in the country making plans to apply for my social work position at university. First of all I applied for what we call in the UK and Access to further education, this course incorporated the basics that was needed to access university. It allows individual to receive a qualification as a stepping stone to their chosen career. For instance access to nursing, access to social work, access to business etc..these courses lasted one year full time, although full time was usually 10am-3pm. It was also designed for people like myself whom had left school early for various reasons; and had no qualifications. If you passed this course then it meant you had reached the standards for university.
I applied. But my past came back to haunt me. As I filled out the form. There was one question that stunned me. I didn’t realise this would come back, my past was now my present. I thought once I had been to prison that was the end of the matter. Well according to the application form this was not the case.
As I stared at the question, for the first time I realised that I was a criminal. I felt anxious, my chest was getting tighter as it did during my anxiety attacks. I took a deep breath and exhaled..
“Have you any spent/ unspent convictions?
There it was written in bold , I needed to answer yes or no. I didn’t know what to do, but although I felt ashamed I ticked YES… As I filled out the form with a heavy heart. I started to imagine that I would never get another job. I felt sorry for myself and worst of all I felt ashamed. There goes another word to add to the ones I had taught myself over the years. Yes, shame had reared its ugly head and this particular word left a black mark in my mind. I had manage to hide my past within myself, and after my probation was over, I had pretended to myself that prison never happened, I had locked my memories away.
I was good at that if you recall; because I had learnt over the years to block out pain with my little game I played with myself. I would pretend that bad things were not happening to me, but just my body. This allowed me to develop a central power within, that could block out the most severest of pain. I noticed this had developed more whilst in prison. It was as if someone had suddenly given me this superpower. I used it well.
Later in life I found out why?…
But here I was with this application form, that was very real, the Yes tick box , well this answer could change my path. And this made me very anxious indeed. Nevertheless, I filled out the form and handed it in.
I was surprised when two weeks later, I was called for an interview.
I really wanted to have the opportunity to do the course, but I was afraid of being judged, and decided not to attend, and thought very hard about exposing myself , but the voice was there again telling me to. Continue. I hated exposing myself and hid behind my mask for so many years, that my mask became a part of my existence. It was time to make it slip slightly because…
I had children, and I made a promise to myself that they would be proud of me.. I was going to that interview and I was going to be brave…
I was given an offer and took the place, so now here I was working part-time, going to college during the day , looking after my children and being a wife, the pressure was on. I was a mother of five What was worse I was sleeping in the living room on the chairs. I hardly got a good nights sleep as I was very aware and did not want to perform any sexual duties. I knew this was wrong how could I continue this way? D was still drinking heavily, but still providing for the home. Two very messed up individuals living a messed up life. I assume the children were oblivious to what was going on, and I never made my mask slip. At school meetings we were the perfect couple, I was known as the one that was always smiling a pleasure to be with. At college I became the good student, always on time, always handed in my work on time. I was treated as the model student.
Yes mum taught me well, I was still a lady. Still bordering on the image of christianity.
After eight months of being back in UK, the solicitor called and informed me my mum was no longer fighting me for my children she had given up on the idea of custody. She was forced to accept defeat my children would never leave my side again. This was a relief, the dark cloud was surely shifting. I was still far from happy with my life in UK, but knew this was life now and there was nothing else out there. Despite me being unhappy D remained in the family home. D loved the idea of family and continued to be a good father… It was at this time D decided to adopt my girls officially and we settled into family life. My children were happy. They never went for anything and to be honest he never treated them differently.
Or so I thought…they were girls after all…weren’t they?
During those times , I remained in my stance that he was a good father but an awful husband. He did provide for the family, but he remained addicted to sex, he continued drinking heavily, and was still extremely jealous which brought forth unnecessary violence. The more D accused me of having affairs the more he demanded sex,, and the more I pulled away from him. His action always reminded me of the abuse, every single time. I had suffered over the years sexually, and physically and it was difficult to get past these feelings. Counselling was never an option, firstly, at that time I did not know how to access it and secondly I really couldn’t tell anyone.
Smiling was what I did best. ..
I was communicating with my sister and brother very regular almost daily in fact and I was happy, I was also speaking to my brother Rupert over here, and repeatedly telling him thanks for opening the first new doors. He was really pleased for me as I excitedly told him about my experience in Jamaica and my plans to return. I still hadnt told him about D…they were both as old fashioned as each other. I didn’t feel that Rupert would understand. I also felt ashame, although, I wasn’t sure if because of the age difference, Rupert was more like a father figure. He was 25years older they also got on well in any case.
In fact I was living a double life. D and I argued constantly, about simple things, and at the time with the pressure of my life I thought I was going mad. But strangely each time I felt that way. The voice was always there,,,guiding me on., this voice , this presence I couldn’t understand IT, Until much later in life.
But at that time I was confused….
My heart was in Jamaica I knew I had to return, I also knew that I would not be living in the UK alone.
I was going to bring back a protector at any cost. I was going to bring back someone who could defend me, a sibling. I was after my brother, the one on the motorbike, and his family. He was rough, he looked mean and He loved me ..I hadn’t told him yet as I knew I still needed to get to know him better.
I would bring them all to the UK and nothing was going to stop me. My savings was coming on nicely too. Although I longed for a sister I knew I had to put that on hold as a brother was much more priceless at that time.
I needed protection and this had to come in the form of a Man.
This was a decision that would have one of the greatest and shocking impact on my life and my children’s lives…..in more ways than one…