At some point in life I believe everyone reaches a crossroads, the direction they choose to take then determines what path their life takes.
It could be due to any matter of circumstance. To close a painful chapter, to expand professionally, to reflect on past choices just to name a few.
For myself personally I have to decide on what to do about past events and how they have insidiously impacted on my life. Incidents which had until recently lain dormant, buried within the vault of my memory, have resurfaced. I now know in hindsight that these issues were not okay, that something should have been done about it and support was not forthcoming at the time for me to do that. Relationships with specific people need contemplation and their value to me considered.
I accept that people come and go, friendships and family relationships wax and wane. It is recognising which of these are toxic and which are healthy. To work on redefining boundaries which I am comfortable with in order to move onwards with the rest of my life. To make what life I have remaining one I consider to be healthy relationship wise and to offer my family the best of myself for our future together.
It is never too late to change the direction of our lives, to work towards a more positive future.
So here I stand, scratching my head whilst standing in the middle of the junction that is the crossroads I find myself in. The direction I have taken thus far is closed to me, it is the past. I have three possible directions I can take ~ I cannot share with you the options lying open before me because they are painfully private and I am protecting them fiercely until I know what I need and want to do. Perhaps a day will arrive at a point in the yet unseen future where I will feel ready to share. Until then I have some serious thinking and considering to work on.
Standing in the middle of a crossroads,
I wonder which direction I should take.
None of the paths will be easy I know,
No matter which decision I make.
My life is holds many possibilities,
A hope for better things to come.
What happened in the past should be history,
But it’s legacy is still living on.
I want to move forward with a positive mind
To do this I need to put my ghosts to bed.
But the road forward and how I choose to do that,
Is the dilemma whirring through my head.
I must not allow myself to falter,
Habits of the past I must shed.
I will not allow myself to be a victim,
But be strong and steadfast instead.
In order to be the best me possible,
I must be true to what I aim to be,
Not allow negative words or actions of others
To affect my decision is the key.
To remove from my life toxic relationships,
My past with them history, their bindings I shake free,
I will become whole again, take the route necessary,
To find a way forward with love and compassion for me.
I know my husband and daughters are always by my side,
With their support and love my future cannot be bleak.
With them alongside me, I know my future will hold
A move forward towards the peace I seek.
I send support over the magic of the internet to those of you also contemplating which direction to take with your life. To have the strength to follow your convictions, to know which path to take and the strength to pursue it.
I wish for better days ahead, one where there will be peace within my soul. To provide and share laughter and joy with those I love and give them the love and support they draw from me, which in turn gives me the warmth and love from them.
I have a peeve to share with you ~ I cannot stand others making assumptions without knowing the facts. Weight issues is one of them!
To explain what got my dander up ~ this slideshow thingumabob came up on my timeline on Facebook; being of a comely persuasion I took a peak. I have had most of these thrown at me at one time or another ~ my history since having children has been one of huge differences of fluctuating weight. I have gone up and down through sizes from 10 to 22 in the past.
I am currently a large size 16 and have been advised by every doctor and nurse I have had contact with to lose weight ~ if only it were that simple. Over the past few months I have slowly reduced myself from large 18 to large 16, which for me is some massive achievement and I am clapping myself heartily on the back.
Weight loss for me used to be easy because I exercised ~ a lot. I played tennis, swam, dog walked for 7 miles a day, went to various health classes, Zumba was my last one and was generally fit and healthy.
THEN started my journey of ill health, it began slowly and built up over the years until eventually I was diagnosed in 2016 with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, then later that year with Diverticulitis. AS IF that wasn’t enough to contend with my body decided to throw some more at me and at the beginning of 2017 and a rheumatology assessment Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility Ehlers~Danlos Syndrome were added to the list. Then tag on to the list long term anxiety and depression and voila, you have me today.
With my ill health comes weight gain due to medications and my inability to exercise anymore.
These are the titles of the ten slides from the article I mentioned at the beginning of this blog..
- When are you going to start dieting? Hmm, well if you say that to me I would think you were particularly tactless first off. Then I would feel pissed off at your assumption that I have a poor diet! To assume my diet means you assume my weight is due to poor food choices and/or overeating. As it happens I am now taking Huel for breakfast and lunch as it is very easy to prepare (so takes fewer spoons aka energy) and it is a complete food which means I know I am having my necessary nutritional requirements. I then enjoy my evening meal with my family, which may or may not include something extra afterwards ~ my current treat is a Curly Wurly straight from the fridge, which satisfies my sweet tooth and at 118 calories a bar isn’t too terrible. I am not “dieting” because diets are not sustainable. Instead I am consciously aware of what I am eating and make the best choices I can. Nothing is off limits but many choices are within moderation and not everyday. I am a foodie and refuse to deny myself the pleasure of a tasty meal, having a delicious menu does not necessarily mean a unhealthy one.
- If you would just quit being so lazy maybe you wouldn’t be overweight. Grrr, this one really winds me up ~ how many of you with chronic invisible illnesses have had this one thrown at you? I would guess most of you! Seriously I am not lazy and never have been. Historically I would tend towards the manic, buzzing around from one place to another. I LOVED exercising, never in the gym though ~ my favourite ways to burn off energy would be on a tennis court or taking a long walk. Sadly now the most I can do is a short walk using my crutches and gentle stretches at home. Don’t ever undervalue the benefit of stretches ~ they truly do help. Also, even if I didn’t have poor health ~ why assume someone who is overweight is lazy? There are so many varied reasons for weight gain and to assume its due to poor diet or laziness really winds me up.
- Are you sure you should be eating that? Yup, I’m an adult, I can make choices about what I would like to eat whether you approve or not! As a parent I always offered a well balanced diet, when the girls were babies I made my own purees for them ~ except when I was out and about ~ then I had to buy baby food as restaurants and cafes refused to warm up my purees as they were “health and safety risks”. As they grew they had healthy meals with vegetables but also cakes, crisps and biscuits too. I think everything within moderation is the perfect way to go. Now as adults the girls have chosen their own dietary route, one is vegan, one vegetarian turning vegan and my third daughter is a dairy free pescetarian. So if you ask me whether “I should be eating that” aside from a withering look as I walk away from you , you could well be wearing what I was eating too!
- Have you heard of ~ insert latest diet trend here ~ you should try it. Do you know what, most likely I have heard of the latest trend, fad diet. No doubt in the past I will also have already tried it. Fad diets are the absolute worst for people to fall into. Cabbage soup, grapefruit, Lighterlife, Atkins ~ tried them all and they don’t last, the weight drops and then you pile it all back on. I think Slimming World and Weight Watchers have their place but for me the only way that works and keeps the weight off is simple calorie counting and not banning any foods. I have found out through experience I am not a class, group diet person ~ I’m just too anti~social for them and find myself itching to poke out folks eyes who lose tonnes of weight week on week! Slow and steady is the route for me and is supported by my GP, half a pound a week every week means I will lose and keep the weight off as my diet is a lifestyle choice and sustainable. My body is fighting itself constantly as it is and so I need to be kind to it and take care of it ~ not shocking it with starvation or faddy diets.
- If you just set your mind to it you could be thin. Oh yes, in my youth I could drop pounds easily, no worries. Now though with menopause, medication and ill health putting up hurdles in every direction weight loss is easier said than done. I wish it were that easy, honestly I do ~ but if you say that to me you will get a stony glare and my back as I walk away.
- Have you tried exercising? My gym has this great special. I loathe gyms, horrible smelly sweaty places. My gym memberships in the past have resulted in my membership card arriving, being pinned on my notice board and never leaving it. I find gyms soulless places and not for me ~ I would rather be out in the fresh air walking and looking around me. Those days though are now behind me, I always harbour a small hope that one day in the future my health will improve and I can once again take up my long walks ~ until then small excursions with my trusty crutches will have to suffice.
- You’ll never find a partner unless you lost that weight. Thankfully I haven’t had this one as I have known Dave almost my entire life and married for over half of it. We both have fluctuated with our weight and so have empathy towards each other. Love is unconditional, it looks at the soul not the body. If I was single then I would only contemplate a relationship with someone who didn’t judge on appearance, instead one who looked at me as a whole and who “saw” me.
- At least you have boobs and a butt. Yup, I do have great boobs and a fabulous butt ~ only wish I could twerk to really shake my booty! If you try to give me a backhanded compliment I will deliberately take it as a compliment and agree wholeheartedly and not give you the satisfaction of seeing me doubt myself and who I am.
- Don’t you want to feel healthy? Oh boy, yes ~ yes I would LOVE to feel healthy. Sadly no diet can do that. Perhaps in time research into my health conditions will bring forth some super dooper treatments or dare I wish it a cure! What food I consume has no correlation to my health issues and so if you say this to me you will need to take a seat whilst I walk you through my conditions in depth so in future you will never think of saying that to anyone again. You never know what another person is dealing with ~ so many of us suffer from invisible illnesses that can cause weight gain. Medications we take and lack of mobility are hugely responsible for our issues with weight and it’s damn hard to lose weight, no matter how much will power you have because of being unable to exercise and taking regular medications to treat symptoms and pain which are known to cause weight gain too.
- I couldn’t eat that, it would go straight to my hips. What you do or don’t eat is no concern of mine ~ if you want to eat something then do it, if you don’t then quit complaining. Don’t try to make me feel bad about eating something by telling me that if you did it would cause you to gain weight ~ I know what you are underhandedly trying to say and will steadfastly ignore you and take an extra large bit in front of you and insert a few “mmmmm delicious” and smacking of lips to underline the point.
So, I suppose in conclusion ~ don’t be fatist, don’t make assumptions about other people and if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all! To all of you struggling with your weight please try to embrace yourself and where you are right now ~ life is too damn hard as it is without being hard on ourselves too.
Since shaving my head for charity on Monday I have noticed a distinct change in not only how others perceive me but also how I feel about myself.
First of all, I am pleasantly surprised to discover I have a decently shaped head under the hair as it came off ~ which is always a bonus.
Once the clippers were silenced my family encouraged me to go and look at myself in the mirror. To say I was reluctant would be a slight understatement ~ I was terrified about seeing my reflection and what version of myself would be looking back at me. My first thoughts were “I have a pea head” and then the “OMG what have I done”. After a few moments of looking I thought that okay, it’s not really a look I would choose but it’s not as utterly awful as I expected.
When I ventured nervously out of the house ~ without a hat I noticed that I drew many looks. Children either were afraid and hid behind their mums or look curiously and started pointing at me and tugging at their mums arms to find out “why has that lady not got any hair?”
Adults gave me sideways glances and I wondered what they were thinking. Did they assume I was recovering from some medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. Was I a lesbian? The gender typical “male” in the lesbian partnership ~ what some people cruelly and offensively call the “Bulldyke” (noun: bull-dyke ~ a lesbian of masculine appearance or manner).
I remember the buzz in all the “gossip” style magazines when Britney Spears had her very tragic and public breakdown around ten years ago when she was photographed shaving her hair off. So I suppose people may look at my shaved head and wonder about the circumstances around the removal of my hair. I can see how “doing a Britney” can be cathartic, a way of ending an episode of your life and opening up a new chapter ~ a way of starting off with a clean slate and changing parts of your life you are unhappy with.
Some people just think I’m a thug. A woman in a car randomly flipped her finger at me, which prior to shaving my head had never happened before. You can tell the people who think this as they make sure they give you a very pointed wide berth with lots of sidelong looks as they do so.
When in shops I either receive a total lack of eye contact and avoidance of staff OR I get some really lovely smiles and positive body language coming my way, with offers of helping me to finding items on my shopping list.
There are some folk who ask why I have no hair and some who don’t ~ it really is fascinating, often the people in a crowd you would least expect to be supportive and encouraging are amazing and vice versa.
Also I get an awful lot of “you are so brave” ~ nope, I’m not really brave at all ~ in fact quite the opposite. I am stubborn, perhaps is my bullish stubborn streak, part of my Taurean nature, that pushes me forwards to commit to my promise no matter if I realise too late that I don’t really want to.
I am glad I did it. I wouldn’t do it again, I love my fringe to hide behind ~ I do miss it but the up side is that it was for a good cause.
Strange isn’t it? We do things we previously never imagined we would do. I am hyper aware of other people and their reactions. More likely than not misreading them because of feeling so exposed and vulnerable.
I am very aware of my age ~ when I was younger I had a buzzcut something I hadn’t even had a second thought about. I was young though, with taut skin and youth on my side. I am very conscious of my double chin.
Two days after the shave I am finding that I like being able to see my ear piercings and not having to have to “do” my hair. The girls say it’s lovely to be able to see my face instead of my usual trick of hiding behind a long fringe. I can see the tattoo at the back of my neck now too, which makes me smile.
Negative aspects are that there are members of my family who hate my shaved head and their lack of comments underlines that. I worry that at nearly 50 I am too old to carry off the look as it is very unforgiving and there is absolutely nothing you can do about that.
I don’t like wearing wigs as they are itchy and super expensive for a decent one. I love hats though and have a growing collection of the Baker Boy style, so know I can enjoy wearing my hats whilst the weather is cold to keep my poor noggin warm.
I have a few social engagements coming up ~ health depending as per. If health allows and I make these social gatherings I know I will be exceptionally nervous walking into the room and facing everyone with my new look. That though, I am sure, is perfectly normal and my paranoia will be proven to be without foundation.
Another plus and it is a VERY big plus ~ I no longer have to deal with hair wet through after menopausal hot flushes, in that respect having no hair is a massive bonus!
I do feel exposed and vulnerable yet conversely also empowered and liberated. I am glad I followed through and didn’t chicken out. The enormous bonus is that £376 has been raised for the charity SV2 ~ helping victims of sexual violence which makes me incredibly happy and that alone makes it all worth while.
Now I have no hair I decided to google some other women who have either now or in the past shaved their hair off. If they can pull it of then why the heck can’t I ~ here are just a few of the women I found who have at one time or another shaved their heads.
Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Amber Rose, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Jessie J, Sigourney Weaver, Grace Jones, Kristen Stewart, Toni Collett, Cynthia Nixon, Britney Spears, Jada Pinkett Smith and of course the most popular and well known woman with a shaved head or “Buzzcut” Sinead O’Connor.
I find myself absent mindedly rubbing my head, I love the feel of the stubble under my hand. I wonder how it will look as it grows back ~ how many white hairs will be found in the regrowth.
One thing is for certain ~ it is an experience all right and perhaps in hindsight I should have done this in the summer because without hair it gets a bit bloomin’ chilly about the ears when you go outside!
Looking back at my “younger day” photos I found these three pictures which, although not shaved, are exceptionally short!
To anyone who has ever wanted to try having the shaved head look I say to you ~ go for it ~ hair grows back!
Today I reached my fundraising target of £300 for SV2 ~ helping victims of sexual violence.
So, as promise I shaved my head! Once shaved I dyed the stubble on my head purple, just because I’m a purple kind of gal.
So here is the promised video..
Thank you to everyone who shared my fundraising page link and to those who donated, especially to my special friend Liz for her generous donation of £100, which I have to confess made me shed a few tears of sheer gratitude.
It’s not too late to donate if you want to, just head on over to my fundraising page and follow the donation process.
Here is the link if you are wanting to donate..
I have just found out something deliciously wonderful and I wanted to share my news with you ~ and also my dilemma.
Not long after launching my fundraising page raising funds for SV2, a charity who advocate and help victims of sexual violence, some wonderful anonymous person donated £100 to my page.
Today I found out who that person was, it is the fabulous Liz F. we met through a Facebook support group. Then became good friends ~ although our contact is mostly through the virtual medium we are what I consider to be true friends. This fabulous lady lives in France but we have managed to meet in real life too. All I can say about her is that she is one of the most genuine souls I have ever met, kind, empathetic, loving, understanding and so much more.
So, why am I torn?
I’m torn because Liz has given me a “get out of jail card” and said that she is more than happy for me not to go through with the head shave and instead suggested for me to ask for donations to keep my hair on my fundraising page.
The reasoning behind this generous gesture is that she understands how poorly I am right now as we share a mutual chronic illness. Liz is concerned that the head shave on top of my already cruddy physical health may tip the balance towards the darkside for me, which my husband is concerned about too. For me I acknowledge it is a risk and I am prepared to make it.
So, my first thought to the offer to keep my hair was YES! Then the thoughts swirling around my head were but even though I am a *cough* sturdy woman and I will look like a beach ball with a face when I have no hair, especially without my long fringe to hide behind and soften my pudgy cheeks. I feel somehow obliged to go through with my commitment and promise to shave off my hair.
I would have liked to have raised the full £300 for the charity and not yet reached my total. To those who have sponsored me, thank you so very much, I appreciate every penny you have donated and am exceptionally grateful to you for your support. To those who haven’t ~ do you have a fiver to spare *cheeky smile* pretty please with a cherry on top?
To my friend, you are incredible, truly a wonderful human bean! Your donation has meant the world to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your “get out of jail” card. However, after some serious mulling it over and talking to my family about it, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot decide either way ~ SO I am opening it up to a public vote.
I know I have low self~esteem and my issue with my weight and the vanity of my appearance are ongoing battles I have with myself. Yet, to become utterly vulnerable in removing my hair and having to face the world as I am, overweight, middle aged and not really rocking the look I feel will somehow give me an insight to how victims feel. Vulnerable, as if everyone can see into their soul and what has happened to them, to feel stamped.
The people in my life never cease to amaze me and yes, surprise me too. I know going forward with or without the head shave on Wednesday that I have a huge wall of love and support around me.
The charity SV2 is the buffer, the cushion, the wall of support for victims, who often have no~one else to turn to. They advocate for them, listen to them, support them and help them make the right choices going forward for them in their own unique situation.
So for me, to lose my hair is nothing in comparison to what the victims have gone through. Having a dent in my vanity is the worst that can happen to me, but I hope it will give me some experience of how exposed the victims of sexual assault feel. Also, hair grows back ~ sexual assaults leave invisible scars.
So, it’s over to you ~ the decision of whether or not I do or do not have hair by the end of the day on November 1st is in your hands. Whatever the majority vote is by midday on Wednesday 1st November is the action I shall take.
To vote just click on this link, it’s as easy as that..
My Fate Is In Your Hands
psssst ~ if you fancy throwing a donation my way for SV2 then please click on the link below and it will take you to my fundraising page.
I love this song and the lyrics call to me ~ especially the chorus..
“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
A lot of fight left in me
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion”
Fight! We all have battles we face in our daily lives but some are more than others. It’s a fight against the things that get you down, be it other people, your circumstances, your physical or mental health, relationships etc. Yet, saying that I don’t mean to place one persons battle above another because everything is relative. One persons seemingly small battle is to them the same as another persons perceived larger one.
Today, right now I am fighting. I feel monumentally overwhelmed by life in general. So many factors are beyond my control and it frustrates the hell out of me.
I am beyond exhausted, tired to my bones, I feel ancient. My cognitive function worries me, I know docs have tried to reassure me but I think anyone who struggles in this way will always have that fear of potential dementia. The other day I was trying to find the word for kitchen towel and after brief charade to my husband he twigged and filled in the blank for me. It sounds silly but when these episodes add up, multiplied by poor memory, difficulty following conversations and using the wrong words in sentences and not even realising ~ it’s scary!
Then you have the poor energy issue which means that my house looks like a bomb site and the floor is filthy because I haven’t hoovered or mop for over 4 weeks now ~ you can barely see what colour the stair carpet is for all the dog hair on it. Adding insult to injury I had to wash my feet before bed because of walking barefoot on the laminate floor and the resulting dirt on my feet.
Thank goodness for dishwashers, microwaves, tumble driers etc though ~ we don’t iron in this house, clothes get dried and you have the choice to wear it creased or not at all. We utilise any energy saving devise, meals, options possible to try and help us in our daily lives.
The thing that really bothers me though is how unpredictable my health is and the impact that has on everything I do. I also worry about my family, they all have invisible chronic illness too ~ it’s a constant fight and trying to help each other stay afloat and cling on for better days, which is so hard, not just for me but for all of us.
Having to constantly explain to others and gently remind them what we face is also exceptionally hard. No matter who they are it is always a struggle for them to equate an outwardly healthy looking person as being sick.
The thing is ~ we put on a front whenever we see anyone outside of our small family tribe. This isn’t necessarily for your benefit but more for our own, it’s our own silly pride that makes us create the illusion that we are okay when we aren’t. We want to feel “normal” and fit in, even if it’s just for a little while.
It’s not my place to share my incredible families individual battles here, but each of them are working hard this week, as they do every week, to appear okay and putting on a brave front. My girls are utilising every ounce of energy they have whilst facing the winter bugs and viruses that are doing the rounds. This impacts on their health more than other folks because of weakened immune systems, they fall harder and longer with each bug.
My husband is being an absolute star in running us around, shopping, cooking, stacking dishwasher, driving here and there whilst exhausted himself.
This week is a particularly full on one, for numerous reasons. We have a special family members 80th birthday to attend on Saturday. It is going to be really tough to muster up energy to go but we will because we rarely get to see our extended family in the flesh. They live a two and a half hour drive away and the party is afternoon into evening but not finishing late. We will be going just for the party then returning home ~ a lovely friend of one of our daughters has offered to dog sit for us due to the length of time we will be away, which is a huge relief.
Simple get togethers like this are a given for many healthy folk, for us we have to plan, rest, make contingency plans and hope against hope that on the actual day we will all be well enough to go. Our track record isn’t great, usually only two perhaps three out of the five of us manage to go.
I’m just majorly pissed off today, being tired and emotional does that. I get weepy and sad then angry as hell. THEN, I start to feel awful and guilty as I imagine all the other people in situations worse than mine. It is tsunami of emotions, each taking turns to take the helm and bash me relentlessly, screaming in my brain at me.
It’s no wonder people living with chronic illness also suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. Trying to do so much and struggling each and every day with life. Having invisible chronic illness is harder still, that’s because whilst you face your own internal battles you are having to try and justify to others why you can’t meet them, speak to them, be like them.
Even when folk say they understand, sometimes you wonder if they truly do ~ especially when the media still stirs up so many untruths and unhelpful advice to “get better”. Sadly, right now there is no cure, no real treatment ~ only treatments for symptoms as and when you need help with them, to make you more comfortable.
Getting up each morning is like wading through treacle, it’s such a monumental effort to get up and go downstairs. Then to have to wash and dress is another massive drain to the battery. Although, from November the first at least I won’t have to worry about washing or styling my hair because I won’t have any after my head shave fundraiser.
So today I am writing this blog to remind myself to not give up, to continue to fight. I’m human and so it’s okay to cry, to scream, to feel self~pity and want answers, so many “whys” in my head with no resolution or answers available.
I will look for the bright side of every dark moment and if there isn’t one to hunker down and ride it out, knowing that at some point the light will reappear.
To my friends ~ I apologise if I am distant and not interacting with you. Just daily routine chores are taking every ounce of energy I have. Reading posts/threads on social media is an issue right now for me. I read them, then re~read them but don’t fully comprehend what I am reading, so have to read a third time. Then I want to reply, to comment to let you know I am there for you and support you but the words don’t flow. The sentences sound rambling and disjointed ~ so instead of hitting “post” I hit “delete” and then “like” or “love” your post instead. Know that I am around but lurking on the side~lines, sending love your way and hoping you understand.
This blog post has been edited and re~edited umpteen times ~ however I apologise if some of it sounds disjointed or rambling, this is as good as it gets right now.
I’m retreating off now ~ but felt it necessary to share this with you and hope you understand why I am distant right now.
My next blog will most likely be the one showing you my newly bald head ~ which will be in 9 days time.
If you are struggling right now I hope you find better days ahead very soon. Whatever happens we must keep on fighting ~ somehow, someday I am sure life will get better. Always hold onto hope and don’t let it wriggle out of your grasp.
I leave you with this song, quite simply because I love Freddie’s voice and the lyrics speak to me, I hope you enjoy it too..
“These Are The Days Of Our Lives”
Sometimes I get to feelin’
I was back in the old days – long ago
When we were kids, when we were young
Things seemed so perfect – you know?
The days were endless, we were crazy – we were young
The sun was always shinin’ – we just lived for fun
Sometimes it seems like lately – I just don’t know
The rest of my life’s been – just a show.
Those were the days of our lives
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one thing is true –
When I look and I find I still love you.
You can’t turn back the clock, you can’t turn back the tide
Ain’t that a shame?
I’d like to go back one time on a roller coaster ride
When life was just a game
No use sitting and thinkin’ on what you did
When you can lay back and enjoy it through your kids
Sometimes it seems like lately I just don’t know
Better sit back and go – with the flow
Cos these are the days of our lives
They’ve flown in the swiftness of time
These days are all gone now but some things remain
When I look and I find – no change
Those were the days of our lives yeah
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one thing’s still true
When I look and I find, I still love you,
I still love you.”
I am shaving my head, all of my recently grown locks will end up on the floor.
At home, the clippers working under the steady hands of Dave and Tasha, videoed by Tara and photographs by Keisha and Tasha.
1st November 2017.
The clock is ticking, the days are flying by and we are approaching the big day! My fringe, my barrier, my protector will be removed and I will be laid bare with nothing to hide behind!
I am not backing out but I admit I am scared to go bald ~ my stomach is doing backflips and my heart is racing at the thought. I had looked at wigs for afterwards but they are stupidly expensive and way beyond my budget. Instead I have purchased three different Baker Boy caps to keep my head warm throughout the winter. All three came to £12 with free p&p via Amazon, a price I like very much ~ plus will coordinate with my black scarf, gloves and coat.
Why am I doing this? It’s because two very close friends have sadly been victims of sexual assault. After reporting the assault to the police both victims were given a card with the contact details of a charity called SV2.
SV2 is a local charity which is designed to support victims of sexual violence of all ages and genders. In some areas this service is called Rape Crisis or something similar. They offer counselling and support to both children and adults. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of their work in advocating and support these victims. Of providing them with the options open to them and providing ongoing support throughout the process if they choose to proceed with pressing charges, anonymously reporting or doing nothing.
They categorically do not help any perpetrators of these crimes.
Unfortunately SV2 is a charity and they have to continually seek funding to pay for the service they provide. Sadly, they had to post this message on 24th July of this year..
“Unfortunately as SV2 has not been able to secure future long term funding for therapy and as the waiting list is already significantly high, SV2 has reluctantly taken the very difficult decision to close the waiting list and will not accept any more referrals into the therapy service.”
Knowing how vital this service is for the victims of these crimes I am astounded that they are having to work as a charity and not have regular secure funding available to them. The statement they were forced to make about closing their books to further referrals at this time upset me enormously because it means there are victims of sexual violence with no support to help them deal with the aftermath of such a crime.
It takes specialist counsellors to help them to work through the events that occurred and to decide on what action to take that is best for them. It’s not a simple case of reporting the crime and pressing charges. Sometimes reporting the crime is where the process ends ~ to proceed with pressing charges is a massive step with additional trauma on top of what is already being experienced.
There is a “client feedback” section on the SV2 website, I will share a few of the comments here because I think their words help express the desperate need for this service..
“Thank you for all your hardwork and support. As you know it has been a very gruelsome and distressing time for my daughter, without your encouragement and support she would not have had the courage to carry on.”
“Thank you for all your support and fantastic words of wisdom, but especially for being by my side in court. I can’t thank you enough! “
“I have an incredible therapist at SV2. She is very slowly restoring my faith in professionals. She’s worked with me for 8 months & challenges me every week. Therapy is so hard, it’s not nice facing the things that you’ve pushed to the back of your head for so many years. I’ve built a highly impressive wall around myself, with very solid foundations. It’s incredibly difficult to remove any of those bricks. But I’ve learnt that the wall is there to serve a purpose, it protects me & for whatever reason, I’ve needed that protection. My therapist works with me in ways that I understand & spends time exploring different ways for me to engage. She accepts that I find it difficult to talk & so finds different ways for me to express what I need to say. No one has done that before, they’ve all just said that if I won’t talk, they cannot help. They haven’t spent time understanding why I won’t talk. There’s cuts to funding across the board as we all know. She’s currently secured me another 12 weeks therapy & then after that I will either have to re-refer myself or discuss with my GP using my Personal Health Budget to fund future sessions. I’ve waited years & years for support that is the quality I am currently receiving. I can’t afford to lose that. I am on another waiting list with the recovery services, but that wait is approximately 2 years & not getting any shorter. The struggle to get adequate, appropriate support is very real.It’s #timetotalk #timetochange Thank you”
From my perspective as a friend supporting people I care about going through the process I can say, hand on heart, that SV2 intervened at the most critical time. When thoughts of self~harm and suicide after the assault were increasing to worrying levels the quick intervention of the therapists at SV2 managed to reduce those thoughts and help them to realise that they weren’t at fault. The attack was not invited and that they had to face, address and work towards rehabilitation. Most importantly, as well as helping reduce suicidal and self~harming thoughts they were taught ways to help when going through distressing panic attacks and disassociation episodes. Given the tools to start venturing out of their front doors and facing being out and about in the world once more.
Attacks like these are life changing. The victims never recover to be the person they were prior to the assault. The are always vetting the people around them, cautious about meeting new people and inviting them into their inner circle. They have been left with depression and anxiety which they are both facing in their own ways with further counselling and medication. Life goes on but it’s never the same, that more than anything breaks my heart ~ seeing the twinkle and mischievous glint missing from their eyes.
If you would like to support me in raising necessary funds to help SV2 to continue their work and hopefully reopen their book for referrals you can, simply click on the link below and following the donation process on my fundraising page.
You can select the option of how much to donate and then input your credit card details. At the point of donation you are asked if you wish to pay the £0.94 processing fee or not. If you choose not to pay that’s absolutely fine, it just means that 94 pence of your donation will go towards the processing cost and the rest goes 100% to the charity.
I promise *gulp* to upload a video along with supporting photographs in a blog after the hair has come off ~ it won’t be pretty but it will be worth every penny that is received towards helping SV2 continue their service.