I am often asked, and I often ask myself – How when it was so bad I did not die.
I believe there is no real answer to that. All I can fall back on is I have a fighter inside me that refused to die.
As I have said often in my writings, for much of my life I did not want to live. I could not see the point of life when it was too full of pain.
But, always there was a place inside me, that knew without much evidence that the life I was in was not all there was.
I knew from watching TV and films, there was other ways to live.
I knew by reading life could be happy.
And I knew through my grandparents who saw as someone that be loved. They would see beyond my anger and confusion.
In their eyes, I could believe that I had a future.
My American grandmother believed I was strong. She would not allow me to be a victim.
She was tough, but though her I learnt I could respect myself.
My Scottish grandmother encourage me to use my mind. She push my intelligence.
My English grandfather encourage me to curious.
They give me the chance to believe in hope and joy.
I hold them in my heart all the time.
I believe that my grandparents belief in me, give me an inner strength.
Through their love, I could believe their must be more to me than I knew.
It did not prevent the violence, but I do believe it help me build some barriers so I could not see the reality of my life.
I find that birdwatching or being in a wild place can make me forgot.
I only like being in the countryside for a limited time, for I am very much a city lover.
But on occasions when I watch birds, I let myself disappear. I think of nothing just let my eyes follow the flight. My favourite to watch are birds of prey, for it is such alien form of life.
I have never connected with birds, I enjoy that I do not and will never understand them. That is of no importance to me.
For me watching birds is like mediation.
I can let my mind be empty of pain, grief and memory for a short period.
I get the same escape when I walk round a city. I let myself think of history, remember what I was taught about architecture.
I like to wander round cities imaging the many lives that stood where I stand.
All my life I have walked.
When I lived inside male violence, I would walk for ages with no idea where I was.
I saw nothing. I hear nothing.
I did not know I was in a state of constant shock. I just knew I was always getting lost.
Now I can walk and see where I am. Now I choose to observe the details of where I am.
Now I part of the walk. I am not just walking to numb myself.
I feel that the strength that is inside me, has protected my mind from viewing the reality of the hate that men had.
I felt like a brick wall was slowly built so I could not feel or know how the men held me in contempt.
Many times I view the delusions I had, and I see they were my way of surviving.
To know that the men had planned and did their violence with such hate, would of been too much for me to bear.
Instead I was continually shocked that they would tortured me.
And I continually let my mind forgot their actions.
For most of my life I thought that I was stupid to be shocked when the violence was so regular.
I thought I was mad to forgot all that pain.
But now, I wonder if was an inner strength that would not let my mind connect the reality with my my mind. A strength that saw survival was all that mattered.
Survival meant I could not know the reality that the men that used did completely hate everything I was.
Those men chose to use underaged prostitutes, seeing them as easy targets for their hate.
Those men chose to use women and girls that they know were beyond being silenced. They chose women and girls that had given up hope that anyone would care.
Those men know how to choose women and girls to torture and have no fear of punishment.
I could not see that and live. So I do believe I built inside me a wall that closed reality from me.
It did mean that I had to delude myself to believe I “choose” to be with the men.
But, even with that terrible delusion, I have no regrets.
For I did live. I did keep my mind.
And I live to say the reality.