Updated: 7 days ago
So this is an older entry that i’ve decided to re edit. When I first shared this I wasn’t 100% happy with it, a lot of what I drafted didn't make to to posting. This has been eating away at my mind. This is also my last little trip down memory lane for a while, maybe even forever, I need closure, to let it all out, I can’t keep living in my memories it's making me feel ill again and I can recognise that. However I want to be heard, I want what I grew though to be valid and I want others to understand they are not alone.
My art is shaped by my feelings. I've not going to talk about technique in this blog, I shared one a while ago Being a Creative Person is Weird where I gave an insight into my process, please click the link and give it a read if you haven't yet.
This blog is all about my feels! It's a little heavy, personal. I'm fully aware now that my photography blog is a Photography/Awareness Blog, and I'm rolling with it. Life is about change, this change has been organic and authentic. I hope whoever you are you enjoyed reading it, unfortunately there will be typos I apologise for this, but it is what it is!
My words are my true feelings from experiences I’ve lived. So if anyone has a problem with what I share you need to take a good look at yourself and think about why it bothers you.
The monsters that are dressed as men can look normal, they can talk normal but they can’t act normal for long, sooner or later they can’t control their sickness and they have to inflict it onto others. Abusive people are not abusive all the time, sometimes its trips out, ice cream, family meals and photoshoots. Everyone can smile for a photo while hiding the truth. All this is what makes being a child in an abusive household so confusing, sometimes they even act like they love you, then like a flip of a switch someone says the wrong thing and all hell breaks loose. It becomes mentally exhausting, you start living in fight mode ‘walking on eggshells’. There would often be a massive fight, and you could feel it building up in the air, we soon learnt when it was coming. I always found winter the worst particularly the build up to Christmas was stressful for me, perhaps because it was colder out so we were all in the house more, or that the stress of money was a factor. But when the fights happened there was screaming, name calling, pushing, violence, we witnessed horrific senes and made to feel like they were our fault. I've been too scared to sleep because I could hear an argument though the walls, and when there was an argument in that house anything could happen. I've had things thrown at me and I've been thrown, I'll been held down and hit with my own hands "I'm not hitting you, you‘re hitting yourself" just madness, who does that to a kid. None of this was ok, and it wasn't our fault, we should have never been made to feel like we deserved that. If you are living through this please know it’s not your fault either, and everything can and will get better.
I was unhappy growing up, of course when you’re young you don’t know any better. The situation you often find yourself in you just automatically assume is normal, because you don’t know any different. And when things start to get complicated it’s very confusing. For years I thought I was the problem, was I just too argumentative? Demanding? Annoying? I was always told that “I was going on to much” ok yes I would go on. I do understand this, but I didn’t feel listened to so I would I repeat myself however eventually I learnt to keep my excitement to my self. Assuming I was an annoying person and people wouldn’t like that about me. Which was hard because I’m not shy I wanted to talk, to be excited, I like being around people and sharing ideas, but once you become unconfident in yourself it’s hard to change those feelings. They are routed deep. Even now years on I second guess if what I have to say is relevant or if an idea I have is deserving of an input. I start tasks and can’t always finish them before i'll loose confidence in what I’m doing, then I will procrastinate and get anxious. As you read this you may wonder what is my goal for sharing this, it's simply like all my other blogs I want someone to read this and feel less alone, to look at my art and feel inspired.
My childhood had eliminates of mental health issues, I grow up watching people struggling. And unfortunately they were not taken seriously, probably why I ignored my own struggles for so long. I've seen the impact of addiction, violence and manipulation. How long will we let people walk around for who have inflicted such pain for with no accountability? I believe it's important for closure that our stories are told.
My brain has been shaped by experiences, now I have to deal with these and the person I’ve grown up to be. I have to try and like myself. And my favourite saying “it’s not fair” plays as the soundtrack to my life on repeat in my head. But it’s not fair. It’s not fair that I grew up feeling I was annoying to be around, that my personality was “off” that people wouldn’t like me. That I was stupid.
Bullying can happen anywhere, it’s unfortunate but it’s part of life. However it shouldn’t be. I believe that most people just don’t understand the impact they are having on your mental state. Because I would like to think that even the bad people don’t want to cause permanent damage. Bullying can also come in so many forms, the impossible tasks, the looks and name calling. Mumbler (because of my speech problems) and mong (because of my dyslexia) nicknames used to hurt and belittle. I HATED THEM! I developed thick skin on the outside, inside maybe not so much. I didn’t realise how much anxiety was slowly starting to build up, and that later on in my life this would turn into other mental health problems such as depression and insomnia. I once told a family member that I felt bullied and uncomfortable in my own home I was told to stop being stupid. If I could ever pass on any advice when someone opens up to you and expresses an emotion please don’t dismiss them and please don’t belittle them. The term “gaslighting” wasn’t something I heard growing up, I wish I had though.
I hate how much of my personality is sculpted from my childhood for example when I was a child I really loved dogs, now I’m honestly not a dog person at all. I don’t really like them, I think about this from time to time… I think it’s link to my childhood experience. Maybe it was the time I watched a dog get dragged into the kitchen to “have it fucking throat slit” a massive German Shepard puppy, I remember the fear but luckily the dog was fine, well they got dragged and kicked a lot but I think they got used to it, the poor creatures. It’s funny what you just get used to right. Or perhaps It was the time I had dog mess thrown at me while I was sitting on the sofa because picking it up was on my daily jobs chart and I was refusing to do it… also I was “a piece of shit too” apparently. I grew resentful of the dogs, because they would still show love and affection and in the back of my mind I was just thinking ‘for god sake bite his face off…’ which isn't a healthy thought and thinking about it now the dogs were just living on their instincts just like us, I should of understood that better. I had a dog I loved, bouncer. As a child he was my dog I had him for a years, I had him before my mum remarried. He was very special to me, one time I came home from school to walk him only to open the kitchen door to discover that he had been re homed while I was at school I was heart broken, also apparently bouncer had bit him once, Bouncer was an excellent judge of character so it’s possible however the dog had never shown any aggression I believe that the dog went simply for the fact that he was MY dog.
As a teenager I would Get into fights, because when someone does something that upsets you violence is ok right?… What’s that saying? “Monkey see, Monkey do” As an adult I know right from wrong, and violence is incredibly wrong. And SHOULD never be encouraged, but fear is another emotion that shapes a young brain. When you been scared you learn to react fast, aggressively you don’t give someone the chance to hurt you first. These are signs that not many people look out for, but most behaviour is learnt, from our experiences.
I was no angel, I understand I was difficult living with me wasn't easy. I don’t save numbers a habit I’m now working on breaking and like most things in my life there is a story behind this habit. It started because I grow up grumpy. I get that most teenagers are grumpy and frustrated. Mine turns into anger. So when certain people rang me who I lived with I would answer with “Hi, I’m sorry but who is this?” I knew who it was! I liked to push it anyway I could because... well I was an grumpy teenager who got kicks from it probably why I was grounded a lot to be fair... so I could get away with this more I stopped saving any numbers! Even to this day! Petty I know!… I’m working on being less childish, but when you grow up in fight mode you developed differently.
I knew how to push people!
I once asked for an apology for myself and others I care about. This didn’t go down well, in fact it really back fired on me. Let’s encourage our children to talk openly about their feelings, even as good parents we will get situations wrong. Know one is perfect, I want my children to be able to come to me and tell me if I’ve done something wrong without fear of my reaction. I would apologise in a heartbeat to someone I cared about if I’ve upset them, because everyones feelings are valid and mistakes happen.
I believe my mental health suffered over the last few years not just because of the pandemic but because I tried to rebuild relationships, I thought I could “forgive and forget” and I’ve tried this a few times on and off over the years because of course I wanted a relationship with my mum, and it’s been made extremely clear over the years who comes first. It was never us, and it will never be us. Know one should have to sit in a room with someone who made their life hell and have a cup of tea with them and talk about how their works going, it’s not healthy. It made me feel like all my experience were ‘make believe’ I even started to down play them to myself, my self worth took a real tumble. I would go home after visiting them and be emotionally overwhelmed and extremely tired, my headache became worse. It was just not worth it, no relationship is worth that, my mental health is more important. Also after a good conversation with my husband a real concern of ours was at what age does Deryn possibly become a target, I couldn’t keep taking her round there what happened if one day we walk in on an argument or she gets to 14 and isn’t seen as a little girl anymore in his eyes. The thought of that makes me feel sick to my stomach. He would often make comments not just about our bodies but our friends it would make them and us feel very uncomfortable. Conversations we still have to this day, I'm lucky to have such great friends in fact. There has also been many occasions when inappropriate messages have been sent but apparently it's "just his way" MEN CAN'T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH THIS, WE ARE NOT OBJECTS.
I can recognise my own issues, and I break cycles. It’s not easy raising children, but it’s easy to be kind. To be caring, to express love and to except people for who they are. We can all do better, I will never stop growing and I will always encourage others to grow with me and those who only bring negative vibes and an unwillingness to understand me will no long hold a part in my life.
It's taken me and my siblings a long time to be more open about this, now we are all starting to speak up more, because we all matter and we care about others.
A little look at some of my work inspired by my childhood-
This was inspired after a chat with my much loved family members . It’s a family portrait, the inspiration behind it is boxing. Yep boxing we used to box as kids, at first it seamed like it was for fun we had our own gloves etc. Me and mu bother would often get told to box this was often his punishment for “being a gay boy” (NOT MY WORDS!) and being honest at the time I enjoyed it, I was bigger than he was also I was angry and I would get praised for winning, he on the other hand would cry. “Hit him harder”… “stop crying like a girl” his tears and once blood didn’t stop it, you do things as a kid without realising the impact, I still feel guilty about this, we talk about it from time to time, he struggles with it. The humiliation and frustration he must have felt. Now we both have to walk around with this, and it's heavy to carry.
I share a lot of work about my nightmares, I know exactly why I get nightmares because I’m not the only one. My nightmares are absolutely horrendous, nightmares come from our subconscious. My subconscious must hate me… But when you have been exposed and inflicted to certain experiences your subconscious becomes infected, sick and an unsafe place. Part of me still wishes I could take my sleeping tablets, I miss them. I really, really enjoyed taking them, which isn’t a good sign is it, I was definitely growing a dependency towards them, and they really made me feel like crap the next day. I liked to take them downstairs get really sleepy and dizzy then it was a bit of a buzz trying to get up the stairs to bed, I felt like a stoned teenager. Then I would more or less pass out. A break from reality maybe, a very unhealthy break! I don’t want to “sound like a broken record” a familiar phrase to me again… but my sleep problems are definitely linked to traumatic events in my life, as a child and adult.
Thank you for reading! I’ve had a fair amount of life experiences that have shaped my work. My goal is 200 self portrait (around 60 to go) then il sit down go through it all and think right what are these for, what can I do with them, what’s next!
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