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Trigger warning, on the highway from hell

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

People are like chameleons, changing colours to try and blend in, tricking others, becoming apart of their surroundings to go unnoticed. However eventually their true colours show, and they get seen for what they are.

I’m the villain in some peoples stories, perhaps part of me is bad, I’m definitely petty I can admit that, I think actually being able to admit my wrong doings and flaws is a strength I have, I’m currently updating my CV maybe I should add that... Perhaps this in itself is a trauma response though, who knows!

Part of me wants to run away, pack my family up and have a fresh start. If I was doing counselling right now because I’m self aware I know I would come up with this conclusion in my sessions; I’m bored, unchallenged and frustrated which could lead to self sabotaging behaviour because of my impulsivity and anxiety. I think I want something new… my internal monologue in my head keeps repeating it, I feel behind in aspects of my life. But part of me also likes the comfort of routine, it’s a bit of a fight to make sure I’m making the right decisions based of logic not emotions. Because well, regulations of emotions and making decisions can sometimes be problematic for us all.

Being self aware about my triggers and behaviour doesn’t actually prevent much and I’m not doing counselling right now still, *smug rebellious face* so I’m navigating the road ahead on my own, I’ve taken the wheel! (Spoiler I can’t legally drive, I’ve never been able to pass my test) I’ve been writing, lots, so it only seems right that I put my thoughts and feelings into a blog.

I’m tired, but writing even when creating is tricky and my head is messy is a healthy outlet, it’s all better out than in right? If I was a car my warning light would probably be on and I would fail my MOT. There’s that saying right, “your body keeps the score” as I drive myself round the bend going over my memories I get more tired, more achy but then I remember more, I think I’m addicted to going over my memories now, it’s becoming a hyper-focus or compulsion.

I’m gonna talk about some experiences that may make people feel uncomfortable…I can sense readers rolling theirs eyes muttering…” but Velvet why share more?” Why not, they are my experiences to share, in the coming years I’ll have everything written down and I’ll grow, heal and move on… I’ve only just really started.

The older we got the worse his comments towards our body’s became, “you putting socks down your bra?” Comments while he looked at our body as puberty started to progress. I didn’t even realise how bad it had been until my late 20s riddled with anxiety and low self esteem, I finally started to process it all. I still get cold shudders and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I recall some of the memories I’m going to share. However It wasn’t just us, our friends became targets too.

He had no shame, I guess it’s because he’d gotten away with so much and we as children assumed that this was just the way men were. Sometimes I think perhaps he doesn’t realise, however that’s still not an excuse and I think that’s just me trying to find logic. He knows. I have a memory, it really bothers me now. I was in high school, it was raining (it’s always raining right) myself, older sister and a friend wanted a lift home so we rang him, he said he would pick us up as he worked close by, we asked if our friend could get a lift also his reply “Depends, what’s she look like… is she blonde”. At the time I actually think we all laughed it off. Now as an adult with daughters I’m disgusted. These ‘jokes’ were often said around my mother, she seamed to care very little about the inappropriate tone. They become very common, he would comment on our friends appearance, their changing bodies also. I do remember one time my mother did get very upset with him as she apparently walked past him while he was in a work vehicle and he was “eyeing up the girls in school uniform” and failed to see her because he was too busy “perving”.

We were objects, and not just us and our friends but young girls in general, in the street, on the TV. His common phrase used around the house also inappropriate around children was “a pokes a pokes no pokes a joke” and informing us that “girls and boys can’t just be friends”. He would often take us along to football training with him and make jokes to his male friends “haha they keep getting younger and younger right!” And “they will be smart when they grow up right”. Again laughed off as ‘jokes’ by smart he didn’t mean intelligent either. He loved the fact he had teenagers to parade around with him.

One of the things I was working through in counselling was how I thought his violence had a sexual aspect to it without him needed to do anything physical, he would just be to close to us, over us, screaming at us, threatening us, I think the fact that he knew he had power and could of done whatever he liked because we were small and in many ways defenceless thrilled him. We were quite feisty, no one could have made us do anything without us kicking off, I was scrappy and would go down swinging if I needed to, snot, tears and anger. I don’t condone violence but I feel this kept us a little safer. It got to the point when he got aggressive so did I, although it was pointless in many respects because of the side and power difference.

I didn’t have personal space growing up, I wasn’t allowed it, he would be able to come into our rooms when he felt it was necessary. We had ‘room inspections’ that would sometimes end up in our belongings getting thrown and us getting grounded if he decided our room wasn’t tidy enough. “Now you have something to tidy up”. He would push past us if we were in his way, stand right behind us and make it clear that we were an inconvenience to him. He would often call us “it”, “that”, “thing” This included my mother. I recall an argument they had, my sisters were small, as he had one in his arms he sighed “why did you have to come from that thing” referring to my mother, I think it’s impossible for him to respect women. I can’t remember what they were arguing about.

At around 19 an argument had kicked off, I wasn’t living at home at this time, at 18 they decided to move house and I just couldn’t cope living in that environment anymore so as they moved house and I moved out. However of course I still wanted to be apart of the family I craved for so much, so I would go round, eager to be involved. This particular argument was probably one of the worst, I think it ended so badly for me because it wasn’t my house and the fact that I was challenging his behaviour in “his house” just really infuriated him. He was in a really bad mood that had nothing to do with me at first, but he was upsetting other members of the household with his attitude I told him this. He was upstairs shouting about something, so I decided to go and confront him about his behaviour face to face, he told me to leave “his house” I laughed because although I didn’t live there financially I still helped my mother out whenever she asked, without question, so he really wanted to kick me out of the house I just paid the council tax for!?! I was also a little smug shit, I hold my hands up to this, I knew how to push his buttons for a reaction, but at 19 I was still very much a child. I loved to tell him what I thought of him and his disgusting ways every chance I got. He got really angry with me. He really wanted me to leave, in fact he was screaming it in my face, to close to me, standing over me… then the words came out “the only way I’m leaving is if you physically remove me” not the smartest thing to come out of my mouth, I have an issue where I just say what I’m thinking. So guess what happened?… yep, I was physically removed and I had the sore ribs and arm to prove it. Luckily my older sister and brother were there, we always had each other’s backs when we needed. I had to wait outside for Tom to come and pick me up, my mother told me to stay out of the house while I waited for Tom. She said it was for my own good, I was in tears and probably in shock. I wouldn’t tell Tom what was wrong until we were away from the house, he of course was absolutely fuming. After this I didn’t talk to my mother properly for a while, but like always back then I would miss being apart of the family and I would try my very hardest to forgive, forget and just get on with it. Every time this happened my anxiety getting worse and worse on the inside, as my smile and jokes got bigger on the outside. I desensitised myself. I’m good at that. Children of trauma usually are. We all got hurt, it wasn’t just me, there are many reasons why we have all disowned our mother now as adults.

It was incredible challenging to hold a relationship with my mother and him throughout my 20s, for a part of my life I lived right across the road from them, and would have to walk past their house, it was very intimidating and one of the reasons I actually decided to try and make amends again was to make my life easier and less awkward… which actually made my anxiety worse! This was a massive reason why me and Tom decided to move house, because I knew when we moved away from being their neighbours it would be easier to make tricky decisions.

He’s dangerous, and he’s clever, while she is manipulative and aggressive. I should give up but then what? His life just goes on when mines been so challenging because of everything. No, my mothers true colours have started to show more and more now also, her violent, bitter ways. I used to feel she was a victim, I felt so much empathy for her it would keep me up, I once longed for her to have a better life. Sometimes this creeps back in and I remind myself that she doesn’t deserve my sympathy, she doesn’t deserve anything from me. Her temper is still getting the better of her...while I cuddle my children and make memories as a happy family she’s still going out and has bar fights. I’m nothing like her.

Who wants another funny memory? Ok, let’s go… lighten this blog up a little!

Myself and Tom were driving home once, we had been out for food with friends I think we were early 20s perhaps, we drove past a couple arguing in the road, it was dark and I couldn’t really make them out, but I just had a bad feeling so asked Tom to do a circle and drive past them again and make sure everything was ok. Any guesses who was having a domestic in the street? Bingo you guessed it! “Stop the car! That’s my mum!” There was another man with them, all shouting and swearing at each other… It took me 15 minutes to get my drunk mum in the car, and back to mine and Toms tiny little one bedroom house where she slept on the sofa. Tom was not impressed, neither was I but at the time I remember feeling relieved that I’d got her to mine and the situation was defused and she was safe… turns out her husband had been harassing the other man’s wife or something and my mum was blaming her!… of course the next day she went home and carried on as if the situation had never happened. No apologies, no thank yous.

The years that followed these incidents kept happening, they even had their family car covered in paint by another angry husband after an affair got found out… I lived across the road from them when this happened, they have always just been a massive embarrassment to me… talk about being driven crazy!

Last weekend Lunar was ill, spoiler kids are always ill and being a mum is a constant worry. I was about to leave to do a few quick photos of a band playing in the theatre (my place of current employment) Lunar had been under the weather on and off for a few days, and just as I was jumping up and down into my skinny jeans demanding they fit her temperature had spiked and she had a febrile convulsion, scary stuff but very common. So obviously no photos for me as we needed to go to the hospital for a check up… she was fine, a few days rest, lots of cuddles and feds she was back to her normal joyous self. Of course a hospital trip for me is difficult, it’s triggering because of Lunar being so poorly when she was born but also because well he could be there, in a hospital due to work, however he’s been on gardening duty or on suspension for a while.

I’ve heard he’s been fired… again, god I hope this is true this time! but like a cockroach he keeps coming back, 'men' of power always have each other’s backs, part of me thinks it’s because they hold information on each other, if I had to put money on it I feel this is how he managed to keep his job for so long with so many complaints about him. Who you know and what you know about them can be tools. I believe he’s been fired due to his social media content particularly on twitter, that’s what I’ve heard (we all know Brecon loves a bit of gossip right?!) honestly though it was quite bad, his “daily in-law smash” where he would post a photo of a punching bag and brag about how he was imagining it to be his ‘in-laws’ which is weird right, and aggressive, surly against NHS employment policy, who knowns it’s impossible to get any information off them. And unfortunately that’s not even the worst of it. He also refers to the BLM movement as “self oppressing fucking idiots” which makes me really angry, because if anything as a society we need to make a stand and stick together, the BLM movement in my opinion was brave and necessary.

So yeah maybe this content is what got him fired, if the rumours are true, it would make sense, but who knows, and assumptions are not facts. (I still dread that I'll see him in his uniform that he some hows talks his way back) I don’t want to share what else he wrote because I don’t want it in my blog, but this also triggered more memories for me. Growing up he was always so bitter, homophobic, racist, sexist, disturbing and anyone who dared to disagree with him was automatically wrong in his opinion and would lead to an argument. It’s taken me until now to realise the impact all of this has had on me. However In a positive I do feel that growing up the way I did is why I’m so open minded, I believe that everyone has a right to be whoever they are, that we can all be different and still live together peacefully. Knowing such cruelty had made me kind.

I could go and get darker but it would just make people uncomfortable and I’m not about that, also I’ll save some bits for the book.

For now I’ll just keep driving forward.

My blogs are back to getting under 100 views again, which is nice and chill. However I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has read and shared the last few, I can’t begin to express how supportive I feel that when I ask for awareness and shares on an entry I get a positive response. It’s imperative as women and men that we support each other. So truly thank you, I worry I articulate myself poorly and because art is subjective it can translate wrong. However there’s a saying that once you have shared a piece of creative work and allowed it to be open to interpretation that the meaning no longer belongs to you. I have no new art, i'm too tired to creative (probably why i'm frustrated) however instead I’d like to share some older work inspired by my childhood, of course open to interpretation...

Thanks for reading... sorry about the typos!

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I really like blogging, It feels very 'me' and it's great to do something we love right!? I've wanted to do this style of work for years but I really wasn't ready to open up about my art work as I am now.

I'm really finding my voice and this has given me a deeper reason for creating! However having my own voice doesn't feel like enough. We all have stories and struggles that are all different. Art for me is about connection, awareness and story telling, and I believe that together there is so much awareness to be spread.

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