Happy Fucking Mothers Days

Being a parent – It’s sometimes the hardest job in the world, at other times it’s the best! Mothers days is fast approaching, it’s a chance to do something for your mother to let her know you care and say thank you. To say thank you one day a year for a job that lasts 360 days a year, 24 hours a day, a job that brings no financial rewards, only the emotional ones.

Being a parent fucking sucks some times! It fucks with my feelings, it fucks with my head, my thoughts, it is like the umbilical cord was never cut like it is still there but invisable connecting me to my two kids and it is unlike any other relationship I have ever known.

I’m with them on their highs, but I also follow them on their lows sometimes it’s hard to detach myself from their journeys, and despite all of my self-awareness and self-care, they are still always there in the back of my mind, regardless of their age, their maturity they will always be my babies, my kids. I will always feel responsible for their feelings, despite knowing deep down that they are their own journeys, they have their own feelings and emotions and I know that they are ultimately responsible for themselves and their own.

Doing something or saying something that I think is right or might help, only to find it was wrong. Sometimes being a parent is a fucking thankless task, I have to remind myself on a regular basis that none of us are ever perfect and i include us all in that statement.

As a parent I often reflect back and have my times of doubt, carrying the guilt that somehow I did something wrong or I could have been a better mother, do they doubt themselves becuase of something i said or have done? But when I see them achieve, succeed and believe in their own esteem, leaves me feeling like I’ve done a good job but then seeing them struggle leaves me feeling like I have somehow failed. There is no let-up or reprieve from that sense of responsibility, the sense of duty is always there, it never goes away like a fucking yoyo up and down always being played with.

I have to constantly remind myself that all I have to give and offer my children are my own life lessons and the wisdom I have acquired along the way hoping that they themselves will too find their own!

I can look back and now and I often wonder how my own mother ever coped having to stand back and watch me self harm from within, watch me deteriorate before her eyes, powerless to stop me in my tracks, to stop me on the journey and path I was heading down, she has witnessed all the shit relationships, all the shit decisions I have made, she has often been a constant passenger sometimes against her will.

Despite it being the hardest job in the world, I am thankful that I have a relationship with my kids, I cannot imagine how it must feel for the parents whose invisible unbilicle cord has been severed because of death or is strained because they no longer talk. 

I am thankful for all the rewards when they are good I am good, I have raised two beautiful kids, I can now stand back and observe one of my daughters who has a son of her own and who is starting her own journey of motherhood, knowing that she too will at some point go through the roller coaster of high’s and low’s that both me and my own mother have endured.

I am thankful that I still have my mother, I know she still suffers the same pain as me sometimes, the hurt, the frustrations that come with being a mother. I am blessed our bond has been deepened by the shared understanding that we both now know what each other is going through. She has annoyed me, frustrated me but throughout she has been my constant, my rock! I hope that now everything I do makes her proud and that all the pain that I inflicted not just upon myself, but also on her in the past was worth it to see the person I have become today –

Mothers day comes around every year and every year I am asked the same question “what would you like for mother’s day?” and I reply the same every year “Oh I don’t know, it’s not a big deal!” I don’t want grand gestures or my kids to pay over the top, inflated prices for a meal, the best present both my kids could give me is, me knowing that “they are happy and ok!” I’ll take that, that warm feeling of knowing you kids feel safe and content is priceless and no amount of money nor gifts can replace that feeling.

So to all the mothers out there Happy Mother’s Day, try and have a day off… Make time for you, You friggin deserve it, to all the kids who are not yet parents, “make the most of you being parentless, because being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world and today we are having a day off”

Love Fordy x

Which button are you going to press?

Be warned, there are a lot of FUCKS in this post

We all have our own internal “FUCK IT” button, its that button we press or allow others to press, where we go to a place, a place where we are able to shut ourselves down or block out our thoughts feelings and emotions and tell ourselves , delude ourselves that we really “don’t fucking care”. Whilst we are in that place, space in our heads, we give ourselves a short respite from all the shit that is getting us down, we might take drugs, get pissed, avoid problems, ignore debts, lash out at loved ones, ignore advice, retreat into ourselves, blank out the world… 

And I get it! It works, it really does work. christ my FUCK IT button at one time had nearly worn its self out! 

The crap bit about all those FUCK IT moments is that they don’t last long enough, before we know it, we come out of the FUCK IT delusional mist to find we have a trail of mess and more shit to clear up!

I see so many people who are still using their FUCK IT button as a reason, or justification for doing something that they wouldn’t normally do whilst in “FUCK IT mode” But the  only problem with those “Fuck it” moments, that place where to take yourself to hide and tell yourself that you don’t care is that deep down, the fact is that you “DO CARE” in fact, you care a lot.  Going into fuck it mode you are not blocking out all the things that have hurt you, you are blocking our your OWN feelings and emotions. And heres the thing, none of us can hide from our emotions, our emotions and feelings are who we REALLY are! 

Think about this 

If we cared so much, then why would we deny caring about ourselves?
As a society we worry too much about what other people think? and yet take no notice of what we really think? 

We do have choices in life, we can continue to press the FUCK IT button every time something doesn’t go our way, or when someone hurts us and thats your choice? But there is another option another button you can press? Call it what you like, but let’s call it “what the fucks going on here?” Button or even #Haveawordwitheesen button? What ever you call it? Press it and take a step back, make time to ask yourself , “why am I angry?” Or “Why am I feeling hurt?” But please allow yourself time to answer , this button don’t work as fast as the FUCK IT one, give yourself some time to think, before changing your mind and reaching for the FUCK IT button again.

Go call a freind, talk it through, take a step back, walk away from the problem, try looking at it from the outside, what are your options? What could you do differently instead of going for the FUCK IT button, you might not like the options or solutions available, but at least you have the insight to try a differant approach? 

We can all continue to press the FUCK IT button, that our choice, but the FUCK IT button doesn’t make your problems go away…

Just saying…

Your voice counts, it may not always be heard, but whilst ever you have a voice, it still counts and so do you!

One of the most powerful results outcomes from all this #Havingawordwimesen malarky is that I am slowly learning to feel more confident, more assertive, Yes I just said that, despite what people see on the surface, what they haven’t seen is that for years there have been times I have felt suffocated, insecure, when I have spoken out it would be out of reaction opposed to  coming from a calm rational place.  I have always had a voice, in fact I can be a gobby twat, but I am starting to learning how to fine tuned my voice, my thoughts to make every word count, not just to others, but more importantly count for me. 

I have been thinking of late, what parts of my work could I let go, pull away from? Trying to work out what part of my work I give fucks about and start letting go of the shit I give fewer fucks about. Sometimes this is hard to do,  and I am getting there, I have let go of a lot of useless shit over the past few months. For example, there was a time during my working life that social media, drove me close to insanity and back, I would get eaten up by the negative comments and opinions of people I didn’t even know, resulting in me often over reacting causing myself emotional distress. I am starting to learn, understand and accept that I am one person out of the other 31 million users of facebook alone in the UK, that there are a  minority of those who are just keyboard warriors using words to hurt and maim others. But that there are still good people using the platform for good too, I see myself as one of them, I see the Love Sheffield Forum as being another, Sheffield Recovery Community, Help us Help are platforms to promote good. 

I have always been a maverick at heart, I have never been one for conformity, I have always felt suffocated by rules, especially rules, I don’t understand, or rules made by someone who are no longer working on the front line doing the real face to face shit, dealing with people in crisis, dealing with people who have lost their way amongst all the fucking rules and broken some or many along the way, those who have lost their voice, who are no longer heard, because of the rules they have broken. 

I particularly dislike working within the confines of rules and conditions laid down, made by people who I have zero respect for people who’s pay grade is lower than their own, those who assume that their higher pay grade or status gives them the authority to excert their authority over me. I am learning to recognise that they are afraid of free thinkers, afraid of people having a voice, out of fear that it will undermine their own. 

But I also know and recognise that instead of wishing that these kind of people could jus vanish off the face of the earth and be replaced by free thinkers, this ain’t going to happen neither. They will always fall into the #shithappens realm, there will always be restricted thinkers, the self absorbed narcissist who will always put their needs before others, regardless of the consequences. 

What I am learning about myself is that by understanding me more, that I am in a better position to navigate the rules, navigate my work, navigate the narcissist, dodge the negative shit that surrounds us, the negative shit that bombards use daily! 

I want to make a difference, make things count, make people count, I want then to feel heard, listen too, In my small way throughly my work I feel that this is one way I can do this. By providing  a platform and space for those who have lost their voice, or who have been silenced by the rules. 

But I am also a pragmatist too, I am surrounded by well meaning people aspire to end homelessness, end addiction, end the endless cycle of abuse whether the victims be adults or young people and I will always champion and get behind all those causes, I am a passionate person, who cares about others, I am also a realist.

We can all run around wanting to change the world, we all want to make a difference in one way or another, but the difference that really counts is when you start with you. I am learning that you cannot save everyone, there is only so much you can do, and you cannot help others if you ain’t focusing on you too. 

Now, this may come across as being selfish or even narcissistic? If it does then I don’t fucking care, because I am learning to understand and accept that I do care, but that I also care about me too. 

What ever your plans for this weekend, make sure you are doing something for YOU

Love Fordy x

My pledge in your death, Is to continue to write

Looking back when I was a kid, you only ever really saw men in the pub, if women were there, they would always be accompanied by their bloke and kids were NEVER allowed on the premises. Some pubs even had little tuck shops, selling sweets from a hatch at the side of the bar, pacifying the kids playing outside whilst the parents drank inside. The pubs were dominated by guys drinking pints off loading their wows and drowning their sorrows, or in dads case celebrating his latest win for the darts team. Theres something called ‘Groupthink’ is a construct of social psychology which describes the actions of people who are more like to perform out of a desire to conform and a sense of loyalty to the group of which they are a members, Dad was part of this group.  Only in the UK is it acceptable and socially encouraged to drink on every occasion, if your feeling low “have a drink, drown your sorrows!” new baby  “wet it’s head” someone’s died “have a drink on the deceased’s memory” New house “lets christen it” your local teams playing, win or lose “lets get pissed to celebrate or commiserate” its Friday “you deserve a drink” got a new job, “lets go celebrate” fuck me even birthday’s, hen and stag do’s get strung out for a week nowadays, gone are the one night affairs people use this as an opportunity for a week long piss up. 

It’s no wonder that years later dads social drinking developed into dependancy, I see now how alcohol eventually stripped him of all his dignity, his identity and eventually his soul. The pride he once had, had long since gone drowned from years of looking down the bottom of a bottle, Alcohol became his crutch, his new mistress, he lived in the denial that without it he was nothing, he couldn’t socialise without it, he couldn’t live within himself without it, he couldn’t physically function without it and yet he couldn’t see that it was in fact the very same thing that was slowly killing and destroying him, not just inside but on the outside too. 

Alcohol wasn’t just destroying him, it was destroying me, his loved ones, those that once loved and admired him, pained at seeing what he had become, feeling powerless, knowing deep down that nothing you said or did would help, he had gone too far! And dad knew it too! I couldn’t see a way out, he had tried, he had tried many a time, but eventually, he gave up and had almost come to terms with his lot, his fate.  And so did we, this was dad, my dad, the guy who once turned heads when he walked in a room was long gone, replaced by a shell, hollow from the inside. As his daughters, we had to learn to accept that we couldn’t change dad, he was on his own journey and we had a choice whether or not we walked with him or walked away, we both chose to stay. 

Looking back i am sooo glad we did, i learned a lot, not just about Dad, but also me

Today marks the day
Since dad passed away, 
I still remember the day well
As clear as day
Those memories will never go away 

You made some life choices 
Some I will never agree 
You were who you were 
I could never change that

There is no denying
There were many times I felt like crying 
It was a tough journey
A heavy burden to bare
But we chose to stand by you 
And continued to care
Your death was not in vain though
There are many like you
Stripped of their dignity 
Identity, stripped of their soul
My pledge in your death
Is to continue to write
For all those unsung heroes 
Still in the fight
For all the families and friends 
Who despite their hurt and anger
Try hard not to walk away 
They are family 
And thats what families do
We stick by our own, 
binded like invisible glue 
For those still living on their wits end 
Please dont forget you 
You still count 
Try not to despair
They know you still care
Make a pledge to yourself 
Continue on your quest
Be the best version of you
Thats all you can do

Your life is not over
Make time to mourn 
But be the best version you can
And continue to learn
Appreciate what you have got
We are not here long
Live one day at a time
Continue to be strong 

Love Fordy x

Still trying to figure out who I am and what i’m​ doing?- #Shithappens

Well, I have figured out I am still **cking useless at technology, and I still need to figure out how to use this computer! The writing Saturday went out of the window, I broke my alcohol ban on the Friday evening, had a few beers a glass of wine, and boy did i know about it all day Saturday. So much so i am learning that I would much rather stay AF so i can write than suffer all day. Sunday came, I still felt shit, but I was on a roll, I stomped through the dull headache, the writing, memories flowed I had been reflecting about my teens…

I really started to play up in my teens, looking back I now realise at the time that I had put my mother, ada through hell, but at the time I couldn’t see it, but at the same time, it felt that they never see the real me! I had many friends growing up, I would go through phases where I might try and reinvent myself, I could go for a while being well behaved, but it never lasted long. I found I was good at making friends, but only friends by association, but not any real friends, not a best friend I could actually call my own, someone who I could really trust, someone who was there all the time, I would often envy people at school who had formed closed bonds, friendships that lasted, throughout primary and into secondary school, I was popular, but yet felt like the most unpopular person I knew. 

Then I get a notification in the corner of my screen -For months I had been being stalked, prompted on numerous occasions by my laptop to install and update this app (or whatever it was) I finally decided to take the plunge and do it! I figured it wouldn’t be asking me to do so, unless it was important! RIGHT? I started the download thinking it would take 5 mins but after precisely 38 minutes my screen finally booted up again, but it looked completely different and my desktop was bare, the family picture was there, but that was it, it was blank, nothing, no folders, no documents, no chapters, no journal (i mean my personal journal which comprised of over 75, 000 words, thoughts, memories emotions?) It had all gone…

So what was supposed to be a chilled day, writing, offloading turned out to be one of the worst Sunday afternoons in history? I called myself all the **cking names under the sun, I was the thickest, most stupid person I knew, I mean who does that! I knew deep in my gut, that there was a reason I had ignored the request for months, but I had ignored my gut instinct and listened to a **cking computer, I starred at the picture I had recently purchased, it sit in front of me, a picture that inspires me, I looked at all the positive affirmations that surrounded my work desk, my draft index, content for the book and could have nearly cried at the thought of starting all over again.

My insides were in turmoil, it would take months to rewrite the chapters I had lost, I didn’t honestly think I had it in me to start all over again, that work contained memories, emotions that quite frankly I didn’t want to have to revisit again, I had already made my amends, I didn’t want to have to do it all again, I cannot remember that last time I felt this gutted, lost. there would have been a time, when i would have thrown the towel in gone into “Fuck it” mode, given in, but I having achieved so much over the past few months, not just on paper but in myself, i decided that i needed to take my own advice and #Haveawordwimesen

I took a step back from the computer, stopped looking at the screen, to detach myself away from the angry and negative emotions. I took some deep breaths and every negative comment that went around my head, I replaced with a compassionate reply to myself

“I can’t do it?” – yes you can, ok it might take a while and yes you are angry, but you will do it, you can do it, who knows the second time around it might even be better?

“I don’t know how?” – Ok you might need to take some training, some lessons, but you will learn, you will get it, you know people who can help, reach out and ask?

Pat called me, from downstairs unaware of my latest crisis, I came downstairs ate my lunch in silence, reassuring myself that it would be all ok, even though it certainly didn’t feel like that. After lunch i washed the pots, I wasn’t in any rush to go back up to my room, after a while I took some deep breaths and ascended the stairs, back to me room of doom and that **cking computer.

Searching my history, i managed to retrieve some work I had been recently working on, I also, remembered I had stored some of the chapters on Trello (again a system where your work is floating about somewhere, **ck knows where) but I had only stored 4 chapters! I needed the other 6.

Then I remembered that there was something called i Cloud, its an invisible place (fuck knows where) where all your pictures, writing is stored, I was hoping and praying that I might have managed to save something on there, if not I was truly screwed. after what seemed like forever I found it, my Desktop files, where right there, I clicked to down load them, so I didn’t lose them again. I have them back and a degree of my sanity too, it’s safe to say that is three hours of my life i wont ever get back, but at least I have the days, months worth of work back where it belongs.

Now I need to get me sen someone who knows what the **ck they are doing with computers, with websites and show me how NOT to make the same mistake again, if tha know’s anyone, hit me up – God I feel better after that rant

Dont ​let the bastards grind you down

Society, anxiety

I have been shying away as much as I can from the news of late, but it’s hard to escape, where ever you go, you see it, the person sat begging, the person stood waiting around the corner, waiting for them to earn enough to score! I’ve watched the debates and part of me dies, I despair, I despise the rooms full of people making decisions that affect our lives. I can watch no more, a room full of egos, each trying and vying for public applause. “I’m right!” No “your wrong” I can no longer relate to those who debate, those are supposed to have our best interest at heart!

When it It feels like they are tearing this country apart. 

A nation divided, angry and broken, Its everywhere, I see it every day,  and its bleak, on the streets, in our communities, all over on social media and on every fucking tweet!

I have switched off, I no longer care, just make up your fucking minds and show us you really care. You were voted in to represent us, the working class, the under class, those without a voice, single parents, broken families to the teenager on the street, who carries a weapon, to protect him from being beat! It feels like the hunger games, the lack of trust, lack of transparency, people literally fighting for survival! Begging on the streets going to food banks just so they can eat, is it’s no wonder people drown their sorrows in drink and they feel defeat!

So fuck you, you twats, you don’t speak my language, you don’t represent me, so I’ll go back to what I know, working alongside the unsung heroes, those in the know. You sit in your chambers and continue to spout, I am proud, I am alive, and stand with the many still trying to survive, I live it, I feel it, I see it every day, people out there making a difference, with no pats on the back, doing it because its right, because life is cruel, because life is unfair, but because it’s the right thing to do!

I still have my own voice, you won’t shut me up, speaking up for the underdog, for those who feel silenced, who lost their cause,  lost their way or have been led astray, by the illusion that life should be perfect, trust me  perfection it doesn’t exist, but you still have a voice and we all have still have a choice! Life can be shit! That much is true, I still count and so do you! 

Please don’t despair, people really still do care, switch off the news and take a look around, talk to neighbours, talk to friend’s, talk to a stranger on the street, we all have our own problems but will not be defeat. It’s not over yet, we still have our community spirit, the flame is alive and we will continue to strive, the best we can, it might not be the best, but we have each others back so go fuck the rest! 

Take a deep breath, and step outside your door, don’t let the bastards grind you down, step outside and see what life has in store!  

And on that note, I feel a lot better now I got that off me chest, have a good day, whatever you are doing 

Love Fordy x

#Haveawordwitheesen – Tha cant help everyone​ if tha can’t help ya sen

So what’s the point to all this writing, I often ask myself? Where does this desire come from? I came across this post earlier and it got me thinking…

You’re not stuck 
You are committed to certain patterns of behaviour because they have helped you in the past.
Now those behaviours have become more harmful than helpful.
The reason what you cannot move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life.
Change the formula get a different result.

For me writing, making time for ME has helped me recognize old patterns of thoughts, that often instigate or trigger feelings, that then impact on how I react (behave) in certain situations. I thought that once I understood how and why my addiction brought me to my knees, to the point of no return, that I would be ok? but it’s not that simple, we are not that simple? we are all complex beings, each unique.

Ok I might have changed my old coping strategies (which was using drugs),  but what I recognized last year, that afternoon sat with my old friend and confidant Mick Holmes is that I had kinda got complacent, there was a time, years ago, when I would make time for me, think about me, #Haveawordwimesen, I would put me first, I knew what made me tick but somewhere along the line, I had stopped thinking about me and started spending too much time thinking and focusing on others, wanting to “help everyone above everything else” putting others first, deluding myself that I was doing ok? When deep down I didn’t really ever really feel that I “was ok” There were many a time I would tell myself at work “I’m a fraud, I’m just winging it,” and that I would get somehow “found out”. And trust me I am not the only person who coins the phrase “I’m just winging it” or “sometimes I wonder if I’ll get caught out as being a fraud?” 

Over the recent months, sharing and baring my soul, my highs my low’s on here has been my way of trying to identify those often subtle, unseen old patterns of thoughts, feeling and consequently behaviours and reactions to everyday situations I face now, but the main lesson I am learning to come to terms with is that “I cannot save every fucker

I now can actually pinpoint the time I stopped working on myself and it was during the time I was caring for dad, when the alcoholism took a hold constantly reacting to his addictive demands, the constant emotional blackmail, fuck me I didn’t have the time (or should I say make the time) for me at the time, i even neglected my own family, but now recognize that when dad did finally pass, instead of going back to working on me, I didn’t stop, I continued wanting to rescue and help others. Now I am not saying that this is a bad thing? “is it fuck,” we all need people that care and I do still care, but in order to care for others we MUST look after ourselves FIRST!

Did you know that there is something called vicarious trauma? (Perlman & Saakvitne, 1995), sometimes also called compassion fatigue, is the latest term that describes the phenomenon generally associated with the “cost of caring” for others (Figley, 1982), Click on the link, if you work or volunteer in a caring role we are all at risk from suffering it, its the next step up from “burnout”. I wonder how many people there are working, operating in this way and don’t even realize it?

So what am I learning? whats all this #Havingawordwitheesen all about?

As a direct consequence of making time for me, making time to learn to understand myself I am slowly learning to unpick some of those limiting beliefs that have built over time. Now this isn’t to say that I will ever get to unpick or lose all those limiting beliefs that have held me back from being my true self, or becoming “normal” whatever the FUCK that means. But what I am becoming is a braver version of me, I am more confident in certain situations, I am less frightened or concerned about being judged because my opinion “might offend or upset the stars quo,” I am less concerned about being ridiculed or judged when I post or share poetry, for example, I mean Fordy doing poetry? “What the fuck is that all about? “I even hear myself say…. But more importantly, (as I said before) I am learning that I cannot save everyone.

I have desperately wanted to write about my own personal experiences about how I dealt with not just my addiction but dads, in the hope that the lessons I learned might help “just one person” for years, and I have realized that the only person, thing that was holding me back was me, all those limiting beliefs, I had allowed myself to procrastinate I had allowed the self-doubt, the same self doubt, that I kept hidden within me, hidden from the outside world, just masking the daily negative narrative that I had almost become accustomed to, I had come to accept that this was who I was, this was my lot!

Nah Fuck that!

That day with Mick, I shared about feeling sick of the pretence, sick of feeling like I didn’t have a voice or a choice, when I knew deep down that I did, but that I WOULD HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!  It turns out that it would have to be me no-one else, me. Because lets be reet

I am the only person that really knows me. 
I am the only person that hears the negative narrative that I carry around.
I am the only persons that can work on changing that negative narrative.
I am the only person that can challenge myself, question myself when the self doubt kicks in.
Thats why when you might hear me say “tha needs to have a word wi thee sen” I literally do mean it!

If you are in a caring role, if you are a worker, friend, relative, volunteer it doesn’t really matter, but if you are helping others, I urge you to save some of that caring back for YOU

Right I’m off, got work to do and shit loads of people to rescue (Joke), what ever you are doing, look after you

love Fordy x

Ps – if tha wants to hear more shit, you can leave ya email to get some more daily words of wisdom, just go to the home page x

That elusive “Window of opportunity”

Working with people in crisis, you will often hear the phrase “window of opportunity” what this means is that every so often that person that you are trying to support has come to accept something needs to change, they are receptive to take a risk and make some changes. 

After working in this field for over 20+ years, every day my peers, colleagues, from drugs, housing services or the voluntary organising offing drop in’s, offering respite from the cold,  or who provide free food, hot drinks, or replenish clothing are there constantly knocking on these peoples windows, trying to engage, hoping that one day, they will open their window and let them in and when that time arises they all will and do go above and beyond to help that person. 

However, the real challenge is once the window is open, it’s keeping it open, and let me be clear, that the person who first opened that window, has to help keep the window open too.

Familiy members, friends, staff or volunteers cannot force the windows from outside, as they have to be opened from within.  There are many reasons why people might decide to bolt their windows shut or refuse to open them, this could be fear, a lifetime of rejection, a cycle of addiction that has become someones comfort blanket what ever the reason, its reason enough for them to lock out the world. 

For those who dare open their windows, it might be they are sick of the cold, they are sick of their addictions, they are sick of causing harm or distress to others, they are sick of prison, or they are just sick of the cycle, the lifestyle that has become their life, what ever the reason, it doesn’t really matter, but what does matters is that they are receptive to taking a risk, trusting the staff but more importantly themselves. 

I feel privileged to be able to work alongside some amazing people, who themselves were locked in their own prisons, but who took the courage to open their windows and keep them open, the same people that are there day in a day out reaching out, knocking on other peoples windows hoping that one day, that person might let them in or to all the others, who want to help, because they simplly care.

Some days are tough when someone’s window that was once opened, has closed and this is a tough pill to swallow for those people trying to help.

To all my peers, colleagues, too all the families who’s mission in life is to help others or a loved one , I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for never giving up and never give in.

Ready, steady, go, go go

 Recovery and me
 Every day
 Every second, minute, hour
 Never quite sure what life has in store today
 Never sure what shit may be thrown our way

 Our past’s act as our guide
 We have learned when we need to either stand up or hide
 Our thoughts our memories take a hold 
 Playing a toying with us 
 Sometimes losing control 

 We are all creatures of habit 
 But habits can be changed 
 Exploring the old beliefs and values 
 The same that bind us 
 The same that keep us in chains 

 Our past has brought us here
 Every memory… 
 Every thought…
 Every fear… 

 But what if we were wrong? Imagine that?
 What if we could be the person we truly aspire to be? 
 To have the courage to stand tall
 Let go of the shame 
 Have the courage to start over again?

 Be brave be bold
 Don’t let those old thoughts and feelings take a hold 
 Take a risk
 Try something new 
 Chip away at those chains 
 To find the real you

 We all have choices 
 What will be yours?
 You can stay the same 
 You can make the most of what you have got
 But remember, be warned 
 You only get one shot 

 But we are all winners
 There’s no second or third place
 So get in position and get ready to race

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Wedding, Tantrums and Tiaras, Oh and a New Brother

I have managed to cover quite a bit of the book this weekend, which I am well chuffed wi me sen about. Christ, I am onto chapter 11 well over 10, 000, which just show’s. showing up, doing a bit when you can, does pay dividends. I didn’t particularly want to write about this part of my life, but in order to understand the relationship between me and dad, I have to give some history, some context before I get into my own personal experience with a shitty relationship, with drugs and then being there when dad was on his knee’s. It was around this time that I went from being a kid, without a care in the world and started morphing into an adolescent monster. So here goes –

Chapter 9

Ada had proposed to mom not long after moving to Gleadless Valley,  the romantic sod had bent down on one knee in what was once the hole in the road a precinct in the town center and declared his undying love before presenting her with a beautiful engagement ring. Mom had never had an engagement ring before, Christ she didn’t even have any wedding pictures!

It was around that time that I learned Ada had actually been married before and was also divorced there were no kids, no ties and to be honest it was never talked about. So now mom had gotten her divorce papers through they were both  free to wed again.

They had booked a date for the wedding, it would take place on the 15th of May 1982, I would have been twelve at the time, I didn’t have a problem at all with mom getting married, after all she was the happiest I had seen her in my young years, Ada was a nice bloke, he might be strict but he wasn’t a bad guy. Nan was ecstatic, you would have thought it was the friggin royal wedding the way she talked about it, but I think she was more ecstatic about the fact that mom had finally met a normal bloke (what ever that is) Ada didn’t go to the pub all the time like dad, Ada was a family man unlike dad, Ada earned an honest living, unlike dad. 

Because mom and ada both felt that this was the real deal they opted for a church wedding. The wedding would take place at the local church, called the Holy Cross, which was on the other side of the Valley. It was a new modern looking church that sat behind The Wyvern Pub, the same one dad would sometimes frequent and wasn’t that far from where Dad was living with Pat and her boys. 

The only issue I did have with the wedding was the church, but because mom and Ada were  both divorcees we “as a family” would have to start attending church regularly before the vicar would agree to marry them! I couldn’t get my head around the injustice, having to pray for a guy I had never metwhat a load of hypocritical bollox!

Oh and I fucking hated it, how could I hide the fact I would be going to church every Sunday, the church sat bang in the middle of the friggin estate I grew up in for gods sake! some of me mates lived near by and even though no-one said it, they might have started to refer to me as one of them bible bashers, no one  else I knew went to church, well apart from a couple of geeky kids from our year, and if they thought that I was going to be their new bessie mate they were sadly mistaken! There was only one other mate from school who’s family were religious, not that you would know it, he came from a family of devote Jehovas witnesses, the attended the Kingdom Hall, around the back of the church, but no one would ever have taken the piss, nor did they, because Rob was built like John Coffey from the film Green Mile! It was an absolute joke that we would have to go along with the pretence that we believed in god, just so mom and ada could get married under their roof! 

It was also agreed that me, Sarah and my two cousins Linda and Debbie would be bridesmaids, moms best mate would be maid of honour, you can imagine my delight at the though of having to wear a frigging dress. Money was tight, so all the dresses were handmade, mom would be walking down the aisle in a white lace number and we would be following her, carrying our bouquets dresses head to toes in lilac. So the wedding was booked, the dresses were being made, we would be attending church pretending to be whiter than white and then BOOM mom finds out she’s pregnant. 

Ada had never made it a secret that whilst he loved me and Sarah and took us on as his own, he always wanted his own kid, so the news that mom was pregnant didn’t come as a surprise. And whilst I was pleased and happy for mom and Ada, I did chuckle to myself, not only was mom having to attend church months before she was married to prove she was pure after her divorce, but how could she be pure when she already had two kids and now she would be walking down the aisle preggers! Isn’t it a sin to have sex before marriage? So after many readjustments to mother’s wedding dress, the day finally came around when she would be wedded to Ada, but this also meant that after this I would never have to attend church again, Praise the lord – A fucking men and all that bollox!

I have many memories of the day, but the one that sticks out is those of my cousin Linda, a year older than me, Linda was the daughter of moms oldest sister Auntie Glenda. To be fair she wasn’t first in the line when god or whoever it dished out looks or personality, in fact, she was the most awkward contrary kid I knew. I remember she had been stuffing her face all morning with sweets whilst we were getting ready,  but then started complaining that she felt unwell she moaned all day, she wouldn’t smile for the cameras, her face looked like she was permanently constipated throughout the whole friggin morning of the ceremony and to be fair she probably was!,

As the ceremony started , I had a vision of dad turning up just as the vicar askIf any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together? let them speak now or forever hold their peace” thank the lord or whoever that he never showed up. Despite having his own woman, or women during his and moms relationship, he still kinda felt that she was his first, he was the father of her two first born and even though they were long separated, divorced he would always be there, he would always be our dad and not ada, I recall there was a time, I onto remember if it was before or after the wedding dissatisfied with the UK mom and Ada explored the possibilities of emigrating to Australia or New Zealand at one point, but dad kiboshed that idea even though he saw us sporadically and didn’t seem to care, when he heard about that, he asserted his rights as a dad, claiming he would never allow mom to take us to another country, anyway back to the wedding.

Grandad was our designated driver and minder for the day for us bridesmaids and wasn’t impressed in the slightest about her complaints of wanting to be sick on the journey to the celebratory meal from the church grandad had to stop the car twice to allow her to be sick. I was laughing my head off because granddad was sooo angry with her and her whining, up until then she had moaned just about all the friggin day. I’m too hot, my dress is too tight, I feel sick, her whining was never ending, Auntie Glenda ran and fussed around her like she was a princess who could do no wrong, but not granddad. Whilst she was voming outside of the car, grandad was pacing up and down truntering to himself then giving her the third degree about eating too many sweets, he turned to me and whispering under is breath he mouthed  “thank god you are not like her Tatey”. Yep grandad don’t you worry I wont let you down. At the meal Lindas demands continued as she refused to eat her wedding meal without ketchup, she had ketchup on everything and today was no exception, I remember grandads disgust when Auntie Glenda came rushing over to the table and produced a bottle of Henze tomatoe ketchup out of her hand bag, satisfied Linda then proceeded to cover her entire plate and I mean her entire plate in red gloopy sauce. It wasn’t long into the meal that, that said same gloopy sauce ended up all over her bridesmaid dress after she spewed all her dinner back up again, right there at the dinner table. I couldn’t help but laugh at granddads face, Lindas face and watching auntie Glenda running around like a demented moron trying to clean up the mess, which quite frankly looked like a blood bath. 

The meal was over and more people, some I had never seen before, started to descend on the venue to help mom and ada celebrate their prenuptial’s.  The DJ took his place and asked for silence, before requesting that mom and Ada take their place in the centre of the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Mom was no longer Dads wife she would no longer be referred to as Mrs Ford, she was now officially Mrs Flude and with that they took to the dance floor and danced for the first time as husband and wife. I recall thinking how happy mom looked that day, how content she seemed to be marrying the man of her dreams and now carrying his child. There were many speculative debates in the house as to wether mom was carrying a boy or a girl, personally I longed for a little boy, boys were easier, boys didn’t bitch or fall out with each other every five minutes and deep down I knew that Ada did too. 

On the 6th of October that year, my new baby brother was born, you couldn’t help but fall in love at first sight with Mark, his blond whispery hair, the blue eyes, he was perfect, after bringing him home, after what had apparently been a traumatizing birth for mom, the house was filled with visitors bringing gifts and wanting a cuddle with the new arrival. One of the most frequent visitors was my nan, in-fact she came around even more after Mark was born in fact she was completely obsessed “The golden child” as he would later be referred to, and it wasnt just me, other family members noticed her obsession too. She was present at his birth, but the way she went off you would have thought that she’d given friggin birth herself, you would have thought Mark was her son and not mom and ada’s

She was like an itch that wouldn’t go away, always there, always having an opinion, don’t do this, don’t do that! But despite her presence, I did love having mark around, I loved the permanent smell of babies that would hit you as you walked in the house, our Sarah loved caring for our mark, wanting to help out, feeding or bathing him, taking him for walks in his pushchair, to her he was like her new doll, she was a natural, whereas I preferred playing and cooing with him and couldn’t wait until he started to crawl, walk and develop his own little personality, he’s going to kill me but I don’t care, but when he was about eighteen months he was fixated with his todger, willy, nob or penis, (whatever you call it) he would be told to leave it alone, “it will fall off” mom would say but he was obsessed, In fact sometimes I’d find him, hiding behind the sofa secretly playing with it! Much to the dismay of Nan, which would only make me encourage him more, just to piss her off.