Nobody is perfect. In trying to write this exactly how it happened and withholding nothing has made several things known to me about myself and yet has caused me to feel ashamed at what I have written at the same time. Looking back over this piece I felt pure revolt when reading some of the parts. I wish I had not written this. Privacy is central to me, one of my greatest pleasures. I used to be proud of how I expressed nothing to anyone, how my life was mine alone. Now I see how stupid that was, distancing yourself too far is a dangerous thing. Yet I loved every minute of it and today it is still a struggle to keep myself open. In attempting to leave nothing out my soul has been engraved into this. You have my heart on this piece of paper; hold it carefully.
My father is not one of these monster-villains you see in adventure films and I do not wish to vilify him so. Pure evil does not engulf him, there was someone trying to escape underneath all the coatings. And I believe there still is.
The visits to Telford when I was two to four seemed like a dreamy escape at first. A time when, "Mummy, Bethan and Granny" could all be happy together. But I was wrong. It was merely another piece to fit into the puzzle. Only this time it was twisted and gnarled. My mother had to visit Telford Crown Court to sort out custody and visitation rights. Thinking about it now I remember how tense and nervous she looked during the train journey. Strange for a day out I thought, though it never struck me as incredibly odd at the time. I was not old enough to understand this either. My mother had no other adult to share her troubles with on a day-to-day basis. My grandmother came to stay with us as often as she could, but mother must have felt so very scared and isolated without her.
In Telford, when the time came for mummy to go off by herself, I always yearned to go with her. Even with granny I always felt so alone and afraid without mummy. She was the only one who could pick me up and comfort me, the only one who could make me feel safe. I felt dead inside without her, although I did not understand what we were going through then. My mother and grandmother would talk in hushed tones about my father, wishing to protect me and not to hurt me. But this only made everything worse at the time - I wanted to be able to understand it all, to share some of their pain. However I was too young. Everything was done for my sake and I was helpless to comfort them.
My grandmother would take me around Telford shopping centre and afterwards we would go to the park to see the ducks and swans on the lake. I remember her holding my hand and buying us ice-creams, trying to make it as bearable as possible for me. Today I do not remember a great deal of those early times with her. It is funny how our subconscious blacks out certain events. I remember the most strange and random things. Things like how she used to bite her chocolate ice-cream instead of licking it, how, "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush" would play through the centre at Christmas time, how the children's swings had tigers and elephants on them, how sand used to re-appear in my shoes no matter how many times I emptied them and how I was not allowed to go on the giant silvery slide for I was too little. That part always saddened me. As a child I yearned for the day when i would traverse my way down the slide. Children are more perceptive than adults and pick up feelings and events that many would not expect them to.
I was happy during those time with my grandmother. It was a strange happiness - tinged with black pepper, there was a bitter taste behind it. The fact that we were covering up what was really going on underneath all the pretence. Everyone was rushing all about us in a whirl, looking as thought Christmas was dominating their minds. Presents for family and friends, food, planning etc. Yet we were not part of that. An elderly woman and a young child walking hand in hand towards the park. They do not see the spirit of Christmas all around them, they are blind to it. I tried my best to carry on as normal, to pretend that nothing was happening. But during those times I would take a freeze-frame in my mind of the scene around us. Mankind's excited faces, their happiness reflected in the brightness of the twinkling fairy lights. I felt so lonely and left out in the midst of it all. Selfish as it sounds, I wished I could take some of their happiness and claim it as my own. Those people doubtless had their own problems, their lives were not the sugar-coated fairytale I had imagined as a child. But thinking on it more than ten years later does have the effect of showing the depth of feeling, unusual as it may seem, held within young children. The bottle that held the perfume to my life had been partly crushed at an early age, the scent slowly beginning to leak out. Though it has taken some things away, I have gained things perhaps just as valuable in return.
Sitting in front of the fire as I write this account, I realise that I have come full circle. Still I am no closer to dispelling the, "Trials make you stronger" cliche. However much I lie to myself, I realise that I have been affected emotionally by never really knowing my father. I am more introverted than I am happy with, occasionally looking with envy at those with the ability to express themselves without reservation. I prefer my own company a lot of the time, but my friends are still the most amazing people in my life. They are held very close to my heart no matter how difficult to tell them so and no matter how much I distance myself from them.
Another thing that is going to read strangely to you is, now that I have grown older I find it very difficult to express myself. I have moments when I feel so ashamed and disgusted at myself for feeling things and yet I have no idea why. There are moments when I want to claw at my skin to get my soul out of my body because I loathe it so much. Even when people say the word, "feel" it makes me cringe inside. I could not stand the fact that people were able to feel pain and I attempted to block out every hint of emotion. It was strangely thrilling at first and i thought myself a better person for it. Now you're thinking, "this girl is a complete psycho" now. I know. I've lived with it, but I do not have the slightest comprehension of why it began to happen in the first place. I never once asked for it and I did not notice the slow, relentless sadness encircling my neck. Before I knew it, it was taking over more and more of my life and I could not pull back.
Once I read in a book, "loneliness because a lover, solitude a darling sin." and although it sounds particularly odd, I partly belive it to be true. When I first read that line I relished the thought that someone else could feel the same way. I considered it a near-virtue but in truth it is nothing to be proud of. The reverse if anything. Perhaps some people are born naturally lonely, or at least in part. Artists, writers and musicians could be some of these, and after feeling this myself, I long to hold them close to me.
There was a time when I relished time on my own so much that I wished for more and more of it. It is more in control now, although it still tries to rear its head again. Even though there was a tiny hint of loneliness creeping in through the back door, I loved the assurance and freedom of expression that came when I was on my own. Fruit défendu. Something that is witheld from us for our benefit for it seeks nothing more than to destroy us. Yet still we reach out to it with both hands for its aroma is more intoxicating than anything we have ever known. A cry for help. A realization too late. A constriction of breath. At this time i so longed for people, someone to talk to but was too afraid at the same time. Sinking down into the hole was an easy path, a soft feather bed. Climbing out of it was much, much harder. Solitude eventually becomes addictive if you hold it too close to you for too long. I found myself crying because I felt so alone and yet unable to do anything to halt it. Friends and family were there for me all the time but I found myself unable to reach them. I would stretch out my hand, but they were always too far away from me. Or I from them. This was my fault though, no blame should be placed upon them. Something was stopping me. I felt everyone one would think I was weird and reject me. All this might make no sense when I read it back because I am literally puring words onto the page now. The only reason I am telling you this is because I think I have found the reason why and if I do not write this now, I never will. It felt like I was watching my life on a film reel from outside my body. Each and every day was dragging by in mechanical motions, it had such an unreal quality about it.
The reason why i think I felt like this is because I was not given the opportunity to freely love my father as a child. Not knowing what it is to have a proper relationship with my father might have caused me to reject all forms of emotion in an attempt at self-protection for fear of being hurt again. But not everything has been a bad experience of course. My friends are my life's blood, I could not survive without them. they are there for me, day in, day out and I know that they still will be if I ever need to tell them something. I thank them for it, for few could tell of such wonderful people and i wish with all ym soul to do even half as much for them in return.
This autobiography was not meant to sound like a tragedy and I do not know if that is what has come across while writing it. But I do not like writing about myself, which sounds seemingly odd since I have been typing away for quite a while now! But whatever I write always looks fake on the page to me. Even that last sentence sounds like I am attempting to make you feel sorry for me. But i am not. There is no point in trying to cover up what happened when writing something like this. You have the absolute truth. What I felt may not have been right but I cannot change it. That is a failing in me, and one I hope to live to change. I'll admit that I am not as grateful for my life as I should be. My wonderful family have helped me through some tough times and I truly thank them for it.
Truthfully, I do not Love my father. Nor do I consider him family either. Learning that he could not love me as a father should love his daughter was difficult to begin with, knowing that I had missed a precious part of a child's life. But I no longer despise him, for it has helped me to appreciate that what happened was not completely within his control, although the initial decision was his. LSD flashbacks can re-occur even years after you have stopped taking the drugs. Whether he did or not has remained unknown to us. Now I even feel sorry for him. Locked in a world of madness and loneliness. My early years have given me compassion upon people, even though I do not openly show it to many, and has taught me the necessity of reserving judgement until you understand the full story.
But I did not mean this to be all about me. Throughout, my mother has been wonderful. She could have crumpled through the pain and anguish; but she did not. She tried to remain strong for me. Of course she cried and I could tell how frightened she was but still she persevered taking me to contact days when I did not understand why and cried because I was afraid to go. My mother persevered when lies and accusations were hurled at her from every direction because she knew it was the right thing to do. When I asked her why we had to go she told me she was sorry and that would understand more as I grew older. She told me so much more than that but it would take an entire lifetime to explain. But although I did not understand it when I was younger, I appreciate what she did now. For had I had my own way and never gone to see my father I feel that I would have blamed my mother in later years for keeping him from me and I might never have understood him the way I do now.
Finally, I want to say that I know that both my parents loved me to the best of their ability. My father, who I believe is still a child inside because real love was denied him until he met my mother. Even though he wanted a child who could give him the love he so craved for, I do not blame him. he told my mother before I was born that he wanted a baby. He loved to the best of his capability and now that I understand more of his condition, that is enough for me. At the moment I feel neither love or hate towards him, which I daresay is not right. But it is better by far than the fear that once held me in its clutches.
My mother has been a source of inspiration for me. When I do not appreciate her now I remember how she left everyone and everything she held dear and ran a hundred miles across the country with a child barely a few months old. She must love me more than I realise. After writing down a portion of our story I have realised that I have never thought about exactly how much she did. She is not a heroine, simply an ordinary women. Now I know that I have not thanked God enough for the beautiful people he has placed around me. Mum, I just want to say thank you and I love you.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres...and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
-1 Corinthians 13:1-7,13