The Peep show…

On a number of occasions I’ve described my photographic memory as a sort of similar experience to watching Peep show…

This is because when I touch back on the majority of memories in my head I sort of see them as if I’m looking through a camera at the activity unfolding before me.

My earliest memory is at around the age of 4-6 years old, which I’ll touch on shortly, but first I want to cover the point of this specific post.

What most don’t realise is that when we have children, we have a certain responsibility towards their upbringing… The mind of a child is a fragile one at best and I think in general people make assumptions that we can go about our business day to day and children barely notice what we’re up to… not true!

When I was first diagnosed, I was told that the reason for my condition was primarily down to a disjointed developmental process during the course of my upbringing, that stemmed from a destructive environment in the early years and that I’d not evolved the social parameters that most children are party to if they’re in a stable home/school environment during this period of their lives. This is what many don’t understand…

Now it may get a bit dark here so if you don’t want to hear the reality of my history then please choose another blog post because there are things that I must mention to labour the point, that may make some feel uncomfortable.

I mention above that my earliest memory is from about 4-6 years of age and it’s night time…

I’m standing on the landing in my home after waking up to screaming and banging about in the hall. My sister as I recall (who was around 5-6 years older than me at this time) hadn’t done the washing up to my fathers standard and was cowering in her bed trying to hide under the covers to avoid attack…

I could see that she was in floods of tears and extremely frightened and that dad had already put his fist through the door leaving a gaping hole, and was now smashing up everything in the room around her, mugs and plant pots, books and all sorts were being thrown around, all in all, a fairly erratic situation, I don’t remember anything after that, just dark…

Not too many months after that incident I recall being sat on the sofa with my sisters and my mum, clutching each other, while my father ran around the living room with a sort of boomerang shaped Saracen blade (approx 18-20 inch’s in length) yelling that he was going to ‘f**king kill someone’ before running out of the front door into the night, as my mother struggled to call one of his friends to come over and try to calm him down upon his return… He did return, with the blade and to this day I don’t know where he went or what happened, but I remember seeing the knife still in his hand as I felt sickness take over…

This is of course, not a constructive environment to grow up in for the first 12 years of your life…

I recall as a child that every single door in the house had posters on them, because every single door in the house had had a fist put through one side and out the other and we had to use posters to make visitors feel like everything was normal, god forbid that we let on what was going on.

At one stage I saw my father physically spit in my mothers face as he tore their room apart, smashing pictures and frames in his wake and this type of situation was almost daily as I grew up. There were no eggshells to tread on during my childhood, the chickens were long dead…

At the age of 12 years old, not long after being scouted by a youth Olympics lady for my swimming, my mum and dad sat down on my bed and told me that they were going to get a divorce. My mum was to be the one to move out obviously, regardless of the fact that she owned the house outright, but my father wouldn’t leave, so what option did she have?

That offered some solace, though the fortnightly weekend visits were not too dissimilar…

My dad being a serious biker, we’d find ourselves  sitting around with men 2-3 times our age, who were taking all sorts of drugs and at around 14 years old, after too much vodka (5+ shots as I recall), that I’d bought on my own over a bar at a bike rally, I remember having an argument with my dad, because I openly admitted to some woman he was chatting to that I was a virgin, only to be mocked by the two of them…

I didn’t appreciate that, so at the top of my lungs I bellowed that I wasn’t ashamed and that I was 14 and had nothing to hide; this went down badly with my dad (clearly feeling embarrassed in the crowd) who immediately jumped on me (I might add he was a martial arts instructor all his life), choking me to the point I felt he might break my arm…

Somehow I managed to get him to stop by playing that I’d calmed down and he let me go, both rising to our feet before I kicked him square in between the legs, bringing him to his knees as I ran away wobbling from right to left, fleeing back to my tent in an adjoining field…

It’s fair to say that this is likely as bad as a father son relationship gets in a non-sexual context; I thank the stars every day that I never had to experience anything at that level because I’d likely have taken my life by now if I’d hit that extreme.

But the point still remains that regardless of the level of violence, anger, aggression etc. or even mental trauma, that is inflicted upon children, there’s rarely the consideration as to the adult that will evolve.

In it’s simplest context, I use to have a small computer device called a ‘Tamagotchi’ which kids back in my younger days would play with (I think we queued up from 6am to get these things outside Toys R Us), if you fed them and loved them they’d evolve every few days into something lovely, if you didn’t feed them, or you scolded them, they’d evolve ugly and deformed… This is true of a child’s mind…

Parents think that using aggression or corporal punishment as a form of discipline is likely to ensure their children end up on the straight and narrow, but in reality, you’re only developing what we might term a ‘human IED’ and there’s no telling where that might lead… Around 95% of prisoners are men, and the vast majority have 2 or more mental health related disorders, the shocking thing is, that the population is around 60 million strong, so where are the rest?

I’ve been through totally sober moments where I’ve taken a knife to my chest and walked into a Police station with blood all over me, only to be told to call a friend and sent back into the streets at 3am, I’ve stood on a live busy Guildford train bridge, waiting to be hit, I’ve sat with bottles of tablets only to find my self with a GP being put on a three year waiting list for any kind of deep discussion… This is where those roads lead and it’s quite frankly a miracle I’m still here…

People have asked me how I got through certain moments and to be honest I genuinely can’t answer that, I think there’s something inside me that just has a deep seeded longing to live and to pursue whatever destiny might bring me peace… I sit here in tears now racking my brains, because I’ve never really told anyone any of this… I just want to inspire and make people happy, but most importantly to be happy in what I do, I can’t change my past or what happened to me, but I will sure as damn it, ensure that my children never suffer this, it’s disgusting…

I guess the underlying point here is that next time you have an argument with your wife/partner, the next time you swear in front of your child, I want you to think about the context… Is it worth it?

What are you doing to ensure you children’s world is a magical one, because I’ll be reading to them, I’ll be writing their adventures to unveil before bedtime as they drift to sleep, I’ll be taking them climbing, or sailing, or encouraging their mischief as we wonder round libraries or museums, frustrating the orderly… And I’ll tell them anything is possible, you only have to believe in your own light cutting through the darkness… My children’s world will be a world of BIG FISH and tall tales, talking trees and fairies…

My grandfather used to tell me ‘the world is dark with suffering, evil winds its wayward way, but brave men fight, for what is right, and right will win the day.’

 

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