I grew up in filth talk and a filthy environment on the farm.
My Questioning nature was always: May I, Can I, please?
No No No was the answer No
So I grew up saying YES when I left home. I became a Yes girl.
Why and how did this happening?
My story was as unique and hard as all adults who eventually start waking up from breaking down, breaking up & breaking thru to how they got to be who & why they are.
I began the arduous task of tracing my steps backwards to the Yes Yes Yes voice that was my programmed condition confused little paradox person sashaying mechanically like a sheet of choral church music being played with a puppeteer baton waving wickedly. My whole early years rang a discordant and thorough No. Mychildhood suppressed, augmented as the pendulum swung side to side erratically, but never calmly in the steadying hand of a gentle parent .
The frustration of not being allowed to learn piano, go on the French exchange, go to school discos (bar one when I was 15) and get to have the basic building blocks that are considered normal. My bedroom was frozen, no heat, no hot water bottle due to the expense of electricity being used to boil the kettle. Somehow my father chose a keeper to keep him, not us. She, Aunty Binks had her own two children, who she naturally devoted her time. With us, we were an add on and not to be cherished, held, nurtured or loved. Aunty Binks swooped in to our nest just as would a clever spring cuckoo. She chose to do the least work possible in regards to us. We were fed well enough, I as a very needy little girl, would peel the potatoes, wash lettuce, chop onions, I assisted everywhere I could get a kindly word. Her house work was atrocious, and she made sure that she was way too good to change our bedding, wash our clothes and be a warm motherly beacon to go to when childhood was just a difficult place to be in. Our own mother had gone, and was openly chatisted as the evil/sinner character. However Jaqueline neePaget, had kept the hearth clean, and liked her children to sleep in clean sheets, pants, socks, basic needs met that gave one a natural orderly sense of care, structure, a parental feeling of love, that all disapated quickly once Aunty Binks became the matriarch in the role she played. By the age of 8/9 I had learnt how to use a washing machine. I cooked poach eggs and scrub floors, Hoover, chop fire wood and light fires. I became increasingly a fixer of all the things I thought how a good mother would be. This would become my markmamship in all the years to follow. It meant I didn’t get to become an actor, musician, politician or even farmers wife. I simply was left up to my own devices and no one asked me how did it feel to be me. Even getting thank You’s was rare. I was so desperate for feedback – I was a good little helper girl. Instead NO was a constant tool for any thing I asked. Rarely yes was an answer. My father reinforced the No’s by running away onto the farm, on his horse, in the land rover to escape his questioning children. He simply was not up to the task of standing up for his own flesh and blood, his was weak.
He simply was in denial and if confronted by any of his children, he would throw a tantrum or run away. In His own childhood; his mother, my grandmother worshipped him. Spoilt him. Indulged him. He went to Dauntsey public school in 1934, aged 8. His head was ducked down a toilet whilst his genitalia were fiddled with – all as a natural traditional standing with the upper classes. He hated it. Boarding school back in those days was cruel and very tough. It however meant his own parenting was somewhat fractured. He always said if the pill had been around a year earlier I wouldn’t be here…
It was a negligent and very difficult time that traumatically filled up my every symptomatic particle physically , emotionally, mentally and spiritually into a very tender discourse that crippled all of us, as we had to navigate upon a myriad of uncertainty and when a nice word was spoken, it meant the world and I began to become addicted to love & kindness.
Other wise, I was frozen out into a cold hearted environment. Everything was less than. All my basic needs were met with a very peculiar Mindset bordering on cruelty and exclusion. To feel every question asked was to be met with a big fat NO, don’t be ridiculous, money doesn’t grow on trees, was how Aunty Binks spoke and she never faulted with her consistent trajectory of minimal cold sentences. Tight, thin lipped, hard slitty eyes, she was an archetypal step mother to be and yet to see her with her own daughter who marched around in clean socks, jodhpurs, who had all the kit &caboodle paraphernalia really ought to have crushed any decency in my little self. I just couldn’t understand the unfairness of all this. How come we, the children of the charismatic trainer, breeder, owner farmer HJ. Manners esquire, be treated like second hand parts from a bad bit play?
Out clothes were hand me downs, our birthdays a joke, in fact apart from a very sadistic dentistry time of Aunty Binks insisting I had many of my teeth pulled which changed my lovely upper Dracula teeth which gave me a Aunty Josie smile. No monies, time, special treats were given to us. I grew up intensely wishing for something outside of myself to take the severe & acute depths of despair away somewhere like a Disney film. I was a modern day Cinderella, filled with wishful fantasies, feelings and thinking that would lead me to a thrashing obscurity of sexual playfulness, attention seeking and unhealthy fantasies.
My own act of survival to feel that contact touch and feedback looping was essential to my inner heart to connect, feel more than, loved, orgasmic. We were rampant back massagers – that being my brothers , dad & sister – again depending who was around. It was our way of feeling connected to each other. We would time each other on the video. I became an expert hair comber scratching up dads dandruff in order to be close to him. He had a lot to scratch as he didn’t wash his hair in 50 years, afraid of water. He would snooze off and agree to much, only for his yes’ s to turn to whimpering No’s later on.
I would seek out human kindness from everyone & everything to know what normal was. My father made mistakes. He hid behind his guilt & shame with his lover, Audrey and he did it throughout his life repeatedly saying the same insane thing. He worshipped her like a saint, yet it was programming that went around in a cyclical loop and somehow his words if he said it enough, would then be truth, absolute truth, no matter what. He would lose his temper very easily like a child caught in the headlights, as he crashed wailing behind his beloved Audrey. He after all, had the upper hand. He was the boss. He owned the land, the farm. It meant he had value and we were too high a cost.
I was always reminded of that and his other accusations: You nearly lost me the farm. I felt unsafe, out of balance, bottom of the heap, I wasn’t being groomed as a first born daughter looking forward to a grand and pleasant life, but thrown to the wolves, out out out.
I struggled already at school with bullies and teachers not really knowing where to place me. I always tried to be the best at everything, shine and for someone to notice. However because of my lowly status in terms of look and style, I was an unkempt, scruffy, an outsider from the outset and all I knew being on the farm was that I cleaned, scrubbed, dusted, washed, swept, tidied up obsessively trying to sweep away the dirty, hidden back stories, filed away by social services, courts, Dr. Garside who had me checked out at just over 2&a half. The disorderly framework that supplanted my inside was hush hushed other than the occasional expunged narrative that my father would try to make sense head over heel of his predatory and rash apologies seeking his own daughters forgiveness in times of lucidity. However he kept closing down his part he played in denying his fingers only went in me to ‘calm me down from crying for my mothers breast’ In a nut my father made up a story, then got caught, then felt awful, uncomfortable & rather he explain the sordidness and for that matter, the injustice he transferred for the rest of my life, as he hid behind his game of hide & seek, shame & guilt, and gave all it up to his wife to be. I then became the symbol of forever being nothing more than a second rate bit part actress in a very second rate soap. It was no surprise I was desperate for clean, orderly, kind, open minded and sincere work – home and away – but myself and siblings were distinctly marked out for Aunty Binks scorn and no’s. She had been given the keys to my fathers kingdom of dark secrets and she therefore held the power. Her own flesh and blood became us.
I wasn’t allowed any reprise or a daughters protection- after all – I had become the reason for all my fathers troubles.My childhood was a tick tick of repetition as dad, John Manners, would hide when I went to look for him as another attack from Aunty Binks as she would put me down again and again, not caring whatsoever. He knew how to avoid the fallout, the begging plea as I would try all my wilfulness to ask for basic things. As the drums banged no no no, smoke rings of tears filled up my eyes with shoots ups and children fleeing from their tepees on black n whites screens marginalised by bullies, cowboys, soldiers and the red indians dying determined to keep their lands. An ongoingness always leaving me exposed, vulnerable and distraught. I was thrown off the horse, contorted between flight, fight and freeze. My poor adrenals were saturated and exhausted plainly wishing for decency, human kindness and to stop the permanent voice of NO.
I was split into. Becoming lost and inside my own world. Two things helped. My love of music and my love of nature. As I spent every evening washing up, drying, wiping down, sweeping and washing the kitchen floor; I listened to Radio Luxembourg. Of course we all watched Top of the Pops. I fell in love with two tone, New Romantics, new Wave, Beatles, Radio one and soaked up records, sounds, tunes from everywhere, anyone I could get my hands on. I sang, dreamt, daydreamed of musicians, artists, as potent armours. I loved All things that hummed melodies, allowed my heart to sing and the combo of the natural kingdoms that came with growing up on a farm.
These two worldly omnipresents would keep me sane with industrious hard work cleaning in that 17th c Cotswold stone farm house.
Then there was the other thing, that was different in calibre, dimensionally that beamed up like a shard crystalline power beam uprooting and installing sensuality, and other worldly-ness in my little body of 8. I was in the playground at Southfields Primary climbing a pole, when something happened. I imploded. I felt an upwelling energetically deeply forbidden and promiscuous in the form of somewhere, somehow an unknown entity yet I knew this feeling from before. How did I know? I self realised that my physical requirements in the climbing up of that pole would repeat the very same vibration of telling no one, never. This was not a parlour speakeasy chit chat . No not at all. This was way out, over the top, under the wire and held very damaging undertone with where did that come from? My very private, primordial unspoken bodily crumblings, became hooked on those pulsating magnetic electrolytes that warmed up my cocklehearts & insides deep in the bellows of beautifying, breaking down innate boundaries and breaking free from tyranny in the common farm house moulded in discombobulating mayhem from being disenfranchised from my mother & father. I knew I liked what happened, so much so, I found my own spots on the farm buildings, in the old stables, pig sty. Anywhere where I could get a grip to lift up and release all that unspent misused grotesque hurtful tension. I spent increasingly more amounts of my time, climbing poles to stimulate surprisingly estactic chi rushes riding soulfully and gliding for wardship to my end gain that allowed my mind to spit, throw, cry out those unspoken words, the answer backs, triggers and traumas held every time I was derided, cut, maimed and wounded as a little girl by the adulteress do gooders whose affair would put me into a permanent recovery for the rest of my life from aggressive & mean put upons and all the felt afraidness to say stop! These orgasms became a multidimensional tonic to exorcising Aunty Binks, dad, mum, authoritity figures, grown ups & all the boys at school I fancied, all the horrid hurtful things that was dumped on me, as well as an antidote of dreams, desires, fantasy, imaginary homes I lived in, for all my goals and grimaces, for all the under dogs, no bodies, poor and rich urchins alike, I would gyrate, ingest, drink in the uprising natural esoteric dance of the good, the bad and the ugly in order to feel a semblance of importance and inclusivity that shuddered and pushed fourth my expanded sails on a choppy unchartered territory . I used this compass to distill and tenderise my very dark, deep and unvoiced principles to shape ring and unfurl a deep connection of higher power ordering that just by that act, wholly or demigod godliness that imbued a meaning albeit for only transient moments. It was my saviour and my curse as it became cursory in my early years as I flowered up resonating like a blooded homeopathic template to return rich red rooted in proteins, plasma, bone, ligaments, organs, cells, and innocence from all the universal Languages that spur on the human race through heaving, hormonal growth secretions and feelings & desires that blew open official secrets to growing up. It meant I held on to some quite particular self expression that powered up my pushed down voice. It made sense because of the complexity and abnormal terrain and tyranny that was my daily bread. I was living in a tarantula nest, and as I was an antagonist to the cosying up of a played out drama that was fuelled by my father handing over his power to Aunty Binks, in order for both of them to get what they wanted – Dad -needed someone to collude and assuage his dirty and dark tales whilst he had someone to bring his porridge daily, share his passions for the race horses, and she too would eventually get the prize – the sale of the farm from dads death and live out/off it with her brood ensconced in their quidpro terms and conditions .
It sounds like I am jealous, still carrying bitterness, to a degree I am, however I was a loving child, I am a seeker of the truth and of a simple innate fair social justice and environmental system that has grown up in me, spawned from swimming against the tidal waves pushed back with damns and dykes to somehow make do out of the immense struggles to remain in harmony and in tune with the deep radar guiding me upwards to a potentially extraordinary life trajectory that now more than ever needs to come out like a purgatory to be cleaned fit for purpose as so to fit into the world. My biggest worry was I felt unable to know where to stand still and strong without falling apart especially because I needed so much validation.
I didn’t know how to inwardly love, honour and work diligently towards self study and bettering myself with caring peers to ask how to do this or that, go to college, university, work. It simply wasn’t an option for me and so I led my life from hit & misses and that I was easily led by others suggesting this and that. It wasn’t always so bad, I realised later on that my guides and gods were really rooting for me. I quite simply was pushed out at 16. And that was that and from there got to find out, figure and unravel my identity in fits and staves.
As I was rejected at a young age and abandoned by the family that would leave me exposed to becoming a victim of self loathing, poor me, self flagelating and critiquing. My interdependent language was full mooned and sun flared with a genuine willingness mixed with low line fearfulness and because of all those spiteful no’s, I lacked a deep connection of entrusting who was I. I did however love being the centre of attention and I knew that some boys and girls got off on me. It gave me a purpose. Not wholly wholesome but a sort of trancelike zeal that came with a few glasses of alcohol and later weed & nicotine that became my drug of choice. I began a thirty year story that was enhanced by not sitting still enough with who am I?
I lived intuitively always recognising when the drugs became too downy I would stop and break into mindfulness, learning, letting go leaps and faith with my inward tracking safeward bound light house. I had developed a strategy to help keep out severe impending danger.I also could sense who was horrible and who was not. But still I went into a codependent yes yes yes. That meant I was a high res people pleaser and seeker of approval. I could never say no to requests, to can I , do you mind, stay, sleep, have, share, with all my people, places and things. I was boundaryless. It meant I had to watch, feel and see my girl friends lining up to catch my packed in lovers and bf’s breaking the unsaid customs and codes of conduct – highly important and practiced amongst true friends. However my girlfriends & boy friends alike were not always to be trusted; we were all a pretty insecure lot in our twenties and all experimenting. I was not quite assured enough to identify those really authentic honest types who really dug me, to others who quite happily sucked on my easygoing nature because I wore and still do, my heart on my sleeve. I was completely handicapped in defining whose who in a perpetually balancing act of recognising healthy relationships. I simply realised that the more I said yes, the more people liked me, which perpetuated years of quickening to keeping up with the yes charade. My whole identity was thoroughly outwardly promiscuous and terribly confusing as I would cover up my shadowy insides by drowning in empty drinking binges, dressing up, partying hard, having a large excitable personality that kept growing. I enjoyed attention seeking but disturbingly I found those persons with odd enclosed natures equally marked for my self serving seeking approvaling defined as twisted and undeniably odd in searching for Aunty Binks in all types for self acceptance. I was in a nut, blocked traumatically frozen cold and crying in a dark place with a very uncared for wounded little girl Mia. I repeatedly went for similar familiar archetypes. I had to really hit some biggies to uncover the hypnotic speak & spell I was under before I could flush out these demonic, ghoulish entity creatures that depended on my dysfunctional, disoriented, denial patterns. I had to keep falling down triggering my repetitive behavioural traits that allowed a long list of perverts, bounders, scoundrels and weirdos that all got to come along some invited, some not, to my all free wild-wheeling world view parties, quirk & sense of adventure playing out with no real voice to say really understand that word: NO.
I wrote this poem on Sunday, from the freezing cold Sundaymarket with resentment as my breakfast. I stand stronger today, older, wiser, a bit, and ready to keep pressing into the unknown aware it’s a continual process that keeps me in a very transitional place. It’s a work in progress. My gift is awakening and returning to my little girl to reparent and grow us up healthy.
I like saying No, as much as I like Yes. It’s scares me too as I am doing my best best best for myself so I can teach me how not too react and give my power away through carelessness
I’ve grown up in spite and of much dirty innuendo’s soaking ingraining inside my growing heart
I was conscious that smutty smuttiness was my daily bread
I don’t just want to survive
I want to thrive standing in my field of awareness and wonder
I’m changing and it’s tough recognising that my close friends and family still rather like me to bow down to their methods tricks plays , drama
In a dirty lower density field
I’m trying hard to raise my game
Speak plain Jane
Not feel afraid
When I say no I mean no
Not feel less than
Worried what the outcome
Boundaries with BNB yes done blocked out Monday Tuesday Weds
Boundaries with guests coming to stay two days at the most
Boundaries with me me me
Boundaries with family
Recognising my self harm dialogue whilst marching regardless
Mirroring vibrations matching their frequencies
Knowing when I’m tired fed up
When I intuitively feel my reaction in body is worried
To just align with my truth
Accept I feel aloof
And say no to yes
Shout it out to the top of the stairs to the bottom of where’s where
I simply no longer care
As I dwell happily inside my cave ”
This is the new yin year : Fire Rooster
Pingback: When Yes means No – a cautionary tale growing up | Straight From The Horses Mouth
A marvellous recount of the painful past remembering, notable thought that with life their is balance, with this pain there was joy. Opportunities of the now with your own agency to make choices that serve you and please you and that you want to say yes too and that’s OK. A cave is good for contemplating but the urban or rural world requires living… choices, family and friends who challenge, love, listen, share and leave well alone. We are all one.
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Where did you get that quote?
I don’t have the words to describe how this made me feel tonight reading it. But I feel so grateful to feel it and it’s truly beautiful. You have such a gift to give to this world I salute you sister Xxxxx
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Kirsty – I gave my heart to this writing…I had to somehow open inwards to identify with my early years and how all my life I have just been so afraid to say NO. Thank you xxxx
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Not only like Cinderella, but, even more, like Harry Potter, orphan wizard raised by muggles that abused him (while they nurtured their own), in spite of which he found his own milieu and blossomed into his full power, as you have.
A response: Reflections and ripples intermingle, some flotsam sticks, some sinks, the foam washes away. Renewed, refreshed, cleansed. The scum scraped off the mirror. Scrapes filled in with loving gold in the Japanese way. The young grow old but who are we to judge, define, examine, question ourselves? So much harder, braver to inwardly seek and root out the cause, the drain, the mould, the hooks.
Thanks so much for your truth, sharing, journey, survival, the price of freedom & ultimate self worth. With love Xx
Thank you Heather … how very kind xxx