Feb, 2006. For the past five months I have been living in a car at the edge of woods — jobless and homeless and totally unable to find a way out. I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't scream loudly enough, but I can read and write. So here I am laying down tracks...hopefully the start of an online paper trail out of here. (Update: Miracles happen....if you are reading my story I am part of your proof.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Footsteps in the frost — 0r — giving myself permission to have a nice Christmas

I woke up this morning with the cold howling around inside my bones. But looking out of the window everything was white and beautiful and brilliant, the sun like pearl behind white sky and everything glittered with frost. It looked magical. I love mornings like this. I went to a pantomine the night before last, and the fairy godmother in it was fantastic, really throwing herself into the part, tip-toeing around the cast waving her wand and whispering good into everyones ears. That's what it felt like this morning, waking up to all this whiteness, as if someone had tiptoed through the night - over rooftops and hills, through the trees, up and down streets and alleyways and parks, waving a magic wand, turning the land this clean, silvery-white. I felt happy just laying there thinking it. I turned up the music on the CD alarm — tugged the duvet around me and lay there, staring out at the bare trees on the horizon behind all those misty layers of white half dreaming. One part of my mind though wanted to yank me back to thoughts of Christmas — Christmas that will always and ever be family, no matter how long you've been estranged. It's always hard not seeing Mummy, but there's an added ache through Christmas, and the wondering if I should try to build bridges, at least with her — pick up the phone just to make contact, to see how she is and just hear her voice. But my uncle is still there, and most of my cousins have now married - so there are new husbands and wives and friends in the family who know nothing about me or the past. As a family they have moved on, and after such a struggle in childhood they are now all doing well, in reasonably good jobs and enjoying their lives. They want to make sure it stays that way, and I am a skeleton in the cupboard they dont want out. So even if I could visit it could never be anything more than a charade anyway, and me never anything but a victim of that. I can't be that anymore. But maybe this might be the year to change things.

This year, now that my book is out, it feels even more difficult. Every part of me dreads finding out  if Mummy, or any of the others, have come across the book, dreads knowing any upset I've caused by bringing it all out into the open.... I changed all their names and wrote it under a pseudonymn but she knows it all happened, she was there at the police station that Saturday all those years ago.... But the mind has to do funny things to survive and maybe she managed to somehow wipe out the details? Maybe she had to to have him back in her life, to carry on for the sake of the other children, his children. Also, she knows nothing about my living in the car, about my breakdown and all those months out there, none of that. If they do know by now, my getting in touch would just make it worse - I think everday that one of them might find out — every time the phone rings my heart stops.

But what if they haven't read it...maybe I could just say hello to her, meet her on her own somewhere without my uncle or anyone else knowing? But I couldn't answer even the most basic questions now without lying. I'd have to say I've been getting on with life all this time, just doing the ordinary things...I couldn't mention anything about the book or how I ended up in the car, or any of this... And what if I did that and she found out about the book sometime later? Surely that deception would feel as bad or worse? I've fallen asleep thinking about it all for weeks now in the run up to Christmas — almost tormenting myself — should I, shouldn't I? At least send her flowers. Could I, couldn't I ?...Family never go away, never — especially at this time of year, no matter how long you've been apart, or how distant they are. But this morning I managed to pull my mind back to the frost, the glittering, hard frost covering everything, and that fairy godmother in the pantomine the other night in her pink, satin high-heel shoes tip-toeing through the night spreading magic, until all I sensed were her whispered, positive words, and all I could see were footsteps in the frost going forward.


At 5:28 pm, Anonymous debs1 said...

Hi there i have recently read your book and would just like to tell you that it was extremely inspirational to me, in more ways than one, especially at this time in my life. I am currently receiving couselling due to being abused as a child and after reading your book it gave me the strength to keep going, at times it is hard to keep going but knowing there is other survivors out there like me, helps greatly.
What i would also like to comment on is the fact that i work with homeless people and to read your book, has made me remember how important my job is once more. I also think it will make people think more about why people are homeless and not just stereotype them, making them more understanding and willing to help. Thank you for sharing you innermost secrets with myself and everyone else that has read your book. You are a wonderful human being and deserve good things in life. Thank you for helping me. Take Care and have a special Christmas and a prosperous year in 2008 x x x x x

At 7:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

firstly may I wish you a very and safe Christmas..and the very best for your New 'new' year.........your future is bright I am sure and welcoming after all you have been through and shared with us. I have just read your book - it took me four days (glued to it) BUT I must say that was fitted in with school runs etc. and the family run up to Xmas !!!!. It brought back many memories for me -maybe one day I will be brave enough to share them too.

Take real good care of yourself and 'keep smiling'

At 10:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being you, i think you're an incredible writer and amazingly courageous.
I couldn't put your book down for a second. I now appreciate the things that most people take for granted. You have touched my heart, spoken to my soul and influenced my outlook on life in such a positive way.
I hope you are blessed with all things nice this christmas and have a truely magnificent new year.
take lots of care of you xxx

At 8:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the string quartet playing on the radio?

Is it green?

At 9:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having just finished reading your book I logged onto your blog site because I just wanted to say 'well done' for being a survivor. No matter how bad you feel about how things turned out with your family know this much - you were completely true to yourself. You were the one in the horrible situations and you survived each and every one of them. How many people these days can say that? You have an inner strength many would give their right arm for. However, you have a lot of mending yet to do and 'family' are a big part of it. But, there is a time for that. You will know when the is because then it will not be a difficult decision to make - it will just happen.

I started writing a book about my life a long time ago and stopped because like you are now, I am very worried about what my family will make of it's contents. I am a coward. Perhaps I will draw on your courage and continue to write.

I have tremendous praise for you.

God bless and keep you safe always. May your guardian angels continue to watch over you and guide you wisely.


At 10:40 pm, Blogger claire said...

i have just finished reading ur book i couldnt put it down for two days you made me cry, you made me want to cuddle you take care your a very brave lady xxx

At 8:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anya

I found out a couple of weeks ago that my teenage daughter was abused as a child.

I read your book not really knowing the content, but I am very glad that I did. It made me realise that it is possible to survive and find strength from a horrendous situation. I don't know how to help my daughter, except make her feel very loved, and your book has shown me sadly what can happen when you don't have a loving and comforting support to lean on and trust.

I hope very much that find inner peace, begin to believe in yourself and live each day with hope and respect for yourself, not guilt and self hatred.

May angels keep you safe.

At 11:18 am, Blogger WanderingScribe said...

Obviously I'm not an expert, but I'm sure making her feel very loved, is the very best thing you can do, that and when she's ready letting her know it is okay to talk about it, that she doesn't have to keep those details inside her as some dirty secret...it is his shame NOT hers.
I wish you both a lovely Christmas

At 4:34 am, Blogger E said...

Hi again Anya
I especially like the last line of this post "...and all I could see were footsteps in the frost going forward".
Forward is good ;-)
Whatever 08 has for you, I hope it includes lots of Fairy Godmother blessings...

At 3:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anya

I started to read your book 24 hrs ago and have just finished it. I just couldn't put it down. You are so brave and I thank god that you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I was abused as a child and have stuggled most of my life. But the abuse was no where near the extent of the abuse you suffered.I am now 59years old. I always thought of my self as a christain, felt that some how god has had his hands on my shoulders most of my life, but most of the times I took it into my own hands. I was married at 17 to a man was suffering his own pain and the abuse was continued. After 17 years divorced him. In the mean time I had turned to alcohol and went further down the road of distruction. I now am haveing to contend with the damage I have done to my kids I ended up with another hurt man, this time a very loveing man. He put me up on a pedastil and I ended up hurting him. Not meaning to but I broke off an engadgement and he killed him self. I have trust issues. abandoned issues. I don't drink anymore and I know with gods help I am going to get through and heal again. I believe I was ment to read your book. This christmas has been difficult for me. I feel that I am being abandoned by my grown up kids from time to time. I have trouble feeling that I don't fit in. Even my church family don't understand fully. But I know God is going through with it with me and I'm not on my own. I make plenty of mistakes. I've trusted the wrong people but I have found out that hurt people hurt people. I pray that you will find your way and that I am sure you will. God bless

At 4:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello WS san

I came across your site while searching for something else.. and I didn't want to just leave without saying Hello.

I've just read the very begining of your archive, but have to stop now to do some chores. I've bookmarked you so I don't lose you!

You're strong and resilient from what I have read so far; and I just could not resist coming here to find out if you are okay NOW, so many months since that very first blog-entry. And man~ I am sooooo glad that you are still here and that your story had been published! Yay!!

As I am in Japan; I'd have to go to Amazon.com to buy your book.. I can't wait till it gets here!

Take good care of yourself, take care and many blessings!


At 11:31 am, Blogger kerry said...

Hi there, just read your book, which was an inspiration to all. I work with abused teenagers, both empotionally and physically and have seen the impact this has on them. Hopefully they will also see the light as you did and realise that it is not there fault nor should they be ashamed.Well done for yor courage and what doesnt kill you only makes you stronger, Good luck in your new life, you deserve it, love Kerry xxx

At 11:49 am, Blogger Star said...

Hi Anya

It is very hard to let go of your family. Your Mum was an adult and made her choices. Such as to take your Uncle back despite the things he did to you and your sisters, despite his drunken violence. What choices did you have desperate to be loved hanging on to any sign that you were?
You need to think about yourself now and spoil yourself. Live and learn to enjoy life again, feeling safe. Build up your strength your security.
You are not alone Anya keep that spirit that gives you the courage to write in words what happened.
I read some negative comments on the BBC articles. People who didn't understand Why you couldn't ask for help. I understand.
Everyone will have their different views on your book.
My view is that to relive what you went through and to write a book that will inspire other people to have the courage to speak out is that you will be OK.
You have the strength to make yourself a future taking one step at a time.
Go Girl! :)

At 4:52 pm, Anonymous Morag said...

Hi got your book for Christmas and read it in two days. As a mum of 4 I cant even start to understand how anyone could do that to a child. I am full of admiration for you to be able to put it all into words. You are a brave lady and have been to hell and come out the other side, I wish you well in life and hope that you will experience more joy than sadness for the rest of your life. As for your Mummy, I hope you can both find the peace that you obviously crave.
Morag Edinburgh

At 9:22 pm, OpenID kerrypage said...

Hello ws. another one who's just read it!Hubby bought me for christmas, and despite having 4 kids, 2 of whom are severely mentally disabled (therefore incredibly demanding) have finished it as of 2am last night! Well done: you obviously are a tough cookie. I had crap childhood too, my mother not my dad. Guess it took me a few years to realise she had the problems not me, and I've turned out ok 'despite' her not 'because' of her. but like the saying goes, you can't choose your family. Yeah life is tough, (and no way would I treat me kids the way I was treated) but it does go on, and you're strong enough to make something of yourself like I have: ok it's taken some time haha (I'm 43)but now 4 great kids, great husband (3rd) and now at Uni 2nd year: done the homeless bit, done the abuse, done the desperation, done living in hostels etc: now all that Ive got, plus lovely home, mates etc. me mother can go whistle matey, her loss is my gain!!! Good luck sweetheart.

At 3:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anya,
Thank you for sharing your story. Keep following those footsteps forward, to find the peace your beautiful soul deserves.
Be happy in 2008 x

At 9:23 am, Anonymous sierra said...

I have just finished reading your book and would just like to say I think you are amazing xxxxxx

At 9:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have just finished your book. i only started reading it a few days ago and found it heart wrenching and i admire you so much for your strength and your determination to get through it all. i am a survivour myself and you have just inspired me to start my own blog, thank you. my blog is called readytostartliving, i would be over the moon if you would check it out some time. you are an amazing person. keep smiling and dont eva forget that you r somebody and i belive any1 who reads your book or your blog will be admiring you for you strength.
from bev, lowestoft uk

At 5:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just finished your book i couldnt put it down! i think your a really strong person to go through all that and still be alive i know i couldnt of done it! i think your a really great person adn i hope now ur life starts to turn out good for you. good luck!

At 10:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading your book, I can't stop thinking about you! You are a true survivor and I am stopping myself from whinging about anything when I realise how lucky I am. In my opinion, and I see you've had loads of people giving theirs, you should continue to go forward, never back, if your 'family' are worthy of you, you will be reunited. But I wouldn't let them hinder your life anymore. Keep going, stronger and stronger and put history behind you.
Much love
Jayne xx

At 3:50 am, Anonymous kathleen said...


i just read your story in Reader's Digest..."The Nights I Spent in my Car"
i'm only 13yrs.old but i was really impressed by your story...and how you are strong enough toface that kind of obstacle...
keep it up anya!


At 4:31 am, Blogger Faisal Admar said...

I read about you in Reader's Digest [February 2008 - Asian edition]and touched with your life. I haven't bought your book but it will be the next book to read. I adore your courage and how you keep on living.

Best regards from Malaysia.

At 12:45 am, Anonymous kindel said...

after reading your story in reader's digest i was really touched..im happy that now you're out of car..i hope right now you're living a wonderful life..i'll always for you..by the way i saw on your profile that you like warmer weather..well you can visit us here in the philippines..summer is coming..beaches here are beautiful..island hopping is great..

stay happy..stay safe..



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