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.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Antidote to grey

Bleak, grey, drizzly skies again today. Everything, even the grass and, in the mist that hung over everything, the trees, looked grey today. I stood at the kitchen window, in the new, pink bathrobe I got for Christmas, eating cereal, staring out at what could have been a scene straight from an old grainy, Sunday-afternoon black-and-white. Definitely tempting to go back to bed... But for a while I stood there, chewing mindlessly, watching a pair of magpies hopping about next-door's lawn. Then just as my eyes finally adjusted to all the grey, two tiny, colourful little birds flew through the drizzle onto a birdtable in the garden at the other side. I don't know what they were, but seeing them there among all that grey made me smile. They were soft, minky-brown little things, with flashes of yellow on their breasts and bright red faces. Tiny like tits, but not tits...Beautiful splashes of colour brightening up the monochrome. There was something quite clownish about them. Their faces looking like they had just been dipped in bright red paint...And, on a morning like this morning, just before they flew off again skimming the hedges, it was easy to think they might have been designed just to bring a smile to my face.
It worked for me this morning...don't know what birds they were, but must look out for them more often.


At 8:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just read your book, I'm a 17 year old girl and even I know all the thing that you have been put through are completely wrong!
Never ever blame yourself, theres just one thing I don't no how you can forgive brendan.
Love Samantha x x

At 8:39 am, Anonymous JLM said...

Hello Anya, I started reading your book on saturday afternoon & was finished by saturday evening, I just could not put it down (my mum read it before me & I'm passing it on to my sister)

Aftr finishing the book, it gave me such a sense of intense anger at what had happened to you but even more so it made me feel guilty. Guilty that I'm worrying too much about things that realisticly do not matter & I'm not spending enough time appreciating what I really should be. Taking things for granted.

You some how managed to keep yourself mentally strong enough to stay in this world, fighting on & I admire that courage & bravery.

I'm experiencing a few personal problems too, & it makes me think that maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel......

You are truly inspirational. Thank You. Take Care

At 10:11 am, Anonymous grandma said...

Hi Anya
Just finished reading your amazing book last night. People who live a 'normal' childhood don't realise what some of you 'go through'. Very emotional and thought provoking, this will be with me for many years to come.

At 10:29 am, Blogger jab said...

Good to see you doing more blogs, and this one sounding optimistic. Life is for living and you know that the rest of yours is for living as full as possible. Have you had any reaction from the people who you have talked about in your book, since the book has been published?? Very intrigued to know their reaction???

Keep smiling, look through the grey clouds to the wonderful blue skies beyond!

At 11:33 am, Blogger curlygirly said...

Hi Anya,

Just finished reading your book, it was given to me as a present by my husband. I started reading it last night and could not put it down. I cried in places and smiled in others. I am so glad things have worked out for you. I went to sleep last night with a heavy heart not knowing what each chapter of the book held. This morning after dropping my son off at school, I came straight home to pick up where I left off at that late hour last night. I want to wish you all the luck in the world and hope your life from now on will be a very happy one. Thank you for sharing your story, maybe one day I will write mine.

Take care.

At 12:17 pm, Anonymous Hayley said...

Good Morning Anya, just finshed reading your book and was surprised to find a blog url at the end so thought I would check it out. Hope the day brings you good fortune :)

At 1:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anya.
My name is Emma and i am 15 years old. I got your book as a present from my parents for christmas and i read it all within one day. You are a true inspiration to everyone and i admire every bit of you. Dont ever give up in life is now my motto. Keep smiling, my some oftens hits me and i just think that my life is over there is no way he will ever love me, he is always shouting at me saying how i 'was a mistake' and how he doesnt love me, how he wants me to move out becuse he dont want me no more but then the next day he will say sorry. But i wouldnt belive him i just used to think it was true until i came to realise that he wud only do that wen i was naughty and got really fed up. I Ignore the things he says now ive grown up a bit in my mind. But it still really hurts. Now after reading your book i realised that he doesnt mean it that to just appriciate what i have, that there are far worse out there. I thankyou so much for showing me that, you have helped me out alot. I came on here to wish you hope for the future to see if you are okay now. I was crying the whole way through reading it, wishing that i was there to be your friend you needed to take you away and love you. I hope that everyone will be as inspired by you as i am. You will always be on my mind :).

At 1:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Emma again, what i wrote didnt really make sense, i ment to say my dad often says them things. Sorry for confusing you. Take care. Good luck and have faith in yourself. Now you know that your guardian angels will always be there for you. I pray for you.

At 9:43 pm, Anonymous blockers said...

Hiya Anya, Having ready your blog and bookmarking it, I hope you dont mind me commenting on your diary entries because I find it so interesting to see how you are getting on. If I had the talent for writing like you have, I would be writing books until they came out of my ears. You write beautifully and only wish I could write half as good as you. If you were to publish another book, I would be straight in the shop looking for it on the shelf. I just wish you would believe more in yourself. Get yourself on the writers retreat if you are able to do it, take the plunge, take the chance - if nothing comes of it then at least you have learnt something new, met new people etc. Please dont think Im telling you what to do or say, I just see from your book, your blog, that you have an exceptional writing talent and should use its full potential. You obviously are clever but need to believe in yourself like others believe in you. Good luck and Your admiringly Jane x

At 9:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya,

Wow i have just finished reading ur book and what a real eye opener it was.
I cried in so many places, it really made me realise how lucky i am.
U really r an amazing woman dont go changing.

Love Emma from Essex. xxxxxxxxxxxx

At 10:48 am, Blogger kim said...

just finished reading your book well done

you made me cry when reading it but also smile.

never give up you really are amazing i will always remember you when things get tuff and how you never gave up on life

hope you get in touch with mummy you deserve it


At 11:40 am, Anonymous Erika said...

Hello Anya,

I must say, your book is amazing, i mean you are just amazing!! I am not sure i could have managed with all those things that happened to you!! When i read the part that you are living in your car, i have been thinking you should have talked to people, of course it is not easy, but there are nice people out there!!! I am from Hungary and i have left my country for just only one reason! My Mother! She kept on telling me she never wanted me, it is my dads fault, she made me do lots of things for her, and i could just see any other way out just to go as far as i could!
I was coming here just with one ticket, and no money and could not speak english at all!
I made it somehow, now working in an office just because i have met the right people who are wery helpful, and trusted me, even thou i thought i could not do what i am doing right now!
And the thought that i could have passed you on the streets, and not being able to help makes me feel really guilty!
i have been talking to people in the streets finding out how they ended up there, and tryed to help even if it was just some warm food, or clothes.. all i have heard from them: even if you cant help, and dont give a thing, you look at as like we are somebody not an outsider, and it does make a different.
I am not sure that you are reading this, probably have not got the time to read all our letters,
But please make sure you never ever give up, god loves you and i am sure he has a plan for you, and you started it with your book, as it will help many people to get on, to be strong, and tell! because it helps! Somehow it alwasy does!

Take good care, i hope you will be writing more, about how things turned out!! as i suppose we all want to know!

At 1:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya,

Just finished reading your book - a christmas present from my husband. Once I started reading I found myself in a hurry to get back to the place I had left, unable to put it down for too long. It is a very sad story, but you have the gift of lightening certain moments - making me cry and laugh in different places. I am really glad you were discovered on your blog, and wrote your book. It is thought provoking, and hopefully "the government" will take heed of the life you had, and understand that you are not the only one. I feel so priveleged to have come across you, and would like to wish you all the luck in the world for your future - you deserve it.

Love Jacqui from Jarrow xxx

At 6:16 pm, Anonymous Anna said...

Hi Anya

Just read your book - brilliant - you are a wonderful person and you have helped me come to terms with some issues like yours. I hope you go on to write more inspiring books.

Take care

At 8:25 pm, Blogger Hope said...

Hi Anya,

I'm 17 and am taking my A-Levels at the moment. I'm also an aspiring actress and singer/songwriter. What with all the stress of college as well as some family problems, I've been really feeling the pressure recently. I decided I needed a good book to use as a bit of an escape, so I began reading yours, which my Mum's friend bought me for Christmas. It was finished by the New Year, and it's put me in a great frame of mind for 2008. Although I've been through a lot, your story makes my problems seem insignificant. Your book has made me realise just how blessed I am; you're such an inspiration. I feel truly lucky to have heard your story, you really are an example to everyone who contemplates giving up. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your experiences with people.

Keep on keeping on.
Hope xxx

At 8:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anya,
I got your book for Xmas from my parents and, like everyone else I could not put it down. Although a very very sad story I didn't want the book to come to an end.
Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you lots of love for the future.
Jo x

At 9:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya,well what can i say you are an inspiration to a lot of people,I work with people who are NFA,Drug Addicts and Alcoholics.I have read your book out to the ones who cannot read and you have inspired them in so many ways .None of them have chosen this as a way of life but they all say the same thing it is hard to accept being 'homeless' for one reason or another, they have ended up here for now anyway.If everyone out there just took the time to say hi it would make the difference to them, but as i tell them all daily and you now, youv'e been at rock bottom there is only one way from here and thats up.Youv'e proved determination and sheer guts will get you all through.Good luck Anya be happy you deserve it with lots of hugs and kisses.
p.s You have helped the 34 residents I now support daily.Not bad hey.

At 2:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anya, i have just finished reading your book. Im so happy things have worked out for you in the end and i am glad you still write in your blog as it is a really interesting read for me and probably for many other people. Good luck in the future and i wish you well.
candice x

At 8:59 pm, Blogger FindingMyself said...

Im 16 and may seem a little young to read and understand your book especialy as i have been through noting like that.
But i think your amazing for still being here and not giving up on life even through all those tough times. Your life has been incredibuly hard and nobody deserves anything that youv'e been through. I think its fantastic that you wrote the book so that other people can here your story and your also admiting things yourself which as you said in the book is hard for you. Your a great person Anya, good luck in your life! x

At 9:52 pm, Anonymous Paula said...

Hello Anya,
Im nearly 19 next week and got your book for xmas with a few others. I read yours first and can I just say you are unbelieveable. You are so strong it made me cry I really hope you never talk to your uncle again he is evil! You are a real credit your mother should be very proud of you. One day I really hope you see your mother you deserve it. I wish you every happiness and luck in life and one day you'll get it Anya just keep smiling :D
Love Paula x x

At 4:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya,

I have not long finished your book - how happy i am for you that you are a strong enough woman to be able to tell your story. I didn't want to put it down until I was finished and have now passed it to a colleague.

It's truly tragic that some must endure what you did but you are one that will ensure those people aren't forgotton about it society. Not many books have brought out as much emotion as yours did for me.

Here's hoping that all is well for you - stay strong and best wishes for the future.


At 3:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I as so pleased to read how you have managed to fetch yourself through all your troubles so bravely. You are a born writer so please carry on writing while holding down your 'real job' - don't give up. I am praying for you to be able to re-join your family with your head held high as you deserve. Mary

At 3:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow wat can i say, thinking maybe i should start my own blog, sort my feelings out, speak the unspeakable. stop makin half harted promises 2 myself, u c i thought i had delt wiv the past, dont hold any ill feelings 2wards any1,2 b honest dont hold any feelings

At 8:14 pm, Blogger angelbabe said...

I have just finished reading you book and i wanted to say thank you. From the age of 5 i was victim to abuse from a neighbour of our family home. I was never able to tell my parents or family. But reading your book made me realise that no matter how bad you think your life is there is always someone out there who's is that bit worse. After realising this i made the decision to talk to my partner about my childhood, having someone to talk to takes some of the pain away. so again thank you for writing your story and helping me begin to share mine.

At 12:48 pm, Blogger Jun said...

Hello here , i love your stories .
i got your address through reader's digest! . Your language skills was good! .By the way i am from singapore and i was touched by your stories and i hope you feels comfortable now!

At 8:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an 18 year old boy from Pakistan and just read your story in reader's digest. I was really impressed by your struggle and i wanted to wish you the very best of luck for your life and have a wonderful day today.

At 12:45 pm, Anonymous Leah Webster said...

Hey Anya my name is leah im a 19 year old university student, i came across ur book in WHSmith and was intrigued to read it just from the title, but u have been through so much, i didnt think it could get much worse after about chapter 18 but ur life continued to go down hill but unlike all those other people who turn to drink, drugs or even crime u managed to survive, u managed to keep going and turn ur life around, even managing to write such an inspirational book. Nothing that ever happened was ur fault it was the fault of difficult circumstnces bt i jus wanted to tell you how much i think of you and thank you for writing your story to let us no how bad life can be but that there is hope. You really are an amazing person with a beautiful heart and i just wanted to thank you for this insight in to your life and for making me appreciate the small things. I wish and hope u all the best for the future and just look after yourself xleahx

At 2:19 pm, Blogger YellowRose said...


Im 15 years old and live in england. I have just finished reading your book and wanted to let you know i think your amazing! I think you have coped so well and i, like everyone else whos read your book, am touched by your story. Your truly an ispiration and i have passed the book ont my friends. Have a wonderful life

At 9:58 am, Blogger sarah said...

Hi anya, i have just finished reading your book, i started reading it 3 nights ago and finished it this morning after reading it for 4 1/2 hours, i think you have been really brave and you are an inspiration to other people out there, thanks for sharing your story, i wish you all the luck and happiness that comes your way from now on, you truly deserve it. Sarah

At 10:07 am, Blogger sarah said...

Hi anya, i have just finished reading your book i started 3 nights ago and finished it this morning after reading it for 4 1/2 hours, i think you have been really brave, you are an inspiration to other people, thanks for sharing your story, i wish you all the luck and happiness for the future, and i will never forget you and will be thinking of you always. Sarah

At 12:07 pm, Blogger hope said...

hi anya, i have just finished reading your book,im so glad you were brave enough to speak out, i wish i had your courage i can relate to a lot of the things in your book,i hope your life is a much happier one now, please write another book soon to say what happened next.

At 5:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ola hanya...chamo-me Ana e tenho 19 anos. Tou a tirar o curso de educação de infância e trabalho ao mesmo tempo para ter dinheiro para pagar as propinas. Acabei agr de ler o teu livro e nem comecei a lê-lo há uma semana. É um livro que se lê rápidamente porque agarra o leitor e apetece lê-lo todo de uma só vez.
desde já os meus parabéns, és uma pessoa muito forte apesar de teres bloqueado os teus sentimentos desde menina.
tens uma história de vida exemplar, conseguiste vingar, ou seja, conseguiste ultrapasar uma situação muito difícil, que felizmente terminou com sucesso, sendo que todo o teu receio de nao conseguir ultrapassar esta situação foi apagado.
Espero que consigas agora ser bem sucedida na vida o quanto desejas.
Beijinhos e muitas felicidades é o que te desejo do fundo do coração.

At 8:02 pm, Anonymous Sarah, Ireland said...

Hiya anya
im 17 year old girl an im from Ireland, ive just read your book and soo many emotions went threw me while reading it. made me cry so many times. just thinking tat a small child can be put through stuff like that is unreal. im was really glad to read tat everything worked out for you in the end. and hope u enjoy the happy life you;ll hav ahead of you.
love sarah xox

At 10:00 am, Anonymous badith said...

hello anya,i am bernadith from the Philippines,16 years old(no,actually,turning 17 on monday,4th)..i wrote coz after reading your article on reader's digest,i was totally in awe of you..at my young age,surely i have'nt experienced yet what u have already but me as a person,i easily pity..that's why with all other millions around the world,i sympathize to all those who hav suffered the same fate as u once had..having read your story,my belief that though in these days,cruelty reigns..that God's really great,he has ways,as always..in the coming days,if ever hardness comes my way,just by thinking of you and the car u once lived into..i shall be relieved......thank u=)


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