This offering is dedicated to my family…my niece Louise, with a similar story, my beautiful children who forgive me, my elderly parents, who did the best they could with what they had, and my love J.…who understands me. I love you always………….
It’s midnight and I’m in my 26 foot camper van alone by a lake in rural Ireland…see “P.S. I LOVE YOU” the movie…!
I am 51. My screen saver on my ancient laptop is my grandson, THE CHILD of a child I almost aborted…a pregnancy unplanned at a glorious 28 on my tour du monde after university.
All I ever learned in life taught me that the more I know, the less I know…
I can be as ambitious as the next person, probably moreso. I used to long for a simplicity of spirit that would allow me to grow up, marry, have children, a mortgage, sciatica and then grand kids…eluded me always. The simplicity anyway.
My life has been gloriously complex and fucked up.
I am currently a single parent of 3 children, separated pending divorce, living in a council house (nice new one on an estate in a rural town which is as posh as most private estates ha ha) on benefits, welfare, social…(MY DEFENCE IS HOW COME MEN FATHER CHILDREN THEN DON’T SUPPORTH THEM???) but then, so was J.K. Rowlings (a single parent living in a council house on benefits) and we all know about Harry Potter!
My benefits are more generous than most…Ireland has a splendid social welfare system, born of its’ natural catholic charity and respect for the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable and the needy. Bravo, I mean that. Except how in the world did my life park me in those categories?
Two of my three living children (I had two miscarriages also) have SPECIAL NEEDS/
Not too devastating the special needs.. ,or maybe I just don’t have a ‘disability’ mentality? My baby aged 11 has a visual impairment incurable and hereditary which means he will never drive (except for miraculous healing which I believe in), works on magnifying-assisted computer at school, and frequently drops and breaks crockery etc with a slight mal assessment of surface and distance. He still plays football and says he can see the goalposts so just shoots an hopes, and he knows who to pass to cos of the colour of the shirts…an dear God, with that attitude, he actually makes the first 11 and has a victory flip jump acrobat thing for when he scores!…Bravo my lean mean cuddling machine!
My 14 year old has A.D.H.D…..attention deficit hyper active disorder, which means he stretches mine and his teachers’ patience to the max, forgets or loses multiple stuff, and needs unlimited inspiration and professional support to show-case his genius and differences in a world of too much muchness…
He excels at everything, because I followed the American pattern of raising and praising my children to believe they could be ‘the President’…so he excels at art, sports, academics if he really tries and has a gifted teacher, music and rebellion…pushing the limits on any and every form of unexplained discipline! He has dabbled with alcohol, internet porn, smoking, and fighting at school to date, but been yanked back from the brink of destruction on every occasions by a neurotic determined mother who adores him to distraction…AND BELIEVES IN GOD!
I wonder how does one encapsulate an over-flowing heart in a moment in time?
I stare at my grandson on my screen-saver and my heart fills with wonder…. I quiet my body and soul enough to realise, HE MAKES MY SPIRIT SMILE!
Let me not sell my soul for a sixpence…I DO have a literature degree from Warwick University; I HAVE published a poem here, a short story there, a newspaper article or book review elsewhere. The pay never paid the piper and my blogs of creativity on myspace and facebook are without remuneration to date, despite a growing readership, and an outrageous optimism on my part that my life story will be told….perhaps THIS is part of THAT.
My motive, outside of SURVIVAL which is primary to all of us, is to inspire and relate.
LOVE ETERNAL AND INCORRUPTIBLE
By Angie Power
This is my bumpy, bruised, battered and GLORIOUS body this year, aged 51! It makes me giggle. The legs are short, the appendix and caesarean section scars noticeable, the pot belly in need of sit-ups, and the boobs after breast=feeding 3 children sadly in need of re-positioning! I call this picture CHOOSE LIFE….naked we came into this world and naked we shall leave it! I am not a naturist or nudist or even particularly exhibitionist! I lost three and a half stone ;ast year….and I think if Jesus was the second Adam….and He was! then I can be in the Garden of Eden…no fig leaves required!!
This genre is FACTION….fiction based on fact…although sometimes life imitates dreams and it all blends….The past and the present are true, my truth, me, my life. The future is the happy ending I always dreamed like every young girl overly-impressed with fairytales. It is visualization based on faith…it is The Secret in action…it is God in my life…
23 years ago I got a crazy notion to emigrate to California. Emigrate is a funny word, so familiar in Ireland. Half a century ago and more, an American wake was a big party they threw when one of their own was for Americay because the early emigrants never came home. So sad and poignant I always found that. I said my farewells to my family in Oldcastle and set off down the long windy hedge bordered lane. .the black road they call it. I decided to go first to England by boat, and promised myself a steak dinner in the ship’s restaurant to pass the time and mark the adventure. I had not bargained on the postcard my mother had slipped in my bag, bidding me adieu and blessed…it had a picture of a lone woman like myself walking the lane small suitcase in hand on the lonely journey to distant lands…by the time the waiter arrived with my beautiful dinner I was sobbing so much I could not eat. Poor man, he was so alarmed and concerned and kept asking me ‘What happened?’ ,,,,’Nothing,’ I replied. ‘ I am emigrating.’
I worked 3 or 4 jobs in London for 3 months to save money. I taught English as a foreign language, French, I did some P.A. admin stuff for a wealthy Saudi who allowed me to also use his West End apartment as my base because he was back in Saudi Arabia. Perfect.
I almost got cold feet about my plans and a week or two before I was due to leave, I went to Liverpool to try again with a relationship that had been on and off for years. My lover was a young German diplomat with a posting in Liverpool, not nearly as glamourous as his London posting where I had met him years earlier. I joined him a different time in Casablanca, now that was an exotic posting, and I was used to this lifestyle, having grown up the child of a serviceman,,,,Dad was in the Air Force. I was born in Germany, where we lived 3 years,,,another posting we had was 3 years in Gibraltar which is where I developed my love affair with sunshine and beaches as a way of life. I used to say if Ireland had a great climate, no-one would ever leave….
But once again I found myself ill-equipped for this relationship, any relationship really. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. Multiple….I have this theory that once abused, unless it is dealt with expertly and compassionately by family and professionals, one becomes like a bird with a broken wing, or a wounded animal at the back of a herd on those nature programmes….too vulnerable, and easy pickings. My Grandad was the first. It lasted only minutes because I was brave enough to run away. Not before he threatened me not to tell though, and I was brought up to be obedient. A little more outspoken ness would have been a good thing, but children should be seen and not heard was the catch phrase of my upbringing….so I stayed silent and horrified.
Then a year later, when I was just 12, my parents decided I could go to family friends in Germany for a month to learn the language. They were a professional couple and she was my godmother. Her mother had worked for my Dad in the AirForce and she was a lovely lady. But the husband. Respected pillar of the community, Scout and youth leader, Successful professional and team leader. And OUTRAGEOUS PAEDOPHILE. He molested me daily for the entire month. I tried desperately to tell the mother but she spoke no English and my German was almost non-existent. Years later she said she just thought I was saying I didn’t like Uncle H.
So like a whipped dog I submitted. Three summers in a row. It cost me everything. My
sanity. My future. My joy.
The final assault was at the hands of a big brother of my counter part on a school exchange to France, again to learn the language. I speak both fluently now, it is ironic how much that linguistic feat cost me. And last year, I took in French students over in Ireland to learn the language,, well English not Gaelic…and all that was requested was references which were taken over the phone…for goodness sake, we should not send our children to strangers anywhere without police-checking their hosts??
None of my abusers raped me. Often paedophiles have erection and penetration issues, and the thrill for them is in endless foreplay, usually with helpless victims, like children. I would have preferred to be raped once by a stranger than have my personality forever traumatized by family and friends betraying trust that never should have been breached. And inducing silence and secrecy that is un natural and too heavy to bear.
Enough of that….I can talk about it and would always listen to another survivor and help out if I can. But in the grand scheme of things that are my life it is fleeting and that’s all I want it to be in my remaining years.
So I ended up alone, with a daughter to an American-Italian who is not in her life or mine. Never was really. I came home from California after 5 years to raise my daughter in Ireland. I rushed off to England after a few months back and married in haste someone to whom I was not in the least suited, and had two more children to him, my beautiful sons.
My German lover I gave up on, and dedicated 9 years to being a ‘good wife and mother’ to my English husband….until early menopause hit 8 years ago and in the teenage like throes of re evaluating my life I admitted the truth about my loveless marriage and left.
Fast approaching 50, I thought my life was effectively over, at least until I got my boys off to college by which time I would be 56. So I drank. And smoked. And watched soaps on television like they were a life. And gained weight. And avoided men. Given up on that . Resigned myself to being eccentric and alone,
Until a year ago I ‘woke up’ and got a life again. I got sober and went to AA….I lost three and a half stone with Lipotrim in four months. I hooked into the Lakeland Revival on telly every night and my soaps went out the window forever! I did a computer course to bring myself into the 21st century from my old orange portable typewriter that went everywhere with me in my younger days…
And I discovered social networking! Facebook first, which I painstakingly taught myself at my daughter’s suggestion, to oversee my young sons. Ha ha, it’s they who tell me to get off the laptop these days! It’s my WORK I plead laughing, pretending to be writing even if I’m hopping around ‘chatting’ to friends all over the world on these cyber sites.
Then one day an e mail popped up telling me a friend had a myspace account and why didn’t I check it out. I did, and his friends list….from there I friend-requested a friend of his who added me to his list…and then I saw HIM. Well, him probably 10 years ago but we all are guilty of nostalgia! This BEAUTFUL musician-artist-gentleman-James Dean-like mysterious MAN,
I friend requested him too…being honest about my route to discovery. He politely accepted, and I spent a couple hours reading his life on his ‘page’ on my couch in my council house in rural Ireland. I thanked him for cheering me up on a blue lonely evening, the evenings were lonely after the kids went to bed…and we started mailing back and forth daily
Within a couple weeks we were speaking on the phone too….sometimes five hours a day. We were greedy for love and each other and wanting to know everything in the way new lovers do…nothing was insignificant, silences were peaceful, yearning was strong and passion and love growing apace
I ‘checked him out’ on google…as much as I could anyway, because he is a private kind of person despite having a high public profile and living in Hollywood. But I only really checked to quiet concerned friends who think all internet men are secret axe murderers…I trusted him and believed him in the hours and hours of talk and letter writing we do…
I believe the ring of truth is recognizable, and a long-distance love affair a good way to really get to know each other in an old-fashioned way not tainted by rash bedroom decisions and early commitment without real care…
So the visualization or fantasy or upcoming reality is we will probably spend the rest of our lives together. I will visit with him in June …after more than six months of ‘courting’. From the safety of distance I have been able to share honestly all my past failures and trauma and fall out. And he ‘gets’ me…he is brave and intelligent and passionate and volatile and very MALE, he ‘gets me’ and I ‘get’ him too.
He was divorced four years ago. We are the same age. Our kids are similar ages. We have nothing in common and yet everything…we fit. The prince and the pauper…the rock star and the housewife….the musician and the would be writer…yet equal before God. Our backgrounds are totally different. But we fit…we laugh, we love, we encourage and inspire, we cry, we fight …normal beautiful intimacy that eluded me or stayed only fleetingly all my life
So at 51 it happened. I met him. The One. He signs his love notes that way. Even when we are fighting, he signs off THE ONE. He knows. I know. Even my closest friends who know me KNOW. My prince finally came. I kissed an awful lot of frogs waiting for him…no, many men in my past were good men, I just could not love them or receive their love in any profound or lasting way…
Until now. Until NOW. Thankyou God. Thankyou Jack and Rexella Van Impe. Thankyou Oprah, Doctor Phil and The Secret! Thankyou Todd Bentley and The Florida Outpouring…
Thankyou friends, good friends I have always had…
and thankyou ME! For not giving up.
For continuing to dream and hope and pray…
“ ‘I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord….’plans to prosper you and not to harm you…plans for a hope and a future!’ ”
From the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet, Chapter 29, verse 11
We cherish every day and wait patiently for everything to line up for our life to start TOGETHER…..
And the beginning!
‘Choose Life’ photo by Rachel Angus