I struggled how to start this blog. How to explain what I am feeling and trying to say. I am having a clear out. I am getting rid of all the rubbish in my life…clutter…relationships…people. I feel stronger now than I have in years and know its time to let go of some stuff. That I am ready to do so.
Like many people, I have boxes in my loft filled with pictures my children have made me over the years, birthday cards, school reports, photos…all the stuff people must look at when they want to visit childhood memories. At the back of all these boxes (swear down I have boxes of my kids’ stuff!) is a case. A small case. And in that case are the memories I have from my childhood. I have loads of photos put in this case I also have a few physical things. Some cards and pictures I drew for my mum (Almost all of them get well cards or notes saying I am sorry). School reports that show the decline in my behaviour and other bits and pieces.
I don’t often open that case. It has some of my mums’ personal belongings in it also. It’s also the case she used for her short spell in hospital before she died. I don’t open it for many reasons, but one of the reasons is when I open it still smells a bit like my mum. A mixture of dove soap and stale cigarette’s. Sometimes I am trying to find something in a rush and I forget, I just unzip it and whip it open to start looking for whatever. And I will suddenly be hit with the smell. It makes me stop in my tracks. No matter what I am doing of where my mind is at that moment… I stop. It’s like I can feel her. I feel calm and happy. I just sit there for a moment taking it in. Not for too long though, you understand, because each time I close the case it makes me sad.
In the case has always been a teddy bear from when I was a baby. A 38-year-old teddy bear. Always looking at me with his black and orange eyes when I look in the case. There used to be another teddy in there. I really liked that one, I used to get it out when I opened the case, put it too my face to smell it then put it back in. That one has disappeared over the years of moving, which is sad because that teddy reminds me of being little.
The other teddy, the one that is still in the case…has been locked away since I have been about 9. When my childhood stopped.
I look at this teddy now, today, whilst looking through the case for something. The teddy reminds me of something. I am never sure if I want to throw it away or not. I can’t tell you why, not I can’t as in its too sad or bad or whatever…I can’t tell you why. The memories are not there for me to see…or at least they wasn’t. I look at him now (I know he is a he…strange). He is brown and ratty looking. I don’t remember him ever looking new. I can’t even tell you if he was given me to me new. I have just avoided him for as long as I can remember. But today I look at him. He is familiar this teddy. I am aware that right now, in this world, he is the oldest thing that has ever belonged to me. I have pictures of me in a cot holding him…big old smile on my face. I decide that I am going to throw him in the bin. Holding on to things that are just taking up space. He is a waste of space. I pick him up out of the case and go to chuck it in the black bag I am holding. Something metal catches on my finger nail as I grab him. I hold the teddy and turn him over, looking at the back. There is a metal button to wind up and I remember that he used to play music. Swear down, up until 30 seconds ago that was not in my memories. I turn the little button, but nothing happens. That tune must have stopped playing a long time ago. I turn it and then squeeze it, hoping this will work. I hold his belly up to my ear to see if I can hear the faint sound of a lullaby that I can no longer remember…
As I hold him to me ear, the fuzz against my face is more than familiar. A memory comes storming into my mind. I used to wind up the music and then lay on this teddy, one ear squeezed against his belly, my hand pressed tightly against my exposed ear. Trying to drown out the screaming and shouting that I could hear. My mum being beaten. Sometimes by my dad. Sometimes by other men. Once by my dad and his mates. That memory has been locked up for years. He got drunk. Brought them round. God knows what was happening but she as screaming. And I am laying in my bed trying to block it out with teddys music. Over and over again. My tears making his fur all ratty. Then, sometimes I would throw him against the wall over and over again trying to hurt him, to break him. Then I would feel so bad and I would grab him off the floor and hug him tightly saying I was sorry. Just like my mum would come and do with me once the screaming had stopped and the house would be quiet. She would come in my room, hold me, and rock me and tell me she was sorry. I never really knew then what she was sorry for when I was little, know now why. And then I would play out the same thing with Teddy.
Then one day she stopped saying sorry. She stopped coming in and hugging me and saying sorry. Because now I was the cause of her tears. I was the one bringing trouble to the door, school calling up, finding stolen things in my room. I guess at this point, playing lullaby’s and crying to teddy just didn’t cut it. I can remember all my toys just being piled up in a corner for about a year because I no longer played with toys. Or hugged teddies.
I suddenly realised that here…right now… I was crying in my loft. I’m not sure if I believe in all that inner child stuff but right here right now something inside me was saying that I didn’t have to lock up these feelings anymore. Or be angry. Or be afraid of stuff.
Seems that some heeling is taking place. I have felt it for a few years, bubbling away. Demons have been faced over the years. And I am starting to see that on top of everything else, the domestic violence I grew up with was …shocking. Its not that I am just remembering the domestic violence. I have always had memories. But I am now acknowledging how much it hurt and how scared I was. I can also see how living with this domestic abuse had its part to play in the creation of “Blondy”.
So anyway, me and teddy have hugged it out. He accepts that I had to lock him away all this time, so I didn’t remember but…I also had him locked away all this time so that one day I could…one day. And now we are good. He is out of the loft and in the bin (Jokes…. I am joking people).
He is on my bed. The only teddy I have had on my bed for years. I have also remembered why I have hated teddies on beds for years. And that’s where he will stay. No longer wiping up the tears of a broken child or drowning out the sound of abuse. Just here…chillin…currently being sat on by my cat. He is a bit raggedy. A bit broken. He no longer plays music the same way. But he is still here.
Just like me.