JM took me to her ‘friends’ C. and M.F, if ever there was someone for bad judgement it was JM.
C. and M. were people I had nothing at all in common with and JM had humiliated me to them by telling them inaccurate things about me and the problems I had, which set my relationship with them off to a bad and doomed start anyway. I had stopped speaking by then and was mute all the time I was there, what was the point in speaking, when JM ruled my life and spoke for me? I wasn’t human any more.
JM followed this up by bringing the mental health services round, she was trying to force me to speak apparently and trying to use them to put me in emergency accommodation, but because all I knew of the mental health services was what my parents had told me, that they locked people up and that was their purpose, I was terrified, and felt betrayed and again as if I had no say as I had not been asked about this intrusion beforehand, I fled from the house and walked in the dark for miles, when it got late I went to JM’s house because I didn’t know what else to do, but only FM was there, and he came out and yelled at me, he really did yell, he told me I wasn’t welcome there and I was to go back to where I had a bed for the night and stop making a nuisance of myself, I walked up the road to a hay barn and tried to curl up there, but the hay had muck mixed in and I got mucky. I went back to the F’s house terrified, but they let me in and looked after me.
JM later said she had no idea that I had gone to her house and FM had yelled, he did tend to keep it from her when he did things to hurt me or others behind her back. One time later on I was there to see JM and FM came into the room and the dog had climbed onto my lap, the dog was too big but I didn’t mind, FM went mad at the dog, I told him I didn’t mind her there and so he went mad at me and threw me out, and told JM I had ‘just left’, I was so rattled that I didn’t go back to JM for a while, and when I next saw her she was bewildered, she had not known FM had thrown me out.
I was with the F's for a few days and then they were going away for Christmas, so JM took me to the council, still not speaking, and told them I was too vulnerable to go in the nightshelter, so I was put in a bed and breakfast.
I got my voice back at the bed and breakfast.
The Bed and Breakfast was a mad place, the landlady was an old Jamaican woman who had once been a slave, she was deaf as a post and did not like me running hot water for a bath, she brought me meals at extremely odd hours, and the meals themselves were extremely odd. She had a bad habit of deadlocking the front door when I was out, and was so deaf that she wouldn’t hear my frantic rings at the doorbell either, or JM’s when JM came round to see me or collect me for the peace and healing service.
One night I was locked out and rang the bell frantically for hours on end before trying to sleep in an old burned out car, it was -5 that night and I was so frozen that in the morning I could hardly move, I stumbled to the bed and breakfast and this time she heard the doorbell and let me in and said ‘I thought you were in when I locked the door’, she brought me a strange meal, something Jamaican with rice, funny breakfast. And I climbed into a hot bath and then bed, still shaking with cold, back then I just didn’t know how to be street homeless, I am an expert now so I don’t get cold. A few days later I fell on the broken steps outside the bed and breakfast and knocked my leg badly, huh, I wasn’t having a good life.
Homeless at Christmas, just like Jesus, JM wanted to take me home for Christmas, but FM wouldn’t let her, I didn’t go to L. church for Christmas, I went to another tchurch which was very near the bed and breakfast, in this church I was made welcome though the crowds and the interaction were difficult for me, and a family called the R's took me under their wing and took me home for Christmas day, along with a gaggle of Japanese? Language students.
I was absolutely petrified being in their nice posh house and being unable to stop my nose running, as it did when I was nervous, which made me more embarrassed, unable to cross the language barrier with the language students and my autism making that worse, I tried to talk to the R's, they asked me if I had seen any of the latest movies (no, of course I hadn’t, I had never been to a cinema in my life!), they talked about their holidays and asked about mine, I had never been on holiday before and one of the R. boys laughed at an ignorant question I asked about holidays, I was deeply embarrassed and at a loss.
The R. boys were doing high-flying degrees, they had everything and more, the family had their own yacht, I am not an inverted snob as JM says, I was just so ashamed to be there and to have nothing at all in common with them, and being laughed at for my ignorance was the worst bit though. But there were good things about it, good food, pulling crackers, playing silly games, being in company instead of alone, and celebrating my first real Christian and church Christmas. They also had me for boxing day, which was similar, and on new year’s night I joined in the church’s party for people who were alone and wanted to see in the new year, that was lovely, but the hustle and bustle and bigness and mildly charismatic atmosphere at that church was a bit too much for me, so I never really belonged there but I did respect them for making my Christmas so much better than it could have been.
O Little town of Winchester...
Despite the bed and breakfast being in Winchester, JM continued to get me to come to L. for tea and counselling, technically she shouldn’t have been counselling me while being my friend and me being part of her church, but the counselling wasn’t working either, because JM had her opinions on me and my life, and this affected her ability to listen to me and be non-judgemental, but I got great therapeutic value out of playing with her dog, Bonnie, and when I got to the rectory, Bonnie would leap into my arms and go mad with affection and we would play.
JM ‘counselling’ me didn’t seem to achieve a lot, apart from learning that light touch and touch to my upper arms and neck makes me very distressed, while I can cope with some touch with firmer pressure to it, handshakes are fine, some hugs are fine, even squeezing my lower arms is fine. But I am never comfortable if someone I don’t know touches me. JM used to experiment with touch, to see what I reacted to.
Unfortunately, kind church people often try to reach out and touch my upper arm when they are being kind, which tends to get a cringe from me, I am sure this has made my problems in churches worse, though it is simply one of many problems I have in social settings. My self diagnosis is emotional/behavioural difficulties, and I am not proud of it, nor is it under my control and is a condition that is reactive to the environment I am in and the people around me, I don’t randomly behave oddly, and having been through a very unsettled adulthood as well as childhood, I have reacted a lot.
FM remained deeply unpredictable as he always had been, and I remained scared of him, but one day when I was there he came out of the toilet when I was waiting in the hall for JM when we were going to walk the dog, he gave me a long hug and said softly ‘good girl’, I wondered if he had mistaken me for JM or something, and realised he could not have done, but I was startled, FM was not an affectionate person, he was usually rude to or about me, and he had never tried to hug me before.
JM once said she thought FM was an Asbergers type, she said that when they went to well off people’s houses FM would ask how much paintings and pieces of furniture cost; one day when I had been helping (a lady in church) sell cards to raise money for the church, FM said ‘you should make friends with the (lady and her husband), they are millionaires’, JM spluttered and I indignantly told him that my friendships were nothing to do with money.
Despite the L. benefice being a wealthy one I did not discriminate about money when it came to friends, my friends were the more ordinary people, my friends were the ones who reached out to me, and kept reaching out until they reached me, because I cannot reach out.
On other occasions, later on, FM called me a sponger and a scrounger, and so did JM’s mum, I don’t know how this could be so when FM lives off JM and in her words ‘does nothing’ for the household, while I was working all week and freelance working all weekend doing hard physical labour, including JM's garden, when the doctors had told me I could just sit around on benefits in the sheltered house for as long as I wanted.
I am indeed terribly labelled and judged by Church of England ladies and gentlemen who are not so keen to consider their own faults.