The Minister

This is not a story about god or religion.

I want to write about my old boss, a beautiful human being and my first ever mentor.

This man is a Minister. His church and his congregation saved my life.

I’ll never forget the first day I met him, the day of my job interview. Tragically, my interview was on the day after my aunties funeral.

(She took her own life)

I was in pieces that day and by some miracle I got the job. I was relieved because I was so broke and needed to find a part time job to fit around university.

I was desperate to make enough money and save up for a deposit so I can move out of my grandmothers house.

The mad house, as I used to call it.

Little did I know at the time – just how much of a blessing this was. A few months into the job I was suddenly made homeless because I was being threatened with violence.

A couple of my cousins were after my blood.

It all started one night at my cousins house. She got deliriously drunk and tried to strangle her 8 year old son. I was stone cold sober and was able to stop her.

We managed to escape from the back door of her house. My cousin then called the police and told them I had abducted her child.

The police found us standing in the street. It was pissing it down and we were in our bare feet waiting for a taxi.

They picked us up for questioning and her son disclosed that his mother tried to strangle him, and I confirmed his story.

As a result of this incident, my cousin and her sister decided I was in the wrong and told my grandmother they were going to kill me.

It wasn’t safe for me to stay with my grandmother anymore.

I reached out to the Minister and he arranged for one of the congregation members to give me a place to stay – and I am eternally grateful for that.

I am seriously convinced that if I hadn’t got that job and I hadn’t worked for the Minister I would be dead or in jail right now.

I’m serious.

At one point I ended up in A&E nearly dead, in need of an emergency operation and blood transfusion.

On top of all this, I was such a lost soul at the time, so young and absolutely clueless.

This was pre-ADHD diagnosis so I was broke, unstable, un-medicated, historically unable to hold down a job and just barely keeping my head above water.

My minister was more than just a boss – he was my first mentor and at the time, the only person in my entire life who saw my potential and invested in me.

He inspired me and taught me what I needed to know about life and my own abilities so I could dig myself out of rock-bottom.

He had “unconditional positive regard” for me and everyone he met.

Such a legend.

He emailed me today and asked me where I was on “my journey”. I responded straight away, but I reframed the dark stuff. I disclosed all the recent traumatic events with a positive spin.

I wasn’t as honest and raw as I am here on this blog. It didn’t feel necessary.

I thought about posting a redacted version of my response but I decided against it in the end.

Primed for Abuse

Here’s the thing. I have a bit of a track record for falling in love with abusive men.

I’m vulnerable, sure.

An easy target and “primed for abuse”, as they say.

But why?

What makes me so vulnerable?

I’m pretty fucking sure a messed up upbringing might have something to do with it.

Here goes…

My upbringing was profoundly oppressive – thanks to both parents – and living in the Middle East.

I am the only daughter to an Iranian man and a Scottish woman.

My father is the typical “Middle Eastern Father” stereotype, moody, unable to show affection, over protective, controlling and impossible to please.

The only time my father made eye contact with me was when he was lashing out at me.

He is a complex man. All the ways he primed me for abuse is a struggle for me to put it into words at the moment.

So for now I’ll say that he taught me to accept the “darker” side of masculinity.

The result of having a father like him is that I am mainly attracted to men that really, fucking scare me.

Moving on!

My mother was brought up by her militant, catholic grandmother.

She is neurotic, self-loathing, completely oblivious to her own internalised misogyny. The head-fuckery which she was proud to pass on to me as her “teachings” – so that one day I might become a good wife.

My mother has all kinds of mental illnesses that moulded me to who I am today.

The stories about her are disturbing and I am building up the courage to share them one day.

I digress.

Some of the things she taught me were things like – all men are evil and that woman-hood is nothing but suffering.

As a result of having a mother like her I feel worthless, ugly, fat, unlovable and a failure as a woman.

As well as being controlled and abused by both parents, I grew up as a second class citizen.

I lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 7 years, from the age of 12 to 19 years old and the experience for me, a teenage girl was totally unbearable.

I could write endlessly about the injustices for women and girls living in Iran, and I will get round to it…

(Spoiler: I ran away from home, got back to to the UK and was homeless for a while)

I know there are people who are far worse off than me…but looking at the shitty cards I was dealt, it’s obvious that I never stood a chance in love and relationships.

I lost the game before it even started – right?

The second date sucked

The last time I posted about dating, I was excited and optimistic about having met someone new.

We waited a month to have our second date because he was overseas on holiday but we were texting a lot and I can sincerely say that we had an amazing connection.

However, to put it bluntly, the second date was a total fucking disaster.

Idecided very early on in the second date that I didn’t fancy him anymore…but I ignored my feelings and tried to make it work.

He wasn’t very talkative, quite shy so I worked quite hard to avoid it being awkward.

I got drunk and tried to have a nice time. the rest of the night is a blur. Of the bits I can remember, I would rather forget,

To say that the overall experience disappointing would be the kindest thing I could say.

I woke up in my bed, with him lying next to me. I had a stinking hangover and felt totally repulsed.

I dragged myself out of bed and had a shower. Whilst in the shower I continued to ignore my feelings and convinced myself that I could turn it around.

I convinced myself that it would be a good idea to continue the date. So I drove us to this cute place in town for a “romantic” breakfast.

It really wasn’t.

Much like last night, he wasn’t talkative and I tried my best to fill the silence with nice things like admiring the decor but eventually I gave up on it.

My next move was to get him back to his car which was parked at my house so we could say our goodbyes – but he didn’t leave – he followed me into my house.

I didn’t know what to do.

I made us a cup of tea and I told him that at some point I will need to get going because I had lots of errands and things to do.

He said “okay”, then took his shoes off and made himself very comfortable on my couch.

We watched a couple of episodes of The Spy on Netflix – which I thought will bore the fuck out of him (political dramas are not his bag) but he persevered.

Finally I plucked up the courage, got up from the couch and said, “okay that’s it now – I have stuff to do so I’m going to load my car with stuff for the recycling station”.

I took the loads to my car and then with my keys in my hand I said to him, “right I have to go now” and he said “okay, do you need any help?” and I told him that I’m meeting a friend who is helping me.

“Okay” he said. He turned and continued watching the TV.

I started trembling and I abruptly told him “you need to leave now!”.

He was apologetic and left the house with me, we hugged, he got in his car and instead of driving off, he just sat there.

Wtf?

So, I’m still trembling at this point as I back my car out of the drive – I could see him in his car just staring at me as I drive off.

He made me feel so anxious and uncomfortable but I can’t be angry at him because I don’t think it’s his fault.

It’s my own fault. I should be angry at myself for ignoring my feelings.

I should be angry that I didn’t kick him out sooner. I was the one who let the date continue to the point where I felt trapped and anxious about telling him to leave.

You could say that I led him on but it’s more complicated than that.

I honestly thought I liked him – but none of it was true…it was all in my head.

The truth is, I totally deluded myself.

I made myself believe that I liked him and that I fancied him. When it wasn’t going well I tried to force the situation and it didn’t end well.

I think I did this because I was so lonely, because I desperately want a boyfriend.

The second date was a complete shit show and I only have myself to blame.

I’m feel so ashamed and disgusted with myself.

I’m such a fucking mess.

Sleep walking to addiction

Over the last few weeks I have spent most evenings under the influence of alcohol. I haven’t been able to sleep without it.

It all started when I got some news about changes at work, which was isn’t the end of the world but destabilising – so I started using alcohol as a coping mechanism

I hate myself for it.

I am a social drinker and alcohol was never a coping mechanism for me in the past.

I come from a family of alcoholics on my mums side, so my relationship with alcohol is messed up. I actually hate it and I hate myself for needing it to cope right now.

Part of the distress I am going through is feeling that I’m not in control and at the same time my brain trying to rationalise WHY I have I started using it now.

I normally drink craft beer or pale ale and now I’m on the Gin & Tonic of all things. I don’t even really like Gin but this fancy flavoured stuff is so damn strong at 40% alc.vol – it gets me where I need to be in a *very* short space of time.

I’m trying to justify it to myself – like, I am struggling to sleep and alcohol makes me sleepy quite quickly, and I feel a million times better if I’ve had a proper nights sleep.

How the fuck has piece of news like this sent me spiralling again?

It’s because I’m still very fragile.

I mean, I know that a big change at work is destabilising for anyone – and of course something like this will cause me a bit of an autistic meltdown.

Is my fragility (PTSD) an explanation for taking alcohol as a coping mechanism?

I’m thinking back to my relationship with my abuser and how his drug and alcohol addiction affected me.

He would drink every night and I ended up drinking with him. I was only having a couple of beers but I was drinking just because he was. I was able to nip it in the bud.

But I’m also remembering the drug addiction part. Like, how he would torment me and then administer Xanax to calm me down. Xanax isn’t prescribed in the UK and he bought them illegally from the dark web.

Needless to say, I was dependent on his supply and this was one of the ways he had control over me.

The physical withdrawals coming off the Xanax were insane. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that for as long as I was dependent on the Xanax then I wouldn’t be able to leave him.

Anyways, back to now…I was doing so well but I’m back in that place struggling to sleep without alcohol or drugs.

I wanted a break off the booze so the last couple of nights I drugged myself to sleep with a cocktail of diazepam, phenegram and propranolol.

Believe it or not, the drug cocktail has made the whites of my eyes really white, which is amazing.

I feel so rested but I need to keep the drugs for emergencies.

I have half a bottle of fancy Gin (43%) in the fridge.

I know I’m sleep walking to addiction if I keep going like this but I don’t know how to break out of it.

My wounded little soldier

Leo and I are sat waiting for our vet appointment. The poor guy had a massive lump on his head which burst last night.

The smell was horrific and now he has a gaping wound. I can’t say for sure how or what caused the abscess but I *think* he was attacked by another cat.

The cat rescue told me that he isn’t good at defending himself as he was badly beaten by cats in the past (I know how that feels).

It’s frustrating because I tried to keep him as an indoor cat but he is determined to go out and has ground me down.

So I’ve just given up now. I let him run around in the garden. He doesn’t normally go far from sight but one night a few weeks ago, he disappeared.

I called him for about an hour but it got late so I had to fall asleep with my back door open, hoping he’d come home.

I discovered him sleeping next to me in the morning and when we got out of bed I noticed he was limping along next to me.

I called the vet who said to bring him in if he doesn’t improve in 24 hours. His limp went away so we didn’t go to the vet.

Anyways, I think that night he was attacked and the abscess on his head which has burst is a result of that night.

He really hates going to the vet. He’s taken a chunk out of my hand as I tried to get him in his carrier.

Such a carry on, I’m sweating still.

He’s so adorable and affectionate but he’s also stubborn with me – but a bloody wuss when it comes to looking after himself on the streets.

Little shit. But I do love him – just look at that face!

Fingers crossed he gets his treatment and it heals up okay.