Today’s post is about us as children. What we were like. I was a good child, I rarely got into trouble and loved school. I was an avid reader at a young age and often would seek solace in a good book.

My dad wasn’t around much, long enough though for my mum to fall pregnant with my brother when I was 5 years old.

My Gran often tells me that I was quite a jealous sibling when my brother was born, I don’t remember this. The only thing I remember really from around that age was thinking I heard Santa’s sledge on a late night out (probably about 6pm lol) and playing in my bedroom, pretending there was a witch in my wardrobe.

Even as I got a bit older heading towards my teen years I was always good, always had the best of intentions.

My mum got a new partner, I’m not sure how old I was at the time but when I was 9 we started running pubs so lived in them.

The first pub we lived in was called The Buck in Guisborough,  nothing much really happened here. Apart from school I’d spend my days down at the local beck with a fishing net and my brother.

The next pub we lived in was called The Old Dunn Cow in Darlington.  I hated the place, the people, the school. It was too big, too much a city. I missed the countryside. I got flashed at here, in the park while my brother and I were collecting conkers. The only redeeming feature was The Dolphin Centre which is where I spent most of my time, playing on the slides, diving boards or swimming in the pools. I once cut my foot when I was living here and remember having to go around the hospital in a wheelchair until they checked for glass and stitched me up. I still have the scar.

The next pub I lived in was in Coulby Newham called The Smithy. I didn’t particularly like the school or location but I made some great friends here, ones I’m still in touch with.

We spent hours playing bands in the garage, singing and dancing. It was always fun. I got my first crush when I was living here, on a friend called Mark lol.

One day we decided that we all wanted to set up a cafe. Me with my bright ideas thought we should use the spare kitchen in the flat above the pub, we decided that we could have people sit on the garage roof which led out through the Patio door from the kitchen.

We had it all planned. We bought sausages and alsorts. However…been only 10 we had no idea what we were doing and promptly set fire to a chip pan. Luckily my mum put it out in time to not cause any serious damage. Lesson learnt…I was not going to run a Cafe on top of a pub at the age of 10.

After we moved from here we stopped running pubs and lived in a little house in Skelton. It was at this point that my life started taking a very different turn.

I was around 10 when I first witnessed my step dad been awful to my mum, verbally abusing her in an argument in the car. Me being me I didn’t like it and mouthed at him, I didn’t like what he was saying, how he was calling her names. That was the first time he was physically and verbally violent to me. The last time wouldn’t occur until 6 years later.

We ended up leaving that house due to neighbours complaining about him, he attitude. They all knew what he was like but didn’t do anything. I also found out when we lived here that he use to smoke a lot of drugs to calm him down, apparently I had an attitude problem. I didn’t,  I just refused to back down to a bully.

When I was about 12 my teacher noticed bruising all over my thighs and side during P.E.  At that point social services were contacted. Not once did anyone speak to me or ask about anything. They just went to the house to warn him not to hurt me that was it. One visit, a visit which just resulted in another beating for me. 

I once remember catching him hurting my mum, I thought he would kill her, she was walking down the stairs and he flung a washing machine down after her, it knocked her down the stairs and pinned her to the ground. My brother would hide in his bedroom, luckily he never got physically hurt but watching the violence has scared him still until this day.

During this period I still did well at school, school was my sanctuary, my safe place and when I couldn’t be here I was with my Gran, who despite offering help and advice to my mum couldn’t really do much more. She despised my step dad as much as I did. 

What I’ve wrote makes my life sound terrible but there were some days of joy in among it all, trips out, meals, special times that were good. It wasn’t all bad. Admittedly it got a lot worse once I hit about 13 but that is a story for another time.

One thing I’ve taken away from my childhood is strength. I will never be in a position my mother was in, I will never let anyone talk down to me or be abusive whether they are man, woman or child. I am not a victim of domestic violence, I am a survivor of domestic violence:)

I’m sorry if my post feels like a bit of a downer, but anyone who knows me knows I am honest, positive and bubbly. My past does not dictate my future…but it is part of my past, a past that’s made me proud of who I am today.

Don’t forget to pop along Ugly Bug Does for Michelle’s post on today’s topic. 

Thank you for reading. 

Emma-Louise 

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