2012 – A year I didn’t have.
My time capsule for 2012 is more than meets the eye …. looking back, this was a null year, a year to write off to grounding and acceptance of that which I have been handed.
To explain why 2012 was a write off
one has to refer to the run up to this period of mere existence
LIVING AND LOVINGLiving in South Africa since 1974, I overcame a drug addiction, lost a partner to the same. I had a beautiful daughter who I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have at the time. I married a man 5 years my junior – a man who was so cruel and hurtful to my daughter when we separated five years later. A man who fought me for years for custody of our twin boys and made my life a living nightmare in doing so.
When I eventually fell in love again, it was to a man separated from his wife. I was devastated when he went back to her and moreso when he committed suicide a few months later.
I then met an Irish guy, even though he was a total alcoholic, I fell totally head over heels in love with him. I spent 10 years in this volatile, impulse driven, relationship with a man who turned out to be a total narcissist.
During the 10 years my daughter moved out, to live with my parents and my sons moved to their dad. This alone should have been indication that there was something amiss. They still came and stayed with us for weekends and holidays so I guess I missed the signs because I still had them close and had lots of time to spend with them.
During this ten years this mans daughter revealed that her step dad was sexually abusing her. This led to a few years of courts, social workers and family upheavel while we applied for and were granted custody of her and her brother (my Irish alcoholic partner’s son).
So we had a satellite home full of teenagers going through the normal teenage stages. (the fact that I am here in sane mine to write this is amazing:) )
Being named legal guardian of his children did not help when the son went off the tracks, totally rebelled against everything and ended up leaving home to live with a guy who does drugs and has a house full of young boys. We tried to get him away from there but just made things worse.
DRIVEN TO DISPAIR
So in between all of this there were also the disasters………..no, I havent mentioned them yet.
I was hijacked at gunpoint by 3 black men at my garden gate – they made off with my uninsured car, my bag, photographic equipment etc. The saving grace of this was that my children were not with me in the car.
The irish alcoholic narcissist then loaned me his car, since I did all the taxiing around for his kids. This car itself had stories linked to it – apart from lots of minor problems seeing us broken down and towed from some weird and wonderful places, there was the incident when his ex wife drove into the back of the car in peak hour traffic, at a huge intersection she proceeded to reverse and drive us into the intersection, in oncoming traffic. We reported this and from an original case of attempt to do grievious harm, it was dropped to negligent driving for which she had to pay a fine.
Soon afterward my partner drove his ford mustang into a wall, he was drunk and the cost to repair the car was just not worth it. So we counted our losses and traded the cars in for two new VW’s. I had a polo which I loved but one night when I had left my partner in the pub and took all the kids to go and get a pizza. We pulled into the parking at the pub and grill and a very drunk man leaving after being thrown out drove straight into us. It doesnt sound bad but he was driving a huge 4×4 at top speed, he wrote my car off.
I borrowed my daughters car for a year but this was also written off when she was home from Doha one weekend and went out with a friend. Getting lost in the metropolitan area upheaved with massive road works, she was crossing an intersection when a postal truck drove straight into her from the side.
So we bought a lil cheap car to replace this. Then one day on my way home, just a few streets up from home, I veered to the left when a speeding car overtook me on a bend. Emergency breaks were not quick enough to avoid me hitting a man out walking his dog. He had come from around the corner, walking in the road. I will never forget this accident, I can still see it in my minds eye – I called all the police and emergency services and within 10 minutes they had the man on a stretcher on the way to hospital. The paramedics told me he had an injury to his arm. His dog had run straight back home and his daughter had come straight out, alerted by the dogs return. She was very understanding – I couldnt begin to explain to her how awful I felt.
I was so shaken up after this accident I thought I would never drive again but my partner practically forced me to drive straight away – he made me go to fill in all the paperwork at the police station. The next afternoon I called the hospital where the man had been taken and after being passed from person to person, I was told to wait for the sister in charge. At this, my stomach sank, and the worst thing that I think has ever happened – she told me the man had died while they were operating on him. This and all the dealing with the police and insurances was just a blur.
TIME TO MOVE ON
The next year saw us both out of jobs and both with enormous monthly medical costs. In South Africa there is no benefit system so if you are out of work you have no one to turn to. My partner had a fair amount of money saved which we lived on for just over a year before we decided to take a big step and move to another country.
After much debate and with my preferences being Australia or South America, we came to an agreement that we would move to Northern Ireland, where he came from. We decided to live far away from his parents, who really did not like me or approve of their son dating a catholic english girl with no claim to any family heirlooms or inheritence.
We stayed with his folks for about a week, during which time his dad said ‘why dont you just go back to South Africa’ but it was mumbled and only i was there and he would not repeat it when I asked him. This and the disapproval of their sons drinking habits lead to us hitting the road. We lived in B&B’s for a couple of weeks while looking for a house to rent.
Everything was as fine as it could be – we were in a strange country, his daughter was with us, my daughter was living in Doha, Qatar, working for the airlines, my sons were booked to fly over a couple of months later, when we had a house ready. His son refused to come and stayed in South Africa with his mom, much against my partners wishes. After much hunting we found a beautiful house, with a view to die for. The thing was, we each had a suitcase of clothes and all of our household goods were on the seven seas on a ship – it would take a couple of months for the consignment to arrive.
So after the exchange rate hammering the million rand we brought from South Africa, the cost of the shipping over R40 000 and the passports and tickets which cost well over R10 000, we were left with under £100 000.00 in the bank. I say we but in reality, I mean he. So we needed everything, knives forks, plates, cups you name it – everything except the kitchen sink. We needed to get beds and curtains and everything in time for my sons arriving. The B&B’s and starting up costs came to over £25000.NO HELP
When I signed on the job centre I was refused help until they established habitual residence, or something ridiculous. When I appealed this they then told us I could not get benefits as I was living with my partner who had money in the bank. I explained that his money was not my money – and in no respect was it, my personal and my children’s costs were mine and if he covered any of it, it was thrown in my face on a daily basis.
Pressurised by him nagging me to get an income (after 4 months – described above) and the lack of state assistance, I was forced to make a decision. I had to get a house of my own in order to be liable to claim any sort of benefit or stay and face the daily verbal abuse and attacks due to not being able to contribute. What choice did I have? When he saw the application forms for a council house for myself and my sons he completely lost it and demanded i move out immediately.
What followed was not pleasant, but driven by the need to get my kids away from the conflict and stressful situation I took an offer to move to england and stay with a cousin for a while until we settled.
My folks sent us R6000 – just under £500 for the ferry and to transport our personal belongings (about 10 boxes and a set of drums).
We arrived in Scotland at the ferry office where there was no further transport to Newcastle. Not like it read in the ads. Luckily my cousin drove up to fetch us. We lived at his house for a month while I sort out state benefits, a loan, a house to rent and some furniture.
In June 2011 we moved in. A strange country, all alone with my sons, no job, an disabling health disorder which had flared up due to all the stress. I even had to take out an additional loan to buy some warm clothes for winter. If I look back, it was certainly not a walk in the park. Every single thing I asked for or applied for had red tape tied around it to a point of where i was feeling pretty strangulated by it all.
A FAMILY REUNITED
A saving grace was when my folks came to visit in September – they helped me with money and to sort of normalise things. My daughter moved here from London in September too which was lovely. I loved having her home, nearby. This was not to be though, she was not happy here and ended up leaving in November to move to Dubai, a base for her job in another airline.
Then in February my folks sold up in South Africa and moved back to England too. Their grandchildren are all here. They stayed with us for a couple of weeks while they found a place to rent. The thing is, they also had problems and often voiced their doubts about having moved here. I think they would still go back to South Africa if they hadnt sold their house there. Well I felt pretty responsible for their move and the fact that I am not happy living here, I really dont like the place, really makes this all worse.
NOT A PRETTY PICTURE
So I have a rapidly flagging state of health, a financial status that is only good for loan sharks and credit bureaus, employment in the current situation does not look very positive, my emotional state is fairly precarious. I have no interest in life, in myself or in the future. I have lived 2012 day by day and the fact that I am here to retrospect is pretty amazing. I must be stronger than I give myself credit for.
SEALING IT PERMANENTLY
This is my script for my time capsule. I roll it up and place it in the bottle, while I vow to store it away once it is capped. I am going to put a sticker on the capsule ‘DO NOT OPEN IN ANY EVENT’ When this is done and it is stored away I vow to look forward. Make the best of a bad situation. Take control. I want to put this all away and somewhere deep inside find myself and my love of life….i have to capsule this to move on………………..this is it, my time capsule for the most eventful yet the most non eventful time of my life.
ITS A WRAP
In response to Daily Prompt: Time Capsule