Archive for the Human Rights Category

Today I won’t blow your socks off- honest (but it’s not going to be about fluffy kittens either…)

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan, work/life balance on July 10, 2007 by Khlari

OK…thanks everyone for the comments on my last post, which was a tad on the serious side, I know. That might be because I’ve been bottling it up through a mixture of shame, embarrassment, worry about what anyone will think, panic re the legal case…..and many other reasons.

(This is as near to cute fluffy kittens as you’re getting….)

Yep, it was a bolt from the blue very meaningful post, which you don’t often find on here I know, with this blog’s mindblowing overall impression of a mad old goth-mummy waffling on about stuff she just happens to like, things she might have done, and stuff that happens to her in no particular order and with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.

The only way I can really write about that kind of thing is in a very sparse and factual way, otherwise I’d just go even more mad whilst writing about it and thinking about it.

That said, it is undeniably part of me. I can’t just put it in a box and sing la la la and make it all go away to avoid any possible trauma to self and others caught in the crossfire. It happened. It’s not a period of my life I am particularly proud of (mainly because I cannot believe my own naivete and idiocy in hindsight).

It does make me the person I am today- I was very different before life decided to heap all of that upon me. There are sequels of cource- I am now less trusting than I was-now that’s a surprise. I am also more scared of things than I was, and have irrational fears of quite a few things, which are really difficult to explain to anyone who doesn’t know the full story. Not many people until now did know the full story, I just had to be ready to tell it in my own time.

I do this analysing thing, where I sit in a corner for a few years trying to make sense in my addled brain of whatever appalling shit life decided to throw at me this time. Then and only then am I ready to talk about it. There are still people who I may never tell the whole truth to. My parents for instance. That’s for their own protection and not mine, I wouldn’t want my father to spend the rest of his days languishing in a French jail, which is where he would be f he did what he would do if I told him, if you get my drift.

But this blog is largely about warts and all honesty, so that’s what you got- I hope I didn’t upset anyone. Just had to say it, that’s all. That’s just the way I am at the moment….Maybe it’s because I’ve started to go to counselling, that I am beginning to share with you, darlings! (Don’t worry- I’m not about to start dressing in pastels and hugging things/trees just yet though…)

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Oh um…something really important I just completely forgot to mention…..!

Posted in 40th birthday, alcohol abuse, alcoholism, birthday, blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, Divorce, domestic violence, european union, family law, France, hague convention, Human Rights, international divorce, international family law, legal aid, london, me and my world, migraines, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, pagan on July 6, 2007 by Khlari

The death of my brain, and the death of my marriage (though it had been a zombie for some time).

This is documentary proof of what a ditz I am. You remember I had a migraine that lasted for eleven days…well, this is proof of the brainache it caused. I completely and utterly forgot to mention to you, dear mad readers, that at last, after many ( well, 4 1/2) years of teeth gnashing, custody cases across Europe, subpoenas being served lengthily through French and English courts and still not working, abusive phone calls from my ex, eventually having to take out a £5000 loan for legal fees in France (MEP got back to me only after the case with details of legal help…) which will take me five years to pay back…

I HAVE A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!

Yes, with the head hurting as much as it did, I completely neglected to mention that as of 23 June 2007 (what a 40th Birthday present), I have a divorce. A lovley crisp Decree Absolute arrived in the post the morning before my birthday. I didn’t really manage to summon up any major enthusiasm for it at the time…even reading it was a little painful, and it seemed like a little bit of an anticlimax after the enormous struggle to get it.

I’m now putting in a spoiler-if you are easily upset, it might not be an idea to carry on reading…..

I got married on 21 July 2001, to a deranged Frenchman who glories in the middle name of Marcel (now, surely that should have told me something). I don’t know why I am bothering to disguise him, he wouldn’t know how to use the internet if it rose up and bit him in the arse. I’ll call him D_____, to spare his blushes, maybe. I was putting a lot of trust in him…considering he was a supposedly recovering alcoholic.

We met in 1996- I went for the weekend, and ended up staying for 7 years….which all sounds gloriously romantic, cue Edith Piaf singing and chocolate box scenes of joyful couple running through the streets of Paris hand in hand, a la Robert Doisneau. But it wasn’t like that at all. Think more of Emanuelle Beart in miserable drudgery in Manon des Sources, or a scene from Les Diaboliques….

(I had my wedding reception here…)

I went for a conference on European Youth Exchanges…I was working in Bradford at the time, and I was the only person who could speak any French that they could find at short notice…..So they rang me on the Thursday night, and I was there by Friday. I met him at a social evening, where we spent 6 hours arguing passionately about young people, and another 2 or 3 snogging (sad, teenage, I know…and I was 29 at the time).

He came to see me off, we swapped phone numbers and addresses….we started writing, and phoning, and visiting. My ex was a major liar. It was at this point that D______ chose to tell me that he had Leukaemia. I’m telling everyone now, because I can, but for years that has made me feel such an idiot. That I believed him. Everything began to take on an air of snatched urgency, so little time and so much to do. Every time we separated it was worse. I made the decision in the end. I threw in my dream job I’d waited 10 years to get (Community Arts Officer for the Bradford Foyer in progress), the training they were paying for me to do, packed my bags, and moved to France. Work even offered to keep my post open for 3 months, in case I changed my mind. I didn’t ask him, I just did it. If you have principles, it’s important for me to live by them. If we had so little time left, at least we would have it together.

I didn’t question the fact that he drank quite a lot. Growing up in London, most of my friends were work hard, play hard, it didn’t seem that strange. But when I moved there, I realised that the Pastis started even before he got out of bed. When I questioned it, I was told that as he was dying anyway, it wasn’t a problem. How naive was my 29 year old self, with the benefit of hindsight.

I finally found myself a job, but it was becoming evident that whatever I did, it was all subsumed in a tide of Pastis. I can’t even smell aniseed now without feeling sick to the bottom of my stomach. I no longer had a home to go back to- my flatmates, I found out after a call from the landlord, had spent the rent money I’d left, sold or stolen half of my possessions, abused the cheques I’d left for the bills, and the landlord was keeping the rest against the money owed, or he had already put in a skip.. Everything I owned except what I had in my suitcase, gone.

I did love him. Deeply, it was only that that kept me going. It got worse, and worse. I succeeded in getting him a referral for detox, but after getting him to the hospital, they said they no longer had a bed. It’s hard getting anyone to detoix, they have to want to go, and if when they get there, that happens, you have lost your chance. Finally his job intervened, and he was taken to the Clinic attached to the ministry for which he worked. He stayed there for 2 months. When he came out, promising never to do it again, and telling me that now he had me with him he wouldn’t, everything was good. He wanted a life, he wanted a family, he wanted normality. Within a month of him coming out, I was pregnant, and overjoyed. I started preparing for the baby, fessed up some of the truth to my family, and carried on. But I then had a blood test which told me that I had a risk of Downs Syndrome, and I was asked whether I wanted an amniocentesis, to be sure. My mother had had one, so I saw no problem. Also, how was his problem going to affect a child?

It was excruciating, and I didn’t remember my mother telling me that. Two days later, I was assaulted on the RER, and was admittted to hospital, bleeding. By midnight I was calling for the nurse, I was in pain, I was told to shut up, and I had my still-born child alone in a hospital bed before anyone bothered to come. The nurse arrived after the event, and they wouldn’t even ring D______. I was very depressed, even more so after they left me in the maternity ward alone, having shown me the baby in a plastic bucket.

Within another month, I was pregnant again, with M_____. All went well, until July, when I met some people I knew from work in Bradford in the street (they were on a course)- when I invited one of them, Nick, back for a coffee, D_____ gave him a black eye, and knocked me unconscious for three hours, while he went out and left me. October, when his daughter from his first marriage visited for Hallowe’en, D_____ started drinking again with a vengeance. It got worse and worse, I had made my bed so I had to lie in it. I didn’t even have enough money left for the medical treatment most of the time.

M_____ was born in 1999, and no-one knew what was happening behind the smiles. The next year and a half I didn’t know what I would find when I got home from work, lied to friends, family, educational psychiatrists alike. To all intents and purposes we were a sweet little perfect little multi-cultural nuclear family.

Behind the scenes it was only the Prozac, the Xanax, and the Stilnox that kept me halfway sane. As a ‘jeune mere’ you have to smile infinitely, isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it lovely……when behind the scenes your heart is breaking. I had no money to pay the creche, to buy nappies, to buy baby food, to eat lunch even. The whole motherhood and family thing for me was such a sham, I had to seem happy because everyone expected me to be, but in reality it was one of the worst periods of my life. I woke up each day dreading the day ahead. Oh, and how my friends were jealous of my pretty storybook life, the handsome Frenchman, the little family. It was nearer to the original fairystories, of darkness, suffering, and death than the sanitised Disney, Irma-la-Douce type fantasies of my friends

We were even taken as an example of wonderful multi-cultural living by the anglophile town we lived in- invited to premieres where I had to prop him up in corners, that kind of thing. The European Union in action…

I couldn’t even find solace in my usual eccentricities. The longer we were together the more he took exception to everything I did, wore, said. Reading in English was a subversive action, along with having friends and dressing strangely. If I had a phone call I had to have the speaker on and do simultaneous translation….His paranoia reached such levels that I couldn’t go to the supermarket without being accused of torrid affairs. It wasn’t until M_____ was nearly 2 that I finally achieved him getting detox again. For that, I had to threaten the psychiatrist that I was going to self-harm and admit myself instead. He had kept asking me to marry him, in the good times. I told him I would if he would go. It took his boss, three work colleagues, and an alcohol-induced epileptic fit that went on for 45 minutes.

My friends begged me not to do it. But I had promised. So we married in July. One of my friends, C________ even took me aside just as I was about to go into the town hall to beg me not to go through with it. I haven’t seen him since, he was so upset he went off to Algeria never to return.

All was well for a little while- then I was made reundant. I decided to study for my CAPES, French secondary teaching certificate with the money. I was at home for the year. The paranoia was again rising. I couldn’t go to the library or talk to a friend without accusations. Even so, amazingly, I had friends like Cathy, Linda, Kyriaki, who put up with his rudeness and abuse. By June he was drinking again, he started on my birthday. he made an enormous scene at my friend Cathy’s party (we share a birthday), and was so drunk driving home that he couldn’t find the way home from Rueil-Malmaison- where he used to live.

We had decided to make a new start. he had applied for a transfer back to home, to Brittany. We ended up in the Vendee instead (which isn’t so far). Any excuse. This is where he really started being slap-happy. I became his punchbag. It was evident he’d had practice, it was never where it would show.

We went on holiday to Biscarrosse. It was the worst time of my entire life. Fourteen days trapped in the middle of nowhere with a paranoid alcoholic, what fun. I poured every bit of alcohol away. He just beat me up and found more. It came to a head when his brother came to join us. After we had all been out, he knocked me unconscious, left me for dead, and left me. His brother left after he had beaten him up as well. I woke to find M_____ asking me if I was dead. I told his mother, showed her the bruise, and she told me to ‘deal with my own shit’. The day we moved to Sables d’Olonne, he was stopping on the motorway to drink.

It got worse and worse. The beatings were becoming standard, and I was very alone. My parents came for Christmas- a veneer of normality. The day they left, he beat me to a pulp, and I awoke to find him raping me. That’s when I knew, I had to go. I’d tried before- but he wouldn’t let me take M_____. I am five feet two, he is six foot. I had to plot carefully. Finally, he was again admitted for detox (the seventh since I’d known him). I rang my parents, admitted all (the hardest phone call of my life), waited for the money they had wired me to arrive, packed my bags, took M_____ out of bed at 4am, and raced to the border- he was leaving hospital earlier than expected. I raced to Paris, onto the Eurostar to London, and there the phone rang, just after I had cleared customs, and the doors were closing on the train. I went back to my parents, with nothing.

He couldn’t believe I had done it. I was getting 20+ phone calls a day from him and his family. He refused to accept the divorce petition- I have been trying for this since 2003- and tried to get M_____ back. Everything was a lie. He lied about the leukaemia, lied about his job, lied about his first marriage, lied about his past, and I could take no more. It had been a seven year, painful sham. He still wouldn’t accept it was over. he even rang me on July 7 two years ago to see if I was alive after the bombs. I coudn’t resist asking him if he had hoped I wasn’t. Legally, the whole divorce was an expensive minefield, no-one could ever tell whose subpoenas were valid, whose law applied as he was French and I was English…

It took me a long while to put myself back together again. My friends helped- Matt, Peggy, Catherine, Martin, Mia, Martha, Jack…….without them I could never have got myself back.

Despite knowing all of this, last year HWCBN viciously tried to put me back to where I had started again. Thanks to AD and TNO, Spicy and D, Beaut1ful, Dam and Woo, for being there when I needed you. I have Mr A to thank for saving my sanity, and even for de-demonising the past for me when we had to go back to Sables d’Olonne in February.

I still have problems with my head and my back from the beatings. I still have nightmares where I wake up in bed next to him. But at last, it is over once and for all. The chapter is closed. It took long enough. I was married for six years- of which, I only spent 1 1/2 years living with my husband. I wasted 7 years in total on the relationship, and the only positive outcome is M_______. I can now close that book, and put it away once and for all.

Mr A says I have now spoiled his fun though. He was enjoying living with an adultress……

 

 

Ill Ill Ill Ill Again……..

Posted in blogging, creative / writing, employment, Human Rights, me and my world, migraines, morecambe, pagan, work/life balance on May 8, 2007 by Khlari

Yes, ill again…I am now up to Stage 2 Sickness Disciplinary at work as well. Not only do I feel like death, but I might lose my job too. Yippee. Shouldn’t even be here today really, but what choice do I have? Managed to spend the last 6 days in bed with a lovely kidney infection, deep joy. Thought it was a migraine, but no… spent from Tuesday night to Saturday in bed, then Saturday to Monday doing an Elizabeth Barret Browning on the sofa (we don’t have a chaise-longue).

Had to cancel Sal and Alice coming up, as I just wanted to die in a quiet corner. Even saying ow hurt. In short- ow ow ow ow ow and I might lose my job as well. Like I WANTED to get it maybe? Pretty soon, you’re going to have to get permisssion to breathe, and go to the toilet.

Personally, I blame the new no-smoking regulations which came in last week. No smoking is, in fact, making me very ill and not to put too fine a point on it, depriving me of my civil liberty to kill myself. We can clock out apparently…then walk half a mile to be off work property. Then we can only clock out outside core time…..which starts at 9.45 and finishes at 11.45 so there’s not much point at all. What does this make me want to do? Smoke even more.

Healthiness is bad for your health. There are more people still off sick this week than before they banned smoking. Raised stress levels, I say.

I just want them to ban people who wear offensive cheapo vanilla perfume in my office. I am allergic to vanilla, and it makes me puke. They won’t ban that though.

The one that rreally gets me is the people who cough, then tell me sanctimoniously that I smell of smoke. Then they go to the pub at lunchtime, and stink of beer. Something I wouldn’t do, not at work. Either that or they stink of B.O. or halitosis. If I want to kill myself slowly, then why shouldn’t I? It doesn’t affect my capacity to work nor my judgment.

( I WANT ONE!!!!)

Except when I have been deprived of a fag for hours…then I wouldn’t reckon on your chances.

 

Put out the flags!

Posted in blogging, creative / writing, Human Rights, me and my world on April 26, 2007 by Khlari

Tah dah! Shock, horror, front page story.Put the bunting out and let off the skyrockets….

MY PARENTS LIKE MY BOYFRIEND!!!!!

Now, this is a complete first. All the planets were against it, the stars were even in an anti-junction. This is a completely unknown quantity.

I’m not used to this. My rebellious streak might go and get somebody they don’t like again, just to spite them. Having a partner whom my parents don’t refer to as ‘him’ or ‘that man’ has put me in a state of shock. I might need medication to get over this. Pass the Jack Daniels. Quick.

I’ve spent so many years with boyfriends, husbands, partners, that they hate on principle. I’m honestly flummoxed, I tell you, this comes as a real shock to the system.

We travelled down to London on Friday night, which took a while, as we were both absolutely knackered after a day at work. My mother suddenly rings and fesses up that she has fessed up to father re Mr A, France, living together, everything. Then says ‘not to ask HER to keep secrets for ME’ I didn’t pursue the point. Oh dear, is that good or bad? We didn’t get there until 11.00. Now, I can find my way to my parents’ house at the top of Hackney blindfolded (well, blind drunk often, in any case). But my darling little brother has the temerity to live east of there. I don’t do east. I can do you pretty large tracts of London from Camden to Tulse Hill, but my geography of anywhere east of Dalston is…non existent.

I can just about get you to Mare Street, but after that, forget it. WHY would you want to go there? Miles of barren wasteland leading to places like Ilford,Romford, and Dagenham…..or Leyton….no….no thank you. I did quite well actually, got all the way to the road before without a map. Then the AA routefinder on which I was depending for the last little wiggle told us to turn right into a brick wall. Great. After my minor epi, Mr A got us there.

Well Mr A hit it off with my brother…..those guy things, sussing out each others taste in music, and movies, admiring his samurai. Mr A had bought Kali a mad fluffy toy cat which he assured me she’d love. Worst thing is, she did.

He also decided to buy Matt some Gundam, little fighting robots. Only because he wanted some himself. Worst thing is, Matt’s eyes lit up as well. Kali and I just shook our heads in despair. Boys, toys, then on to role play and bad horror movies and off they went. Many beers consumed till I separated the two of them by force and sent them to bed. Kali and I had a proper conversation. (I am teasing here, we did all talk normally as well).

Then…………………………off to the parents, putting the evil deed off as loing as possible. Got mother some flowers, then off to sunny Dalston. When I got there, I could hear my father shouting from the pavement, which isn’t good in a stout Victorian house well set back with a garden. Asked father for parking permit, he said to put the car in the drive. I know our drive, it’s slopy, narrow, and partially obstructed by a lamppost. So we lost Tigger’s wing-mirror, as macho pride was riding high. Hell, I know it’s bad enough on a pushbike (experience and bruises).

Finally get in, father is by now stropping in dining room while mother makes tea and puts flowers in water. He has THAT look on his face. Oh dear. Mr A daringly engages conversation about the war by giving him a book on the RAF. OMG. In ten minutes, they are the worlds bestest friends, even when Mr A tells my dad his Dad was a blackshirt…(while I kick him). Then he is whisked off on the guided tour of MG, motorbike……boy toys…. I am stunned.

Mother meanwhile has dragged me into the kitchen to tell me that ‘she likes my young man’ (that’s pushing it). I would have noticed anyway, she has been dimpling and flirting with him for the last hour.

We all have lunch in a bizarrely civilised fashion, my family behaving unnaturally like some kind of Stepford Family…..not throwing things, etc…they are a little murcurial usually, the kindest decription has been ‘bohemian’…….

So all, is oddly, sweetness, light and little fluffy bunnies…….

Well, my equivalent thereof…….what did you expect?

Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition…..Unless They Visit My Mother.

Posted in blogging, creative / writing, Human Rights, me and my world, morecambe on April 20, 2007 by Khlari

Unless they go to visit my mother that is. In the guise of a nice grey-haired little old lady, whilst sipping tea from china cups in her pastel chintz-covered living room, any unfortunate visitor is subjected to a barrage of questions that the Gestapo would be hard pressed to come up with. I’m surprised she doesn’t ask for blood samples and mitochondrial DNA when she is making you take your shoes off at the front door.

You can double this if she suspects the person perching uncomfortably on the edge of the sofa, in eternal fear of dropping a biscuit crumb onto the cream carpet, might actually either a) be sleeping with me or b) be considering maybe sleeping with me.

That’s where my father enters. If you are female, gay, or undecided he leaves well alone. As soon as he suspects someone may be ‘courting’ me or attempting to, you have him to deal with too. He will either love you or hate you, it’s totally random and he will never, ever, change his mind once made up. All males (unless definitively established as gay with documentary proof), are therefore potential suitors. First he will wrong-foot them by calling them by the name of a boyfriend from at least 5 years ago. Then he will examine how well they shine their shoes. After that, their ‘real man’ quotient. They don’t stand a chance. They are too thin. Too tall. Too small. Too quiet. If Johnny Depp turned up at my door, he would be too strange looking, too American, and definitely too rich. No one ever measures up. There are also arcane qualities he admires, like never having been in a long=term relationship and not having children…I did point out that if you get to 39 without any of that, then you probably wear anoraks and live with your mum, but to no avail……

My brother could go out with a 6 foot 4 transexual Nigerian belly dancer, and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. The rules are somewhat different for me…and I’m 40 in 2 months. This is ridiculous.

Poor Mr A. No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition. But he’s going to get one…..tomorrow.

A Portmanteau of blogging pleasures…..

Posted in blogging, child kidnapping, Child Protection, creative / writing, employment, family law, gothic, hague convention, Human Rights, international family law, legal aid, me and my world, Misbah Rana, Mizbah Rana, Molly Campbell, morecambe, movies, music, pagan, penguins, Rocky Horror, werewolves vampires and ghoulies, work/life balance on March 30, 2007 by Khlari

A la Mr SC, I’m just going to highlight a few things I’ve been reading lately….a few I’ve read before, and a few that I’ve been newly introduced to…..First up has to be Mr Spicy Cauldron himself, with his post about being banned in China! Wahay! I am…..

Firstly TrashCanDan’s blog, Musings of a Damaged Mind, which made surreal reading, and so much the better…a worthy blogroll addition….hell, there’s lots of musing going on round here, me, AD, Dan……and the bacon tattoo stole the show completely……

A purple-brained dragon, AmethystDragon has had me fantasising about Johnny Depp in work time, thinking what it must be like to have a purple brain and looking at my visual DNA, and is even leading Mr A astray with her homage to Hayseed Dixie I don’t feel like dancing (bluegrass style)

Through Mr Spicy Cauldron, I was also introduced to YeYo’s blog, Ye-Yo, Lillies of a Mother, and her spirited post ‘A Letter to Joe Q Public’ about the importance of legal aid both for clients and their legal representatives…something that obviously caught my imagination with recent events in my life….

Then there’s Hayes’s new blog QPLog Brainmatter…….Have seen Hayes around, but now can read him online regularly! I loved Bridge to Terabithia as a kid as well…..

I feel for Nathalitanis, who is having employment hassle in ‘Oh No, not again’ over at One Life among The Many- breathe deeply and try not to hit them (too often)!

Not forgetting Sue’s new blog, Pastyme with Good Companye, and it’s recent post on one of my heroes…Sylvia Plath

ChaoticKitty has been creating some beautiful visuals again over at Kitty’s Ramblings with her latest artwork…it’s stunning, go take a look on Busy weekend

That bad girl Beaut1ful has been leading me astray into the world of blogthings again, hence my own disgraceful showing in the purity score….

To finish, loved Howard’s post on The WebPen Blog about Randomnessocitiation: Pursuit Of The Obnoxious Mind– Started me thinking……Grease set in a Lancashire mill town perhaps?

And if you want the bag, it’s available from Elizium, my friends Martha and Mia’s goth online and offline wonderland!!!

Chinese prejudice against mouthy goths!!!

Posted in blogging, creative / writing, gothic, Human Rights, me and my world, morecambe, music, pagan, penguins, werewolves vampires and ghoulies on March 30, 2007 by Khlari

It’s official…according to Mr Spicy Cauldron– and I’ve checked- I am banned in China!

Spicy’s article

Great Firewall of China

I’m mightily glad about that. It’s good to be banned. At least I know that I don’t somehow, and bizarrely win the approval of a backward and totalitarian state. It might be the vampires they don’t like- or they have an irrational prejudice against that fair stretch of the Lancashire Riviera called Morecambe…but it might just be from last year when HWCBN was trying to cyber-gag me by preventing me from saying anything about him on my blog, even though it was legally (even according to the smirking policeman that told me) very dodgy ground, and I was defending the liberty of free speech. This might have upset them a little, I guess.

That leads me to wonder if in that case, China is afraid of Goths under the bed????