Back at it

Okay. I’ve had a good sleep (thank you God) and I’m ready to look at my manuscript again and make some changes.

Firstly, I need to change people’s names. I don’t really know where to stand on this one, I’m going to have my name on the book so everyone will know who Alun is. No point in changing his name. My best friends are the most amazing people in the world so I want to name them. I guess I have to email each of them and ask permission to use their names in my book. I only write nice things about them, anyway.

Which leads me to the true, gritty, awful things I write about the people who’ve hurt me. Do I change their names, then? Are they going to see their names, remember the hell they’ve put me through and pay a Lawyer to sue me for revealing it to the world? Will I end up in Court over this book? Because it’s all true. I don’t lie at all in this. I can’t afford to and I don’t need to. Gavin who abused me for years, Anne who robbed me…I want them named and shamed…but is that up to me? Can I do that?

I read somewhere on Facebook that we are ALL the villains in someone’s story. I’m fairly sure that in my brother’s I’m the worst person to ever walk the earth. But are we allowed to name them? Or do I need to change Gavin and Anne’s names? They’re so narcissistic that if they ever read my book (I know Gavin would want a copy) they’ll see someone else’s name and probably honestly believe it was someone else.

Also my family. I grew up in an unstable home where my parents screamed at each other, threw things, broke things…we had FOUR fridges filled with beer because my Dad drank constantly and marijuana plants in the garden because my Mom has been hooked ever since she was a child growing up on the streets of the Philippines. All my life I thought beer fridges and my Mom smoking marijuana was completely normal. It wasn’t until I attended sleepovers with my friends that I saw they all had just one fridge – and it was full of food. They didn’t have strange plants in their gardens protected by fencing and their Mom’s didn’t have bongs (I thought they were pretty vases) lined along their bathroom shelves. Kids see everything. They compare everything to try to make a sense of their world – so when I kept going to sleepovers and seeing the same thing over and over – one fridge, no bongs, no weird-smelling plants…I started to realise our household wasn’t the same.

These things affected me and how I viewed the world. I don’t drink because of my Dad and I don’t do any drugs because of my Mom. Can I write about this or are these my parent’s secrets to let out if they want to and not mine to expose?

My first chapter of my memoirs is called “Why I’m so twisted” and literally talks about my unstable family life. Seeing my Dad drunk every night and the glassy, barely-there look in my Mom’s eyes every day scared me. It made me a cautious, quiet kid. I picked up beer cans to protect my brother from them when he was learning to crawl and before I went to school every day, I’d wake Mom up and help her get dressed for work. I’d worry all day about my parents and get home to find Dad on a lawn chair drinking and Mom squatting down beside the washing machine puffing away. I’d protect Jay from it by distracting him with games and bike rides around the neighborhood.

But I don’t think I can put any of that in my book.

Also, over the last 10 years both my parents have gone through dramatic change. Mom doesn’t smoke weed any more. Dad still drinks but seems to keep it in control and his house only has the one fridge now. They both took up smoking but they both get along like best friends now.

I remember about a year ago, we were travelling home after a lovely pub lunch. Alun was driving, I was in the front passenger seat “shot gun!” and Mom and Dad were in the back. Dad said something like “I’m going home to bed” when we all knew that Mom had planned for them to go for a stroll along the river. I felt my whole body tense up, thinking “here we go” and waiting for the usual explosion but instead my Mom replied quietly “Good idea, I’ll water the garden”.

I was gobsmacked.

Where was the fighting? The screaming? The accusations? The past failures brought up and slung like mud at each other until both were exhausted and heart broken?

My parents have been nice, normal people for the last 10 years.

I should celebrate this but it leaves me really angry and resentful.

You guys put me through hell and now I can’t even talk about it or get angry about it because you’ve done an incredible 180 degree turn and you’re completely different people now. Nights I didn’t sleep because you were screaming and throwing things against walls, mornings I’d carefully clear away bottles and cans and broken bits of glass and crockery so Jay wouldn’t have to see it when he got up…how scared I am whenever someone raises their voice and how my stomach curls with anxiety and fear whenever I smell hash in the air…we’re not going to talk about that or address that now because you’ve become outstanding citizens?

I feel really, really jipped about that.

Leaving all that out affects my book and changes the background to my true story. What adversity have I overcome when I can’t talk about my tainted childhood?

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