On Memory

This is inspired by “Memories” a post on Women’s Space. Thank you Heart.


How do I know to trust memories when it shattered by male violence.

That is what I ask myself all my life.

I will try to write memories of the good in my life. But it so hard when everything is poisoned with memories of sadistic violence.

All I know is that my memories of happy times never seemed as solid as the hate and terror that was put into me.

I try to remember through looking at photos, and I can never connect with that past.

I listen to others who were there speaking, and I feel detached.

Or I have an anger, that speak of fun times, not seeing my abused self.

I want to force back my past into me. I want to know that I had happiness.

Not for moments, but as something solid that made me strong.


Music has surrounded me all my life.

Now I reach into music, dragging out times of joy.

Yes I come across shock of how music was used inside my abuse – used to delude me that I was safe, used to make me “sexy”,  background music in clubs that were pimping me, music loud when I am trying to kill myself .

Music is not always good – but I need to find the peace and joy of music.

I know all my life I was surrounded by soul. Now I lay it and try and find my happiness.

Soul of the 60’s was and is one of my greatest joy.

Let me see that child dancing to Little Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Phil Spector, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye.

In those moments, she was not afraid to be in her body. She moves, eyes shut, she moves imagining she is somewhere else.

Anywhere but where she is.

God, I want to remember happiness, and grief crashes in.

I see myself, the child, dancing, dancing to forget, dancing to know that she is really alive.

She dances, and grow more and more into the numbness that made her safe.

I was surrounded by music of all sorts.

My grandmother run a major ballet school, so I was surrounded by classical music.

I dream still of her ballets, hearing Russian classical music, hearing Benjamin Brittain – I see the ballet and my heart flips.

There I felt happiness, there I felt I belong with my family and felt some pride.

I will always love classical music when it draws me back to a time where I fitted in, even for short times.

I love Baroque music, for I had times listening Bach and Handel with my grandparents, moments with Radio 3 on and we sat in a stillness, holding in those moments of true beauty. I was held safe in that stillness.

They took me to “The Marriage of Figaro”, which started a life-time love of Mozart. They choose to take me coz they felt I would the music and not be as restless as their other grandchildren.

Music surrounded my life.

I am so into jazz until be-bop ends.

I listen to jazz with my Dad, and with him I heard swing, be-bop, Old Orleans jazz, big bands from the 1940’s, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and all that jazz.

I had fallen for the jazz of the 1920’s till 1950’s – I will never lose that love.

To me jazz was the complete escape.

Put on Charlie Parker – and I am tapping my feet and hands, I am lost in my mind following the intricate twists in the music and I lost inside some smoky club with silence of jazz fans.

Put on Fred Astaire singing “Puttin’ On the Ritz” – I am dreaming of glamour and dancing which is walking on air.

Choose any jazz from that period, and I can let go so much pain and grief.

I love music of all types, these were just a few memories.


I went to Cornwall for a huge part of my life at less twice a year. Cornwall is part of my blood.

But I don’t what I remember and what is photos, what is listening to antidotes – I don’t remember clearly.

All I know is Cornwall made me so happy.

I still relax into dreams of those cliffs, the sea mixing into the sky, the seabirds screaming as they chase mackeral boats, the sandy picnics, the rainy days exploring Restormel (an medieval castle), the boring trips to Bodmin for essentials, going to Padstow and always getting fudge, the games of baseball with my American gran loses her temper coz we were not taking it seriously, building Roman towns in the sand (we were such snobs), being with my Dad’s family, including all my American cousins, knowing Cornish ice-cream is the best, having my great-aunt make the best cream tea in the world, being spooked by the strange landscape in Zennor.

That is how I think I remember Cornwall, only so much is through a haze.

I cry that nothing is solid.

But I know my father’s family give the gifts of safety, being trusted, being allowed to push boundaries with the knowledge I was loved – all this is my Cornwall.

These gifts give a solid centre that may of help me deal with the hell outside of Cornwall.


Films are my life. Films have often given me a reason to live, even when death was an excellent option.

I always find a film on TV or going out, that allows me to escape for a couple of hours.

At my Dad’s house there endless books and photos about Hollywood, I became obsessed.

I fall into Hollywood, and allow myself to not know my real life.

Put on a black and white movie, and I can forget. Show the fierce colours and emotions of 50’s films, I will be gone. Send me into film noir, let me use my mind of the clever camera angles and great acting – not thinking of things I cannot stop. Send into musicals, especially Busby Berkeley dance numbers – let me escape.

Films gave me dreams to replace my living nightmare.


Abuse made not know the times I was living in.

My life was too narrow, always waiting for the times I would have to a sex-object again.

I will of the brief moments that impacted on me.

I very vaguely remember Martin Luther King’s death, for I was scared because my American gran and Dad were crying.

I remember the Beatles and Rolling Stones as one reason my parents argue, in a child’s eye it became the reason that they divorced.

The 60’s pass me by, as I was learning to close down.

I want to remember the 70’s, I want some ordinary teenage angst.

Now I listen to music of the 70’s in order to find who I was then. Who I was when I wasn’t being sexually tortured.

I was scared to be a punk, I was scared of my own fury, I was scared of the aggressive music sending me into cutting myself or overdosing.

I was scared of drugs coz I knew I would just collect to die, no recreation for me.

But still I took speed to force myself to stay awake, and not to care.

I kind of remember the riots in English cities of the late 70’s, but I remember from a place of deadness.

I remember more the music of alienation, music of the Clash, the Specials, Patty Smith and the Buzzcocks.

The 70’s pass me by, as I only just clinging hold of life.

The 80’s have some moments of clarity, but mainly in was an endless circle of hell.

I do remember the Miner’s Strike, it was so huge it even impacted on me in my dead zone.

I went to meetings, collected funds – I thought I was kind of alive. I became left-wing, only to find no-one care if I was raped and or battered, as long I learnt not to speak about it.

I saw quickly that violence to women was trivial to most on the Left.

I saw their porn stashes, I had men who I seen at campaigns fucking me as a prostitute, I saw their casual dismissal of women’s opinions.

I learnt  to fit in by always speaking of the suffering of noble men – whether miners or freedom fighters or political prisoners- not to whine on about the constant raping and murdering of women.

I did not last long in the Left – for I just fall back into prostitution with even more self-hatred.

I made sure the 80’s pass me by – it was easier than seeing what I had become.


I cope throughout my life by always having sports to look forward to.

Sport always has highlights that forced me to live.

I follow football as an addict. I need to know the ins and outs of my team, it is one way to understand hope.

I follow cricket with a passion, wanting to know I still have a brain.

Rugby gives moments of excitement and such joy it cannot be said in words.

Sports made know there was a wider world, made me know that other people place their pain into brief moments of escape watching their sports passion.

Sports made me realise I was not alone.


I do not remember not being surrounded by books.

I read all the time, if I just had the phone book I would read over and over.

I read to find a place of peace, a place that is mine and no-one can take it away from me.

I love novels and crimes fiction, I love short stories and poetry – I tend to only read fact for work.

Reading for me is a way to know my mind is still working.

Reading taught how to write, and gradually find a space to find my essence.

Reading kind of save my life.


I am exhausted writing this.

I try to find happiness, but always grief and pain gets in the way.

I suppose I will always have a shattered memory, but I write hard enough I may find more.

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