I have decided to stop smoking and get fit. Yes…I know …it’s that time of the year when we realise that we are going to be fat and old for another year. This time I know I need to do something about it as I am about to turn 47 years old in January.
This is a really important birthday for me as it was the age my mother died at.
She was murdered in 1982 at age 47. Her boyfriend back then was called Peter and he took her a walk along the River Clyde and she never came home, but her body was found floating four days later. He never got charged for her killing but often boasted about doing it to anyone who would listen for many years later.
I thought back then that my mammy was an old woman at 47, I was so young and never realised that one day I would reach that age and now I am about to hit that date- I don’t feel old. So I need to feel better about myself.
My mammy was called Annie, she never got to do or see much in her lifetime. It bugs me and lately I had been feeling very strange about my mammy’s untimely death.
Have I done enough? Would she be proud of me? Would she have loved my book? Would she hate me spilling out the family secrets? Would she read my column in the Scotsman newspaper?
I know she would hate me spilling the big dark secret about her brother David Percy sexually abusing me.
I don’t regret speaking out about the abuse, so she would just have to deal with that one!
I wish she had done more in her life; she never got to fly in a plane. She never got further than Yorkshire on her travels. She never got to stay in a five star hotel or eat in a decent restaurant. She never went into to town and got to buy herself wonderful clothes or decent shoes.
She never had much. Yet she never complained much either. She accepted her poverty and pain the way people like her too often do.
Her life was her lot and she took that on without much comment. We lived in a dirty flat; we were penniless and lived hand to mouth from week to week. Everyone was in much of the same mess.
I always wanted more; I never wanted to live like that. I challenged how we existed and dreamed of a better life. I never once accepted that living in poverty was an acceptable situation. I hated everything my mammy represented- yet I didn’t hate her. I got annoyed that she never wanted more or fought against the shit she lived in.
Maybe she was beaten a long time ago?
I never wanted to raise a child in poverty, or live on benefits. I know that’s its not easy for people to get out of that trap and it can be so bloody difficult to try to, especially when the government make it harder.
My way out was easier, I suppose. I married a man whose father owned bars, so I automatically walked into a career. In actual fact I got paid less than the staff who weren’t family! Work that out! But I stuck that out for 15 years.
I never wanted to be a barmaid. I hated everything about it, but I knew if I worked there I could save up and get my child into a private school. So I shut up and carried on. I saved and saved for years. I never got new furniture or fancy clothes, I never owned jewellery, and I never drove a fancy car.
I saved every penny I could.
I realised whilst writing this that I have achieved something’s I promised myself from way back then. When I was young and living with my mammy, I swore an oath to myself that my child would never worry about the electricity getting cut off, being evicted, being dirty or being poor.
I have achieved all of those things. I am proud of that and I know that my mammy would be proud of that too.
Ashley has never been poor or hungry or dirty. She has always been secure and safe in the knowledge that she would be given shelter, love, confidence and a belief in her.
I did that.
I just wish my mammy was here so I could that for her as well.
I am going to be 47 years old soon and I will be ok._