I hope what I am about to share helps somebody out there! If anyone does want to talk, please feel free to get in touch.
I would love to work in the care system or even with care leavers to be able to give back what I have been given. I have never been ready to let go of any of my past until now! It has made me stronger and the person I am today.
I have no regrets, no hatred; I am happy and content.
When I was around 14, I spent some time in care from going off the rails when something terrible happened and changed everything. I went to school one day and didn't want to go home; I took myself to social services, making it clear I would not return home.
When I was 13 – 14 (unsure exactly how old), I was sexually assaulted and had to go to crown court via video link. I remember everything from telling my Mum and Dad what happened to the police coming. I can remember the look on both their faces. My Mum was crying. The man who did this to me knew my family and lived on the street opposite our house.
When I was interviewed, it took place in a little room with mirrored windows, those you see on the police programs. My interview was being recorded; the room was set out like a lounge with green sofas. I had to show the lady precisely what happened and where I was touched. The whole court process was awful and scary.
I remember the barrister talking to me like it didn't happen, trying to trip me up. I wasn't allowed to be with my Mum and Dad all day; I was with a lady from victim support; she was in the room with me the whole time when I gave evidence. I remember looking into a small TV screen with the barrister asking me a lot of questions. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and I was never the same again. I started to act out.
I started to run away from home, I gave my Mum and Dad hell, and I would blame them for everything. I went to live with my Nan for a while, and I was no better there! I even ran away from the children's home and fell in with a bad crowd. I started to skip school. The son of the man was in the year above me at school. I was called some awful names, including a liar “ it didn't happen. Why are you telling lies.” It was horrible, and to this day, I can remember EVERYTHING! The large group of kids following me shouting things at me.
I ended up being taken to an all-girls community home with education; this stopped me from running away, and I had no choice but to attend school! I would self-harm; I even tried to overdose. Even after everything I did ok, it turned out just fine! I have apologised to my parents over and over again.
You only have one mum! She may get angry and upset, but she will always love you. When something terrible happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you or allow it to strengthen you. There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, and life is worth living! Everything that happened will only make you stronger!
It's not all your fault, don't bottle things up and talk to people around you. They're all trying to help you. Self-harm is not going to make it go away or any better. You will only regret it later in life.
Life is too short. Live, love and laugh a lot! One of my favourite quotes is, “ When it rains, look for rainbows and when it's dark, look for stars.”
My own self-destruct was not your fault! I love you both so much- I did give you both hell! I have said this before, I will repeat it, I am sorry! We have all been through so much, and what we did go through has made us all who we're today! We're stronger than we think.
I do have fantastic childhood memories, our family holidays and BBQs. Movie nights, with £1 mixed bags. Getting excited when we went to Pizza Hut for tea and getting over-excited to have the Icecream factory deserts! We had the most fantastic day trips! The zoo, theme parks, water parks! I remember everything, not just the bad.
Mum, you have got this! You are my rock, and remember, you are made of strong stuff.
Dad, you're My Hero! Saving lives is what you do best. Your time as a fireman is coming to an end! I still remember the sound of your bleeper going off in the middle of the night and passing out parade. I am very proud of you and glad to have you as MY DAD! I couldn't ask for a better Grandad for my girls; you are indeed the best! And as Kayleigh would say, "you cook the best beer can ever" .. ha!
I love you both more than you'll ever know x