I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. Without God's intervention in my life I wouldn't be here - NOW is the time for me to tell MY story by speaking the TRUTH about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being restored. This blog has helped me begin to get my voice back and documents the journey God is taking me on to heal me from the trauma and damage caused by that most appalling abuse.

Friday, 4 January 2013

CHRISTMAS 2012

This Christmas was a truly good Christmas for me this year. I can see huge progress and areas of healing. I've decided to use excerpts from my diary of the trip as the easiest way of giving you an idea of what I mean. I hope you can see the changes and progress as you read too!!

Sat 22/12/12
“I really enjoyed bumping into a couple of people at Dover who I've travelled with at Christmas with Travelsphere. They had switched to Leger like me when Travelsphere stopped their Christmas tours. It was really nice to be recognised and welcomed and it was great to see a couple of familiar faces too.”

“Being pampered in Club Class on the ferry sipping champagne and looking forward to smoked salmon sandwiches. It's so different and very pleasant. It's a very rocky crossing and I'm glad to be in such a comfortable environment, it makes it easier to cope with the choppy conditions. It was a very pleasant way to make the ferry journey indeed!”

“On joining the coach I found myself sat next to a rather a large lady, bigger than me, and I'm not particularly small either so we were very cramped. She suggested I move to an empty seat as there are empty seats. I was very happy to do so, she didn't come across as very friendly towards me. I appreciate my space and don't like being so physically close to someone else so I moved back to a seat with loads of leg room. It's been a long day but an amazing one in many ways. I amaze and surprise myself by the confidence of my interactions with people now. It was incredible too that I didn't take the suggestion to move personally, or as a rejection, but welcomed it as I was not comfortable with the situation.”

Sun 23/12/12
“We stopped at services in Alsace that I've been to before. I have wonderful memories of those services frozen and icy with hoar frost, what lovely memories I have attached to that service station! We drove on past Strasbourg and Colmar, down to Mulhouse and the border at Basel. It was a lovely drive down to Luzern and on to Giswil. It felt wonderful to be back on familiar territory throughout the journey today!!”

“I felt very anxious about going down to dinner and finding a table to sit at but it worked out ok, I happen to be sat at the same table as the person I should have been sat next to on the coach along with 2 older couples. My opinion of her is changing, she's more friendly at the dinner table than she was on the coach although I'm not comfortable with her. But I was amazed at how relatively relaxed and confident I was with the group at the table.”

Mon 24/12/12 – Christmas Eve
“During the journey to Luzern the menus for the evening dinners for the rest of the holiday were passed round. I noticed the first course for tonight is hard boiled egg in a mayo sauce which there is just no way I can eat. Chris said to have a word with her if you had a problem with anything on the menus so I'll have to take hold of my courage when we get back this afternoon and tell Chris I can't eat the first course. On arrival in Luzern we went straight to the Lion Monument and wow, it did not disappoint. I had heard from other people who have seen it that it is very moving to see and it most certainly was. I felt very emotional looking at the lion, the expression on it's face is incredible. I could not stop photographing it! I also had a photo taken of me in front of it which was great. It was an awesome thing to see and experience, very moving and very compelling to look at and photograph. I was so chuffed about how that worked out and really pleased to not have to be doing that on my own as I had originally planned. It was the main thing I wanted to make sure I did in Luzern and it was delightful doing it with the group!”

“I enjoyed exploring the newer part of Luzern which I didn't get to see 3-years ago when I was last here. On turning a corner I came across a beautiful black Lamborghini, which I took a few photos of. I then realised I was standing in front of a building with “Anfield” all over the front of it. I discovered that it was Luzern's very own official Liverpool FC Anfield sports bar. I couldn't believe my eyes!! It really made my day finding that. I took several photos of it to prove it was real!!”

“We had a specially chartered boat for our cruise on Lake Luzern. It was truly beautiful and wonderful. There was a commentary along the way and the conditions were perfect, a little bracing on the water, but not that cold. I had a fantastic time and was so focused on my photography that I didn't give a thought to what anyone thought of what I was doing, which I think was pretty amazing for me!! I explored around Luzern taking loads of photos and rekindling memories of 3 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed that!”

“On arriving back at the hotel I had a word with Chris about tonight's first course and fixed up to have a mixed salad instead. I didn't that easy to do and was so proud of myself for finding my voice and using it so constructively and positively. I'm so proud of myself too for finding the courage to speak up to!”

“I have had the most wonderful day in Luzern. It has been truly magical and “magical” is a NOT word I've ever used in relation to my life ever before!! It is absolutely wonderful to be able to say that about today. Luzern is very special to me and it's meant a lot to me to be able to go back, rekindle memories and see bits of Luzern I didn't get to see in 2009. As we arrived back in Giswil there was a mountain train heading up the Brunig Pass. I had such a treat photographing it as it snaked it's way up. That was a massive bonus and was the second event to really make my day!!”

“Dinner was really nice. The mixed salad for the first course was very light and tasty! I'm so glad I found the courage to do that because when everyone else's starter came I knew I wouldn't have been able to cope with eating it. I'm so mega proud of myself for finding the courage to speak up about what I needed! That was a first for me. A MEGA first too! We had a massive surprise during the meal. There was a big Christmas tree in the room with loads of boxes of all kinds of chocolate underneath it. Between the main course and pudding we were invited to go up to the tree and choose a box of chocolates. That blew me away, I wasn't expecting that. It felt really special for me to walk up to the tree, bend down and choose a box of chocolates for myself. It actually fulfilled a need I had but had hitherto been unaware of! It was something I've never experienced to be invited to go up to the tree and take a present for myself from it. It was incredible and very healing and incredibly moving for me! Chris took a photo of me choosing my chocolates under the tree.”

“After the meal finished the rest of my table went to the bar for cigarettes and drinks. I didn't have the courage to join them. Instead I took some photos of the Christmas decorations around the hotel and the impressive chandelier in the bar then went out with my camera and took some night-time photos. The hotel looks very impressive all lit up. I had a big treat too as a train came down the mountain, then just as I was about to go back to the hotel a train went up the mountain to go over the Brunig Pass. I was absolutely delighted about that! What an incredible end to an extraordinarily amazing day! I'm amazed at how I'm doing and with how I'm coping at the meal social times. So far nobody has asked me any personal questions and my confidence is growing. Tomorrow night is going to be a HUGE test for me with music and dancing. Not really looking forward to that at all!! I can't believe how this holiday is going and I can't believe how well I'm dealing with all that's happening around me.”

Tues 25/12/12 – Christmas Day
“Today has been the most incredible day! I think the happiest most light hearted I've ever been during Christmas day. When I went to the coach in the morning Bryn was there with a Christmas stocking full of small packages which you put your hand in for a lucky dip. I must note at this point that I found it very triggering to write the words “you put you hand in”. Anyway I found myself with a lovely little very neat package which I put away in my rucksack for later so I had a pressie to open up when I got back at the end of the day. Chris had plastic cups of red or white grape juice to take on the coach to use for a toast! Intriguing!! I chose white grape juice. Once everybody had arrived they got on the coach and suggested we raise a toast together to say “Merry Christmas and a very happy 2013 to each other”. That was really nice and very special!!”

“We had an hour's free time at Lauterbrunnen so I had a very pleasant walk through the village and got spectacular photos and video footage of the huge waterfalls. That really made my day!! The weather forecast for today had been grim but it stayed dry and bright all day which meant the photo opportunities on the train ride up to Kleine Scheidegg were endless! I got to take the photos I wanted to take 4-years ago but couldn't because of the fog. That gave me a feeling of tying up loose ends – it's not the first time I've had that feeling during this holiday! In fact everywhere I turn I have a feeling of tying up loose ends. Amazing and slightly bizarre!! We had our own private train up to Kleine Scheidegg so we went direct without stopping except to let trains pass. I felt like a VIP!!! While I was there someone from my table took a photo of me with the Eiger behind me – which again tied up a loose end! That was the one photo I had hitherto been unable to get. I was so pleased about that! It was really special and really nice doing that trip and being there with other people. It felt so different from when I'd done it alone and was fantastic. I was amazed by how that felt!! On returning to the coach there were mince pies or shortbread on offer - I had shortbread and washed it down with a lovely Whisky Cream Liquor which was very welcome and delightful.”

“Well evening has come - I'm wearing my smart green trousers, smart cream top and hoping it's smart enough for a “Gala dinner”. I feel all glammed up though I've deliberately stayed away from make-up because of how I feel when I wear make-up. I needed to make my outfit as easy as possible for tonight and it had to be something I was relatively comfortable about wearing (although not totally comfortable). At least it's possible for me to be smartly dressed for such an occasion without being too feminine about it! I successfully negotiated the Gala dinner. The meal was wonderful. The turkey was paraded round the room. I am very blessed to be at the table I'm at. They're very friendly, warm, accepting and welcoming whilst not being intrusive and it's great. We had a load of fun when Jingle Bells was played - using spoons on glasses and bottles we provided our own accompaniment and soon several other tables took it up and we did an encore. It certainly got everyone smiling and laughing and yeah, it was mega fun too!!”

“I am astounded at how I coped with tonight, I've come a tremendously long way! My sparkly cream top was appreciated and commented on by the rest of my table which was nice. I was amazed that I could take the compliments without feeling suspicious or afraid or wondering what they really meant or really wanted. I'm just really proud of myself!! It has been an incredible day and an incredible holiday so far. I am allowing myself to enjoy it in my own way and am just so much more relaxed around myself and in who I am.”

Weds 26/12/12 – Boxing Day
“At Meiringen I had my photo taken sitting and standing with Sherlock Holmes at his statue in the centre of the village, I really enjoyed making my acquaintance with him. Also I had loads of fun train spotting at Meiringen train station. I thoroughly enjoyed being back in Interlaken too and loved re-acquainting myself with the town and train spotting at Interlaken West station. The horse + carriage ride was a delightful hour which I spent up at the front with the driver. It felt very high up and precarious but I relaxed into it and trusted the driver that it was safe. I also had to totally trust the driver for getting down because getting down was not as easy as getting up and he had to tell me where to put my feet. It was good to be back on the ground after that!! “

“I can't believe tonight is the last night, it has gone so incredibly quickly. I'm looking forward to Paris. I cannot believe all I have done, all I have seen and all how I have been on so many levels. It has been an amazing holiday.”

“I was a few minutes late to dinner as I lost track of time packing and sorting things. When I got there I was greeted with “oh we were really beginning to get really worried about you.” It was said with so much compassion and caring it took my breath away. It certainly was not an admonition!! I felt really cared for and it made me feel very warm inside. The dinner was good, the food has been fantastic throughout the holiday and the staff have been great too. For pudding they paraded a big platter on which was a huge cake with the words “good bye” written on both sides of it. It turned out to be made of ice cream, sorbet, frozen fruit and meringue. It was lovely and I had seconds! The menu had said “surprise good bye cake” and we'd wondered what it meant. I took photos of the cake when they paraded it round the room. At the end of the meal I was invited to go to the bar and I did for a while as it was the last night. It was a lovely wooden bar with a log fire and a massive cow bell hanging from one of the rafters. The smell as I walked in was amazing! It was very atmospheric. We sat and chatted around the fire. When asked what I did I explained what my profession is and that I can't work because of ill health but that I work for a charity one day a week. I was asked what kind of youth work I've done so I said and the response I got blew me away - “I really admire you for what you do, that kind of work, I have a lot of admiration for people who do work like that”. I felt enormous compassion and respect and was blown away by it.”

In the bar there was an old man from our coach there. He was full of all sorts of tales and mischief , most of which was pure smut. Everyone was laughing at his dirty antics and talk but all I could think was “you filthy old man”. It was very triggering for me. I couldn't sit there and listen and watch what was going on. I wanted to spit at him, he revolted me. He obviously reminded me of my grandfather and other paedophiles from that part of my childhood. But I'm so proud of how I coped with it! I think a few months ago I would not have been able to cope and would have probably run out of the bar crying, or trying not to cry till I was out of it. Tonight, however, I just sat there quietly until I couldn't take it any more, made my excuses and left after about half an hour saying I was tired and needed to pack which was true!”

Thurs 27/12/12

“It was an early start for the long drive to Paris, we watched “The King's Speech” on the way which made time pass quickly. I enjoyed half an hour sitting in the big comfy leather seats in the lounge at the back of the coach, which was a real treat!! Took several photos of it while I was there too!! And then on to Paris – ah what can I say about Paris? I fell in love with Paris, had a wonderful time!! The tour was phenomenal! We were dropped off in the Latin Quarter with an hour and a half to eat and explore. I ate in MacDonald's then found a creperie and had a gorgeous Nutella crepe. I had a lovely gentle wander to Notre Dame and got great photos of the River Seine and Notre Dame with the full moon. The atmosphere was amazing! People were milling round, taking photos, eating and so on. I felt totally safe wandering round. I had been worried about that but it turned out that I had nothing to worry about. On the way back to the coach I bought some souvenirs. In one shop I had a brief conversation with the man who was serving – he told me my French was very good. I was very flattered!!! The amazing thing is I was flattered and I allowed myself to feel flattered. I walked out of the shop feeling 12 feet tall! The other amazing thing is I did not experience any negative arguments or comments within myself during that interaction. I did not feel threatened by it either which is incredible!”

The whole holiday has been incredible. It's taken a lot of mental and emotional energy to make it through but I am astounded at how I've coped with all the amazing experiences of the last few days!

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