Saturday, 20 March 2021

Catch Up!

Grab a coffee, tea or glass of something delicious and let's have a catch up. It's been since the 7th of January! It's almost spring and lockdown is easing, spring is coming and soon, summer and the wedding of one of my dearest friends. Love, life and hope are here in one glorious trilogy.

The last time I had blog lags like this was when I was preparing to take my stepfather, brother in law and sister to court in the case over my mother's family inheritance, which regular readers of this blog will know I won. There were lags as my brother in law who was acting for my stepfather, (and, frankly for  himself and his wife given they had, to my mind seized the primary asset) was, during the build up to the trial, seizing upon everything I wrote on this blog for his ludicrous mostly made up 'witness statements.' Also, I was so deep in trauma over what my mother and sister, and to some extent, brother had participated in, that my mental health crashed. I'd recently come out of surgery for a breast lump and was reeling from a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer (all of which the family told me on this blog that 'I deserved,') that I could barely function in the day to day. Oh, and during this time, our landlady came back from Spain (I believe as she had tax issues given she was living in Spain and claiming child tax credits in the UK) and tried to illegally evict us when she was scuppered. It was an annus horribilis par excellence.

But that, dear reader was in 2018, and it is now 2021. What a difference three years makes! I've had the help I needed - surgery, chemo, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, therapy - and they all helped, of course, but I am also very much where I am today because of my God, my fight, my husband and children and my determination to get well and be well, and I am planning to write about all of the above.

So, what's happened? As some of you know, I finished chemo in April 2019 and went to court for the trial in May. In August we received the judgement and found out we had won with full costs. The judgement was never 'about' the money - my barrister received more of that than I did, but I was more than happy about that, she was worth it. Hermes hats off Helene! Costs were small anyway, these trials usually cost up to £120 000 and more, but ours were a fraction of that, given I acted as my own solicitor. Though money represents justice done, it was about overcoming the trauma of sexual abuse and regular assaults (until I was 18 and fought back) by my stepfather; the gaslighting, the scapegoating and the fact that my mother's family participated in making me very ill indeed, from the time I was a small child, to when I walked out of that courtroom into the glaring sunlight of that August day - in all the senses. No more Woodheads or Oosthuizens to contend with, or be tortured (really) by. Ever.

Since then, I haven't looked back. At all. The pain I felt growing up over how I was treated by my mother's family, and worse, the consistent and persistent betrayal of my mother, brother and sister - my blood! - was all left there inside that court room. And I haven't looked back since. The small award I received from my grandmother/uncle's money has been invested wisely and is growing ('small' given the assets were hastily disposed of by my former stepfather, sister and brother in law - some of it simply 'disappeared' and they refused to tell the judge where, when or why - and 'small', given what the judge had to dispense). I too, having overcome all of the above, have been growing. And none of this growth has been 'small' from what the award represented (standing up to and overcoming the past), to defeating the seemingly insurmountable odds to achieve it: and oh, what I had to walk through and overcome to get it. I walk tall because of it. I stood up to them, not only in taking back the inheritance that was stolen from me and my children but also regarding the past and the myriad ways I was robbed as a child. In the process I stared it all down for good.

I have spent the months since using prayer, scripture, meditation, writing, art, yoga, fasting, diet and fitness tweaking, to be at least as or more mentally, emotionally, physically and certainly spiritually fit than I've been since my 20s. So much so, I've been signed up by a modelling agency in my 50s. I've just finished my third book with many more to come, my paintings are selling and best of all, my gorgeous and very grown up son is thriving in life and art in London; my hilarious and creative children are thriving in home education and my relationship with my husband who makes me laugh like a drain and keeps me sane, will always be one of the greatest gifts of all. More soon, but just wanted to get across how much has been achieved and how much has changed, because we can all be overcomers and make the changes we need to, and more on that soon too. 

Love Em x

Thursday, 7 January 2021

50s Still Fizzing

I'm starting a new blog, but haven't got round to the technical bit yet. But here's the first one anyhoo. I'll be keeping up EM_Phatic given the hit rate here - usually over 2K a month views for my erratic, emphatic ramblings. Here's the gist for the new/subsidiary blog:

I skirted death in various ways in 2018. Due to numerous surgeries and chemotherapy for a form of cancer that is not usually survivable, as well as dealing with mental health issues due to a family court case - which I won with full costs despite being my own solicitor - I emerged from chemo at the end of April 2019, a bit of a wreck. I then went straight from chemo to a 5-day trial against my stepfather and sister with a vile former brother-in-law former family cult leader presiding. I had 5 days of his lying to the judge about me, trying to sabotage my witnesses and all sorts of dirty tricks employed by a former cop like he: 'Your honour, Emily lunged at my witness and had to be restrained,' (not true.) Or saying to my newly arrived witnesses: 'Emily has just told us under oath that you...(lie inserted).' It was stressful; I had to be on the ball, but I was on anti-anxiety meds; it dredged up the ugly past of my childhood and required enormous amounts of faith, work and reserves but I won, with full costs, which is very unusual, but the judge referred to the offer made by my brother-in-law and sister as 'derisory.' He was determined that I got my award in full and costs in full. Despite being vindicated (the judge agreed with my every argument) and having achieved the moral victory I most wanted (and some of my inheritance - my former sister and her former husband, got away with the primary asset, and my stepfather with the bulk of the cash my uncle did not want him to have, I won the Oosthuizen/Woodhead war.

Soon after this, the stress of arranging my daughter's birthday party that year caused something of a breakdown - I tend to make ambitious cakes and food from scratch as well as designing party bags and games that I make up and 'perform.' I had a bit of a 'performance' in the store cupboard that was interrupted by the father of a child arriving early and asking 'if he could help.' This forced me to pull myself together, in a raggedy Ann kind of away, and to pull off the party with just a minor degree of hysteria. I emerged from all of this knowing I was going to have to project manage my own restoration project. I spent the rest of 2019 resting, regrouping and started working again - painting at my studio once a week and writing and editing. I spent time outdoors. 2020, my painting developed further and I began to sell as well as finish work on my third novel while editing and homeschooling - I upped the pace slowly and steadily. I began yoga and cycling and strengthened my spiritual life by putting prayer and meditation first - God had been knocked off His pedestal somewhat during these wilderness times, though he was always faithful to me, as is His way.

2021...I had a conversation about modelling where it was mentioned that 'mature models' think classic Mercedes over electric cars, are making a comeback. A little googling, or goggling proved this to be correct. A gauntlet was thrown - 'Why not give it another crack?' In short, I may or may not try modelling again but an idea was sown. For health reasons and to complete my restoration project I am going to try to turn back the clock and try to get as near as possible to the peak health and fitness I had in my late teens and twenties. I'm not delusional. I don't expect to look as I did in the tear sheets of the magazines I appeared in. It's just a goal for the holistic restoration project (me) that I am documenting. Watch this space.