I won an award in Sixth Form for being the “Person that always has something to say” which looking back, was 100% accurate. I am a true Cumbrian Lass, even back then; Gob on a stick, a take no shit from nobody kinda gobshite. And I was so proud of myself. I had so much to say to the world.
At 34 years old, I have gone through something HUGE. It’s been called many things over the last few weeks. A cosmic shift, a breakthrough, an awakening but whatever it is, I felt the need to share it with all 25k of you. Just call me a drama queen.
When I started CumbrianLass, it was one of my bipolar mad ideas, it was a giggle to poke fun at me, my family, my friends and the Jam Eaters….obvs. Over the last 7 years she’s evolved, took a back seat, took a front seat and been shelved for periods of time. But this year, she exploded back to life with the help of four of the most amazing lasses I have the privilege of calling my best friends. These lasses are the #RideOrDie type of lasses. The type of lasses who you meet in the Ladies who will tell you, you have bog roll stuck to your shoe and lend you a lippy that they dig out from the depths of their Mary Poppins bag. But how we got here and where we’re going is a much bigger story….
Over the last 2 years I have been going through Domestic Violence and Trauma Counselling with Women Out West (based at Haigh Pit In Whitehaven) and last week I completed a trauma timeline. I worked through 34 years of trauma and abuse. Which was honestly like walking through the seventh circle of hell.It brought up a shitload of old memories and incidents that I’d blocked out, that I’d pushed to the deep dark corners of my soul, the true bottom of my black abyss.
I’ve never felt pain like it.
What did come to light were glaringly obvious patterns. Patterns of abuse, patterns of bullying, patterns of victimisation. I have been a victim.
But the most terrifying part… 98% of the abuse was from men, not only that, the incidents were not unusual, they weren’t unique. It’s shit that’s happened to 100% of my girlfriends and ALL of us here at CL and I’ll swear on my Dent Lemo that it’s happened to you too. #MeToo
We haven’t got time for all the gory details, that’s what my therapist is for. And to call this list a summary, doesn’t quite do the content justice. But here is a insight of my most serious experiences of trauma.
- Blurred Lines of consent. I blamed myself because I had been drinking. It wasn’t my fault. – No answer is an answer. I was 14.
- Sexually Assaulted by a male “friend”. Taking up an offer of a lift home and a shoulder to cry on is NOT consent. I was 15.
- Bullied & humiliated by a male teacher. I was forced to apologise because; I dared to ask a question. Abuse of power is unacceptable. I was 16.
- Psychologically Abusive Relationship. 6 years. 2 abortions. Psychological Scars are just as traumatic as physical. I was 15-21.
- Forced to resign after a Narcissist realised I had caught him out and was about to report him. He was imprisoned for 6 years. Nearly ending my career. If I had done what he accused me of, I should have been charged. The boss knew it wasn’t true. Sweeping incidents under the carpet is NOT JUSTICE. I was 26.
- Narcissistic Relationship. Physical Abuse. Emotional Abuse, Gaslighting, Suicide Attempt. Drug Abuse. Financial Abuse. No further explanation needed – Lucky Escape. I was 28-32.
PTSD & Trauma manifests in all sorts of ways, it’s not all flashbacks and night terrors. It seeps into every fibre of your being
- You push the shame so far down, the reason becomes a blurry memory and become ashamed of yourself as a whole.
- Sex is rendered meaningless and your ‘number’ spirals out of control.
- Small signs of affection are magnified and feel like someone just declared their undying love for you. You take this as the height of love and in reality it barely covers the basics.
- Basic becomes an acceptable way to be treated because deep down, you don’t believe that you are worthy of love.
- You hate yourself because the more you think about it, the more it really was your fault. (it wasn’t)
- You help and support EVERYONE AND ANYONE, because you don’t want other people to feel as alone and helpless as you did. But you end up spreading yourself so thin, it literally drains the life out of you.
- Not being able to sleep as you relive the incidents that hurt the most and wonder how you were ‘stupid’ enough to ever get into that situation in the first place.
- Believing that you’re a failure.
- Feeling Empty – nothing and no one will ever fill the big gaping hole in your soul.
- Not recognizing the person staring back in the mirror. Who is she?
- Feeling inferior to EVERYONE around you.
- Constantly wondering what you did to deserve it.
- Feeling constantly angry but you don’t quite know what or who you’re angry at.
- Everyone hates you.
- Your friends don’t really like you, they just put up with you
- You’re a burden.
- You apologise for everything you do. – I’ve apologised for breathing before now.
- You don’t trust anyone – and the one time you do and it blows up in your face, and it feels like you’ll never recover.
- You allow others to treat you less than you deserve because you feel it’s the only love you’ll ever get.
- You’re ashamed of the mess of your house
- You can’t face the housework
- When you get offers of help to do the basics it feels like a dig at you for not being able to do things.
- You forgive everyone, for everything and help them make excuses for treating you badly “They were going through a rough patch”, “They have mental health issues, it’s not their fault”, “people do silly things when drunk”
- Your life is full of unfinished projects, from new hobbies, new club memberships. All started with good intentions but you haven’t got the time to finish or carry on and your head tells you “You’ve failed again”
- You people please because you don’t want to disappoint anyone.
- You ignore red flags in relationships because this is probably the best you’re ever gonna get.
I could go on, but I won’t. I don’t need to. I know you’re sitting there going through that list thinking “fuuuuck… it’s me”
But here’s the thing. 20 years I’ve spent feeling like this. That girl, that gob on a stick, the winner of the “person that always had something to say” – I lost her somewhere in amongst the bullying, the abuse and the never ending battle.
So, let me tell you this. Once you see the patterns and how it’s affected your whole life, you find your breaking point and I am formally calling my breaking point my cosmic shift.
I am not a failure, I am not a burden, I am not unlovable, I am not ugly, I am not a waste of breath.
I am worthy of love, I am clever, I am loyal, I am beautiful, I am powerful, I am sexy, I deserve respect and fuck me, I deserve to be happy.
I never realised the weight I carried.
#MeToo #WomensRights #Equality #Feminism – These aren’t dirty words,
This is us, this is ‘We’
Me and my Lasses, Dee, Tee, Tac & Elle – We get asked a lot “Why do you not tell everyone who you really are??”
And this is why…
We want to speak our truths, we want to talk about the stuff that really fucks us off, we want to talk to you all about how we navigate the complex world but mostly…. we know we aren’t unique stories; we know that this bullshit effects every single one of you, and we just want to let all Cumbrian Lasses know that you are not alone we really are all in this together.
We won’t go down without a fight, we won’t let the world beat us down, we won’t be abused, we won’t be bullied, we won’t be consumed by the black hole, we won’t be told what we can do, we won’t be told what we can’t do, we won’t be told how to behave, we won’t be told how to live our lives.
For the love of …..XL Cheese Crisps…..
I am CumbrianLass – “The one who always has something to say”
But she is not just me, She is all of us…
We are All Cumbrian Lass.
All my Love,
For a limited time £5 from each sale of our “I am Cumbrian Lass” Tees will go to Women Out West.
Get yours now!
I Am Cumbrian Lass Tee
I won’t go down without a fight, I won’t let the world beat me down, I won’t be abused, I won’t be bullied, I won’t be consumed by the black hole, I won’t be told what I can do, I won’t be told what we can’t do, I won’t be told how to behave, I won’t be told how to live my life.
I AM CUMBRIANLASS
£5 from each sale will be donated to Women Out West –
XS 8 S 10 M 12 L 14 XL 16 2XL 18 3XL 20
This oversized, super comfy scoop neck T offers style and versatility. The super-soft, lush fabric provides supreme comfort and features a scoop neck design with dropped shoulder seams and a dropped tail hem on the back.
Fabric: 77% Polyester, 18% Viscose, 5% Polyurethane single Jersey
XS 8 S 10 M 12 L 14 XL 16 2XL 18 3XL 20