Point Six: Where did you grow up? What do you remember about this place?
I was born and raised on the South London/Surrey boarder and lived in the same house for the first 23 years of my life. Aged 23, I moved to Surrey to be with Anthony, our daughter and my new family. It was by far one of the best (if not the best) decisions I ever made and I have never looked back.
I remember being small and absolutely loving my life and where I lived. Through my eyes, as a small child I remember it being idyllic. We always had the best neighbours you could ask for, they became such a huge part of my life (like an extra Mum and extra siblings). They even helped raise me
and remain my family to this day.
I went to a fantastic nursery and primary school, I learnt to ride my bike in the park down the next road, we had 3 sweet shops at the end of the road and lived in a cup-de-sac with lots of other children to play with.
Summers and Winters were the best! If I wasn't staying with my Grandparents or dancing, I was out with the other children on our street and our Dads; having snowball fights, eating ice cream, skipping, playing hopscotch and just laughing our heads off.
Then my Mums Sister moved into our road and had a baby! I was 10 and that was by far the best year of my life! My new baby cousin essentially became my baby sister and we just lived as one extended happy family!
My teenage years were particularly difficult for me. Not far from where I grew up is where I was raped and repeatedly sexually assaulted. This also took place in my home when no one else was there, so from ages 14-16 I hated life and from that moment on I never felt truly safe in my surroundings.
Having said that, on a positive note there was so much for a teen like myself to do in the area I grew up in. It was an urban area and although it had seen better days we had; a thriving high street, a cinema complex, great parking, fantastic public transport, a great choice of schools for all ages and abilities and it was a real disabled friendly area.
I was having more and more accidents as I grew older, spent a lot of time on crutches, in casts, bandages, splints on various parts of my body and had multiple surgeries during this time. So the accessibility of the area really did help in those situations.
Early Adult Years
I had a lot of issues and had been going from one abusive relationship to another. For me, enough was enough and I sorted myself out. I went and had two lots of intense therapy, got on track with my diet, my mental health and was diagnosed withPTSD, became self-employed, spent two and a half years single and just living for me and enjoying my life as much as possible.
I took every opportunity to get out of the area and house in which I lived, because at times I still found it unbearable. I finally was given my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosis in December 2013 and then partied my way to my 21st birthday!
Shortly after turning 21, who would've thought I would meet the love of my life!
When I met Anthony, it was made clear that his daughter would always come first. Within 9 months we decided we wanted to live together, by now I had already met his daughter but I knew Anthony was a great man and an even better Father, so I supported him where I could. He knew I wanted to leave my family home and start a family life with him and he had made it clear that he would never live far from his daughter. So it was decided that I would move to be with him as soon as possible.
Then out the blue, my Dad leaves the family and after a year of my parents being separate and divorced, I had to leave the family home too. I had managed to completely rebuild my life as I knew it, I had a future planned with the only man I had ever truly loved and I wasn't going to let anything or anyone destroy what I had fought so hard to come back from.
Leaving was the best for all the family and we were all much better off living apart.
I have such a blessed life now, we live in a beautiful part of Surrey and I am helping Anthony build his business in the area. I have never been happier living in a place than I am right now. It hasn't all been plain sailing and there are certain areas where I feel I cannot go without support, a friend or carer. I am now a successful blogger, writer, activist and public speaker, because I have found my freedom of expression in my surroundings.
Yet again, we have some really lovely neighbours, they are so kind to us, super friendly and supportive and their children are wonderful too. The road we live on is relatively crime free and we are surrounded by my husbands family, who have taken me in and loved me as one of their own. In particular, my Father-in-law and Anthony's amazing Auntie - it was like I was made to be with them. We have made some lifelong friends and both of us get on with each others friends so well. This was certainly the right move for us and I am much happier raising our daughter in this area, than back in South London.
Since living here I have been much more supported by the Police and by Adult Services and their community teams. Personally and medically, Anthony and I have been through what has undoubtably been the most gutwrenching and heartbreaking moments of our lives, as individuals and as parents. I have spent a small fortune on making our house a safe haven so that I don't ever have to feel the way I used to in my family home. We are raising our beautiful puppy - Tywin, our family business is building from strength to strength and I know for sure that this would never have happened, had I not managed to escape the trap I felt in South London.