Confessions of a Welfare Mother.

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(photo – The Press, Christchurch December 2016)

Confession number one – I accept charity.

You know, I grew up to be a teenager that believed I was the soon-to-be-owner of a multi-story mansion. I’d even designed myself a spiral staircase (marble, naturally…) and a minimalist, artsy decor. Basically, I, Sian Alexia, believed that I was going to be a capitalist success – making lots of cash which = happiness.

{Flash-forward 10 years}

There’s no staircase in my small, Phillipstown rental. There’s no decor, aside from pre-school artwork and alphabet fridge magnets. I am a solo mother, and a student, on welfare.

No degree. No mortgage. No wedding photo’s of me and ‘Mr Right’ waving like royalty. I have failed my teenage imagination.

In this series of posts I intend to pick away, if not openly erode, many of the inbuilt, self-punishing, socially circumcising, stigmas that go alongside being ‘dependent’ and an adult; what I will an ‘un-adult’ for fun. 

Back to my confession …. yes, I accept charity. My beautiful teen fantasy of making mountains of cash – and then setting up a charity to give away all said cash (“The Word Bank”, teaching illiterate children for free, rivaling the World Bank in influence…..sigh) became very twisted indeed. I have accepted parcels from 0800 HUNGRY to feed my 2 kids. I have applied for hardship grants at the university. I have been on the wait list for dental surgery at the Charity Hospital for two years – two painful years. I take hand outs from my parents and some times of the year, my children have holes in their shoes.

It ain’t glamorous. It makes me feel small and ashamed and unworthy.

How did I get here? one might ask. well, I can assure you it was not by choice. First year into my double-degree/double-major change the world mastery in Law, Politics and English, I got sick.

I got sick.

Diagnosed with anorexia-nervosa , I was hospitalized more than once, and quit university one semester in at 19 years old. Years following … I flip flopped between anorexia, bulimia, and severe depression. Sometimes I worked small jobs but those days I hardly remember. It is a black hole in my life that i believe much of my subconscious has fought hard to block out.

But miracles do happen. I got pregnant. And after a post-baby re-diagnosis with anorexia, I got pregnant again. A boy and a girl. My children.

It was all very beautiful and they saved my life – but I was a broken person who never got a chance to ‘want’ recovery – and all of a sudden, so needed …. so responsible for life. 

My partner at the time and the father of my kids was an addict and eventually, the addiction put out our flame. Horrid debt pursued us … addictions (and children) don’t come cheap. So here we are …back to today.

…living alone with my two children, a mental illness that has never really got put to bed, and my almost-finished-arts degree to work on into the wee hours of the morning.

I never chose to get sick.

I never chose to have children.

I would have stayed at uni, as far away from the doctors and nurses and small rooms and tears as possible, got that degree and ran. Positively propping up society. But I could not.

I might not have planned my children but I chose to keep them. and I choose them first every, single day.

Is *this* what a ‘burden to society’ looks like? and if so … can you blame me?

Is there someone to blame here? or are there only circumstances and fluctuations and things that none of us can foresee and SURVIVAL? 

I vote the latter. I used to blame myself – and still do at times – for the mess I have made of my life. I still get a bitter taste in my mouth when I sit in the waiting area at the Work and Income office, waiting to plead my case.

BUT. I know that I have only ever done what I can to bring safety and stability to my life and that of my children. I am not some ugly, money grabbing monster who lounges round in my bath robe all day and lives in luxury on my Sole-Parenting benefit. If you believe that is possible, you really do need to try it out. See how many luxuries you can buy with a benefit of $495.00 and rent of $350.00 ….

I accept charity because I need it now — and one day I wholeheartedly hope that I can be the one helping others; paying forward all the kindness and acceptance small pockets of society have offered me. Show me ONE ‘dole-bludger’ … one stay-at-home parent, one person living on the sickness benefit who doesn’t have a history. Many of them will break your heart. The biggest flaw to modern society is that we have learnt to see statistics before faces – dollar signs before empathy.

Show me ONE ‘dole-bludger’ … one stay-at-home parent, one person living on the sickness benefit who doesn’t have a history. Many of them will break your heart. The biggest flaw to modern society is that we have learnt to see statistics before faces – dollar signs before empathy.

And you know what? I am now more ashamed of my teenage self and her desire for material wealth and good PR than I am of being a charity case. I have learnt far more about life and people and love by living among the fallen than I could ever learn in a court room or a cocktail party. Beautiful people live at the bottom – people deserving of support, time, and compassion. Yes, some of them have addictions that make them dangerous and intractable bitterness resulting from years of insults and failures and abuse … but they are human, and they have a story.

Listen …open your eyes, ears and heart, before you decide.

umbras

By Sian Alexia

 

Shells linger, long limbed night

reveals what you have sheltered.

We turn away from Greatness

as the moon so restless waits

 

for light, once beheld

now looked upon with

whimpers.

You asked rough and I have answered

Not be;

 

To not be

thus, this. Untamed

and ill rendered,

alone to the lights and the caresses.

So near

and dear

 

At once unkind and nourishing

 

Shells linger, long limbed night

reveals what you have sheltered.

As we turn toward a selfless phrase

the moon so restless waits.

Quivering Lips ….. shall pass

But I want him for life, she said, quivering.

The man just stood and smiled. Standing and smiling and grieving. How can you condemn one to such a task? You know nothing of life beyond this moment. And this very moment, he is not yours to keep. Will you ask that he fail you even before he knows for what he lives?

I will ask, she said. How can I not ask?

Askance does not align with such claims. Ownership for life equally assigns one to subservience for life. You cannot make a slave of the man you love. You must ask, and therefore you must ask not.

And she thought love was the answer.

Perhaps, she had not loved long enough.

You drink wine long enough, you pass out. Inhale nicotine dreams long enough … fall into cancer and never crawl home… Love … is it the same? Have I not yet discovered its poison? Have I not yet matured into its pain?

And all she could think, hiding under the mink threads and forgotten sun, was how fitting that love, to her, was just like wine. Nicotine. Uncontrolled, destructive substances, that she once believed would bring her to Grace.

…. He was smothering her, one breath followed by silence. A silence that lasts through the night, through her dreams and drips out, the blood sucking through his teeth. How can one become such? No suchness … no life. Just one soul consumed. Living beneath the pavement of all else that screams to be real. To be walked upon and be bled upon. One life underneath the waves of war; a breathless moment that survives without air.

Sian Alexia

Image result for kneeling before someone

historical purging and mental disfigurement

Circumstance and environment; history and disfigurement, they can change a lot.

What it means to forget to eat for an anorexic — with all that twisted circumstance and environment of solitude; all the historical purging and mental disfigurement… it means so much.

It’s not the physical rewards – one day will change nothing. It’s the mental voice that creeps in and gives you a beautiful embrace. Starts singing and skipping beside you; touches your cheek and whispers how easy was that?! This road is not hard and long; it is free and clear. Look how beautiful. How artistic. How clean, empowering, detoxifying, energizing and SEDUCTIVE it is … to forget.

Like an addict, so much like an addict, the offer is never for a limited time. The craving to fall stays with you, through every day and every night. Its there when you wake and when you fall asleep. Its there when you are stressed, happy, tired, excited, anxious, proud, ashamed … it’s there within and without. It lives on the lips of the ones you love and you search for it in strangers.

All it takes is one day. One moment. And your back there. That is the most frightening thing about addiction, mental illness, anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, anxiety …. You can work your whole life to heal – go to therapy, rehab, retreats, yoga classes, information evenings; talk to those you trust and those with whom there is a recognition. You can work through the hurt, make yourself cry so much there is nothing but wishes for grief left.

And yet.

One moment, and it all feels like it’s been violently ripped away. And you know what> you don’t weep. You don’t scream and feel failure. For that first moment, you feel … liberated. You sigh. You think, oh-thank-god. I can let go.

Taking hold again gets harder, every time. Every goddamned time. That’s when the anger comes and the painful, invisible tears and the screams. That’s when you hate yourself for not loving yourself and you want to hide, give up, turn back and let go for GOOD.

How the hell am i still here?

in need of a gentle, loving mind?

Unsprung Technik

 

highly reccommend checking out this blog and seeing what he has to offer in the future – wealth of knowledge in many fields.

Namaste all. ❤

“I am …” How the illness came to sit on my mat.

the magic word for peace

My first class, I had no idea what yoga was.

Something like Pilates? I was sure it was what very, very flexible people do. In tights. I wasn’t flexible ( and I didn’t wear tights) – and since the birth of my two children, had not even been able to access my abdominal muscles… and that was okay, because concave was okay. Either justifiably bellyful whilst pregnant …. or concave , the ‘rib-cave’ – a remarkably safe place to live… I didn’t think there was a middle road for me. The middle road meant frightening years locked up in a house, too tormented by self hatred to see the world. The middle road meant little-death.

The children … they meant little-life. They were enough – and will always be enough – for me to assemble a surface deep self that functioned – that came out of hiding. I may have…

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