Updated: Apr 10, 2020
I often struggle to process my emotions – both good and bad. I get this feeling of being so overwhelmed and I don’t know how to deal with it. Recently, I have found writing is what helps me with this. So, it is here that I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you from the phenomenal Twitter community that has offered support.
You may have seen on my other posts that I got out of an abusive relationship last year. I moved into this person's home prematurely. I was losing my own home due to rent arrears and it was the only option available. Eventually, I was locked out of my flat without warning. Everything I owned, bar 5 outfits, stuck inside. I had spent almost all of the money you are given as a care leaver to furnish your place on that flat. I had lost nearly £2000 of furniture, not to mention the priceless sentimental belongings that can never be replaced. I had photos of my dead step-mum that are irreplaceable. I will now never see her face again.
As difficult as this all was, I was also suffering through this emotionally abusive relationship at the same time. This person had taken full control of my life. I cannot express how much I was his puppet. I lost all but one of my friends. This relationship ended with him getting me arrested and leaving me out on the street with just those 5 outfits to my name. I had nothing. I was out of work, my physical health was at its worst and I was so deep in depression that not even strong antidepressants could touch it. It was the lowest point of my life – and I have had a lot of lows. It’s kinda hard to bounce back from something like that.
Miraculously, I of course did. I got back into an old part time job, I started working on my physical health and my mental health naturally got better without that tw*t. Opportunities started to come my way and life was on the mend – except that financial difficulties never left me. I found myself stealing clothes and food so that I had something to wear and eat, constantly borrowing off of friends just to survive. At one point, I went 2 months without a phone because mine had broken. I was doing well on the surface – surviving, but not really living.
I cannot remember the last time I was able to cook a meal for myself. I hoard takeaway boxes in an attempt to build up my lack of storage. Anything anyone could gift me, I saw as valuable as gold. This has been my life for the past 7 months. I have gotten used to it, like I said I can survive. For me, survival is good enough. To have a secure roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, safety from my past abusers – it is all more than enough. Every night I go to bed grateful to have what I do, thanking my lucky stars that I am now safe and well.
With being in quarantine, I have found myself even more fed up with my limited diet that is a result of no kitchenware. So, I decided to go f*** it and I finally bought a kitchen knife, something that I could not afford. It was nothing special and certainly not fancy. Yet I was so excited to buy this little paring knife from Wilko. It was the unnecessary excitement that I felt towards what should be an essential item that made me realise how little I really have. I thought about it and realised how much many ‘essentials’ are actually luxuries to a care leaver. It is not unusual for a care experienced person to be in a situation like mine. So, being the avid little activist that I am, I took to Twitter to simply share this. Rather unexpectedly, just hours later, I found my messages and notifications blowing up.
I have been so used to living in this detrimental state of poverty for so long that I hadn’t thought too much on my situation. After all, I still go to bed grateful every night to have that roof over my head. I suppose that is the tragic reality of being a care leaver. We have so little but are often blissfully unaware because that little is actually ten times more than we have ever had. It wasn’t until I saw the reaction to this post that I stopped to seriously think. I knew it was a crappy situation but I had never believed it to be so bad.
I was utterly confused to begin with, there was a mixed reaction of anger towards yet another of the care systems failings and also love – people actually wanted to help! I am still in absolute disbelief at the amount of people who are wanting to support me in resolving this situation. It is now days later and I had another Amazon voucher come through this morning. It feels as though the entirety of Twitter have all jumped on to help me out. The vast majority of the support is coming from people who have never even met me yet they are still determined to make sure that I have these essential items.
Someone helped me to compile an Amazon wish list and off it went! Within hours every single thing had been bought off of it. So many people were still wanting to help that I also received an abundance of vouchers to get extra. I now have more than enough kitchen utilities, storage, even a proper quilt and pillows. I have been rendered speechless by the selflessness of everyone involved – even if all they could do to help was a simple message. It all means the absolute world to me. In a time that I have felt as though I have nothing, it seems as though I have the whole of the UK.
I have been so lacking in parental support my whole life that I have never known what it feels like. What has gone on over the past few days has made me realise how much I do have family. Many of those supporting are either care experienced themselves or have some kind of professional involvement in the system. It is you who are my family. Without a moments hesitation, you all cared and did what you could to help. Isn’t that what family does? It is moments like these that make me so unbelievably proud to be care experienced, no family is stronger than ours. I am yet to meet a care leaver who will not support another.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me out. I am incredibly excited to have everything delivered. It is hard for me as the only way I can display my gratitude is through words and words will never come close to showing how grateful I am to everyone. There really are good people in this world. It gives me so much hope, hope that I did not have until now.