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Profile for ancrenne:
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Ex-pat (well, across the border) Welsh lady type creature, became an accidental grown up and ended up here. Can barely use paint let alone anything cleverer for making pictures, so I am most often to be found on the QOTW pages and occasionally lurking on the /talk board.

It's sad how close this is to my life. I have a lot of friends. Which is nice.

beckyletters made me this, and Labia Majora made the real in the real world version. I am very proud to wear both.




I am proud to be a member of this...





The Political Compass


Gonzy's Vandalisim


Five facts by Ancrenne, by gonz.


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» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

Someone gave me a city
A while ago, I wrote here about a book that changed my life. A Nasty Bad Man did a Nasty Bad Thing to me when I was fifteen and it screwed me up for ages. One of the nicest things ever done for me was someone helping me make some new memories to override the bad ones.

Let me explain. The Nasty Bad Thing happened in London. I'd arranged to meet him at tube station A and he lived near tube station B. The Nasty Bad Thing happened at his house.

So every time I went to London for a jaunt (which was rare Ė I avoided the city wherever possible out of fear) and saw either of these two tube stations, or even their names on the tube map, I had a little panic. Or sometimes a big panic. Both names were hard to miss - one is very central, the other is associated with a large stadium. This made having fun in London pretty tricky - every damn tube journey would set me off, and no matter how sorted you get after something like this, little things can trigger memories. And I do like London, thereís loads to do and fun places to go Ė I didnít want to be scared any more.

So, onto the nice.

I'd decided I wanted to make some new memories. This might sound daft but it works to great effect. When a Nasty Bad Man has used the word 'dick' aggressively at you, that word becomes very hard to say or even think without remembering him, his face, his voice. However, painting it in purple paint and covering it with glitter with a happy giggling counsellor makes it funny and sparkly.

I wanted new memories of those tube stations. And I wanted nice ones. My last memories of tube station B were of midwinter, waiting to be rescued away from the horrors, and me saying to the Nasty Bad Man, ĎI donít feel very well. Donít let me fall overí And coming to in a heap on the floor next to a flower stall while he stood there sneering. Did I mention that he was a Nasty Bad Man? So I asked a Lovely Man if he would come with to station A, kiss me nicely, accompany me to station B and just see what happened.

Lovely Man did just that. We went to tube station A, we kissed. We went on the journey, and even though Lovely Man isnít a fan of the tube, he kept an eye on me, looked after me and made sure I was ok.

When we got to tube station B, it was bright, bright sunshine, a bustling day. There were more shops than I remembered, cafes too. It was a vibrant place, development was happening, and new life being breathed into the area. It wasnít the same place at all Ė it was amazing.

We stopped and had a cigarette, and I grinned for a long while. We kissed again and got the tube back. No need to hang about. I grinned all the way back to tube station A and we went about our business happy.

That tube journey with that Lovely Man gave me back London, the museums and galleries I love, the theatres, the pubs! It gave me back my freedom to be there and feel safe and to travel on the tube and not be scared of the tube map. It was the equivalent of sparkly glitter being poured all over the crapness and the trauma, and it was much needed.

If that Lovely Man happens to read this, and thinks about clicking, Iíd like him to know thatís heís clicking for himself too. Iím telling the story, but it was what he did that made it.
(Fri 3rd Oct 2008, 13:51, More)

» This book changed my life

Not just mine, but I hope a few others too.
Like workboresme, Iíve spent awhile (about two years to be honest Ė so many QOTW have made it pop into my head) wondering about posting this. And then thought,ĎAh fuck it, Iíll keep wondering until I doí.

So here we go. The book that really changed my life was a little pamphlet that I read in a waiting room years ago. It was one of those cheaply produced booklets that are full of adverts and thereís one article on support stockings or walking frames or volunteer knitting groups. At the back there was one little black and white understated advert for the local Rape Crisis Centre. You know those film sequences where the camera sort of centres in and the background just drops away Ė I felt like that. Everything else disappeared. That was one day I was glad of the long wait behind the coughers and bawling babies as I just read the advert over and over, those few lines, willing myself to memorise the phone number. Iíd no idea before then that such places existed, which I canít comprehend now. When I was eventually called, I had to force myself to stand up and move Ė my brain had taken me to a different place and it was a place Iíd been tricked into, trapped, held against my will for twenty four hours*, and where I couldnít move, or talk, or feel.

Not long after, I rang the number, and (to cut a very very long story very short) I have my last counselling session this Wednesday. Iíve been going for two and a half years and have seen the most wonderful, patient, kind woman who has helped me understand myself and learn to like myself and trust myself and my body. I didnít believe her when she told me back then that one day Iíd be excited to leave but I am, I canít wait. I donít need to go any more, so Iíd rather spend the time having fun.

Iíve changed from someone who careered from disaster to disaster, thinking I would always be unhappy, always have to do what other people wanted, always have to wait for people to make decisions for me, to someone who has quit her job with nothing to go to, with fingers crossed and a burning desire to make a difference. Iím starting a social business to empower other women Ė this will be women leaving the sex trade as well as refugees. Iíve gone from being someone who couldnít leave the house, was terrified of being noticed, who couldnít buy food unless my amazing friend (you know who you are) let me cling to his arm, to someone who just loves being alive, who walks down the road pretending to walk the tight rope on the kerb stones, who plays, runs, jumps in puddles, skips, and will also soon be addressing 150 people about the business Iím starting. I believe in myself. Iíve also changed from someone who couldnít say the word Ďrapeí and who actually thought she was properly batshit insane and would need medication forever, to understanding that I was going through a healthy reaction to bad shit Ė if bad stuff happens, itís healthy to feel bad. Not nice, but healthy. Normal. Real. Human.

So that one little pamphlet affected me, it affected my family (Iíd never told my Dad until about two years ago even though to happened when I was legally a child, and so now he understands why things went a bit la la with me for a while), it will affect the lives of the women I work with, and their children and partners, as without that pamphlet the business would never have come into being. A friend said to me once, at a Bad Time, that there was a kernel inside me (I heard it as colonel and gave myself a laugh), and I think that was true Ė there was just a huge fat overly protective layer around that which I am so very glad to shed.

Perhaps most importantly to me today, Iíve got to know a woman and her son over the last while, both of whom really need someone to talk to about similar bad, bad shit. And while Iíd be lying if I said Iím glad what happened to me happened, the fact that it did, and that I read that pamphlet, means I have been able to tell them, and show them, that there are amazing people who can help, and that people can get better Ė and they are both getting help too.

Rape Crisis have told me that they like word of mouth recommendations as it means they are doing their job well if people like them Ė let me recommend them hard - www.rapecrisis.org.uk.

*I canít remember very much of what happened in that time and am quite happy with the explanation that suggests brains block out bad stuff. Works for me.
(Tue 20th May 2008, 11:48, More)

» Festivals

With apologies to Julie Andrews
and PJM who did this so well a few QOTWs back. I'm sad to say the first line of this was going round my head all day so I just had to write it down.

Sunscreen and wellies and tent pegs and cider
Hats made of velvet and odd coloured powders
Strange smelling packages bought in the dark
These are a few of our festival things

Stalls selling pancakes and rings and umbrellas;
Blankets and wax flares; that one naked fella,
Hippies that twirl fire poi as they spin,
These are a few of our festival things.

Blokes dressed in tutus all trailing pink glitter
Loos overflowing, donít drop your watch in there
Mountains of rubbish where once there were bins
These are a few of our festival things

When the dog* bites,
When the wasp stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember these festival things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

*on a string
(Sun 7th Jun 2009, 22:21, More)

» Ripped Off

Glitish Brass
I was supposed to but I didn't.

Believe it or not, there was a time when some of the people helping you change your gas and electricity weren't complete shits. This was, however, a brief window of about six weeks, coinciding with my employment.*

Being a nice person, temporarily out of a job, I thought I'd give it a go for a few weeks. It sounded good to be able to help people save money. Believe me peeps, I really did believe that was what I was doing. I was scrupulously honest, and had a pretty good time for a few weeks, always telling people if switching wouldn't help, never forcing anyone (I wouldn't know how) and just kind of getting on with it. I made ok money, never loads like some people, and enjoyed meeting new people. It was fun.

Until I started to realise that I never, no matter what I did, made as many conversions as my colleagues. I didn't mind that, really, but I was intrigued as to how they did it. We each spoke to the same number of people, each did the same hours.. What was going on? It all became horribly clear when one colleague asked me to hold his clipboard while he filled in a few last details. NaÔve and curious, I asked what he'd missed. 'Signatures', he said. This charm deficient scum was forging application forms, based on real people's details -' I just need your name for this survey love, just to show my boss I've been talking to people. No, course you don't need to sign anything'.

Torn by fear of a knife in the neck if I snitched, and my basic honesty, I managed to get the words out and tell my Manager. I'd like to say that the perpetrator was sacked on the spot, that each of the people he'd dealt with was contacted and told to check their suppliers, that his commission was withheld. I'd love to say that, but no. I was told that 'sometimes, you have to be a bit creative' and while I was never actually, explicitly told to lie or forge, it was certainly implied. So I quit, there and then, and am proud that I did.


*If anyone reading this begs to differ and thinks that any of these people are decent and honest please either a) tell them they are in the wrong job now before they have to work it out for themselves from the gnawing self hatred that gradually overwhelms them or b) if it's you, Leave. you will feel better, you will stop feeling like you need to be disinfected after work. Leave, now.
(Thu 15th Feb 2007, 17:00, More)

» My most gullible moment

i have a story!
but i'm eating my dinner so i'll post it in a bit.

honest.

what, you don't believe me?! watch this space.

Ta Dah!

Here's my story.

Junior School. Standard Three, as it was then, before it was called Year, um, Five? The one before the one before I left Primary School to go to Secondary School, anyway. So I was nine.

It was a lovely sunny day, I had a desk which over looked the playground, and things were lovely in ancrenne land. Daydreams had carried me away to places far beyond Welsh village life, parental discord, and schoolgirl squabbling. Even crushes on rugby players were forgotten. With my work for the lesson done, I sat, musing on the view (tarmac frilled with long grass, dropping down to a tiny valley of flowers) and idly chewing the end of my blue pen.

Suddenly, reality brought me back to the room, and I found my mouth ratherÖfullerÖ than it had been previously. A panicky child, I swallowed, and lifted my hand to my mouth to see what was going on. Iím no royal, so when my hand came away blue, it was obvious what had happened Ė Iíd managed transfer the contents of my blue pen to my now blue mouth.

Panic rising, I turned to the boy next to me, an older and therefore wiser boy* to ask for his advice. His response floored me. He calmly, and quietly, told me that I was going to die.

There was absolutely no doubt at all in my mind that he was telling me the truth. Why would he lie? Iím pathologically honest, was then too, so I just wasnít expecting anyone else not to be**. Ice cold fear made way for my innate practical nature. I had made no will. Who would make sure my cuddly toys were buried with me? Who would ensure I was buried not burned? Who would keep *my* Lego away from my kid brother? I hadnít told anyone which my favourite clothes were, or that even though I was forever covered in mud, I actually quite liked wearing dresses sometimes. Iíd be buried, in jeans and a rugby shirt, without my cuddly toys

At this point, fripperies such as school rules became unimportant. The only important thing was to get home, and hold my cuddly toys and a dress and hope someone would understand. Hoping I would get there before I died, frothing and convulsing, I got up to leave, and let go of the tears that had been held back. It didnít matter that people were staring, or that I was crying in front of them. I wouldnít be alive long enough to care.

Unfortunately, ink is not, in fact, fatal, and I really was alive long enough to care. 23 years later, I still care and can feel the blush rise even as I write this. My kindly teacher assured me I would live, sent me on my way to wash out my mouth, and lambasted the git next to me as I went through the door. So, most gullible moment - believing Iíd die of ink poisoning swiftly followed by a very embarrassing moment Ė having to walk back into the class, knowing that 34 other children, cruel laughing, pointing, sniggering children, now knew that Iíd been tricked***.

Fuckery.

*Nope, just a cunt.
**I no longer have the same expectations of others.
***I just bit a pen. you'd think I'd learn. Christ, I hate the taste of ink.

(Thu 21st Aug 2008, 18:56, More)
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