Text 12 (August 18th) – What’s the biggest u-turn you have ever made in your life? (Just a paragraph of your most finely wrought prose please).
Way back in the 1960’s when I, a fashionable, know- it-all teenager trusted my mature instincts and made a ‘U turn’. Halted then reversed my stiletto heels back towards the bus stop. My date for the night, left pacing around the cinema. All the excitement and coolness of him vanished, the moment I saw he was sporting white brogue shoes. Decades later, Alvin Stardust became a star;, but to me he was Bernard Jury, wearing old man’s shoes.
From crime to Christianity
Following a severe mental breakdown at the age of 53, my life as basically a normal, law-abiding citizen underwent not merely one, but two U-turns and from not even pilfering pens, or smuggling some stamps from the office, I found myself being confined in the cells, in police custody not just once but repeatedly. I had progressed from the pilfering of small articles, from local shops, through cannabis possession, to finally being arrested for the offences of spraying painted graffiti, onto some police cars, possessing cannabis and having a locking penknife, of beyond a certain length, in a public place.
Viewing these statements here in black and white, I cannot believe that it was I who had actually performed these actions. Even being tackled roughly, to the ground and handcuffed, before being bundled into a sparse, clammy, unwelcoming cell, caused no emotion in me. Not a tear of remorse or a wail of fear, I just bundled myself under the rough regulation, blue blanket, on the thin ubiquitous blue mattress and unheeding of my plight, fell into a drunken, disturbed ‘sleep’ for the next 12 hours. It was only on the following morning that I had, I suppose you could call it an ‘epiphany’, which finally turned me back onto the ‘straight and narrow’ path again.
After being brought an ‘all day’ breakfast (custody speciality) and mug of hot, sweet tea, I was allowed an old copy of the Daily Mail (not my ideal choice of reading matter) but needed, for me to turn my life back around. In the very bottom, right hand corner, easily overlooked by a quick glance were the words ‘Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.’ Having been a Christian until the breakdown and obviously still having the vestiges of that lifelong belief in a loving, caring heavenly father-God, I recognised it being from the Bible, in Matthews gospel chapter 11v28. It was as if God spoke directly to me, in the cell that day and through the surprising source of a daily newspaper.
As the ultimate consequence, it was from that exact time, I sought help with my drug and alcohol addictions, started attending the local church again and I have never since, been locked up in police custody, again.
Life is a Career
I was in the clever class; when choosing ‘A’ levels, every subject teacher said; “Yes, I’d probably cope OK”. So, I started Maths, English and History. I instantly came to realise that writing essays was not compatible with the life my 17-year-old self wanted to lead; parties and punk were my thing. Before the first term was out, I’d switched to Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering Drawing – obvious switch, right? And then, I ended up with a career in Marketing! And now, I write essays! No single choice will ruin a life, nor define it!
There are Always Choices
Why was I doing this? Ironing shirts for a man to go on a date. I had even given him a choice of shirt. I hate ironing! He left looking his usual stunning self, I got the kids to bed got organised for the following day and went to bed.
Squirrel in a box. All work and no fun. Why did I put up with it? I had long stopped loving him. Just thought gleefully of the insurance policies when he was later than usual.
Fear of failure, what he might do if I failed to get away.
Failed date, didn’t get his leg over so back to me for his conjugal rights. No choices for me.
Even the meekest person will turn in the end, when life seems unbearable.
He had the nerve to cry, that I was taking his children away from him. Those children he never had time for.
Rehoused, second-hand furniture, but locks on my doors. A matching dinner service, he’d broken ours. Safety, my own bank account and enough money surprisingly, to pay all my bills and some left over.
Why did I leave it so long?