Family Ties That Bind
It is September of two thousand and sixteen.
My name is Jane Knight and I am thirty-three years old with an accountancy background. I have a degree in Accountancy and before working for the agency, I worked in a practice firm specialising in tax and forensic accounting.
I am four feet and ten inches tall, so I am seen as very short. I am English and white with bleached blonde hair.
My friends from university have said in the past that I look like Erin Heatherton where I have a slim face and nose with light visible freckles on my cheeks, chin and forehead. My body shape is hourglass, so I have a slim waist with hips and a flat stomach. I do not wear makeup as I have never had the opportunity to properly learn how to wear it well. I made myself look like a clown one time. My voice is soft with no accent due to living in Buckinghamshire.
My dress sense is a pair of slim bootcut jeans with Skechers. I either wear a polo shirt with no label or a slim-fit woollen pullover. I keep my hair in a ponytail the majority of the time.
I am a very introvert, timid and shy person, in front of strangers and work colleagues that I do not know very well. I can also be very intimidated by strong characters, but I am not scared of them. The reason why people with strong characters intimidate me, is because I feel stupid, unintelligent and beneath them when I am around those people. Once I get to know someone and feel I can be myself, I can open up. This can take several days and weeks. People can get to know the real me which is quirky, funny and clumsy. I can also have a sarcastic dark sense of humour which my friends, sometimes, do not know how to take. I always make my friends and work colleagues feel good about themselves. My friends, family and work colleagues do not know I am like this as I hide it well by putting on a fake confident appearance. But deep inside, I am mentally suffering and wonder why God put me on this earth.
All I focus on is the suffering around the world and wish I could just make a simple wish and the world would stop harming itself. I pray to God that if he just magically ended my life, I would welcome it with a catch. That God would end the suffering in the world such as child abuse, famine, bullying and war. When I am at my lowest, I close the door to my apartment behind me, and pray for God to take my life in exchange for saving everyone else.
I feel that I am worthless and so the suicidal tendencies creep in when I am not expecting it. My heart tells me that everything is fine and that I have no reason to have these thoughts or feelings. My mind tells me the opposite and tricks me into thinking that I should end my life as no one likes me and wants me around, including my family. The weird thing, is that I do not harm myself or take drugs or have an alcohol dependency to numb the proverbial dull pain in my heart. The best way to try to explain all this, is that it is like I function day by day and smile in the right places and act this persona out. I have been acting as if everything is normal for over twenty years, that I have mastered over the years. I have tweaked my turmoil as and when someone has noticed something is not quite right with me.
The reason why I am like this is because I was bullied from the age of six through to sixteen in school and outside of school. I was bullied on a weekly basis by the same three girls. I can only think it was because a few boys in our class wanted to hang out with me as I was a tomboy when I was at school. The boys were not interested in the three girls that bullied me, so they would take out their jealousy on me. I felt helpless as I did not make the boys want to hang out with me. At the same time, it is not like they wanted to kiss me or be my boyfriend. They did not see me that way, which confused me why the three girls hated me.
After I had finished school, it was too late. The bullying had already left a scar on my confidence, my mental state and my ability to allow someone into my heart.
No one knows how sad I am in my personal life. I hide behind, what people think is, a cute smile. I think about killing myself almost every day. Visualise how I would do it.
I bury my memories of being miserable in my childhood, in the pit of my soul. I bury it so well, that I act cold and distant while putting on a brave smile. Work is the best distraction for me as it does not disappoint or make me feel empty.
I used to take antidepressants but found that it did not change the way I was feeling. I still feel the same way and I have tried to take my own life a few times when I was at my lowest ebb. Each time, I struggled to go ahead with it as I am afraid of going to hell and believe that I will go to hell if I take my own life. I try to get myself totally drunk for Dutch courage, so that I do take my own life but I find I cannot get myself drunk enough and be coherent at the same time.
I am the youngest of four siblings growing up in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. My childhood was split between growing up in my family and going to school.
Growing up in my family as an infant and a child was pleasant and I have great memories. There were sibling rivalries which you get in any family, but overall great memories.
Growing up and going to school was the opposite. When I was finishing infant school and moving on to junior school, my current mental state was triggered from here. All I have is memories of being unhappy and unpleasant experiences.
I coped by departmentalising my brain between the two childhood experiences.
Being the youngest, my older siblings thought our parents spoilt me and favoured me more. My siblings did not like having a younger sibling because the family decisions were based around me. If we were going out for a family dinner, “What will Jane like?” If we were going for a family holiday, “We can’t go to a very hot country because Jane will be uncomfortable.” If we were going on a day trip, “Jane will like this place.” However, I was never asked for my own opinion, but my older siblings moaned at me, blamed me and resented me for our parents’ decisions.
Once we were grown up, the resentments dissipated. My siblings came to realise that it was our parents not me.
Even though my family upbringing was wonderful, it was marred by my school life. It was that bad that I started to feel isolated from my family. I had thoughts put into my head from my bullies, that I was adopted into my family.
The reason is because my features do not resemble my parents or my siblings. Where I have bleached blonde hair and blue eyes, my family have dark brown eyes and brown hair.
My parents told me I was unplanned and a gift from God. So that is the reason why I do not have any resemblance. I still believed my bullies over my parents.
We all grew up in Milton Keynes in the county of Buckinghamshire where our parents had originated from. We all went to the same schools and college before going our own separate ways to universities.
My three siblings, from youngest to oldest are Sarah, Claire and James.
Sarah is thirty-eight years of age and works as a self-employed psychologist. She is married to Simon Osbourne who is forty. Simon is a police officer. Together they have three children named Maizes, Belinda and Paul. They are six, eleven and thirteen respectively.
Claire is forty-one years of age and is employed as a veterinary. She is married to John Widget who is forty-five. John is also an employed veterinary. Together they have two children named Felicity and Charles. They are seven and eleven respectively.
James is forty-four years of age and is employed as a teacher. He is married to Verity who is forty-two. Verity is also a, employed teacher. Together they have four children named Jenifer, Michael, Paul and Jessica. They are six, nine, twelve, and fourteen respectively.
My siblings and their families all live in Milton Keynes still, within a few miles of each other.
My three siblings have a close bond as they did things together, when growing up. Where I was too young, I was left out of their social activities and so I do not share their bond. As a result, I subconsciously feel that I am an outcast. It was not intentional, but it was inevitable as they are closer in age.
So my three siblings and their families organise regular social get-togethers and I tag along. We have set up a family group on one of those apps on our mobiles. So I am regularly updated on family life and social events. It is great as I do not have a lot of time to myself to make calls and visit.
Moving on to my school childhood, I had a horrible time. It started when I moved from infant school to junior school. It was the time when being a child, you start to develop your personality and come out more from your shell.
Ever since I could remember, I was not into dolls or playing with girls’ toys. I was more interested in video games, bike riding and playing football with the boys. I remember getting into scraps with boys when there was a disagreement. I would come home with dirt on my face, twigs in my hair and a bloody nose. I was a happy child then.
It was when girls started to recognise what boys were. I was already established with the boys, where I would go over their house and they would come to mine. We would play video games and hang out in general. I was seen as one of the lads. I did not see boys in an attractive way, just as a mate and vice versa. Boys and girls wanted to start experimenting and they saw me as a sister and I saw them as brothers. So there was no sexual feeling.
So when the girls started to fancy the boys in junior school, I was then seen as a threat. The boys would use me to ask about girl stuff and which girls were worth chasing; not that I had a clue on both counts.
The bullying started first with saying I was adopted and my real parents did not want an ugly baby. It really hurt me and I would cry on the way home. After a few weeks I would be accused of blocking the girls from dating my boy mates I hung around with. It was a Catch-22 situation. I would confide in my boy mates about the bullying and the girls who were bullying me would fancy them. Being loyal friends, would tell them they were not interested. They would bully me for interfering.
The bullying would then turn physical with pushing, kicking and punching. Every few days, I would be followed home, taunted and eventually get into a fight. I would go home with bruises on my arm, stomach and legs. I hid away my bruises from my family by wearing long sleeves and covering myself up. My bruises would last for a couple of weeks. I would wince in bed and cry myself to sleep. The only time they would know I was in a fight, was if I came home with a bruised face or a nose bleed. But that was rare. So my family were unaware of what I was going through. I did not think my parents could do anything about it and so I did not say anything.
During the second year of junior school I assumed that the bullying had stopped. A new year of school and a fresh start after the summer holiday.
The same girls originally came across as if they had changed. As if the first year of junior school bullying never happened. I was relieved but kept my distance from them. I joined an after school football club when they were looking for a girl football team. I missed playing football when I was younger. When I joined, I later realised the girls who bullied me had joined as well. Over the coming weeks of football practice and playing in competitions, I started regularly winning ‘woman of the match’. I felt that it was to make me feel better. I did not put it down to scoring goals or playing well. It was not long when the bullying started again. This time it was both on the pitch and on the way home.
When playing football, the girls would tackle me pretending to get the ball. I would go home with cut knees and bruises on parts of my body. Outside of school I would be pushed to the ground and laughed at. If I came home with marks on my face or a another nose bleed, my parents assumed it was from playing football. So I did not need to hide my body any more. Eventually I stopped playing football because of the bullying. When I gave up football, the girls held me down in the park and in turn spent a couple of minutes punching me in the face. I did not go home at first. I could not let my parents see me like this. I went round to one of my boy mates’ houses and just stood at his door when he opened it. I was crying and tired with a black eye, cut lip and a heavy nose bleed. He took me in and cleaned my face up. When he was dabbing my nose, I could not stop looking into his eyes. His face was so close to mine, that I tried to kiss him. He bolted backwards and it made me jump. He stared at me as if he had just seen a ghost. I ran out of his house from embarrassment, to my house. I couldn’t face him after that.
My bullying continued into secondary school. My coping mechanism was to bury my head into my study books. I started to believe that there was a god and that he would take me far, far away. I would pray every week. Eventually I would pray that God take my life and start thinking of suicidal thoughts. I was too scared of going to hell to follow it through, even though I thought about it every day.
I realised that the bullying was linked to being liked by boys. Then being naturally talented at football. Now it was being very academic and being popular with the boys. But from my view, none of the boys fancied me. I would try to pluck up the courage to be more than friends, but I was rejected each time. The girls’ view was that I had the pick of any and I turned them down. I couldn’t win.
The last time I was bullied in secondary school before going on to college was my fourth year. It was the worst time of my life. The girls were expelled from school and I was in hospital for a week. I was walking home from school, half way there. I had to go through a alley way to get to my close. As I walked half way through, the girls blocked the path either side. They pushed me to the ground again on the hard cold concrete. They in turn sat on my stomach again and started punching me in the face. I could hear them arguing for their turn. Once they bloodied my face, they simultaneously kicked me in the stomach causing me to be short of breath. I tried to turn over to protect my stomach. Instead, they kicked me in the back. Once they finished and my body was lifeless, they turned me over. I was too weak to get their hands off me. Two of them grabbed my legs and pulled them apart. The third one kicked me in my groin three times. The three girls took it in turn. I screamed in pain, crying at the top of my lungs. It started raining and I could not move. I passed out from the pain eventually. The next time I woke up, I was in hospital and I could hear my parents talking to the police behind the curtains. I must have been on pain killers as I could not feel anything down there. I was told that I had cracked ribs and damaged groin. The hospital took lots of pictures of my body for evidence and were now in my hospital records.
From the attack, I had become timid, shy, afraid of confrontation, low opinion of myself, low self-esteem in myself and suicidal. Every time I felt life was too much, I would visualise killing myself and out of nowhere cry uncontrollably. I never went for therapy. I just blocked it out of my conscious mind thinking I was cured each time. Something would trigger it off and it became harder each time. I had already tried to take my life twice when it really got bad. Once on a booze cruise when I felt alone. The second time when I finished university, not knowing what to do with my life.
I am now currently living in London in zone two of Hackney. I cannot afford to buy my own place, so I rent a flat that overlooks Homerton Overground. The block of flats is in Sedgwick Street, off Homerton High Street. My rented apartment is inside a high-rise building with dark grey brickwork on the outside with white walls and white skirting inside the corridors and the apartments. The corridor floor is carpeted with ribbed dark grey carpet. There are glass balconies on alternate floors of the building. I am fortunate to have one of the balconies to my rented apartment. The balcony wall is made of glass with steel metal railing and joinery with the floor being concrete finished with a cream mat finished plastering.
The flat is a one-bedroom apartment with a small separate kitchen that can only have one person in at a time, with a separate living room that faces the train station. The balcony is off the living room.
The kitchen unit is cream brown with metal handles that are oblong squared. The floor is light brown Amtico flooring, imitating a wooden floor.
The living room is a fair size that could fit a double bed with room either side to walk around. I only have one sofa that seats two people and a flat-screen television placed on a wooden television stand in the corner, left of the balcony. I have a tall plant in a big deep circular dark blue ceramic plant bowl to the right of the balcony. I have the living room in a minimalistic layout because the room is small. I also have a three-by-three foot square table with four wooden seats to the back of room in the corner, backing on to the kitchen wall.
My bedroom is a double bedroom with built-in wardrobe, having tall glass on alternate wardrobe doors. I have a side table on my preferred side of sleeping on my bed, with a side lamp. I sometimes like to read before going to sleep.
The bathroom is a six-foot by six-foot room with a bath and glass splashback with a separate shower above the bath on the wall. The bath area is tiled from bath to ceiling. The tiles are rectangular and set upright in beige. The floor is also Amtico, the same design as the kitchen.
The landlord chose the flooring when it was first being built. The landlord said at the time when I first moved in that I could change the colour of the walls. I kept all the walls inside the apartment in its original white colour mat finish. The carpet is beige throughout the whole apartment, apart from the bathroom, which has a different flooring.
I do not know any of the other residents in the building as I keep to myself and due to being shy, I find it hard to try to make conversation with other people I walk past inside the corridors of the building and lift. I notice that the other residents speak to each other and at least say hello when passing each other in the corridor or lift. I find it too hard to try join in with the banter and so I am quick to just walk by and look at the ground.
Each floor has four flats and so I have a neighbour almost opposite to my door entrance of my flat. His name is Steve and he makes small talk but I just nod my head and say yes or no in the right places. I think he is single as I have never seen a woman go in or out of his apartment. He could be gay for all I know, but I’ve never seen a man come or go in his apartment. I find him quite good looking but what would he see in someone like me who does not wear make-up or who is not that attractive.
I came to live and work in London because I went to a London University to study accountancy, then found an accountancy firm to specialise in tax and forensic accountancy. I liked the student life in London compared to Buckinghamshire and so I did not fancy going home and finding a job there. I chose to study accountancy because I found it was interesting to learn when I was at college, studying business and finance, A level economy and maths.
I found university was a lot more fun than school or college as I had a bad experience and time at both. When I was at school, I got picked on by the girls in my year a lot due to the boys spending time in my company. I was a tomboy at school and so found myself attracted to friendship in boys. Nothing happened, but the girls assumed that I was sleeping with them and had several boyfriends. As result, I was picked on and even beaten up by them. I would go home with bruises on my arm and torso from being hit hard. I also went home one time with a black eye and nosebleed. It really knocked my confidence, literally. Once I became shy from the bullying, no boy would want to go near me, thinking I was a weirdo.
The bullying caused me to try and take my own life one time and I was trying to coach myself to use a pen knife, I found in my parents’ house, and cut my wrist in the woods nearby our house. I stole some vodka from my parents’ drink cabinet and ran to the woods one Saturday afternoon. I drank almost half of the remaining one litre vodka to make myself do it. I ended up passing out and when I woke up, it was gone eight and almost pitch black. I panicked, thinking my parents and siblings would be worrying about me, but by the time I came home I sobered up a bit and my parents did not bat an eyelid. I went to my room and cried myself to sleep.
That day was not my last attempt of trying to take my own life. Each time I tried, I would fail miserably and eventually it got to be a joke. One time I tried to hang myself and the branch snapped and I fell in cows’ muck with the branch falling and hitting my head, again knocking myself out. Then waking up much later to an awful smell of cow dung. Life got easier when I went on to college.
When school had finished, the girls who picked on me went on to different colleges to me and so I never met them again. On the other hand it was hard for me to make new friends at college as everyone had known each other from school and so again, I was by myself. All the men and women formed relationships quite quickly and so I was the odd one left out. The girls would drop their friendships for their boyfriends and so I made no friends. It was hard in the end as all I had was study, hanging out with my siblings which eventually became a embarrassment to their friends, their little sister hanging out with the grown-ups. So eventually I would spend my free time alone going for runs, cycling which meant not needing friends. I did not do it for fitness, but to get the frustration out of my system. While everyone had their boyfriends and girlfriends and sex, all I had was myself and my bike rides.
When I joined university, the playing field had changed as no one knew each other as everyone went to different universities and so I was able to eventually make new friends. The friends I made were in the university accommodations. Eventually making good friends to move into off university campus into rental accommodation. There were five of us and we became great friends. I hid my suicidal tendencies from them as I did not want them to feel sorry for me. I also had not tried to commit suicide for a long time since finishing college, so I felt it was not needed to divulge my dark issues. They were also a great distraction for me as I did not think about my past that often. We were all single and so it made my life easier. My friends were Sarah, Davina, Anthea and Evelyn.
Sarah is a white woman with a pear-shaped body. She had English-rose skin feature. Her hair was long and thick, shoulder-length, brown with a hint of blonde highlights. She had brown eyes and was attracted to rugby like men. She was very extrovert, using her hands to express herself. She has a go-lucky attitude. She became a journalist for a reputable social newspaper.
Davina is a black woman with an hourglass-shaped body. She had light Caribbean skin features. Her hair was relaxed Afro and so straight, combed back with a beige hair-bone clip to hold in place that finished at the base of her head before her neck. She had brown eyes. She was a mixture of introvert and extrovert. She would voice her opinion but would not have a bad word said against anyone. She had a dark sense of humour. She became a lawyer for a medium firm.
Anthea was a black Guyanese with similar hair to Davina but with darker skin with a pear-shaped body. She had brown eyes. She was introvert like me, but not timid, and did not blend into the crowd. She became a producer for a media company.
Evelyn is a white woman also, with a banana-shape body like mine. She had China-white skin feature. Her hair was short cropped with light curls, not tidy and loose free. Her hair colour was dark strawberry blonde, almost dark brown. Her eyes were hazel. Her personality was extrovert with a hint of sarcasm, borderline offensive but unintentional. She became a analytical financier for a German bank.
There were numerous occasions however that my friends would pull men at student night clubs leaving me alone in the corner. It would then be those times when my thoughts would creep into my head and I would start to remember why I cannot just let a man come into my life and or just go up to a guy and tell him I like them. No guy would come up to ask me out or buy me a drink. My friends seem to find it so natural and easy to have guys pick them up. I would be the gooseberry. No guy would ask me out for a date. It caused my suicidal tendencies to creep inside my head but I would let the alcohol numb the pain.
When I finished university, I went home to live back at my parents’ for about six months to let my hair down after studying for so long. When I did come home, my siblings had already finished their studies and met their partners and all moved out. I was the only one there. It was hard for me as the house was very quiet and I had no distractions. I found myself being tearful with the bleak prospective of being a spinster working a job that will not attract a boyfriend and living in a flat all by myself. But no matter how sad it sounded, I enjoyed working with figures and using maths. It was annoying that I did not enjoy a more interesting job that could help to attract a man in my life.
I decided to write to the accountancy firms in London directly rather than look for openings via agencies or websites. So looked up all the accountancy firms in central London, then systematically emailed their generic email addresses with my curriculum vitae and covering letter. It helped me to get a few interviews and I ended up settling for a firm not far from London Bridge Underground Station and London Bridge. I worked there for ten years and should have changed firms after a couple of years but never had the courage to do so.
My four friends from university have all settled down already and only one of the four is left to get married. She has recently been engaged and has asked the other three and myself to attend her engagement party. My friend’s name is Anthea Lee and her future husband is called Steven. I met him a few times at a number of social gatherings organised between the five of us, mainly the other four. My four friends are the only friends I have as I never had the opportunity to make friends at school or college.
Though my life seems to be perfect with a career, money and independence, I still have the odd suicidal tendencies when I feel I have had a bad day or I feel I had a major rejection. I cannot handle rejection very well. I automatically feel that I am a failure if I do not achieve something that I feel I am in control of and do not have to rely on a third party to achieve work. When I feel I have failed, it brings up my past troubles and seems to be magnified more than the last episode bout of depression. I do not physically try to take my life but I pray that something natural will happen to me to cause my life to end abruptly. I think about death now and again and it does not frighten me or give me the jitters. I feel comfortable and at home when I think about what it would be like to go into the next world away from this place. I have too many mental scars to continue living on earth. Over the years, I have learnt to have a coping mechanism, so it does not interfere with my working life or social life. I have masked it so well, that none of my university friends have ever picked up on it. My family do not have any idea either even though I tried to tell them a few times when I was in my early twenties but found it too hard to tell them. Also they do not want to know my problems do they. I would not want to burden them with my issues.
Later on in my life, I learnt that it worked in my favour when I changed employment to work for M-I-Six.
Before working for Military Intelligence Six, my work load was very different. My work was in two parts. I was both a tax specialist and a forensic accountant. As a tax specialist, I had to use prepared accounts to transfer the figures from the statement of comprehensive income to the company tax return. I used a tax software to calculate the tax with the numbers I entered into the software. I then had to review the information to check for any human errors I made and also so the data looks reasonable and the expenses were not too high in relation to the company’s industry it trades in. An example is materials not being more then fifty percent of income and subsistence not being more than ten percent of income. I would have the accounts sent off via the internet through Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. The work was easy with my degree in accountancy.
The second part of my work involves reviewing our clients’ bookkeeping records against expense receipts, analysing historical statements, looking for irregularities in our clients’ business practices, reviewing journal entries, analysing trends, tracing the flow of funds, interviewing relevant parties, analysing electronic data and performing an overall evaluation of the situation in question. I have to also liaise with our clients auditors if need be.
I was the only person who was requested to make regular business trips as I was the only single person in the office, with everyone else having a wife and kids to go home to. I was also left out of office banter as they were on family topics such as kids’ growing pains and having to deal with sex education. I didn’t feel left out as I do not miss something that I never had. But I feel isolated as I do not have company when at work. I heard gossip that some of my work colleagues poked fun at me behind my back, mainly the girls as I was seen as young and single with model features even though I did not see it. They assumed I socialised a lot outside of work.
I qualified as a professional accountant at the same firm and as I could not be promoted any further without being a partner in the firm, I was given a new forensic department to run as an additional service to our clients. The partners in the firm were all men and I think they felt a bit threatened having a intelligent pretty woman gate crashing their party. The partners seemed to be heavy drinkers and sociable. They did not want a girl trampling their boyish antics. So I feel I was pushed into my own office as a form of promotion. They offered me a share in the profits as a form of guilt not giving me a partnership. I am the longest running colleague, apart from the partners, as my original colleagues who started at the same time or before me had all left to get their pay rises by jumping ship. In the accountancy world, that was common. I chose to stay as I liked working where I was and the clients were very varied and my work life interesting and did not find a day the same. Also I was too involved with my life fighting my demons to add chaos moving from one firm to another every couple of years. I would not have left if it was not for a dramatic impact in my life. Thanks to my career background and my educational background, I was suited to the role in M-I-Six.
My life changed dramatically sixteen months ago in June two thousand and fifteen. It was when I attended my friend’s engagement party in the summer at a bar in central London. I had a tragedy in my life which pushed me over the edge and I tried to take my own life. A friend I made through my friend’s engagement party found me in time and gave me a way out of my stagnant life. At first, I thought he had groomed me and analysed me. Later I realise that I happened to be at the right place at the right time. As well as coping with my tragedy, I thought my new-found friend liked me and assumed he would like to be my boyfriend. With the embarrassment of rejection and my tragedy, it sent me crashing down and found I could not cope with it all. I decided to try to take my own life but my friend found me and rushed me to hospital. That is how I ended up working for M-I-Six.