I’m so tired. I’m so tired of having to tear myself apart again and again just to be able to qualify for things that I (at least used to) believe I deserve. I just want a break, more than anything, I just want someone, somewhere to give me a break and not to require that I tear myself apart to get it.
This has mostly been prompted by Student Finance, but the PIP stuff definitely plays a role here. Both require me to go into far too much detail, painful detail, about my past to deem me eligible or worthy or deserving.
Now, it’s not that I expect to be handed something for nothing, but I wish the systems just had a little more breathing room sometimes. I really, truly believe(d) that I deserve a second chance at university. I had so much working against me the first time around (abusive relationship, trafficking, homelessness, mental health stuff, massive amounts of debt from financial abuse and working several part time jobs just to name a few) and I really just want and need a break.
Student Finance doesn’t work like that, though. I get given a slight break in the fact that not completing my third year last time around works in my favour and assuming my ‘Compelling Personal Reasons’ are accepted, then it’ll go through giving me two years of tuition fee funding including the free year that I have (because all students get four years). But the fact that I went through hell and forced myself to finish my second year counts against me. It doesn’t matter that I struggled, it doesn’t matter that I was dealing with significantly more shit than the average student, none of it matters because I scraped through and finished the year.
I know, this is sounding seriously ‘woe is me’. But like, objectively, I did go through more shit than most and it was a constant battle to even just stay alive, never mind complete my first attempt at uni.
I just want a second chance, and there is a vague hope of that, I can appeal the decision that I know Student Finance will make and hope that they grant me ‘Compelling Personal Reasons’ for both my second and my third years considering my circumstances.
But to do that, to reach that point, I need to tear myself apart again.
They’re not gonna accept a casual letter saying it was hard, they’re not gonna accept a brief letter saying it was hard from an old support worker or my therapist. They want details. They want me to go so in depth that they can’t possibly deny that I had shit going on.
And it hurts. Imagine having to go over and over and over and over the worst day of your life, to complete strangers. It leaves you feeling so incredibly vulnerable and exposed; especially when copious amounts of shame are bundled in there too, which it always is when trauma is involved, no matter how logically you know the shame is ‘theirs’ and not yours.
It really does feel like you’re tearing yourself apart, over and over again, just so you can put yourself back together. What kinda system requires that you have to destroy yourself and keep going backwards just so you can go forwards?
It’s so soul-destroying and re-traumatising. I don’t want to have to keep going over the details of my trafficking and abusive relationships and experiences of homelessness and whatever fucking else they wanna drag out of me. At least, not when I don’t specifically choose to. Writing this blog is different, therapy is different, I’m choosing to expose myself, make myself vulnerable but when I have to fill out forms and go into so much detail that I don’t want to share is just… it’s not my choice, I don’t want to have to keep doing this over and over again.
I’ve been working so hard to get myself out of these shitty systems. To be well enough to work, to be well enough to not need benefits any more. But to even vaguely get out of this system I have to make myself worse again and again just to qualify for help, a second chance, a break, just to be deemed worthy and deserving.
If the appeal doesn’t go through, I’m out of options. Student Finance will only pay tuition for my second and third years which means I need to somehow find £9250 to be able to even start. Because exited women living off of disability benefits just have £9250 lying around?
Like I said, I don’t expect to be handed something for nothing (though I am vehemently against tuition fees, universities making a massive profit and the fucking Tories screwing everything up even more), but a bit of compassion would be so welcome right now. I’ve had some good, sympathetic Student Finance advisers over the phone, but they can’t change the rules and the rules as they are say that I can’t start uni. without coughing up £9250. My best hope is the appeal process where they can break their own rules, but then, we’re back to me tearing myself apart and putting myself through hell, making myself feel so vulnerable and exposed.
I’ve spent my entire life feeling vulnerable and exposed, not even just feeling it, I was always just so vulnerable and exposed. Feeling that is never comfortable, but feeling it again, after spending your entire life feeling like that is just so triggering. Flashbacks can be triggered by emotions just as much as they can be triggered by physical objects or experiences. Feeling something that you felt in the midst of trauma again just takes you back to that point of trauma and in my case in seems especially so when you’re forced into that position by someone or something else and it’s not just a natural or accidental thing.
I don’t know what I even want to happen here; I know that they can’t just hand me the money, I know that it requires me proving that I deserve a second chance. I just wish it wasn’t all so cruel. I wish this wasn’t going to be a consistent fact of my life. I hope that once I’m off the benefits and once I’ve secured myself tuition fee loans that I won’t have to do this any more, I can’t imagine any other system or part of my life where it’ll be required that I go into so much detail about my rapes and abusive relationships and trafficking, but I’m just so scared this is going to be a constant. I’m so tired and I just can’t keep tearing myself apart like this.
Being told over and over that I don’t deserve help, don’t deserve support, don’t deserve a measly fucking break is just so painful. I spent basically my whole life being told that I’ll amount to nothing more than a ‘whore’ and being basically told the same thing again and again just ends up being so painful. And when you reach that level of pain, it’s hard not to think that maybe they were just all right.
I think, more than anything, I just hate how much of an impact they’ve had on my life. I hate knowing that none of them will ever have to tear themselves apart like this. The biggest reason university was so hard for me the first time around was Dom. Trying to survive an abusive relationship (particularly one in which you are also being trafficked) is almost impossible as it is, trying to do it and also focus enough and find the time and energy to write essays is even more impossible.
And maybe this is just all my fault, maybe I should never have even attempted uni. the first time around. But it was the only escape I had, it was the only chance I had. I had no real work history at that point (thanks trafficking) and I was destined to either do menial work and barely survive, especially considering all the mental health conditions I was fighting – and struggling even more than I did considering Dom liked to nick every penny I earned. Going to university and getting a qualification was my only route out of the general working class trap of menial work and the addition of abusive, thieving dickbags. It was also my only escape from him most of the time; he wanted me in the house consistently, he didn’t work and didn’t like the idea of me working (barring ‘working’ of course), at the age of 19 he was already an adept benefits scrounger (he claimed he was a carer despite never going anywhere near his step-dad) so was home all the time himself and had no qualms about potentially dragging me down with him; my only way to be out of the house, away from him, the only way I could negotiate it was uni. I don’t know why he let that slide, but he did. Maybe it was the ‘free’ money.
But, anyway, he’s not gonna have to deal with any of this shite. He’s never gonna have to beg, expose himself, make himself vulnerable, tear himself apart again and again. He’s never gonna be in the position I am now. He’s never going to suffer from what he did. And I am, again and again, it’s gonna come back and fuck with my life somehow; whether that’s flashbacks, a bad credit score because he fucked me over so many times, fucking up my chances at uni., a crash in my mental health, health problems from old injuries, my ability to even fucking vote safely etc. etc. The life-long consequences of domestic abuse are never ending, but only for me/us, never for him/them. Even if I was to report him to the police and assuming the police and the CPS actually take my case seriously (haha!), he’ll face what? A few measly years in prison at most? Not exactly a life-time of consequences.
I just hate it. I hate that I have to keep tearing myself apart and I hate knowing they don’t have to do any of this shit. I hate knowing that my life was left in pieces and that it’s my responsibility and my responsibility alone to try and put it together. I hate knowing that I’m always going to be the one facing the consequences, big or small. I hate knowing that they’re living the good life out there somewhere, high and dry and little to no consequences ever coming their way.