Kay Beardsley’s monthly life blog – Cut Open – September 2020

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My name is Kay and I’m a recovering alcoholic

 Cut Open. September 2020.

 I am what I am And what I am needs no excuses!

(Excerpt from my book 2007)

If my left arm could talk.

Why do you hurt me and hate me so much? I look a mess, I am a mess, I am ashamed and embarrassed to be seen. I always have to hide away and that’s not fair. Why me? Why don’t you love me?

I’ve learned that self harm was my coping mechanism and actually saved my life.

If you read my ‘self-harm blog’ I wrote;

Here is an example of a self-harmer that cuts: (not a client)’ I am that self-harmer; these are my words.

I had no idea how to express my emotions so I would drink to push them down and when the pain became too much I’d hurt myself by punching walls or punching wine glasses and cutting myself. This physical pain was a pleasure and distracted me from the psychological pain. I relied on alcohol and hurting myself to meet my emotional needs; displacing real human contact.

In childhood: ‘When you react against a child’s anger all you’re teaching is self-suppression.’ Dr Gabor Mate.

Frizt Perls (1969) pointed out that wars occur when healthy aggression is denied. When people do not or are not allowed to use their aggression in a healthy, problem-solving way, it eventually comes out indirectly in incapacitation or violence.’ Book: Personality Adaptations, Vann Joines and Ian Stewart.

‘I don’t talk about my problems and so they escalate into something big and become out of proportion. In the past I’d run away in times of crises but now I turned to booze, which was much the same thing. I didn’t run away physically, but mentally I escaped in the bottom of a glass!’

‘It is accepted as a disease now, and it’s great that it’s seen like that because there is such a stigma involved. People think that if you are alcoholic, you’re a drunken bum. If you have that alcoholic gene, it can happen at anytime and the doctors say that the biggest problem for alcoholics is that, in the early stages, when you have a chance to stop drinking, you have no desire to. Then when you want to it’s too late.’ The Book: Blessed, by George Best

Angie Best – ‘A disease is an illness, alcoholism is a choice.’

No one poured alcohol down my throat; that was my choice.

Yesterday morning 9/7/20 I was out running and it had been raining. Many of the hedges are overgrown and encroaching on the footpaths. As I ran my bare arm brushed past a wet hedge and I was pleased to feel the cold hedge rub against me and the rain water trickle down my arm, it reminded me of the blood that used to run down my arm. The rain was such a soothing feeling as was the release and relief of blood in the past. I touched the hedge again.

I can and will feel hurt at times and I can and will still get angry and that’s okay but now my anger no longer controls me, I can control my anger. I can talk through my issues in my Adult now and I can still scream and swear but I can deal with my anger in a safe and healthy way; I no longer retroflect my anger and I can’t physically hurt myself anymore because I just can’t do it!

As I’ve said, alcohol was not the problem and neither was my self harm, the problem was me.

The lyrics of these two songs were and still are so important to me. I used to sing into my Bic pen microphone (doesn’t everyone do that?) at the top of my voice to these amazing songs when I was pissed.

I wanted to be able to say these words and really believe in them. I wanted to climb inside the songs and believe these words were mine.

(Excerpt from my book 2007)

Gloryia Gaynor:


I am what I am

I am my own special creation

So come take a look

Give me the hook

Or the ovation

It’s my world

That I want to have a little pride in

My world

And it’s not a place I have to hide in

Life’s not worth a dam

Til I can say

I am what I am

I am what I am

I don’t want praise I don’t want pity

I bang my own drum

Some think its noise I think it’s pretty

And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle

Why not see things from a different angle

Your life is a sham

Til you can shout out I am what I am

I am what I am

And what I am needs no excuses

I deal my own deck

Sometimes the ace sometimes the deuces

It’s one life and there’s no return and no deposit

One life so it’s time to open up your closet

Life’s not worth a dam till you can shout out

I am what I am!

 I wish I could shout from the rooftops ‘I am what I am!

But I can’t because I am not sure who I am. So my life is a sham.


Toyah Wilcox:


I’m bored

I don’t want to go to school

I don’t want to be no body’s fool

I want to be me

I want to be me

I don’t want to be sweet and neat

I don’t want someone living my life for me

I want to be free

I’m going to turn this world inside out

Going to turn suburbia upside down

Going to walk the streets, scream and shout

Going to crawl through the alleyways

Being very loud

I don’t to be told what to wear

As long as you’re warm who cares

I want to be me

So what if I dye my hair

I’ve still got a brain up there

And I’m going to be me

I’m going to be free

Tear down the wallpaper

Turf out the cat

Tear up the carpet

And get rid of that

Blow up the TV

Blow up the car

Without these things

You don’t know where you are

Pull down the abattoirs

And all that’s obscene

Everything in life

Should be totally free

We should live and let live

And all live our dreams

I’m gonna be free.


As a child I had to do what I was told so I didn’t have my own voice and opinions; I wasn’t allowed to be me or free.

I followed conditions like holding my knife and fork in the ‘correct’ hands and then placing my knife and fork at 12 o’clock after I’d finished a meal. I didn’t dunk biscuits in my tea when in public, I didn’t wear a hat at the dinner table. I was forced to wear a dress when the family went to a special occasion etc.

When as an adult I was set ‘free’ into the world and left to fend for myself I was lost.

Suddenly there was no one around to tell me what to do and I was fucked!

(I know I’m not the only person to feel like this and it’s not until you really reflect on you’re life that you’re able to see this and yes, change is possible if you want to.)

I didn’t know what I ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to say or do, I wasn’t sure how to act or behave or feel. I had no idea what was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ because I hadn’t been allowed (shown how) to think for myself; I learned that I didn’t matter.

Had I been encouraged as a child to be my self and been allowed to test, explore and experience life for my self I’d have had some knowledge of how life works. I’d have had confidence in contemplating, considering, weighing up my options, making my own choices and decisions. But I didn’t have the foundations and skills.

It was now time to have my own voice but I was unsure what to say because there was no one around to check on me and my fear was I could look or sound stupid.

And then guess what?

My son said to me, ‘the reason you don’t see or know my mates is because when I was younger you and dad wouldn’t let me be who I am. I could go round to their parents’ homes and I could be me.’ FUCKING OUCH!

He said, ‘I think you’ve changed so, so much now and in some ways my experience has helped me to see what I would do differently with my children.’

And he’s right, I would have felt shame if he hadn’t conformed to my conditions because I’d have felt judged as a parent. Like the fucking knife and fork correctly on the plate thing again (!) or holding his knife and fork in the correct hands.

I was so wrapped up in repeating my childhood patterns and my parental conditions and societies expectations and the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ of this world.

And why does any of that matter?

And I can see that now!

So what if a child wants to dip his/her cauliflower into a mug of coffee? Doesn’t that show initiative? Doesn’t this need to be encouraged?! So what if Aunty Betty scowls!

And so when I became a parent……  I repeated the same bloody patterns that I had to deal with (!) until I finally found my real self in my 40’s!!

It’s never too late if you want to change. Thank God for therapy with a good therapist!


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