They ruined my career. Sort of.

Okay so the title is a bit over dramatic but its called click bait and I know you all understand that I have to reel you in to read these blog posts.

I recently walked into my work only discover a film crew, two white people holding a glass of wine each, smiling as bright LED lights which hit their faces as they smiled and the director said ‘CUT’. A chef turned to me and told me to be quiet (like the Italian dude never listened to me once when I ramble about what I do outside of hospitality). All 4 of the chefs were all standing around. Unable to do work because of that ole nugget of being quiet on set. The restaurant was being used as a set for a commercial that was going to air in China. The showstopper of this little number was New Zealand beef. Cooked, steaming on a white plate being served by one of the staff members from the restaurant. You need to remember that this company has money, they are not cheap.

I walked back outside on the hunt for a coffee because you can’t steam milk with a film crew in your way. FFS. Latte in hand I was wondering back to the restaurant when I saw Thomas, the ‘server’ from the film shoot outside having a cigarette, a great french guy who actually works with me. I sat myself down next to him and asked if he was being paid for this work. He said no. Just being paid by the company we work for (I can’t name where I work on here because thats asking for trouble, but if you are smart you can just go look at my Facebook. #LoopHoles). I asked him if he had been asked to sign a media realise form? No. If he had seen a contract? No.

And thats when I started to get a bit shitty. Not at him, but at the industry.

Then the head chef walks outside. He had also been featured in the commercial. I asked him the same questions. He gave the same answers. And then I began to get really shitty.

You may be asking yourself why Seren are you getting cranky?

Are you jealous? No.

So what is it then?

You know of that thing called the butterfly effect? Ripple effect? One thing leads to another? That chain reaction?

Let us start at the beginning of an imaginary (or not) situation.

  1. You get asked to be on commercial/video/film/show and your role isn’t integral to the ‘thing’. Your there just to fill in the gap or your face is never shown.
  2. Your asked to turn up at the location or maybe you are even there.
  3. You walk in and are quite intimidated because of the people, the crew and everything that is going on around you.
  4. Someone asks you to get changed or to wait or to listen to instructions as to what you are expected to do.
  5. You listen and are asked to jump onto the set.
  6. The director lets you know what is going to happen.
  7. You listen and follow instructions. (p.s you are doing great)
  8. Time just slips by and the director calls cut and you are allowed to go.
  9. You ask if your needed at all. And its a no so you go home.
  10. You tell your friends of what you did.
  11. Then you tell me. (I am assuming we are friends here guys)
  12. And then I ask you if you were paid.
  13. You say no.
  14. I ask you if you signed a media realise form.
  15. You say no.
  16. Then I curse and walk away.
  17. You are now confused as what just happened and why I am now angry at you.

Well my lovely you just ruined my sustainable career because you took an unpaid job. How you might ask. Seems like a huge jump? Not really because you were just scammed.

What you need to realise is that at step 1 you should of had step 1.a, 1.b, 1.c all asking questions. Those questions help me and all others in the creative industry have a sustainable career. I am sure you would be shocked to think that some artists work for over 20 hours a week for free. With the expectation to keep working for free with no pay.

Remember I did not rack up a student loan to work for free for the rest of my life. As I am sure you can agree.

Questions like:

  • is this job paid?
  • if so how much? hourly, contract, casual?
  • where and when do you need me?
  • do i have a confidentially agreement?
  • do i have to have my hair and make up done? will I be paid for that time?
  • is travel included in my contract rate?
  • what are your expectations of me?
  • will i need to sign a media form?

What you need to realise is that this should all be transparent.  Because if this was your normal job (because this is my normal job) that you would ask all these questions, but sometimes due to the excitement and advantage taking of the fact that you might not know to ask these questions you end up doing it for free. Which means I might have to do it for free.

NOW HERE COMES THE RANT SO IF YOU WANT TO SKIP THIS THEN PLEASE HEAD TOWARDS THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

What you need to know is we can’t strike. We don’t have a union to turn to. We do not have the law always on our side. We deal in mess, all day. We work outside of the law, all the time. We do not take breaks, we do not stop and look at the time for a break when everything is finally ready. In reality that does not happen. And I know you are not dumb. You know this but time and time again I get told we bring all these challenges on ourselves. When in reality you taking that free gig meant when I asked if I would be getting paid for this I seemed greedy.

When its not. I am not greedy. I do work for free and I when I do it is because I WANT TO. Not because I have to. I turn down jobs not because I don’t want them. But because my time costs. My house costs. My food costs. But this ideology of working for experience is utter bull shit. Yes for some time as an artist you might have to do the odd job for free however artist are expected to work for free after they have qualifications, awards, reputations.

END OF RANT: THIS IS WHERE IT IS OVER. 

My favourite part of this whole story is when I was on my way out of the restaurant in search of coffee and the director asked me if I knew how to turn the light on. I said “yes” and then he asked me if I would like to turn it on. I said “no sorry, I don’t work for you”.

I walked out and didn’t give a flying fuck.

 

 

10 Things We Should Of Been Taught At School

Now that I am 18 years into my education. That includes primary all the way through to my masters, I have discovered that I still do not know a lot (HAHA, my student loan doesn’t cover the fees to learn how to adult). That is in terms of life skills. You know those practical things that come in handy when you finally leave the nest and begin your own adventure.

I guess that wise man was wise by saying “you should never stop learning”. But I never thought that would mean that I might go into adulthood, not knowing how to do essential life skills. You might have those moments where you remember that you thought adults were all grown up by 25. Yet I speak to so many 20’somethings and they all laugh loudly and deeply at how they still do not know what they are doing. I feel if you go to the dentist once a year, like annually then you should hold a party to celebrate you. Because no one I know goes to the dentist once a year over the age of 18.

So here are my thoughts on what they should of taught in high school. Like I said in my previous post, what if they turned health class into life class. From sex education to knowing how political systems work. Below you will find 10 things we should of been taught at school.

  1. Knowing how to change a car tire. On the side of the road. In the rain. By yourself.
  2. How to budget. And add to that savings account. Not just live pay check to pay check.
  3. How to do your own taxes. How your taxes are broken down. E.d ACC, industry and infrastructure.
  4. How to vote. How the New Zealand political system works. Why you should read policies and inform yourself.
  5. To save for a big thing. Like a house or your retirement. I have a fear that I will get to the end of my working career and have no money.
  6. How to cook. I know too many kids who literally did not know how to make scramble eggs and I had to be the one to teach them.
  7. Taking care of yourself before others. Knowing when to see the doctor and when to seek professional advice without speaking to your parents.
  8. How to run a house hold. Your family does so much to ensure things keep running smoothly. We should really do the sims, but in real life. But without the weird shit.
  9. Understanding what a healthy relationship should look like. And how to walk away when it isn’t healthy.
  10. How to discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. You don’t need to go to University necessary.

Let me know in the comments what you wish you learnt at school. I would be super interested to know your thoughts and feelings.

Everyone is getting engaged, married or pregnant and I am over here trying to figure out my taxes.

Its been two year since we have spoken about this topic. By we. I mean me. And by speaking. I mean writing. If you would like to read the first part of this post click here.

But in those two years a lot has changed. For instance, I am now 22. I can now poach an egg and host adult dinner parties. With alcohol, on a Monday night.

Whilst my life has been taking a roller coaster of a ride, my friends have too.

Some friends will never be any of the things in the description because they were taken from us. Whilst some friends have ticked off all three in the space of a year. What surprises me is how many people it is happening to. At this rate, I feel I will be old by the time I finally get married, or announce that I am with child ( LOL, never thought that would be written here)

Now this post by all means is not a downer on those who are engaged, married or pregnant. You, do you. By all means. But I feel like once again I am well behind on the rat race we call life. Now I say this because this morning, another couple yet again got engaged. And another couple announced their new baby boy on Facebook. Kids I went to school with are getting their pre engagement photo shoots. And I am over here trying to not burn my mouth on a cup of tea.

It’s a funny situation because I often get told that I am mature for my age. That I seem more 27 than 22. Yet I feel I have been let down by society and our education system. Because I feel I don’t have the right set of tools to be my age.

There is no class on how to pick a husband/wife/life long partner in school. We don’t have any information on how to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Yet people are surprised when we have such a high rate of divorce. My ex boyfriend is in the middle of his divorce and he is 24. He’s twenty fucking four people. 

There is no one handing advice out to a 16 year old on what sort of financial situation you should be in to sustain a good life WITH a child. There is not one telling you how much you should be putting away for your retirement, let alone a house. There is no one saying how important a prenup is.

I feel I am becoming more and more infuriated with our education system and how it doesn’t teach you how to do your taxes, or change your oil in your car. I have always had the opinion that our education system is great in some aspects and absolutely bull shit in others. I had a math teacher who taught me how to work out hire purchase and that it is also not a good idea. I had a teacher who taught me how to iron any garment – properly and a teacher who taught me how to type. But then I also had a teacher who taught me that mushrooms reproduce with spores and that haikus make me a mad mad kid.

There is no class on budgeting that every student should have to take. Why not continue health class to life class? Ponder this: no one teaches you what abuse looks like.

Look I love the fact my best friend is getting married and is having a baby boy in 8 weeks. I can’t wait to be there to hold her hand as she becomes a mother or cry my eyes out when she becomes a wife. I am proud, happy, over the damn moon for her. I know she is ready. Beyond ready. Her and her soon to be husband are ready for this next step in their lives. Together.

Claire, if you are reading this. I am blessed to be your best friend. To see you take these steps. Keep growing Mr. Peanut, and I promise on your big day to fight your mother and all your family for baby sitting duties. I promise like we said that I will always be your best friend no matter what happens to each of us. 

But people. Listen. Do not freak out. I mean freak out by all means about not knowing how to do your taxes. I AM. Jesus I mean I have to deal with ACC as an independent contractor. You don’t want to do that. Yes, every week people are buying engagement rings and baby booties. Its a scary time when everyone around you is getting engaged, married or pregnant and you are single or just in a relationship with no intention of doing any of those things for at least a few years. I laugh when I think back to being married at 25. Its looking more and more like 30 people. Things to do, places to see. But being married I guess doesn’t stop you from doing that. It does however give you a best friend to do it with.

And that as an idea doesn’t seem that hard to swallow.

 

To Men: Pt 3-S**t you need to stop saying.

Following along from international woman day. I thought I would pop together a list of the shit I am tired of hearing. I mean I could eye roll to death if I had a man string these lines together.

  1. Girls on tinder are easy.
  2. She’s got too much make up on.
  3.  You can’t lift as much as me.
  4. _____ throws like a girl.
  5. Where is my sandwich?
  6. How do you cook eggs?
  7. Are you on your period?
  8. Your lipstick is quiet dark.
  9. She said no to me.
  10. She is not very lady like.
  11. Her stretch marks are off putting.
  12. As long as she knows how to get onto her knees.
  13. She shouldn’t drink as much as me.
  14. She should be on birth control.
  15. She has that womanly touch.
  16. Being a woman is not an excuse.
  17. Bloody female drivers.
  18. Thats not how a lady speaks.
  19. You will be a great mother.
  20. Have you thought about getting into teaching/nursing/administration?
  21. Oh no she won’t like it because she’s a girl.
  22. Whisky is for men.
  23. Someone has their big girl pants on.
  24. What would your mother say?
  25. Thats too short.
  26. Thats too long.
  27. Why did you cut your hair off?
  28. Is it that time of month?
  29. You have such a way with children.
  30. I would give her a 4/10.
  31. She’s had too much work done.
  32. She is too fat.
  33. She is too thin.
  34. I hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like you.
  35. You father would disapprove.

Just stop. Because it is a no from me.

HOW TO BECOME TIDY AF

So if you chat to anyone who knew me in my childhood, especially my mother. They would tell you that my bedroom was a bomb site. No floor, no space, just mess. But fast forward to Seren as a 22 year old and you will find me in my room, bed made, floor clean, simple.

Now I will be honest right now; I mean when am I never not honest, but I still suck at keeping things tidy ALL the time. Because I am human.

So how did I go from a girl who literally could’t keep her room clean to a girl who needs to have it clean to even function?

  1. Give everything a place. I mean everything. Socks, perfume, university books, handbags, spray bottle for my bonsai. Everything has a spot. You could ask me where something is and I can led you straight to it. That makes for less mess.
  2. Make you bed every day. Coming home to a made bed is bloody bliss.
  3. Colour co-orridanate your wardrobe. Follow the old school ROYGBIV. Begin with black, head to grey and end on white. Jackets one end. Delicate items at the other end. I have two sections and know where to look for a piece of clothing.
  4. Get organised. Have a laundry basket, a rubbish bin and a shoe rack. And always put your shoes away when you take them off.
  5. Hang your keys up. I do this every time I come home. Right by my light switch. You know where they are and you can’t miss them when heading out the door.
  6. Put things on trays. I hit the op shop and found glass trays. Put all my perfume on one and on the other my camera and some nick backs. One way to look classy but its easy to do.
  7. If your room is too much to handle begin with your pantry. Sorting it out into sections will make you know what is in your cupboard but also make you even more happy when you go to make dinner.
  8. Find the things that give you joy because of memories and put them on display. If its photos, little trinkets or a damn plant. Put it out there. Someone will see it and ask you about it.
  9. My best friends are very tidy people. Though they may not think it. Jared always has a tidy room. It. Is. Never. Messy. Thalia, knows where all her gym gear is. Her protein and her gym shoes. Claire, seems to know where everything is regardless of the environment. Car, room, computer file. That girl is organised. You will already be tidy at something. Could be your diary. The way you cook. How you get ready in the morning. You just need to pay attention and apply to the rest of your life.
  10. Once you have a tidy space, don’t say “I will never let it get like that again.” Rather say; “I will keep it tidy by putting things away that disrupt my hard work.”

You have to think about being tidy as this immediate reward. No one hates a tidy room. Expect when your me and you tidy your room and then immediately loose something. I have that power. But remember you won’t have to keep reminding yourself to keep things tidy. It will become habit. It took me a while but it does happen.

You should know I still hate doing laundry and honestly I suck at trying to put it away. I can feel my mother laughing and nodding now. Yes Jenny I am still learning. I have that terrible habit of putting clean laundry in the washing basket and then it not making its way to the draws…

So put your laptop down, your phone and go and make your bed. Just start there. Then pick everything off your floor and put it on your bed and get going. You won’t regret it. I would love to see some before and after photos. Send them to me on snap chat seren.pj!

 

 

To men: Pt 2-To the man on table 38

To the man on table 38.

My name is Seren. Not Sarah.

I am your waitress for the two hours you are in this establishment.

I am not your slave.

There are a few things you need to know.

I would like to thank you for being one of my tables for the evening. The one of 16 I had that evening. I would like to thank you for reaffirming my beliefs in myself. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the ability to stand up for myself. I would like to say that I am not sorry for what I said. That you told me I was rude for asking for a tip. That I gave excellent service with terrible opinions. I am not sorry that you were one of my 16 tables that evening. Why you may ask?

When I introduced myself you said my name was too difficult and that you would call me Sarah. I said you might as well clap your hands at me. Its about the same.

When I asked if you had been here before, you scoffed and questioned why I wouldn’t remember such a handsome man like yourself. I told you because you may look like every other white man who comes in here. With a smile. I told you maybe you should try make yourself memorable.

And boy, oh boy, did you.

You were ever so slightly taller than me. Blue collared shirt. Black dress pants. Black tie and a belt that was begging to be released from around your over weight waist.

You were clean shaven but had clipped yourself on the right side of your chin. You had salt and pepper hair and bad teeth. You spoke with your hands which worried me and within the first 30 seconds of our interaction I already knew what I was in for.

You said you wanted a bottle of wine. I looked at you, tilted my head and asked if this wine had a name.

You told me I was a stupid girl and that you wanted a red.

I told you how fantastic that is but that I cannot help you until your become more specific. I also said its not like this joke ever gets old. And internally I said “unlike you.”

You told me a shiraz and before I left I said that since you have been here before and that you seem quiet confident that I expect you to have your order ready by the time I get back.

Now when I came back. I did give you around 7 minutes to do so. You were leaning across the table trying to make a point to the gentleman who said with you. That poor poor soul. RIP his wasted evening.

You then told me that you were ready to order and promptly asked how old am I?

21.

Your eyebrows lifted. Like the opportunist bastard that you are.

21, you repeated at me.

I told you yes. I didn’t stutter.

You then said how amazing my figure is for such a lovely young lady.

You then also took this opportunity to tell me how my hips would be perfect to balance children on. How I am wasting my life here. At work.

I told you that I am here to take your food order not to be stared at. You laughed.

Then I got mad.

I smiled. Laughed and then asked if you were married.

Two can play at this game and this is my game.

Meet your master position 3 on table 38. This won’t be fun. It never is for men like you. You ‘friend’ lent back in his chair and knew what was coming.

Word for word this is what I said. I wrote it down after my shift. Because if it came back as a complaint I would of liked to be prepared.

“Sir, as I have just said I am here to take your order. If you need more time, let me know. What I need you to do right now is listen. Your job is simple, sit down and read. Make a decision and then tell me. My name is Seren, not Sarah, I will not come over to this table if you ask for Sarah, I won’t do anything for you in a hurry if you continue on this track. If fact I would be so bold as a woman who is 21 to ask you to leave. I do not come to work and ask to be judged on my appearance. It is not in my contract to look a certain way and it is not your job to tell me how great I look. I know. Because unlike you, I don’t need to pick on others to feel better. I do not need to tell a woman how great her hips would be at carrying children. So Sir, are you ready to order or do you need 5 minutes to think about your choice of steak this evening?”

He said that he was ready to order.

And then I power tripped him into another week.

He wanted a rare steak that has a lot of fat in it. Now being the kind person I am, I informed him that he would be a fool to insult the animal asking it to be rare because you are not going to enjoy the cut. That, for his benefit and the cows he should go for medium.

Now his face began to pucker and I was not going to stop there. His dinner member picked up his glass of wine and was more ready than I was to see him be destroyed.

I said “Sir, I know you will find it difficult to take advice from a woman, a young woman at that, so please give me one moment.”

I turned around and asked my male co worker to come to the table.

I asked him on his advice on the cooking temperature for the wagyu scotch. He said medium is best. I said thank you and just stood there with my hands behind my back.

You followed my lead.

You ate your steak and didn’t dare tell me I was right, or wrong for the matter.

You drank your wine.

You paid your bill and I told you how fantastic of an evening it had been serving you.

Your ‘friend’ waited till you descended down the stairs and stuck his hand out.

He shook my hand and thanked me for a memorable evening. How he shall continue to come back and see me and how he wished me all the luck in the future. As he smiled and pulled his hand away he had given me a $50 note.

You never complained. You have never come back in.

Your friend has been back. We never bring you up. We just nod at each other.

To Men: Pt 1 – women plan the death of men over brunch.

Today I bring you a little bit of a different blog post. One that has been in the pipe line for many moons and now I feel appropriate to share with you. Now as I understand you all like it when I tell stories, whether it is about old flat mates, the amount of kids who are engaged, married and or pregnant or the many lessons I have learnt so far. But today we are going to get down and dirty. I mean I don’t want to alarm any one but I may or may not be writing this with no pants on. In the light of recent events it is now that you must be informed more than ever.

But remember kids you can’t get angry at individuals who don’t know, so you should educate them if they are willing. 

This will all make sense in a few paragraphs.

Shall we begin with a story.

About 6 months ago I was at work where I was having a conversation with the general manger. We were making small talk and I was asking him what he likes to do on his days off. He explained he loved to kite surf, jet ski, and fish but his partner doesn’t share as much of the same passions. What follows is our conversation

S: what does she do when you are out on the water for hours at a time?

GM: oh she does womanly things.

S: what would that be?

GM: she goes to brunch and does shopping.

*now at this point I have decided that this man, needs a few lessons in womanly things”

S: I didn’t realise woman were allowed to brunch and shop.

GM: well, you know thats what woman like to do.

S: Mmm. Yes. We sure do, but last time I checked men go to brunch as well. In fact I went for brunch with Jordan just this morning.

Though he is my boss so I literally have the upper hand because he can’t give me a warning for his. So I wondered into the bar area of my work where the lone female bar tender stood.

S: do you think that going to brunch and going shopping is a womanly thing Al-Nis?

A: ha. no. Why is that Miss Seren?

S: oh you know who thinks it is.

A: yeah I would believe that.

S: it must be a small world he is living in, without eggs Benedict or a catch up over coffee

A: he really is full of thrilling conversation.

Now what you should know is that I work for a company dominated by men. OLD NEWS. Most woman do. Why? Because we are still playing catch up. Still hustling for the same wage. The same rights. Damn we still can’t do anything to our bodies without the male permission. I mean, yes their are some men who are up to scratch. But there is still the majority who think that just because I smiled at you, that I am now your property.

If you are a male and reading this. Good. On. You. Well Done. Though if you are reading this and thinking how wrong I am or that brunch and shopping is a womanly thing. I am here to break the bad news to you. Its scary and I hope that you can handle it. No honestly, you may want to put your dick in your hand and hold on for dear life.

At brunch woman are up to things. I mean they are unto a whole lot of things and one of them include you. Now do you have your dick in your hand?

Have you ever wondered why there are mostly female wait staff or retail assistances?

No?

Well you are going to be shocked by this.

At brunch woman are planning. They are planning your death. Your demise. Your downfall. Your ruin. They are plotting and gathering strength. Together. Over their flat whites and fruit salads.

Shocking. I know. Take a deep breath. Hold your dick a little tighter. Its scary. But we are coming for you.

Yes you may think brunch is womanly but it is really our battle ground. We talk about how pretty your head would be under a red or black heel.

What you need to think about is that it is 2017. Change is happening. Woman are happening. Are before you even start thinking about how cute and pretty we must look. We are all nasty girls. Waiting. Patiently. To take you down.

Yours sincerely,

Seren aka another nasty gal.

2016 The Year That Was

If you have been with me on this journey you will know how much of a roller coaster it’s been. I began to write this is September of 2016. Here are some of the things that happened to me in a very short, sweet, edible list. There is a story behind every bullet point but we can talk about that later. Perhaps. I am just so bloody thankful that 2016 is over and this year is off to a start. *I would say great, but it began rough, see conclusion for details.

This is the 2016, the year that was:

  • Moved house 4 times in the space of 6 months.
  • Had 2 friends die.
  • Broke up with 1 boyfriend.
  • Staged managed 6 different shows.
  • Choreographed 4 different dance works.
  • Traveled to Nelson twice.
  • Wrote over 50,000 words.
  • Gained 2 degrees (if I pass my dissertation).
  • Bought an new iPhone (finally, the iPhone 4 was dying).
  • Sprained one ankle.
  • Got a cold 6 times.
  • Went to 18 different shows.
  • Considered suicide seriously once.
  • Maintained a part time job.
  • Got two pay rises.
  • Gained two diagnoses of mental illness.
  • Attended over 20 counseling sessions.
  • Took 84 Sertraline tablets – but not all at once.
  • Started dating a new guy and fell head over heels.
  • Grew a vegetable patch (which is very successful).
  • Put on 6 kgs.
  • Wrote a 40 page research document.
  • Met many new friends.
  • Bought a new laptop.
  • Got another year older.
  • Admitted to hospital once for potential meningitis.
  • Took over 30 polaroids.
  • Visited 13 completely new locations.
  • Had the family dog die.
  • Went to 341 different places.

I will be honest with you, 2016 was not my year. Like completely, not at all. I mean I am not sure where I thought to myself, this year is great, fab, wonderful, best one yet.

No. That never happened.

I was asked on new years eve, what was the best thing that happened to me this year. Now this list came shooting through my head and I almost began to sing it because what else do you with all this bad information. You sing and  you do that little boogie on the spot and laugh to your insane self to make it all better. But then and there I looked to me left and Jordan was standing there. And for the first time in 365 days I thought to myself, there is something I can be thankful for.

SHOT JORDAN! Holding it down for 2016. You are the MVP.

So honestly, 2017 you can’t be a cock up. You can’t even be close. 2016 was a shit storm of a year.

*Re-admitted to hospital 2017 – there will be a story on this one.

The worst flat mates ever: Pt 7 Push came to shove

So we our food at Al’s Deli and looked at one another. Then my phone rang and I almost flipped the table. It was my Mum. She was calling because my sister had just gotten home and told her what had happened. Rather composed she asked if I was okay. I said I was shaken but Jamie and I had each other. We said we were going to ring his Mum. That seemed to calm things down. Nothing like being 800km away from your daughter during all of this.

Ended that phone call. Looked at Jamie and he rang his Mum. She said we could move to hers and we should do that today.

So we drove home to our house. In silence. I felt the anxiety growing. Sitting in my throat. All that could keep my breathing steady was knowing we were going to leave. To take refuge at Jamie’s’ mums’ house. Thinking about it now we should of called the police for protection but hindsight is a beautifully cruel thing.

I remember hugging Jamie and him saying this will all be over soon. Nodding we walked in.

No one was home. But when would someone come home?

B only left the house to feed himself and A would of been at work. Emma, was still in the hospital.

Then it begun.

We packed our entire belongings in that house except for our food in four hours. 4 HOURS. Jamie’s mum turned up, then her partner, then Jamie’s best friend.

In, out and gone.

I remember I had to to go to work that night and honestly I have no recollection of what happened. I remember being driven home to Jamie’s mums house and staring at the front door for a few minutes.

Then the abuse started.

The cynical comments of if we had moved out. To the abuse over a mint plant. The threats of not getting our bond back because we had not cleaned the room.

There was no acknowledgement of what the hell had happened the night before. Then I had another panic attack. The tears came back and Jamie’s mum was now getting worried about all our safety.

Heres how it played out:

The within the first week we went back, cleaned our room, all our shelves, picked up our food, fought with B over how much rent we were going to pay as we had never signed a contract stating any amount of time. There was legal threats thrown out and honestly I was ready to chuck 20k at a lawyer and have them buried. Reason and logic prevailed with negotiation.

A month out:

Still no bond back and for what reason you ask? Oh A thought we had stolen her underwear and that she was not going to pay us till we gave them back.

Just so yall are clear. We didn’t have her underwear. Psychotic bitch.

Two months out:

Still no bond. Awaiting over $1000. Casually.

Got a check delivered to Jamie’s mums house. HAND DELIVERED. Not the right amount.

IMG_4139.jpgTHEY HAD FOUND OUT WHERE WE WERE STAYING.

Anxiety attacks came back.

Three months out:

Jamie had moved out, I had three house pull out and I was still at his mums house when we finally got a check. For $715. One weeks rent and the cost of a new pair of underwear.

I called Jamie, told him I am ready to let it go if he was.

After three months. We were.

Fast forward almost a year since we moved into the house from hell and I am sick of this story.

Why you ask?

Because it’s caused me so much f**king trouble this year. Ive moved house 4 times. This was the first domino in a very long complicated 2016 for me. I turn 22 in 13 days and honestly I cannot wait to finish this year and scream from a hill how happy I am to put this all to be. I am glad that I have written this story down.

You should know these things:

  • My old flat mates read this. They don’t “care” as long as I change there names.
  • Emma; is still getting help.
  • Jamie and I live apart.
  • The repercussions of these three months has led me to seek professional help.
  • I have no idea what A&B are up to.
  • Only now does my family really know what happened.
  • I hate renting.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Its a messed up one. And thankfully its over now.

 

The Flatmates From Hell: Pt 6 the night it all went wrong

I don’t remember what day it was. Facebook tells me it was a weekend. At least that is when my sister uploaded her photos from her trip to Auckland.

I had not seen her in 10 months. Auckland is busy. I was trying to finish my degree. My parents can vouch for me. I barely skype them because I am so busy. So it was a special occasion.

Now I took one phycology paper in my undergraduate studies (which I failed) though there are things I remember. Like the more you tell a story the more diluted it becomes. Hence the idea that you should write down traumatic incidences down ASAP. So this story has been told many times. This is what I remember currently.

You should know that I still have nightmares about this night. That locks on doors make me feel safe. That I hardly ever sleep in the nude (though I totally would) because I am scared of what might be in my door way. It is slowly going away.

So my sister was up from Nelson for the first time in 10 months. She had arrived and stayed one night. She was asleep in our bed and Jamie and I were on the couch enjoying an evening in front of the TV. A and B were in their room and Emma was down the hall asleep. Full house one might say.

I was almost falling asleep when Emma walked into the lounge and asked if I could talk to someone on the phone for her. I got up followed her to her room where she sat down on her bed and put the phone to my ear.

“Hello Seren, this is Stacy from the crisis team are you happy to talk to me?”

I have never pulled a poker face in my life till this moment. Looking at Emma I smiled very gently. Mother Duck was here.

Stacy explained that Emma had been prescribed sleeping pills because her anxiety had been keeping her awake at night. She went on to say that due to the current environment of the house  Emma was feeling on edge, scared and unable to rest.

She had since taken a whole weeks worth of sleeping pills.

Stacy followed quickly with “it isn’t a suicide attempt, she just really wanted to sleep and rest, Emma told me that and I believe her.”

The current environment of the house was  horrible. Dirty, tension and no one would sit down to clear the air. Because it wasn’t like we were all adults or anything.

Stacy said she can not asses the situation since she is not there in person. So I asked should I take Emma to the hospital. The response was a yes and that she would call ahead for us because Emma was become very agitated.

I walked out to Jamie, grabbed a jumper from our room and paused to watch my sister blissfully sleep for a moment. Kissed Jamie on the head, he was very sleepy and walked Emma to the car. We got in and I turned the radio down low as she smoked a cigarette. She was quiet but every time she looked at me I smiled. She pulled her knees to her chest as I drove to the hospital.

It was about 10pm when we walked through A&E. Emma had her vitals taken and multiple private conversations with the doctors. She was hooked up to a couple of machines and had an IV popped into her arm.

I explained to the doctor in private that Emma would try make a run for it. She had at the end of the day escaped the psych unit multiple times. She needed a security guard. The doctor looked at me kinda like I was stupid. But Emma had taken herself to the ‘toilet’ which was really outside to have a cigarette. When she was found by security she was all smiles and jokes. Cunning bitch to say the least.

After a couple of hours the Doctor explained she would need to stay overnight for observations and that she would need to be seen by the hospital’s psychiatric unit in the morning.  So we said our goodnights and I made sure she had everything and that the doctor would call me if needed. I walked out of those hospital doors for the 3rd time that month to get back into the car.

I drove home thinking “what the fuck am I doing with my life? My boyfriend is at home, my sister is at my house and I am mothering someone else’s child.”

I pulled into the car port, walked into the house, moved my sister to the couch and moved Jamie from the couch to the bed. Put my PJs on and passed out.

Then there was a bang. A silhouette of a figure stood in the doorway and then there was the screaming. High pitched, angry and aiming directly at me in bed.

I sat up, wide eyed and stared at this person. It was A. She was holding onto the door frame screaming at me.

“move the fucking car, I told Jamie you aren’t allowed to park there. Wake up and move that pile of shit”

I leaped out of bed and immediately started to apologize. I grabbed the keys and headed for the door making sure to move quick. But she didn’t stop.

“I fucking told him, who do you think you are? This is my house, my carport, not yours. Now hurry up.”

I was grasping the door handle when she stared at me through the window and I could see that something was not adding up.

I drove down the road and to find a park in Ponsonby is near impossible as no one has off street parking. It took a 3-4 minute walk in barefeet to get back to the house. The front door was wide open and I could see the kitchen/ lounge lights on. I closed the door, saw B in his room on their bed and I walked to our bedroom. I thought I would check on my sister. She would surely be awake. I was saying to my sister that she shouldn’t worry as everything was sorted now. That she should grab some sleep her flight was at 8am. Thats when A started at me again.

“How dare you think that you can park in the car port when I told Jamie before we went out that the car was to be moved. You think you own this house don’t you?”

“No I don’t. Jamie hadn’t told me and when I got home as he was asleep.”

“Dont give me that bull shit. You knew, you wanted me to react this way.”

“Honestly, no. My sister is trying to sleep. If you want to talk about it we can do it in the morning since its now 1am.”

“No no, we are going to talk about it now because you bitch need to learn a lesson.”

My sister being my sister butted in as she often does and said:

“please don’t talk to my sister like that.”

I then saw a snap change in her. Like a switch was flicked on and that girl just went from 0-100. She turned from me to her. Walked slowly and said:

“who the fuck you think you are? this is my house, my roof, you are sleeping on my couch and you have no fucking place here, your slumming off us because you are cheap like the whole Powell-Jones family. I’m sure of that now.”

My eyebrows raised and knew if this didn’t calm down in the next 0.002 seconds all hell was going to break lose.

You know when you watch something happen in front of you and you imagine 4000 different ways it could play out in a few seconds. So I acted.

Replying with:

“A, go to bed. Clearly you are intoxicated and not thinking straight. Think what you want but we will talk about this in the morning as there are things you do not know or understand.”

The she turned to me and said:

“fuck that I want your shitty sister out now.”

Then this all happened in slow motion to me.

She launched herself at my sister.

All 5 foot 3, size 6 white girl wasted self.

I could see her claws.

I jumped like a mother fucking cat. In my head all I had running was “swiper no swiping”.

She got her hands on my sister but I was right there. Pushed that girl off. She was small and I was wound up. I watched her stumble and then pick up a bottle of wine.

#real talk – I thought she was going to bottle and stab me and my sister. Instead she swung the bottle around yelling at house angry she was and that she was calling the police. She ran down the hall to her boyfriend and slammed the door behind her.

I looked at my sister and said “go to sleep, you can’t deal with this.”

She said: “na fuck that little bitch she needs a punch in the head.”

My sister cares a lot. She loves me a lot. Punches to the head weren’t going to help.

So I took a deep breath, walked down the hall and knocked on their door. A was screaming at B to call the police and he was just like “come to bed, lets deal with this in the morning.”

She went quiet and opened the door, looked me up and down and said “I hope this is your notice”.

I smiled and said “no.”

I then took another breath and replied with:

“the reason Jamie didn’t tell me that I was to NOT park in the car port was because I was in hospital with Emma.”

Then I let that lil bitch sit on that burn for a second. I followed with:

“she overdosed on her sleeping pills and has to stay over night. she did this because she is scared of this house, the environment that we have all created. the poor girl just wanted to sleep and I for one completely understand her situation. so please let us talk about this in the morning and I will explain everything. I am sorry for parking in the car port. I did not know.”

Then I witnessed something that still makes my skin crawl. She switched.

“oh my god, is she okay, what happened? can we go see her? we need to be with her!”

She starts yelling at B to get out of bed and get ready to go to the hospital.

I said that can’t go tonight as they won’t let them in, she can take visitors in the morning and we need to create a home for her to come back to.

A looked at me up and down again:

“what sort of person leaves a helpless 19 year old in the hospital? oh thats right you are Seren Powell-Jones, clearly some scum.”

Then closed the door in my face. I stood there for about 3 minutes listening to her debate with him over if they should go or not. They decided not to go.

I dragged myself back to bed.

Jamie was sitting in bed and that when I broke.

I begun to cry. I felt like someone watch jumping up and down on my chest and thats when the anxiety crawled into my throat. I couldn’t talk. My sister sat on our bed and said how she was so sorry.

But now I couldn’t breathe. I was having a panic attack.

Then I experienced the worst cycle to date.

I would be calmed down by Jamie. I would almost have my breath and then I would have flashbacks. Oh her in the doorway. Oh her launching herself at my sister, then they begun to change. The wine bottle was broken, my arms would bleed from her cutting into me. She was so aggressive and  there was nothing I could do to stop her.

Then I got out of control. I became Emma, erratic and unpredictable. I looked at Jamie, said we have to leave, go to a hotel, move the duchess in front of the door. Lock ourselves in. I needed my sister. I thought I would hear her being murdered through the door.

I became paralyzed with flashbacks and fear. This went on till 5 am.

My sister woke me to tell me that she was leaving. Her best friend was here to take her to the airport. She left safely.

That morning Jamie and I snuck out of our own home and drove Al’s Deli where I was a complete zombie.

We ate breakfast in silence because if he brought up what had just happened. I would cry and begin to shake.

The worst part was that we had to go back. To that house, to those people.