Wearing a Mask

Abuse is one of those horrible things that permeate everything in life; mine, his, ours… and when the repercussions rear their heads everyone gets hurt. We are thoroughly blessed to have the most amazing team around us, and have been unpacking layers of the onion for so long that it is hard to fathom now just how bad it used to be. We have a better, safer language now, we have dealt with some of the trauma and their sources, there has been rewiring done, and lessons learned… and deeper and deeper we go, and then almost out of nowhere we get close to the source.. and it hurts… it hurts like hell, and no one wants to look at it, face it, unpack it.

And so we run away… I run away from mine, or he runs away from his, and we hurt each other as we do so, as we try to protect ourselves, and rebuild that solid rock wall around us only to protect ourselves… but hurt the ones we do love.

But we can only do that so often and for so long… and eventually it comes the time to do what all this unpacking of the onion has been for in the first place, all the head room that has been created, each of the mechanisms to surround him in safety put into place. The preparation, the skills, the tools… and now we are here, and it is frightening. It feels like it came out of absolutely nowhere and yet we have been preparing for this for exactly 4 years now. We didn’t know that it would be now, all we knew was that it would be somewhere only a little bit under around 5 years, depending on how it went.

It wasn’t going to be nearly that long for us, we were the special ones that were going to do this so well that it wouldn’t take so long. But nothing could have prepared us for the pain of all those walls coming down, the fear and heartache and damage that it would unearth… the close calls, the danger, the risks…

But here we are and we are as ready as we will ever be … but wait! First we have to get through the week ahead. So many meetings and deadlines and work stuff that means that we won’t be going anywhere near the centre of the onion for about 10 days. We have to hold our breath, put on our masks, and be the best “normal” we can be.. we have to entertain and be warm and genuine and sweet. These are lovely people and this has been planned for months and an enormous amount is riding on it. It will already stretch me to my broken physical limits, but now it is also going to stretch me to my emotional limits.

img_3041Inside I am angry that we have to even do this. How could a parent do such a thing to a child? I get that we are all broken and we are all products of our own environment and family-of-origin, but some how the deliberate stuff I just can’t get how a mother could do such a thing… but I have to park all of that. I am so depleted and Mondays are supposed to be my rest and heal my body day, but instead I will be out the entire day doing all the right things…

And so we wear the mask this week, the week we feel least able to in a long time. But we can do this, and I can vent quietly and survive. I am so thankful for my on-line support and that we are not entirely alone in this!!! Carry me through this week please peeps!

Social Media and my Dyslexia.

The biggest problem that I am having with all this social media stuff is my dyslexia!

You can’t be typing the wrong word, or reading it wrong… and sadly there are no second chances. There isn’t an editor or autocorrect or even spell check on SM, and any combination of letters could mean something. Try looking up the misspelled #s and see (start typing the handle you are looking for and type a wrong letter and you would be surprised how many of them have hundreds if not thousands of entries).

It doesn’t help that my Eeds Eyes are not great either so when I post on my phone it is easy to miss the mistakes…

I hope that my spelling nightmares don’t ruin my writing career because of social media 😦

I really could NOT have done without your help today Cocoa! The whole message is wrong because of my typo 😦

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Instagram! Where have you been all my Life???

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I started an Instagram account a while back, but never really knew what to do with it. It always amazes me how something can be wrong at one point in our lives, and yet the exact same thing is “oh so right” at another time. Instagram is a perfect example of that for me. When I joined it somehow it felt pointless and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. So I just left it and I guess somewhere along the line it just fell off the shelf and was added to the detritus on the floor with all the other irrelevant trash of my life, destined for decomposition…

Then last week I decided that if I am going to finish writing my story and I want people to read it, then I need to engage with the world out there more, I need to share who I am and what I do, and so with great trepidation I gave in and opened a new account only a couple of days ago. What a world it has opened up for me! I LOVE taking photos of the things I see that I find beautiful on all kinds of levels and they seem to be different to the things that others notice and take photos of … the paint all over my fingers, the ceiling above me, a secret nook…

And so while I have always captured these things, I had no idea what to with the photos… and I have tens of thousands of them on my computer and about three thousand of them on my phone. I am in love! I have a LOT of catching up to do now… not just today and tomorrow, but I am tempted to put ALL of those old ones up as well! Throw back Thursday might have to be the day for all the old ones, or can I just put them up randomly?

To join the “Love your Spouse Challenge” … or not?

So in the past week I have been challenged by 2 lovely friends, one to participate in the love your spouse challenge, and the other to NOT participate in it (because it perpetuates the notion of only the top 5% of our lives goes on Facebook). For me both points are extremely valid, and so I have decided to try a mixture of both. I will accept the challenge and be posting the next 7 days (if nothing else than to give my friends a bit of a laugh!) But I will also be making a very real comment about the reality of life and the bottom 5%.
The first photo that I will share (with those close friends only of course, sorry you miss out) was taken a couple of months after our wedding, so we were still pretty blissful and extremely naive. In hindsight we really were just “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl” … united by our love, but (unknowingly at the time) also by our extreme brokenness, a very long and complicated family history, and a ton of baggage that we didn’t even know was there. We were sooo filled with hope, we owned nothing but a suitcase of belongings, a parachute, a handful of dollar bills, no ticket out, no roof over our heads, and total belief in each other. I had turned 21 a couple of weeks before, and he was 22… and so that was the caption that I put with the picture.
Tomorrow I will put up my favourite wedding pic… with a caption about all the unromantic things, the “mistakes” behind the scenes and so on (the bottom 5% of the occasion) … and so on through the week…
I didn’t nominate anyone in particular but I did challenge anyone who would like to take up the opportunity to share some special moments, but to include the bottom 5% stuff that is behind the pretty pictures.
Which side of the fence are you, or are you like me and appreciate both sides? If so, don’t wait to be nominated … post away (and if you aren’t married, I am sure that there is space for all kinds of relationships to be celebrated… including you and your cat !!)

Who is Jennifer Peacock-Smith?


Author PicJennifer was born in South Africa in the late sixties, into the worlds of apartheid, feminism, and strict religion, to parents struggling to find their own place in the world and to make a difference. Lost in their battle to be different, better, “cleverer” than those before them or around them, and her mother’s fight to break moulds, little Jenny fell between the cracks. Born a girl instead of a boy, bubbly instead of serious, fun and talented instead of academic, everything about her was “wrong”.

Neglect doesn’t always look like dirty or starved or diseased or beaten. Neglect is chronic and often invisible. In a small bubble entirely cut off from the rest of the world, scrawny little Jenny’s voice, squashed by her parent’s need to find their own, is swiftly silenced, again and again. However, her shine refused to die and survived within her as a spark, a fighting spirit, and a sense of hope that defies logic.

It took her five decades, six countries, multiple diagnoses, and ultimately a physical and emotional collapse for little Jenny to successfully find her voice, to thrive, to get the medical and psychological care she needed, and to begin the journey to a place of sanity and peace. Her story is one of crushing loneliness and isolation, but more than that, it’s ultimately a story of resilience, hope, and redemption in ways that she could never have imagined.

Jennifer, a mentor, counsellor, artist, and now a successful author, writes for various blogs, The Mighty, and other public spaces on neglect, emotional abuse, anxiety, disability and chronic illness. You can find her on most social media platforms under @JPeaSmith (see below for direct links to all these places and more).

Jennifer is the author of “The Lion and the Peacock” and the first in her epic story “My Africa My Home – The Fault in the Family Memoir Book One”, which is available on eBook in your preferred Amazon country, including (but not limited to USAusUK, and Canada

From Jennifer:

Jennifer is my name, Peacock-Smith is my pen name as well as a very special family name (you’ll have to read the book to find out where it comes from but that’s not out as yet, it’s coming though!)

If you’d like to receive not just free, but exclusive updates, photos, and otherwise unpublished books, for free, then sign on for my “big news only” Newsletters (I promise I won’t spam you! I only send them when something important is happening) then click HERE.

  Newsletter link:  http://eepurl.com/cvljU9

Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

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First post on my phone!

I’m so sorry to have three days of social media posts but I have decided to focus these few days solidly on getting this right once and for all so that it becomes second nature quickly and also so that the stupid mistakes are out of the way before I get too many followers! 

This post is simply having a go at blogging directly from my phone using my WordPress App, and to ask for a little feedback …

PLEEEEEASE tell me if I am doing anything wrong or if you find it hard to “like” “comment” “follow” any of these things (with no pressure to actually do any of those things of course!)


Update on social media glitch:

So about an hour or so ago I posted about my experiences jumping into the deep end of social media, (keeping in mind that I am not a total newbie, I have been on Facebook almost daily since 2009, have been blogging regularly since 2011, and loove Pinterest… but I have never linked those accounts, wanted to promote myself or what I do, and Twitter and Instagram are both new (other than minor dabbling).

It has been a long day and I need to go to bed (it is nearly midnight here in deep dark Africa!). So I am sorry to post such a boring post but it would appear that connecting all social media accounts to each other has resulted in them all sharing each other! So this is what I have learnt so far:

1: The bulk of my writing and all that is serious is written here on my three WordPress blogs. So I wanted whatever to be connected to come from here. Instagram and Pinterest don’t automatically post for you, but Facebook and Twitter do. So I did that.

2: Sometimes I will post pictures or other comments on Facebook or Instagram, so I connected both of them to Twitter…

3: So when I posted a blog, it shared straight to Twitter (yay!) and straight to Fb (yay!) but then Fb shared it’s post to Twitter as well! So I was going to delete the link between Fb and Twitter but then when ever I post to fb it won’t automatically go to Twitter, so again logic, it was the connection between WordPress and Twitter that I deleted. This way I can post blogs and they will automatically post to Facebook, who will THEN post to Twitter, AND, when I put other things on Facebook, they too will go to Twitter.

I am now hoping that this works that way… here goes…

Update a minute later: worked perfectly and no double posts either!! WOOHOO! This post is once on fb and once on Twitter… and the Twitter tweet has the wordpress address and link on it 🙂IMG_6082

Time to hit social media head on…

OK, so over the past week both blogger Ren and writer Marie McLean have encouraged me to hit the big bad world of social media head on and to sign up to all the twittery things that get your writing out there. They both make it sound so simple but it isn’t! … I thought that I was doing pretty well after thirteen hours straight. Yes you read that right, I started at 9am straight after brekkie, ate a snack for my “lunch” at 3pm while I typed, had dinner (which was not much better) at 6pm… and it is now 10.30 at night…

I was just starting to feel that despite my poor fried brain, I had started to get a vague “#handle” on things when suddenly I started tweeting without meaning to! Somehow linking between accounts may not have been the best idea when there are a lot of photos involved in what I do (and so Facebook posts like this:

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which look great, however they have come out on Twitter like this:

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(the bottom one appeared as a connection from Instagram, the middle was then from fb as I shared my Instagram photo on my Facebook page (neither of which showed the photo) and then the top one was a different photo that I shared to Facebook. I have NO idea whether to remove the #JPeaSmith handles from my Instagram photos, or disconnect all the Apps from each other or what! (or how!!)… HELP!

…. Oh, and I would hate to think what posting this is going to do!! Here goes…..


1: It looks fabulous on Twitter (yay!)

2: It automatically tweeted FOUR times (yes, four times!!) All identical! why??

3: Hmmm… it automatically posted twice on Facebook! … I think that there is some overkill going on here….

4: Nothing at all happened to Instagram or Pinterest (whew… I think!)

Conclusion as of now: WordPress tweeted it directly and sent it to fb directly … but why twice (for both)? ….and I think that Facebook then automatically tweeted it too…

Step one: remove link between fb and twitter right now! … (although I will post things straight to fb and they won’t go to Twitter then?) double help!!!

Update an hour later: https://jenniferpeacocksmith.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/update-on-social-media-glitch/

Following the Other Things I Do:

So I don’t just blog, I also have a chronic illness (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), and while it not only affects every day of my life but every single step I take (literally), I do manage to do other things:

I also blog on Chronic Illness and my journey with EDS:


I write (as well as blog), …. I am in the process of writing my story, I hope that 2016 will be the year that I get it all onto paper, with the hope at the end, someone will want to publish it (them? …It’s looking like a trilogy at the moment…)

And I create. I used to teach classes in all kinds of creative spend a lot of time in bed, and I have learnt how to adjust my life so that I can do all sorts of things in small broken apart jobs over long periods of time, from my bed. So here are some of the things that I create.


Follow me on Twitter: @JPeaSmith

or Instagram: jenniferpeacocksmith

Pinterest: Jennifer Peacock-Smith

or even Facebook: Jennifer Peacock-Smith

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The Hippy, the Potter and the Queen!

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I have just finished having the most hilarious lunch I’ve had in a long time. It was the seventy third birthday of an old friend of mine, and I basically gate crashed without meaning to. Who would purposely want to gate crash a seventy third birthday lunch anyway right? WRONG! There was my dear birthday friend and myself (who is still this side of fifty!), and the other three seventy-ish guests; the Hippy, the Potter and the Queen. I named each of them because they almost fitted so neatly into boxes ….but I need you to know that I mean that in the most wonderful of ways. These women are all survivors one way or another (and you know that I love survivors), and they were each in their own ways so very strong, transparent, real, and beautiful in their own skin. Mostly because they were no longer trying to fit anyone else’s worlds, or be who anyone else wanted them tobe. They were survivors because of the hard knocks of life but also because they have looked the worst that life can throw one in the face and stuck up their middle fingers…

Let me introduce you to the Hippy who wore sun glasses straight out of the seventies atop her wild haired head, and her layers of skirts and beaded necklaces and jewellery draped around her neck, wrists and beautiful artist’s fingers. There was nothing dated or ridiculous or “mutton dressed up in lamb” about her. With her almost constant stream of cigarettes in one hand and infectious and genuine laugh, there is nothing incongruous about her at all.

Then there was the Queen. She looks and behaves nothing like the Queen of England, but she would give Jacqui Kennedy a run for her money in her stunning mint designer cardigan with perfectly matching scarf that was clearly bought not as a matching set but by someone with an eye for perfection and grace. Her hair was coiffed yet flowed (as apposed to a solid, hair sprayed number) and her nails were nude but stunning. Yet she had no airs or graces about her and she was anything but a princess…

The third guest was the Potter. An amazing potter I am told, and certainly gave me (a novice potter at best) so much help and advice so lovingly and freely and helpfully. I find myself stuck on how to describe her as easily as the Hippy and the Queen. She had a style of her own somewhere in between with her stunning pearl earrings and potters hands, … and the almost constant cigarette in her hand.

These women are not and never have been, bored housewives or free loaders of any kind. They work hard with earth and clay, fabric and fibre, paint and silver, but also with people’s hearts. They are still deeply involved volunteers in really tough trauma situations and have given back to the community at incredible levels. Some of them have Masters degrees.

As the wine began to ever so gently flow and they kindly shared with me some of their stories, I laughed and laughed longer than I have in ages. And I am not talking about stories of their misspent youth either … those stories are old and boring and buried under a life time of bigger, better, more tragic, more wonderful, more amazing stories, and while it wasn’t those lifetimes of stories that they were sharing either, it is with the eyes of hindsight and all those experiences, that these recent stories were being told…

Somehow stories of teenagers getting drunk, sneaking weed into cookies, and smoking behind the bicycle shed are boring. Anyone can do that and when you don’t have wisdom or guidance, and you have a lifetime of consequences ahead of you … it can be just plain stupid. But when you have lived much of that life and that life has knocked you for six on more than one occasion, and you have loved and laughed and died on the inside, done everything you “should” do… well, then maybe you can do what these and I am sure many septuagenarians are doing, and having fun…

Think “Eat Pray Love”  meets “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and you have stories about freezers full of hash cookies, bottles of whiskey smuggled on spiritual retreats to India, and smoking with the dead bodies in the crematorium because that is the only place where  no one will smell the lit cigarettes. This isn’t the only conversation that I have had this year with a septuagenarian that has included some or all of these things (the other was on a trip to Amsterdam and by trip, …well, you know what I mean) and I am starting to see that not all of us will have to grow old to be mouldy, grumpy or boring. I am not condoning drugs of course, yes we must all drink alcohol responsibly and smoking of all kinds is a no no … but you know what? …there is a big old life out there to be lived and it doesn’t just start to fade once you get past half way!

Thank you ladies for an inspiring and hilarious afternoon, and yes please with bells on to that invitation to your next party !