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2013. The children are four and one. We are under siege by a diagnosed psychopath. He stalks us. He threatens us. The police are involved. Social services are involved. Both fail to protect us. We have to protect ourselves in the only way we can, by trying to disappear. between march and august, the children and I are suddenly homeless. For five months we sleep on floors, couches and other peoples' beds, around the country and beyond. we have a rucksack with some clothes, a few toys and books.
Now, a decade later, I can see that we were lucky. we had each other. And we had some generous friends and relatives who shared their homes, their food, their music with us. I made a little money selling belongings online, so we got by. I tried to give the children what all children need and deserve: love, security and space to grow, both mentally and physically. I used what little savings I had to buy a camera, which I had so longed for , but not granted myself. Sounds like madness, but something inside told me now was the time. And it was the soundest investment I ever made. The camera saved me and therefore, us.
We struggled on after the events. For nine years, Life has often been about little more than trying to make ends meet. I naively thought that we would find some respite after everything we went through, but life just carried on relentlessly and we had to get on with doing 'normal' things like work and pay rent and get the kids to school. There was no time to rest, no time to recover. We felt totally alienated. It was difficult to fit in and talk about the weather after such turmoil.
I have avoided going back to that period, suppressing all thoughts and feelings about it, ensuring I am too busy to stop and let it catch up with me. In a way, I have continued to be on the run since 2013. But, after a move to another country, I finally feel safe again, ready to confront our history. It is too important to bury. what happened to us is still happening to others.
So I made a book. It tells the story of how we became homeless and what being homeless with small children was like for us. The most important part is the images, however. though I had absolutely no idea how a camera worked or how to make pictures, I knew my my eyes and my heart.
This book has been accepted by Dewi Lewis.
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