This will be one of my most difficult and challenging writing tasks I will ever undertake. Not because writing a mini-biography is difficult, I have written enough in my professional life to have one pretty much ready to run at any given time; what is difficult about writing About the Mouse is that the Mouse is that part of me which I never talk about.
Mouse is the me that possibly only 5 people, possibly maybe only 4, know, exists. Mouse is the man behind the persona, all the layers of persona. Beneath the confident and outgoing Mouse, is the truth of a lifelong battle with anxiety; indeed, behind each layer of who I present to the world is the Mouse.
Behind the play on words, is a timid, scared little boy. Frightened by the world, unsure of his place, desperate for positive affirmation, devoid of direction, and lonely; especially lonely in crowded places. A physically big mouse, who does what strong people do, not because he likes it, but because that is what his peers would do. The little boy, between love and approval, he learned to mimic, to, as he grew, become what he was supposed to become, without this being congruent with how he felt. Discovering the world in the pre-Google age left him at sea, in the wrong boat, going in the wrong direction, to the wrong shore of a very wrong land. Mouse left school devoid of useful qualification or social skills.
By 19, Mouse learned that alcohol and drugs could make the problems go away, he had not learned that what he felt was pain, all he knew was that he was wrong, broken and scared. Self-medication made the fear go away, self-medication stopped him feeling wrong, self-medication made the nights shorter, and the nightmares go away.
Fast forward, the Mouse is sitting, having a long while since had his 40th birthday, putting off writing the most difficult thing he will write; procrastinating on paper. Mouse is avoiding the truth, because the truth still hurts. Mouse does not say it, because by speaking it, Mouse gave it power.
My name is Mouse and I am a domestic abuse survivor!
That is right: survivor, for too long Mouse ducked, and weaved to avoid the word, Victim. Mouse is not a Victim, he was once, but he survived.
This is not a blog about domestic violence, this Mouse cannot face recounting those years, he has not learned to separate storytelling from reliving the moments every time. Yet, of course, those years are part of who I, Mouse, have become, I am not the Mouse I once was, my life has made me who I am. Instead, this is the stuff I could not say with my name attached; I have to avoid provoking my abuser, who through children still has a chink of access to my life, and through the joy of family courts, has managed to get an opening that can and will be used against me should I ever slip up. She has destroyed before; this abuser is as smart as she is brutal, the risk is too high, there is more than my life involved this time.
On the positive, while not sharing my new life, I hope I can convey that I am settled, remarried, healing very nicely. In my new home, I have opportunities and circumstances that I believed only happened to other people. And that is what survivors do, they get up and the start again, from nothing if they have to, and they keep going, a victim does not.
Mouse has chosen not to be a victim, Mouse believes no-one should choose to be a Victim; victim is a disease, it happens to you, it is forced against your will on to you. And like disease or injury, we get through it, and we are able to choose a positive identity, a new life, and end that chapter of our story.