Overcoming A Lifetime Of Adversity w/ Peter Woods
On this episode of Life Is Sound, we hear the incredible story of Peter Woods, who spent 18 years in the care system enduring numerous adversities from being moved from one home to another and suffering emotional and physical abuse during his childhood. Peter shares his story of finding love with a man he met in Amsterdam, and sadly, losing him which led to a profound sadness that lasted for a decade. He also discusses living as an openly gay man in prison, struggling with claustrophobia, and the psychological impact of spending years in the care system. Peter's unique journey has taught him the importance of being true to oneself and is now using his powerful story to help others. In all my years on this planet, it's safe to say I have not yet heard a story quite like Peters until now.
So join us as we learn about Peter's journey towards the very much deserved self-healing and overcoming a lifetime of adversity
*Warning* - this episode contains discussions about child abuse and sexual assault. If any of this discussion has affected you in anyway please feel free to reach out to our therapist and regular guest, Maureen Fearon Click HERE for her website.
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Life is good life is sound hello, good people, and welcome back to Life Is Sound with me, your host, James Mayer. Today's guest I saw on TikTok. And as soon as I saw his story, I dropped him a message and we were in contact and he took the train up from London today to be here. So, Mr Peter Woods, I want to say a huge welcome to Manchester and thank you for coming to do this today. I really appreciate it. Well, thank you very much, because I feel like Humpty Dumpty who had a big fall, I'm not sure if I can be put back together again, but by telling my story, it's a good start. So thank you very much for having me here. It means a lot. Appreciate it. And let's talk about a bit what's happened for you recently with TikTok, which has led you to go and do James English's podcast, which is a huge podcast. Yes. And I went and watched a little bit of that. I reserved half of it because I thought if I watch it all, I'm not going to be here, not knowing. I want to keep a bit of your story and mystery to my brain while we're in the moment. But how did that come about with TikTok? Because you posted something, you went viral with it. Well, what happened last year, I didn't have a lot of money. I was down to about two pound and I wasn't getting any more money for another ten days. So I did a post of my fridge, opened my fridge and there was nothing in the fridge, opened the drawers where the food is supposed to be, and I had about three cans of tuna and I wasn't getting any money for ten days. So basically, I just took an innocent video trying to hoping somebody in the government would see the state of the environment for people who are all struggling with the cost of living. So, anyway, so I made the video and I just put it on the internet. I went to bed, didn't get up for two days because I looked a bit depressed because I didn't have any money and I felt really down for this and that. And then my friend, he called me and said, Peter, you gone viral. I said, what's that? I didn't know what it was. He said, So I turned on TikTok and millions and millions of people have seen that. And that's how it started. I started getting messages from all over the world and have you seen the parcels everybody sent? Yeah, I saw that. Incredible parcels and money. But the greatest thing was I was sitting at home after the Tuesday, because I posted it on a Sunday. So I was sitting at home Tuesday night, had a window open and I heard, Peter, Peter, Peter. I looked out the window, there were two people with bags of food, complete strangers who saw the TikTok and come round and I was moved. Yeah, it's incredible. It's incredible, because most of my life, nobody's cared. Nobody's cared at all. I've been through some really bad things and nobody cared. So for two complete strangers who took the time to buy food for me and to find out where I was was, nobody knew where I was. The only way they found out, because in my window I've got a bright light at the Eiffel Tower and it's colored with lights. So they worked out where I live. So it's what means they searched out for me. I never had that kind of compassion in my life. So I was very moved. I went downstairs, I had a chat with them, I thanked them very much for their humanity and their kindness, and then I went upstairs and I laid all the food down out, and I just was blown away. And then on the Wednesday, the same thing happened again. I was at home again feeling a little bit better because I was getting some attention and people were caring. Peter, Peter, Peter. And there was a black guy out there with some food and he gave me ten pound, and I was just blown away by because up to then, nobody cared. Nobody cared. And the thing with me is, my school report said, peter does not respond to formal discipline, but the moment you show him any kindness, you have him eating out your hand. And it's always been like that with me because I'm not used to kindness, because I didn't get any kindness as a child. Nobody gave me any love. Nobody gave me any kindness. So for me, when people do kind things, see. Let'S jump back into that, Peter, why this means so much to you? And when people show you this type of love and affection, why it's so powerful to you? Well, it's so powerful because I never had it. I never had it as a child. My story is it goes back to the 1960s when my dad tried to kill my mum with a knife and resulted in five of his children being put in the care system. So I was put in a care system when I was eight months. And I have to tell you, it's not a care system. There's no care at all. It's psychological and soul murder. It's a second by second assault on the soul. It's a day to day degradation of the self. It's an oppressive system that transfers seconds into hours and hours into days. I mean, there's nothing there for us at all. Every child, every child in care lives a quiet life of desperation. We're desperate for any kind of touch or love because we don't get anything. So to be a child and to not have love in the beginning of your life is very disturbing. And how long were you in that care system? I was in the care system for 18 years. There's a report that says I remember reading it and it said, george, Stephen and David, the brothers of mine and Peter, all sitting on the floor. George, Stephen, David, are happy playing together over there. Peter is sitting on his own over there. All attempts to coach him into playing with his brothers end up with Peter crying. Peter, age four, is very disturbed at the moment. He's rocking back and forth because I was missing my mum, I was missing their love. The other ones brothers, I worked it out, what they did very young, what they did, they're very clever, they turned off their emotions very young to get through the care system. That's the only way they could do it. I couldn't do it because I'm born with a personality trait, a highly sensitive person. Only 15% of the population were born like that. It's not highly sensitive, it's a personality trait, which makes me extremely when I say extremely sensitive, I mean extremely like, if most people had my sensitivity, they wouldn't be here now, they would have died because the stress would have been too much. So we're born, we see things and we feel things that you couldn't possibly see or feel. I mean, a prime example, my ex, we had an argument about four or five years ago in Spain, and I didn't know he had bipolar at the time. I was on the full floor and we were talking and he was very upset with me. I don't know what I did, but he was screaming and shout at me and I was telling him, please calm down, calm down. I'm only about two foot away from him, right? I didn't know in that world, because we was only in the relationship about six months, so I'm on the third floor, I'm about two foot away from him. He makes a movement that is 2 in them 2 knew exactly what he was going to do. I went, no, you're not. And in them 2 CM, that told me he was going to jump out the window. Now, how did I know that? Nobody could possibly know in that 2 CM. But this is how we are. We know what's going on when you couldn't possibly know. So for me to be in the care system and not receive any love, not receive anything at all, it really goes to the core of who you are as a child, as a person, as a human being. Does that make sense? Yeah, of course. What age were you when you started to realize that you weren't in a place that's normal life, quote unquote, where you started to realize you weren't getting maybe the love that you saw other people get? And what age were you around when you spotted that? Well, I was in these system from eight months, but I think when I was about six or seven, when I went to school and speaking to all my school friends and talking about the dad and talking about the mum, I'm looking at them and thinking, I'm picking to myself, this is not good. I don't know how I'm going to make it, but I've been crying all my life. I'm always crying because I'm very emotional. And not only that, I'm very hurt. It's very hurt. I'm very damaged. What they put me through, no human being should go through that because there's nothing for me. They were beating me, they were doing very bad things to me. I had to go to speech therapy to learn to talk and even now it's affected me because I don't pronounce my words properly but I had to go to speech therapy to learn to talk because they ignored you. So I was pronouncing my words very bad. So this is what we call it neglect. It was severe neglect. Every person should be getting a cuddle, every person should be getting some kind words, every person should be getting some kind of kindness because I didn't feel human. Didn't feel human. I think that's one thing you said to me when we spoke on the phone when we first connected with each other, 18 years, I'm being shown no love, nothing, and being fed the basic food supplies. And I think growing up in that time that you grew up, especially your skin tone being the color that it is and the prejudice you probably would have felt when you raised awareness in that system, it was landing on deaf ears a lot. Well, you know, you see and one day I was about six, I overheard two of my carers say, nose, you never heard that black children and mixed race children are less likely to be adopted and more likely to spend the rest of the childhood in care. I was horrified when I heard that. So that night I went upstairs and in a bath and I had a scrubbing brush and I tried to scrub myself white, I tried to scrub myself because I didn't want to be in that care system for another twelve years. I couldn't, it's not good for me. So I tried to scrub myself, right? The matron come in and saw me and she started crying and she's, peter, someone's going to love you, someone's going to look after you, someone's going to take you away from here. And she even said that she wanted to help me and take me away, but she's only a carer. So basically I was so desperate just for love, just to have somebody to be there for me instead of me being on my own. So I felt it, I felt it from a young age because I'm sensitive. My brothers, they didn't feel it, they didn't feel it. They were laughing and joking. They picked on me because I was a sensitive one. They made me most of my life people have made me feel terrible because I'm so sensitive. Oh, is it on. You a bit weak. Only a bit weak. And I knew I was never weak. I knew. In fact, I'm very strong because I show people who I am. We can all cry behind closed doors and many people do that. I cry in front of people because I'm human. And if I'm hurting, I should be able to cry. Why should I hide? I'm not hiding. It's seen as a weakness. And in fact, it's the reverse of that 100% sensitivity. And especially when it fetch your perceptions and you can see it. Like you said, 2 movement in someone. You can read things before they happen. It's actually like a superpower, in a way. It's a superpower. It's a blessing and I'm happy to have it. But when you had my type of life, it's not great thing to have because it means when you do get hurt, you get hurt tremendously. To a point where you always want to finish it and go insane. I mean, the pain I've carried, the hurt, the despair, the sadness. I'm very similar in a way where I'm super sensitive to things. I've heard that a lot throughout my life. Especially from partners. You're so sensitive, you overthink a lot. And another prime example. I was in New York, walking down the road. I met some guy. Anyway, we went back and we had a nice time. And in the morning I walked in there. He was making some food. Blaze Hancock, his name was. What a name. I thought, he's a porn star. Anyway, so I walked in the morning and my back was against him. I was looking out the window and I said, Blaze, how are you this morning? He said, I'm okay, I'm okay. And I said, Blaze I said, how are you this morning? He said, I'm okay, I'm okay. I said, Blaze, how are you this morning? Then he stopped. He went. He said, what's wrong? I said, no, what's wrong with you? As I say, I only just met him, so I don't know. And he said to me, Well, I have to go to pick up the ashes from the parlor from my brother who died. I said your brother died. I said, how did he die? He told me. I went, oh, my God. I said to him, do you have anybody to go with? He said, I have nobody to go with to pick up my ashes. My brother's ashes. I said, well, you do now. He went, who? I went me. He went, yeah, but you're on a holiday. I said, don't worry about that. I said, It will be an honor coming to pick up your brother's ashes. But how did I know something was wrong? I don't even know him. This is what I say, it's up on it. But it's extreme sensitivity. So that means when bad things happen to me, I feel it beyond the heart. What age were you when you spotted that is that something you've spotted later in life on your journey or did you spot it quite young that you had that it's a gift really no. It is a gift right? Because I've helped people as well. So it is a gift. But when you have my life, is it a gift because it means that. You feel it means more? Yeah, but you feel it too. I don't think people understand. I say it's not sensitive. We're highly sensitive. It's a personality trait. So when I say I'm sensitive, people say, yeah, I'm sensitive, but it's a completely different thing. It's a personality trait I'm born with. So it means that if two people looking at the picture, if 85% of the people look at a photograph, they will see what they see. But when I look at the same photograph, I will see things in there they missed. And it's the same in life. We see everything. You don't even have to talk. I'll get your energy straight away. The way you walk into, say, just energy. The way you come to me, the way you approach me, your eyes, the way you talk to me, the words you use. We pick up on everything. So my dad taught me this from early so my dad's mixed race. He suffered a lot of prejudice. Yeah, early in his life. My granddad taught him how to fight from being age four. Said didn't tell him why, but taught him how to fight. Obviously, that came into play later in life, but my dad knew how to figure people out straight away because he knew what angle they were going to come at him. And without me realizing, he taught me that. Now I've not suffered those same prejudice. I've suffered it micro ways along the years as I've felt subtle racism, not to the level my dad would have in the what were some of the things you experienced in the care system at that age? Did you see probably more love being shown to white children? Did you feel a separation in how you were treated towards people that were different to you for different well when. I was in the children's home in Maswall Hill it was a children's home of about twelve of us and half of them were white right? And all the white ones, after about one or two, three or four years, they managed to find parents. They got adopted. The black kids never got adopted. And that was so heart wrenching because I realized that most of my childhood I was either in a state of bereavement or constant pining. Now, what I mean by that is bereavement because of my mum and dad. Bereavement because the carers who had become like parents, they left. So every time they left, it was another blow. It was never lost. And when the children got parents as well, I was pining for them because they become like brothers. So my whole child, I was grieving. And that's the fact. I just realized that the other day. Who has a life where you grieve your whole childhood? Multiple people leaving. Do you got the workers that are there, everyone's leaving, doing a job. Every time I open my heart to a carer, kind of like she's a Peter, I'm leaving. Tears, tears, tears, tear, terrible tears. Because again, I wasn't eating my food. I was going for long walks. I was depressed. I was only eight, nine. They left, and then a year later, someone else left, and then the boy got adopted. And I'm sad and I'm missing my brothers, and I just have to sit there and cry because I know nobody's coming to give me a hug, nobody's coming to do anything. And you were separated from your brothers at one point. How did that sit with you? That can't have been again, nobody told me. Well, there's four of us in that home there and nobody told me. And one day I was about eight, nine, I come home from school and George and David, they went to another home. And I say, where are my brothers? They said have gone. I said have gone where? Go to another home. I said, what do you mean? They go to number home? They're my brothers. They said, I've got over there, I just had to drop on the floor and cry. And this wasn't the days where you can jump on a mobile phone and say, they're just down the road. Down the road back then was really you might not see. I was only eight, so all I heard is, they're not here anymore. So there's another abandonment. And then my brothers, that's all I have to hold on to. So when they left, obviously I was pining again and sad again. So it was a whole childhood of pining for people. And it's a very unusual childhood to have. I mean, who pines? Pines for 18 years. So that under racism. How I saw that was more the TV programs, they used to have a famous one on every Saturday. It was very big over here called the Black and White Minstrel Show. Big Lips and Afro It made you feel bad about yourself. And then they had a jam jar you could buy in the shop of a golly wog, a big golly wog. And so you got that and then you got the skinheads going around beating black people. And I think you never hardly saw a black face on TV in them days. Never. Hardly. So after hearing what the the matron said about black kids are not getting adopted, it made me feel bad about being black. There was no positive black people around, didn't see any there's no I had nobody to look up to. There was nobody coming to rescue me in that sense. It was all negativity coming from every direction at the same time. I mean, my school report, oh, pizza there's something wrong with Peter's brain. His IQ is not great and he's not behaving himself, and we don't want any more disturbed children from that home. And I was only ten, but what they don't realize is I was in survival mode. The children went to school, they were in learning mode, I wasn't. I was in survival mode because of everything was trauma around me and I'm just shocked that nobody picked it up. And you wouldn't have picked up at that age. You're just living it, you're in it, you're experiencing it. I'm just taking blow after blow. Yeah. And what would you say when you were in the care system for the 18 years? What were some of the darker, harder moments and how did you get through. Them, the darker, harder moments? Well, my dad, in the early days, he used to try to make an effort to come down and see us every five or six months. So when I heard he was coming, and I was only about maybe eight or nine, I heard he was coming, I was all excited. And then when he didn't come I remember them days when he didn't come because you waited for your dad to come and you're excited he didn't come. They were very disappointment days and that happened quite a lot. But the darkest days in 82 Muzzle Avenue I know what the darkest day was in 82 Muzzle Avenue was, so I've been in there for eleven years. It's my home, it's the only home I know. And now there's a new person come, a matron. And me and her didn't get on. She was a bit rude and she wasn't friendly and we were all a little bit scared of her because she was a bit abrapt as well. And her husband, he was violent to us now. He used to come home from work and we all in the front room and he said, everybody be quiet now, I'm going to listen to the news. So I used to talk to my friends and he used to call me to come over. You come over. And I walked over to him and he used to conquer us on the head, like, boom. And he said, he said, I told you to be quiet now. So he bring violence into the home. It's never been like it before and we were all terrified of him. Whenever he come home, we always like, really quiet. So I didn't go with his wife. And I know one morning before school, we had some kind of fight. She sat on me, she's big, fat she sat on me. Get off. So I went to school and when I come back, we go around the back and we come in. As I walked past the TV room, I got jumped by free men, three big men, I don't know who the word, they jumping me, dragging me and pulling me. I was crying, I didn't know what was happening. I was scared. Nobody was saying anything, said, you come in, VAS. And I was literally terrified because it's my home and suddenly there's free men in there I've never seen before. They are, they're pulling me and dragging me and not hitting me, but they're really being rough with me. So they'd take me outside to open a car. They chat me in the car. Once there, once there, I'm screaming and shouting, what's happening? They shut your mouth and they drive me somewhere else and they drive me to a new home. A new home, and it's in the same area, but it's a new home. And they put me there and said, you got to stay here now. And I couldn't say goodbye to my brothers. I couldn't take any clothes, I couldn't take anything. And I was scared. I didn't know what was happening. And I was in this new home and I was a young kissing there and all the boys were being horrible, nobody was there for me, nobody cared. And he just left me there, who is over? So I was traumatized. And then I went to bed that night and all the boys got up, all the boys got up and pissed all over my head, pissed all over me and they were not being nice. And so the next morning I run away, had to run away from there. I couldn't stay, I couldn't say like that, I had to run. So I run away and I slept in a cardboard box. That night I saw a cardboard box underneath a bridge, so I slept in the cardboard box. And then the next morning I was cold and I saw the police and I went to the police and they said, oh, you're the one who run away from that home. And then they came and got me and took me to a different home, somewhere else, completely different from that home. So in a matter of days, I've been to three different establishments. But that was very traumatizing because I was really scared, I didn't know where I was going. Does that make sense? Of course, yeah. And that's traumatized even to now. Even now, because I go back there, see all my trauma, nobody's ever healed it. The thing is, when a child is harmed so young, it's like someone pulling the wires out of electric toy circuit. You can put the wires back, but there will always be damage underneath. You will always get some short circuiting until the damage is repaired. My damage has never been repaired. Never. And I'm trying to do it now at my age, because I don't want to go to the grave feeling, carrying this hurt. So it's my duty now to try to heal myself. Does that make sense? Yeah. Because from my toes to the top of my head, I'm full of trauma. I mean, look, when you're in the care, for 18 years, every day's trauma every day. Every day. All children in care get damaged emotionally, we get damaged spiritually and our hearts get broken. We can break physically, mentally, the system breaks our spirit and all these things leave marks on our souls and our hearts. This is not ordinary suffering. This is really suffering from the soul. Because I felt every blow. I felt every word. They told me I was dirt. They told me I was rubbish. I was never going to amount to anything. I used to stutter because I was so nervous even to speak, because I got shut down. It comes from every dingle. Every aspect of my life was horrible. Does that make sense? And I'm only young, so you can imagine how I felt it. I felt it. And this is why I'm crying now. Because I carry this pain with me always. Still raw. Yeah, it's too raw. Because you know why? It's never been addressed. And maybe this is a really horrible thing to say, but I have to say it. I don't think even God can take away because it's in my DNA from young. When you're older and you go through trauma, you can understand it, you can rationize it, you have friends to help you through it. When you're young, it goes straight in there because you can't run from it. You don't understand it. And it goes into your DNA, it goes into your vessels, it goes into your heart, it goes into your soul. And it's deep, I mean profoundly deep to the core of who you are when you're young. Because you can't rationalize it. All you can do is feel it. And I mean when I say feel it, I mean I'm sitting in a chair and I'm feeling it, feeling it, and then it's in there. And then guess what? The next day something else happens. I shouldn't be alive with that kind of stress because it's not normal. I was born is it cortisol? What is that stress hormone? Cortisol. I'm born with that. That's in me from day one. That's part of who I am. That's my makeup. That's who I am because it was there from day one. When you look back at the people who you were with along the journey of the care system, I know you've briefly mentioned, but you've not discussed it. Those people, a lot of your friends aren't here now. They did take the lives well. This is why. The other day when I went shopping, I bought myself this medal and I went with pride because I survived my childhood. I got through it. I was in a war. It was a battle. And every day I was getting battered and there's angrenades coming over and I had to take shelter many times. But I wear this with pride because I got through it. But then I had eleven friends who didn't get through it. And I wear this for them because I know the pain they. Were carrying I know how hurt they were and I don't know what it is with me, but I seem to be resilient, seems to be born in me. I mean, is that in me? Because however bad it got, I have a terrible it was, however sad I was, how many tears it was, I always managed to put 1ft in front of the other and carry on, when really I should have just lay down. Put it this way if I knew what my child would have been like because it wasn't a childhood so I wouldn't even say it was a childhood, but if I knew what my younger days would have been like, I would have instantly stopped breathing. Because I don't think anybody should go for that kind of depravity. We shouldn't be doing that. It's a care system and I was a sweet boy and I'm a sweet person now, even at my age now everybody calls me, it's my personality, I'm a sweet person, I don't try to be, this is who I am. So can you imagine when I was young, I was really sweet to everybody and I'm just looking for a bit of love, I'm trying to get something and every year we suffer from skin hunger, you know skin hunger is you. Mentioned it, yeah, to me, yeah. So can you imagine being young and suffering from skin hunger? And skin hunger is the biological need for human touch, which we all pray for. It's one of the reasons why babies in the near NATO intensive care units are placed on the parents chest. The reason why prisoners in solid confinement often crave human contact as fiercely as food. Or when you hear beautiful music, you can reach into your soul. Having an embrace from someone you care about can really make you feel good. Like, as I said the other day, I went shopping and the guy behind the till touched my hand gently, gently, only for a few seconds, but it was like a water, an old sponge. I soaked it up quickly. But this is skin hunger you crave touch. I want someone nobody touched us the only time they touched us, if they want to beat us or rape us and these things happened, I got both of them, I'm afraid, in the care system, because it was very sexual in the care system. That's something you experienced in the care system, you felt like you went through those things as well. Yeah, I didn't want to ask you that, I was waiting for you to arrive at that point. But are you happy to share? Yeah, I'll share it with my fault. Well, now, there was one home, they come and picked me up from another home. Now, have you ever seen a dog that's been battered? And you know, when you go to the battle, see dogs home, you see him cowering in the corner? That's me. Now, can you imagine that being me, I'm eleven. I'm cowering in the corner now and three more men are coming in to my new home. And I say, right Peter, we found your home to go to. And I'm cowarding something, but so where are you going to take me now? I don't want to go anywhere. I know this place here. I've been here for three months. Leave me alone. They said, no, we're going to look after you. We really going to look after you. It's a good home. And I'm cowing like that dog in the corner. And after about half an hour, the one in charge, Chris name was, he said, Peter, we know you've had a hard time, but please, it's a good home. We are going to look after you. And I said, sure. He said, yes. Come with you then. So I got in the car with three of them, two social workers and the guy who's running the home. It was imposter's bar called Nor, four place, lovely big home, a big state. The home. I mean. Imagine. Wow. My God. Got there and it was nice. It was nice. I was really impressed with it. And I kind of impressed with him because he seemed to be kind of cool. Right, Chris? The moment the two social workers left, like a bullet train, he said to me, oh Peter. I said yes. He said, Would you like to have a bath? I said no. He said, yeah, I think you do. I said, no, I don't know about he said, yeah, you do. Okay. So anyway, he took me up to the bath and I was going to get there on my own. It's a bathroom. And then he said it's okay if I stay and watch? Yeah, it's okay. Because I was scared to say no in case they send me back to the other home. So I wanted to say no, but then I thought maybe you could send me back to the other home. And I like this home. So I said okay, you can watch me. So anyway he got a chair and he sat there and I took my clothes off and get in the bath. I was trying to wash myself. And then he caught up and started he said, you might no, not really. So started washing me and I was only eleven and I was so confused and I was looking at him and then he started to try to kiss me. And I remember the beard in this table and I thought and then he tried to dis and that, so that was a tough time. Yeah. And that happened to me a few times with him. But then on my 12th birthday, another carer said, oh Peter, come into my room, I've got a present for you. And I was quite excited because I got to get a present. So when I went into the room, he shut the door and he pushed me to bed. And then he raped me. That's the one. I actually got raped and I had to see him every day and that wasn't great. And then I told my social worker. I told my social worker and they didn't believe me and I told him what was going on and they didn't believe me. Nobody believed me. So I only got raped from him once, but that wasn't great. And after that, then I started hating myself even more because I thought myself, nobody's going to love me, but they can abuse me and they can hit me. And I just wondered what was wrong with me. What is wrong with me? I don't know. What is wrong? That nobody wants to be nice to me. That's what I wanted someone to be nice and gentle. I never had one sweet word I can't remember in my childhood. Nobody being sweet with me. I want someone to be sweet. How are you? What can we do for you? You know, how did you get through that, Peter? How did you carry all that and still arrive here today as the man you are? The sweet, sensitive guy with an open heart who's open to talk and share and I can feel your nature when we met at the train station, handshake and a hug straight away. How have you maintained to still be the person you are today? Well, because I never said to myself but I knew this with my soul. I said, I'm not going to let any of this make me bitter. None of it make me bitter. I'm going to feel it and I'm going to cry and I'm going to embrace it. But I can't do anything about it because I have no power. So I have to suffer and I have to really just embrace the pain. So that's all I could do. But I was determined not to be bitter and I was determined not to be horrible. Because my friend said to me, said, peter, after everything you've been through, you could be one of the nastiest people in this world and I wouldn't blame you. But I said no. But I don't blame myself because I'm not going to let anybody change me, my personality of who I am. I'm still going to be kind, I'm still going to be generous and I'm still going to be open. Because if I'm not, I'm not being myself. And it was always important for me. You can take away everything you want from me, in which they did. But nobody on this planet is going to take away my personality or going to take away my dignity. I would not allow that. Because at the end of the day I have to look at myself in the mirror and you may not like me or I may not get any love or any tension, but I have to try to love myself. And it wasn't that I love myself, but I had to have respect for myself. Now, I love myself, but in them days, integrity for me is very important and I don't let nobody take that. Away from me, regardless of its external circumstance. It's only ever you that has to sit with you right at the end of the day. Right, exactly. And I sit here proud of myself. That's why I bought this medal. I'm proud of myself because I survived. I'm still here and I'm kind and I want to give now. I just want to give to people. Nobody gave me, but I want to give to people because I realize I think I'm something. Have you ever heard of a light worker? Light? Yeah, I think I'm supposed to be a light worker. I agree. That's what I'm supposed to be. I agree. There's no other explanation. I'm supposed to tell people this because it helps people. I had a message for someone the other day. Oh, Peter, I've been hospital, I lost my child. I come across your TikTok and he put a smile on my face and I thought, wow, in the darkest times, I managed to put a smile on her face. This is what I'm trying to do now by telling my story, by me crying. Someone said to me the other day, peter, you would know when you healed, when you don't cry, when you tell your story. Well, as you can see, I'm not quite there yet, but one day I would love to tell my story about crying. I think there's a lot of healing will come from you sharing your story across different platforms with different people like myself. Today, when you start getting feedback of, Peter, you've helped me with this, Peter, you've helped me and you see it across multiple amounts of people. I think you are already realizing why. The reason you've gone through everything you've gone through and the power of people will say, I deserve a medal. But to actually go and buy yourself one, see it in the shop, buy it and put it on yourself. There's so much power in that that the subconscious intelligence of you doing that is a reward system that actually brings healing. Because to say, I deserve a medal, it's just words to actually perform the action and look at yourself in the mirror and go, I deserve this. There's so much power rooted in that and those small actions can bring a lot of feeling to people's minds. It's funny because first of all, I was thinking, oh, people are going to think I'm up myself. But then I put myself these people can't even say that at all after what they hit what I've been through. I do deserve a medal, I do, because I survived it. So then once I knew I did and I knew if anybody can say anything bad, they can't because they cannot walk in my shoes. If anybody's going to slag me up for anything, first of all, walk in my shoes and then let's see if you're first of all even alive today or if you're in a mental house or if you're on the most drugs I didn't do any of them fingers I did have a breakdown. I did have a breakdown a few years ago but then it made sense now what happened was see, with people in care, love for us is very important to find because we didn't have it. So love for me has always been very important. I wanted someone to love me and it didn't happen in my childhood. So when I was in my twenty s and I looked great, I got so much attention everybody was on my case everybody was on my case. But they were on my case for the wrong reason. For my physique in them days you're. Still hence novel I've seen a picture. Of you because I put my pain in the gym. That's why I looked a certain way when I trained it wasn't for ego because I don't really have an ego it wasn't for ego. They said my ego got destroyed a long time ago but I trained because my pain so when I go in the gym, even today I train a different way. So when I look like that even people trained everyone looked at me in the world and said my God. Because the way it all come together because it was made for pain. When I was young, everybody was on my case, but I wanted a connection with people who have been through trauma. We want a deep connection. We don't want anything on the surface. It's not going to be good for us because we never had that. And that steady connection, that constant where someone's not coming in and leaving because you've experienced that many times. First of all, I want to connect with I've got seven wonderful friends who've been there for it all, for all they know it all but I have a deep connection with them and they will say to me the first thing they say to me is peter, what can we do? We talk now. And they all say peter, you inspire us. You've really inspired us. I said, how so? Just to be more honest and to be more open because the way you are with what you've been through so I think me just being me when I meet people and they hear my story first of all they say no way. How is it you're still here and you're still a nice person? Because as I say before, I wouldn't allow myself to be nasty. I mean, I can be nasty, of course I've got that in me but I know I have it in me as well. A few times when I have to switch, I do switch and I do switch back and then I got to really kind of try to control myself the best I can and this is why I don't like to switch because I'm switching with pain, backed up by everything. You've been all that viciousness. So when I'm turning, I'm turning that green monster. I mean even the police, before the police come, they come with everybody. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody. So this is why we try our best not to turn like that because we're turning very bad. I think we're the full spectrum of everything. So even though you sat here with me today me sat here, we're both good guys trying to be positive in the world, but we have a spectrum inside us which is I can be over here, I can be evil and nasty if I'm pushed there. I don't ever want to show the world that, but it's in me. We all have it in us. That's right. What are the times? I know you've spoke on other podcasts that I've watched, and I found this a really important part of your story. Because the Peter who I've connected with, the Peter who's here today, but the things that you've been through when you came out of the care system ended up going to prison, which I would only assume you had to show people a certain side of you at some point in there just so people wouldn't test you. No, I did. Yeah, well, the first time I was there when I was in I was about 21. See, the thing with me is because I've always been like this and I speak quite this, people always think I'm not kind of as tough as I should be and they've always taken kindness for sign of weakness. So I was in one place and I just arrived there and I said to myself, to myself, I said Peter, behave yourself. I said, don't get excited if people going to misbehave. I said, just calm yourself. So anyway, I've just got there, I'm sitting on the table, there's a black guy there, but he looked really dark and he looked like a gorilla. Might be funny, but his nose was really flat, his hair was sticking up, he looked a bit scary, right? So he's sitting there, his friend is sitting there and I'm sitting here and I finally just arrived. So we're eating and you know, they have a bigger kind of a sponge cake custard and I'm trying to talk with him and he's been bit menacing. He's kind of looking at me and I'm trying to look down, not look in his eyes, not try to not because I was scared of him, I wasn't, but because I just don't want it, don't want any trouble. I just got there. Suddenly I see his head, grabbed my duff and put it on his plate. I said myself, I looked him at his, I said and then he tried to smiling, he was smiling. I looked him, he was smiling. I looked at his friend, I looked at him again and I thought, okay, now I'm trying to think, what should I do? I've just got here. I've been here one, 2 hours, I've just got here. So I've got two options. I can either fight or I can let him get away with it. I was trying to work it out. So I'm looking at him and he's kind of looking at me with medicine and look at him and I'm trying to think, what should I do? And then I thought, okay, this is what I'm going to do. So we had a plastic knife and forks and then we have to go in another room and everybody has to wash them and the screws are outside. So when we're in there, he's in the sink there. I can see him in the mirror. So I just go to him, turn around and start battering, battering and smash him all over the place, right? But what I didn't realize was after I beat him up, all the other prisoners come oh, great, great. Because he was the top dog there. He was a top dog. But once he got beat up, I was the top dog. And everybody said I said, Leave me alone. I said, I'm not anything, just leave me alone. I don't want to be top anything, just leave me alone. So once I did that so he made me turn because of that situation and I didn't want to do that. So a few times, other times of that kind of behavior, even the screws, I had a job working in the kitchen and I was cutting the bread. It had a bread machine and it used to cut all the bread. You put it in there and it cuts all the bread. Anyway, the machine broke down and I don't know why it broke down, but every time it broke down they had to get bread from outside for the prisoners. And the bread was really nice, it's better bread. So he broke down when I was on the machine and the officer, he come and fixed it and he said what happened to I said, So I don't know what happened to it. He just broke down. A week later he broke down again. Now the officer, he's accusing me. He said, Why, it's you who's breakdown machine so we can get better bread from outside. I said sir, it's not me. Anyway, he said, yes, it is. So he gave me a blunt knife to cut fresh bread and you know you can't do it because it all tears up. So I had about 500 loaves to cut with this blank knife and I started getting calluses. So I did three or four, but they all looked like they were mashed up like this. I start laughing. So anyway, he comes in, the officer, and he sees about all this bread mashed up. At this he went, you're taking the piece, right? And I looked to him and I threw the knife man. I said, no, you're taking them. I chase him around. I chase him around. Yeah. Go and go, Joe. Go and chase him around. And then he went into the room and he pressed the Long. All the screws come with the battings. Put it down, put it put it down. I said what? And then there's more and more come and there's about 30 of them. And then I had enough. And then I said, well, can I put it down? Bang me up. But what I'm saying is, once I go, I go. And that's why I don't like to go. Because once I go, it is 20 to one, no matter whoever you are, once I'm going, I'm going. But as I say, we don't like to do that. So we try our best not to do that. Do you think that's a bit of a protection thing where you've felt so alone in your life? So no matter how many people are stood in front of you, you can say, Bring it if you want it, let's go. It's more that I'm a bit fearless as well. I think when you go through that, you don't have really much fear because I know how powerful I was and how strong I was. I know I can take on quite a few people at one time. Not now, I'm too older for that. But then I know I can take on a few people because I just had the sheer strength, I had the speed, I had the ferocity, I had the anger, I had everything I needed to turn it off in a second. So anybody who's in front of me this is why I always say to people if I'm working in a nightclub, I say to people, Please enjoy. So tonight, fellas, but relax yourself. So when they have a few drinks, they get a bit boisterous. So I went over to a few guys and then he had his shirt up and he fought. He's a bodybuilder. He thought he was. I knew he wasn't, but he fought. He's a bodybuilder. His arms out, he's like this. Look at him. He didn't realize how big I am because I've got a shirt on down here. He didn't realize, all right. So anyway, I'm just looking at him and I think I said to him, My friend, I've asked you four times to relax and to stop Hassan to go over there. Now, I can't keep on asking you, so please relax. He said, what do you mean, relax? What do you mean, relax? And then he started being abusive, calling me not nice names. So then I have to take him out quick. But that's only when you have to because I was talking to him. That wasn't getting anywhere. And then he started to threaten me. So then it's on. So the flattest moment I knew it was on, I'm in there before they could even blink. Because otherwise, no point talking. I'm from the old school, and we don't talk from the old school. Different task, then. It's different. If you want it, we'll go outside. Just one word that is not correct. I'm in there straight away because there's no point. Yeah. And when you came out the care system, you were, what, around 1818? On my 18th birthday at least, they found me a flat up in Muscle Hill. So they found me a flat, and it's one of these old flats. We had the bath in the kitchen, so I thought myself, this is kind of weird. I can cook it up a bath at the same time. But the thing is, listen, I come out of the care system now. That's when the trouble really starts, because you're in the care system and you're around it. You're in there. But once you're in the big world, so I'm in the big world now. I didn't know how to cook, how to wash my clothes, how to pay bills. I had no life skills. I couldn't read, I couldn't write, I had no support. I had nothing. They put me in there and I was lonely for the first time. It was just you into the world. Yeah. But first time I was lonely. First time I was lonely because I had nobody. I mean, really lonely. So I'm sitting there for my first night. I've got no furniture either, just a bed. Okay. What do I do? I didn't know even what to buy, food to eat. So I soon really got into a bit of trouble. My first bit of trouble, I went up to a place called Saint Breeze in Masmaho with a shotgun, and I held it up and I got caught. I realized now it was more a sign of desperation. It wasn't really about the Robin. It was more just to get some kind of help because you know what to do. So I got arrested, went to call what's that big criminal call, the old Bailey Bailey. And I got three years for that. I was lucky because he wanted to give me more. But I had a very good character witness. I mean, extremely good. Extremely good. If it wasn't for him, I would have got a lot of bird. And so that's when I first went to jail. Yeah, just after care, to about 19. What was the transition, coming out of care, going into prison? Did you see any similarities? Was there actually any comfort when you went into prison? No, but see, I was never institutionalized, and I don't know how that's possible, because I was in it all the time, because I hated every moment of it. So when I went to prison, it was just another institution. But this time I'm in a cell. I'm in a cell as well. Yeah, it was just no, it was the same. It's the same because it's an intuition, and they're telling me what to do. Where did that resilience come from? Because I think a bit like me, you don't like people telling you what to do. I do it on my own time, in my own way. When did that arrive in your life? The resilience of you don't get to tell me what to do. I think I've always had it, it's always been there, it's always been part of my character. But as I get older, when I was in jail, they said to me, right, you have to do a course, you need to do this course to go to another place, but the place is more jail, but you need to do a course to go to the jail. I said to them Listen, I said, you are a prison officer, you're not a psychiatrist. I said, you don't get to tell me at my age what course I need to go. He said, if you don't go to if you don't do the course, you won't go to that place. What? Said, I won't go to that place then, but I would be doing no course. So you have to stand up for yourself and another time you know these sweat boxes, have you seen them? Prison ones? Yeah. When you travel in the van I. Get very bad claustrophobia because when I was young they locked me in the cupboard as well. So even getting on the tube for me, I have to brace myself coming here on the tube before I have to brace myself sometimes I have to get off. I get very bad panic attacks. I mean, so fans, so strong I almost want to scream. So I'm going to court now they put me in this van so I'm sent to the screws before I go and I'm almost crying, I say, please, things happened to me when I was a child. Can you give me some kind of medicine or something to calm me down? Something for my nerves to go in that cell? And lucky enough, the officer, he got me something from calm me down the first time I went. But then I went to court about three or four other times and the officers, one was laughing, he wouldn't give me anything. So now I get in the sweat box, I'm already stressed because I'm going to court, I got order on me, I'm stressed because I'm in that hopeful place. So now with the door shut, my heart started racing, started sweating. I had my lips against a little crack trying to suck air from the window, which I know didn't happen, but I just tried to suck I could just about fitting it feels like you've been buried alive. It's really horrible. I start getting really thinking I'm going to die, it's going to crash, we're going to burn. Really terrible thoughts come into my head and then I try to go upside down because I can see a little gap in the door. So I tried to go. Upside down. I can do the handstand and try to suck the door. So this is before I'm going to court. So when I'm in court now, go upstairs and this and that. So as I come down, we have to go back to prison. So all your officers come in and say, right, everybody in the van now. And I'm the last one to get in the van. I said no. I said, what do you mean, no? I said no. I said why? I said, first of all, I'm closing phobia and I'm very scared to get that van because I have panic attacks. So anyway, so he shut the door and about five minutes later, twelve would have come in prison to bend me up and that lot. I said, Go and get the van. I said, no. I said no. I said, first of all, I'm a human being. Second of all, you're damaging me even more. I have Crosby Phobia. It's a medical condition. I cannot get in there without freaking out. I said, if you could please show me a bit of humanity and get the bigger fan, because they have a bigger one. If you could get me that, please shut the door. And then they come in again, said, Are you sure I'm not going to get the van? Because more coming this time. And I think they're trying to intimidate me like that. But then I thought of, was it Rosa Parks in the 1950s who refused to go to the back of the van? Now I thought of her, I thought, well, if she can do it, I can do it. So I said no. I'm not getting on it. No way. So anyway, I stood my ground. Half an hour later, they got the bigger fan. So this is why, even though I was being intimidated, they were threatening, but in just the sense I stood my ground because I thought, no, I want to look at myself in the mirror. So I refused to get into the van. These are the things I do, because I've got to be proud of myself. And that took some balls, because most people, they would have got the van. I don't know which time, obviously. I know you spent how many years were you inside different prisons, different times. Different times. But the last stage was four and a half years. And I know when we first spoke on the phone, you said it ended up with you. Prisoners come into your cell, screws come into your cell. And it's like you were kind of counseling people and they were coming to you for guidance. Well, what happened was I was the only one kind of being real, because out of 1900, I was the only one openly gay. Openly gay. And in the beginning, I got a lot of hassle. Why you're gay? You're butted man. They didn't want to even look at me, even talk to me. But I stood my ground and I was just me. But my cell when they used to come into my cell, they knew it was a real cell where I wasn't trying because a lot of people, you hear them all talking, oh, I've got a Rolls Royce. I've got a house. I've got this. Peter, how about you? I said, I haven't got anything. They said, what do you mean you got nothing? I said, they never pair shoes. Because at the time, I didn't pair shoes because they took everything from my house. So they said, we don't I said, I don't have anything. I have nowhere to live. Nothing. And they all looked at me and I could see they were shocked, honestly. You know what I mean? I can see these are all big robbers coming to my cell. And they say, you know what? We love coming in here. I said, why is that? Because he says, you're the only real person in the whole place. And when we come in here, they were real as well. But the moment they left, they all put up the macho. But when it myself. So I was very open with people and very honest with people. So even the officers used to come and have a coffee. They used to come and the office said, you know what? You are the most polite, best person in here. So when I left, they come and shook my hand and wished me well. The prisoners were nice and they want my number and this and that. But you know what? The only thing I hid I've never hid anything about me, ever. But in prison, I had to hide one part of myself which was extremely hard, and it was my personality. I couldn't be like this because I knew I'd get myself in a lot of trouble with everybody, right? So can you imagine being in that cell for four years and not showing your personality? When I met two guys a year later on the street, they took me something. They took me for something to eat. And they said, Peter. The first weekend to speak, they said, Peter, where did that personality come from? Because I made them laugh. I said, It's always been there. But I had to hide it because I was proud. I had to hide it. Well, I wasn't proud I hid it, but I didn't hide that I was gay. But I had to hide my personality. And that's hard because it's me who I was. So I was in the prison there. I was sitting in the cell, and that's where I learned to read and write, right? So I was crying because if you hear that, I won't get into the story about what happened because it's really profound. But anyway, so I was sitting in the cell there, cried and distraught for the first year. Oh, my God. Really heartbreaking. Because I can't train for the first time. I can't train it, my physique is going, I'm seeing it. Because before it was magnificent, it really was. And now it's going because I'm not eating it and I'm sitting there. So the first year I was described and then I thought to myself, right, I need to find the prayer because I need really God to help me out. So I looked in the Bible and I couldn't find a prayer strong enough that I thought was strong enough. So I said, you know what? I'm going to write my own prayer, right? So I got through the words and I put them all together and I wrote them all down. And this is how I first got into kind of writing poetry, right? So the second year I started writing poetry and I said to my friend across, he was in the cell across, he came in and said, peter, how is it you can write poetry when you don't read or write that well? And I said to him, Listen, there's something in this cell. He said, what do you mean? I said, I don't know what it is, but I'm compelled to write. When I come in this cell, I'm compelled to write. And the moment I said this, he like this, like he had electric shock, he would he said to me, what's that? I said, that's even a cell with me. So the moment I said it, he felt something and wherever it was, there was something in that cell with me compelling me to write, and he felt it. So then I learned to read and write and discover the poetry and then that put me on the road of I want to do a Ted Talk, I want to do motivational speaking. And now I want to tell my story before that. Listen, I've really always known, it's true. I've really always known from a young age I'm supposed to tell my story. Now, I never wanted to tell it because it was too hard for me to even acknowledge it. That pain, I have to acknowledge it. You see the way I'm crying all the time? And I didn't want to do it, but now I've got nothing left. They stripped me from everything and now I'm 60 yard, I have a brain tumor and this and that. So now, if I don't tell it now, I'm never going to tell it. So I'm on the path now of trying to heal myself. First of all, because it's terrible scars I carry. It's terrible pain in here. I want to try to heal myself, but also I want to help people. But I've always known I'm here to help people, I've always known that. But I didn't really want to do it because I thought it'd be boring. I agree. It's amazing to hear the depths of your story, the colorful life you've lived, even though some of it well, a lot of it has been in darkness. But to arrive at this point and hear how you've navigated a prison system and being openly gay in there and being able to express that at the same time, having to hide a different part of your personality and still arrive at this point where you're ready to share. And I think everything's a domino effect. Everything has to happen in the exact sequence it does for you to be ready to tell that story. And I think the more you speak about the things you want to do I want to do a Ted Talk. I know you're currently writing a book. The more you speak about that, the more focus you have on it, the closer it will come to you, and I do believe you'll get to do those things. Well, the book is very important because the book will make sense and the book there's presence there for everybody. If you read that book, the lessons I've learned I mean, listen, you can't go through all that and not really learn profound lessons. When I hear people sometimes on TikTok and I hear people talking about the trivia nonsense, I mean, trivia, oh, I'm not feeling great. I fully ending it. You sit in a nice car, you got a job, you got a wife, you're ending it for what reason? Because I had a little bit of a little bit of a trauma and they would end it. I said, Listen, I didn't want to end it when this and that. So we don't need to end anything. We need to work through it. We need all the adversity. I had to embrace it. I had to breathe it in, and I had to sit with it, and I had to try to figure it out myself. I increase the silence to get the answers. And sometimes you have to be in darkness and really upset. Have you heard of you must have heard of it. The dark night of the soul. Yeah. Now, that's one of the hardest things you can go through, because it's a complete collapse of your perceived meaning in life. I've been through that many times, and I'm not proud of it because I hear people talking about it as if it's a medal in the chest. It's no medal in anybody's chest. When you're feeling like that, I don't know where you take it. Oh, yeah, I got through it. No, you should never speak like that, because it's actually excruciated, isn't it? Yes, it's terrible. Whatever your thing is when you're in. It, it's nothing to boast about. It's not nice. I'll come through it, but I'm not boasting about it because I wish I never even knew the word. But many times but the worst time when I went through it was when my lover died. So there's me searching for love high and low. I'll get myself looking good, I'm approachable. I fly all over the world, and Sunday I'm in Amsterdam for Queens Day, so I fly in there. I'm staying with a friend of mine. I go to a bar, I sit down, I see someone across there who looks kind of sure I can't see worm, I ain't got my glasses on. And I walk around, have a look at him and I'm not sure, so I sit down and two minutes later this guy comes up to me. I saw you looking at me and I looked at him and it was him. And he was small, cute, really cute. Yeah, I was looking at you and in about 5 seconds I knew he was the one again, I knew not only by looks but personality. And I looked him anyway. So we started talking and we had a bit of fun, right? So went back to his place. So we built up, did I come back to London and I couldn't stop thinking about him. So I flew back in, spent five days with him and it was wonderful. Flew back to London, flew back about a month later, spent ten days with him, it was wonderful. Went back to London, flew back and spent a month with him, right? So every time it was longer and longer and we just grew and grew and grew. And one day he said to me we was eating, he said Peter. I went what? I love you. Now, I heard it, I bet I didn't hear it. I said what did you say? He said I love you. I bet I didn't hear it. I love you. And we started talking and then that's when we had so I moved to Amsterdam, met the man of my dreams. Must have been the happiest person in the world. I finally found love. Someone who loves me not only for my physique but for me. He heard my story, he couldn't believe it. So I moved Amsterdam and now I have to find a job. Now my education is nonexistent. So I managed to find a job doing security with easy everything in one of the internet caps. Now this internet cap had 1000 computers. It was open 24 hours and it was in the roughest place but nobody wanted. No other security firm wanted to work there because it was full on with people from the nightclubs, the prostitutes, the drugs, the gangs nobody wanted. But I said I'll do it, right? Yeah, I'm fearless so I said I'll do it. So the money was rubbish, wasn't great, but it was long hours. So I made a bit of money for the long hours I'm working in there. But the thing is I don't speak Netherlands. So whenever there's trouble I got to go round because a lot of people want to sleep there and a lot of the girls are taking the clients in the toilet and it's fights in their building. So I used to go round and tried to speak to them and they would say speak Netherlands. Speak Netherlands. I say Listen mate, I don't have to speak Nebulans because you understand every word I'm saying, right? So I can see all that, right? So I got a job, did everything correctly and I fell in love with him. Fell in love with him. He was everything for me. And I was the happiest person in the world. But then three years later, he died. I don't want to get into that, but he died. And then for me, it was like an existential crisis because that was my dream. I had something loved me for me. And when he died, I can honestly say I thought I'd never ever smile again. Now I know sadness. I've been sad most of my life. I know hurt, but I never felt like this before. It was completely different magnitude of pain and hurt and despair. It was so disturbing, it was almost like I was going insane. And for me to say that after everything I've been through. So anyway, so he died and I had to leave the country because I couldn't afford the flat. But I had no money and I didn't want to go back to London, put freedom like that. So I went to a pizza because I know I can get a job in the door, any door in the door, I'll be going there for years. So I went to a pizza, which is a party place, everybody's happy. And I must have been the saddest person on there. And I can't hide it when I'm sad. I'm not going to hide it. It's not possible for me to hide it. I can't fake it. It's not going to happen. So I'm walking around massive, looking good. Everybody wants to come and take pictures, because what they do is when you're big, everybody wants pictures. And normally I'll accommodate people, but I'm not letting anybody take any pictures. And I'm walking around very sad in the beater, managed to find a job, but the profound sadness and for the first time in my life, I actually felt like rubbish. I mean real rubbish. I felt bad before, but I thought let down. I felt rubbish. I felt angry with God. I mean real angry. Real angry. I was angry. You know me. You know what I've been through. How the hell can you make me this sad and put me in this situation? He died. I lost my home, I had no money, I was in a foreign country, I had no support. I'm feeling like this. How can you do that to me? And I was so angry and so mad for so long. And this later on, when I come back to England after the summer and it beats her, I found somewhere. My friends picked me up at the airport. Thank God. Five friends. They heard, come here. One got me a toothbrush, one gave me a phone, one got me a job. My friends were great, but I still carried the sadness. And then I found out later on this is not ordinary sadness. What is it? This is not ordinary. This is not grief. This is something else. The normal if there is that thing as normal grief, it normally goes after a year. That intensity. You can normally work your way through it. But this, wherever it was, it was like I heard it for the first time every day that he died. That magnitude didn't go, that powerful didn't go. So I was pining for him and so destroyed every second. The intensity of that was unbelievable. I chewed away with my fatigue for that stress, but then I found out later on it's something called complicated grief, which is you don't want to wish on anybody. But I had to work my way for ten years of that profound sadness. Everybody knew I was sad because I couldn't hide it, but they were helping me the best they could. But that kind of sadness, you really don't want to experience that. And I was mad with God for so long because I thought myself, hold on. If there is a God, how's it possible that he can put me through that after all the other stuff I've been through? I mean, it's very cruel. That's what I thought. So that was probably the hardest thing. Because what I realized recently, the reason why it hit me so hard when I make a connection with someone so profound in my life, when they leave, I'm realizing when they leave, I'm not only grieving for them, I'm grieving for all the other people who've left in my life, which I never grieved before. That's opened the door to all the other grief. So I'm not grieving for one person. I'm grieving for 50 people. And that is too much for any human, really, to be grieving that deeply for 50 people. But that's how it's been. Does that make sense? Of course, yeah. What's your perspective on it now? How do you see it now? Well, I see it as a really horrible time. I see it as excruciatingly painful and powerful, and I see that I'm so glad I got through it. But I see it as horrible because there's nothing feeling like that. I mean, I walked past a Dustbin. I swear to you, I walked past a dustbin, and I thought to myself, I actually should jump in the dustbin. I never thought that I actually should jump in that dustbin right now. I thought I was shit. I looked at myself. I never looked at myself there. I thought I was shit. I can't do anything. Nobody loves me. When someone loves me, someone dies. There's nothing for me. I have no education. I have nothing. I felt like, literally, like a piece of rubbish. And that's not a good thing to feel when you feel like that. Nobody's made me feel like that. But that situation of that profound sadness I loved him with all my heart. And so when he died but guess what? Now I don't feel like that. And I'll tell you how I got through that. So I'm walking around the street in London feeling like terrible. Suddenly, I don't know how, but I find myself in a cemetery up in Tottenham. So I'm walking in the cemetery and then I go and look at their grave. And she died when she was eight, he died when he was twelve. I say, oh my God, I'm doing better than all these people in here. And they died younger than me and they may have had love and come from a good family, but they're dead, I'm still alive. So I've got to leave here and start living. And that's when I realized, hold on a minute, I'm actually fortunate. I think what people fail to understand is we sometimes over focus on the unfairness of life. Fairness is a human idea, it's not reality. We all start from a different place and our journeys are different. So sometimes it's part of our journey to make us who we are, to go through that pain. And now I've gone through it. I'm strong. I'm strong. I'm strong and I'm ready to tell the world. And no human being can make me feel less than I am because I know they couldn't walk in my shoes. When you know something, you know when you know something. So all, everything I've gone through has made me incredibly strong and made me very insertive, not big headed. I will listen, but I won't let any even experts, I won't let an expert it's like if I was to explain my adversity and put it like in psychological ways, but in physical ways, it would be like I've been in a high speed car crash and I'm in full cast. It'd be like that. I see you and all my organs are failing. I mean, it's been that extreme, that hard, but nobody can see it. You see money, street, you wouldn't know. Yeah, you think, oh, you wouldn't know. But mind you, I think when you see me in the street, because my face, because I think my face is a lot, not smiling as much, I don't smile that much. I wish I did, I wish I smiled more, I wish I laughed more. I mean, I can enjoy life, but I don't smile. Is there a possibility to smile more, do you think? We hope and we're working towards that and we would like it to happen because I do like to smile. I mean, I do laugh occasionally, but when I do, I notice myself. And when my friends do, they say, you know, Peter, we love to see you smile. And sometimes even take up out of the camera, they film it because it's that rare. So I would love to smile more and would love to be a bit more joyful, but this is my plan. So what I'm hoping to do in the next couple of years, maybe next year. For me to heal, I need to travel. I need to travel, I need to go away. So if I can sort this out and go away for a while with nature, because I do love Thailand. Have you been to Thailand at all? I've been, yeah, in 2013. Incredible. Incredible, right? Incredible place. I lived there for a whole year before? Yeah, with a jungle. So when he died, I went to Thailand. Yeah, they lived there. I mean, even though it was nice, I was sad. Because you carry a sadness wherever you go, I'm afraid. So when you're sitting and watching the sunset and you look to the right and look to the left and there's nobody there except your memories of him, then you're going to be very sad, because it's beautiful. You want to share it with him. But I've had some good times in Thailand and I think I need to go there and have an adventure. You know what I mean? So I think nature would heal me. I'm a big believer in that. What is one piece of advice you could give to people when they're going through the worst of times? Well, first of all, I would say cry if you can. Crying is fairly crying has saved my life. Oh, thank God. I could cry. Oh, my God. If I couldn't cry Because when I'm crying, I'm relieving that attention. Detention. So first of all, if you can cry, cry. Second of all, I'm afraid you have to sit and embrace it. You got to feel it. You can't medicate yourself with drink or drugs or anything else. You have to face it. You have to dance with it. It's your best friend. And then what normally happens, it may take a year. Who knows how long it would take? But then you're going to work your way through it. But my advice is, anybody who's going through anything really terrible, you just have to face it. It's not everything you can do, because if you run away from it, you'll have to face it another day. So crying if you can, wonderful. And just embrace it. And also if you can. For me, the gym, the gym has always been important, because when I go to the gym, I can get some of that stress. I can work that stress. So I've walked in the gym when I've been homeless, I've walked in the gym. When there's been deaths around me, I've walked in the gym whenever mental problems, I've always managed to walk into the gym. Not always have a great workout, but when I leave, I'm feeling a little bit better because I put all the stress into the weights. So you don't have to do the gym. You can walk, you can breathe. Do something strenuous to get through it. You can't just not embrace it. You do have to embrace it. Yeah, it makes sense. Movement and just blowing off steam. Yeah. And if you can talk to someone about it, if you can so them four things are important. In the early days when I got hurt like that, I didn't know how to talk. So as a child, you don't know how to talk, but I know how to cry. I mean, listen, to be honest with you, a mathematician couldn't count my tears. It's been some tears, but I've cried in front of my friends, I cried in front of tough men. Everybody seems so I break all my friends hearts because when I cry, they cry. Because I cried very badly. I cried very sadly. I cried for my heart. So I've always cried. And I would hope to cry less. This is what we're doing. I'm hoping to smile more, I'm hoping to cry less and I'm hoping to have some more nice memories before I pass. These are my three goals apart from the book. Now, the book is extremely important. I've been working on it now for twelve years. It's my words. But I do need a ghost writer. I do need a ghost writer and I'm on TikTok. And if there's anybody who can help me write it or want to go find me on TikTok. For my ghost writer and also for my teeth, because I need to fix my teeth. My book is very important because if I can get that book done, I would feel like I've achieved something. It's a big achievement. Yeah. See, the thing is, and I hate to say this, I know I've achieved things, but I feel like I've never achieved anything. And I want to have that book because I'm sharing my pain. And also I'm giving something back because I know, because I've been to the darkest, scariest places, I know my book is going to lift people to the highest places. And also there's presence in there for everybody. It's my gift. And the gift is I learned it all through pain and heartache. None of it come easy with me. All the lessons I've learned, everything that's come has come hard and come with tears. So this is what I'm trying to do. I want somebody to come or get this book done because it's been twelve years and it's not going well because financially it's almost impossible. Anything creative to that scale. Writing a book and getting someone to come in to help you shape it is not an easy thing. But keep putting out your message and keep sharing because it will come. And I know you can sit there and say you don't feel like you've achieved anything, but I'm sat in front of you telling you that you've got through the life and the cards you've been dealt and you're sharing it, that is an achievement. And I want to say well done. And a big thank you for coming to do this today. Getting on the train all the way from. London to come and have this conversation and whatever I can do to help you get your story and message out there and bring that book into a reality, keep in touch with me and I'll try and help you do that. Well, you know what I say? I was hoping not to cry, but I think it's impossible for me not to cry because when I tell the story, I still feel the pain and a lot of it's never been healed. So I'm carrying stuff with me, not one adversity. I think most people can get through one or two big adversity things in their life, but I've had to get through hundreds and it's been an abnormal life for somebody to get through hundreds. And this is why sometimes I think God thinks I have to strength for legions because it's almost impossible for someone to get through that on his own. But I'm trying to heal, I'm trying to give things back. So my job now, through these years I have left, is to go and try to because I feel compassion for everybody, because nobody had it for me. I feel real empathy for I mean, I feel people's energy. And what makes me sad is I can't do anything to help. That makes me sad because I really know how to help and I really want to help, but I can just about afford to live myself. So if I can get this book done, hopefully make some money as well, because my friend has a little bit of land in Norway and he's got a hut that he's finished now, it's about to fall. So our dream is because he's a lot of trauma as well, he's bipolar, he's had a lot of trauma, not as much as me, but he said a lot. And our dream is to build up this heart so we have somewhere to go for a trauma. And it's only a little bit of land, but it's set in a really lovely place, my favorite place to go in the world. We used to go there, just me and him, candlelight, no, electric, and there's a river there and it's the only place where he can really relax. So I want to spend most of my days there with him. So it's a dream, a dream to get the book done, hopefully make a bit of money as well, get the hut done and then that's what I need. Amazing. I've got him, I've got me. We're healing with nature. I'm telling my story, helping people, I'm accepting it all and this is my mission now. Well, I hope it happens and let's speak it in, let's say it will happen and you're heading that way. And just a big respect and a big thank you for coming to do this today. And where can people find you on your platforms? What's your right? Thank you for saying that. Right, I'm on TikTok and my name is Peter woods on there. It's 4511 Peter Woods on TikTok. That's where I am now and I'm posting on there. And if you go there, I think you find it very interesting because my posts are raw and they're from my heart and they're also my personality. But it's weird because my TikTok has not moved, not moved up, because to be honest with you, I think my stuff maybe goes over the head of a lot of people. Because if you haven't experienced that, I think it's a bit shocking to find out some of the things I've been through. No. Does that make sense? Yeah. So I don't think I connect I don't think my posts connect with a lot of people because they really don't understand what they're seeing. But people like you who get it with the medals and other stuff, you get it because you've been through stuff. So I think my page anybody can come and join, and I would like a lot more people, but I think if people have gone through trauma or people going through a hard time, I think if you come to my Page, you may be able to get things from the page that may be able to help you in some way. And that's what I want my page to be about. I want people to come who are going through whatever and maybe get something that makes them stronger or makes them more aware or makes them more alive. So I'm on TikTok, and if anybody can help me to go fund me page for the book, or if anybody can just help me with maybe an opportunity to do another podcast and also personal speaking from schools or Ted Talk or wherever, I'm available. Yeah, keep speaking it and it'll happen. I'm a big believer in that. So I just want to say a big thank you for today, Peter. However I can help get your message out there and continue to do that when you've written your book. Come back and do this again with me and we'll speak about the book. But a big thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. And to the listeners, I don't think we could hear a more powerful story about adversity and how to get through it and the things life can keep throwing at you. And I'm a big believer that God won't put on your shoulders what you're not able to carry. I'm a big believer in that. And to hear how much you've carried. Just a huge thank you for coming to share this story and sending lots of love. You a because you're a guy that deserves it. Thank you. And to the listeners, this is what this podcast is. It's getting back to life being sound. Life is sound when it's not good, how do we get back to life being great? And Peter's here on his journey, and he's on that journey to designing his own life. So thanks a lot to Peter for today. I appreciate you, brother. Thanks a lot for you guys listening. If this message has sat well with you or there's somebody that needs to hear it, all I ask is just click that share button and send it to the right person. That's right, because what you're trying to do is the same thing I'm trying to do touch those people that need the healing, that need the help. And we do that by telling stories. Yes. So thanks a lot for today, Peter. Remember, guys, no matter what you're going through, life is good, life is sound. Thanks for listening. Life is great. That is it. Life is good. Life is sound. Life is great. Thanks for listening. We'll see you on the next one. And stay blessed.