This weeks topic is reflection and I’m going to be doing it a little differently.
On Wednesday I turned 25, (which is why I haven’t really updated over the last fortnight. I’ve had so much going on. I have gone and gotten a full time job and celebrated so here I am to make it up to you guys.) And it got me thinking, about who I am and where I want to end up. So this week, I am going to do at least three separate posts, all covering reflection. Today’s post will be all about looking at who I was as a child and growing up. The second post, will be about looking at who I am now and where my life is heading. The third post will be about the future. The person I want to be and where I want to be with my life.
Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted. It’s an intimate date with yourself.
I couldn’t be further from the person I was growing up. Before I hit secondary school, I was one of the smartest and bubbliest girls. I was in the Polymath team, the athletic team as well as being on the school council, studying the clarinet and helping out in the lunch hall as much as I could. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t popular because I had my group of girl mates. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have all the new toys or outfits because I knew that my mum was doing the best job she could.
I attended church as much as I possibly had time for. I was enrolled as a Junior Solider at the Salvation Army. I learnt how to play musical instruments in the band, (I’ve played things like a cornet and a horn, they helped me read music, I sang in the choir, attended a games night for children, attended Sunday School as well as going away camping.) I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and got to attend events at THFC, the Millennium Dome (before it was the 02 stadium), as well as camping for Jubilee’s. I earned many of my badges and have many experiences that will stay with me for life. They taught me essential life skills.
I was so fortunate in my life to have some of the greatest girls around me during primary school. There was no doubt that you’d find me with Simpson, Floyd, Curtis and Webber and we’d be running around like headless chickens. I thought we’d all be friends for life considering how close we all were but that changed when I chose to go to a catholic secondary school instead of the one all the girls was going to. I knew I had to start again. That choice meant that I lost contact with all the girls, it didn’t help that I moved away in my first year of secondary school which meant that I was even further from all the friends I thought I had.
The first secondary school I went to, I only knew two girls that were also going there. One of them I knew quite well but she wasn’t in my close group and another was one of the girls that bullied me. I remember a lot about that school, about how I dreaded going in most days, how I pretended to be someone I wasn’t to fit in, how I started to become someone I hated. I turned into a bully with a vicious tongue. I developed too much of a back bone and took it too far on some people I believed were less than me because I wanted to be liked. That was unfair of me and I will live with those choices that I made. To those I hurt during that year, I am sorry. It doesn’t take back the things I did nor the words I said but I do wish I hadn’t.
The second school I went to was just across the road from where we moved to. It was two weeks before the end of my first year and it was actually pretty decent (my first day not the school, school was awful).
Can we just remember what our firsts days at secondary school was like? Especially if you moved near the end of the year? Now try and imagine you had a name like Ferrari!
The tutor group I moved into, had some pretty decent people in it. I was with these children for the next four years and I would say, I was actually pretty lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t remember every day of school but I remember things that would probably surprise people. I spoke to at least half of them during my time at school, although I’m sure I spoke to everyone at some point but I didn’t really hang out with most. Looking back I noticed that the people I called friends changed every year. Sometimes I fell out with people and other times we just stopped talking.
I spent most of my time at school laughing and joking. Life is so much easier to handle when you joke about it. Although I did have my moments. If I remember correctly, during our leavers assembly, our tutors spoke about the group of students they had, with my tutor referring to each of his class as Disney characters. He said that I was like Tinkerbell, because I was lovely most of the time, but although I may be small, when I lost my temper, everybody knew about it, that and I only had room for one emotion at a time. Probably one of the things I agree with him on 😂. The truth was most of the time, I acted. I acted like I was okay and happy. I acted like things weren’t bothering me so when I lost it, it was the result of bottling things up.
After school I went to college and had a breakdown. I saw the strongest person I know break down before my eyes and I just lost all control. I left halfway through the year and never completed it. I couldn’t cope with all the emotions and stress that I was dealing with. For a 16 year old who not only watched her mum break down, trying to help as much as I could, dealing with losing my hair and an underlying medical condition that I still had no idea about. I had a lot on my plate.
It wasn’t until a year or two later that I actually went back when I thought I wanted to go and study law. So I studied Business to get me into university. In the first year, I achieved 9 out of 9 distinctions for my units. During that summer, I had my first adrenal crisis and ended up diagnosed with my life threatening disease. I went back to college to complete my course and despite having 3 months off for appendicitis, I managed to walk out with a triple distinction.
So what did I learn about myself by looking at my past?
- I changed around people to fit in more. Who you were changed how I acted.
- I just grew apart from loads of people because I believed in the wrong ones.
- I had too much of a need to be wanted and liked.
- I felt like I had to be what people expected.
- I was, and probably still am, a people pleaser and I suck at it.
- I was very outgoing as a child. Spoke to everyone and did quite a lot for my age.
- I am determined, intelligent and strong, even when I doubt myself.
I guess in a way I’m still that person. I’m still a strong person who doesn’t give up. It’s just my dreams changed. I’m still a people pleaser and probably should stand up for myself more. I have also grown apart from people for no reason and it’s a shame. But I’m quite fortunate enough to have the friends that I do have. I may not have memories dating back to my childhood with 99% of them but they have still had an impact on my life.
My home life, with the disabilities throughout the house probably shaped why I spent a lot of my time out of it. Although my family are close, a lot of my effort went to people outside that were “normal” as I thought it was what I wanted. Turns out it was just to be accepted.
I think a lot of us just wanted to be accepted. I think we spend too much of our time trying to please other people instead of staying true to who we are. We believe that what society thinks of us is more important that what we think of ourselves. I think we try to live up to impossible standards and exhaust ourselves trying to reach a never ending target.