Day 4: 8 Things I would tell my 16 year old self
You ARE much stronger than you think.
You have so much to offer – don’t shy away from using your talents
Don’t live in someone else’s shadow.
Live in the real world not in your fantasy – it gets you no where.
You have the right to be happy.
It really doesn’t matter what other people think.
Don’t ever give up.
The pain will lessen – and you will cope.
Day 3: How I have changed over the past 2 years.
In lots of ways – physically and emotionally and intellectually.
I’m ‘at that age’ where my body is ‘hormonally challenged’. The more I read about ‘the change’ the more confused I get – I just know I feel as if I’m at that point sometimes and then at others not. Having heard the things friends have gone through I should count myself lucky – I seem to be going through it intermittently rather than as a constant. The urge to cry out of nowhere/ for no reason being the latest thing … ah the wonders of the human body!
I gained another qualification – almost a triple word score after my name these days – but what I do with it is still up in the air. I have everything to offer – but I’m, as previously stated, ‘at that age’ so am too expensive for somethings, too experienced for others – not experienced enough in others … life is definitely still a learning journey for me…
My ‘busy-ness’ is different – less fraught, less trying to please the world and his wife, more satisfying – now the penny has dropped and I am actually saying ‘NO’ (still feeling guilty – but that’s a work in progress). I have finally realised that I am allowed to do things for myself and other people won’t mind if I do…
I like myself a whole lot more – and despite the hormone induced occasional snot fests am emotionally stronger. There’s a kind of peace inside that I can find and go to if I’m feeling a bit unsteady – which was missing for so long. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t discovered the meaning of life or anything remotely profound – I’ve just come to realise I am responsible for me and me alone. Don’t get me wrong I still get annoyed by others – and there are still people out there that I do value/worry about what they think of me – but that’s 1000% less than it used to be …
I have learned new skills – some for practical reasons – some for fun. I am giving my creativity freedom – I sometimes wonder if I had done so years ago, what would have happened – would who I feel I am now appeared sooner? We’ll never know …
Day 2: Write about something someone told you about yourself that you never forgot
I could write about something affirmative …. I SHOULD write about something affirmative … but all my life I’ve let all the good things slip away whilst carefully filing away in my brain all the horrid stuff to beat myself up with time and again …
So maybe my challenge is to air one of these things – free it from my memories – free the space for a compliment – a nice word or two – the things that people say that I don’t believe because they’ve said it about me.
I am slowly being able to take compliments – for a long time they just rang hollow with me – I was just doing stuff everyone else was so why single me out? No need for praise I just do it anyway – doesn’t everyone?
Then when I was at an all-time low – a very long time after the person I am writing about sowed the seeds that grew with me – a complete stranger, who was helping me put back the pieces, pointed out that people don’t have to say nice things to me – it’s not compulsory – they CHOOSE to!
It was a bit of a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me – one I confess I am still coming to terms with – but then it does have to compete with a lifetime’s worth of damage caused by the words of one individual, who possibly doesn’t even remember me now but I remember them – vividly …
You’ve possibly heard the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’? Well my scars and broken bones healed but the words said to me by another 14-year-old girl when I was 14 haven’t – they still hurt on occasion – usually when I am going through a ‘poor me’ moment (There are times when I don’t even think I am good enough to feel bad about myself!).
They weren’t profound or eloquent words – even words with substance but they burrowed deep into my brain ready to ‘pop out’ whenever I need a negative litany about myself. Because despite the image that most people see of me there is just a fragile shell between that and the 14 year old who was told she was ‘fat and stank because she never changed her knickers and that her mother acted like she was the Virgin Mary all holier than thou’. That shell has cracks in it but somehow is holding together – even repairing itself …
Written down they become what they really are – childish taunts from a child – but taunts that really tore into me – possibly compounded by the fact I lost my Mum not long after turning 15 and never really dealt with it properly.
Sometimes I feel I’ve lived most of my life on automatic pilot – doing what was expected – feeling guilty if I didn’t – feeling like the ‘fat smelly 14 year old’ when things went wrong – even things I now know I had no influence over – even as a grown, seemingly successful woman – I was just waiting to be found out that I was ‘fat’ and ‘smelly’ …
That something said 30 odd years ago – something so trite, immature and frankly now I’ve seen it written down (because I’ve never had the courage to do so before) PATHETIC – could still have an influence on me NOW demonstrates the power of words … and how they can still affect a person – even a literate and educated, seemingly together one – when actually they mean nothing….
- My Murray
- Being near the sea
- Music – anything with a good rhythm and/or baseline
- Being creative
- losing myself in a book
- being valued
- being loved
Putting together my thoughts and fancies ….
This is where the journey has brought me to.
It’s been a journey along a very very bumpy road with some dips I thought I would never climb out of … but I’m still travelling on, looking ahead, fresh purpose in my step.
I have learned so much about myself, and the world I thought I would always be part of, especially over the last 4 years. I realise I was living in a tunnel – part of me stayed there for security. I was blinkered and naive to many things which for someone who considers herself a ‘people person’ ended up with me hitting rock bottom and having to learn to trust again.
Now it feels right to share – even if the only reader is me.
A new year has begun – 365 possibilities lie ahead …