Reflecting Back

Reflecting Back

Isn’t it funny how life can change, and how much you change along with it?

I used to write, a lot. I had very little else to do (damn how that’s ringing true at this point in my life too). I wrote stories, lyrics and poems. And I’ve saved them all. So as I have been going through my computer, which is full to bursting point, deleting all the crap, I came across all my old files. It’s so strange looking back through them, they almost recount my youth, moment by moment. The years of bullying and torment, the boys and the heartache and mischief they brought, the steep learning curves and the dreams that I had forgotten about. It’s interesting reading, knowing what I know now and realising how naive I was but also how big I used to dream.

Me and my lil sis, aged about 7 and 4

I once wrote: “My dream – until I get it I won’t be happy, and I will get it. I know I will. I believe in me, even if nobody else does. I will hold my head high no matter how low I sink. I will stand up again no matter how hard it gets. If somebody shuns me I will walk on by. I know I can do it, I believe I can do it and I will do it.” I wanted to be a celebrity, rich and famous. Of course everyone probably dreams at this at one stage or another, but I was certain that was going to be me. And yet as I’ve grown up I’ve realised it’s not actually what I want. Sure, the money wouldn’t go amiss, but I don’t think I could cope with fame. I’m a home girl at heart, I long for my friends and family around me, to be in a place that is familiar and where I feel at home. I guess I am just happy with what I know and love and I really don’t need much more than that.

Those awkward teenage years….

A lot of what I used to write concerned my problems at school, and these problems have consumed me for as long as I can remember. Words such as:

“I was a geek, a loser
The bottom of the pile
A doormat, a freak
Not even worth while
Not hated, but not loved
And just wishing for something new
Please don’t leave me out
A geek is a person too.”

While some may laugh at the last line, it brings back how I felt when I wrote these lines.

“Somewhere in this life we lead
There has to be someone
Who can see me for what I am.”

“All left alone
No cares
Just pain.”

My husband and I when we first met in 2003

One of the lines I wrote whilst at university was:

“So many decisions, so little time
Few girlfriends but all the boys are mine
Jealousy’s a problem, so is the decision
So little time, so I dance and look a vision
Enjoying the years where I count on my looks
They won’t last long and soon I’ll have to rely on books
I’m not smart, I lack conversation
But when it comes to men I’m a sensation.”

Arrogant? Yes. But it was mostly an act, and when it says “few girlfriends” and “I’m not smart, I lack conversation” it shows my true lack of confidence. I’ve always craved approval and acceptance my whole life. What I didn’t understand was I had the support I always needed in my family – I cringe when I think of all the cheesy love songs my Dad read for me, yet he never said as much and also encouraged my writing – and the rest would come with time. I’ve spent so many hours wishing for more than I had, I’ve struggled to really appreciate the now, and I guess that’s still true. But I think for the first time I am pretty close to being really happy and content. I have the love and my own little family that I’ve always wanted and pretty soon I’ll return to the rest of my family and my friends, who I cherish. If I were to go back to my youth now I’d tell myself to have a little more patience and appreciation for what I had. Of course knowing myself, I wouldn’t listen.

Our little family

And now I have my own daughter I wonder at how she will cope with all these things throughout her life. I want to arm her with all the tools I can to help her – to teach her confidence, self-worth and the ability to look past those who can hurt you and realise it’s what you feel about yourself that’s important. But I also want to show her the value of kindness and compassion, so that if she comes across someone in trouble she will be the one to help them, and not bow down to peer pressure like so many. I want her to follow her dreams with the childish naivety I once had, and also support her when sometimes those dreams may seem unobtainable. But at the end of the day, like me, she will have to make her own mistakes and learn life’s lesson herself. It makes me realise what a hard job my mum had and how much she must have gone through with me, and it makes me so grateful for her and all my family. I dread the day when I see my daughter crying because someone has hurt her, and yet it’s inevitable. Life goes too damn quick, that’s for sure.

“Gonna prove them wrong
And show them all
That they aren’t the only ones
Who can stand tall”

~ Lisa Gilbert 2001, aged 18

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