Good Morning! Happy hump day! It’s mid-week, I hope you’re having a great week so far – I’m just doing a quick post before work as I know it’s going to be a busy day ahead! Here’s today’s challenge for Day 21:
What I Was Like as a Child
I was born the youngest of three siblings – and there’s 7 and 9 years between my brother and sister and I, respectively. So when I was born, there was a little animosity on their behalf as they had already established themselves and their position in the family and here came along little baby me and screwed that all up. #sorrynotsorry
But they eventually fell in love with me and my brother became protective. I had a really happy childhood. They were in charge and I knew that from day 1. My brother would sneak into my room as I was drifting off and hide behind the bed then jump out to frighten me, and my sister on the bottom bunk would put her feet through the slats and push my mattress up off the bed so I’d be flailing around in the air! I never had it easy with them! But they were obviously in their teens by the time I was old enough to play, and they were too old to play with me then so I guess that’s where I learned to entertain myself – and why I never get bored in my own company as an adult. I know how to occupy myself and keep myself happy. We did do silly things together though, like going down the stairs in sleeping bags and playing hide and seek when our friends came over, and play fighting.
I was a smart child – my dad told me that when I was a toddler, he made these wooden blocks that had letters on them and he would use them to help me memorise the alphabet. He had one letter on one side, and a different one on the other and by a really young age, I had memorised these blocks and what letter was on each side of the block and could spell out words with them. I was fantastic at English – my teachers ran out of books to give me as I surpassed the level I was supposed to be at and was reading 4 or 5 grades higher than my age group. I was always top at the spelling tests, and I loved reading. I love reading now. I get that from my dad; I get a lot of my passions from my dad. But Maths was always tricky – I think I had some kind of condition when I think back as I used to get palpitations and would feel panic when I saw numbers or any kind of equation/maths questions on paper. I really struggled with Maths – I’m not so bad now, I don’t panic anymore but in school it was awful. But I never spoke up about it – just did my best.
My parents separated when I was 5 and later divorced. From what I can recall, the separation didn’t have any kind of negative affect or impact on me. As I was so young, and the way it was done was with me in mind so it was all very smooth and in no way traumatic (my brother and sister share a different dad; my mum remarried and I was the result of that). So my dad lived local, I would spend days and weekends with him and I was happy. The only time I ever felt unhappy about it was when my mum met someone else around 5 years later and it was the first time I felt like ‘hey who’s this guy trying to replace my daddy‘. But he never was like that, he was actually really lovely to me but I was so hellbent on not liking him, simply for being with my mum, he didn’t get my full respect until just before they separated 6 years later. I had just started to like the guy and they split. Typical.
But anyway, for some reason, when I was about 5 or 6, my dad started going to a church and would take me with him. And from then on, I was brought up in the church environment. But this wasn’t like a church as in – cathedral/chapel type old school church, this was an extremely modern church that didn’t even look like a church. So, I was brought up with religious but modern values and I really think that my upbringing there shaped how I am now. I’m naturally kind, forgiving, understanding, generous. It was hard at times as my brother was very anti-religious and would call me names. It’s not like I went home and spouted bible verses or prayers or anything, I just think he knew I was spending weekends at the church with my dad and it was something he didn’t know anything about so he got defensive. You fear what you don’t know, I guess. But for the most part – everything was fine. My dad was a big part of the church – he would do alsorts for them, he was their lighting and sound technician, their bus driver, handy man – so I spent a lot of time their, made a lot of friends, was involved in like dance groups and clubs, evening youth clubs, choirs, everything. It was a great place to grow up in – I really do think it was good for me, despite not being religious in my adulthood.
As a child, I was happy but I was also bullied a lot in school so I wasn’t confident. I had misaligned teeth which is what I got picked on for at school, and it carried on with me throughout first and secondary. So, I was quite shy when people first met me – I would hide behind my mum or my dad. I wasn’t bullied until I’d say age 8 or 9 so I wasn’t as shy up until about that age – then I became conscious of what I was being picked on for. I stopped smiling by mid-way through my first year at high school. My first school picture there was the last one I smiled in, and after that I would put on his horrible strained upturned mouth. It’s so sad to think about it and the affect these kids’ words had on me. They will never know how they affect people up into adult life and forever; bullying is horrible. They could make their comments and move on with their life, and the rest of us would still be back in first year mentality for the rest of our lives with embarrassment, insecurity and paranoia. But that was later years, as a child it wasn’t an issue because kids don’t get that nasty until around year 5 or 6 – just before high school. I was natually curious – and again, being on my own as a kid – I had to find ways of entertaining myself. I used to have beautiful ringlet hair but playing on my own once, I picked up a pair of those kiddie scissors – you know the red handle ones you get in school – and decided to give myself a pretty little hair cut and actually cut off the most of my hair. I had to have a bowl cut and regrow it all back. My mum was in bits lol – sorry!
I had loads of friends in church – endless friends. It’s quite sad to think back now and realise I talk to literally none of them – but the church can be a clique-y place. For those of us who were regulars, who’s parents did a lot for the church and we were there other days, not just Sundays, we became a big group of friends and not-so-regulars would not be a part of that. So, naturally, when my dad met another woman from a different city, moved in with her and stopped going to the church, I started to get eased out of that group. I would take the bus by myself on a Sunday to get there, but I could feel I was being looked at differently and eventually I stopped going. I also lost my faith after some horrible things happened in our family, and I couldn’t find reasons in faith to justify them. So, I stopped going and believing around the age of 13. But, I did have other friends in my life so I wasn’t alone.
My best childhood friend – there are 22 days age between us – and our mum’s were friends from pregnancy so – we grew up together and she is still a good friend now. We’re not close, but we have a bond that can’t be broken after all the years between us. As a child, she was my idol. She was always so much stronger, confident and more outgoing than me and she brought out the best in me. She would push me to try things, jump off of heights and not be afraid, try that game or get on the back of that bike. She was so passionate about animals, even as a child, and I’ll never forget her standing up to these big boys who were throwing stones at a horse in the field behind her house. She walked right over, put her arm over this horse and started shouting at these boys who were like 6 years older than us, telling them to get lost and leave the horse alone. And she is like that now – does not care and will speak up for what she believes in. So, she is my childhood. I spent most of my time with her, she lived across the street and we were always with each other or at each other’s houses.
We got up to all kinds of mischief, but I was always the well behaved kid. I have never, ever been hit or slapped as a kid. I’ve never been in a fight – ever. There was never any need to punish me as I never did anything wrong. When I was older, my dad’s new partner had a daughter who was awful. She was about 2 or 3 years younger than me but she was a liar and a thief. She would steal my things but because she would hide the evidence, and was an amazing liar, I could never prove anything. If she did something wrong, I would also get told off – and for someone that had never done anything wrong and never been involved in someone else’s wrong doing, it was really tough to go into that environment with such a toxic person. She was awful – and after a couple of years of it, when I was old enough to make up my own mind, I stopped seeing my dad and his new family because it was causing me too much stress in the week thinking about the weekend ahead. I was miserable because of it, and needed to get out of the situation. So I did. And it was around that time that the internet became my world of escape and I started to grow up. I struggled through my teens with bullying and self confidence issues because of that so I surrounded myself with people that appreciated me and made me feel good in between the bad.
But in all, I was a really happy kid – I was passionate about the things I loved; I loved learning and trying new things, dancing and music, I loved helping people and making friends – I could play with others but also entertain myself. I had a really great childhood for the most part. I miss those days of innocence – it’s when everything else starts playing a part in your life that bad starts to mess with the good. But having a strong heart and knowing who I was and what I valued kept me on the right path.