Here is a chapter that I wrote last year and it introduces quite a lot about me…
Personal journey chapter 1:
I was born the 1980s, in the days when mothers stayed in hospital for at least a week. I was a healthy 9lb 4oz at birth. I’m still unsure of the specific details, but I suffered a non-genetic ‘Facial Palsy,’ or ‘Facial Paralysis.’ My mother took me to a facial disfigurement clinic at a few months old, and there she was told that there was nothing that could be done at that time. On photos it was recognisable that one side of my face was uneven and I couldn’t really ‘smile’ as such without one side of my mouth drooping down. As my parents are such wonderful, down-to-earth people, all they saw was a happy and healthy baby. I’m so luckily to have parents like this, they never really made it an issue.
My parents have described that even from 6 months old, that they can recall that I squirmed away from affection and would pull myself away if someone tried to cuddle me. I was described as an extremely ‘shy’ child, I was bored with hearing the words “aren’t you shy” and “you’re quiet.” I was very passive and extremely compliant, If a little too compliant. I believed everything that people told me and as the saying would go “you say jump,” and I say “how high?” At the age of 3 I started biting my nails, and I’m still doing it now 30 years later, not a habit that I’m happy with.
I didn’t like giving people eye contact, it felt awkward to me and was always thinking: “Can they notice my mouth?” I received curious questions from other kids which you’d expect: “What’s wrong with your mouth?” My answer: “Its poorly.” I was a target for bullies, even from a young age but I loved my Primary School teacher, she made me want to do her job and made me feel safe. I literally went a shade of bright red if I had to speak up in class.
I found it hard to made friends and would cling to the ones I had for safety, even though looking back these were not always the most appropriate choice of friendships! I had an imaginary friend called Tinkerbelle, who was often there when nobody else was.
I could come out with some quite hurtful things, I remember being about 5 or 6 years old and hiding for a whole afternoon in a wardrobe. When my mum came looking for me I shouted: “Go away, you’re not my mummy,” It’s strange how I can remember events like this as clear as anything. And now I find that my own daughter is starting to say similar things to me! I was extremely sensitive and even just sitting next to a boy in class made me cry! I cried when films ended, not wanting them to finish and felt like I wanted to jump into the TV to find out what happened next. I clearly remember doing this with the 1988 film ‘Big.’ I was very much a child who would love to jump into a picture drawn in chalk like in ‘Mary Poppins.’ I was a child that craved company, I’d stare out of the window willing a visitor to come to the house, but I’d equally want time on my own, usually outside, visiting the fields behind my house and building dens in the hedgerows. I also spent a lot of time on the family farm that my Grandparents had once run, I collected eggs with my Nanny and played Hide-and-Seek amongst the hay bales. I think growing up in the countryside suited me. I collected ‘pets’ in special tubs, usually Snails and Ladybirds.
I had a vivid imagination and I’ve always seen everything in pictures, from an early age I would take out a camera and take photos around the village where I lived. I wrote my own fictional stories and believed that fairies lived at the end of my garden. I developed a huge interest in fictional stories and I would find sanctuary in libraries throughout the whole of my school life, I wanted to be alone most of the time and while reading, I was happy and at peace. I can remember the smell of the libraries; I’ve had a habit of smelling books since I was very young! I read books such as C S Lewis’ ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ and I found myself visualising people as animals, I would ask myself if a certain person was an animal, which one would he or she be, giraffes, monkeys, elephants, even badgers!
I’ve always been a fact lover! I Google absolutely anything and everything, if I see an actor in a film and I recognise them from another film, I’ll check what else he or she has been in. But this isn’t always a good thing in terms of health issues, as I can overthink far too much! I love finding the answers to unanswered questions and I received an Encyclopaedia at the age of 8 years old, I used it so much that it fell apart!
Obsessions started early, at first I collected ‘Troll’ figures that we’re very popular in the late 80s and early 90s, I would have hundreds in shoe boxes, later on I moved onto Porcelain dolls, which freaked out friends that would come for a sleep over! And then it was fairy figures, followed by pin badges that I kept on a special bag that I carried everywhere, I’d have to collect these from anywhere I visited. These ‘obsessions’ have carried on into adult-hood, I am an avid fan of any historical drama, and I’ve watched ‘Game of Thrones’ 10 times over from the start of the first season to the most current one! (Just in case I’ve missed something!) I am a big ‘Harry Potter’ fan I own the whole collection of both the books and the films,
I spent lunchtimes attempting to join in with other children playing a game of ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Neverland,’ I’d always be character of ‘Tigerlilly,’ and hoped that I’d be welcome to join in again the next day. I loved reading Roald Dahl stories, and completed ‘Matilda’ in one day. My favourites were ‘The Twits,’ and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine,’ I got completely lost and consumed in these stories and read each one several times.
I was big for my age, wearing age 12 clothes at the age of 7 or 8. I have a clear memory of being on holiday and getting stuck in-between 3 tyres (playground equipment,) I panicked and screamed for help as I hate confined spaces, I had to be forced out of the tyres with everyone staring and watching! I once rolled down about 100 steps at a historical house and split my Bermuda shorts on a Donkey ride at the beach. I was always being laughed about, but couldn’t embrace this through sheer embarrassment. In sports lessons at school, I could only describe myself as ‘Galumptious!’ Tall and clumsy! Attempting to do dance lessons in my bright green Lycra leggings! And coming last in the Cross Country! I wasn’t blessed with the physical education gene that my father has! I knocked the hurdles over, the high jump bar off and tripped over in the long jump pit! I was put in a defence position in a girl’s football team and hadn’t a clue what I was doing! And can remember getting my face scratched in netball! I certainly wasn’t a contact sport kind of child!
I often am asked how do I remember such things from my childhood and how I have such a good memories and I do believe it’s because I’m such a visual and sensory learner, I see everything in pictures, smells and sounds can also trigger certain memories, such as the scent of someone’s perfume.
One thing I do know is… this is me and I can’t change, so I’ve just had to learn to embrace the quirkiness!
I will elaborate on more specific areas in other posts, I currently have 10 ideas for posts already lined up!