My Daughter called me Super Woman
My childhood involved much moving around. My siblings and I were daughters and sons of the army.
When I was 9 years old my dad left the regiment and we remained in Germany. That meant we were placed in to a german speaking school armed with a vocabulary of "ja" and "nein". Although, I suspect I spelt it 'nine' at the time. You get the general gist we were pretty unqualified.
Even now, I can still recall the feeling of walking through the gates. My dark brown hair down to my waist and a fringe framing my freckled face, a satchel on my back, my older sister in front, my other trailing a step behind as we walked in to the unknown.
There was plenty of noise around me; children laughing, talking but, the sound that was most prominent was that of my own beating heart.
I knew resistance was futile, in our family you just got on with it.
I am an #introvert, who was referred to and learned to use the label #shy when younger. Any resilience or protestation would result in 'she's #sensitive ' being torpedoed across the room providing explanation for not listening; not hearing, my words swallowed.
Tears in check, stiff upper lip, I was propelled in to #anxiety much greater than I had experienced before.
Within me however, the fight was stronger than the flight, and so from the first day when I sat in the back of a classroom and watched the teachers mouth annunciate as words spilled out, with no comprehension of what she was saying, I was acutely aware that I had been dropped in at the deep end along with my siblings and quite frankly lesson 1 commenced; fight or flight/sink or swim.
The teachers didn't go easy on me and I can even recall children being embarrassed on my behalf as the teacher insisted on that something; I didn't know what. Words flying at me, I could pick the odd one from the ether but, not enough for me to formulate a sentence or know where to look for that something.
It was the teachers daughter who finally pleaded with her mother, who was standing in front of the class, eyes fixated on mine, that she speak English as I didn't understand. She didn't!
I understand what she was trying to do While you could argue the results were good, humiliation in my eyes is never acceptable teaching.
From it lesson number 2 ensued. Learn quicker to stay under the radar. No good being good, you have to be better.
Within 3 months my pronunciation was the same as the children around me, my siblings had also picked up the baton.
Lesson number 3 followed soon after, and repeated its cycle all through my schooling years and in to adulthood.
At short notice we were taken from schools and homes and placed in new accommodation and faced with acquainting ourselves with new peers or teachers. Lesson number 3, don't form attachments, they hurt.
So I put on my armour and I became outwardly impenetrable. Lesson 3, tick.
Our biggest move was back to the UK and when I say back, I had actually never lived here. I had spent my first 15 years in 3 countries; Malta, Holland and Germany. But, I believed that I was coming home.
It was however far from idyllic; it was alien! The teachings made no sense, the environment all strange. I mean there were children with make up and big hooped earrings, hair in more styles than I could fathom, teenagers sat on tables. That was unheard of in the schools where I had been.
So there I was again back to lesson 1; language barrier fight or flight/sink or swim. I had no idea what the teacher was speaking of, terminology foreign down to evidence based calculations; that's not how I wrote it; how it was taught to me.
English Literature? History? Nope not unless it was in the pages of books I had read in Germany. So it went on; here I was a foreigner of my native tongue. I had landed in the next phase, in the midst of 'O' levels; I hit the ground running, survival instincts at the fore.
Friendship wise, well I have to say I am fortunate enough, I did hold on to one good friend from the age of 15. Prior to that, no connections retained. Since then I have a handful of wonderful friends that I hold dearly.
In truth moving to the UK, was also the first time I was bullied for being different.
Fortunately, that armour that I had donned in lesson 3 meant they got bored because this girl wasn't playing. I was lucky and grateful for my strength.
I left school as soon as I possibly could and I worked.
In truth I had no idea who I was or wanted to be, I had spent so much time fitting in without conforming. I had no idea what was up or down. I worked as a Secretary, a Junior Executive in PR, a PA to a Sales Director, a Computer Operator; programmer, Analyst programmer, IT Manager and am now a Personal Development Coach and an Author.
Pregnant with my first child I embarked on my degree. The lecturer taking one look at me heavily pregnant voiced his opinion and declared that I would probably drop out as it's too hard after all others had, so I picked up the baton and ran with it. Nobody tells me when to quit.
Lessons 1, 2 and 3 have been my survival strategies.
For too many years, I believed I was not enough. Whenever, I achieved for me it was the step ladder to doing more; doing better. I never sat in the moment thinking WOW! look what I have done. I wasn't raised like that; it wasn't my conditioning!
So when my daughter told me "I tell my friends that you are Super Woman. I tell them I don't think there is anything you can't do."
Well that made me take that moment and reflect even just on this small snippet of my journey so far. I do believe she's right with one caveat; there is nothing I can't do it if I want it bad enough!
I have learned so much about myself since being a child. Understanding behaviour is key to moving away from habits and reframing your story and making your learnings work for you now and in your future.
I am #HighlySensitive just like 20% of the population. I am #introverted and shy is a label that others put upon me, that I adopted. I see my traits as my strengths that helped me through tougher times. I am a warrior and provider I made that pact with myself when I was very young.
My biggest issue is not knowing when to hit the breaks.
My story explains me but, everyone has their story, their tale, their USP.
When did you take stock and #ownit?
Have a wonderful day.