A mixed bag…

So, my last blog entry about fertility treatment was quite hard for me to write let alone share. I’m naturally a very private person and worry about being judged. However, this is something that I am working on. My life turned upside down nearly 2 years ago for reasons that I don’t feel comfortable sharing yet but no doubt the time will come. However, since then, I have been on a journey of self-discovery. You may think that’s bizarre – a 30 something year old woman and mother trying to figure out who they are. I still don’t have all the answers, but I am starting to make discoveries – I even shock and surprise myself at times! There’s definitely a more confident, happy go lucky girl in there somewhere, which probably explains why despite the freezing weather and rain on New Year’s Day, I jumped in the waves like a big kid, not caring that I was getting drenched and loving every minute of it!!

I never planned or expected to be a single mum nor to be living on my own for the first time in 30+ years. It is and has been incredibly liberating but also quite scary especially as my girls were 24 months and 7 months old. So in a short space of time, I became a single mum, living on my own in a rented house and living on benefits which is incredibly different from my previous life. On top of that, I started having counselling which makes you question things and discover things about yourself, then in September I started training to be a qualified counsellor which also reveals things about yourself and there is no escape! It’s like someone ripping off a plaster which you didn’t even know you had on in the first place and there’s no going back!!

So, I have started this journey and don’t know what I will discover along the way or how long it will take. However, when I am feeling strong, I am determined to live life to the full and make up for lost time and missed opportunities as much as possible! The only slight thing getting in the way of this is the global pandemic (I’m not sure if you’re aware of it?!)….so meeting new people, joining clubs, going away, going to events has kind of been impacted by this! I am aware that there are many virtual clubs and events available but it’s not the same and not something I’ve really explored.

For my interview to get onto the counselling course, we had to do a virtual presentation in front of 15 complete strangers and talk about books that captured our childhood and any emerging themes. My list included Anne Frank and Matilda and I identified a theme of young extraordinary girls, with extraordinary backgrounds who lived extraordinary lives. I also sensed a common theme of courage, determination, bravery, resilience and strength.

Until completing this activity I was never really sure why I have always been so touched by Anne Frank. I didn’t know where my deep interest and fascination about her came from. I even took myself off to visit her house which is now a museum when I was 20.  

Looking back, I think that Anne Frank was like a heroine to me as a child growing up. I think I admired her determination, her bravery, I also think that I felt a similarity in her personality and my personality, as despite what Anne lived through, her kind and caring character always shone through. She never gave up, she always fought for herself and others and always remained positive. I think that I aspired to be like Anne because although I can on no level compare my life to hers, as a child I experienced loss (my adopted father left when I was 8 years old and I never saw him again) and a feeling of being trapped (when I was 15 years old, I started questioning my sexuality and realised that I was gay). I believe that Anne’s diary influenced my childhood as I felt I could relate to her, despite my adopted father leaving and struggling to come to terms with this, despite struggling with school and eventually being home educated (which no disrespect to my mum who worked full time, was me teaching myself all the way up to and including GCSE’s and A Levels), despite struggling with my sexuality, I powered through. I eventually came to terms with my sexuality (more or less), passed my A Levels and got a place at university.

Miss Honey from Matilda I think was someone that I aspired to be when I grew up, and her character definitely played a part in why I always aspired to become a primary school teacher and eventually did train to become one.

When I think of Anne Frank now, I still think of her as a heroine, however it also brings up feelings of frustration and sadness, when I think of what an amazing young woman she was and what an amazing life she could have lived, particularly when I think about the fact that 2 months after her death, the camp was liberated. It never felt that she gave up hope and that is something that still resonates with me now, that despite how horrendous things got for her, she remained hopeful and determined and remained true to herself. I must remind myself of this when things get tough!

When I think of Miss Honey from Matilda now, she still makes me smile to this day and I don’t regret becoming a primary school teacher, but I realise that her character most definitely paints teaching in a light that is far from realistic. Maybe growing up I hoped that I could change things and actually be a real-life Miss Honey! I still hope that the children I have taught remember me and that I have had a positive impact on at least some of their lives. I certainly remember some of the pupils who touched my life and can’t believe that the first children I taught are 16!

Looking back on my childhood, the first thing that springs to mind in relation to Anne Frank is being trapped – Anne went into hiding admittedly but was ultimately trapped during this time and I suppose during my teenage years I also felt trapped due to my battle coming to terms with my sexuality.  Not only that though, but I also realise that I still feel that somewhere inside of me is a more outgoing person waiting to come out. I love being creative and also have a hunger for knowledge, but I have struggled to work out how to focus my creativity and can find it difficult to truly believe in myself, which can lead me to sometimes give up before I have even tried. I also realise that on reflection I am more determined (like Anne) than I realise and more than I give myself credit for. I don’t like to talk about myself, but it is due to my determination that I am where I am today. I always wanted children which is partly why I struggled with my sexuality, but I was determined to find a way, admittedly it wasn’t easy and some people didn’t think I should try, that it wouldn’t work, that I would end up regretting it, however that didn’t put me off and after 2 successful rounds of fertility treatment I have 2 beautiful and amazing little girls and they are my proudest and greatest achievement in my life, so far!

I wish that I could have realised things about myself a long time ago, for example I think on some level I knew that I felt trapped (be it because of my sexuality or not quite knowing what path to take in life) for a long time but obviously wasn’t fully aware at the time.

I’m not sure where this fear of judgement comes from nor why I should give a crap what people think of me or if they choose to judge me.

Despite being shat on quite a few times in my life, I still have a lot of love to give and would walk over hot coals for people I care about!

Today I’ll leave you with this…

The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life, and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.

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