Reality Bites

Frankl

Reality = The state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

Conceived by choice or mistake, we are dispatched into the world whether we like it or not. The first few months are spent spontaneously pooing, weeing and draining every ounce of energy from our parents, not that we have any memories of this. We get to find out for ourselves when we have children of our own. This is the real reason why grandparents can’t stop smiling.

As a young child, I was spared the harsher realities of life. I existed on a need to know basis. I was happy. Then one morning, Ma took me to a place called school (later referred to as ‘that shithole’) and after numbing her backside on one of those miniscule chairs for a while, she quietly walked out without so much as a backward glance. I wanted to run after her but for some reason my legs wouldn’t move.

My tiny heart broke. I cried and my bottom lip quivered for the rest of the day, if not life. I wanted to be home watching Play School and eating beans on toast. What was happening? Was I being punished? Is it because I crayoned on my bedroom wall? After five years of relative bliss being at home with Ma, school life had started and my childhood idyll fell apart.

On the first day, I remember standing on the school yard staring at the bruise which was forming on my arm from where an older girl had pinched me, for no apparent reason. Cow. My reality took a direct poo-hit and would remain so for my entire school life.

Children, teachers, they all had it in for me. I attracted bullies like shit attracts flies. Or light-bulbs attract moths. Sounds nicer.

When I was little, I thought that monsters only existed in books and films but that’s not true. As well as certain little monsters, there were some bigger ones roaming around school calling themselves ‘Miss’ and ‘Sir’.

Me & Nev

My opinion of school aged about 6. Was too young to say “It’s shit”. FYI that’s not a rainbow, it’s just typical of 1970’s processing and that privet needed trimming.

I went through many phases where I wished I was someone else. Not a famous person or a character from a book, just someone else. I thought that maybe if I was someone else, I wouldn’t be bullied. When I was at home I read stories where bullied children triumphed and bullies got what they deserved – a damn good thrashing – if Enid Blyton had anything to do with it. Reading as escapism was healthy but wanting to be someone else wasn’t. However, it might give you, dear reader, some idea of the level of anxiety I was experiencing at school.

At some point we all have to face reality and mine is that I am overly sensitive to most things including people. I don’t fit as easily into the world as most do and that’s why I’ve been bullied. That’s my theory anyway. Escapism has been my saving grace. A book, a film, music and sleep.

In my dreams, I was popular, gorgeous (and spot free). In my dreams, I wasn’t the awkward girl with sweaty pits anymore. In my dreams, Nick Rhodes was waiting for me outside the school gate, leaning up against a massive limo with his lippy on and Le Bon as his chauffeur.

I daydreamed whenever possible. While the biology teacher was droning on about plant reproduction, I daydreamed. When the balled up pieces of paper hit the back of my head and brought me back to reality, I imagined stabbing the perpetrator’s zit ridden face with my compass. I doodled their initials on my notebook, then drew a fancy bracket with the word DIE at the point. {

I didn’t really want them to die – I’m not a psycho! It was just my teenage angst finding an outlet, innit.

Alright, maybe I did want them to die a bit but only because they were being really mean.

So that was school. Eleven years of misery and dreaming of the day I could legally leave it all behind. Then my life would surely change?

Nope. No matter where I went or what I did, I was still a misfit. Only difference was, I got slightly better at hiding it.

At almost 45 years of age, I’m still a misfit, only I quite like it now. And I don’t give a toss, which helps.

Normal? It’s overrated.

I’ve learned that, while reality is what is real, people’s attitudes are very different. My reality is that I am socially awkward. So what? I’m also a caring person and I can speed read. Go me! I have OCD, agoraphobia, anxiety, sensory issues and a list of flaws as long as an orangutan’s arm. Could be much worse, eh!

Oh, and I’m menopausal. Have I mentioned that I’m menopausal? I do like to get that in most of my posts, just incase I forget myself.

Sometimes I get tired of having to put so much effort into existing and find myself sinking into a supermassive black-hole (not a euphemism) but then I hear a voice or read a text saying ‘I love you, Mum’ and I re-boot, as it were. I might have given my children life but they’ve given mine it’s meaning and I would go through every shitty day again to have them in my life.

Life can be hard and some people’s realities are tougher than others but as Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, says…

The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.

I choose to accept who I am and acknowledge my experiences with an element of humour because it gives me some control back over my life and the only real control I have over reality is my attitude towards it.

mumturnedmom

 

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36 thoughts on “Reality Bites

  1. Ah and there’s the solution right there – it’s not perfect but it’s under your control. Sorry you had such shit school days – I’ve always thought of myself as socially awkward but I managed to find one great friend in school (the only person I’m still friends with from those days) and we sailed through it together keeping ourselves to ourselves. No one really bothered too much to be mean to us (plus my friend had a very thick skin anyway and neither of us was overweight or acne covered or anything that might single us out for abuse). I know how lucky that makes me. I also know that being the age we are now gives us a huge amount of power to choose our own reality. Xx #theprompt

  2. You have a great perspective. I’m sorry your days at school weren’t the best, but I admire you for going through the every bit of it and coming out so strong on the other side. You’re right in saying you have control over your reality. Most don’t realize that you get what you’re given, but it’s up to you to make it what you want it to be, what you need it to be. It’s truly a profound realization, and something that everyone should keep in mind more often. Thank you for sharing this piece. Your humor laced with your wonderful words makes for a very entertaining and enlightening read. Happy Friday 🙂

  3. I would like to think that all those kids who thought they were somebody at school grew up to be nobodies. They may not have had any difficulties getting through those years, but my bet is that having never had to overcome any adversities, they would not have been so well equipped to deal with the real world once they got out there. As for you, your experiences have made you who you are – an incredibly witty, well rounded (in a life experience way) person, who has an extremely positive outlook on life. Great post.

  4. Great post! my heart was breaking for little, bullied you but you have turned things around by being stronger and better than any of the shit anyone ever flung at you. That’s a fab quote at the end of the post too – words to live by xxx #Theprompt

    • True, lovely. If I’d have known back then that one day I’d be OK with it, maybe it would have made it more bearable but when you’re that age, you can’t really see the bigger picture. X

  5. Ah, Tracy. What doesn’t kill you and all that. It always make me sad to read about your school years, but I think Nicola is right in saying that having to deal with crap does make you a stronger person, and your attitude is fabulous. Our conclusions are similar, reality is what it is, but we have the power to shift our perspective and make our time in it different. I absolutely love that quote. Another brilliant post lovely, thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    • Thanks Sara, I think the knowledge that we can choose our attitude in any given circumstance, is quite empowering. I wish I could have dealt differently with things then but it is what it is…
      Another great prompt which has enabled me to blog out my struggles. It’s therapy lol 🙂 X

  6. oh wow, loved this down to the bottom of my soul!
    “I went through many phases where I wished I was someone else. ” I did too as a young child and never really saw my love for books, art and music as escapism. such an eye opening and heartfelt post x

    • I think you’re cool and Sonny & Luca will for a few years until they are teenagers and then you’ve had it, basically. 😉
      Being different aint so bad once you get your head around it. Like 40+ years later lol

  7. You know what, Tracy…? You were – and are – different. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But society can be brutal to *different* people. As I have proved, very thoroughly. 😒

  8. I’m definitely with Sara on the things that don’t kill you making you stronger. Although it’s hideous to have to go through this, it’s a long time ago now and you’ve clearly made your peace with it. If nothing else you are extra vigilant for your kids to ensure they never have to suffer like you did.

    You’re so right, we always have a choice. Accepting ourselves, warts and all, will make life a much better place day to day. Sending you a huge hug, from one survivor to another xxx

  9. Tracy what an insight into your life……you are you and that’s plain brilliant. Schooling must have been awful for you, I can’t out into words how I feel about bullies…….I HATE THEM, they start at school and unless they see the serious errors of their ways, they continue into their work places and even in their home lives. I’m sure I’m blessed that neither has happened to myself or my children, I would be beside myself if their lives were made a misery of. It makes me ponder, nature or nurture? Would you have been the same person you are if your school days were different, I’m not sure, are you?
    Apart (not said lightly) the gut wrenching memories of school, you were blessed with a happy home life and memories can never be altered of that. LOVE your photo! I thank myself each day that we found each other on twitter, it seems it was just meant to be! You are surrounded by love by your lovely children, hubby to be AND his children. You have a few friends that you have allowed yourself to let into your real life and you have 100’s who care about you on twitter.
    I often wonder when I see parents leaving delivery floor with their babies, how will it turn out in their families, yes money comes down to what you are born into but true love is not effected by money. The same can be said for how confident or shy that child will turn out, good at sport or brainy, the list could go on. What you can’t change is being a nice kind caring person, that can never be put on as an act, people see through fakes. Tracy, you are a gem. Xxxx

    • Blimey, what lovely things to say. I’m well choked up here, lovely lady. X
      I think you’re right. The past doesn’t define us but it does shape us into the people we are now and If I’m honest, I think the strength that came from enduring all that at school, stood me in good stead for other tough parts of my life.
      I don’t see the point in trying to be something I’m not which is why my posts are as honest as they can be and hopefully it will help people to understand me…
      As always, you have made me feel loved and I love you for that. Thank you :). xXxXx

  10. I’m always surprised when people say they had problems at school. For me it was a place of refuge from changing nappies, washing up for 8 and not having new clothes because we couldn’t afford them. In my uniform and with a modicum of intelligence and with no one knowing about my home life, I finally found the place that I fitted in. We all have our obstacles to overcome, and that’s what makes us into the adults we are. I love your posts even though I found this one quite sad because you write with complete honesty.

    • Thanks Stella,
      I’m glad that your school days provided a welcome respite from a difficult home-life. I know it’s not all bad and a lot of people have a positive experience and really do look at school as being some of the best years of their lives.. It was a saying that I heard so many times as a child – people telling me to make the most of those days..I can say without hesitation that my best days came after. 😉 X

  11. Aww Trace this made me howl. I can identify with so much of it, especially the bullying. I didn’t have the sensory issues, and I’m not sure about the social, I just desperately didn’t want to be there and it showed I guess.

    Such a well written post, but yours always are darling. Luvs you always x x

  12. I also grew up in a world of daydreams and longing to be someone else. In my dreams I was George from the Famous Five, as I was a bit of a tomboy and didn’t want to be like everyone else.
    Fabulous post lovely. This brought back so many memories of how vile school could be. Heads off to follow Mummy Shambles on Bloglovin.

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