On Saturday, I faced one of my fears.
Maybe not a fear as such – it wasn’t being in the same room as a mouse (never going to willingly do that!), or climbing a great height (done that a few times thanks to ChIPS camp) – but testing my courage.
I went to a school reunion/anniversary event.
The little primary school I went to celebrated more than a hundred years of operation.
I haven’t been back to that school since I left in 1993, apart from the odd day when my parents went to vote.
As I said, I loved learning. I was good at school. I just didn’t like going much. I remember saying to my parents that I wished I could spend more time in hospital because I enjoyed it more than school.
You may remember I mentioned some of my experiences about being bullied.
It was at this school I experienced some of the bullying.
Lots of name calling.
Some pinching and punching.
People avoiding sitting next to me for fear of catching something.
I was spat on once.
Teachers not believing me.
The isolation because of exclusion was the worst.
Mum reminded me that when I was nine, I wanted to commit suicide. No nine year old should know about the act of suicide, let alone want to commit it.
Even though this was happening up to 23 years ago, it made a huge impact on me, to the point I think about it today.
I went to the event with some trepidation. I wondered who I would see again. I feared no one would want to talk to me, or value me, just like back in year three.
When I got there, it wasn’t so bad. I actually enjoyed it. I saw a heap of people I am friends with now. It was nice to catch up and hear what they’ve been doing since 1993.
We laughed a lot. Someone said the day meant constant smiling. That’s true.
People were keen to hear about what I was up to. I think some of them were surprised at what I’ve accomplished. Back then, I felt that people didn’t expect much of me. I have often received comments from strangers, saying they are ‘surprised I work a full time job’, and ‘in the public eye’. Vomit.
I admitted to a few that I was reluctant to go to the event. They understood. We cheered in unison, knowing I’d faced a fear that day!
My parents came with me. They loved the day. Seeing people they haven’t done in years. I think they also felt a bit of pride watching me tell people my achievements.
I had a good time too. The people I talked to have all moved past our school days. Admittedly, they weren’t the ones who gave me a hard time. I am not sure whether I would have spoken to the ones who did do.
It’s strange though.
After the event, I wanted to say I had a good time, but I was really just trying to breathe, knowing that I’d plucked up the courage to return to the place that caused me so much sadness.