Dear Me of thirty odd years ago,
This is your head speaking.
You have parents who love you, even if they can’t really show it.
Your sisters may have seen you as a little sister to be bossed around but they weren’t nasty to you, at least not until 2sis left home. When did that start I wonder? When did 2sis start putting you down all the time? 1sis floated in and out of your life sometimes interesting, usually entertaining, frequently disruptive in an admirable way. Both of them left you to it, most of the time.
You have a privileged upbringing. Your mum taught you to read by the age of three and only when I tried to do the same did I realise quite how difficult and time consuming that is.You were encouraged to read and taken on frequent trips to the library from a young age. Books saved you.
Your dad took you to work with him on Saturdays when it wasn’t too busy, even if he did always leave you to someone else to look after. He told you bedtime stories, often about his youth and there were always bad jokes.
There were family holidays, lots of them. All by car so if you could just learn to stop feeling sick in the car life would be so easier. It’s inconvenient to have to stop and it is such a weakness. Sleeping in the car may reduce your car sickness but you miss out on watching the miles roll by, holiday “banter” from your dad and family sing songs. Oh well. Holidays involved camping, walking and lots of fresh air. Scotland, Wales, Lake District. Been there and done that, in rain and occasional sun. The odd square of chocolate to help keep you going and proper walking boots and wet weather gear. Learn to walk faster and you’ll keep up. Don’t stop to admire the view unless it’s an approved stop or you’ll fall behind. What do you mean you don’t want to go?
Your mother took time out to take you to all the museums in London, introduced you to a life long love of theatre, Shakespeare, and Gilbert and Sullivan. Old films that you could share with your grandmother.
And then there are all those trips to your grandmother. How lucky you are to have a relative living in the sunny south of France who could show you a different way of life with lots of chat between you and your grandmother and your mother.Your dad would go off doing long walks so you can enjoy peace without him, as did your mother. Lots of swimming, eating, drinking and discovering interesting places. When it’s just you and your mum going you can sit in the front of the car and not want to throw up quite so much. Isn’t it surprising I was over 40 before I learned to drive!
Your other grandmother wasn’t quite so easy but even so, you learned to value your time with her. You wouldn’t have know your father had a brother if it wasn’t for her.
The, when you were seven you moved abroad. All of a sudden your idyllic life changed.
You were put into a French speaking school and had the amazing advantage of becoming fluent in a second language. Never mind that the other children thought you were weird and bullied you. What an opportunity!
You had the privileged advantage of growing up in another country, of learning to appreciate and value other cultures, other ways of life and to respect differences. It opened your eyes to a European, multi-cultural mindset that doesn’t really exist in England. You will appreciate that for the rest of your life.
Being bullied is character forming. It strengthens you and teaches you who you really are. You don’t need friends.
You turned down the opportunity to move to Germany and become trilingual. What a wimp you and your mother were for saying no. Would your father have consulted you both if he’d already decided to go?
You were lucky enough to notice your parents increasing affluence, despite (or because of) your father’s tight control of the purse strings. Never mind that you were never spoiled, that Christmases were always limited and you had to earn larger presents. At least you learned the value of money.
You spend so many years moaning about your childhood whilst failing to appreciate all the wonders it brought. It’s about time you grew up and moved on, leaving behind all this nonsense and appreciating what you were given. You were so lucky!
I hate you.
I hated my dad and had forgotten the sarcasm and mockery, some of which he no doubt passed onto 2sis. I spend so much time now feeling sorry for him that I’d forgotten or repressed how much I hated him and how small he made me feel.
I thought my mum saved me but actually letting me hang out with people twice my age did me no good in the long run and meant that I never felt comfortable with my peers. Her inability to stand up to my dad taught me about being passive and accepting one’s lot.I’m not sure that I ever believed she tried standing up to him at first.
I still feel guilty for not having more than a minimal relationship with my parents and in some ways I’m still protecting them from the truth, as I so often did as a child.
I was so miserable for so long and then I continued it by going out with men who repeated the sarcasm, the dictatorship, the dominance. I never stood a chance until I learned to be independent.
I am better than all this shit and would like to let it go but I spent my childhood and much of my adulthood suppressing my anger and hurt as it served no purpose and it has festered. I am working on it.
So dear head, thanks for all the privilege, but, fuck you.