I wanted to talk about something different today, my little brother has just finished for the summer holidays and it has got me thinking about my time at school and how different I used to be as a child.
As a kid, I was very shy and had a lot of self doubt. I wasn’t naturally good at school in any subject (particularly bad at sports and academics), the only thing I was good at was reading books and spelling (from the amount of books I read). I never believed in myself and just thought I was stupid. I used to dream and dream about one day being successful like my parents have with their business, but didn’t think I was clever enough to get there. I was the worst at exams (I was once predicted an A* based upon my lesson work but got an E in the exam – quite impressive to do so badly I know!). I always felt like a freak, I hit puberty at 9 years old and way before my peers at my all girls school, I suddenly had boobs and was inches taller than everyone else. I felt like I stood out from the crowd when all I wanted to do was blend in. I constantly worried that nobody liked me at school and used to get in my parents car at the end of the day and cry thinking I didn’t have any friends, when in reality I did, but that is how I felt.
I asked my parents once whether they thought I had dyslexia and they told me that they didn’t want to put a label on me. They said if I was labelled as dyslexic or anything else then I would self doubt myself even more and perhaps even have given up and think that I am definitely going to fail in exams and in life as I am at a disadvantage to everyone else. I didn’t agree with them at first but over the past couple of years as I get every step closer to being 25 next year, I learn more and more about myself and I realise that perhaps they were right.
In the year that I turned 15, I did some work experience as a waitress in my Aunty’s pub. I was thrown into the world of the service industry where I had to talk to strangers and be confident which I was not used to and did not come natural to me. But I stuck it out and slowly (without my realising it) I came out of my shell and gained some confidence. My final 2 years (year 10 & 11) at the girls school ended up being a lot of fun, stressful yes as I had GCSE’s to deal with, but I finally felt like I found my place in the crowd and I became the class clown making people laugh. It acted as a balance to the fact that I still felt stupid compared to everyone else – ‘I may not get the best GCSE’s but at least I make them laugh!’.
After GCSE’s, I moved schools for A-Levels and went to a boarding school, I was so excited! (Wild Child had just come out on DVD starring Emma Roberts and I was also a huge Harry Potter fan). But what I hadn’t thought about was how homesick I would get and how I would deal with being a weekly boarder as I am so very much a family person. I hadn’t prepared myself at all and come September when my mum had settled me into my new dormitory and said goodbye, it dawned on me – I was now alone. I think I cried almost every day for the first 3 months (pathetic I know). I felt this huge pressure that I was becoming an adult now and could no longer rely on my Mum for advice and support. I had to make decisions on my own, but I don’t know how to make any decisions?! I lost the majority of my confidence at boarding school and became that quiet shy girl again. I threw myself into my A-Levels as it was the only thing I could do to forget about being homesick (I also watched a lot of movies on my laptop alone in my dorm room). I practically slept in the Art department, working hard and desperately trying to prove myself.
At my final year at school and on the verge of being 18, I was made a house prefect and head of entertainment. This was just what I needed, it forced me to interact, organise and plan events including our themed house dinner (a yearly tradition in our school) with our school governors and teachers. I had to delegate tasks to the other girls in my house in my year, and manage the entire set up, so I had to be confident.
I ended up leaving school having gone full circle; shy little girl to confident teenager to shy young adult to semi-confident woman.
In the September that followed, at 18, I moved to London living on my own for a year and never looked back.
Now, if I explain to friends or work colleagues the shy girl I used to be they are shocked as I seem so confident, and I am the majority of the time. But every now and then, that little girl shows up. I used to battle to keep her away but this year I have grown to accept her.
So to my 10 year old self who had no confidence, no friends and thought she was stupid, I promise you everything will turn out okay, there will be ups and downs but with hard work and keeping your goals and dreams in mind, you’ll get to where you want to be.
So don’t worry little girl, you’ll be alright I promise.
Lots of love xxx