Firstly, if you have subscribed to this blog for information and reviews, this is going to be a different kind of post, some might say sentimental. You have been warned!
I have been poorly since February and therefore have had a lot of time to reflect on my life. Some of this reflection has not been entirely positive but every so often something crops up and reminds me how lucky I am.
It could be a news broadcast about the awful way in which women in places like Libya and Saudi Arabia are being repressed (and worse). It may be Comic Relief, showing me kids who have lost their parents and are HIV Positive themselves. It might even be just the thought of my mum, dad and brother and how lucky I am to have them. I also think about Kenneth Clarke’s comments this week and realise how lucky I am to have The Boy Wonder. Some men are so chauvinistic and idiotic that I realise TBW is one in a million. I don’t just mean that he isn’t dumb enough, like Clarke, to come out with stupid comments about rape – but also because TBW is a good man. He doesn’t mistreat me, or belittle me. Sadly, so many women’s’ partners do.
I look around and I see things through a different shade of glasses now. I realise that the most simple things can make a difference to my day, and the way I am feeling. As a type-A personality, control-freak I know I take too much on, that’s who I am. When I am fit enough to work, I race around like a headless chicken, trying to do overtime and squeeze in time with friends as well as family time and nice times with TBW, never mind reading and writing and wanting to do stuff for myself. I feel constantly under pressure and out of time. No-one but me puts these pressures on myself and I’ve realised since I’ve been physically unable to push myself and squeeze just another little thing in, the world hasn’t stopped turning, my life hasn’t imploded. I need to start prioritising and thinking of myself. Never mind what I feel I should be doing, what do I want to do? I spend too much of my life trying to please others and make others feel happy, while being miserable myself a lot of the time.
Earlier this week, I had an email off someone I used to work with several years ago. What it said totally blew me away. He said he remembered me as someone who was always smiling and game for a laugh. That was one of the nicest compliments I’ve received. Recently, I haven’t been that person but it was so lovely to be reminded of who I was and who I can still be. I know that being poorly will make me miserable but it was so touching to find out that, six years on, someone contacted me via Facebook just to tell me I’d been a little ray of sunshine.
I’ve never been someone who is popular. I was a geek at school and didn’t have many friends.
I left school at 18, after the hardest 2 years of my life, and took a full-time job in a bank. After contracting mumps, and having a fair bit of time to think, I decided to quit the bank job, take a drop in pay and go and work in a call centre while I studied. Those days in the call centre were the happiest of my life. I had a big group of friends, I partied frequently and I finally felt happy with who I was. That was around the time of my 21st birthday party where a room filled with people solely to celebrate my birthday and have a good time. That is still one of my happiest memories. I felt I’d gone from the unpopular kid in school to being very highly thought of. I’d met so many people along the way – from different jobs I’d had, courses I’d taken – and they liked me for me. Not because I smoked or because I was thin. They liked me because I was always smiling. That is the ultimate compliment.
So it might feel, right now, that fitting in is the most important thing in the world but take it from one who was never a ‘sheep’, somewhere in the world are people who will appreciate you for who you are – and if people don’t, it’s their problem, not your’s.