Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Old Me (Very Long)

For a while after I came home I kept comparing myself to the 'old' me and using it as a measuring stick to where I 'should' be. This morning I started thinking very seriously about it. I haven't really thought about the "old" me and how I 'should' be for quite sometime, pretty much from when I accepted that this is a new me and I'll be the best new me I can be. so I thought I'd post here what I have been thinking about.

To start at the beginning, I had a wonderful happy childhood with some beautiful friends. I have recently found my best friend from me early childhood on facebook. Life was good, things were simple and there really wasn't much to cause a problem other than the odd knee scrape or argument with my little brother.

Then I turned 5. I started school, loved it had a fantastic teacher and loved learning. I made some friends and one of them asked if I could come and learn ballet with her. I did so off we went to ballet classes. I dreamed of dancing and becoming a ballerina. My 'friend' decided that she didn't really want me to do ballet with her at all and that her ballet friends were far more important. Normal part of life and learning to roll with the punches.

A little while later (still 5 years old) I was hit by a car after getting flavoured milk from the milkman for my little brother. I was taken to hospital, not terribly well checked over and sent home with my parents in the same dressings the ambulance drivers had put on when they picked me up off the road. That resulted in a trip to the local GP the next day to be looked over properly, have the dressings removed and what skin was left on my poor little back came off with the tape. The then had to scrub it to get all the bits of gravel and bitumen out of my back. I had it redressed and sent home again. I have very strong memories of laying on a towel on the lounge room floor watching TV while my poor mother painted my back with betadine and I screamed. My teacher delivered a HUGE card with a flower drawn on the front and 'signed' by all of my class mates.

The car accident damage didn't end there. When I got to school some weeks later, still with dressing and covered in betadine but enough skin to 'manage'. I was paraded around every single class from year 1 to 6 (I went to a NSW primary school) to show them "what can happen to you if you are hit by a car and are lucky enough to survive". It was humiliating and thus began my need to be in the background and out of the spotlight as much as possible.

I started school in our new home in QLD in year 3, made some friends, managed to score another brilliant teacher. I was bored though. I had covered all the work we are doing when I was in NSW. Year 4 a new school and new friends. I stayed there til year 7. I have caught up with some of my old friends from that school through facebook as well.

Horror of horrors, I was sent to a private school and all of my friends were not. there was one other girl from my year going to the same school as I was and I barely knew here. I was angry upset and terrified. I had always been shy and being thrown into situations where I was going to have to be more outgoing to make friends and become more comfortable in a new situation really challenged me.

The first 3 years I had a group of friends. We all felt like we were outcasts. We were bullied and tormented by other girls at the school and it left a mark. I pulled back further into my shell. We all went to another school for the last two years of school. Those were probably the most difficult of all. I made new friends and still hung out with the 'outcasts' some of the teasing from the previous 3 years continued. That wasn't the hard part.

The hard part was that the last two years of my school life, both of my parents had cancer. I have two younger brothers so I spent a lot of time wondering if the three of us would be split up, if I would be old enough to keep the three of us together acting as the parental unit, how they would cope, and of course when or if my parents would get better. I had to take on many of the household duties. at the beginning I was walking my youngest brother to the bus every morning to send him to primary school and then coming back home on the way to high school to check that my other younger brother had his gear together and was off to school. Later on my brother and I spent some time in boarding school while our parents where in Brisbane having their treatments  When my parents came home, the arrangements changed, I got the three of us sorted in the mornings, walked my youngest brother across to the wife of one of the house masters to be taken to school and then went to school myself. Through those two years I didn't have the brain space or time to do any of the 'normal' high school girl things like dating boys. I was constantly busy, up til 2 and 3 in the morning trying to get school work done, up again at 6 to start the whole cycle again. I don't think anyone at the school knew my parents were both so ill. As a direct result of all the stress and being so caught up in these parenting and live or die matters, my marks at school plummeted I had started out as a potential 990 student and came out at the other end with a 580.

From there I leaped into a disastrous, abusive relationship. I think a large part of it was that someone thought I was pretty and was paying attention. I had a child. Stuck it out for 4 years and then had to leave. I was worthless ugly and no one would ever want to be with me again. At least that was what I had been taught to believe. A variety of things happened after I left and we had a custody case which lasted 2 and half years and ended in a 4 day hearing. It was ugly.

My husband and I were friends for a couple of years before I left my fiancĂ©.  Our friendship bloomed into the amazing marriage we have. He had come from a bad marriage and had twin daughters, I had my son so I went from mother of one to mother of 3 in a microsecond  The girls spent time with us a lot at the beginning but their mother didn't like it and took of with the girls. A while later she brought them back again and we picked up were we had left off. The twins and I had a great relationship, they loved their step brother and were excited about the impending arrival of their half sibling. Their mother vanished with them and didn't come back until they were in their early teens. They had forgotten their step brother and were cruel to their half brother. their mother vanished with them again and we had brief contact with them again when they were 14/15 years old. We didn't see them again til they were 21.

All the time they girls were gone I continued to buy them birthday and christmas presents and put them away each year they weren't there. I missed them terribly. When our youngest son was born I would pull out photos of the girls and tell him about them and what they were like. There came a point when I realised that the girls would be too old for the things I had been buying for them at the beginning. I gave the gifts away to friends with little girls of a similar age the girls would have been for each year of gifts. I stopped buying them the gifts. It was too hard to see them sitting there in the cupboard reminding me they weren't there.

I was super busy from before I left my fiancĂ© and continued to be for years after, I picked up more volunteer work, did work from home, picked p odd jobs outside of home and started study.

At 29 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It had made its entry into my life suddenly and violently. My husband and I had to try and explain it to our very young children. I had to make a will and a funeral plan over a weekend and was then put in hospital the day my GP received my scan results. They didn't do the surgery that day. so began 8 years of constant pain and illness.

So looking back at it honestly, I don't miss the old me. I don't miss suffering for 8 years and being treated like a drug addict. I don't miss the me before that who lived with and aching heart for two children who were never hers and also the fear that had been instilled in me. I don't miss the me who was in a nightmare relationship. I don't miss the me who lived through her parents illness and failed school. I don't miss the me that always felt like she didn't belong.

I do miss the memories especially the good one. I do miss the people I loved who are no longer here, like my mother. I do miss some of the skills I had developed over the years. I do miss what I now see as ease in learning new things.

I don't regret the surgery. I would be dead without it. If I had known it would impact me as much as it has I would still do it. I am a new me, I am doing the best I can to be the best me I can be. I can miss those things but I can't use them as a yard stick. I am not that person any more  I have new skills to learn and hone. I have renewed friendships and had conversations with some of them which have been amazing. I am surrounded by people who are incredible, amazing human beings. I love my new life. It is that simple.

My life sucked up til now so I don't miss it.