Better with age…

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0: I emerged into the great big world, without a stitch on and not bothered in the slightest. I couldn’t speak the language; I didn’t know the people; the colours looked funny; the buildings were very big; everything was noisy; and I could scream.

1: Still needy. I was understanding things better, but still learning. I was watching everything. Chewing everything. I understood cuddles, warmth, but still couldn’t speak. When I wanted anything – I screamed.

2: Still needy. Starting to become more mobile, speedy on all fours. Able to make strange grunting noises – neither human nor animal, yet similar to both. Chuckles, burps, and, of course – screams.

3: Still needy. Upright more of the time. Walking and crawling. Falling and crying. Eating and needing to be changed (!). And speaking! First words after walking across a room: “Ow’s that?”. First words ever, possibly “Mama” or “Dada”, but I can’t really remember. Oh, and screams.

4: Totally independent. Walked confidently across the porch step into the wide world to go to school. Played with children I didn’t know, in sandpits and water pits. Didn’t know them. Didn’t like it. Screamed.

5: Learning. Learning. Learning. Loved it. Loved playing more, but learning was good. Learning also that screaming is not always good.

6: Learning about people. Becoming wary of people. Not liking certain people. Hurting because of what some people do. To me. To others. Not screaming. Crying.

7: Confidence low. Self-consciousness very high. Time in hospital. First time all alone. Didn’t like it. Wanted to scream. Wanted to run. Went to sleep looking one way, woke up looking different. Self-consciousness lower. Confidence higher.

8: Different me. Older me. Happy me. New school me. Still bullied me.

9: Learning. Learning. Learning. Writing with a pen. Learning about dinosaurs and space. Learning to read better. Learning to write better. Learning better.

10: Growing pains. Met Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Met fantasy. Better than reality.

11: The big school. The big world. Loved some classes. Loathed other classes. Loved learning. Loathed speaking in front of the class. Loved being home. Loathed walking home alone.

My first twelve years were a bit of a mixed bag emotionally. From being extremely happy to extremely frightened was quite jarring. From feeling being part of the world to being an outsider was quite confusing. But from having everything done for me to doing everything for myself was quite liberating.

I don’t have that many memories of my first few years, apart from those above… and even then, the very early ones aren’t my memories, I don’t think. Growing up is an amazing experience to go through, full of exciting opportunities to learn and develop. The thing is, even though I loved my early years, I would rather be able to remember more good things, than the bullying that started from an early age. Not that everyone bullied me, I hasten to add, but the bullies frightened me. That feeling of fear is getting in the way of the good feelings (which were there the majority of the time). A quote from the movie ‘Strictly Ballroom’:

A life lived in fear is a life half lived

It looks as though I only lived half of my growing years.

My thoughts have certainly got better with age. I know that there are people who don’t know any better than to treat others badly, but is it their fault? Maybe they have a reason to hit out at the world because they are living in fear too? I don’t know. I can’t speak for anyone who bullies anyone. I can speak for myself, however. It does hurt. It does stay. It can’t be forgotten, but it can be forgiven.

Now: I’m me. Still learning. Still reading. Still writing. Thinking back. Thinking forward. Thinking full stop. Feeling good. And on occasions… still screaming…

6 comments on “Better with age…”

  1. Very good post Aquatom, very honest as well, it couldn’t have been easy to think back to those times but as you say, they have stayed with you which makes it all the harder.

    I don’t really have many memories of those first 12 years you write about other than happy days with my Grandfather and being rather good at football. The next set of memories (12-16) are mainly missing my Grandfather terribly and finding out that others were better at football than I was, so I took up rowing instead, I should have chosen a different rowing club though but that’s for another day.

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    1. Thanks, Trevor.

      I couldn’t think of anything to write for today’s post, so had a look at the suggestion on the daily post, which was ‘what gets better with age?’, and this was what I came up with… probably not what they had in mind, but once I started I just went with the flow!

      Your mention of rowing has reminded me of something… I’ll make a note for another post sometime soon! 😀

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  2. I suppose you could say your life ‘report’ could cover us all, year by year…I know I was told that as a baby I was set outside on the lawn and next doors little lad came over and punched me ( not a regular occurrence I hasten to add, just a one off) … Mum said I was such a smiley baby, always happy, so maybe I looked at him wrong and laughed? or maybe some just irritate others? But since then, as not remembering it helps, I feel personally that growing up was altogether an experience I would not want to live through again … I felt I was rather an ‘old’ spirit? pre-teen years especially, thinking a lot, but on reading this back, (mainly to check that the keyboards typed correctly) maybe nothings changed? … although I don’t lie on the lawn out front, that would be asking for trouble…for one..there isn’t a lawn, and for two, I think I’ve grown out of it by now…
    I would like one thing from childhood, just every so often the ability to scream and rage, without anyone thinking I’d gone doolally and fetching the men in the white coats… Now that I would like… oh yes indeedy!! xPenx

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    1. Sorry to hear he punched you, Pen… sometimes people do the oddest things!

      Lying on the road out front is a good thing not to do, so it is probably best you have outgrown it!

      No screaming for me tonight… I have a sore throat!

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  3. really liked this aquatom1968 – very close and almost clinical look at the first few years – without losing any emotional, just bare, stripped back writing/facts. unadorned – i like it.

    that is an awesome quote from an amazing movie. very true too – let us not let fear rule our lives or stop us from doing things.
    i often think of Thoreau “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” and “I did not want to die to find I had not yet lived.” please forgive the misquotes…

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