The beginning – or the brief version of my childhood
Well, I’d have to dust off some very embarrassing, or funny – depending on which role you are playing in the story…, silly and unbelievable (at least to me – any sane person will agree with me) stories, but hey, that is the whole point I believe, isn’t it?
I’m wondering where shall I begin from – my colourful childhood, even more colourful teenage years, how one day I suddenly realised “OMG, I am an adult now!” or from present day…
As present day is not my favourite time of my life, (which I still avoid writing about, but I’ll will get there…) the “enlighten” OMG, I am an adult now will take a long, very long post and the teenage years will take even longer post I thought starting with my childhood it’s a good idea (no matter how embarrassing…) that might brighten your day with a few smiles.
So, being the petite and “delicate” girl that I was (well, still am!) was far from easy.
My mum was absolutely devastated and embarrassed on each doctor check-up appointment that not only I did not put on any weigh, but I actually lost some (we are talking here like 200-300gr – yeap, that’s my mum!).
As I have an older brother, who fitted in all growth charts, it came as a shock to her that I didn’t fit in a single one of those charts… I still have somewhere around the house my “red book” – no idea how it got here, but I think my mum gave it to me in one of our colourful gatherings as something to remember my… not sure what, but it was something worth remembering, according to her.
I do remember vividly going through my records and turning the pages and with every page the “dot” that represents how close, in the middle or above the average your physical growth as a child was going lower and lower and lower… below the lowest line…
Well, that made me feel at first insignificant as the faded dot, then my logic kicked in (thank God…) and I felt frustrated and even angry! I mean, who creates those charts!?! How can you “measure” a child according to piece of paper!?!? I know, I know… We’re talking here about just “average guidelines”, but even so it didn’t feel right to me.
Anyway. Don’t think I’ll ever want to see it again but even if I find it I probably won’t chuck it away.
It represents something. It represents that we all have different charts, sort of speaking, and putting labels below, average or above average on those pages means absolutely nothing.
FYI – “my label” is below average, nearly at the bottom of the page, brightly underlined with two red lines and exclamations mark. Interesting, eh?
I was born in Eastern Europe in 1980 (I call it that “dark ages”) with no Internet, no easy accessible knowledge – only your gut feeling and what your paediatrician advices you (given she knows what she is doing…).
So to my mum horror I was prescribed a special syrup – honestly, the taste will haunt me till my last day – which would supposedly improve my appetite. It had a texture of wall paint, the colour was unpleasant bright pink and it was supposed to have strawberry flavour. I know what a strawberry taste like – it definitely didn’t have anything to do with that nasty thing I had to take 4 time a day…
So, having sad that – it didn’t improve my appetite.
In fact, it did exactly the opposite but nevertheless I consumed countless bottles of the “magical thing”.
Later on, of course, I found it really surprising (from a pure physical point of view) how come they could not understand that I cannot have the same amount of food as my brother (who’s triple my size) or any other “normal” as somehow I was seen as “not normal” kid. I mean it should have been obvious to them that my stomach simply did not have the capacity for a “normal” kid meal.
Back these days eating was pure horror for me or more like a torture. My mum was always cooking and serving meals the traditional way – appetizer (let’s say soup), main course and a desert. By the time I was half way through my main course I was full, but nevertheless I was encouraged and pushed to clear my plate.
Of course, during these times my parents and grandparents simply could not live with the fact that I need only one pancake and tried their best to persuade me to have another one… and another one… Me, on the other hand, trying to please them and make them happy, did my best to eat as much as I could.
Well, that period ended pretty quickly as there was lots of cleaning involved after my stomach decided to return the additional pancakes, so at least that stopped.
Somehow I survived, despite the absolute surprise of my paediatrician, who said, I clearly remember, “If that was a normal child she would be a giant by now!” referring to the amount of Sanostol (that’s how the syrup was called, I think, although I did not find anything about it on my first Google search and not sure if I want to…).
I was and I am a giant.
But not on the outside.
Unfortunately, it took me quite a few years through primary and secondary school to find that out. But, boy, when I did…. I would give almost everything to feel that way again and I hopefully will, work in progress…
My size (4.93 feet to be precise) constantly provoked bullying from any kind until I was absolutely convinced that I am so small and insignificant, I’d better run or hide. And we are not talking here nice British schools, well, most of them, we are talking about something completely different, something that you would understand only if you grew up in a similar environment or country.
Teachers would do very little and only if it was right in front of their eyes (if anything at all). So no back up, but enough of the gloomy picture. I think I made my point – definitely not my favourite part of primary or secondary school.
The person I feared most was called Maxim and funny enough guess what my sons’ name is… Yeap. Maxim. My husband still finds that hilarious. What can I say?? I like the name. A name does not define a person!
Again, somehow, I survived those years, with lots of tears of course and bitter memories. Well, not always bitter, of course, and they made me who I am today. Or was… Whoever that is as I surely don’t know yet!
I don’t remember how old was I, I think around 14 or 15-ish years old, when something very interesting happened.
It was the moment I realised that how tall all short you are doesn’t really matter. What you do, how you do it and your attitude towards any given situation tells everything. Given, you want to see, of course…
THE most famous bully in my school (Maxim was second in rank), I have to stress on that again – THE MOST FAMOUS and fearful bully in my school, for no reason apparent to me back then, while passing by me on the staircase, spat in my back.
Now, there are certain things about me, that I simply cannot tolerate.
Under. No. Circumstances. Never.
I do not like to be touched, I do not like to be pushed, I am a very tidy person and taking self-hygiene very seriously and my personal space was the most sacred thing I had.
There were lots of kids trying to get to their classroom for their next lesson, fortunately no one else was hurt, except the bullies’ ego…
The person I didn’t know till that day existed (something like a Jekyll & Hyde moment I’d say, no other way to describe it…) emerged and my anger simply exploded… Not my proudest moment, but who, on earth, spits on a little girl’s back????? Spitting – ok, for whatever reason, he might have thought it wold be funny to humiliate someone again that day, but IN THE BACK!!!! ON MY HAIR!!!!!
Although petite and “fragile” I was in very good shape, doing sport gymnastics and simply being a very good runner, given my experience above, and when my anger is justified… Well, someone is going to get what they are looking for (that I learned after this day).
I gracefully swung my backpack (full of books as I read a lot, I mean, really A LOT), I was headed upstairs, he was headed downstairs and with all my anger I smashed it against his back. Although attacking in the back is something I consider absolute disgrace, given the circumstances, didn’t have time to rethink my strategy… Whit spit in my hair…
There was no screaming or shouting from my side. He, of course, not expecting anything like that, rolled down to the bottom of the staircase in pure shock. Still no fear on his side, but it’s coming… I walked slowly to him, this is what my classmates told me later on as I was trying very hard to contain my anger and the urge to smash him again with my backpack, not even thinking that he might fight back.
You wouldn’t believe the surprise on his face when he saw who was the reason for him to take the shortcut to the first floor and he started to laugh.
This totally pissed me off.
Honestly, no idea where all my fear disappeared at that moment, but thank God he didn’t fight back… All the students on the floor froze waiting for the next move, you know – spectators – that would just watch and enjoy, but would never interfere, or, Gog forbid, help in any way… I bent over him, while he’s still on the floor and clearly said and truly meant it (not that I’d be able to actually do it, but apparently I was very convincing) “If you ever spit on me, pick on me or touch me again It will be the last thing you’ll ever do” still with very quiet vice (no idea what possessed me in that moment to say something like that!?!?!?! and it’s not a movie line either as we didn’t have TV back then…).
No idea what wold had happened if he jumped on his feet and swept the floors with me, but, BUT – I saw real fear in his eyes and could not believe it!?!?!?! Then I just walked away, still no fear in me that he could respond in any way (not yet at least).
And he didn’t respond. In any way. From that day he never ever bothered me again, with a few pathetic tries to make fun of me, but as soon as gave him “the look” the attempt was stopped.
Everyone was still watching in disbelief, including Maxim, and probably because I was “in the moment” passing by him I said “that includes you too” and went into my classroom for my lesson.
When the lesson started then my fear and panic emerged. “OMG! What the hell was I thinking, he is going to kill me!” Don’t remember any of the lesson I was taking but by the end of it the sweating had stopped, the panic disappeared and the fear was gone.
Now I know that this was my first lesson of what kind of people bullies really are, but back then I was meant to be bullied, as the unwritten protocol says, and I was never even thinking of questioning the “rules”.
The fear was gone because I saw the way my classmates were looking at me – there was no pity, no mocking, some curiosity but definitely no mocking. And that was the first class I had without chewed paper thrown at me… Yeap, more or less this is how my daily life was in the beginning of secondary school and honestly, no regrets, I learned the lesson the hard way but if you ask me sometime that’s the best way.
Yes, I wasn’t a giant on the outside, but this is how I felt on the inside that day.
I’m sure there are lots and lots and lots of people riding this had similar, if not worse, then my experience so if you feel like it, please share it with us. After all – we have to look it from the bright side, right?
PS: Just wanted to add that this is a personal exprience and there are quite a few of them, just wanted to run these by someone for an honest opinion as I'm definely a begginer. Writing ha always helped me and it currently helps going through what my psychiatrist described as a total breakdown, although I prefer to call it "spiritual enlghtening" as my husband generously bent it for me while trying to comform me... as I never break down... In fact, this current, let's say "state of mind" put the words break nd down in my vocabulary for the first time, at least when I'm talking about me or anything reletad to me.
So, that's it. I'll keep wrting while still "break" and "down" and hopefully the enlightening will follow up shortly! Now THAT I can't wait to write about:)