Dear Teachers.

Dear Teachers,

In the five years I spent at your school, I can honestly say that I am not entirely sure how I came out of it so sane. I was sent to you after my prodigal sister. I am aware (by my parents) that I did not do exceptionally well in my entrance test and certainly not as well as my sister, who came in on a scholarship. However, my grades (or lack of them) did not matter to you. I was my sister’s sister. I had to be good…………right?

But I wasn’t.

I was me. Not her. Yet that was never celebrated.

The first two years of high school, I slipped under the radar. I did okay, I went by unnoticed as did my grades. I excelled in the subjects I thought I would: Drama, Art, Music and English. The complete opposite to her. I was not an academic to you all. I was never part of any social dramas nor did I take any leadership roles, it was easy to forget about me.

I remember when you did notice.

When my grades slipped too far, I became your target. Suddenly, the girl you’d forgotten became the most memorable of all. Especially when you remember who my sister was – your star student. The morning you took me for a walk around the school and down to the hall where the plaques hung showing your most prized pupils of past. Where my sister’s name shone and burned into me. The place where you pointed out what I should be achieving and that I “had a lot to live up to”.

What you didn’t question was why.

Why was this sweet, lively girl’s grades dropping?

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my childhood was falling apart. That my home-life was like a war zone. The year was 1996, I was fourteen years old, my mother had just applied for divorce and you decided to put me on report.

You close-minded, arrogant idiots.

The reputation of your school and the notoriety of your name was much more important that a young girl struggling to make sense of her family disintegrating before her eyes. You humiliated me by dragging in my parents to discuss my “future”. Who were you to predict that? While my mother already held me in low regard, you only fuelled her perception of me. I had further disappointed her and as you placed my sister on that righteous pedestal, her place in my mother’s eyes grew stronger. You played a very clear part in the destruction of our relationship and for that I will never forgive you.

There were no positives made. No redeeming features. Humiliation and bullying was your forte. I was lost and no one was reaching out to guide me. No one.

Perhaps, if you had spent more time concerned about the welfare of your students and their emotional well being, I would have better memories of you all.

Sadly, I don’t.

Welcome back Ma.

This week will finally mark the return of my mother from India. It has been a long five weeks without her. That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed some quality time with my husband or a chance for independence – I have. However, the feeling of being in her house for so long without her makes me anticipate what it’ll be like when she really has gone for good. Yes, how morbid but I can’t help feeling that way.

Most thirty one year olds would dread the prospect of returning home to their mother. Not me.

Growing up, we never had a connection. Even into my early twenties did the barrier remain. There were ample opportunities to move to my mums’ during the abuse yet my father’s emotional hold was too strong and my unnatural loyalty to him was keeping me back. She has always criticised that choice, the choice to stay with my abuser. In my mind, I just clung to hope. A lost hope that he would change into the father he used to be. That is why I stayed so long.

Have I enjoyed these last few months with her? Yes. More than I thought I would. I wish we had spent more time together when we both were younger. It is upsetting to imagine the years we wasted.

I can’t wait to have her back.

See you soon Mummy xx

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The Good Samaritan.

After my fleeting moment with the lady on the train a month ago, I decided that I would no longer ignore people in times of need. Of course, in certain situations, it is sensible to think of my own safety but sometimes it is necessary to take those little extra steps to make it easier or better for others. Today was one of those days.

As I waited for the bus home from work, I caught the eye of two girls that live on my road. We have never spoken but they have always been friendly and smile at me each time we get on the same bus. They became even more excited when they discovered that we live on the same road. I am polite and smile back. Children are judged too quickly these days. People seem to fear them but why should they be condemned before they have done anything? We wouldn’t do that to anyone else yet why is it okay to judge teenagers like that?

Our bus home arrived and quickly became packed with passengers. I sat down as the two girls got on. The driver suddenly got louder and seemed to telling one girl off. I took my headphones out as they seemed to be arguing. I did not want to pry but it was very crowded and the driver was making a scene. He began shouting at the girl about her ticket, telling her that she cannot ride the bus for free and that she “needs to pay like everybody else”. She wasn’t trying to trick the system, she was waiting for her new Oyster card to be delivered and kept telling the driver it was coming in eight days.

It was pitch black out now the nights are longer and so cold; to send her out and throw her off the bus not only seemed unreasonable but totally unjust. He continued to rant at her and some exasperated groans left the mouths of the other passengers. Enough was enough, she did not need a lecture she just wanted to get home and out of the cold. We do not live in a dangerous part of London however even here, have I recently been followed by some rather dodgy men on a Friday night. It was only 6.30 in the evening but the darkness had become their cover. Thankfully, they did not harass me too much and my bus arrived to save me in time but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t petrified.

I know that girls alone, in the dark, are an easy target.

I got up from my seat and without hesitation paid the driver the extortionate £2.40 he demanded from the twelve year old girl. Both sisters kept telling me not to worry as they would just leave, but I came to their defence and plainly told the driver,

“They are children and you are very happy to throw them off the bus in the cold and in the dark. We as adults should be looking out for their safety whether we know them or not. They aren’t trying to cheat the system. They are very sensible girls”.

Okay. I didn’t know if that last part was true as we had never talked but two young teenage girls who stand up to let the elderly sit down or smile at their new neighbours, seem pretty sensible to me. They are innocents and we, in a world like this today, should be celebrating that.

In  the background while the driver began barking obscenities at me, an elderly lady said as other passengers murmured in agreement,

“She’s a good Samaritan that one”.

The young girls seemed grateful and began speaking to each other in their own language as they sat down, The younger sister blurted out,

“I’ll pay you back, I’ll go straight home and pay you back!”

I said not to worry. What’s £2? They get to go home safely, that’s all that matters. The elderly woman had her feathers ruffled as she was appalled by the driver’s attitude and manner. I just reiterated the point that they are young girls being thrown off a bus and how inappropriate and unkind that would be.

As we drove further, another older man began rummaging through an envelope and started counting some loose change. He caught my attention and handed it to me. I immediately refused and smiled telling him to put his money away. I was shocked that so many people were now coming to my need. That was so lovely to see.

The young girl did repay me later.

I told you she was sensible.

Guess who?

Guess who?

David may kill me for posting this but I had to share it with all of you!

We had these photos placed before our wedding cake.
I must be around eight or nine in the photo. It is genuinely a time I have no clear memory of. A time that blurs into one. I cannot even remember where or when the picture was taken………..

Still, it makes me smile 🙂