I have realised as a child I have always done whatever I was told to do regardless of my feelings.
It all started off from being given a bedtime, I was made to sleep at 7pm every single day, even on my early birthdays. I think I was crying in my room when everyone was having fun at my birthday party, because I was made to go to my room and sleep. Little did my parents know, I never always slept when they wanted me to. Maybe this is when my unbalanced sleeping occurred? I’d rebel and stay up even though I was told to sleep, but at some point I must have slept when I became tired of crying all night.
As a child I was made to attend many events, family gatherings and weddings. During one Summer I remember having weddings on every weekend and my family were always the last guests staying there, even on a school night. For example, I recall, on a Sunday night being up until 3 to 4am at family’s homes in the West Midlands area, and was still made to go to school the next day as normal! But I also remember when it came to wanting to meet my friends, I was told “No” by my mum. I remember crying, rebelling and asking my dad instead and he said “Yes”. So I played this card many times, until one day, my dad said “No” too; “Listen to your mum”. I missed out on meeting friends on weekends and going to ‘club nights’ for under 18s which many at my school went to every Wednesday night. The only similar events I was allowed to attend was the school disco and we only had 1 or 2 from what I remember.
I don’t blame my parents for not letting me go out, they were only trying to protect me and to ensure that I didn’t interact with the wrong crowd. I just couldn’t see it at the time, and it felt as if they didn’t want me to have fun even when I wanted it. Instead I was always forced to attend every family occasion. While most of the time I did want to attend, there were times that I didn’t want to but was made to go anyway. During the times that I did go, I had fun in the end. This made me realise no matter what you do, you can still have fun in life.
I attended a private school, where we started school at 8am and we had regular activities every day until 6pm at least. On some days I had extra activities added on too from outside of school. For example, on Mondays, I would do ballet dancing, tap dancing and then Elocution lessons straight after school. On Thursdays, I had Combined Cadet Forces at school. Later on, my brother and I would have swimming lessons until 6pm, a quick McDonald's and then straight on to Karate class outside of school.
I never enjoyed activities such as Elocution lessons, ballet dancing, Combined Cadet Forces, swimming, Karate and playing the keyboard initially but I did enjoy them eventually. I used to practice the keyboard 2 hours every single day outside of my normal activities. I have no idea what made me do it, except I had many exams for it and I was determined to pass them, which I did pass up to Grade 7. I should have taken my Grade 8 exam but unfortunately I broke my right wrist on my last week of school before my final A levels, which resulted in me being unable to complete this. Unfortunately for me, when I went to University playing the keyboard wasn’t something I could commit to as much as I did when at school.
With these activities, I realised I may not have enjoyed them at the time. Looking back, they all benefited me greatly and I don’t regret it one bit now as I did enjoy and appreciate them over time. I have realised even though there are certain tasks that seem mundane to me initially, I am disciplined enough to stay focused and complete it. On top of that, it has also taught me to be more resilient, which is a great skill to have.
The fact I was made to do Elocution lessons made me realise my parents must have thought there was something wrong with me talking to people. I guess they were trying to help me the best way they could in my speech that no one had told them to and this is something I still keep doing until this day.
Perhaps keeping me occupied with these activities was a perfect way for me to utilise all the hyper energy I had as a child!
Stay tuned for part 2 next week, where I will write about more examples of doing things I never felt like doing but did as they were good for me.