So I was just contemplating my life and decided to put it down on paper (screen?), it feels odd writing about something so personal as I’ve never really thought about it before.
My parents were never married and split up soon a few years after my birth (when they were both just 21). Until I was about 3 years old, we all lived in Paris. This was when they realised they didn’t really love each other (even though I’ve asked many times precisely why they broke up, they’ve always both replied “we just realised we weren’t right for each other” or “ask [insert opposite parent].”
After it dawned on them that they didn’t have a romantic future, my mum decided to move to England where she’d always dreamed of living, simply saying that it would be easier for her to become a teacher here, while my dad stayed in France, working at ARVAL (I’ll be honest, to this day I still don’t know exactly what he does).
I don’t remember it very clearly but I know that the situations I was placed in after weren’t ideal. I was told to choose which parent I wanted to live with, the movie cliché which turned out be an easy decision seeing as my young age meant I had little consideration for either of my parents’ emotions. I had to stay with my dad in France while my mum built a home for me in the UK which was both emotionally and financially stable.
I have vague memories of going to nursery in France where I was likened to a frog by a much prettier girl and the French donuts I always got on the way home, always ending up covered in dusty sugar.
After a few months, I emigrated to England with my mum and after co-renting for a while in Brixton, we moved yet again to Greenwich, the area in which I went to primary school and currently live now.
I think it’s pretty easy to tell that the beginning of my childhood was not founded in stability and seeing as I could not speak any English when I first arrived in Britain, the fact that I was barely able to communicate with most people around me meant I was automatically categorised as “shy”.
In France, I was noisy and confident (for a 4 year old) but here, I had nothing to say, simply because I couldn’t say.
My primary school definitely wasn’t the best education wise, in fact it could definitely be classed amongst the worst, but it was diverse and accepting and at the beginning that was all that mattered.
The first few years went fairly quickly when suddenly I began facing some problems. I wouldn’t always agree with people on things and I often voiced my opinion a bit too clearly and I think I must’ve pissed some people off.
I started being kind of left out of things and if I did something wrong, however small, it would be pointed out and ridiculed in the playground. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties or sleepovers yet when it came to my birthday I was reprimanded by the very people who had excluded me. There’s one incident that will forever stick with me:
It was a sunny day so I’d gone into school wearing a white and red dress. I was in the playground alone, doing something mundane like hopscotch or skipping when a group of girls in my year approached me. They had come to confront me about the utterly stupid and harmless fact that my dress had straps. According to them, that wasn’t allowed. Although I was internally questioning their authority, I wasn’t particularly bothered and just said ok and moved on. However, they took it upon themselves to follow me all around the playground repeating themselves over and over until eventually they were all running after me and I consequently burst into tears.
A teacher finally saw what happened (too little, too late), separated them and brought me up to her classroom.
After this she established (all on her own, may I add) that I was being bullied. I was surprised. Even though these girls sometimes made me feel bad or sad, I never really saw it as them bullying me, I just kind of thought “oh, I’d rather they not do that.”
I guess I was also surprised because people couldn’t really be bullied in real life, could they? That was the sort of things that happened in the movies, not to real people, not to me.
Even now looking back, I’m hesitant to say they were bullying, I just feel like they were some stupid girls who took their spite and boredom a little too far and unfortunately I was in the way.
I don’t know if this happened because they simply didn’t like me.
And I don’t know if this happened because the problem was with them.
But all I need to know, is that if that happened now, I would not take their shit. And to be honest, I think that’s all I need.