Revenge on Posh Boy

“Hey, Jenny, did your mum slap you with the frying pan?”

As I turned around in the crowded dining hall, Posh Boy tugged at his upper lip with his fingers and sniggered.

“Fuck you,” I retorted.

“Fat Lip,” he countered as I escaped through the door.bullying-679274_1280

Heading out to the playground, I faked an air of nonchalance but inside I was burning with humility and anger.

I was twelve years old and used to kids – mostly boys – harassing me for the way I looked.

But with Posh Boy it was different. We were in the same class and he knew me fairly well, which made his taunts so much worse. Continue reading

On Bullying

I was never bullied as a child.

Sure, there were kids (mostly boys) who occasionally called me names, but that wasn’t real bullying.

Well, this is the story I told myself for decades, but was it true? Not at all. For I was bullied and damn did it hurt.

“Hey, fat-lip, did you walk into a wall?”bully-655659_1280

“You’re so bloody ugly I can’t stand looking at you!”

I didn’t trust my teachers enough to tell them about the bullying and I definitely didn’t want to hurt my own mother by telling her.

Like any mother, she wanted her children to be happy, and I didn’t want to let her down, so telling her about the bullying was out of the question. Continue reading

Letter to my daughter

Dearest daughter,

When you reluctantly, fearfully, go to the GP surgery for your vaccinations, the nurse calls you a good girl for not crying.

At school your teachers call you a good girl when, without any fuss or delay, you clear up at the end of the lesson.

When you go for your hearing test, you’re told you’re a good girl for listening to the sounds coming out of your headset.IMG_1401

Soon enough you begin to use that term yourself.

“Mummy, was I a good girl?” you ask as we return home from swimming lesson.

“Daddy, wasn’t I a good girl when we went out together?”

Coming home from school, you report that you were a very good girl at school, whilst noting who was naughty.

In your world, being a good girl becomes something to strive towards, something praiseworthy, as opposed to being a naughty girl.

But dearest daughter, I don’t want you to be a good girl. I want you to be just as strong minded, spirited, creative and questioning of authority as you already are.

Your grandmother was a good girl and later in life she came to see it for the curse it is. I too was a good girl, though my rebellious streak occasionally managed to break through, especially at times when I believed an injustice was being done to me or to others.

Life is not about being good or bad. Life is here for you to explore, experience and above all, cherish, and I don’t want you to miss out just because you think you should be a good girl.

So learn to listen to your heart and don’t let your mind take over. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be authentically you.

The R&B Way to Wholeness

Celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary last week, my husband and I enjoyed a rare night out in London.

The evening began with a scrumptious dinner at the same tapas restaurant where we first fell in love, more than ten years ago, and ended with an impromptu visit to a jazz club in Camden.

It was by chance that we happened to pass by the Jazz Café as we left the restaurant and intrigued by the crowd outside we went closer to have a look. Continue reading