Last year I was heavily inspired by a Facebook update from one of my good friends who was a huge help to me as a volunteer for the first ever Worcestershire Literary Festival that I founded and ran back in 2011. So inspired I was by this post that I posted a comment on it and asked her if she would be okay with doing my own take on her post for my blog, and she said yes 😊 thank you Raven for letting me do my very own “Big Me, Little Me” post. Here goes…..
What things would I tell the “little me” if I had the opportunity to do so? What advice would I give to “little me” now I am “big me”?
Above is “Big Me” now, aged 44.
Above is “Little Me” at the age of 4.
“Big Me” has been through an awful lot since this photo was taken. Her childhood as “Little Me” was happy right up until a few months after this photo was taken when she started school and was bullied mercilessly by the other children for being fat, wearing glasses and looking slightly different to the others. “Little Me” was called all sorts of names from “fatty”, “fatso”, “specky four eyes” and “eye-tie” owing to her half Italian heritage to name but a few. Very quickly “Little Me” learnt that people were actually nasty, mean and in some cases downright evil. She shut herself off, didn’t let anyone see the real her and didn’t make any new friends easily. When she was bullied to the point that she had enough and hit the boy who was bullying her, she was the one who got into trouble with the headmistress at school while the bully boy got away scot free, even though it was he who was making her life a living hell at school, which didn’t seem fair to her. From then on she thought that in order to fit in and be liked, she would have to try and be something she wasn’t and put all the great qualities that she had that made her unique to one side. This was the start of her being a “people pleaser” that stayed with her for many years to come.
“Little Me” grew up and found she loved heavy metal and rock music, just as her parents did. She would spend hours listening to Queen, Status Quo, ELO, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and The Eagles to name but a few, when all the others her age were listening to the likes of Wham, A-ha, Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran. No matter how hard she tried she just couldn’t bring herself to like them as much as her beloved heavy metal music, even though she bought herself a copy of Wham’s “Make It Big” album to try and fit in with the pop music crowd.
The bullying continued mercilessly throughout her school years, right up until the day she left. It was such a relief to her to walk out of those school gates for the very last time knowing she would never have to go back there again. She continued to shut herself away, writing reams of stories, poems and even a full-length book. Writing was the only way she could make sense of what was happening around her, and make sense of the world.
At 16, a few months before she left school, “Little Me” got herself a boyfriend. This was amazing to her, as she felt she had nothing to offer, she was still overweight, had no confidence, very little self-esteem, and yet she had a boyfriend when many of the “pretty” and “glamourous” girls that she so admired in her year at school did not. Nick* (not his real name) was 2 years older than her, and he was her first love. They were together for almost 5 years, and to this day “Big Me” often wonders what life would have been like had they not split up and they stayed together. Many decisions she took at that time were fuelled by Nick and their split, and because of her not having any confidence or self-esteem. She got married to someone else on the rebound and found herself to be a wife and homemaker before she was ready, all because she felt that it was expected of her to get married and settle down.
If “Little Me” had known that she had a condition called hyperfertiity that would mean she would struggle to have a baby of her own, she wouldn’t have been so dead against having children in her 20’s and throwing everything into her career. Getting pregnant wasn’t the problem, carrying a baby was and “Big Me” now knows that all those times she was late by as much as a week to 10 days were no doubt times where she was pregnant but didn’t know it. When she did start to try and have a baby in her early 30’s and went through the miscarriages she had, even though there were long gaps between them, she was still confident she would be a mother. When a problem was found with her ex-husband that the medical professionals thought explained the miscarriages, she was still quietly confident she would be a mother. But then he walked out on her after 16 years, and she was betrayed by her best friend from school in the worst way possible. It seemed her dream of being a mother was over.
“Big Me” remarried and was pregnant with Frankie within a month, and she was to suffer the cruellest twist of all when he was born sleeping when she was 33 weeks pregnant with him. Further miscarriages followed which led to her diagnosis of hyperfertility and her journey to being a mother was over.
So what is the biggest thing that “Big Me” would tell “Little Me”? It would be to not be so focused on her career and that every month was crucial if she was to become a mother and shouldn’t be a missed opportunity. It could be that ONE month that everything would be in perfect alignment for her to get pregnant and have a baby, like it was with Frankie, but the unknown chromosome abnormalities he had meant he would be born sleeping and he would never have made it into this world. If “Little Me” had known then what “Big Me” knows now, it wouldn’t matter who the father is, or if she was a single mother (however hard that would be) – at least she would be a mother. When her ex-husband left “Big Me” was even prepared to go down the donor route and be a single mother if she hadn’t remarried, and her parents even said they would support her on this, so she could be a mother. How ironic that if “Big Me” had done that, the chances are it wouldn’t have worked and even if she had got pregnant she would have miscarried.
What else would “Big Me” tell “Little Me”?
- Be yourself, no matter what. You don’t have to change for anyone or be anything you are not, no matter who they are. You are you, unique, fun, vibrant, kind and giving no matter what anyone, and that means ANYONE, else says to you. Never stop believing that.
- People who on the surface seem to be your friends and have your best interests at heart are in fact NOT your friends. They end up betraying you at a time when you are at your most vulnerable when you are 5 months pregnant with Frankie and taking something away from you that you started as their own, when it wasn’t theirs at all for the taking. But because you are reeling from Frankie’s cleft lip and palate diagnosis, you don’t stand up and fight for yourself and you let them get away from it. Try to find it in your heart to forgive them, but never, ever let anyone else treat you that way again. By the same token, there will be those in your life who you don’t think are your friends but they actually are, even if you don’t see it at the time. Nurture those people, for they are the ones you will need in your life the most.
- Be very cautious about who you let into your life, many are jealous of you and do not have your best interests at heart. Choose your friends very carefully indeed.
- Do the things that you want to do and what makes you happy, not what you think others expect of you. You love writing and blogging – do it! You want to write a book – do it! You want to learn baking and cooking from scratch – do it! You want to go to spoken word events and read your poetry – do it! You want to travel – do it! You want to be a public speaker and share your insights and knowledge with an audience – do it! You love listening to heavy metal and rock music to this day – do it! You love organising events and festivals – organise them! You love reading – do it! You love walking with your dog and keeping fit – do it! You want to launch a successful business – do it! You want to be the best you can be with your work – do it! Don’t keep finding excuses or things that get in the way of what you want to do and your dreams and goals – do them!
- Don’t change your plans or put anything on hold for any man, no matter who they are. Some of your worst decisions have been around men, such as rebounding from your first love to your first husband. Looking back this is because you don’t love yourself or even like yourself enough, and you feel you must have a man in your life to validate you and your existence. Big news – you don’t.
- “Little Me” will not be able to imagine the day that her parents aren’t in her life. “Big Me” knows that life is fragile, and we should make the most of the time we have on this earth and live every single day. “Big Me” would tell “Little Me” not to sweat the small stuff, not to let horrid, ignorant people ruin her day and to let things go instead of dwelling on them. Life is way too short for all that.
- Don’t take rejections so personally! “Little Me” and “Big Me” has been rejected more times than she cares to remember not only by people and sometimes by those closest to her but also by jobs/work. It is easier said than done not to think that you have done something wrong or that you deserved it, but you don’t. Some people won’t like you and will be nasty to you, they are even jealous of you and try to put you down and make you feel inferior. It is okay for everyone not to like you, and that doesn’t make you less of a person. They are the ones who will lose out on the kind, caring and wonderful person you are.
So as a round up to this post….
Little Me: weird, unique, different, kind, assertive and compassionate. Big Me: weird, unique, different, kind, assertive and compassionate.
Little Me started off as all of those things, and although sometimes a different path was taken along the way, Big Me is still all of those things.
To finish – I love myself, and I love my life. It has had many twists and turns to it, particularly in the last 5 years or so, and the hardest thing I have had to accept is never being a mother and getting over the feeling of being a failure because of that, because I couldn’t do the one thing we are put on this earth to do. But you know what?
I am NOT a failure. Some can be a mother, and some can’t – it is the luck of the draw and the roll of the dice – and I can’t. It took me a long time to learn that. I will do many other things with the rest of my life that I will NOT fail at – sure, some will be successful, and some won’t be as successful – but one thing is for sure, I will live my life. I have much to be thankful and grateful for.
“Little Me”, you led me to being “Big Me” and the person I am today. I won’t waste a second more of my life worrying about what other people think of what I do, or of me. I won’t let anyone walk all over me or betray me again.
I’ve got this, and I will be victorious in life.