Once upon a time…

The thing that people quite often assume is that they are the ones who have it tricky, they are the only ones with problems, and everyone else has got it relatively easy.  Appearances are so deceptive.  We’ve all heard of ‘Keeping up with the Jones”, the ideal 2.4 children families. But no one really knows what other people have gone through, or are going through in their lives.  Quite often, we are so obsessed with putting on a facade, people never see the real you. Social media plays a huge role in this.  How often do people put pictures up trying  to convince everybody about their fabulous life?  I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else.  The problem is that people aren’t ‘real’ anymore – because people don’t want reality.  Reality is boring.  At times plain depressing. My brother and I have joked about this at times, but how many times have you asked someone politely, ‘How are you?’ Expecting them to give the regulation answer ‘I’m fine,thanks’ – but instead, they actually tell you how they are.  And the same happens vice versa – someone, just politely asks you how you are – and then without even knowing you’re going to do it, you spill your guts out to them.  Too bad guys – you asked! I’m actually going to tell you how I am.

Yep – it’s all about presentation.  People shouldn’t know what’s really going on inside.  Hide the real you at all times.  I’m going to steal a line from the song ‘Let it go’ from “Frozen”.  When I initially heard the song, I liked it, but didn’t think too much about the meaning of it.  However, after watching the film, it actually took me by surprise and make me feel quite emotional.  Let me explain the context – the little girl, the eldest sister has powers, which cause her little sister to get hurt and her family want her to suppress all her feelings so that her powers don’t surface again, and so that no one else realises what she is capable of.  Her father teaches her a mantra “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” And I feel that this is the mantra that everyone lives their life by.  Hiding and concealing their reality.  Don’t let other people know.  Everyone should assume that everything is perfect.

It’s something that I really struggle with.  Often people look at me and assume that I haven’t been through anything in my life.  That I’ve had it easy.  Before this blog, I didn’t bother trying to change what they thought anyway.  Because people only really see what they want to see….I’m going to change gear a bit, and go into the past…

Once upon a time, a little baby girl was born into a family in India.  She was the third child, and had two elder brothers.  She was a beautiful, well behaved little girl and was the apple of everyone’s eye.  Her family were well-to-do at the time.  She and her brothers and sister had all the luxuries of life one could hope for.  Private schools, beautiful clothes and jewellery, servants, drivers, holidays…wonderful.  Then, when she was at the tender age of 17, a smart, handsome man from England came into her house, and her parents liked him. What a wonderful prince for our princess, they thought! And within 9 days, the prince and princess were married.

Within 6 months, she travelled on a British Airways flight, all on her own, and arrived in England to start her new life here.  But she wasn’t a princess here.  There were no luxuries here.  No servants, no drivers, no luxuries here.  The princess had to everything.  She had to learn a new language.  Become accustomed to a new life, where she knew no one else.  There was no washing machine.  Everything had to be done by hand.  Her new family made fun of her when she didn’t know things, or when she said things incorrectly.  A princess no more.

When she was 19, I was born.  I don’t think a baby could have been more loved.  3 years later, my sister was born, and then 11 years later my brother was.  11 and half years later, my father died.

I remember being in sixth form at secondary school, and one of my best friends at the time said to me, that her mother loved the way that my mother looked after us.  It was as though we were wrapped up in cotton wool all the time.  Now she didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. What we were going through. But that comment always stayed with me….to everyone, we looked as though we were protected from everything, that to someone, we were the most precious things in the world.

At home, mum taught us to be single-minded.  Fighters – in the sense that, whatever your circumstances, whatever adversity you may be going through, you had no excuse not to succeed.  Hard work and dedication was what it was going to take.  I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – she was right.  I was blessed.  She was right.

Growing up, it became important to me that I should make something of my life because of her.  There are so many things that I feel sad about.  Even though my grandparents thought they were doing the right thing, marrying her off to a suitable boy, I wish they had let her complete her education and make something of her life.  I wish they had treated her, their darling baby, in the way that my mother had treated us.  Giving us every opportunity to strive and succeed, that was in her power.

So, instead of a carefree, bubbly individual, who lives life to the full.  I’m an intense, single-minded, focussed person.  Driven by the need to make my mum feel proud, driven by the need to be a good role-model for my own daughters, to make them feel that they too can achieve anything in the world.

My mum is still always there for me, thank god, whenever I need her.  Times when I’m upset, or feel weak, or have had a knock back, she’s there to pick me up.  She looks after my daughters when I can’t get back from work, and I marvel at her, because she treats them again, how she treated us when we were little – as though they are the most precious girls in the world.

This fierce but gentle, ambitious but caring, hard and yet surprisingly understanding woman, is one of the unsung heroes that this world has.  There are so many of these amazing, beautiful women around.  I’m blessed to have her.

I’m going to leave you with some more lyrics that I love.  This time from Willy Wonka….

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.  Anything you want to, do it.  Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it”

Don’t judge people.  Don’t assume you know anything about people.  Everyone has a story.  No one has it easy.  Focus on your goals and dreams.  Let other people achieve theirs.

 

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