Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Polly pocket bus. Do you remember that toy? Once that was all I needed to make acquaintances and climb that 6-year-old social ladder. In fact, I was actually banned at one point from bringing it into school as it was 'distracting the students from learning'. People would rather play with me and my bus than listen to our teacher or even play outside. They then allocated one day a week in which pupils could bring in their toys. Kinda like 'show and tell' I suppose. I still remember when the time came for me to fall from the social ladder I'd become accustomed to when another student's birthday came around (who was notably better off than me), and she had the latest version of the Polly Pocket set. It had more to play with which meant more people were involved at once.

Although now trivial, it did take a long time to understand this. It was my first experience of consumerism and wealth lead popularity and inclusivity. I know you always did your best. We never went without and we always had food on the table but I was aware very early on that 'money didn't grow on trees'. I played with and enjoyed that same Polly Pocket set for years following, though. Even when others thought it was lame.

The thing is, popularity had never been important to me. All I wanted was to fit in- as many of us do when we're kids. I wanted to be liked, sure, but I also wanted more than anything to fade into the background, be normal and not have to answer questions as to why I have to show a card to the dinner ladies.

Do you also remember the Mckenzie jacket you bought me in Year 7? The black one with the pink writing and drawstrings? Man, I loved that thing, didn't I? In the summer holidays, I wore it everywhere. Swearing I'd never take it off. Upon returning back to school I learned that the thing I'd loved so dearly up until this point was now 'out' and I was mocked for wearing it. It's still my favourite thing you've ever bought me, I hope you know that.

The bullying got worse as the time went on and I began to get more confused and frustrated. I didn't understand why I couldn't have these things but I also didn't really understand why I needed them either. It was a feeling of security to have them I suppose. Every new school year brought a trend that I was late to, conversations I couldn't be a part of, as they were happening on platforms I didn't have access to, and new reminders that my life, in some way, was different.

The number of payment plans you must have acquired, savings you must have made and budgeting you must have done in order to get me these things, although lost on me at the time, means a lot. I tried not to show you that I was upset with all that I thought I lacked compared to those around me but I know that you noticed.

Just know now, mum and dad, that I know all I really lacked was the understanding of our circumstances and more importantly the understanding of what is actually important. If love and acceptance were the commodities at that school, I'd be the object of envy for every student there. 

Thank you, you really are the best...

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  1. Thebusyshelf24 April, 2020

    This was beautiful!
    We all have a moment in our lives when we hear the " this is HIERARCHY" roar in the background while someone's toy is attracting all the crowd.
    I think your parents are super proud of you!

    1. Yeah, it really sucks doesn't it. At least we learn as we get older I suppose. Thank you so much though, I sure hope so!

  2. It’s so hard to appreciate just how hard our parents had to work to provide for us.

    I am now finally getting it as my son gets older. I’d do anything to keep him safe, make him feel secure and have the things he wants. But the lessons my parents taught me are firmly being planted in to my son in the hope that he has that moment of clarity when he is older.

    Great post, beautifully written x

    1. Absolutely. Thanks so much for reading Claire, I'm glad you liked it!

  3. This is such a sweet post, and beautifully written :) School can be so tough, especially with all the changing trends and keeping up with what is 'cool' and what isn't. I'm so glad that as we get older, we learn to see individuality as a positive thing. It sounds like your parents did a wonderful job - thank you for sharing your lovely letter <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

    1. Thank you so much Bexa! It's definitely harder on kids that grow up without the ability to keep up with things. I hope that things are changing in that respect. Thanks for reading!


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