More HOT in London today!
For a large part of the time I spent growing up, I felt like my life was on display. We were musicians, and we went to the school my dad taught at – not that it doesn’t have its benefits from convenience and familiarity perspectives, as well as others – but we were constantly on stage, up the front of church, unwitting poster-children for my dad’s values and religion, the best of the best. Recently I’ve begun to realise that those efforts made were my attempt to show my love for my parents, as much as to try to win theirs for me. I did what I could because I felt I had to. There’s no doubt that those seven years shaped my life in a wider sense, everyone knew who we were, and there was an element of bullying and ostracism which was only to be expected and we both found our way of dealing with that. We were famous, quite often for the worst reasons. The feeling of being on display and a weird mix of needing attention and craving privacy definitely still impacts how I live my life now (blogging under pseudonym a case in point!)
Tomorrow we go back to school to celebrate dad’s retirement. We’ll all be back in that place with teachers and acquaintances who knew us way back when. And as he finishes his work there, our connection with that place will cease – so I suppose it is a good opportunity to close that chapter once and for all. Armed with what I’ve since learned about relating to people and with the understanding that other people’s views of my life are often significantly rosier than my own, I guess my main concern is to aim for somewhat reticent sensitivity, so as not to misabuse people of their assumptions at this late stage. My relationship with my parents is almost exclusively biological, and I won’t be playing poster-girl tomorrow for anyone else’s values – that’s the best I can promise myself. Authenticity is a tricky balance – it’s entirely authentic that I am hurt by how little anyone (my parents least of all) knew or cared about what I went through; but it’s also authentic in the present day to honour my inherent values of kindness, gracefulness, and unwillingness to inflict harm where it can be avoided. I am free to choose now. Maybe in the course of things I will learn something that will help. Maybe I will feel proud of him for what he achieved in his career. One way or another, it’ll be over soon, and I will be able to let it go.