This is particularly difficult for me to write, but I want to look at how I’ve changed as a person, and what I’d do differently, in order to avoid how I feel right now.
At 10 years old, the world as I knew it collapsed around me. My parents separated, with my dad providing no financial stability what so ever. As a result, I moved away from my friends into a council house my mum could afford after losing hers.
From here, anxiety developed around seeing my dad, meeting his wife, him treating us terribly. It is these actions that sent me on the path I’m on today. A path of complications, restrictions and self doubt with daily anxiety and a constant need for strength and resolve.
So what could I tell the 10 year old boy, who cried himself to sleep as he came to terms with looking forward at an uncertain future. What could I say that would mean much to him, and make sense at that age?
If I had the opportunity, I don’t think I’d say a lot. I’d sit next to him, grab hold of him and hug him, because that’s all I wanted and needed at that time. My mum was mentally struggling and physically weak having dropped to 5 stone through worry, my dad was nowhere to be seen and selfishly starting a new life with his bit on the side, my sister was older and too cool to help me. So who did I have? I had absolutely nobody I could turn to, to help me make sense of what the hell was happening to me.
The saving grace in all of this, was the fact I made it through. I had a bumpy ride, don’t get me wrong. I craved attention, I was alone, I gained friends and I lost friends but I made it through. I fought for my own independence, my own security and to develop into a caring person. So what would I tell my 10 year old self?
As I sat on his bed, lifted him up, wiped his tears and held him, I’d tell him
“It’s tough, it’s lonely and it’s scary. But one day, you’re going to use everything you’re going through now to help yourself, help your family, and make a difference to people allover the world. I can’t promise this won’t stay with you forever, but I can promise you that each day you will build more strength and courage to face a new challenge with a puffed up chest and a smile on your face”
“Oh, and tidy your bedroom, your older self hates clutter”