Today was my sons first day at school, as with every mum I wondered if he would make friends, I worried over whether he would behave and mostly, more importantly than any of those I desperately wanted him to be happy.
I wanted for him to go in and be completely himself, feel confident in who he was and just be content in the new chapter of his life that was about to begin.
I remember myself as a child, I wanted to be a nurse and then I wanted to be a teacher and I always wanted to be a mum (1 out of 3 came true!)
Primary school was a joy, it enhanced my dreams rather than diminish them. I have day after day of happy memories!
Things were different at secondary school. I didn’t have a voice. I could talk, but I was unable to speak up or speak out.
When I was subjected to nasty words I became paralysed, when somebody shoved me I did nothing in return. My goals stopped being about making friends (although I so desperately wanted to be liked) and I just used to wish I was invisible. I used to shrink down as low as I could into my chair in the hopes that I wouldn’t be seen.
Even at home I’d spend hours in my bedroom, I just didn’t want to be around anybody. It felt as though I was walking with a led weight inside me and I was so desperately unhappy.
Eventually even the friends in school I did have asked me to stop hanging out with them. I felt isolated. My first encounter with the ugly beast that is depression. I was very grateful in that time for the friends I had through the church, so I had people to turn to outside of school. With out those I’m not sure sure I would have coped, the world as it was felt to hard to bare.
It got better, the final year of secondary school, I once again have happy memories, largely due to the love I had developed for drama and my confidence blossomed and with it, I formed new friendships and the old friendships properly rekindled.
I think when times are hard, we have blinkers. We are so consumed with what is happening right now, it’s hard to aspire to anything else.
I’ve had more hard times since, and times that have been beautiful.
But hard times are where you learn. I learned so much compassion through that time. I learnt what it was like to feel less than human and I learned what it was like to feel pain.
I also learned how during dark times people can become your rays of sunshine, and the importance of being that person for another as often as possible.
I learned to speak up.
At the end of the day, what ever and who ever you aspire to be, whether you are a people person or not. We all need to support each other, we all need those sunshine people, and we all need people to bring out our best. So aspire to pay it forward, where ever there has been a sunshine person in your life, be that person in somebody else’s.
So my hope for my little boy tomorrow, is that he learns every lesson he needs to learn in order to mould him into who ever he wants to be, I hope that he finds rays of sunshine to help him through the dark times and I hope he will be the sunshine for someone else too.