This week’s #WASO theme of ‘friends’ couldn’t have come at a more opportune week to share a letter written to an unexpected friend.
For several weeks now my stress levels have been growing, and remaining therapeutic with my boys and the professionals around them has turned from a role that I can easily slip into as and when needed, to now being a daily struggle with myself to remain calm and composed when presented with the simplest task, request or issue.
This week has been one of the most stressful weeks we have experienced in a long time and I cannot see it settling down anytime soon. I have been so overwhelmed and didn’t know who to turn to. Little did I know this support and compassion would come from such an unexpected source – my old school bully!
I know you are leaving tomorrow to move ‘Down Under’ but I didn’t want you to leave without saying “Thank you for being there for me this week”. It has been a very long time since you and I were in each other’s company (let alone seen eye to eye) and if anyone had tried to tell me a couple of weeks ago that the person who had bullied me all through school, would now be the person to come to my aide and do so without judgement or criticism, I would have laughed in their faces. But, you did and I am grateful.
Everything is a complete mess at the moment and I have felt like I am drowning for a long time now.
Last weekend was supposed to be an evening of celebration and reunion and I cannot believe I made such a fool of myself. I allowed my guard to slip just a little more than I care to think about.
Why did it have to happen on that night? I can’t explain. Some would say it was fate stepping in and taking over, but I will not insult you by telling you that I don’t understand why I crumbled and fled. I know exactly why it happened; I just don’t know why it had to happen that night. Having said this, that doesn’t stop me feeling that I need to say that I am ‘sorry’ it had to happen in that way and I never meant for you or anyone else to worry. I certainly did not want to be the reason you missed part of the evening.
We have both changed a lot since our days at school, but some things will never change. At school I was always a very shy and introverted girl and, as much as possible, avoided drawing attention to myself (and I know this made me an easy target for not only you but others too and I forgave you all a long time ago for that), but as a mother of two very traumatised young boys, I have no choice but to put myself out there more now, and, yes, I have to make myself stand out often, but in reality my dislike for drawing attention to myself is still the one thing I have never been able to change about myself.
What professionals and people who surround my family get to see, is not all that in reality they should see.
Over the years I have learnt to protect myself from the pain of abuse, ridicule, accusations, rejection, scrutiny and so much more, to a point that I have found it impossible to be open with others and ask for help.
I have told you things this week that I haven’t been able to say to the people who need to hear it the most and last night I cannot explain the emotion that overpowered me. I am so embarrassed. There you were trying to make me laugh by reminding me of how our old tutor would have responded to this with probably the dodgiest impression you could have done of him but, the words they were spot on and I think it hit a nerve that I have been trying to ignore.
He would have said “Stop being a doormat, grow a spine, give them what for. Tell them how much damage they have caused”.
Maybe it was my own feelings of guilt, embarrassment and shame about the situation and how helpless I am feeling about doing anything about some elements of it. Or, maybe a certain well known tissue company has taken control of my emotions in order to keep themselves in business for the next century.
While I love my boys and wouldn’t change them for the world. I am ashamed to say, this isn’t what I signed up for and there are days when I can’t help thinking that everyone is right – I am not cut out to be their mother. They need a mum who can fight for what they need and always maintain her composure. They need a mum that is always going to know how to fix their problems and take away their pain. They need a mum who is not afraid to question the decisions of so called ‘professionals’ when they believe they are acting in my children’s best interests over education, etc.
No matter what I do or how everything turns out for my family and I. I want you to know that this week you have given me something more precious than any of the professionals that I work with, our friends, or some members of our own family have been able to give me: Support, understanding, acceptance and validation! You have never told me that I am wrong to feel this way but you have ‘bullied’ me into acknowledging that I need to let up on myself and stop trying to be everything to everyone.
We may not have been friends before but that is in the past and I wish you all the best for your exciting new future.
While I am writing this I am still kind of in shock that of all the people from school that I have known or still know, it is you that has been a source of comfort and support this week and who knew you were only living a couple of towns away from me? (It is amusing how so many of the pupils who were predicted to stay in their home town for the rest of their lives are the pupils that actually moved away).
” A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you just the way you are”