When I was very young, I was extremely confident and a bossy little madam. I even have the video footage to prove it, in which I am showing off infront of the camera. But then as I grew to around age 7 or 8, I became more anxious and hyper-sensitive. The world was starting to frighten me. It may sound trivial but I believe this originates from one incident in particular, in which I became aware of my sexuality….I played that game, you know the one… ‘I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours,’ with a cocky boy from school. Afterwards, he told everyone in my class what had happened and they all laughed at me. I suppose it was the younger equivalent of sleeping with someone when you’re a teenager and then finding them whispering or bragging to their mates. Or the awkwardness of losing your virginity. Or getting drunk and waking up with a hangover and a heap of regrets.
I even seem to remember him leaning over to kiss me and then tripping me up, although I’m not sure whether that actually happened or whether it was just a nightmare. Suddenly my self-esteem had shrunk and I remember crying myself to sleep for days. Eventually, I was so shameful that I confessed to my mum but instead of saying something reassuring like, “Don’t worry, that’s what little boys and girls do,” she just looked at me disapprovingly. It may sound like a non-event but when you are a child, every situation or harsh word seems magnified as you haven’t yet developed the brain capacity to cope. I felt like Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden, when they realised they were naked and tried to cover themselves up infront of God. For years, I was uncomfortable around the opposite sex and worried about what people thought etc including my parents. It’s a blessed relief the day you finally realise that they are just ordinary people who don’t necessarily have all the answers in life….Are their any experiences in your childhood, that you felt had a lasting influence on you growing up etc?
Afternote: I guess parents struggle with their children first discovering their sexuality. My mum was too embarrassed to tell me about the birds and the bees. She just told me to go read ‘The Body Book,’ which had descriptions and cartoon-esque illustrations of male and female anatomy. Quite an interesting read if memory serves. It’s a shame parents can’t be more honest, children would then be less likely to grow up feeling guilty / shameful about natural activities, nakedness etc.