I’ve been thinking about that little girl in the previous post, what was she like, how has she turned out?
At 11, I am amazed to see that I was pretty, no-one ever told me that. My European parents were of their generation I suppose, the generation that had dealt with harsh and horrible realities like concentration camps and occupation by enemy armies, war after war after war, it is probably not difficult to see why physical appearances were not considered that important… working hard and using your brains were much more highly valued. This was a bit different to the parents of friends who were Australian, they seemed so much more relaxed, less het-up, less overprotective. So, I never knew that I looked nice. It is perhaps easy to understand them why I have overcompensated with my children, always telling them how beautiful they were and are; they’re teens now and don’t believe me anymore!
Anyway, back to that pretty girl, who thought her ears stuck out. She had a good brain and a great imagination (the latter used to get her into a bit of bother at times, but was the perfect fall-back when things weren’t so great). She was pretty tough and a bit scornful of “girly girls”, (she owned nothing in pink until she was an adult!). The long hair didn’t last more than a year and a half, it was too much bother. I remember a teacher asking a group of us when we had last washed our hair (why ask that of a group of 12 year olds? Maybe it was a health class or something, I can’t remember). I couldn’t remember how long it had been, but thought it could have been a few weeks- definitely NOT girly!!!
She was tough. In the last post I mentioned that her girlfriends would occasionally try to beat her up, well THEY were the ones who went home crying. I don’t know why they did it to be honest, it seemed like such a waste of time. My big brother struggled at school, but I breezed through; it led to a lot of conflict between us and he often took his frustration and hurt out on me. I had to be tough to survive.
When she was 11, she wanted to be an astronomer, that was preceded by a paleontologist and superseded by marine biologist. Finally, she decided she wanted to be a dentist and that dream stayed with her until she didn’t get the required marks for entrance into dentistry at university…disappointments, those are another post sometime.
How has she turned out? Okay I think. She has had a good life, peppered with hurts and mini tragedies; she is 51 and still looks okay, although there has been a thickening of her boyish, non-existent waistline and she is on her way to those flappy, tuckshop lady arm thingies. She is happier with herself than ever before and knows that she has been very lucky to grow up and live in a country that is mostly peaceful and prosperous. She knows that here is inequity all around her and she feels deeply that she has a duty to give back, so she does, but probably not enough.