Isn’t it funny how we can look back over our lives and sometimes think, “I don’t know how I did that.”?
It could be anything from coping with a bereavement to juggling three kids and a full time job. You find yourself sitting back and reminiscing, wondering if it was really you it happened to.
So here’s my Top Five - ‘HOW DID I DO THAT?’
How did I cope, at eighteen, losing the dad who meant everything to me? He passed away in the June, just as I was about to sit ‘A’ levels and also audition for drama schools. The world was meant to be my oyster but I found myself constantly worrying about my widowed mum. It’s hard to throw yourself into the excitement of theatre life and all the social stuff that comes with it when you feel guilty and bereft. All credit to my mum, she never held me back and encouraged me all the way. It was tough but we got through it.
As an off-shoot from that, how did I ever get up on stage in front of a couple of hundred people and perform? I’m going back over twenty years now but can readily recall the petrifying nerves that would attack me for the first five minutes on stage. I’d shake from head to toe until the joy kicked in and then I was fine. I did the same thing on my wedding day and guests remarked that my beaded dress was twinkling in the sunlight of the church with every tremor that went through my body! I still have regular dreams that I’m about to go on stage and I don’t know a single line or even the play I’m meant to be performing in.
How did I give birth? Well, obviously I know how I did it. There are only two exits and my son didn’t come through the sun roof. He was pushed … and pushed … and pushed! Until they finally realised that he had the umbilical cord around his neck and was effectively bungee-ing. All was well in the end (literally!) but I still don’t know how I did it. It hurt! I’m the biggest coward there is and I don’t like pain but I managed to get through it. My husband was amazed that I didn’t shout a single profanity. In fact I didn’t utter a word of any description at all - I was struck dumb with panic and just pointed manically at my back to demand a massage. At one point during a contraction, I apparently terrified the living daylights out of hubbie and my sister because the look in my eye was so murderous they feared for their lives.
Would I have done it again? Yes. If I’d been given the chance, but it wasn’t to be.
How did I secure a highly paid job in the City complete with whopping clothing allowance when I had absolutely no experience whatsoever? Picture this, it’s the eighties and I’m sick of working part time as a dental nurse and acting in the evenings. I’ve never got enough money and I’m finally realising that acting doesn’t pay the bills. Off I head to an interview to become a receptionist/PA for a finance company with a salary beyond my wildest dreams. They say it’s always the jobs you don’t give a stuff about that you actually get and I was offered the job on my answering machine while I was still on the tube journey home! I certainly learnt ‘on the job’, and it was a bit of a baptism by fire, but many happy (well-dressed) years followed. Oh and I met hubbie, so it was obviously meant to be.
How did I spend three years in a car from 8 am until 4.30 pm weekdays? Those of you who follow my blog regularly will know my son suffered school phobia (see older post ‘School Refusal’ - 10 June 2011) and his recovery required me to be onsite at the school. I lived in my car, reading, writing, drinking coffee, eating and talking to myself. At 2 o’clock I’d treat myself to ‘The Archers’ followed by the afternoon play (sad but true). Then it was back to more writing until home time. Now this is one I really don’t know how I got through but I guess I just switched off and plodded on. The upside is I wrote my book and now my son is settled, happy and wonders what all the fuss was about.
Would I have a book under my belt if we hadn’t been through that ordeal? Who knows?
They say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. So, what have you been through that has you asking, “Woah, how did I do that?”
If you’d like to take a look at the book that I wrote in my car, check it out on Amazon. “Diary of a Mummy Misfit” for Kindle, PC or Smartphone. Now also available in paperback at Lulu.
Or you can look at the sample chapters here