Dad used to work shifts, but when he wasn’t working, he would take us swimming at Bletchley Leisure Centre on a Sunday evening. I would have been older than 8 yrs because we moved to Hockliffe in Bedfordshire (no canal in sight, boo….) just before my 8th birthday. But on the particular day that I’m thinking of, I don’t think I had quite reached my teens.
To fill you in a little bit and due to it being pertinent to the situation and whether I deserved it or not, I was very quiet and shy around this age. I wasn’t the prettiest girl in town with quite goofy teeth, long naturally curly hair which always looked quite messy, a long angular face verging on boy-ish, and I was starting to get quite plump (my fault, admittedly, because I loved food and mum’s cooking). But I was quiet to the point of coming across as standoff-ish, something my best friend tells me she thought when she first met me – she actually thought I was a bit stuck up, lol. We’re still friends so all is forgiven………
On the other hand, ‘certain people of my acquaintance’ (nicknames not determined yet) excelled more in the looks department, something which they had already started to make known to me on occasion. So any feelings of adequacy or self-confidence that might have been emerging at this stage in my life were, already, starting to be quashed.
Onto the memory, dad would very often allow friends to come swimming with us. On this particular occasion (remember, I would not have been a teenager yet), a group of us went swimming including at least one local friend.
Whilst swimming, one of the ‘certain people’ and their friend decided it would be very amusing to try and drown me. They may have commenced with playing around and pushing me under water, but it soon developed into pushing me under the water and sitting on me……..and doing it for a very long time………and letting me up……..then pushing me down again……….and sitting on me again so I couldn’t get up………for a long, LONG time……… to this day I do not know what I did to deserve this. I have not always been blameless in situations, but I was quiet, I was quite a loner and kept to myself a fair bit, and I had started to lack confidence. But maybe I said something or did something that angered them??? Questions that I have asked myself. All I remember is the look of glee and fun on the face of ‘certain people’ at my obvious panic and fear. I came up coughing and spluttering! My dad must have picked up on what was being done because words were said…….but it didn’t end there! Oh no!
At the end of the session, whilst getting changed in a cubicle I was subjected to abuse, spitting and hitting; this ‘certain person’ and friend found it even more hilarious to bully me further by climbing on the seats in the adjoining cubicles, where they could hang over the side and carry out the actions I have just mentioned. And why?? Because my dad had intervened when they tried to drown me. Of course I was upset, of course I was reduced to tears, but this had no effect whatsoever other than to feed this unexpected frenzy of bullying. Just one event of many I had experienced, felt and stored in my subconscious, with no rhyme or reason as to why it happened (that I could fathom out in my young mind), but which would come to rear it’s ugly head mentally in my future.
All of the above could be deemed as normal conflict, rivalry, fighting, etc. etc. between youngsters where contention can be seen to exist. But I saw the look on their faces; I saw the malicious enjoyment they were getting from my discomfort. And as time went on, it became very apparent that this particular individual had inherent personality traits which were starting to be unpleasant, and would develop into hostility, jealousy and nastiness.
More is to come………