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It wasn’t until my most recent bout of talking therapy that I really understood how my childhood shaped so many of my ideals way into my mid thirties. Sometimes, until someone holds a mirror up to you and allows YOU to question your self-beliefs and methods of thinking, you just don’t have any idea why you operate how you do (particularly for the worse).
Without going into too much detail, I had an engrained thought that all men were unfaithful and cheating was almost part & parcel of an adult relationship. It was better the devil you know…..
Growing up I had a wealth of culture around me. Born to Jamaican parents who came to the UK in the late 60’s, everything from family, parties, food was very rich in the culture. So it wasn’t until I started infant school that I really had to deal with how different I was. I was the only black girl in my year from the start until the end of primary school. Although I loved school, I initially struggled to form friendships with the other girls, yet I’d always been a confident child from what I remember. I remember sitting in the classroom floor listening to the teacher and two girls (who later became very good friends of mine) laughed at my hair which was canerowed. They said I was bald in-between my plaits looool!
Im laughing now because it was so ludicrous, but at the time, my 5 year old self was heartbroken. No one had ever made fun of me because of how I looked and moreover, I was NOT BALD!! Or was I? At such a young age you do question things like that.
Whilst there were other boys of Caribbean and African origin, at that age girls tend to stick with girls. So I spent many lunchtimes holding the teachers hand whilst everyone played. My teachers were quite concerned and raised it to my mum, who I vaguely remember asking me why I wasn’t playing with the other children.
I don’t remember when it happened but I eventually made friends and became quite popular as the years went by. As the eldest in the year and my fondness for choreography, I found my place and for the most part was happy.
My weight ballooned
Again, Im not sure when and how it happened, but my weight ballooned. I sustained a fair amount of bullying for being chubby but always managed to brush it off because the Jamaican in me still had a level of confidence that wouldn’t reduce itself.
Now, keeping it real, anyone that has known me over the last 30 years would never have called me ‘slim’ at any time. Slimmer, ‘you’ve lost weight’ but never slim. My brother was always slim and my parents were just average, so I never understood why I looked the way I did. Even my aunts, uncles and cousins were of a slim build so there was still no logic to it.
I often wonder if the opportunity for me to have therapy at such a young age, how much difference that could’ve made to my weight for example. Had things at home and/or school pushed me into comfort eating? My mum and dad both did shift work so there were oftentimes we were left alone. Did I comfort eat out of boredom? Was it the fact that I was chubby that dissuaded from taking up things like gymnastics, netball or athletics like the other children? Was my actual confidence that knocked that I just always opted out?
‘You Don’t Love Yourself!’
Grrrrrrrrrr! When my therapist offered that conclusion to me I was LIVID! LIVID!!! How dare she! She doesn’t know me? Of course I love myself!!
In my head I’d then break out into:
‘You must not know bout me?
You must not know bout me!’ (shout out to all the Beyonce fans).
But she was absolutely right. I didn’t. When that realisation came, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea what loving myself even looked like. It took for me to goto therapy in my mid thirties and after my first child to realise that I had created a facade. A facade that was ‘I knew the Queen within me’ and all her divinity. I didn’t know shit (excuse my French) and Im still learning as I type this.
My parents did the best they could with the tools they had and that were made available to them. Being a parent myself and armed with the struggles I went through as a child, plus my knowledge acquired around mental wellbeing and wellbeing in general, I make a conscious effort to look at things outside of the box or the norm.
It isn’t yet the norm that we send our children to therapy, much less ourselves, but I will continue to push this platform for parents and parents to be to take it into serious consideration.
Children and young people are dealing with the highest levels of stress in a time where our lives should’ve been made easier because of technology. Trauma displays itself in many different ways and its down to us as parents to acknowledge it and do something about it. It
The effects of trauma also may not show up straight away, but with all things, the earlier we nip it in the bud is the easy it will be to prevent it manifesting into self destructive behaviours.
This week I am joined by previous guest Celestina who has practised as a psychotherapist for over 10 years and has worked with children and young people extensively in her career.
In this episode we discuss:
– Could therapy be the missing link in stemming the fuel of violence amongst inner city children involved in knife crime?
– Why some people are not open to therapy.
– What a typical session looks like.
– What key transition phases during nursery and school years are beneficial
If you would like to get into contact with Celestina you can find her at:
Website – www.floatingcounselling.co.uk
Instagram – @floating_bodymindsoul
Facebook – Floating Counselling
You can purchase her book ‘The Art of Disciplining With Love’ from all reputable book stores.
If you’re looking for a Black or Asian therapist please contact www.baatn.org.uk
If you have any questions or would like to discuss podcast sponsorship, email Dionne Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The hashtag for the podcast is #lovelaidbare.
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Take care of yourself!