Middle Class to Freedom
So my childhood was filled with extra classes most days of the week and the weekend too.
My mum was determined that I wouldn’t grow up with a Herefordian accent so I had elocution lessons. This meant that I was always learning new poems and prose pieces to perform either in exams or on stage and as I was painfully shy as a little girl these caused me terrible stomach troubles right throughout my early years. On reflection I am eternally grateful that it has given me a beautiful speaking voice that is much loved by my clients, but that took a long time to appreciate.
She also wanted me to be graceful so I started ballet lessons from the age of about 3 which again meant that I was in performances right through my childhood. I recall being a little sweep in the dance production of Aladdin and I was so scared to go out onto the stage that I had to be forced onto it even for the publicity photograph.
Then there were piano lessons and violin lessons and recorder lessons though I wasn’t allowed to have guitar lessons as that was the instrument of the devil! I never could quite understand that one.
She used to watch the same schools programmes that we were watching at school so that she could test me on what I had remembered when I got home from school. And there was always extra English and maths lessons most nights of the week on top of the classes. I remember once having been invited to my friend Susan Owen’s birthday party and I had to finish my Objective English homework, which she had set, before she would let me go to it. I finally arrived just at the end of the party.
This sounds like I am griping but all I am trying to show you is that my childhood was very challenging in a very middle class way. This led me to have a pretty strong rebellious streak as I developed a sense of resentment that I never had any free time. This has taken quite a long time to work through but I’ve got through to the other side which I’ll tell you about.
The relationship with my mother was fraught with issues and arguments and I frequently felt seriously disapproved of from my teenage years onwards. My first driving lessons were with her in her old mini and she was so controlling that when I was driving through a village in Somerset and a car was coming towards us she grabbed the steering wheel making me swerve.
There are so many examples but that is not the point of this, the purpose is to show you that I do understand.
I started my rebellion at age 15 when I decided that I could no longer eat meat and became a vegetarian one afternoon after my parents had moved us out of Glastonbury to live in the middle of nowhere near to Langport in a village called Huish Episcopi. I had been in another row with her and had gone for a walk along the riverside only to discover that the factory in the middle of the field next to me was in fact a slaughter house and as I was level with it they started slaughtering pigs. They know what’s going on and they scream in terror, it is the most horrible sound and convinced me that I would never eat meat again and I never have.
The two topics that could never be discussed in my childhood home were religion and politics as they always ended up in major arguments. My mother was the Somerset Conservative chairperson and a Church of England church goer. It took me many years to realise that no matter what perspective I approached those from there was never going to be any common ground, so many rows later I stopped bothering.
I went back to Hereford to train as a teacher, for years my mum thought that I trained to be an English teacher because the course was called “Comparative Literature Speech and Drama” but it was a Drama and Dance course, which I loved. I joined the students union in the first week there and became part of the social committee so that I could attend all of the events for free as I got no grant and my parents only allowed me £30 a month to live on.
I married my childhood infatuation and though I loved him deeply the conditioning that haunted me from my childhood meant that the relationship was full of passion and heated arguments. At this point we were living in Milton Keynes far away from any family so when this marriage produced two sons I had no support whatsoever, however we had a set of Olan Mills photographs taken, very “Stepford Wives” and attended the local Baptist church, because that was the kind of church I had grown up in in Hereford. I went through Discipleship training and was trained as a Billy Graham councillor and baptised by full immersion. Then one day I couldn’t cope with the hypocrisy that I saw around me of the uptight attitudes and judgemental behaviours and the appalling ways that some of them treated their children that I stood up in the middle of a service called them hypocrites and walked out. They never came to see why I had done that, which kind of proved my point. Many years later I was at Glastonbury Festival and the daughter of one of the church deacons suddenly spotted me and ran over and gave me a huge hug telling me that I had changed her life and thanking me.
Shortly after I had walked away from religion I ended my marriage as well. This was the start of the most amazing adventure that has set me free from the straight jacket that had been my middle class upbringing. I know the my upbringing could have ended up with me suffering from permanent stress related sickness identified by the tension knot that was a constant companion throughout my whole life until I discovered how it felt to be released from it.
I now live in such a way that tension is not an issue in my life as it has completely gone and I sleep soundly and awaken with an excitement for the coming day.
There is so much more to tell of my adventure after religion and marriage and I will let you into it through my blog over the coming months.
What I will tell you though is that unlike the vast majority of society who live on painkillers and anti-depressants I have not taken a pharmaceutical drug for more than 8 years.
My passion is to help middle class middle aged women to feel wonderful and to discover their passions and follow their dreams.
Do connect with me to discover how I can help you to get to the Island of Pure Potential from the horror of the Here and Now. I have travelled that journey many times and I know the way and have dealt with most, (more likely all), of the pitfalls.