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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

13 Year Old You

Blog every day in May, day 22: If you could talk to your 13 year old self, what would you say?

I don’t know what I’d say to myself. I don’t know that anything I could say would change anything that happened. I don’t even particularly remember being 13… Let’s think about this… The year would have been 1989-90. We (my mum and brothers) would have been in France for four or so years. We would have moved from the house my dad bought to another man’s home in a nearby village and – when that didn’t work out – back again. We would nearly have moved back to England at least twice. Each time, my dad would have driven all the way though France in the hope of getting us back, only to return to England alone again. I would have been being teased at school for having dirty clothes and smelling like cat pee (which would at least make a difference from being teased, in England, for being “too posh”). My mum would presumably have been in a relationship with my little brother and sister’s father by then – they were born in the following years. She wouldn’t have been around much (or as much as I wanted her to be, anyway). She would have been reliving a youth she felt she missed, trying to recapture some kind of magic that had eluded her. As I turned 14, I started starving myself.*

Based on that, I’m going to assume that 13 year old me was standing on the edge of a precipice, staring down. But I don’t remember feeling particularly unhappy. The world was the only way I knew it could be. Summers were still long adventures, full of days at the lake, camping in the woods, watching the stars… Without knowing it, my brothers still provided a blanket of security. And I was loved – though I may have made it hard to do so at times. I inhabited my own little world.

So here’s what I wish someone had said to me as I stood at the top of that cliff, staring out at the void beyond. I wish someone had said “Cass, you matter. You are important. You are beautiful”. I wish they had said “You will get it wrong sometimes. But that’s ok. Your imperfections are what make you unique. You can always apologize for mistakes you have made – but you should never apologize for who you are. You will scare people, Cass, because you won’t always do what they want or expect –  and that might make them want to hurt you. But keep going. Stay determined and fierce and strong. Fight. Fight to be who you are because who you are is more than good enough. You do matter. You are important. And you are beautiful”. I wish someone had said that to me. It probably wouldn’t have changed what happened next. But it would have meant something that they had taken the time to say it.

*this is my subjective recollection of the years around my 13th birthday, and a vastly simplified one at that. It has probably been influenced by things that have happened and things I have learnt since then. Hindsight can be a dangerous thing. 

23 May 2013 - 11:22 PM Diyosa - If i knew how to put a heart in a comment box i would do it here.

24 May 2013 - 12:50 AM Angie - Oh, I'm pleased I'm not 13 any more! (And consider yourself well and truly hugged). x

7 June 2013 - 4:07 AM Amelie - <3 <3 <3

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