It always seemed to be me against them

I started school when I was five…I had no clue what it was, or why I was there…

I was alone with a bunch of kids I didn’t know…I didn’t want to be there, but Mum said I had to…so that was that.

It didn’t take long to figure out school was a ‘me-against-them’ place…with the odds in their favor…

“Do as I say.” (Conform)  

“I’ll give you ‘what for’.”  (Punishment)

“You will be tested.” (Fear)

“Bottom of the class.” (Stigmatized)

That was my experience…in fact the experience alone was my education, not classes, not exams…

What I did learn was resilience…self-sufficiency…I had a feeling it would come in handy.

Becoming a grown-up…

School was a place where I struggled to become a grown-up, before I knew what it meant…a place before the next step…work…I later found out.

Something else that made me feel uneasy…

I didn’t have the words to describe it, but the future, the idea of work, was something I began to dread.

It felt like someone else’s idea…wasn’t I allowed to have ideas of my own? Was it another ‘me-against-them’ situation.

On my own terms…

If I was going to amount to anything in life, it would be on my own terms…my choice, my responsibility…and so it came to be…

I had taken control for the first time ever…I made a plan…my plan.

They say school is the best time of your life…for me it was just part of an obstacle course I had to run…

In time, with patience, my own brand of courage, I made it.

Facing your challenges…

I dropped out of school the first chance I had…it was my decision…the first one I ever made for myself…and for the first time, no one told me I couldn’t.

Facing that challenge made it easier to overcome the next one…and the next…there would be many more…

...each one opening a door to things I could never have imagined…and in the end everything turned out okay.

Don’t let others define you…

…you know yourself better than anyone else…

…be resilient, be self-sufficient…make a plan.