A memory from school

I needed to drop something off into school for one of my children and as I was walking into reception, I could see my reflection in the glass door and I could see myself limping.

On the whole I do well at ignoring the fact that I have a limp, then suddenly from nowhere I felt irritated. For that split second, time stood still and I was that child in the school playground.

I came away feeling despondent that I allowed myself to be weak. I was back there in school with thoughts of children staring, because they knew I walked with a limp and because walking with a limp made me different.

It’s unnerving that a situation can remind us of something we’ve dealt with and for that split second we’re back in that same place, with the same feelings, the same thoughts and the same struggles, as if we were that child again.

I often wonder at myself how I have managed to come through my childhood relatively unscathed. I don’t always feel comfortable walking in and out of public places so walking into school that day was hard for me.

Luckily students walking to and from the playground were preoccupied with each other and weren’t particularly paying attention to me.

23 Jan, 2011

10 thoughts on “A memory from school

  1. Glad you feel better. I have many bad memories from school that I just forget about because the kids were kids and they can be mean.

    With me it was either be afraid of her because she has diabetes or make fun of her because she has big breasts. I had one good friend in school that stood by me no matter what and she is still a friend today. I know how you feel.

    So many things can bring back those memories but we are stronger now and can handle the ignorance of others.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I do feel better. I’m glad you had someone you could rely on. From my own memory, I think I had someone today… but today is another day with another thought, for both of us.

  2. That must have been very hard for you. But you seem to have coped very well with it. You are stronger than you think. 🙂

  3. In my experience kids can be cruel and in my younger days at school I learned for the most part to ignore them.

    As I grew older I was curious how parents with little kids would react to me. I would hear the kids ask their parents why does he walk that way the parents would tell the kids to be quiet.

    I would always tell the kids if they asked me directly that I was born this way. Or I may tell the parents their kids were only curious.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, I think a lot of this went on when you and I were little. From what you say in your response Randy you sounded very together about what you were dealing with.

      I was aware of other children watching me, particularly those who didn’t know me, but I cannot remember all that happened in the playground.

      It’s amazing though, how certain situations bring back those memories.

      1. I used to have a teacher at school who used to want me to ask for things, but when I did she’d say ‘it’s not your turn’ so I’d be scared to ask again, and then she’d say ‘I can’t thought read.’

        If anyone says that to me, I feel scared and vulnerable as if I am back in a classroom. I can manage to go into classrooms now, but it has taken me years.

        Keep on remembering you are you and you have your own personality. Cerebral Palsy is nothing to be ashamed of, we were born with it.

        I hope I have helped you.

        1. Thanks Carol. Yes, it is always helpful when we can relate. Anything that is repeated for long enough, stays etched in our psyche.

          It’s what we remember, it’s what we struggle with, it’s what we go back to, but as you have proved it’s also something we can correct and change.

          As our experiences show, school doesn’t come without its pitfalls or difficulties, but it is still a great institution for learning.

          With the right input and enthusiasm, it can shape our lives positively.

  4. I’m so glad you feel better now. Even as an adult, I get stared at; but it’s much easier to ignore than as a child and adolescent.

    Even if I walk to a park with my children, people in general will stare. I get the impression they’re wondering why I’m taking kids to a park if I can hardly walk, but it leaves my head right away because I simply don’t care anymore.

    There’s parts of growing up that makes having a disability easier and then there are times not much. My earliest memory was first grade. There were two boys that asked me to run and promised they wouldn’t Laugh. Being 6 yrs old, of course I trusted them and ran.

    They burst out in laughter and started demonstrating to me how I looked at trying to run. I never tried to run again after that. I was fortunate enough to go to a small school, so as time went by my classmates became a little more protective over me, when it came to bullying.

    1. Thanks Bonnie. Yes, children can be cruel, but I cannot remember whether children in school were cruel around my physical difficulties or not. I remember walking in town with a few friends and I know for sure I was being stared at.

      I love the fact that as you got older, you eventually found friends who became protective over you. That’s the way it should be, but as your case has shown, our lives in school don’t always start out like that.

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