What made you YOU?
Over the past few years I’ve become fascinated by childhood and how, in their sponge-like manner, our young brains absorb everything and mould us into the adults we become – I’d say it’s a fairly huge theme that runs through both of my novels actually. The people we grew up with, the toys we played with, the books we read, the films we watched – they all go a long way into making you YOU. As a mum, this is obviously something that plays on my mind when it comes to Buzz whose personality is developing rapidly along with his skills set (he’s sitting up this week – see, I told you he was a clever one). I observe him daily as he watches the world with interest and I wonder who my little boy will grow up to be.
I can’t help but look back at my childhood and think of what I was like growing up – here’s a brief insight:
· I loved the camera and having my photo taken – in fact, I searched out that flashy little contraption and was ready with a cheesy smile whenever a photo was about to be snapped.
· I loved people and being liked. I had an overwhelming urge to be accepted, something I’m sure came from being badly bullied at a young age.
· I loved reading and would go off into my own world whenever possible.
· In addition to that, I wandered around the playground singing to myself and making up little scenes in my head – my imagination was my best friend back then.
· I dressed like a boy. Not for the whole of my childhood, but for a large chunk of it. High-waisted jeans, denim shirts, DM boots, suede waistcoats… I looked a total sight!
Did these little snippets of me as a child offer clues to the adult I’d become? Perhaps. I still love photographs – although now I’m the one taking them (it was time to stop stalking the camera), want people to like me (I’ll admit that this desire is something I’ve never been able to shake off), love reading (there’s no debating that I wouldn’t be so creative now if it weren’t for the days I spent with my nose in a book or talking to myself in the playground) and I still have a questionable fashion sense (you should see what I’m wearing while writing this). It’s no wonder I look back at those early days with fondness – that little girl is as much a part of who I am now as my adult self is. Her decisions created me. I owe her a lot.
It’s that little girl who lives inside of me who wept when she heard the news of Robin Williams’ death this week. He never failed to capture her attention or put a smile on her face. What a fascinatingly funny man he was. Even though that little girl never met him, they shared a bond – she was sure of it. How deeply saddening to hear that his own world was full of so much darkness that he longed to escape. I know there’s a tendency to put those who’ve passed on a pedestal unnecessarily, but in this instance I think it’s fully deserved – for my generation he was our Genie, he was our Scottish Nanny, he was our Peter Pan. He was the adult we all trusted with our imaginations and he never failed to take us off on epic adventures.
Following on from the original theme, this weekend we took a trip to sunny Victoria Park and then to the Museum of Childhood with my sister Giorgina and Lee. A lot of the toys dated back to way before my time, but there were gems in there that brought memories flooding back – plus it’s pretty amazing to see how toys have changed over the last century or so.
I was a very proud sister-in-law this week after seeing Tom’s sister Carrie in Les Miserables in the west end – she’s been in it for over a year now (time flies) but being pregnant and having Buzz has meant that I’ve only managed to see her a few times in the role. She’s blooming fab, though – such a star!
Me being out meant that Granddad Falcone and my brother Mario could have some fun with Buzz – something they both relished. I’m not sure what they do with him, but the mornings after he’s been with my dad Buzz is always extremely chatty – like he’s trying to tell me all about his adventures with granddad. It’s so cute… and LOUD!