This weekend my parents have come up to visit, to see my new home, to see my new school. I have been dipping in & out between pub lunches, cycling along river paths & gardening.
As I have scan read each post & tried to leave a comment for each writer to acknowledge their contribution, to shine a light on their story, lots started going through my mind.
Tonight we watched "I, Daniel Blake", a heart breaking film about our society, our system, & how it fails people.
Whilst my parents watch The Island, I reflect on the blogs & what I have learned, having just chatted to Simon & @malcpd via Twitter about the frame of 'belonging' verse 'inclusion'.
Each of these jig saw pieces bring me to this post.
WHO AM I?
I am a straight, single, white, 38 year old woman, born in Reading, brought up in Devon. We have a small family as my Mum was born in Canada, but we identify as British as Mum's parents had emigrated, and when her Dad died very young, the children were sent back to the UK. I have always been strong-willed, (apparently children who suck their thumbs are more self-sufficient as they self-sooth and don't need an adult to sleep) and had a strong sense of self.
My parents sent me to a private school for my secondary education, against my will, and I think this is where my socialist values stem from. I was at a school where I didn't fit in. I was bright enough to be there, but my value set and my upbringing were different to those I was at school with.
I am still judged by friends and peers when I share my schooling; I am looked at differently. Whilst I am sharing, I also worked in a Grammar School for a year, I was 23, with a car and rent to pay, and debt to clear, I lived in Kent and needed a job. It wasn't a political decision, it was a practical decision.
I don't have faith but I have a strong moral and ethical code. I see things in a very black and white way, when it comes to right and wrong. My sister & I have discussed a lot how different it must be to have faith to turn to when the going gets tough.
When Marianne did her Free Range Humans TEDxNorwich talk recently, it was a light bulb moment as I have always sat in that liminal space, the grey bits between the black/ white. I am quite comfortable there. I am very comfortable in my own skin, in my own company. I have a lot of friends, in different groups; I belong in each space, but I am the same person with my family, as I am at work, as I am with my friends. I have criticised friends who are chameleons & metamorphose when they get a new partner/new friend/new job.