At primary school my nickname was Biscuit. Because I was thin, weedy and fragile: I would crumble so easily.
I’m now realising, 55 years later, how much I used to dread play-times. I don’t think I was bullied as such, just couldn’t cope with the rough and tumble. I’ve long remembered how I used to hate sports and games at secondary school and would (subconsciously?) invent all many of minor ailments in order to get a sick note from my mum so I didn’t have to do them. But it’s only just coming out (thanks to the universe getting me to live in an area of town that, due to its proximity to a primary school, is, effectively, a play-ground) just how bad it was for me. Reliving it is bringing on my IBS as little has before: reflecting the stomach aches I regularly had in those days. And the hay-fever is being triggered so easily, reflecting the regular colds I always had whilst at school. I was sickly. But was that cause of effect in relation to my play-ground aversion? Probably a vicious circle.
And one not helped by a couple of other factors: my eyes were bad (short-sighted) but we hadn’t realised it at the time, so I wouldn’t have been able to see balls to catch, for example. And my mum was school secretary, so would always be keeping an eye on me and protecting me.
And we didn’t do emotions in our house. So, however I felt about it all was bottled up, held in. It came out in all my minor ailments, but those were physical, weren’t they? Treated with a dose of this linctus or that tonic. No mental health advisors in schools in those days . . and would they have picked up on my fears and helped me face them?
Who knows, but those memories have to be faced. The biscuit has to be taken, dunked and dissolved.