As I mentioned in my Britmums Live round up post, one of the key things I took away from the conference was to be more myself, especially in my writing. In the session on the power blogging can bring to your life, it was suggested that your children should be able to read your blog and recognise their parent from the words. And I’m not convinced they would. I started out ok, when it was just me blurting thoughts onto a screen, but then I discovered rankings and PR agencies and suddenly it became yet another space for my professional alter-ego to exist. That’s right, I have two personalities. The one you’ll see at work, when I’m networking, or with my parents and/or their friends. Then there’s the other one, the real me: the slightly crass, sweary, sarcastic me. The one who is a bit of a rebel, the original beer-swilling ladette of the early 90’s. The girl who actually didn’t give a shite about the rules and the why I should do things this way or not. While everyone else was settling down and getting good jobs, I was off trying out all the fun jobs I’d wondered about. The holiday rep, the stewardess, the recruitment agent. Growing up and being sensible was for later. There was no rush to start the rest of my life just yet. Getting drunk and seeing the world was more fun. In fact, I never liked to be pigeon-holed and during my teens pushed against every attempt by anyone to do so. Even at primary school I refused to participate in needlework or ballet classes because the boys got to play football outside on the field and I thought such blatant sexism was completely unjustified. As puberty took over, I quickly realised that while the world we lived in was inherently sexist (by now I was at an all-girls grammar school), there was a lot we could do and get away with as females that our male counterparts couldn’t. And as a 15 year old, I started taking back control. If I wanted to wear something that showed off some of my (ahem) ‘better’ assets then no-one should tell me I couldn’t, but it also wasn’t an invitation to look or touch. In fact the crazy man that grabbed my hair on the platform at Earls Court when I was 15 to tell me my hair was too long, but he’d fuck me anyway, was very fortunate I wasn’t in a bad mood that day as his “kind words” could have seen him come off much worse than a gaggle of schoolgirls laughing in his face.
When I took my driving test, I was still a terrible driver, but I knew that having a particular examiner, wearing a pretty dress enhanced by my Floridian holiday tan and mentioning which school I was at was enough to guarantee a pass. All my girl friends were proof of this. And it worked! And sadly, from comments made in a very recent work meeting, this can still apply – allegedly, wearing the “right” clothes when the inspector calls can be enough to ensure an easy process.
My teens shaped the person I became. I learnt that the world was cruel and unfair and to get by meant toughening up and giving as good as I got. I was ready and willing to question authority and the status quo and go out and have fun. I learnt to live by my rules and let life come and go like the tides.
But one day, life came calling. I got a job in the same company as my sister. It was a great job and so I worked hard and changed my attitude, not least because I didn’t want things to reflect badly on her, but also because I actually loved what I was doing and who I was working with. I had respect for these people and wanted to impress them and learn from them. So I drew on every ounce of my polite and good girl nature that I’d hidden away as a teenager and excelled in my role.
Then I got married and eventually I had a baby. And I got promoted at work. I was becoming this well-behaved, sensible person I’d dreaded being. But it was ok actually. I didn’t mind it too much. Or did I? I still reverted back to my other personality when I was with friends or my sisters, people who actually knew me and yet I could act out this other role so well it was making a success of my life. So which is the real me?
The sessions at Britmums have made me want to delve deeper into that question. And let the hidden Sally out a little bit. Not in a negative way but in a more natural way. Here, on my one outlet that is mine and mine alone. Where the worse that can happen is that some people stop reading. Life isn’t all roses, it’s sometimes spectacularly crap, especially when your sick three year old spends an entire day whining at volume in your ear. And it’s time this blog reflected that too.
So this is your warning. If you don’t like sweary stuff or the odd radge ranting, you may want to look away now because I’m going to start being me again, not some corporate image I’ve created for myself that doesn’t want to offend. Because actually, I do. I love offensive and dark humour is just my thing. I’ve waited a long time to publish this post, but now feels right. I hope you’ll enjoy my more real approach to life as I dip my toes in at writing it down and I hope that being more natural in my writing will also make it more readable too. Wish me luck!