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Being a child is perhaps not as easy as we remember it being. Looking back on your life it’s easy to focus on the stuff that you’ve now learned and that you wish you could forget. You might hypothesise that life must have been bliss without any knowledge of awkward truths like death, violence, corporate greed, sexual assault, mental illness and many other horrors. I’m not sure that it necessarily is bliss though because when you are young many of the tools required to navigate though life are either absent entirely or underdeveloped. I was self conscious, shy, I cried easily and turned beetroot red when (frequently) embarrassed, I couldn’t be in the same room as a cup of coffee, I was not ready for the inevitable difficulties that lay ahead. Life was difficult enough, despite my numerous privileges (loving family, comfortable home, few financial worries, plenty of food, free health care and education), just because I was a kid and I hadn’t had enough time to work myself out yet, let alone anything else. 

During this time, say 4 to 12 years old, I can only really clearly remember one kind of experience, or at least one related family of experiences. These are: Embarrassing incidents, Humiliating incidents, Incidents that hurt my pride, Incidents where I was told off and incidents where I lied or broke the rules. Interestingly, these prominent memories may present you with a bit of a mixed picture of me as a human being and I guess they do that for me too, however, they also point out the unbelievably fickle nature of memory. We tend to remember difficult experiences, so these poems are about those difficult experiences during my childhood. A blissful childhood really – chopped up and reorganised in my mind to create a smorgasbord of self limiting beliefs.

The kind of beliefs that we hide behind for our entire lives.