Full circle

Saturday December 12, 2020

My teachers said I had a gift for languages. Learning French, and German felt like the most natural thing in the world. I was also passionate about English, studying it through the romantic prism of a Jane Austen novel and the drama of a Shakespeare play.

Every other subject at school left me cold, apart from Physical Education, but this was probably less to do with the class itself, and more to do with the sports teacher, Mr. Keogh, who was my first schoolgirl crush.

From the age of about 12 to 16, I despised school, so perhaps, unsurprisingly, I flunked half my O’Levels, but my disappointment was tempered by the fact that I had joined a professional theatre troupe and was getting ready to launch myself into a full-time acting career.

However, mum persuaded me to reconsider my decision and re-sit my failed exams, after which I went on to do A’Levels, and a French degree.

When the dot com bubble burst in the early noughties, I was made redundant from my dream job as an editor on a digital TV platform, (a forerunner to BBC iPlayer and Netflix).

Fed up with the competitive world of media and worried about the increasing threat of terrorist attacks post 9/11, I accepted a job offer overseas where I spent a decade working as a bilingual secretary in an international school.

A year ago, today, I joined a French trade magazine, as a journalist, which ties in neatly with my childhood love of languages.

Professionally, I appear to have come full circle.

On Bonfire Night 1975, I was just another 8-year-old enjoying the fireworks’ display outside my bedroom window, when my uncle appeared behind me in the dark.

In an abusive act of power and domination, he stripped away my innocence.

Today, as I approach my mid-fifties, I wonder if childhood trauma has impacted my ability to form healthy relationships with men.

In February, I had a brief affair with an Italian nurse-cum-pizzaiola - the latest in a long series of failed romances. We shared a mutual love of languages, and, amongst other things, cooking, I should have known he would turn out to be a Casanova.

Prior to the Italian, I was involved with an emotionally unavailable, Franco-Spanish chef for many years, and before that I wasted an equal amount of time trying to convert an on/off liaison with a commitment-phobic, out-of-work actor, into something more substantial.

My penchant for unsuitable, trophy-hunting types may have sabotaged my chances of finding “the one”.

In forgoing marriage and childbirth, I feel have come full circle back to my earliest beginnings.

As I go to sleep alone at night, I am safe in the arms of Morpheus, and I reclaim the innocence of my lost childhood.


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