My final year at infant school introduced me to how mean girls could be. Now with Michael Bingley in my class, we would sometimes play PE outside. No games kits back then, just vest and pants. I didn’t have a vest on one particular day so Mrs Beaver made me do it just in my pants. I felt awkward going outside like that but how could I express that to an adult? It would be so easy to say ‘no’ now, but back it was a key I did not have.
I was born with an old 50p sized birthmark on my back. It felt like a big deal. Back then I was already self-conscious about it, aged 6. Walking outside, Christina Angus, a girl who would bully me on and off started pointing and talking about me to her friend. I couldn’t hide my back. I couldn’t reach to cover it. That was mortifiying - and so young to be experiencing that, over something so natural. School has a lot to answer for.
I wish I’d been stronger in hindsight, but I did have other heroic moments.
Back to this PE lesson. The one saving grace was we played ‘Boys after Girls’ which meant Michael Bingley would chase and catch me. Tingles of excitement. Me and Michael - keeping our love alive. I wasn’t difficult to catch. I was always the first to be caught.