At the start of our lives, we view the world through rose coloured glasses. We believe and adhere to everything that is fed to us by our parents. Those halcyon days when everything in the garden seemed rosy. As we grow older and start viewing life from our perspective, we rebel.

Me, back in the day, cocooned in my little rose-coloured world.

I was traumatised from an early age because I was forced to wear ridiculous hair accessories and rag curls which, if this picture is anything to go by, made me look slightly boss-eyed. As soon as I mastered the art of speech, I had something to say about it.

My first proper rebellious hissy fit was about the clothes my mother was so intent on dressing me in. Frilly dresses were her favourite thing, with patent leather accessories.  All I wanted to do was ride ponies, packing a gun and gunbelt and wearing a yeehaw hat.

One of the many classic Norman Thelwell images that I grew up with.  A mirror image of how I saw myself! © The Estate of Norman Thelwell
The ultimate tool with which to torture a child – Carmen rollers!

Perming my hair, aged five, was a ridiculous thing to do.  That childhood trauma that steered me away from using curlers, ever.

I won my battle against enforced curly hair about three years later when my mother Carmen-rollered my hair. One got stuck, and my father ended up having to cut it out.

Ah, MamaMia, you tried so hard for so long, to turn me into a girly girl.

In adulthood, my thin, straight hair was always the focus of arguments between us, long after she gave up lambasting my wardrobe and until the day she died. My hair now?  It’s as straight as my genes intended, of course.

Whatever is instilled in us as children, we take with us into adulthood; the good and the bad. The bad stuff has a nasty habit of revisiting us at various stages of our lives, so it’s good to have an emotional release as a punchbag to vent our frustrations.  I just happen to write about it.

I often remind myself I should focus on the now more, what has gone has gone, you can’t do anything to make them better or bring them back.  But, there are some memories, good and bad, that will never fade and when I write about them, it is important to me that I serve them up with a coating of humour.

Tales from the African Bush

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