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Thirteen Today

Happy thirteenth birthday to…

Not me, of course. I left that age long ago and am happy to say, “Good riddance.” It wasn’t a good time, although there were often good moments.

I need to remember that. We – I and my possible memoir partner – have come to the conclusion that the difficult parts of our childhoods are easier to remember. They stick in our memories, while the happy times pass with enjoyment and laughter. They’re not so clingy.

Is that how it is for everyone? Do you remember the sad times more than the happy ones? Or perhaps we all have a general impression of how things were, and need to dig deeper to remember episodes that don’t fit the mould.

So, who is thirteen today? Wrong question. It’s not who but what. On March 23, 2009, I posted this:

Speech is Silver; Silence is…

…not golden. Just a fake gold that soon dulls.  Like the necklace I bought in Cyprus. They told me it was gold. I knew they were lying, but I bought it anyway. I felt I had to buy something because they gave me tea….

I’ve been keeping silent for most of my life. It’s time to talk.

So tune in again, keep in touch and don’t suffer in silence.

I was afraid when I wrote that first blog post. On one hand, I knew it would help to feed my growing passion to raise awareness of social anxiety. On the other, I was scared of a backlash. Even in those days, social media was a double-edged sword. I was afraid anonymous people would tell me social anxiety didn’t exist – that it was a made-up term and the problems were not real, either. That’s why I had no name at first, except for the name of the blog: An’ de Walls Came Tumblin’ Down.

Fortunately, the feared ridicule hasn’t happened – not yet, not on social media, I’m glad to say.

Looking back at the person I was then, across the long bridge of thirteen years, I feel proud. Plenty has changed. I’ve become a published author, I’ve delivered talks, I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve also become a grandmother, met lots of people in various settings, and travelled widely.

I’m still walking that bridge and probably always will, but it feels less of a struggle, these days. I’ve accepted that social anxiety is here to stay and learned to make friends with it.

Crossing a river during a hike in Norway, 2001

How about you? How have you changed in the past thirteen years, and do you tend to remember the sad parts of your childhood more than the happy ones? Do let me know in the comments below.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life. Social anxiety warrior. Style and the Solitary, edition 2, murder mystery set in Jerusalem, published with Ocelot Press, October 2022.

8 replies on “Thirteen Today”

I enjoyed this, Miriam; it’s a long time ago since I was thirteen, but I can relate to those younger memories. We do find the happier, more comfortable, times pushing themselves to the forefront, but there were lots of lean years over the post war times. I have all of the happy photographs of us as well dressed children in early 40’s; Granny was still alive and, being our caregiver, this allowed for mother to be able to earn much needed extra. With a growing family and Dads job on the docks sometimes on/off selected when the need arose. I think we just feel guilty – a betrayal – if we dwell on the not so good years…

Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I find it interesting that one of the reasons why you remember the good times more than the bad, is that you feel guilty about dwelling on the bad times. I hope life is good for you, now.

Hi Miriam, I never had anything bad happen to me growing up, it was just the early post war years with big families and when money was scarce; My parents worked hard to provide for us, but with most large families with rationing and low wage, I do remember poorer times, we were all loved and cared for. It was just the earlier photographs of us when Granny was there to help look after us so my mother could earn, times seemed better. I think a little less material wealth is not a bad thing, it made us who we were – a good loving family. The reason I’d feel guilty about the lack of ‘Things’ is because I know how hard my parents worked to love and care for us.

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