Lauren. The Early Years. Secrets, Lies, Love and Support

posted April 16th, 2009 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

This is Lauren’s story. The first thing I asked Lauren to tell me about were the experiences in her early life, good or bad, which she believed had the greatest impact on her work life and career.

And the first experience which came to her mind, she described as the one which “springs to mind always; it’s a really important one to me.” Her older sister and her friend at the cottage told Lauren that they had set up a special club and that she could join it if she ran into the water wearing all her clothes and her new shoes but only if she did that. And of course, Lauren says “she was my older sister and they used to just dump me you know like they didn’t want anything to do with me which I totally understand, so I ran into the water with all my clothes on and wearing my new shoes.” Her sister and her friend started to laugh when she came out and told her she would in trouble. ‘Mum is going to kill you. You went in with your new shoes on. What an idiot. Blah, blah, blah.’ She says: “of course I felt like an idiot.” Nevertheless, she returned to her cottage and attempted to sneak in the back way. Unbeknownst to Lauren her Mum and a girlfriend were sitting having a ‘cup of tea’ (more likely a rum and coke) and her Mum says: “Lauren is that you?” to which she responded: “Yes it is me” and Lauren remembers cringing, standing there soaking wet. And her Mum asked: “What happened to you?” And she said, lying “I fell in the water”. And her Mum responded:”Oh, you poor thing, get those clothes off and don’t worry about the shoes. Get the clothes off and I’ll hang them up for you. Are you okay?” And in that instant, she knew she was safe and protected. The entire incident and her Mum’s reaction to it, the whole thing for her was all about feeling protected; it confirmed she was safe. Lauren says she always knew she was totally safe with her Mum and I could hear the emotion in her voice as she said it. Lauren says she and her Mum, laugh about that story today. She says with profound love and fondness: “Mum was always so supportive.”

She says her father was very, very strict in his thinking. In his eyes there was no way Lauren was going to university. “University! What do you want to go to university for? You’re going to get married and have kids and you don’t need university for that.” As a result, her mother was always the one that she would tell the truth to, for example, Lauren decided she was not taking the commercial stream at high school, she was taking the stream which included, chemistry, biology and everything else she needed to get into university. Her Mum said: “We’ll just keep that between us.”

So she always felt very supported. She feels she kind of trudged through life, taking deep breaths, going forward. In school, she was the class clown. She was smart and she liked to study, so she was always at the top of her class. However, in her opinion, she wasn’t overly smart; she just worked hard. And again she says, she played the clown. She remembers in the Catholic School system you got a medal if you had high marks and she had her medal stripped because she was clowning around too much. In fact, one time they phoned her father because she was clowning around too much which terrified her.

She remembers, she really, really liked to succeed but when she came home to tell her father that she had received 99% on a test his comment would be what happened to the other 1%. She says, he didn’t intend to be mean; he felt that he was being a motivator…right? Her mother would be wonderful but her Dad would say “what happened to the other mark?” So she ‘guesses’ she was always working hard, working for his approval. Again in Lauren’s words: “For his approval, yes, I’m sure but also for Mum. We were very close so it was kind of for her too.”

She describes going to Catholic Girls School as being ‘lots of fun.’ And says she really has no bad memories of it other than getting her medal stripped which she feels she totally deserved.

She remembers being “jumped by my girlfriend’s father when I was 8, 10, somewhere in there.” And she never told anyone about the incident until later in life. She says: “Believe it or not, my husband’s mother, (long before she was Lauren’s mother in law) was sitting at our dining room table and she told us that her sister, a wonderful woman who had lost her husband in a terrible, terrible fire and was raising three young girls on her own, had finally met a really nice man and she said to me, you know him. I bet you know him.”And Lauren certainly did know him and she was afraid for this lovely woman and her three daughters and so, she finally told her story. She confessed: “Mum, I have to tell you something” and finally the story came to light. Of course, her future mother in law was completely distressed and ensured her sister didn’t go out with the man again.

And I asked Lauren whether she thought this incident had an impact on her? And she said: “Oh yeah!” This man attacked her, she escaped and in her words’nothing happened’. She told no one, not even her mother. She says, her father would have killed him and her mother would have killed him too, perhaps not physically. She says she worried “My father might kill him.” And when I asked her what made you not tell them? She says: “I didn’t want any trouble; my father had a very bad temper. Oh no, I would never have told. No, no.”

Lauren was concerned what she had told me was too personal. And I explained it was not my intention to have my subjects prepare themselves for the interviews. I wanted them to speak from the heart based on my assumption that whatever came out during the course of the interview was exactly what was supposed to come out. And in this first chapter of Lauren’s story, I believe that is what happened. Stay tuned for the next instalment.

What Strikes Me?

What parents teach their children by their actions and behaviours

The terrible secrets children keep and what makes them keep them

The mean things older sisters do to their younger sisters

The impact of having a loving, supportive parent you know is always in your corner

Working hard pays off

You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to get the best results

What Strikes You?Please add your comments.

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