I want to introduce you to someone. This is little Annie or Noons (as I was referred to back then and still am sometimes).
I was shy.
I was curious.
I was playful.
I was nervous of trying new things.
I was comfortable in my skin.
I liked to watch before participating.
I liked to listen before speaking.
I was clumsy.
I loved chocolate cake and licking the bowl of my moms baking.
I loved playing outside in the garden.
I loved bedtime stories my dad would make up.
I was creative.
I was kind.
I was a little bossy.
I had sticky-outy ears and a gap between my two front teeth.
I loved animals, fairies and any other tiny creatures.
I had an imaginary friend called Abdul.
I loved attention from my family and friends.
I was the eldest grandchild.
I liked to take care of my little brother and cousins.
I wore glasses from the age of six.
I loved dancing but wasn't any good.
I loved climbing trees and being a monkey.
As I grew up I started to become more self aware and more self-conscious. I was still the same me but with added layers of nuance, personality and conditioning.
I remember first thinking I was fat at the age of about 10 years old when I looked down at my tummy roles in the bath and tried to suck it in for a minute before I became distracted and continued playing happily.
I remember hating my glasses around the same age and purposefully losing them so I didn't have to wear them to school.
I remember secretly wearing a barbie crop top as a bra under all my baggie t-shirts because I was self-conscious of my developing chest.
I remember crying when I got my first period and being horrified that I had to wear pads to sports day and run with this thing between my legs.
I remember being left out of friendship groups and sometimes eating lunch in the library because I wasn't sure who to sit with and didn't have the confidence to ask the kids I wanted to sit with.
I remember not wanting to say my oral in front of the class.
I remember many more struggles and I remember many more joys. I wouldn't change any of those things and I do still learn from them today.
This is little me, I am her and she is me.