Wednesday

A-Z of Becky: I

These, frankly amazing, photos were taken by my little brother when he was 10. I've done what I can with them but excuse the dodgy composition/ exposure. Not bad for a 10 year old though!

I is for Identity


Identity is very important to me. There are a number of things that I feel make me who I am, but the most important is my background. I briefly touched on my upbringing in my If You Really Knew Me post. I don't have a sob story. My childhood wasn't a pit of despair (despite what Jacqueline Wilson would have you believe, but we won't go into that now) but it was certainly instrumental in making me who I am.

My parents divorced when I was 8 and, after a couple of years with joint custody, my brother and I went to live with our mum on a council estate. We didn't have a great amount of money but we always had what we needed. I worked hard at school and eventually went on to university.

It was only when I got to university that I realised the stigma that still surrounds council estates. A lecturer once announced that we need to support children from council estates because they certainly won't make it as far as university. Another informed us that children in council houses don't have a high quality of life.

I thought that was bad enough. Then my friend told me that her sister was "hanging around with council estate people... You just don't want your sister seeing those sorts of people". Later, on bursary day, she would say "I wish my parents didn't earn so much money so I could get a big bursary like you". Wow!

To this day, my little brother's predicted grades are calculated by his postcode. You read that correctly. His exam results are consistently above his predicted grades because he is assumed to get low grades due to his address.

Despite the stigma, I am ridiculously proud of my council estate roots. It has made me tough and resilient, especially during my emo years, when just stepping out of the house was a guarantee of verbal abuse from the local kids. It's made me determined to make something of myself and prove all those people wrong- the ones who think that children from council estates will never amount to anything. Most of all, it's made me completely grounded. I always remember where I came from and I appreciate everything that I get, every opportunity that has been presented to me.

This is the house I grew up in. Yes, there's a skip and a broken fridge in the garden. I'm a primary school teacher with a first class honour's degree. What's your point?

28 comments :

  1. This is a beautiful post, Becky. :)People aren't where they live anymore than they are what they wear and I super admire you for being proof of that. :D Ironically, I'm from quite an upscale village and people always expect me to be stupid/ditsy/a supporter of nepotism because of it and it's such shit, really. :) I love this post and the entirety of your blog.

    www.winawonders.com

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    1. My best friend is also from a nice village and she is assumed to be posh and naive because of it. I think people will always be stereotyped because of where they live, unfortunately. At least people can fight against those and prove that they do not need to conform to the stereotypes.

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  2. I love this, Becky. As someone who also grew up with divorced parents, I know what a struggle it an be financially. When I was younger my friends thought having divorced parents meant you'd get twice as many presents or something, when actually you have two households with a single parent. It is not glamorous. Nobody benefits from these situations. It's made me realize how careful I need to be in my life, and that I want to be absolutely certain in a partner before I think of having children. Everyone deserves a stable childhood, and I hope my kids don't have to create that for themselves as I did.

    --Erin

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    1. I totally agree, Erin. I've always told Rich that I do not want a divorce under any circumstances, so we'll have been together 5 years before we get married.

      I was lucky as all of my friends from school had divorced parents too so it was only when I got older that I realised the stigma.

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  3. Hola Becky! This post is inspiring. I grew up always feeling like a misfit as early as age 5 when I immigrated from Cuba to the USA with mi Familia. Being called a spic and being bullied became an everyday thing until one day my dad did something I will never forget. Something that evoked, early on, t
    he survivor and the "I can't do Whaaat!?" attitude in me! As a matter of love, you've just inspired a post from me. I'll give all the details there, if not this comment will be a post in itself. Thanks Becky Bedbug! I appreciate YOU! Tootles!

    ~SimplyyMayra <3
    xoxoxo

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    1. I think it's fantastic that you have been able to find a positive attitude out of your past. I'd really enjoy reading your post!

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  4. Your brother really did take great pics when he was ten.

    Such an inspiring story. Here is to being proud of your roots, wherever they are. I love your determination to prove others wrong and show them the awesome capable person you are. :)

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  5. great post, I think it’s lovely you embrace your roots and are willing to speak out on it. Very inspiring.

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    1. Thanks Dianna, I really appreciate the comment :)

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  6. Thanks so much for linking up with us for Wonderful Wednesday! Have a great week and hope to see you next time :)

    Rachel (co-host)

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  7. This was a really interesting post to read. It's a shame that people are still so quick to stereotype, I would have thought that it was clear by now that people who have grown up on council estates can be just as successful as those who haven't. I think people tend to pigeon-hole and assume that all people on all council estates are exactly the same, and are there for the same reasons, which is ridiculous really.
    Mel x

    melswallofmirrors.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. You'd think that these days, people would have got past those stereotypes but unfortunately, it's not so. It is a shame.

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  8. This is a wonderful post! I feel so proud of you! I'm very inspired by this story, you're a wonderful person! :)

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    1. Aaw, thank you so much Evangeline!

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  9. Good on ya, Becky. It's absolute crap to define someone's future or exam grades based on their background. I was the first person in my entire family to go to Uni (a few more have followed since)We all have choice in what we do/what we become. My dad was from a really rough background, 9 kids and 2 beds-go figure-but he managed to make a decent life with my mum. I get so fed up with the papers/press at exam time especially when all they do is focus on the pretty blonde girls with posh swoopy hair who got all As and A*s in their A-Levels or GCSEs. I saw someone had written on twitter "Plain girls and brunettes get good grades too!" A little off topic, but I think the thought is the same! xxxx

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    1. Your dad sounds like a real inspiration! That always annoys me too. No film crews were there celebrating with me (a chubby, frizzy-haired, bespectacled poor kid!)

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  10. hello! just found your blog, love this post. I grew up as an Army Bratt so we lived in Army quarters all over which could be mistaken for council estates lol all the things in the house didnt belong to us, furniture, crockery etc was all Army issue. Mum worked nightshifts and we were pretty skint but we had a fabulous childhood and i wouldnt change it for anything!

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    1. Oh, wow! I live near a big army barracks so there were always loads of kids at school who had parents in the army. It's great that you had such a good childhood! I'd imagine it's shaped you a lot.

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  11. I like your top <3 It's awesome!!!
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/CoeursDeFoxes

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  12. I feel like there are two kinds of people - the ones that act exactly the way that where they were raised dictates them to be and the ones that break that bubble and act a different way. Obviously despite where you lived you decided to be you and followed the dreams you had for yourself.

    I unfortunately met a girl who had a less than stellar upbringing. She lived in a filthy trailer with her mother and despite the fact that she and I had next to nothing in common we were friends. Until she royally messed me over. It made me feel awful because I had several people tell me not to befriend her because of where she came from and I thought they were ridiculously. And unfortunately she fell right into the spot that the stigma dictates.

    I'm happy to know not everyone is like that (you're the proof of course). We shouldn't judge people based on where they're from but on who they are.

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    1. It's such a shame that there are people who end up like that. I can understand why they do- When you grow up around people who don't want to make something of their lives, it's easy to fall into that trap too.

      Unfortunately, many people believe that absolutely everyone will go that way when it's not true at all. If anything, I think social expectations (such as predicted grades) almost give children permission to fall into that cycle: "They're all expecting me to fail so what am I losing if I do?"

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  13. You could have used the "i" for "identity" for "Inspiring" too! Thanks so much for this post, I love the way you talk about how your experience has made you who you are today. Loving your entire A-Z series btw!

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  14. The house that we live in is on the edge of a council estate. The houses that back onto our garden are part of a housing scheme.

    I know when I was at school, my current address was scummy and all sorts and had a reputation - does it still bother me now? A little bit but at the same time I see it that I keep my bit tidy - so I litter pick the front garden and weed the path.

    Actually the neighbours both sides of us have taken what they've got and made it pretty so even though we are on the edge of the estate we are on a nice bit.

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  15. Hi Becky! I've just found your blog and I wanted to say I love this post. I've lived in "good" neighbourhoods and on council estates, and it's not your postcode which dictates your success in life - it's your character and the encouragement you do or do not receive from the people around you. This is a great reminder.

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  16. This is a beautiful piece! Stereotypes are so annoying but I've had a lot of fun proving people who think that because of their preconceived notions I can't do certain things and I end up excelling at them. I'm not from a neighbourhood that's perceived as "good" but what people think of when I'm from and what I can and cannot do is not my problem.

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I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

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