She’s nervous and really she must
Snap out of this behaviour today,
That’s what they’d always eventually say.
But how could I stop a train on its tracks
Careering through time and immovable space?
I would wriggle inside my tight bound constraints
And hope for a day when I’d outrun the train
And steady the sea that swells inside me.
I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever had extreme nerves but I was plagued by them as a child and, to a lesser extent, they have followed me through to adulthood.
As a child I was a competitive swimmer and before every meet I would start to feel nauseous and by the time I was about to be racing I would be vomiting uncontrollably.
It was detrimental to my performance and it was embarrassing. But what made it worse was the people around me who regularly told me that I needed to snap out of it, or get the nerves under control.
I would have loved nothing more than to get them under control, but the truth of the matter was that I had been programmed to believe that my parents would take their love away from me if I were to do badly. The terror I felt came from a place where I thought that my caregivers would stop providing for me, and for a child that means death.
I think that children who display extreme nerves have often had some sort of trauma in their life and my heart goes out to them when people say pull yourself together.
I know that as I embark on my new teaching career I’m going to come across so many children that are jumpy and nervous and my intention is to treat them with kindness and understanding, because who the hell knows what they may have been through?