This post was inspired by Doris over at Grans on Bran. Many Happy Returns, Doris.
Your anniversary date is one I share as on 9 June 1986 I left home aged 17 to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a trainee Wren Radar. The girls I shared a mess (bedroom) with were Sue Thomas, Elaine ____ from Sunderland, Claire Norsworthy from Cardiff and Lesley ______ who’s dad had been in the Navy with mine.
I could say that I joined for all the usual reasons given for joining the armed forces but in truth I joined to escape a situation that over the previous six years had eroded my confidence and broken me into tiny fragments of myself. The shards were so shattered that it has taken me the intervening twenty years to try and reassemble them and they are still not all in the right order and some may still be missing in action.
At 17 I found myself close to emotional meltdown and considered a career in the Wrens as a safer option than the complete boundarylessness of the next few years spent at University. In fact it was anything other than safe and in effect just pulverised the shards into smaller fragments than they would otherwise have been.
My memories are therefore bittersweet. I do not blame the Navy; my expectations were flawed. The people I met were not all angels and their motives were sometimes very suspect but on the whole they were good people. I was the ubiquitous square peg and however hard I tried I just didn’t fit.
I have felt like that for a lot of my adult life apart from here; I actually feel like I do fit in. What that says about the rest of you, though, I couldn’t begin to imagine.