I dug out my old school reports earlier today; somehow I have every one from first school to university. I was flicking through them, and I noticed something. Two things actually. The first being that the comments contradicted themselves – in one sentence the teacher was saying I participated well in class, and in the future targets was something along the lines of ‘needs to speak out more in discussions’. Surely it can’t be both, I thought. The second thing was rather more disconcerting. From my first report in reception, (so when I was five years old), teachers and lecturers have basically said the same things about me. I mentioned this to my mum and she said I was like that even before school. From two years old I have been stubborn, curious, hard-working, and (depending on who I’m with) quiet or won’t stop talking. I haven’t changed in all that time. Well, I have obviously, just not in my essential character.
Quite a thought huh? That superficial things might change, or you can learn how to disguise/lessen/emphasise particular traits, but the core of who you are could be set and visible from as early an age as two years old. To be a chatterbox, perfectionist, observer, stubborn, angry, wanting to please, preferring your own company. . . Everything else is just surface-dressing.
I don’t quite know what to say after that, but wanted to share because the idea is so fascinating and freaky! Maybe you can look out your own reports if you still have them, see what was said about you. Honestly now, are there hints of the you of today in the child you were, or do you think you’ve really changed? Maybe you’ve spent half a lifetime trying to discover the ‘real you’, when all you needed to do is take a moment to find those first school reports. . .