June AustinLooking back on my life, there is much to be proud of, but much of which I am not so proud. There is though no point in regrets, for it does not change anything, and I have learned much in the process, even if was how not to do things.

I never really wanted to be born at all, so much so that they had to go in and get me, performing a caesarean section. At the moment that they were wheeling my mother in, the pains started of their own accord. It was almost as if I was saying “Alright, I’ll come if I really must”, but by then of course, they had to proceed.

I was born then kicking and screaming into the world in June 1965, and have been kicking and screaming pretty much ever since. There has been much to kick and scream about, and much that I have learnt and changed in the process – not least of all about myself.

The things that challenge us the most are also those things that shape us into the adults that we become. My childhood, although outwardly comfortable, was far from idyllic. I was born to slightly older parents than is the norm (mother aged 44 and father aged 49), and they had two other children by the time I arrived; my brother John, and sister, Linda. I also had a half brother, Philip, from my father’s first marriage.

My mother Connie, worked in ladies tailoring prior to her marriage, while my father George, was an industrial chemist. Among other things he did the recipes of Paynes Poppets and Lift Lemon Tea. He had worked his way up from the bottom, via sheer hard work, but because of this, never felt that he was good enough or acceptable enough, and harboured constant doubts as to his ability, which his colleagues picked up on. Dad was a very difficult person to live with, mainly because of these insecurities, but also his own unstable childhood. He was definitely the dominant one in our house.

They say that school days are the best days of your life, but this was definitely not the case with me. I was bullied from almost the day I started – for being shy, for being too clever, for being too short, for being bad at sports, but most of all for being sensitive. I remember one girl asking me at the age of 14, why I could not be normal like she was, and thinking to myself that if that was normal, I wanted no part of it.

When Dad died from cancer three weeks before my sixteenth birthday, the bullies suddenly decided they wanted to be my friend, but I was having none of it. Slowly my mother’s true personality began to emerge, and this in turn gave my siblings and me the opportunity to also find ourselves.

What you want to be as a child is often a clue as to what you should do when you grow up, but I left school without a clue. I had vague feelings of being a florist or even a journalist, but even though I was always top of the English class, and had a reading age far ahead of my peers, I did not feel that I had the skills or the confidence to pursue this path.

When I left school in 1982, women did not have the same opportunities that they have now and career counselling was non existent. The choices seemed limited to office work, shop work, hairdressing, nursing or teaching. My father told me “learn to type and you will never be out of a job”, so I drifted into office work, because it seemed the easiest and most logical thing to do, but also because it gave me somewhere to hide, where I did not have to expose myself to the demands of dealing with the public and meeting people.

I quickly developed a love of travel, which I indulged with a passion, going to places such as Iceland, China and Canada. I found that travelling alone strengthened my sense of independence and made me very self reliant. I did not have friends, or a social life, as I was too shy and scared of rejection to risk exposure. However, when the company I was working for went bankrupt in 1990, I returned to college in order to study travel and tourism and was forced to find part time work in retail, which was challenging to say the least. The Gulf War soon put paid to any thoughts of a career in the travel industry, so I stayed in retail as it was a flexible job that seemed to suit my needs.

It was this that led me onto the spiritual path, in 1995, as it felt that my employer, who refused to let me work full time, had more control over my life than I did. I enrolled for some classes entitled the Art of Personal Growth and Transformation. Within a few weeks I had left the shop and begun a full time job in an insurance office earning twice as much. The money from this job enabled me to study astrology and train as a Reiki Master and massage therapist. It was also through those classes that I met my partner Coran, who has proven to be a far greater challenger than all my employers put together.

When my mother died in 1999, she left sufficient money for me to take a year out and train as a crystal therapist. During the second year we were asked to write a thesis on a crystal related subject. It soon became clear that mine was developing into a book, Genesis of Man, which I eventually published in June 2006. Just before Christmas 2006, Coran and I moved into our dream home in Surrey, and I agreed to become editor of the village newsletter. Then in May 2007 I launched a new and updated edition of the book. In November 2007 I returned to work with a major High Street retailer. I left at the end of 2008 and currently work as a housekeeper in a nursing home for the elderly.

I have now gone full circle, from someone with no money and no confidence, to a self published author with her own successful business, a job I love, plus a loving partner and my very own home.