my first to do list was to run away and not die: aged 9

I have always loved writing lists and I can remember vividly spending my pocket money on pretty stationery and colourful pens at an early age. I would make lists for almost everything from, “what I want for Christmas,” to “Things to do in the school holidays.”

These lists helped me to feel in control, while all around me was in chaos. My childhood was chaotic most of the time because my parents where party goers, heavy drinkers which involved fighting and arguing and gambling nuts wasting money on the horses.

It was a rare event that I was actually given pocket money from loving parent. In my case it would be to shut me up or to get lost. House parties where the norm in my home at the weekend. Lots of rowdy men and women getting drunk, dancing and falling over in the lounge till all hours. Some very unsavoury men too, but I got wise and barricaded my bedroom door with my dressing table when I went to bed.

It was at these parties that the alcohol infused men and women would give their loose change to. Most of the time just to get rid of me. I used that money to buy the nicest and prettiest notepads, cute pens that smelled of fruit and paper, lots of pastel coloured paper. My money stash was hidden behind my wardrobe in a battered shoe box where no one could find it.

I had one very bossy older sister who was the golden child and could never do wrong and one younger sister who was a cry baby and spoilt. I was stuck in the middle, the runt, the weird one of the family who kept herself invisible as much as she could. I was a loner, hiding away in my bedroom or in a secret den I had made in the woods.

I never invited anybody into my world because I trusted no one. Adults were evil and children were mean. I had my notebooks and lists to keep me company. There was one list that I remember and in hindsight, I am glad that I didn’t act on it. This list was titled, “How to run away and not die.” I wrote that when I was 9 years old. It gave me hope (at the time).

Fast forward many years until I was totally free from my family and my lists are still here to keep me company and keep my life on track but nowadays they are happier and more positive lists. I am in a much happier place and don’t dwell on my childhood that much. It was that childhood that got me writing lists and it was that child that started her own business creating memo pads for to do lists on Etsy.

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