I was born into a warm but highly competitive family. But there was had one big problem: I lived in fear of blushing. I often wished the calmness of school assembly would go on for ever because I knew that once it was finished I would find myself in a Maths lesson where I would be asked a question and end up going red and looking stupid. Outside assembly the safest place for me was on the sports field where I could succeed.
After university I became a teacher and eventually got married, though for a long time I feared that it was too much of a responsibility to bring children into the world. Thankfully, after one holiday watching a loving family together on a beach, we took the plunge, agreeing that we too could consistently care for children of our own. Work was always a strain as I was always fearful of making mistakes to the extent that often I was full of emotional tension. I worked on self-help techniques, finding calm and ways of resolving some of my troubles through eastern practices.
However, my weaknesses and issues were undermining my marriage and in 1997 my wife told me that she was divorcing me. After 22 years of marriage, I felt that life had come to an end. Even worse, I was unable to support my teenage children, as their world as well as mine threatened to fall apart.
Three Christmases later, my mother had arranged to visit my brother in Portugal but, in the end, decided not to go. So I went alone and that’s where I met my present wife, Mary. But that’s another story.
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