Do you spend time thinking?… just thinking about your time? Like, “Where has the time gone?” Have you used your time wisely? Have you considered how you used, use and intend to use your time in the future? Who did/do you share your precious time with? What do you do with negative experiences other than recycle them? If some of your thoughts about time reflect negative experiences that have occurred in your lifetime, remember, you are still here! You have survived, you are a survivor, this time.

Reflection: When I was at primary school back in the early 1960’s, I was one of around 5 or so families of African Heritage – Black British. The days were long and the winters, very, very cold. The school, Acton Wells was located in North West London….School Road (I would love to hear from anyone who attended the school at that time, but would also be happy if people that wasted my time reads this article and reflected as I have) I decided to write this article because there are others out there that may have had similar experiences and situations that at the time, they had no control, yet memories occasionally creep into our consciousness…..random reflections tugging at our thoughts demanding our time and attention.

Back in time: As the bell peeled indicating that it was lunch time, eager children headed towards the canteen to enjoy a meal. The head teacher (head mistress at the time) would instruct that all heads be bowed and eyes closed as she recited the grace, giving thanks to God for our meal. We would then be invited table by table to queue up and receive our meal- meat and two veg, followed by a lovely hot pudding… lovely. This prepared us to face the bitter cold of the playground where we would have an opportunity to play until the end of the lunch hour. Playing and running around with friends helped to fend off the icy chill that competed with the gaps left between mittens and coat sleeves, penetrating our little limbs.

My lunch hours were filled with dread because a group of prefects – girls, singled me out. A wide eyed quiet black girl and made me stand in a corner for the remainder of the lunch hour. Those cold hours felt as though they would never end. The chill managed to penetrate my coat, gloves and in particular the joints in my hands which ached bitterly. Why does this matter now? It could be the pains that I now suffer in those same joints… maybe initiated by those many afternoons motionless in a corner of a cold playground.

When the bell rang to usher children back into the warm inviting comfort of the school and the large hot metal radiators that radiated safety, I knew that I would be warm and prepared myself to enjoy learning… until the next lunch time and the same experience.

Why didn’t the teachers notice the little black girl in the corner day after day? What was the purpose of the spiteful girls? Were they evil or were the conversations at the dinner table at home about the number of ‘darkies’ that were moving into the area licence for their offspring to inflict some sort of justice? Was this ignorance? Racism? Micro-aggression? Abuse? Why didn’t the little black girl feel that she could complain and get justice at that time? Well, the time is now because if not now, when?!

My previous article was entitled ‘Recycle’, because no experience is ever wasted. I need the individuals; probably in their 60’s now that bullied that little girl and the teachers that permitted it to happen; that little black girl that was kept in a corner was bestowed the honour of an MBE at Buckingham Palace. Also, despite the pains in her fingers which initiated this article, it bears testament to others, that these same fingers type messages of hope to the masses. I became a published author in July 2016….I am a successful ‘transforming Life Coach, educationalist and mentor…. and still I rise. I, like many have suffered at the hands of oppressors in many guises but I have also enjoyed a range of wonderful times and experiences with some beautiful people, too numerous to mention. Maybe, I shared my precious time with you! I hope that my articles help to support others to challenge and dispel dark times that may battle with the mind. They cannot last for ever… only for a time!

I dedicate this article to readers that have memories or that may be experiencing injustice right now in the form of physical, emotional, mental and psychological abuse – in families, relationships, work colleagues, housing issues, ill-health…..You are here. You made it through against the odds…. and still you rise!!

Without the painful thorns that are characteristics of the bush, you can never admire the beautiful roses.

So, what time is it?

It is time to treasure your moments, because they belong to you. No challenge is sufficient to stunt your growth. Identify the root cause of any situation, reflect on the green shoots of hope that confirm that all will be well with you. Consider the wonderful fruit that blossom and remind you that you are still here. The time is now!

Dr Angela Herbert MBE