Lunch Money Loves

Lunch money loves.

Sharing your story. It’s sometimes like pulling a tooth. Painful but necessary.

I share my story, not for sympathy, but because it’s, somewhat frustratingly, necessary for my job.

As a coach, it’s all about making connections. I am invited into other people’s lives and part of what I do asks that clients be open and honest with me. I can’t ask people to do that if I’m not prepared to be open and honest from the outset.

I have resisted sharing my life in such a way, much to the dismay of my own coach, because she knows vulnerability and truth are key to building the kind of success I want to achieve. As a coach and business woman myself, in this industry, I also know this to be true. However, the client, the mum, the girlfriend in me, we all want to run away and never speak of it again.

But here goes…

Somehow, for reasons I haven’t quite made my mind up on, I lacked any self worth quite early on. I didn’t know I deserved it. I was a sensitive child, I think. From a young age, I would cry over the smallest thing. Not because I was babied; I was sensitive, as many children are. That sensitivity has never really left me, in some ways, looking back, I’m glad of that, because I have had a tremendous amount of love, compassion and empathy to give. With those traits, though, life has given me a tough streak. My dad describes me as a survivor, so I must be doing something right. That tough streak means that I can have a no-nonsense attitude when it’s required, so be warned.

Being sensitive and shy meant that people often had a preconceived idea about who I was, so they took advantage. The memories that stay with me, oh my word… my first boyfriend when I was about 7 or 8 years old, he kissed me and a day later kissed another girl in front of me. You can imagine the agony. But that episode set the tone of my life.

I can remember being about 12 and there was a boy who lived at the end of my street, his name was Glen. My friend made it known that I liked him. He had a skateboard dontchaknow. So he came to my door and asked me out. I said yes, screamed, slammed the door in his face and that was that. He traded me in within a week. He was a skater-arse.

Boys at school, they thought I was a source of teasing. I was the quiet girl with the big glasses. They didn’t know me well. Twice, in secondary school, two different boys attempted to beat me up while I was sat in my chair doing my school work. I beat them up instead. I was taught well – ‘never start a fight, Claire, but you make sure you finish it’. You know, I can’t even remember their names. I bet they remember mine. I’m not violent by nature, in fact, I’d do anything to avoid it, but those events set me up to believe that I was always waiting for someone to attack. Waiting for someone to disrespect me because I was quiet.

I became louder, I rebelled, and, as a result, I didn’t do well at school. I did start making friends, though. Boys respected me, to a certain degree, because I could kick arse, but I could also forge Mr. Seagar’s signature to get them a lunch pass so they could cut the line. I should have charged for my skills. Missed a trick there. Looking back, I know they respected me because of what I could give them. An early lunch.

This next story has become a metaphor. It’s the story of my life. When I was just about to turn 13, we moved house – a different town and I moved school. I made friends easily, and as always, there was this preconceived idea that because I wore glasses and my kilt to the correct length for the first few weeks, that I must be weird.. And a lack of self worth only magnified that. There was a boy I liked, and once it was known I liked him, he would ask me for things. It started off with pens and pencils, that kind of thing. If he asked for anything, I would give it. My pencil, my ruler, my heart AND my lunch money. My fucking lunch money. I gave it away because I wanted him to like me. He owes me about a million pounds. Ugh, I could be sick when I think to hard on it. He wasn’t all that. I learned to say no eventually. Sat with a friend recently, I said,


‘I’m still that girl. I’d still give my lunch money away, and people know it, so they continue to take.’ That was my fuck it moment – I have a lot of those now I’m +40. It’s like a package deal when you turn the big FOUR ZERO. You have permission to say, ‘Fuck it,’ a whole lot more. I’m bound to meet resistance with this, because no one likes to be told no, and because when you’ve been a certain way for so long, certain things are expected. Tough titties.

But that lunch money, it shaped my life in so many ways. I allowed far too many people to take my lunch money because it was easier than being disliked. Any remotely serious relationship, I was left broke and hungry, wondering what my life had become. I wanted to share this story, there’s so much more to tell, but I’d bore myself to tears/cry myself to sleep/die laughing. It’s too much. However, I want to implore you; if this story sounds familiar, STOP GIVING YOUR LUNCH MONEY AWAY. He’s never going to love you the way you want and deserve to be loved, he’s not your soulmate, and he isn’t going to run off into the sunset with you. That friend you’re still giving your lunch money to, retreat and run. She’ll still owe you in 20 years time and still keep taking, taking, taking, because she doesn’t get it. No one’s ever taken her lunch money.

I love that my job now means I can save women their lunch money. Coaching and a sandwich. Bargain.