I thought it would be useful to share a profound, hat-related, realisation that I came across in one of my old diaries – in the hope that it will be of some use to somebody out there. I certainly could have done with somebody telling me this when I was 9 rather than waiting til over 30 years later!
So.. it all started at school (as most things do!) with a competition for best Easter Bonnet (for ‘Bonnet’ read ‘hat’ but they were an old fashioned school in every sense!) 😉 I should mention, my junior school (from 6-11) was a Catholic Convent so Jesus figured quite large, even, and especially, with Easter Bonnets! However, most of the religion lark didn’t make much of an impact at that age, so I didn’t really consider Jesus when I was creating my Easter Bonnet; I just wanted to make a nice hat! 😉
As it happened, for my birthday, I had been given a nightdress case made of two circles of foam covered in cotton, the top halves sewn together so you could put your nightdress inside – although looking back I’ve no idea why anyone would want to do that! On the top circle sat a doll, with frilly orange and white ribbon spreading out like a tiered skirt. It was quite pretty and being really rather creative and imaginative! – I foresaw a better use for it, namely as a hat!
I managed to open it up enough to cram it on my head and sewed two ribbons either side to go under my chin so that the ‘hat’ stayed on! God only knew what it actually looked like – and I expect he was watching, it being a Catholic school – but it is safe to say I was completely delighted with my efforts! I thought it looked original and rather spectacular! I even thought it might win. So when they called out the name of the winner and I heard ‘Elizabeth’, I jumped up and marched proudly through the ranks of parents and children to claim my prize.
I must stress at this point that it was never about the prize, but I really thought that hat was worthy of winning! It was at this point that my mum came up and very tactfully explained there had been a mistake and it had not been me, but another Elizabeth who had won the prize. Admittedly, her hat was rather splendid too; a real home-made effort and religious to boot, as it was a velvet Bishop’s mitre and rather niftily crafted. To this day I have no idea whether they called out her name or mine. I rather suspect they might have called out HER name, but with my unshaking faith in my wonderful frilly nightcase of a hat I rushed up there without really listening hard enough.
So… of course, when my mum explained the mistake I felt absolutely terrible. Everyone had seen me march up there to get the prize and presumably everyone had heard it wasn’t my name that was called out. How could I have been so arrogant as to assume that my hat was the best? I felt I was a laughing stock. Who was I to put myself and my silly frilly hat forward? How could I possibly have believed in myself to that extent? How utterly mortifying!
And this was how it felt for years – about 35 actually! Until I thought about it again…
Then I realised that what I’d felt so horrified about for all those years was the fact that after creating a rather original hat, I had believed in it to the extent that I rushed up to claim a prize that was not intended for me. But actually, I had done more than that. My unshakeable belief in my hat created a situation where I not only went up to claim the prize, but the teachers handed it over! Thinking back I wonder why they did that? Perhaps they didn’t want to make a scene. They most DEFINITELY knew the difference between me and the other Elizabeth! We were polar opposites. She was star pupil and teacher’s pet and I was, ‘the naughtiest girl in the school’ – and I really was! So the teachers all knew exactly who I was believe me!! There could have been no confusion on their part, but they meekly handed over the prize, and left it to my mother to sort out!
So, my deep and abiding faith in my hat (if not so much in Jesus!) got me a very long way as I see it! – and by marching up past all those rows of pupils and parents, a lot of whom must have been wondering what on earth I was doing, was showing how much I believed in myself and my millinery creation! And I had been beating myself up for years about that! Despite the fact that I know that it is a GOOD thing to believe in yourself! I also know it is a GOOD thing to demonstrate this fact to other people; to broadcast a vibration of self-belief. As you will read in many of the spiritual books these days, self-belief is everything! If you can believe it, you can achieve it! Belief creates reality! Very desirable stuff.
But somehow, I had managed to end up with an unconscious pattern, created by this formative Easter Bonnet experience, that said it was wrong and shameful to believe in yourself, and especially to broadcast that fact to others. In new age terms, the vibration of THAT unconscious pattern would bring me precisely ZILCH, whether it be prizes for my Easter Bonnet or recognition of my creative skills. As you can imagine, I was very pleased to have discovered this proverbial skeleton hiding away in my subconscious, as it needed changing pronto!
So, my message to other people is: believe in your silly frilly hat and tell everyone else about it as well! Even if it’s terrible! Self belief is everything. No-one else can do it for you, and it is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself!