Ten years ago today I packed a bag, got on a train, left home and never returned.
I have been told by many people when I relay this story that it was a really brave thing to do. It never felt brave. It was just the right thing to do. I needed to get away. A sequence of events was triggered and I followed them through. I often feel like I was lucky rather than brave. Why did I get this chance to escape when so many thousands of people in Dewsbury are left behind, to rot, continually abused and brought down by their feckless families?
“Oh you’ll never amount to owt so why bother?!”
“Eee look at you thinking you’re better than everyone else!”
“What do you want to study Business Studies for? You’ll never need to use it!”
A selection of delightfully encouraging sentiments that still ring about in my head from time to time. No amount of therapy gets rid of this either.
The worst thing about this, is that it’s still happening to others. I see it happening daily. People not wanting to better themselves because they feel it will cause friction with the elders. So they sacrifice and live in abject fucking misery. It’ll never stop. For every one of me that gets out, another 5000 will stay forever.
But let’s talk about the sequence of events that led to my eventual train journey. I had left school with a couple of A-Levels and was working in a shop. It was crap but I threw myself into it. I had nothing else. One day I saw the video for Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly. I became obsessed with this band. At the same time, the internet was really kicking off. I joined the Foo Fighters postboard, made some friends, chatted on MSN and Yahoo, met up with a few people etc etc. I met a girl online. I was invited down to London as it was neutral ground. We stayed in Kensington because we knew somebody else going to uni there.
Back in September last year, the missus and I went to London to see Noel Gallagher and on the second day the weather was great so we went for a wander. I suggested going to Kensington for lunch. I took some pictures on my phone:
It was a nice flashback and made me plan this post.
So that relationship didn’t work out but then I met another girl, as you do! She lived in Surbiton. Continuing the sequence of events I ended up with an ultimatum of stay in the North or leave. I chose the latter, phoned the girl and asked if I could stay with her and her dad. Green light! So I packed up and I left. Sometimes I wonder if my head was clouded with love or if I just used everyone involved as a means to an end. The latter makes me seem like an horrible bastard but I suspect that’s because it’s the more likely answer!
I moved to Surbiton and experienced the incredible summer of 2003. I was working as a games tester at Electronic Arts. My life had changed beyond imagination in just a few short months. When my contract ended I got a job at Jessops (lamented elsewhere in my blog) and met a guy I became pretty good friends with. My relationship with the girl ended at the same time he needed to move house and we moved in together. See, it really is just a flowing sequence that I had very little say in!
From there I met my current missus (7 years together next month), got my first job in IT, got my second job in IT and became the super whizzy international travelling superstar financial systems consultant I am today. With a move to Cambridge mixed in there somewhere too.
This week I had a holiday. We went to London to see a band and spent a few days in London too. We went back to Surbiton, I visited the office (the company I work for is still in Surbiton), we had fish and chips at the the old Good Life chippy, walked down the Thames, went to The Bentalls Centre. It was lovely. I’m so glad the weather was absolute shit or I’d have moved back there and then! Surbiton is a funny place. It’s the first place I’ve ever considered home, despite moving there at 21. Dewsbury is not my home. Yorkshire has a strange beacon calling but I think that’s over romanticised fiction. Seriously, if these book learners had any idea!! I ended up leaving Surbiton, partly because of cost but partly because it has quite a few bad memories. It’s a place where I arrived as this young kid with problems and grew into something else. And in a way, I guess I had to leave that home like most people have to leave their childhood homes. Nice to visit though.
Back in London, I decided to celebrate. My love of the Foo Fighters is still going strong. I already have one tattoo of their logo but decided I wanted another. So I got one!
Without this band, I wonder if that sequence of events would ever have kicked in. There’s this terrible parallel universe I picture that keeps me fighting and working hard in this universe so it never happens and it shows me still stuck in Dewsbury, miserable as fuck, married to a girl I got pregnant by mistake wondering what the fuck happened and why didn’t I just leave when I was given the chance…
What’s the point of this post? I’m hoping it underlines everything and I can just move on. I’m a bit sick of thinking about where I’m from and how bad things could’ve been. On the one hand it helps me work hard now but on the other it keeps me tied to the past, constantly thinking about it. I wish I could stop the negative voices in my head. I wish I could be a source of positivity to all around me. I wish I didn’t feel so fucked up that I’m damaged and will never fully realise my true potential and that all I have now is all I deserve and there will be no more. I wish I could make decisions without second guessing them, over thinking them, questioning whether I deserve to be in a position to accept the result.
My word of the year this January was adventure. Feb 15th 2003 I went on an adventure. It was awesome! I have many more adventures planned for 2013 and beyond. Stay tuned to find out what they are!!