It was 1997 and we were coming home from my birthday party we’d been to the cinema or a pub and it was late, very late to be out with Jenny and Anna.
One of the things I liked about being with Jenny and Anna is that it was all moments, no gasping highs and dreadful lows, just moments – little bits of music, food, walks interspersed with mugs of coco and good coffee.
We’d been together on our birthdays at 18, 21 and now it was 1997.
I was a bit starting to feel really lost but still ‘acceptability lost’ for the time in life where I was.
Out of the these relationships came some of the most important lines that have stuck with me ever since.
I was procrastinating over whether to go and work in a residential youth centre, it meant giving up my Rock and Roll-ish life style in London which I was incredibly reluctant to do as I was just on the cusp of knowing every doorman in the West End and was on first name terms with the mini cab drivers at the end of Old Compton Street.
I wanted to move but I was still unsure whether I was leaping into something for a good experience or running away from something to do with where I really was, or really was not as the case maybe.
Anna asked me if I would regret doing it more than I would regret not doing it. For about five seconds everything made sense and it really made sense that you could do something and then you could stop it.
I am not sure who MADE me think that I did not have a choice in life, I always think about this and I can’t put my finger on one role model, parent or teacher who MADE me think I had no choice to stop if something did not work.
Also I need to point out (for legal reasons) that there is a big difference between trying something responsibly and deciding not to go on verses pecking at things to only then throw them away and hurt people or creating a mess.
I have done both and I am sure I have done both with intention, I am trying to think of a situation where I have done the second one, funny how your mind blocks certain things. If I remember I’ll let you know.
I just watched a movie called Diana, it is about the two years before Diana, Princess of Wales dies in Paris, I chose to ignore the 1.5 stars it had on Netflix.
I was curious about how I would have felt at the being reminded of Tony Blair becoming Prime Minister and living under Labour party rule rather than those nice heart-warming Conservatives I remember lying on the sofa in our house in Swiss Cottage watching Neil Kinnock being REALLY funny and watching the map turn redder and redder as the results came in.
I had always been led to believe that if the Labour party got in the country “would go to the dogs” I did not really notice any change, and instead of going to the dogs we went to war with Iraq even though a decent amount of people took the time to walk around London saying ‘not in my name’.
So then on the 30th August coming home after my birthday we went into the motorway services and had a late night bacon sandwich and hot chocolate. I only ever drank hot chocolate with these friends, it was as if all hot chocolate drinking was reserved for these two. They were a lovely oasis of peace and harmony in my otherwise hectic and un-decisive world. I felt secure as anything with them and while we were never destined to fall in love romantically I loved then so much and could not imagine life without them.
There were flashes from the telly and ‘we are receiving reports that Diana, Princes of Wales had been in an accident in Paris’. it made us all sit up.
It was 1997 and everything was changing, it was like my snow globe of life was being shaken harder and harder. The government had changed, (looking back we did not even notice) Diana died, five days later Mother Teresa died and was moving from tearing it up in London to a place in the middle of no-where to live with 10 people I only just knew
A little while after this my Mother started to get very ill and died a few years later, the more I look back at this stage of life the more I am aware I had no coping mechanism for the watching a parent die, my Dad is older I have never know him better or enjoys his company more.
If anything were to happen to him I’d feel ok, that we’d done our best with each other and are content, it is only in the last few years I have managed to get there but I am so glad we can laugh together like we do.
To answer Anna’s question nearly twenty years later – I don’t regret doing it.
I regret how I acted with some people as I sucked them into my journey of self discovery and validation.
Another line that has never escaped me came from Jenny’s Mother when we were all sat at a birthday dinner one night, ‘You are a lot more accepting of yourself when you are 21’ – I nodded and agreed, thinking I looked like a ‘more wise than usual Morgan Freeman’ I knew what she meant then – I think. Now it really makes sense and I expect my understanding of self acceptance to change again by the time you have read this.