Whilst catching up with some episodes of This Is Us, we watch Kevin dealing with his present day troubles of alcohol and drug addiction, stemming from his childhood created demons.
I’ve had a good life. A great life even. I’m known back in Blighty to my dearest friends as one of the happiest gals they ever did meet. My wonderful brother and some dear dear family friends constantly tell me how much like my father I am, and how proud he would be of me. To be told I’m like him is a major compliment. He was my best friend growing up, thick as thieves we sure were. Not a single day went by where he didn’t have me giggling, singing a Queen song or just generally being a free spirited nincompoop. Funny how I was created to be the shyest of the shy peeps mind you.
As much as my childhood was a joyous occasion, I always knew I was being shielded from some sort of not so joyous reality. Maybe I knew even then, that it was smarter to stay out of it and just run with the positive vibes in life, switch off and make myself happy. It wasn’t just me who made me happy growing up there, I’ve mentioned my dad, but also the pals I’ve know for over 32 years now. Wow, 32 years and I’m still friends with those tiny little angels I met on my first day of Primary School back in September 1986. I say ‘friends’, and I don’t just mean FaceBook friends, however that is how I keep in touch with 95% of them, some get hit up on Instagram and one or two are on my Snail Mail radar. Then there’s my teenage discovered friends, met at Secondary School and in the rebellious years. Followed way to quickly by my adult friends. Now most of these dear dear people were met at Parragon. My sweet sweet Parra-Rangers, gosh you’re a hoot. Without leaving out the bonus gems of all the other heart and mind boosters that I’ve met in other jobs, other locations, through friends of friends, or randomly just on a night out. I love you all. You were all essential scaffolding in my heart and will always remain there.
Heading to New Zealand in 2004 was the thing that changed me. For an additional better. Still being shy today (yes I am, to those that know me now, I am an introvert and very shy, no matter how much you see me nattering away and have those drunken memories of me losing my kneecaps) the twelve months I spent in in NZ back then were the years I had to go it alone. Out of my comfort zone and make friends that I didn’t already know. Complete tasks as an adult in the wilderness. Yet, it all seemed so easy. Funny thing, it is, to all my friends it would have been. It’s a generational thing. Not only were we all brought up so well, and got an education, we didn’t have social media around to direct our minds into directions it possibly shouldn’t be directed.
I returned to England, not with an obnoxious confidence, but with a new found confidence. Alcohol helped with that on occasions. Sometimes things a little stronger. And often, a little too much sent it too far. Yet, I learnt a lot. I learnt that I could finally be my own person and only need to look out for myself. Making sure to be naturally kind to all those that cross my path. Whether this be in the supermarket, the office or even the start of a friendship journey. I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason, but equally, you dream for things, and they too will be what happen. The only thing we have to learn to do, is let it happen. Don’t fight feelings. Don’t bottle things up. All this does is waste time and prevent the destination being reached at the right time.
I went to watch Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born recently, to be fair, like a high percentage of the worlds population, and they both had me weeping, immensely. I was brought up listening to Queen every single day. I’ve been a huge fan from as far back as I can remember. Not only did the movie trigger many a nostalgic nuggets for me, it also gave me satisfaction of knowing that something that made me happy back then, that still made me happy now, shows even way back as a young whipper snapper, I had good taste. Mr Mercury, such a dear dear talented love.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, now that, their two hours on the big screen had me sobbing in to the very early hours of the morning. I couldn’t stop with this one. It triggered a lot in me. Now, I do tend to get pulled in to these things, and I can’t help but really delve in to their minds and try to understand too much of what is going on. The scary thing is, and I’m aware this is the case for a lot of people out there, I feel that I can relate to a lot of what they’re going through.
For me, what it made me realise, was that I, I once had an issue with alcohol. I’ve seen other people (family members, friends, colleagues) have struggles with substances, but never realised mine was so out of control. But when you start having the black outs, waking up with no memory, waking up realising you have had no control of your bladder, sometimes even waking up not knowing where you were, or even how you got those cuts, bumps and bruises, now I know, now I know that I shouldn’t have just laughed them off, and just had a drink to forget about them, no matter what time of the morning it was. Sure the British culture is very much that of a Drinking Culture, it’s what we do, it’s a concrete jungle over there, and that concrete is usually shaped into a watering hole or public house that resides very close to home or work. When you’re sitting with your love however, watching a movie, and you can’t control the leaky peepers and heart palpitation sobs, because you’ve suddenly realised you were once a mess like that, and you thought you were fun and it was the norm, yet a memory of a friend you’d known for a few small months gets up and walks away from your Saturday afternoon hang out time because you’ve got through two bottles of red wine whilst they’ve had a can of cola. Or the memory of the new friends you’d made because you were shunned by the former for your ‘drink problem’, when play fighting involved causing a scene in the local burger bar thinking you were funny, knocking your head on the concrete and waking up with your knee caps missing their entire covering of skin, you know it’s a movie that may have hit a Home Run on the Truth Pitch.
I know I’m a good person. I’ve never ever gone out of my way to purposely hurt anyone. I don’t feel I’ve ever been a bully. I’ve let alcohol throw some rotten comments out of my mouth or equally keep some strong comments in, and I’ve had many a great event or social gathering whether it’s involved alcohol, drugs, both or even neither. What I’m grateful of is meeting my love, and realising I can be myself with him, and I don’t need to be my pretend self.
With all these thoughts, I’ve had many a memory, good, bad and ugly come flooding back, so I thought I’d write a letter to you to explain why I done what I did, when I did, what you mean to me and quite simply, why. You’ll know who you are, and note, that whilst I’m writing it, I’ll more than likely have chocolate with me. It would appear I have a cray cray sugar addiction again. As much as that’s more addictive than cocaine, so they say, you’d still rather I just had my hand dipping in to the lollies over filling up the recycling bin with empties, right?!
I’m off to the shop to get them sweet treats, and my letter to you will be with you, and everyone else, soon. Until then, read a good book, watch a good movie, trigger your memories, get involved with someone else’s story, maybe just avoid the news, it’s a scary worrying place out there, and even more reason as to why we should live each day like it’s our last, by way of making the most and enjoying it xxx