Pretty blessed childhood I’d say, you know 2.4 holidays, a couple of parents in the garage fueled up and ready to go, underfloor heating and a privileged education. The picture of brown middle class North London 80’s and 90’s ‘burbia.
Hung out with the right kind of wrong people and did the stuff that teens did (note to self, check that own teen still absorbed with Snapchat and Insta, not raucous revelry as I was). Marley poster on the wall, Wu-Tang on the Walkman (Sony, who else?) and a spring in my dubstep.
Bar Rhumba on Thursdays (or was it Tuesdays?) for a bit of Giles, Goldie live somewhere else, at the Blue Note upstairs as Ninja Tunes happened around me.
Should’ve done English instead of economics, loved Lorca and Levi, retook mechanics played the piano and flaunted the flute.
Left the best nest and headed out for the double honours, joked around way too much, hurt people I shouldn’t have (too many) and hurt myself in the process; but made some mates I wouldn’t give up even if I could (welcome to the brotherhood). Badock halls the downs and Whiteladies those are the memories I want to keep, but some I don’t, just won’t move on.
So a blur of literature, partying, months overseas later and a degree obtained (but never got up on stage to receive); real life happened.
And it started with my daughter.
I want to say that back in 2001, barely graduated from uni and a new father that I had got it together, knew the answers, was shocked into growing up. But I hadn’t, didn’t and wasn’t —I was after all a youth still, hadn’t yet worked out my own path and was now responsible for someone else’s.
Those early years were tough for sure, but because of my own lack of maturity, nothing more, nothing else.
When I dragged my family to the self styled land of the unexpected (Papua New Guinea for those not in the know); I knew it was going to be a challenge. Work was more than work — but then when is it not? But friends became family, people we could rely on, nonetheless transient as the breeze during the hot, stale months that followed the wet.
The country taught me much about who I was and more about who I didn’t want to be, it brought out the good, the bad and the ugly. It changed me.
It made me, broke me and built me up stronger.
The distance only brought dissonance, the weeks away for years on end should have crushed us. They did. But we found resilience, strength in each other. We fought. Back.
There’s more, much more I want to say, but those are words that aren’t ready to be spoken. Someday, I’ll spill that ink.
For now I want to say only one more thing.
Thank you. To all the experiences but mainly people who have touched my life, who’ve giggled with me, shared a handle or two (or three), who’ve made me cry and who’ve cried because of me. Who’ve taught without teaching, given without asking. To all of you, thank you, to all of you sorry. Because I know the tears leave stains.
To my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law; who’ve suffered my idiocy and supported my silliness but always with love, I love you back. To the rest of my family — blood or water — yes we’ve been at odds with each other from time to time and yes we’ve misunderstood. But yes we’ve joked, and laughed, and swum and played; and that’s what counts to me.
But to Debora, Ishani and Saranya. Thank you is not enough. In this furnace that we’re thrown into, you are diamonds amongst the coal. My life is more than because of you. I cherish our future yet unwritten.
Looking back, it’s been pretty good…