First of all, let me say that I am no different than anyone else. I don’t see myself as being worse or better off than anyone. Everyone goes through problems in life, and everyone deals with them differently. We’ve all had good times and bad times. Times that we will never forget and others where we wish we could. Everything that has happened in the past makes us who we are today, and it’s up to each of us to decide how it will define us. We can’t change the past nor determine the future. All we can do is try our best and live as we want to live. And hopefully, it all works out in the end.
In the following piece of writing, I will give an account of my life thus far. I will be completely honest and forward, and I do apologise if some of it is upsetting or blunt, but as I have said above, our past makes us who we are, and if you are to get a better understanding of who I am, then I feel it’s necessary to know a bit of my history.
I’m 22 years old, 23 in May. I have moved 22 times in my life, so on average, I guess you could say that I’ve spent no longer than a year in each house.
I was born in Omagh, Northern Ireland in May of 1988. My mum is Scottish and my dad Irish. Within 2 years of being born, we had already moved at least a handful of times. There were many reasons for this, but of course I was too young to understand, and even now it doesn’t matter why. My brother born 4 days after my 2nd birthday in 1990. Not long after, we moved to Easterhouse in Scotland. This is where the majority of my mum’s family lived. These times are the first memories I have, and unfortunately they were majorly unpleasant. My mum’s dad was an abusive alcoholic. He would physically abuse his wife, my mum, and her sisters and brothers. Anyone who unfortunately has had experience of this will know how hard this is, how traumatic it can be and even confusing as to how and why someone could do this family. Needless to say this has left both mental and physical scars on my mum, and her siblings. One of which has found himself on the wrong side of the law by getting involved in drugs and other crimes, and another being sanctioned in a hospital for most of her life. His beatings didn’t stop within the immediate family. There were times when my dad was dating my mum, he’d walk her home and get beat upon. He loved her though and it never stopped him from seeing her. Of course police got involved but everyone was too scared to take anything further.
It had been a few years since my mum had saw her dad when we moved to Scotland. He had left my grandmother long before then and was living by himself just outside Parkhead. We stayed with my Grandmother for a few months until our house was ready on the other side of the town. Even at 2 years old, I knew the location wasn’t ideal. It was a very bad town. But, even still, I was happy. I was a kid, I really shouldn’t have known of pain and suffering, and I didn’t for a while. We moved into our own place, which I still remember to this day. Even have a VHS of our Christmas ’94. Watch it the odd time if I’m ever feeling nostalgic. My dad worked night shifts. He was a carer for old people, and took pride in helping others. My mum was working her way through the various levels of Global Video in Scotland, so this meant she had to travel a bit. My gran would look after my brother and I when both parents were away. Anyway, it wasn’t long until my mum’s dad got word of our presence and decided to pay a visit. I remember my mum being really scared and my dad trying to comfort her. Despite her worries, her dad was fine during his visits. Me and my brother loved spending time with. He was quite a big man and had a long beard. So for 3/4 year old kid and his 2 year younger brother, it was like having our own Santa. My mum seemed more relaxed, and what I would look back on now as coming to peace with what had happened in years past between her and her father. She didn’t panic as much when she and my dad had to leave us with my gran. I wish I can say things did get better.
One night when staying with my gran, me and my bro were in the living room playing when we heard glass smash in the kitchen and my grandmother screaming and swearing. I was worried and confused so went to see what the commotion was all about. There was glass all over the floor and i remember my gran telling me to go back in play so as not to get cut with all the glass. He then struck her telling to keep quiet before walking over the broken shards and throwing me from the doorway of the kitchen to wall in the hall. My gran begged him stop and threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave there and then. He did. I had a cut on the left side of the back of my head. My gran said it hit the side of the small table that was used to put phone on. I don’t remember that bit. She got on the phone and called over my uncles, who only lived a few minutes away. Just before they arrived he showed again trying to apologise. He was begging for us not to tell my mum. During the whole thing my brother was in hysterics. He had only calmed down when ‘he’ came back. He was still sobbing when my mum’s dad came into the living. He walked up telling him not to cry and, I was told, he went to wipe away his tears, but I didn’t know this at the time and just saw him raise his hand to my brothers face, so I picked up the closest thing I could, it was a remote control, and threw it at him, screaming “leave him alone!” The control didn’t hit him but instead bounced off the wall. He wasn’t happy. He turned around to me and said in a slurring manner, “You fucking little shit. How dare you.” He staggered in my direction, my gran trying to get in his way, but he just pushed her aside, and then proceeded to strike me again, this time with a closed fist. My uncles arrived merely seconds later and forced him out of the house and called the police. I don’t remember anything else from that night except from I’ve been told. My mum and dad were so upset and blamed themselves. Of course there was nothing they could have done, and thankfully that part of our lives is in the past.
During our time in Easterhouse we were moved around a few times, for protection mainly.
I got my first pet while there. A black cat... we called him Blacky. Yup, I know what you’re thinking; how original! I loved the little guy. I had him for a just about year or so. Our last place we stayed in Easterhouse was a flat. It was in a pretty rough part of town, known for vandalism and theft. I remember on Halloween night we had let Blacky out. Within minutes we heard a cat crying loudly. My dad ran out the door and down the fligts of stairs, and I ran to the window and looked down. There was a bunch of drunken teens that had caught Blacky and through him into a circle they created, before unleashing two dogs they had with them. My dad scared them off. A neighbour ran out and my dad cried to him to grab towels. I couldn’t really see what was going on as it was pretty dark and I was high up. The neighbour looked after me and my brother and my dad drove Blacky to the vet, but there was nothing that could be done. He had to be put down. That was pretty much the last straw for the family and we decided to head up to our new house in Blantyre. It was raining the day we were moving, and I remember hearing the faintest of meows. I looked on the road behind the moving van and saw the smallest black kitten sitting there, shaking. My heart melted and the biggest smile came across my face. I ran and grabbed the little fella and wrapped him up in my arms. We took him with his, naming him Sweep (I was a big Sooty & Sweep fan). I was 5 when we left Easterhouse.
I loved Blantyre. I made so many great friends, some of which I still talk too via Facebook.
Sweep ran away a few months into our stay. I later found out he was taken into another family and was very well looked after. So even though I lost a pet, I knew he made another kid very happy.
I consider my time in Blantyre my real childhood. As what happened before it didn’t seem real and it was something I didn’t want to remember. One of my mum’s friend was an official at Celtic, so we got to go a lot of games, meet players and even get the odd kick about on the pitch. It was amazing. One day while in Parkhead after a game we went to the Forge shopping centre. We went into the InShops and I went straight to the pet store and saw a box of kittens. It was empty. Or so I thought. The newspaper in the corner had started rattling and out popped this little fluffy black face with big blue eyes. “MINE” I thought to myself. I called him Jumanji, after the film, although we mostly referred to him as ‘J-J’. You must admit, our cat names did become more unique. He was my cat. He slept with me, always answered to me, and I know he loved me. I loved him.
Me and my brother were very close growing up. A lot closer than we are now. We still talk ect, and I love him of course, but he lives in Dublin now for work so we don’t get to hang out as much. I was a big fan of things like wrestling (still am), football, tv shows like Home Improvement, Boy Meets World, Kenan & Kel, Smart Guy, Art Attack ect. Yep, I loved my childhood at this point.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Nothing ever is. One night on the way to work my dad was at the bus stop waiting for his lift. A man walked up to him and asked if he had a light. My dad doesn’t smoke so said he didn’t. Out of no where they guy clocked him, knocking him to the ground. He mugged him before running off. I was playing in the back garden at the time when I heard my dad sounding very upset. I looked round the corner and saw my dad making his way into the house cover the side of his face, blood dripping down his arm. Any kid that sees his dad in this day is scared. They’re our first heroes. I ran in and saw my dad on the phone reporting the incident. I remember seeing my mum standing opposite him shaking her head and looking anxious. “Why can’t we escape this” I heard her say to my dad. A few months later, it was Valentine’s Day, and my mum was working late. Me, my brother and dad were staying up as my dad had to pick her up when she finished, so we watched a few movies until then. Time copies. Movies my mum got ahead of official release dates so they could be rated. It was an awesome perk! Anyway, the phone rang an hour earlier than expect. My brother had already fell asleep so I was told to watch him. My dad answered and I could hear screaming on the other end of the phone, “Stevie help!” repeated. I didn’t know what was going on. My dad ran out and asked our neighbours to watch me and my brother. A few hours past and there was still no sign of them. I had fallen asleep on the couch. Morning came and when I had woken my mum and dad were home. I remember being really relieved. I went in to the kitchen to see them but the first person I saw was a police man. Even now after all these years I get an uneasy feeling seeing police me, just because of what’s got down in the past. Turns out 3 men had held up my mum before the shop closed on the night prior and beat her as they robbed the place. She was covered in cuts and bruises. I remember crying and asking if it was ‘him’.
Over the next year things weren’t as happy as they once were. My dad was really missing his family here in Ireland, and after a family meeting, the decision was made to move back. I was in my final year of primary school, so moving back here would mean I could go straight to secondary school if I wished, due to the age difference in starting schools here and in Scotland. J-J had been knocked down months prior to the move. It was a frosty morning and I checked the window to see if he was waiting on the other side. That’s normally where he would be, but it wasn’t uncommon if he wasn’t there. Me and my brother got ready for school and left the house to catch the bus. On the way down the stairs of the garden I noticed J-J’s collar on the wall. I started calling him, my brother walked on. I made my way back up the stairs and towards the back garden, still calling him. And there he was. He had been placed on a slap in the back garden. Deep down I knew what had already happen, but it didn’t stop me from going over trying to wake him up. He was frozen solid. Blood from his mouth had hardened on the concrete. I was in pieces. I cried to the bottom of the front garden and screamed for my brother, shouting “J-J’s DEAD!” He came crying back down the road, and my mum had ran out the house. She phoned my dad and told him to come home, and he did. To this day we never found out who ran him over, but obviously it was someone who knew who he belonged too. It still upsets me that they never came forward. I know it wouldn’t be easy, but still...
It was a very emotional last few days in school. Even had my own assembly. I should say, the seven years we lived in Scotland, we came over to Omagh for two weeks most Summers, so I already knew and had friends there too, so it wasn’t like I was starting over. I was just going to miss the friends I had made in Blantyre.
It was September 1999, and I decided to finish my final year in primary school, just in case I missed anything. I was 11. Boy how time flies. We stayed with my granddad for a few months until our house was ready, which wouldn’t be until after Christmas.
One thing I couldn’t grasp was Gaelic football! Coming from a football orientated family to this was such a change. I never did like playing it. If it PE wasn’t football or indoor football, then I didn’t want to know!
I loved my school years though. Went to Dublin for a week during the last month of primary school. It was awesome! I had great teachers and amazing friends.
I then had the choice of going to an all boy grammar school, or mixed school. What a stupid question. No chance in hell was I going to spend the next 6/7 years surrounded by boys! I always did have a way with girls. In Scotland I had my Irish charm going for me. Yes, I was under 11, but I still worked it! Over here it was just my ability to make people laugh and the Scottish twang I had picked up. The accent wore off pretty quickly. Fortunately my charm didn’t. It did get me into a lot of trouble though. F.Y.I. A little bit of flirting is fine when it’s with someone you really shouldn’t be flirting with, i.e. your art teacher. But she was awesome, and we’re great friends now. Did anything happen? Maybe. Was she still my teacher at the time? Perhaps. But were we in the school? Nope. Were you over 18? Had just turned it by a few weeks actually. Ahem.
Anyhoo, the school I chose had just turned into a mixed school. Literally, the year before it was two separate schools, an all boys school, and an all girls school. I was that lucky! We were the first batch of students to start in the new college. I had a little bit of an ego even at that age and I remember telling my fellow year that we will one day rule this place. I was very popular with everyone. What was so great about my year, was that everyone was nice. I mean everyone. There was no bullying whatsoever! There was 8 different classes in the year. 8A1, 8A2, 8A3 ect, each class with roughly 20+ students, and everyone knew each other. Loved it. My favourite subjects were art, technology and design, English, Math and science. And for the most part Geography, although the teacher made it rather difficult to get enthused about the subject. In my first year, I won the Tesco Art Competition in the country for a self portrait. Art was my life and passion growing up. A great medium of expression, along with writing. It’s the latter I seem to be doing more of these days. I do miss that spark I used to have though.
The years seemed to fly in. I had chosen Art, Technology, and Geography for my GCSE subjects. English, math, Irish language and literature, religion and PE were all standard classes. I passed every subject. A’s and A+s in Art, Technology and English. I enjoyed my school work. I really did. So it was a no brainer that I stayed on for my A-Levels. Unfortunately, I had to chose between art and technology. It was such a hard decision, and bless the school, they tried their hardest to allow me to both, but the powers that be wouldn’t stand for it. I went with art. Even now I question my judgement. But what’s done is done. And for the most part, I loved it. The other subject I took on was that of one I had never done before as it was a class that was set up after I selected my GSCE subjects. IT. I love computers, always have. I was told that it mightn’t be the best decision as I had no experience in the subject, and theoretically, I didn’t. I never had it as a subject. But I did know how to use a computer, and I was very good at it. I was extremely confident, and it didn’t take long before this was apparent to everyone else. I’m a determined person. If I want something, I’ll get it, and I’ll work as hard as I need to so I can achieve it.
In 2005, RTE was working on a new TV programme called ‘Blast Beat’. It was about schools across Ireland setting up a Young Enterprise, running a small company, finding and promoting bangs and trying to get them into the Blast Beat finals. It’s a mixture of X-Factor and The Apprentice. Only 6 schools were going to be selected for the television series, and only one of which would be from Northern Ireland. They went around every school that was involved, interviewed the mini-companies (we were known as Heart-Beatz) and tried to generate reasons as to why it should be us. A few days later we got a phone call and we had been chosen! So along with doing my A-Levels in Art and IT, I was going to be a part of a reality television show based on running a business and working with bands ect. AWE-SOME. I was the IT manager for the company. I ran the company website, took responsibility of graphic designing as it was my territory anyway, and had a ball doing it! Our acts made it all the way to the finals in Cork. It was an amazing time in my life. It ran for at least 6 months. It’s amazing. During that time we were followed by cameras and it’s amazing how quickly you forget about them and get on with things. It was tricky at first trying to juggle school work and the company, but it got easier. My A-Level art class had only 7 students, 5 of which were involved with the company. Time came when we all had to go to Cork for the weekend for the finals. Our art teacher was like a friend to us all. And after 6 or more years, you do get attached. We invited her along under the ‘guardian’ role. Yeah, a bunch of students going down to Cork for a music filled weekend with their young art teach. We were very responsible, I swear. I alluded to my actions earlier, so I don’t think you need any more details about me and the teacher. At the finals, awards were also given to the companies. Best company, best managing director, best PR ect. I am pleased to say I won the award for best Website manager. The awards look like those framed golden records you see singers have on their walls after the sell so much. Needless to say mines is up on the wall too.
The TV show aired in May of 2006 on a Wednesday night straight after Champions League football on RTE. Prime-time baby! It ran for 6 months. I have plenty of photos, the recordings of my radio interview and all the DVDs except for episode 5. This was one of my favourite times in life.
In between all this madness, in September of 2005, I was blessed with a baby sister. I love her more than anything in this world. I honestly can’t believe I survived without her.
So my second last year in school went really well. I thought it would be smooth sailing the following year. That wasn’t to be though.The first half of the year went fine. It was nice coming back from the Summer holidays to see everyone again. It was the last year. It should have been the best one. Should have.
Some of you already know how this plays out.
I was seeing someone by the turn of the year, she was amazing. Met a party in the rugby club. Crazy night! But come mid-January, I got really unwell. I was throwing up blood, passing out and just having a really rough time. Things got so bad that I was placed in hospital and had numerous cancer scares. I missed almost six months of school. I didn’t actually think I would go back. But I wanted to do. I got better and went into school after a few days rest to see the principal and head of year. We talked about my possibilities and what would be required of me. There was only one full month left and there was no chance that I could catch up on both art and IT to get an A-Level grade. I had to chose. I told them that I can’t rush art. I would never be happy if I just threw something together and handed it in. So I made the very tough decision to drop out of art, so I could focus on getting my I.T qualifications instead of trying to catch up on everything I missed with only weeks remaining. Unfortunately because of this I’ve sort of a love/hate relationship with art. I know I can do it when i want to, but I swear it’s never easy, just because I feel as if I missed my chance. I made my way up to the IT room and it was empty. I turned on a computer and just messed about until the teacher came in. When she came in we talked about what I missed and what I needed to do. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I also knew I could do it. I stayed there for the remainder of the day. Thankfully none of my class were in as I wasn’t ready to handle all of that then. After lunch though my art teacher came to see me. She came in asked if we could be alone, so the IT teacher left. She was really upset. She said she was sorry about what happened over the past few months and how sad she was to see me drop art. I felt terrible but explained why I did what I did. She never questioned my decision, which I respect. We hugged and she told me not to be stranger. This was on a Thursday before Easter, so I wasn’t going to be back until the following Tuesday. Over the Easter weekend I was woken up by my dad. My gran had died. She had breast cancer and had only been given a year to live. What was strange that she had only be diagnosed with it merely 2 months ago. Apparently the cancer had already spread into her lungs and liver, but doctors failed to notice. I felt terrible, but I was more concerned about my mum and how she would react. Later that day, my girlfriend texted me to say that things weren’t working out. I would like to say that I don’t hold anything against her, there’s no reason to stay with someone if there’s nothing there. I buried everything and got on with things. I moved out of home and lived with my friends. I got my puppy Pringles and had quite the experience of living under my own rules. Unfortunately, this feeling was short lived as one the my friends I was living with had to move to France for a while as her mum died. Her girlfriend was missing her like crazy, which is understandable. She said she wanted to go back home, so with that we went our ways. In case you’re wondering, I decided not to keep mentioning every time I moved prior to this one as it just gets tedious after a while. I had started seeing someone else just as summer was ending. She worked in a pub that I was quite regular in. We had a great time together. Then on October 13th 2007, I was out with my old house mates/best friends who decided to completely tear me down verbally for amusement. So that was the final nail in the coffin so to speak. I used to bottle things up, and that year it all came to head that night, so I tried to do things to myself that had they been successful, then I wouldn’t be here. I still can’t actually say the ‘s’ word, but I’m sure it’s apparent what I mean. I left the night club and just walked. I didn’t know where I was going and I couldn’t even tell you to this day where I was or how I even got home. I do remember finding broken glass on the ground and doing stupid things with it.
I drank so much, taking drugs from weed to heroin and just in complete rock bottom. One of the most depressing moments during this time was when I was with the family. I remember feeling bad for putting them in this position and one morning, my mum and dad had to go to work, so my sister, who was 2 at the time, had to go to the babysitters. My mum knocked on my door so they could let me know when they’d be home ect and she asked my sister to give me a hug and a kiss. I got down on my knees to let her, and I just started crying when she hugged me, because I felt absolutely nothing. I was so numb. Right then i knew I needed to sort myself out, so I stopped going to see the counselling and motivated myself. This time of my life has left it's scars, emotionally, mentally, and even phsyically. If there's one thing that I'm embarassed about, is the phyiscal scar it's left. It's easy to fix, albeit at a cost. But for some reason I won't do it as it's a reminder of how bad things can be and that it shouldn't be taken for granted.
I don’t remember the Christmas of this year. It’s all pretty much a blur.
Towards the end of the year, my friends made an effort to apologise. I forgave them of course and we put it in the past. It hasn’t been brought up since. And in January, we moved into a new house. How many of you a shocked? Don’t be. It felt right, and I can happily say that everything was fine. We were closer than ever. It was an amazing house, 3 floors, 4 bedrooms, massive living room and kitchen. I had the big room on the top floor, the girls had the room below me, and the two other rooms were rented to friends. It was a great time. That summer 6 of us, and the dog, went on a camping trip to Falcarragh. It was brilliant. We played all day in the sand, had a barbecue pit, plenty of alcohol and food, and some not so legal substances. Definitely one of the best trips I’ve taken.
The girls broke up towards the end of the year and the house just didn’t feel the same, so I moved back with the parents, of course I was sad, but more so for the two girls. Fortunately they’re still friends. 2009 was grand. I had a good year in work, made a lot of close friends who I love dearly. No drama that I can recall. It was pleasant.
This year got off to a not so good start. I came home one day from work to find my mum in tears. She walked past me as I was going upstairs and said “Your father’s leaving”. I got to the top of the stairs and he was standing at the end of the hall. I asked him why and all he said was “Shit happens”. Yeah, not the best response. They weren’t happy together for a while, and hand on heart, I think they are better off a part as they only ever drove each other nuts when around each other. 24 years is a long time. But I do regret his response. And I’m sure he does too. They’re a lot better together now being a part. I guess you can say they’re friends. The year’s been unstable though for the most part, as she’s been extremely unwell since the start of the summer. She’s been in and out of hospital. Bringing up blood constantly. She’s needing surgery to have her spleen removed. However her liver is in terrible condition and she needs a new one, so they won’t touch the spleen until then as it’s too risky. Ironic thing is she’s never smoked or drank a day in her life. I was really upset when they told me that without a new liver their wouldn’t be much they could do. Instinctly I said could she not take mine. I wasn’t thinking. My dad said that you need your liver. It has to be donated from someone’s whose dead. At that moment I had thoughts I hadn’t had in about 3 years. Oddly enough, I didn’t even seemed phased that I was actually contemplating it. She’s doing better. She’s still down for a transplant, but she’s taking her medication and taking it easy.
From February, I met who is now best closet friend and some I love dearly. I’ve had the best year ever thanks to her. I haven’t seen her as much as I would like recently but it’s all the more sweeter when I do I guess. Thanks to her, I went horse back riding for the first time this year. It was a great day, albeit a little rough in places. I could honestly write for hours about everything we’ve done. She’s the best person I know.
So asides from all that, I’ve been working away. I thought I’d write this as a way for people to get a better idea of who I am and what I’m all about. I try to be a good person. The one and only thing that makes me truly happy now is helping others. That’s not to say that when I’m not helping someone I’m sad, but I just love making people happy, it’s addictive. I completely understand people go through much worse, but that should never make you think that any problems or issues you have are less important. Each of us will deal with them in our own ways. My mistake was never releasing any emotion or burying my feelings, as they all snowballed on me in one night. This is why people say it's important to talk to someone. I had plenty of people to talk to, but I chose not to. Felt as if I would be burdening them with my problems, and to be honest I still feel that way at times, and still bottle things up to an extent. But overtime I deal, and will deal with them. I've fought too hard now to give up. I'll happily dedicate the rest of my life to help others and make them happy. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my friends and family. It honestly doesn't take much to help someone or cheer them up. I will do anything and everything to make people happier. I get told that it's not my responsibility, and while that's somewhat true, it doesn't make a difference. I don't want any credit for anything I do, just hope that people to feel better, and if they can pass on a good dead, then even better. I've unfortunately seen a lot of suffering, especially right on my front door. For those who don't know, I was born and live in Omagh. Search for Omagh on Google and the third result will show what I mean. Google Image Search has the same outcome. Not a day goes past that I'm not reminded of it, and having known some involved either personally or through the family, it does make you appreciate things, especially now after my 2007.
One of the quotes I live by is "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." - Edmund Burke. Although he said 'good men'. lol.
So there it is.
This is me. This, is who I am.
Thanks if you took the time to read it. I don't know if anyone would have questions, but feel free to ask away.
2 Comments On This Entry
- Captain K69 on DVD Collection
- Miss_C. on DVD Collection
- Miss_C. on DVD Collection
- Duchess on Michael Jackson
- Captain K69 on DVD Collection
- Gretchen on DVD Collection
- LOVINGTJHT on Don't be a cotton headed ninny muggins.
- Miss_C. on This is me, this is who I am.
- Duchess on All-writey-then!
- Duchess on All-writey-then!