In 1991 I moved to London. I was scared, anxious, depressed and lonely. I had left behind a ‘car crash’ of a life in Hull. I sometimes reflect now on that time in my life, and wonder that if I had the wherewithal to know what suicide was, if I would actually have taken my old life. I got through it with a fake facade and a passion and talent for IT. I was a sad and dysfunctional young man. I say man, but I was more like boy, I was still only 17, and I had just started working in an office in Victoria.
London is a great place to get lost in, to lose yourself, and also to find yourself.
It took 26 years to deal with a teenage pregnancy that tore my life apart until this year, child abuse, trans issues, a very young marriage, another child in my early twenties, redundancy, miscarriage, infertility, IVF, stressful jobs, a broken marriage – all threaded together with unnecessary guilt and debilitating shame.
I have suffered incredible injustices, not as a victim but a survivor. I would not wish my life on anyone, but equally I know there are people who have suffered far worse.
The one thing that resonates through all of this since I was twenty two is my unconditional love for my son – and the recent regret I have for leaving him, in a successful effort to save myself, at the same age I was when I arrived in London all those years ago. I have never loved anyone so much, and now I write this he reminds me he is the one man (now 20) who can make tears form in my eyes at his very thought.
But things move on and last week I returned to work in central London, just five minutes’ walk from the very office I started my journey into adulthood.
Having dealt with the demons, mistakes, horrors of my childhood, and coped with mistakes and challenged of being a adult. Things have changed, things have got better. But the biggest change is I am now a confident, talented, 43 year old woman.