Fade Away

While we’re living
The dreams we have as children.
Fade away

-Oasis

Yesterday I embarked on my first workout of Spring. The sun was high and the birds were chirping merrily. I decided to play an old Oasis album, since I was thinking of my family back home in Manchester. As I sang along to Fade Away, it got me wondering – How many of us have allowed our dreams to simply fade away? The song’s opening verse sings:

When I was young
I thought I had my own key
I knew exactly what I wanted to be
Now I’m sure
You’ve boarded up every door

What childhood dreams have you disowned as a result of ‘life’ getting in the way? I must repair that leaky tap; clear out the garage; tend to the garden; get on top of my paperwork; paint the fence; take the kids to after school club, visit my mother-in-law… The list is endless.

It seems that as we move through the system, the creative vision we once held as children gradually becomes lost: Yes – it would be great to be an astronaut, dear… But what about a real job? When I was a child, whenever asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded without hesitation; an author and an illustrator. I adored Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake and wanted to spend my days immersed in the world of books. As it goes, my vision of becoming an author was soon replaced by logic and the need to get my grades and find a ‘real job’, just like everyone else. Like many, my childhood dreams soon lay dormant in favour of following the status quo. It wasn’t until my thirties that I allowed myself to tap into that realm of imagination and creativity again. Coincidentally, that’s when life, for me, began to flow.

What dreams have you boarded up behind closed doors? Today I invite you to dust off the key, open up those doors and allow your dreams to run wild and free.

open-door

Losing My (Self)

lost_childhood_

There was once a time when I thought God was just a made up story, like Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Of course, there was also a time in my early childhood when I believed in all of the magic of the world; but by the age of eleven, when asked by my peers if I believed in God, I would respond with a firm: ‘No.’ A genuine disbelief? I’m not quite sure … A fear of being ridiculed? Most likely.

It wasn’t uncommon to be picked on for being different in our school. Those who grew up in the tough neighborhoods bullied the ‘posh kids’; the ‘posh kids’ looked down their noses at the ‘rough kids’. And if you came from the council estates like I did, but was raised with manners and respect – you were constantly pulled in both directions, your allegiance questioned at every opportunity. Social boxes became apparent from a very early age, and, although I was aware of the divide, I wasn’t quite sure where I fitted in.

Bullying would take place for all manner of reasons, verbal and physical; if you admitted to still believing in Santa, you were a ‘baby’; if you admitted to believing in God, you were a ‘bible basher’; if you didn’t have nice trainers, you were a ‘scruff’ or a ‘dosser’; if you did have nice trainers, someone would stomp on them with muddy feet and yell ‘Christened!’ (Kind of ironic really.)

As a result, much of my time at school was spent trying to keep a low profile and aligning myself with other kids smart enough to do the same. In doing so, however, it wasn’t long before I lost my sense of identity along with my ebbing belief in magic and miracles. By the time I reached the end of my primary years, the magic carpet had been swiftly pulled out from under my feet and I came crashing down upon the concrete floor of ‘reality’. There began my new life in secondary school, where things only went from bad to worse.

I was smoking by the end of my first year, drinking alcohol by the time I was fourteen and dabbling in recreational drugs by the age of fifteen. With the brief magic of childhood behind me, I took comfort in the false security of my peers. I was totally lost. And despite a continuing nagging that I was straying from all that I loved; books, Roald Dahl, drawing, Disney – I continued to follow the crowd throughout most of my teens.

If I did try to stay home – it wouldn’t be long before they would come knocking at my door, rarely taking ‘no’ for an answer. As an introvert, I had always struggled to say ‘no’ in case I offended someone – and my friends knew I was a push over, so off I’d go against my better judgement, dawning my hoody and trainers and joining them out on the cold, wet streets of Tameside, Manchester.

Mum would constantly tell me I was being led astray and that she didn’t like the person I was becoming. Whilst Mum was frank in her disapproval, she was not so forthcoming with solutions. I would resort to asking Mum to pretend I wasn’t home, but she soon tired of lying and eventually ran out of ideas of where she could pretend I was, especially since they came knocking daily. This would cause Mum and I to argue, her words felt like an attack and our relationship became more and more strained until eventually, those friends became my family and I was sleeping at their house more than my own.

Their parents were usually at the pub until late most nights. Feeling like rejects, we took solace in each others company. Despite the early exposure to the smoking and the drinking and the mayhem; we would make time to laugh, and sing and dance like the children we longed to still be – there was nothing that Spice Girls and Five couldn’t fix. Whilst we had no idea how to live, our bond had grown stronger and bound us together during those lonely days. As different as we appeared to be on the outside, at the core we wanted the same – love, belonging, understanding and connection.

***

By the time I was sixteen, my relationship with Mum was fairly beaten – I went to live with my Gran and stayed there for a year before moving to Spain with a friend and his family. All the while I felt separated from the world and my family – disconnected, lost. It never occurred to me that within, was a deep well of unconditional love that was just waiting to be accessed. Never once did I turn to God, to Source, for healing and guidance. I had forgotten myself – my true Self. There I was, wandering through life making unconscious decisions, partying too hard, living recklessly and failing to notice that whispering voice within. Is it any wonder, then, that God sent me a huge wake up call?

Are you able to pin point the moment when you began to feel separated? Disconnected? Have you managed to find connection again? Moreover, what do you do to sustain that feeling of Oneness?

To be continued…  (I promise – there is a light…)

The Red Door

red door

We are sitting on the living room floor at number five Acresfield Road, my sister and I. I am five years old, Sarah is seven. Our eyes are glued to the eighties television set as we watch cartoons in our faded living room. Everything appeared to be brown back then; brown carpets, brown wall paper, brown television – a sepia stained era of times passed. Mum is at work earning her small income to keep us clothed and fed. During these times, Dad would take care of us. I never questioned why Mum worked and Dad stayed home, I guess I was too young to notice or to care. All I knew was that Dad took care of us after Gran dropped us home from school.

This particular day is to be one of my earliest memories, and it is one that will become etched into my existence, like a stray strand of hair which has embedded itself into my clothing, clinging on no matter how hard I try to shake it off. At most it simply shifts – falling to rest unnoticed on another part of me.

Dad appears in the doorway to our left, which leads into the kitchen. He is pacing back and forth, in and out of the living room, his face one of concern and panic. Fear transcends into my little body. I don’t know why Dad looks so frightened, all I know is that now I am frightened too. Dad’s right wrist is shaking and he grips it with his other hand in a bid to control the tremor. I stand, panicked. Dad tells us to, “Go away – leave!” We stare in horror and I begin to cry as Sarah grabs my hand, pulling me towards the other exit at the front of the house.

Dad disappears into the kitchen as Sarah drags me through the front door. Dad must have opened the back door because the moment we step outside the force of the wind courses through our home, slamming the front door tight with a deafening BANG. My heart stops in my chest. I turn to face the giant red door glaring back at me. The brass number five screwed to the top center of the door peers down at me as though mocking my age. “Five. Hah! What can you do?” The brass letter box sneers at me –  its gold teeth grinning with delight after swallowing my Dad up inside. My heart leaps back into action and I pound my small fists against the hard surface of the glowing red monster. I lift the brass letter box and cry out to my Dad, my voice trembling with fear and frustration, echoing deep into the belly of the house.

In later years, I told Sarah of this haunting memory, assuming that she would have her own version of events surrounding that moment – her own ingrained grievances, which I assumed would differ somewhat to mine. Yet, she told of how she stood waiting for our elderly neighbours, Ernie and Gladys, to answer the door, of how she remembers clearly watching as I repeatedly thumped at the door in a panic.

I don’t remember how I came to be standing in Ernie and Gladys’ back garden – the next thing I recall is watching in despair as Dad face planted into the concrete path of our own back garden – all six foot two inches of him. I remember how he fell without putting his hands out to break his fall. And that is where the memory ends.

It is one of my earliest memories, it is also when I learned of epilepsy; my first real encounter with fear, and my first recognition that Dad wasn’t safe.

***

I often hear that the opposite to fear is love – that love transcends all fear. I have also learned of the importance in letting go. For some it is a ritual, for others it is prayer – for me, it is through the process of writing. Once it is recognised, it can be turned over to the angels, to God, to Source or The Divine – however you wish to refer to Higher Guidance – for healing.

With every heart ache comes a lesson. Once we recognise the lessons, each one becomes easier to release. Those stray strands which weave their way into the fabric of our lives are freed by the winds of change and lifted towards the heavens.

As I look back on this memory, in the words of Dr. Wayne Dyer ‘I can see clearly’ the way it has shaped and contributed to habitual fears in my life – fears which I am beginning to notice have held me back on this spiritual path – fears which I am ready and willing to let go of. I notice the walls I have built between myself and that which I love; passions as well as people. The way I have refrained from loving the men in my life too much. A fear of losing them? A fear of being vulnerable? I am not sure. All I know is that I have been known to freeze up when becoming too close threatens my sense of security. It’s as though that big red door is standing between them and I – preventing me from fully accessing my loved ones, as well as accessing those passions which bring me the greatest sense of freedom and joy. It also occurs to me that red is one of my least favourite colours (and there I was convincing myself that it’s because I support Manchester City, not Manchester United!)

I have walked passed that house many a times. It is one of the many houses we lived in growing up. The door is no longer red, it has been replaced by a newer door with a stained wood finish.  Its size is no longer so large and looming, since I have grown some extra inches over the years. That big red door has been torn down, its existence is no more. I have no reason to hold on to its memory, no reason to fear it. I send that door love. I send epilepsy love. I send my Dad love. And most importantly, I send my five-year-old self love. There is nothing to fear anymore.

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