I was pretty into starsigns and astrology since i was a kid. My mum saved up some tokens from kids toys and sent off for a free astrological framed report before i even knew about this sort of thing and i grew up with it on my bedroom wall in a yellow frame. Pretty rad for kids toys that, don’t think that would happen anymore. I have the frame still, in my memory box. Obsessively reading horoscopes and later going on to find out if i was compatible with any of my crushes by doing charts in the back of J17 and More, this was something i’ve always loved. I’d read that being Cancerian meant i was basically a giant pile of mush, family was important, i’d cherish photographs as my most valued possessions, i’d be a hopeless romantic and feel emotions intensely, finding them hard to hide. Except on the surface, this wasn’t how it was. There were flashes of this side of my personality that slipped through when my floodgates burst a bit or i got a bit too excited and overshared but up until about 2 years ago, i hid this part of me so stealthily that sometimes even i forgot about them. It seems crazy, even to me, to think i kept all this in for so long and even now, i still find some things awkward or difficult to say/do. I guess i’m still unravelling it all and still getting used to be open about this side of me i kept buried for so long.
Love wasn’t a word i grew up with. Things may not have always been perfect in our house but i know that, whatever went down, whatever was said etc that i was loved, just in a different way to others. The thing is, i was never told. I never heard ‘i love you’ once from my parents (and still to this day) and i can’t ever remember hearing it from relatives either. Recently i took a friend of mine to visit my cousin after she had a baby and after we left, we talked about how my family are kinda weird about stuff like hugging, openly discussing feelings and stuff. My friend explained how she could feel the love in the air, everyone was gushing, excited to see eachother and catch up but on the surface, with no bodily contact, no running to the door to wave goodbye, it seemed to her, kind of strange. For me, looking back, this is just completely who we are as a family, we’re a bunch of stiffs really. I can remember the first time my mum hugged me (other than as a small child – i’m sure she must have then – i’m talking about post toddler) i don’t ever remember falling over and being hugged as comfort, or when i got upset, getting a hug. Just never. The first time was when i got my A-Level results. I remember it so vividly and it still makes me feel a bit weird and awkward, makes me pull a face and everything as i write this. I’m not sure at all what made that particular moment cross all of our familiar boundaries but that day was a weird one for sure. It didn’t feel comforting or nice, it just felt SO WEIRD. In the past couple of years, i’ve started hugging my mum, i decided to just do it once and now i try most times when i see her if i feel comfortable about it. Only when we leave eachother though, as a parting thing, still don’t do it everytime, it has to feel right. Things with my parents were not always great growing up but i always had so much love for my family, a fierce pride, sense of belonging and i treasured my heritage. I have a massive family spread out across the country and going and staying with them was something i looked forward to for ages. My two favourite people, my Nan (Dad’s mum) and my Grandad (Mum’s dad) were my favourite relatives and i loved them to bits. I loved getting their old photographs out and chatting about who everyone was and what they were like/ did in their younger lives. I loved being around them and was absolutely devastated when i lost them, completely heartbroken. I think at the times each of them died, that kicked my ass a little bit further out of hiding and stopped me being able to hide my emotions more and more.
I’d always had this crazy over sensitive emotion that stayed completely in my bedroom. I was always so precious about everything but could never show emotion in front of anyone, ever. My friends would make jokes about how awkward i was and how when they hugged me i was stiff and didn’t do it back properly. I can laugh now as i think back, what a weirdo alien creature. I would sit and watch sad films and wanna burst open and scream but i totally couldn’t, it just wouldn’t come out. I remember going to watch Titanic and being all cynical like oh my god, HOW LAME and showing off. What a tit! This later carried on into relationships, i was all like god how lame is Valentines Day, how soppy and loserish is buying flowers, jeez what’s the point etc. I was such a little cretin. I was dying inside, i wanted desperately to be swept off my feet, i wanted the whole ‘Say Anything’ scenario (later mimmicked by my favourite Mark Duplass in ‘The Puffy Chair’) and everyone other amazing romantic gesture in all of my favourite films, shows, songs etc. Damnit, even when directly asked by people ‘are you sure?’ i’d be like YEAH DUH. I still downplay this stuff, especially Valentines Day, this is one of my last remaining things to cross off on my coming out of the hopeless romantic closet list.
In the last couple of years i’ve really started being more open about how i feel instead of appearing mad fierce and shielding myself constantly. It’s time i started just being me FULL TIME instead of just on this blog and in my zines.
Here it is, I’M A HOPELESS ROMANTIC. I said it. I literally cry at EVERYTHING, old people eating alone, photographs in restaurants, adverts, the bloody LANDSCAPE and loads of other soppy daft stuff!
Now John/ Mark, where that stereo of yours? Let’s go on an adventure to some zen spot and get precious yeah?