A Letter To Myself.
Mr WA7T | 15/06/2022
Letter to me
I often think of you my 7year old self. Existing in a parallel universal spinning on a less polluted blue sphere. Our timelines in sync so I can hop over and give you that hug you so desperately need. Give you words of comfort and encouragement.
My life at that age was either -
1st My happy place. Living in my secret world. In my bedroom crafting multi coloured paper wigs while deciding, “who can I become today? … Danny Zuko or Sandy Olsson? Adam Ant or Debbie Harry? The choices were endless and I loved it.
2nd – The outside.. that dark place.
I lived for pop culture. My whole week revolved around Thursday evenings. Top Of The Pops followed by Dallas or Dynasty.. oh the excitement !!! Just like the famous cartoon hand in A-ha’s
‘Take On Me ‘ video, that TOTP theme tune would pull me in. I’d devour every fantasy, look and flashing neon light. This was my world! Those freaks and weirdos ( my parents words not mine ) were ruling the fucking universe !
From when I can remember, I was filled to the brim with anxiety. Feeling I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. Staring across a primary school classroom confused why no-one else was feeling what I was feeling. Why my imaginary friend wasn’t happy or for that matter happy with me.
Almost like the TV show Dexter I had a ‘dark passenger ‘ ( though mine thankfully wasn’t an axe wielding serial killer ). My passenger was suffocating my head. Somedays I was ok but looking back most of the time I wasn’t.
Growing up in a noisy overcrowded three bedroom council house in Northern Ireland had little advantages. There was a lot of arguing, a lot of fighting.
I was the youngest of five (my lil’ brother came later) and most of my brothers mean behaviour was focused on me. He took great delight in ruining things. He is the reason I found out Santa didn’t exist. Sending me downstairs on Christmas Eve when he knew my Mum and Dad were wrapping my presents. I was only five years old. What a complete dick!
I needed my home life to be safe and a world away from the outside. But his ( and my other brothers ) name calling,
“ Queerboy “ , “ Poof “ , “ Fucking Nancy Boy “ ( you get the drift ) would cut deep. I was finding the outside difficult enough but now I had to deal at home with those bastards too. This only fed the dark passenger.
My first adult thought (not that sort you cheeky lot) came when I saw Japan perform “ Ghosts “ on TOTP when I was ten. That song was me. Suddenly someone had put into words how I somehow knew my life would roll out. How anxiety could destroy me. I didn’t think I had a bright future but I had someone who understood me. Music and Art were my way to connect.
Japan “Ghosts “
Just when I think I'm winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts in my life blew wilder than wind
Nowadays we are able to discuss and find help with anxiety and depression, but in the late 70’s early 80s it felt like a curse. Those early morning walks to school. Plodding along the red, white and blue kerbs made me feel nauseous. In High School it just got worse. Idiot bullies (girls and boys) because you’re not the same as them. English classes filled me with dread. Young Ian you’ll find out this is something called Dyslexia. When one clever teacher at college notices this and helps you then you’ll realise that you’re not stupid.
You could only imagine my horror when I started to realise I was gay. I thought , “ you’ve got to be fucking kidding me “ . I pushed that to the back of my head. I could deal with that later.
So what is there to say to help guide you seven year old Ian.
Those teenage years will be awkward (though who’s isn’t). Your 20’s will be a tough one. That dark passenger is well and truly along for the ride. Losing both Mum and Dad before 30 will hit hard and continue to throughout your life. Their fear was you’d lead a sad and lonely life. Never having a family or finding love. I can’t stress this enough, these things will not come true !!
In your late 20’s here’s what you’ll do - seek help for the depression and anxiety. Though don’t listen to that first GP who tells you, “ you’ve got a social disease and there is no help for you “ . He’s the first person you’ll ever tell about your sexuality . His words will lead you into a deep spiral but you’ll recover…. I promise x
Right now you’re being raised to feel like you’ll always be an under achiever. But you’ll forge your own way in life. Ok you’ll make a brave decision and sell your first flat and move to the big city but it’s the right one. First couple of years will be pulling pints and waiting tables but you’ll get your music to the right people eventually.
There are many things you thought you could only dream of that you will actually achieve. Being flown to NYC to DJ for Beyonce and watch her and Jay-Z dance to your mix of her song. You’ll get to travel the world, party with the most fabulous of people and make some life-long friends. Those friends are your chosen family and you’ll cherish them.
I think maybe the biggest shock for you is someone will love you. You’ll fall in love and be happy. And that pup you wanted? Well her name is Missy and she’s the best thing in the world. You both are the best of friends.
I know mum and dad never hug or touched you, but you’ll realise later in life that they did love you. They just didn’t know how to show it.
You’ll learn that creating music will become your best friend, therapist and a close friend who pisses you off occasionally.
Music is an outlet for you to express and heal parts of yourself that makes you into the person you’ll become. Still flawed but at least you didn’t turn into your dick of a brother.
Neil Tennant sings in ‘Being Boring’, ‘ I never dreamt that I would get to be the creature that I always meant to be ‘.
Always try and be honest and kind and things will turn out just fine x