No Looking Back : My Story.
This work is dedicated to my buddy Kerry, who I met at work and who suffered cancer last year and says she would not have made it through without me (plus she came up with the title).
Chapter One - 1982.
I suppose we should begin this story where it started, the maternity ward at Stoke On Trent City General Hospital in November 1982 when I was born at 00:04 on the third day of November (yes that is four minutes past midnight!). Now, as I am sure you can imagine I don’t really remember these times, so for reference purposes here is some information on the year I was born to hopefully give us an idea of what was happening back then:
1982 in the United Kingdom
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
Events from the year 1982 in the United Kingdom. The year is dominated by the Falklands War.
Monarch – Elizabeth II
Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)
1 January - ITV launches three regional TV stations - Central, TV South and TV South West.
2 January - The Welsh Army of Workers claims responsibility for a bomb explosion at the Birmingham headquarters of Severn Trent Water.
10 January - The lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2°C is recorded at Braemar, in Aberdeenshire. This equals the record set in the same place in 1895, and the record will be equalled again at Altnaharra in 1995.
21 January - Miners vote against strike action and accept the National Coal Board offer of a 9.3% pay rise.
26 January - Unemployment in the United Kingdom is recorded at over 3 million for the first time since the 1930s.
1 February - Sales of tabloid newspapers are reported to have been boosted substantially since last summer by the introduction of bingo. The Sun has reportedly enjoyed the biggest rise in sales, now selling more than 4 million copies per day on a regular basis.
5 February - Laker Airways collapses, leaving 6,000 passengers stranded, with debts of £270 million.
12 February - Opening of first Next clothing store, a rebranding of the merged Joseph Hepworth and Kendall chains masterminded by George Davies.
19 February - The DeLorean Car factory in Belfast is put into receivership.
23 February - The Glasgow-registered coal ship St. Bedan is bombed and sunk by an IRA unit driving a hijacked pilot boat in Lough Foyle.
25 February - The European Court of Justice rules that schools in Britain cannot allow corporal punishment against the wishes of parents.
3 March - The Queen opens the Barbican Centre.
12 March - Closure of Queen Street Mill, Burnley, the last steam driven weaving shed to work commercially.
25 March - Roy Jenkins wins the Hillhead by-election in Glasgow for the Social Democratic Party, whose dream of an electoral breakthrough looks strong as they still head most of the opinion polls.
26 March - The first test tube twins are born in Cambridge.
1 April - A 12-year-old unnamed Birmingham boy becomes one of the youngest people in England and Wales to be convicted of murder after he admits murdering an eight-year-old boy, and is sentenced to be detained indefinitely.
2 April - Falklands War begins as Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
21 April - Walsall F.C.'s hopes of becoming the first Football League club to ground-share are dashed when officials condemn their plans to sell their Fellows Park stadium and become tenants at the Molineux (home of Wolverhampton Wanderers).
24 April Eurovision Song Contest is held in Harrogate, Yorkshire and the first British serviceman dies in the Falklands conflict, when his Sea King helicopter crashes.
22 May - FA Cup holders Tottenham Hotspur draw 1-1 with Queen's Park Rangers in the Wembley final, forcing a replay.
27 May - Tottenham Hotspur win the FA Cup beating QPR 1-0 in a replay. A sixth-minute penalty from Glenn Hoddle is the only goal of the game.
Tottenham Hotspur equal Aston Villa's record of seven FA Cup triumphs.
29 May Pope John Paul II visits Canterbury, the first time a pontiff has visited Britain.
16 June - Welsh miners go on strike to support health workers demanding a 12% pay rise.
22 June - A British Airways Boeing 747 suffers a temporary four-engine flameout and damage to the exterior of the plane, after flying through the otherwise undetected ash plume from Indonesia's Galunggung.
9 July - Michael Fagan breaks into Buckingham Palace and spends 10 minutes talking to the Queen until he is apprehended.
30 August - St David's Hall opens in Cardiff as the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales.
22 September - An estimated 14% of the workforce is now reported to be unemployed.
28 September - General Motors launches the Spanish built Opel Corsa, which will be sold in Britain from April next year as the Vauxhall Nova.
8 October - With the economy now climbing out of recession after more than two years, Margaret Thatcher vows to stick to her economic policies, and blames previous governments for the decline that she inherited when taking power more than three years ago.
11 October - The Mary Rose, flagship of Henry VIII of England that sank in 1545, is raised.
12 October - A victory parade is held in London to mark the end of the Falklands war.
21 October - Sinn Féin win first seats on Northern Ireland Assembly, with Gerry Adams winning the Belfast West seat.
1 November The Welsh language television station, S4C, launches in Wales.
2 November - The fourth terrestrial television channel, Channel 4, begins broadcasting, the first programme broadcast being the game show Countdown, hosted by Richard Whiteley. Another flagship programme is the Liverpool-based soap opera Brookside.
7 November - The Thames Barrier is first publicly demonstrated.
30 November - A letter bomb sent by Animal rights activists explodes in 10 Downing Street, with packages sent to the leaders of the other political parties. One member of Downing Street staff is burnt.
3 December UK release of film Gandhi. This will win eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Ben Kingsley) (11 April 1983).
23 December - More than 1,200 jobs are lost in the West Midlands when the Round Oak Steelworks closes after 125 years.
4 January — Richard Logan, footballer
16 January – Samuel Preston, singer
25 February — Chris Baird, footballer
9 March — Paul Ballard, television presenter
5 April — Hayley Atwell, actress
24 April — Laura Hamilton, children's television presenter
10 May — Adebayo Akinfenwa, footballer
15 May — Douglas Simpson, Scottish field hockey forward
19 May — Kevin Amankwaah, footballer
7 June — Amy Nuttall, actress and opera singer
21 June — Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, prince
13 July — Simon Clist, footballer
3 September — Fearne Cotton, television presenter
22 September — Billie Piper, singer and actress
30 September — Michelle Marsh, model
8 October — Glenn Kirkham, English field hockey player
21 October — David Mansouri, Scottish field hockey defender
28 October — Matt Smith, actor
3 November — Me
14 November — Stephen Hughes, Scottish footballer
12 December — Louise Carroll, Scottish field hockey defender
4 February - Alex Harvey, musician (born 1935)
21 March Harry H. Corbett, actor (born 1925)
31 March - Dave Clement, footballer (born 1948)
15 April - Arthur Lowe, actor (born 1915)
25 April - Celia Johnson, actress (born 1908)
1 May - William Primrose, violist (born 1903)
28 May - Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Jones, Falklands War casualty and posthumous recipient of Victoria Cross (born 1940)
12 June - Ian McKay, Falklands War casualty and posthumous recipient of Victoria Cross (born 1953)
4 July - Terry Higgins, early British casualty of AIDS
12 July - Kenneth More, actor (born 1914)
5 September - Douglas Bader, World War II fighter pilot (born 1910)
20 October - Jimmy McGrory, former footballer (born 1904)
8 November - Jimmy Dickinson, former footballer (born 1925)
16 November - Arthur Askey, comedian (born 1900)
2 December - Marty Feldman, comedian and actor (born 1934)
16 December - Colin Chapman, automotive engineer (born 1928)
Chapter Two - Creating Memories
I can remember going to nursery school at Grange Nursery in my home town, these times were good, no worries, no concerns. Life was simple back then and I loved it. My parents both worked, Dad at a local pottery company and Mum at a shop where they made and sold fancy dress costumes (she made me a “super girl” costume - thanks Mum!!). After my fun times at nursery were over I stayed with my friends at the same place and went to Grange Primary School, where we had really cool burgundy jumpers to wear (haha). These were also great times I loved learning and especially enjoyed reading, so much so I got ahead with reading and had to read ahead of schedule. The only problem with that was I got very bored very easily, but back then you just carried on through (now I would probably be diagnosed with ADHD and treated, but in those times you just got on with it). These were good times because I had lots of friends and great fun especially going to the shop after school to buy 10p mixtures (if you are too young to know what that is ask your parents). During my time at primary school I can remember doing a lot of walking and my Dad used to take me to the railway junction to watch the trains go by (apparently this started when I was in my pushchair but I can only remember walking there), this probably fuelled my interest modes of transport and their creation, which I’ll discuss later in detail. I also had a great relationship with my Mum, the three of us did loads of stuff together like day trips and holidays, we were hardly apart. I never got to meet my Dad’s parents as they passed away before I was born. My Mum’s parents lived in Stoke On Trent but moved to Weston Super Mare in Somerset when I was really young so I don’t remember them being in Stoke. We had great times going to stay with them as Weston Super Mare is a seaside town and there is also a huge woods where we used to take our dogs (springer spaniel and border collie cross - fun times running after them!!). From Grange Primary School my friends and I stayed together again and went to Sandon High School which is across the road from the Primary School we went to.
Chapter Three - “Big School”
Well, high school was here, I was nervous but excited all the same, still keen to learn and looking forward to gaining more knowledge. We had blue, black and white as our colours and we had to wear skirts, which a few years later led to a successful argument for smart trousers in winter. Anyway, I enjoyed school in the respect of learning, especially history, business and religious education. I loved to learn about the past and what events made this country what it is today, and also about business and culture. Anyhow, shortly after I started high school I had my first boyfriend. It seemed to start well but because when we were together I was too young we only kissed and did not anything more physical and he dumped me a few months later. Also during this time (age 14) my uncle had been teaching me to play the keyboard and I was really into it and one day I came home from school and wanted to practise before he came round to teach me more so I did not change out of my school uniform. Maybe this was to be my worst mistake, who knows if it contributed or not but that night my uncle sexually abused me. I felt sick and dirty because I had been touched at such a young age and I went for counselling and took him to court but none of it fixed my feelings inside and I self harmed for around four months afterwards. Anyway, I tried to focus on school, somehow managed to cope with what happened and carried on learning.
When it came to my GCSE’s I chose history, business, religious education, french and english literature and had to do science, maths and english. The only problem I had was with maths, in which I got a D grade which was a pass but I wanted better than that. I put it down to a lack of consistency due to many maths teachers coming and going and using different methods. Anyhow while at high school everyone had careers advice and I wanted to be a police officer and so did my work experience at a local police station (I wont mention which one in case I messed up - only joking!). It went well and I learnt a lot and decided this is where I wanted to be. Just for the record, it was during my time at high school before my uncle abused me that I started to have the feelings that I might be gay. I did not realise at the time but looking back a few years later I could see how my feelings were related to that, I felt like and odd one out like I didn’t fit in and didn’t feel comfortable, plus I had a connection with a female teacher which looking back I recognised as my first crush.
Chapter Four - College And My First Proper Jobs (with a bit of a love life thrown in)
While I was at school I had been working in a charity shop, this gave me great experience and I enjoyed it, but once I started college I needed to earn money so it was time to move on. At college I re-took my Maths GCSE, did an A/S Level in Law and a GNVQ in Business. When I started college at Fenton Sixth Form I also started work on a weekend job at Curry’s on a temporary Christmas contract which they did not renew once the season was over. I then got a job at McDonald’s also at weekends while at college and I enjoyed working there we had some right laughs. Here is the answer to the burning question - did we spit in the food? No we did not in five years there that never happened. At college I got a C in Maths, passed my Law course and got a distinction in Business so was really pleased, and after college I worked full time at McDonald’s. it was at McDonald’s I met one of my best friends he is a total legend, we have been through so much as mates and to this day when it comes to the crunch we are there for each other no question. So anyway, after college I worked at McDonald’s for a couple of years full time and decided to try for the job I wanted as a police officer. I applied and failed so joined the specials (voluntary police work) thinking it would increase my chances, whereas actually it changed my mind and I was glad I hadn’t got into the regular police. So a few months later I decided to try and get in the military police and had great times during the first stages of the assessments, but at one of the physical tests I had pain in my knees and they referred me to my doctor. They found that I have a lack of cartlidge in my knees which makes running painful as bone rubs on bone. And there ended my army career before it had even begun. So it was back to the drawing board. I stayed at McDonald’s and after a total of five years I decided I needed to change my job as I was bored of what I was doing. So I looked in the paper and applied for a job at the local wacky warehouse, got an interview and afterwards was secretly happy that I didn’t get it. I then thought about working in the social care sector and applied for a job at a day centre, got an interview and again due to my impression when I was there I was glad when I didn’t get it. I was starting to lose hope when I saw an advert for support workers working with adults with learning disabilities, was instantly drawn to it, so I applied, got an interview and was offered a job which I accepted. And here began my career as a support worker. I am still working in the same line of work today and I love it.
Oh, I almost forgot, there is meant to be a bit of love life in this chapter. So here it is. During this time I had two boyfriends (not at the same time of course), neither of which worked out. One was because the feelings I had just faded away and it seems looking back that they weren’t true feelings anyway, and the other was because I had tried to help him stop taking illegal drugs and he refused to accept my help and in the end chose the drugs over me. That’s really all I can say about that, looking back I was trying to hide who I was and the person I wanted to be by trying to be someone I never was. Big mistake - lesson here - always be true to the real you, never try and hide.
Chapter Five - Sexuality
To do this I need to take you back a bit to when I was eighteen, I had not long ended my second relationship and was very mixed up trying to be “normal” and to find out who I wanted to be. I thought and thought and partied and got drunk a lot and went into denial and age twenty-one had a third relationship with a man, a d.j. I met at my party. All the while I was trying to be the person my parents think I should be. I stayed in the “closet” for years and battled with my feelings knowing that my parents were against same sex relationships because of tv coverage and their comments. Around a year later I joined some chat rooms and was talking to people from various places, and I felt a connection to a girl in Scotland who I talked to quite a lot. We got on well and after a while we swapped email addresses and later phone numbers. Anyway because of the distance between us she was not interested and our conversations fizzled out. However, there was someone else on the chatroom scene who lived in Tunstall (not just England but actually in Stoke On Trent - OMG!!!!). She was different to others somehow, she was seeing someone at the time and all we did was chat online and god bless her she helped me to come to terms with who I was, without her I do not think I would be here today. Eventually we swapped email addresses and later phone numbers and continued to chat and help each other out with stuff even when she went abroad. Her relationship wasn’t going well there were various issues there and they split up, not my doing I never got involved. So at this point I had eventually come to terms with my feelings and found someone interesting to talk to, the next chapter is the story of how we eventually got together.
Chapter Six - Finding Love
Well we met online as you know, and things were so good back then. Even though she wasn’t single and I was a mess we talked. Happy conversations online and via phone, she made me worthwhile and I fell in love. I was still mixed up though trying to work out how to do this when after a few years of talking she was free and available and she chose me. Me? Oh god I thought, someone is actually interested in me I never thought I’d see this day. We tried to go on dates but I kept freezing out and could not go through with it, something I regret to this day and wish I could change. Anyway, in January 2010 we actually finally met up at Trentham Gardens in the snow. The snow did not melt for ages but my heart did and I regretted all the times I didn’t stay at our arranged meeting place and I just sat listening and drinking the tea she bought me. I was so scared but it felt so right. Our next meeting I believe was at the cinema, I cant recall the film but I’m sure she can remind me as her memory is so much better than mine. I can remember however that she went out of the cinema part way through and when she came back in she fell on the stairs (she did not tell me at the time I hope she was OK).
From then on we had a hard time being together because I had to hide what we were doing from my family, she did not as her family knew everything about how she felt. Also I was still trying to get my own head around how to do this and how to tell people I was seeing someone. I did however after a while start to tell me friends because they knew I was attracted to women, whereas when I tried to tell my mum a couple of years before how I felt she dismissed it and didn’t believe me. So I told some of my friends and colleagues and they all supported me and one of my work colleagues said she would cover for me if I wanted to be on “sleepover” at work and go to my partners house when she was on sleepover. However this opportunity never arose because I was not ready and my colleague left before I was ready. So we carried on seeing each other when we could and hiding our relationship from my family, and when we were both ready we took the next step and made love. Lets just say it all felt so right and despite my uncle and everything else I felt safe and trusted her and it just made the feelings between us stronger (I’m sure u don’t want any more detail than that its my story not pornography after all). I can also remember our first kiss we were watching dvd’s and it just happened naturally, and each and every kiss since then has melted some of the ice from my past away from my heart. So yeah we were happy despite things not being easy, and when I felt strong enough to try again I told my mum I had been seeing someone and I told her all the stuff she needed to know. She was not impressed and it took her a while to accept things but I knew it had to be done. It was like being hit by a metaphorical bus, there were suddenly all these rules : no stopping overnight anywhere, no late nights, no parties, back home by 11pm. I felt like a child age 29. Anyway I played ball and stuck to the rules and things were better because I did not have to think of a lie every time I wanted to see my love. We told my dad she is a friend from college because he is even more so against same sex relationships. Things were great we did stuff together and went places and had fun and made lots of great memories and I really really thought I had found true love and thought she felt the same way because despite all the little issues like not being able to stay over, not being able to afford a house, not going on holiday, not getting married, we were leading our own life at our own pace and nothing else mattered because we loved, respected and considered each other at all times.
Chapter Seven - I Hope The Break Made Her Happy
Then we hit December last year. I had to work a late shift Christmas Day and I find Christmas hard because of work and also because my dog passed away one Christmas Eve. But we try to make the best of it and have our own Christmas on the closest day possible. This year was no different we had a plan, but as an extra thing because she was coming to her family near me on Christmas Day I asked if I could call round to meet them and see her for a short while. I got told this would not happen and lets just say I was shocked and upset at the reaction I got, especially I clearly said I dint expect food or drink just to be allowed in for a bit. Anyhow time passed and we were generally fine together, yes we had issues but who doesn’t? then in January this year I felt myself sliding further towards depression due to money issues an my stupid circumstances and I started to react badly to every little issue I came across which in turn made me angry with myself and I felt lost and out of control and for the first time since I was fourteen I started to self harm again. To begin with I just made a small bruise, then they got bigger and bigger as I hit myself harder and but my arms trying to make myself bleed which I failed to do it just made bruises. I wanted so much to bleed but the pain was too much before I got to that, so I found a bottle opener and started to scratch my arms with that instead. I just knew I had to feel pain to punish myself.
My girlfriend tried to help me and even did research and said she would support me to get past the self harm but this did not last long. By mid February she felt she could help me no more and I was reaching out for help but she was pulling away from me. Then one night while I was at work I got the worst text message I have ever seen from her or from anyone actually - “maybe I’m better off single”. I phoned and cried and tried to stop her leaving me and tried to fight but it was no good she needed a break from me to see if she could appreciate our relationship and want me back. “What about my needs?” I asked. No answer. I never got the answer to that question. I was broken and I did not want to live anymore, I actually started to think in my head what was the simplest way out. After two days of deliberation I decided to be a survivor. The brief I had been given was that the self harm had to stop, that I needed to plan a way for us to spend a night together, that I had to stop worrying so much about where she was and that I had to get professional help as I had apparently been harming myself over stupid things and that she needed space and would not change her mind. So after two days I not harmed myself anymore and I went to see my doctor and tablets for sleep as I had not slept for the previous two nights and lord knows how but I drove to the doctors and tried to get sorted. One hour later I was on my way to work with some tablets that would apparently help me and I had been told to go back if I needed anything else (anti-depressants, sick note, anything). Somehow with the help of a good friend at work I made it through the day and later let my love know what I had done, which she seemed to appreciate and I thoughts things had improved a bit when she thanked me for taking those steps. So we continued to text and I stood by my word and did not self harm and had been to the doctor and was taking medication and a few days later I talked to mum about staying over and she was not happy but agreed I could do it if I wanted to. I told my love this also and hoped it was enough. It seemed that it wasn’t and her mind was set she needed a break. Again I asked what about my needs and again I got no answer. It seemed I had to be second priority and I had to wait. She said with time and space we can work, I just hoped my efforts weren’t for nothing and that was all I could think. And just for the record I continued saving for our future and house which I had been told was imaginary, that hurt so much I hoped it was not true and thought well if our future and house does end up imaginary I am saving for my funeral.
Chapter Eight - Travel
After that slightly depressing chapter I thought I’d slot in a better one. I am crazy over planes and trains. My grandad worked on concorde and my dad used to take me to the local train junction to watch the trains go by. So I blame them. As I have got older my interest has become more focused on planes, maybe due to going abroad. So now I collect planes and have been to a few places where they are in storage in museums and also to current military bases where things are still run from today. And my love has built some amazing airfix models of my favourite planes, I however took the easy option of lego because my skills don’t really include painting and fiddly parts I would get annoyed and my hands aren’t very steady.
Chapter Nine - Life Therapy / Discovering R.E.M.
My Mum’s friend recommended someone she knew. This lady was a life therapist. I was in my twenties and was in my current relationship but struggling to trust and deal with things. It was expensive but worth it. She helped me to gain closure on the things from my past that had kept coming back to torture my mind. And no she didn’t help me to discover R.E.M. the band, actually part of her technique was to do with taking me to the sleep state called rapid eye movement, where you are totally relaxed and almost asleep but still able to hear and speak and understand. The key was that my answers would come naturally as at this level of consciousness it is not possible to think and edit what you say, your thoughts and words flow freely. It was very strange and at times overwhelming but it worked and I put my demons away in a box, shut the lid and walked away never to return.
Chapter Ten - My Life Now
Well, I am now thirty years old, and as you know I did not know my dad’s parents and my grandad on my mum’s side passed away when I was young. My Nan on my mum’s side is ninety-four this year and has had a kidney removed due to cancer a few years ago but has more energy than me sometimes. My mum had a heart attack a few years ago and had a pacemaker fitted (scary times - I thought I was going to lose her) and my dad has various health problems which because he was too scared he did not go to see a doctor in the early stages of his problems and now its too late there is nothing they can do he has a hernia and its getting bigger and bigger and eventually it will burst. It feels like a waiting game now for when I am going to lose my mum and dad because my dad’s problems could come to a head at anytime and I am pretty sure my mum is smoking even though she has been told not to, when I mention it she denies it and makes an excuse. I am trying to save up to move out because its hard living here not knowing what each day will bring. I am still in my job as a support worker but last year I was moved from the house I worked at originally to another house, luckily I like it there. I have been struggling because of my parents being ill and moaning and arguing all the time, but I am trying to at least I have somewhere to live till I can afford to move out. Also as you have read my partner and I have been separated which has been awful especially because I needed support and instead of that she finished with me. I knew I had not been enough for her but I just wished she could have let me put things right instead of ending our relationship. So yes at the moment times are hard, my confidence level is zero and I feel worthless, but two weeks after she dumped me my love has agreed to see me and talk, I am hoping we can put things right which will give me focus and purpose again to keep saving to turn our lives around. I can cope with anything when I have her by my side, she is the one and only love of my life and I want us to be together forever so I hope she can find a way to let me put things right (wish me luck!).
Love always, Miss Stubbs.
As an addition to the ending of my story so far I wish to say that my partner and I met up as planned and we talked and it was very emotional but we sorted through a lot and are now back together and working on our future and being what we need to be and taking things slowly, its going to take time but at least we are now working as a partnership again, long may this continue.
I would also like to say thank you for reading my story and I hope it inspired you to go on in life and not give up no matter what this world throws at you.
© Copyright 2016 Miss Stubbs. All rights reserved.
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