take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I miss my London.

Of course I don't miss the craziness, the too-many-people-ness, the noise, the pollution and the juxtaposition of abject poverty and obscene, vulgar materialism. I *do* miss the diversity, the culture and the cosmopolitanism, of course, but the overriding wistfulness comes from the fact that I know I can't ever go back to live in my home town and I feel childishly deprived of something I'm not sure I even want. By stepping onto the property ladder outside of London, and downshifting even from there, I have essentially burned my bridge, the bridge which would carry me home.

I write "home" with a sense of nostalgia, a gulp in my throat and a tear in my eye, but I'm not sure that London is somewhere I can call my home any more. It has moved on with its Oyster cards, Congestion Charges and astronomical property prices (even Hoxton is trendy now) and left me behind in my silly little town in Somerset which doesn't feel like my home either.

Besides, who am I trying to kid? I talk about craving city life, when the reality is that, certainly after dark, I am scared shitless in town and city centres. Ask Big - he's the one whose hands are misshapen from the ever-tightening grip of my hand as we negotiate a path through the meandering drunken people of the urban centres of this country, polluting our streets with their pools of vomit and urine and their slurred bellowing. Sometimes, I just hate people and would rather I lived somewhere far, far away where I am not required to deal with them. Equally, the idea of living in a remote, rural location holds a whole new set of fears and, due to Big's public transport requirements, would probably be out of the question.

Which leads to the quandary I've been struggling with for some time: "Where is home?"

Obviously, Big encompasses in human format much of what I think of as home. But, though it seems disloyal to be saying this, I am reluctant to pin all my hopes and place all my reliance on one person in one place, having had that trust dashed to the floor on too many previous occasions. I've concluded before on this very blog that home, for me, is where my people are. Big, my friends, my family: my people - all of them. It took my moving at least a 2 hour drive away from many of them to realise that, but what is life if we can't learn from our experiences and move on to the next stage with a little more knowledge to inform our future decisions?

The problem arises when you realise that people are mobile and, as we begin to plan our move back in an Easterly direction, we find that sometimes, circumstances can interfere with the best-laid plans. Some of my favouritest people in the world, at [insert old company name], are likely to lose their jobs over the next year. "Outsourcing" and "India" are probably all I need to add for you to get the gist. Already, some of them are making like rats and leaving the sinking ship. Logic tells me that there are probably not enough jobs of a specific type in Southampton to accommodate the hordes of newly-unemployed highly-specialised IT professionals who were my colleagues not so long ago.

So it might just be that, by the time Big and I have moved back towards the South coast, they will have dispersed. Some have family ties, others have properties and newly laid down roots. I am hopeful that some will stick around. But they will not do so for my benefit and indeed why should they?

Why must I base my happiness on the presence or otherwise of other people? Shouldn't it be possible for me to reach inside myself and find happiness there?

I suppose what I'm trying to say in my rather jumbled and shapeless way is: when, where will I find my home?

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