Southampton, 20th July 2017.
The hardest words to write are always the first ones, so I’ll use this to start my flow.
By way of introduction by name is Tom. I am a 22 year old young professional living on my own in Southampton, England. Or not quite on my own; I also have a South African lodger who, when not paying my mortgage (how financially sensible of me), is efficient at getting me out down the pub (how not financially sensible of me).
Only at this point he’s buggered off somewhere and left me on my own, hence this decision to take up blogging. I’m now one step closer to the stereotype of owning a cat, binge watching MadMen and drinking through my existential crisis in red wine. Fortunately however I don’t (yet) own a cat. I struggle enough with people as it is.
I’m an introvert, but a fairly self-confident one and can be wheeled out to do people when called for. Admittedly a little taciturn, I was described by a colleague today as a “bull in a china shop… but it’s part of who you are and it would be weird if you changed”.
Which is probably a fair comment. Despite being born in a leafy suburb of Winchester and going to a small private school; circumstances in life meant I had to grow a hard shell. My estranged mother became very ill when I was seven, with a genetic condition that treats copper as poison.
This builds up in the liver, and once that’s shot; spreads to the brain, causing significant neurological issues. Already mentally ill through sexual abuse as a child; my mother’s psychiatric state rapidly deteriorated leading to the collapse of my parent’s marriage, and then a maelstrom of violent men, drugs and chaos.
Used to moving around with just a rucksack from spare bedroom to the next grotty flat, at some point the bright, kind child had to put toys aside for the real world. Hence perhaps the austere exterior. But still waters perhaps run deep, and the bull charges for a reason.
With that chapter of my life now many years behind me, I now stand independent, with a growing and engaging career, owning my own home and a small but solid network of close friends and family behind me. This blog will be the story of how I did it, as I turn the page and keep writing the rest of the story. It will include thoughts, fears, ambitions and dreams. And perhaps, some perspective.
The decision to start this blog is not to gain a following, but instead to act as a journal to pen my thoughts, and indeed as a hobby. Some good advice I read is to write only for yourself, and that’s what I intend to do.
“Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever Gods may be, for my unconquerable soul.”
Quote from “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.