Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.




I was born in a hospital in Middlesbrough on May 2nd. My mother had just turned 17, and she had been in the hospital since her birthday in March, she was snowed in.
I was named after a character on the cover of the romance novel of the woman in the bed next to my mother. After three days my mother checked herself out of hospital, because they wouldn't let her smoke. Then we went back to Botton Village. I don't know much about that'. Just an image of my father, somehow knowing that my mother would leave him, making ink prints of my three month old hands. My mother left in the afternoon, taking a carpet that belonged to him, as a keepsake for me, that is the only thing I have of his and I have never seen him since. After that, my mother met her next husband Nathaniel, we moved to a house in Stourbridge with a bunch of friends and my brother was born. Then we moved to a Farm called Upper Moors Farm. We had an old Morris Minor, a big vegetable garden, goats, sheep, and other animals'. My memories: Walking around (age 5) singing songs in pretend German, walking in on a conversation between Viola and Creosote Chris about how women have cocks too, playing doctor with my friend and running to the barn and a rotten egg exploding over me. The neighbours were mostly inbred, and wouldn't let my parents do what they wanted to do there, so we moved to East Grinstead. There I started Kindergarten, and was sad because I thought that the kids didn't like me because I had a northern accent. Even though I had only lived in the north for the first three months of my life. Then another brother was born, I had my own room in the attic, and I used to steal nappy cream and baby oil to make potions. Then we moved to Forest Row, a village nearby. There are things that stick out of a blur, like the time my mother slept over at the neighbours house, the day I failed my bicycle proficiency test at 11 and broke my cello on the same day, walking in the field behind my house with lanterns in the dark, stealing apples from the neighbours tree, playing my cello or hoovering to block out the sounds of arguments. My third brother was born, we all thought he was a girl called Laura, but he wasn't a girl at all. The day my stepfather kicked a hole in the living room door. Playing spin the bottle at Rosie's house. The day my stepfather (who was like a father to me) moved out'That summer we had a nanny from Holland, and all the guys would come up to us and ask us what her name was, because she was always taking her top off. I saved up to buy a yellow tape player, and listened to John Lennon and Yoko Ono Imagine, and Neneh Cherry. I remember coming home and my mother telling me the Berlin wall had come down. We had no money, so we went to Tunbridge wells to busk with Tammy, and she and my mother were so shy that they stood on a small side street and we only earned enough money to get McDonalds and the petrol home again, so we stole beans from a farmers field on the way back. I wanted to an actress like my stepfather who had just moved out.
When we moved to Middlesbrough with my mother's new boyfriend, I thought it was the ugliest city I had ever seen in my life. There were factories everywhere, billowing out smoke and flames, and you couldn't go near the sea because they pumped raw sewage into it and there was tampons floating around. But kind of exiting, especially since the area was full of kids who would break into our car, so that we could only start it by hotwiring it, and had to take the battery into the house at night. And nice because we lived next door to our friends. We had a party to fix up the house and people came from all over. I made tapes off radio one and listened to the Fine Young Cannibals and Phil Collins with my first record player. The house was due to be destructed when we left, so I made a contraption with string and nails, so that I could open the curtains from my bed, and start reading as soon as it got light. I started to hate my new stepfather. When I was 11, and we had been in Middlesbrough six months, they decided that we were moving to Canada. It was a big adventure. We sold most our stuff, except for one cardboard box each, which we sent on a boat, and one big bag each to take with us, with a pillow and duvet inside and some clothes. Everything that we couldn't sell we burned. I was a bit suspicious, but when we arrived in Canada we stayed at someone's house that had a peach tree in her garden. And you could buy all sorts of different chewing gum flavours, like peach and watermelon. It was heaven. The landscape was different than anything I had ever seen before, dry hills, and the most beautiful enormous lake that you could swim in all summer. My parents were teachers in my new school, and of course most of my summer was spent wondering what I would wear on the first day of school, and what my new classmates would be like. We lived in a trailer park, next to the lake and it was great. That summer my mother said we had to call our new stepfather Dad, I did, but it stuck in my throat. After a few months we moved into a big house in a posh area on a street called Coronado Crescent. Our stuff arrived off the boat, it was pretty disappointing, by then it just wasn't interesting anymore. My classmates made fun of my English accent, we got on, but I thought they weren't as cool as my friends in England. I read ten books a week, we had a blue Dodge that was so loud you could hear it from four blocks away, and I became best friends with Violet. We were so poor that Violets mum used to come over with boxes of food for us in the winter. The next summer we moved in with friends who lived in an orchard. The house was beautiful. We slept in the attic and there were bats at night. The Orchardist walked around naked. There were lots of chicken everywhere. My Mother and my stepfather drove around looking for a place for us to buy, and one day they found a place in the woods with five acres of woodland and rocks. There was no electricity or running water. There is so much to say about us, completely clueless living in Canadian nature'. I don't know where to start. We didn't understand the danger of fire, and nearly set fire to our land, and our house, more than once. We had loads of cats that lived under the house; they were always having kittens, and getting eaten by coyotes. We went on camping trips, and drove down the west coast to Oregon, the most beautiful ocean beaches I have ever seen. Life was an adventure. I spent hours walking around looking at things, and climbing thin pine trees that swayed like crazy in the wind. My mother and my stepfather got married. When I was thirteen I went on a class trip and shaved my eyebrows like the model Kirsten McMenamy. When I got home my step- father beat the shit out of me. Violet taught me that the herbs that my step- father grew and put in his cigarettes were marijuana. I had no idea what that was. We had complete geographical freedom, but at the same time my step- father controlled and criticised almost every aspect of my life. I hated him and fantasized about killing him. When I was 15 I went to Germany for six months to live with my grandparents to learn German, while I was there my mother got breast cancer, and came to Germany for treatment. I realised that I had to start taking care of myself. I didn't realise how close she was to dying, she was only 33. When I came back to Canada I went to a state school for the first time in my life. There were signs everywhere that said 'a goal without a plan is a dream' and all I could ever think was 'what's wrong with a dream?' I felt like a total fraud, I couldn't fit in I couldn't even try to fit in, as I had no idea what that would entail. I worked hard at school, a weird kind of competitiveness and feeling that being good would get me away from home quicker. All I thought about was leaving home. That summer, when I was 16, Violet and I got jobs as cherry pickers in the local orchard, we would start at 6 everyday, and bring tahini and honey sandwiches to eat for lunch. The Orchard manager said we were the best pickers in the orchard. We were very proud, although now I guess it was more to do with our short skirts and sunhats than our speed and skill, of which we were so proud. I finished school six months before everyone else, and left with no graduation ceremony. I went to live with Violet, whose family had moved to Nelson. My mother said if I didn't find a job in two weeks I had to come back. I found a job at an Organic farm in Kaslo. I arrived in March, and spent months planting seeds for the garden, pruning the cherry trees, and driving a mini tractor. I fell in love with Kaz, although he didn't know, and every weekend I would hitch hike to Nelson, and hang out with him and Violet. We would spend hours in her hot tub just staring at the stars, and saw so many shooting stars, and every time I would wish that Kaz would love me. One day he did, and we decided to go to Mexico together. I went back to Kelowna to pick apples to earn money. I lived in a tent, and there! were two boys who lived in a caravan. We didn't pick many ap!ples, it was very boring, and it rained all the time. One of them talked for hours about his ex girlfriend. Kaz bought a white van, and we drove to California, and visited my mother who was living there. We hung out there, went camping in Nevada, went to a Goth night in San Francisco, and then took the Amtrak to San Diego. From there we spent the night in Tijuana under a billboard, and then travelled down Baja California. Lots of beautiful open spaces, empty beaches, and such a dry heat that you felt like you didn't have a body. Then we came back to Canada, and moved to Vancouver. We lived in the white van in an industrial estate for a week, until we got stopped by the police one night at 4am, and had to find a flat. Kaz went to school, and I did nothing. We had no money. Our only entertainment was going to a drum and bass night once a week, and we would arrive at eight, and sit drinking water till 12, when the party started and we would dance like maniacs. After two months we move!d back to Nelson, and lived with a guy called Mark who talked like crazy, and was always leaving roaches in plant pots that he would pick up weeks later and suck on like mad. I worked as a gardener for a retreat centre, one time we housesat there and they had a mirror above their bed. We had sex in their meditation room. After that I decided to move back to England. Kaz and I bought a VW van, and went to Kelowna to pick cherries. After that we drove to California in it. It kept breaking down on the highways, and we'd have to wait for hours on the side of the road, but mount Shasta was beautiful. I couldn't drive but I could sit with my feet up on the dashboard driving Kaz crazy singing along to Beck. We argued a lot, I don't know why. When we got to California we took a road trip through Nevada. Then I got on the plane to go to England. I was nineteen. I did a foundation year at an alternative college, and lived with my brothers father, in the same house in Forest Row th! at I had lived in as a kid, it was strange, but it made sense.The house was always full of actors. I discovered that having sex was a really quick way to get to know someone. I didn't learn so much on the course, but a lot about life. I thought I would like to become a dancer but when I went to The Hague to look at a dance school all I could think about was the clothes they were wearing, so I realised that I wanted to study fashion. I worked as a cook in the kitchen of the college; we made big vats of soup for 200 people, and meals for people with all sorts of special diets. I nearly gave up eating. Then I got together with Chris, who had bits of wire in his hair, and a three year old son. My brothers father Nathaniel moved to Paris, and I lived in the living room of the house with Chris, and we rented out rooms to a Japanese girl who never spoke and couple who were constantly having sex upstairs. Then Nathaniel came back and we moved in with a friend who also had a kid. All three of us got a tiny flat in a 17th century cottage in the next village, and I worked as a waitress in a pizza place, where they named a pizza after me. I also worked in the local pub, but I got fired for asking for a pay rise, and then I screamed at him, so I got banned from the pub too. I applied for fashion school, and took life-drawing classes. Chris and I moved to London when I was 21, in a van that we had borrowed from Nathaniel's theatre company. We live in a tiny studio in Holloway. Chris hated it. I was in heaven. I started having an affair with a film producer twice my age, and was a terrible waitress in a local restaurant called the playful pepper. I told Chris I wanted to break up. It was hell. I fell in love with a bar manager in Camden from Granada. He was a drug addict but I didn't realise. I was in love with him, but he wasn't in love with me. I had a job working with people with learning difficulties, which took me all over the city, doing odd, amazing and fantastic things. Then I moved to north London with a college friend, Sara, and three other people. We were best friends and did everything together. We went out to hip-hop clubs, and dressed like boys. I learned that having sex with people isn't a good way to get to know someone at all. Sara and I worked at a bar in the cloakroom; we would spend the night dancing and complementing customers on their coats. Then we would buy a bagel, take the night bus home around 5am. The streets were so quiet sometimes I wanted to shout. The summer before I started University I rented out my room for three months, and went to Sweden to stay with a friend. We had a picnic in a shopping trolley, and saw the sunrise from a hill. It was so beautiful. I fell out with my flatmate because I slept with her ex. Then I went to Germany, and then to Canada. Violet and I spent a month sunbathing on the beach, and canoeing into town, from my mothers place. My brother had a baby, and I was there at the birth. I never felt so damn proud of my family as that moment when I saw my nephew being born. When I got back to London I got a job in a bar because I liked Ninja Tunes music. Then after a month I got together with my boss, Mark. We were great friends and had so much fun together. I did drugs for the first time, and thought it was the funnest thing in the world. I moved with my flatmate Sara (who I was still not friends with) to Chapel Market, on the same street as my boyfriend. I loved school, and worked like crazy, and partied like crazy. I worked on the door of the bar on weekends, until Mark fired me. Mark and I went to Vienna, and Prague, and Scotland. After a year and a half, things were unbearable at home, and I moved into a studio on Holloway road on my own. I realised that doing drugs wasn't the funnest thing in the world, and broke up with Mark. The first night alone in the studio, I noticed a trail of blood up the stair case, and found out that my neighbour was a raging alcoholic who brought friends over armed with knives. I loved living on my own, it was the freest I'd ever felt, even though when I went to the toilet in the hallway I locked the door behind me. That summer I worked at a luxury cinema, but I quit because I hated being told what to do by my boss, he didn't sell popcorn because he thought it was too noisy. I thought that was stupid. Then I got a job at a gastro pub. I was in my final year of college, and working like crazy to make a mini collection of clothes inspired by Siamese twins. After three months of living in the studio, I met Heinrich. We fell madly in love; he was everything I dreamed of. I went to Canada for a month for Christmas, and when I came back we moved in together into a flat in Holloway. The flat needed totally redecorating, but it was beautiful and cheap and it had a garden. I was had loads of work at college, and Heinrich had just got a new job, so I spent the nights painting the flat and ripping out linoleum. I was tired all the time, and sleeping loads. I did a pregnancy test in the toilets of Heinrichs work.I found out that I was pregnant two months before I was about to finish university. Heinrich told me that if I had the baby he would leave me and move to Morocco. I had an abortion. I didn't tell anyone, not even my mother. I hated Heinrich, but I thought I was in love with him. I finished University. Heinrich and I went to Morocco for two weeks, and when I came back I got a job as a design assistant for a small label in Hackney. I was so enthusiastic, but nothing seemed to go anywhere. My bosses were all into Landmark forum, and were always trying to engage me in debates about life. It was winter, and I was ill all the time. I hated my boss. I quit smoking and spent the winter drinking like crazy. Fights got violent. In the spring I met a designer who wanted someone to set up a showroom for her, and I left my job to do that. But it didn't work out, and felt increasingly like things needed to change. Heinrich and I argued like crazy. I tried counselling but she tried to make me rely on her, so I left. I got a job as a box office girl at a music venue, and wet to South Africa for a month to see my mother. I turned 27 when I got back, and decided to do something. I redid my portfolio, and applied for an MA in Paris. I realised how desperate I was to leave London, and all my free time was spent working on my application. I had a job as a designer, but I never felt like I could do what I wanted, and the people I was working with where so different from me. In November I found out that I got accepted to the school in Paris, and I started packing up my stuff, and getting rid of years of accumulation. It felt so liberating to be free of al the possessions that I felt were keeping me rooted down. I told Heinrich that I couldn't wait to leave him, but he didn't believe me. He helped me move to Paris on the Eurostar with two big suitcases. I lived with a room in the house of a philosophy professor. I absolutely loved Paris, and didn't miss Heinrich, so I told him he shouldn't follow me to Paris. School was scary and stressful and so much work, but it was so sunny and beautiful everyday. Now I have been here a year, moved five times, and met people who have my way of seeing things. But its just too close to recount, I still don't have a sense of proportion, because everything seems to intensely important. I have no idea what's going to happen next month.