My birthday is coming up. It falls on Good Friday this year. My mum told me I was actually born on Good Friday and it has only fell back on this day a few times in my 40 plus years of being alive. Although this year isn’t a special birthday, it got me thinking and reflecting on life, as birthday’s usually do!
I thought I would share some of what life was like for me until this point. How it all started for me.
Here I share the first 10 years of life.
My mum & dad were married before I was born. My dad a Muslim and my mum converted, so I was born into the faith. However, I didn’t grow up with my dad due to their relationship breaking down and a nasty custody battle pursued. This meant after a few visits to London, I didn’t see my dad until I was nearly 30 years old.
I grew up in South Manchester. We moved round to different areas a lot and this meant going to three different primary schools. My younger years were spent in Hulme, in the infamous concrete crescents, surrounded by very eclectic people!! There was a real sense of community, anyone was welcome and it was a chaotic home to a lot of creative people, aswell as being a hotbed for drugs and crime. One of my mum’s boyfriends while we lived there, who I had seen as a stepfather was a heroin dealer & user, and eventually went to prison for it.
At some point, post Hulme life, my mum ended up becoming a Christian, a born again believer, baptised and fully immersed in the life of the church. I remember these church days fondly, we had some really lovely people round us during this time. Very different to the type of people I had been surrounded by before this! I was dedicated and part of the youth group. I remember going to Spring Harvest. It was a really great time in life, different and as close to “normal” as I can think of when I look back.
My mum kind of had a ministry to people who were going through some issues, it was like anyone who came to the church or she became friends with, who had remotely a smilar story to my mum, she reached out to them. So although we were spending time with people I saw as pretty normal and lovely, we usually had someone I thought of as pretty crazy visiting or even living with us. Our house was never empty, mum’s friends were usually round or family members were staying with us.
I had another 3 siblings by the time I was 10, between the 4 of us we have 3 different fathers but I have never once thought of them as anything but my full siblings. I hate when people say half sister or half brother because I grew up with them just the same, just we didn’t share a dad.
So the first 10 years of my life was pretty eventful, very diverse. Moving around a lot and changing schools didn’t give me much stability. However, I did learn to embrace people no matter what they were going through, I was taught to be accepting, to be anti racist, to stand up against injustice and discrimination. I know I’ve seen, heard or dealt with things most kids never have to, but by this point I never really knew my life was that different. And to be honest, it wasn’t very different to a lot of people that I grew up with. It’s only being able to look back now, through a different lens that I can see how challenging it was, even by 10 years old.
The next 10 years were probably more influential on the trajectory of my life. They got even more crazy as I began making my own decisions and going on to repeat much of what generations before me had done. I will share this in the next blog.