I once said that if I was ever going to write a biographical account of my life, that I would begin with the closing chapter, so that people would be left guessing, rubbing their chins and huddling in dark corners of libraries or book clubs, pouring over the first (last) chapter, wondering if I was a time traveller, or if I had a very specific car that required plutonium, then bits of rubbish and eventually, a train, to work. Mainly because my introductory chapter was going to entail a very specific account of how I died. It would be like that chapter and also scene in The Time Traveller’s Wife where he flashes into the present and he’s bleeding profusely, causing everyone to panic. But, to save this kind of undoubted social upheaval that would pour into the media and social networking networks like a fine, but dangerous wine and vilify me as some kind of monster for the rest of eternity (oops, another plot twist/spoiler: I’m immortal), I thought I’d change tact and start at the very beginning: My glorious birth.
But first, we’re going to need a little background, I didn’t just appear in my mother’s womb unexpectedly, that is nonsense and only believable if it happened in the olden days when apparently everyone fell pregnant at the hands of THE LORD, who was more than a little cavalier at his seed sowing back then, if you know what I mean… anyway, let’s continue:
When my parents first met, they were just a couple of crazy kids living in the midst of the only decade that everyone remembers with heart-warming nostalgia for unbeknownst reasons, given the neon colours, strange pants and terribly big and crunchy hairstyles: The 1980s. Now, I’ve only heard this story from my parents, who, you’ll learn throughout the course of this process are inherent liars, so this may not be entirely true; they may have lied to my sister and me all these years, forcing us to believe in the bittersweet concept of falling in love at first sight, which is apparently what they did. Apparently, my beloved dad was a little smitten with my mam from a distance for an indeterminate amount of time and it wasn’t until he happened upon her one morning as she was waiting for a bus, did he take his chance and bedazzle her with his 1980s moustache and his own car. Anyone who knows me, knows my undying passion for romance and love stories, so undoubtedly this story is my favourite: She was waiting for a bus and he happened upon her and decided to take his chance at love. Like, if John Hughes had been wandering through a tiny, sleepy village in the North East of England back then, he would have definitely cast Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, or maybe even John Cusak to play my parents and it would have been a truly amazing piece of cinema, with an even better musical score (Side Note: For the rest of the post, I would be happy if you could hum Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds, perhaps the epitome of the 80s right there).
It’s not often that my parents talk about when they met, or really, life before my sister and I, but when they do, they seem to go misty eyed and they look at each other with looks that only two people who know the true meaning of love can look at each other. It would be sickening if it wasn’t so damned romantic and when I see the love they have for each other, I can’t help but thinking that I’ve been so unlucky in love in the past because of my sheer unwavering desire to fall in love at first sight (which, eventually happens to me, but you’ll have to wait a few chapters to get to that part. Or go and read the rest of my blog, whatever) and eventually, hopefully, marry someone I would also call my best friend, like they did. To me, it just makes the fact that I exist that bit more important, knowning that I was conceived in an environment where two people were so in love that about twenty seven years later, they still look at each other all funny when remembering how they fell in love. Aside from the knowledge that they had sex, of course, it’s good to know that I’ve been bred from two people besotted with each other, which not everyone can say, I guess.
I am told that other gloriously romantic and comedic things happened during the period of them meeting and me being born, which pads out the John Hughes movie plot slightly: My mam stubbed a cigarette out onto my dad’s hand and laughed hysterically right in his face as he nursed his injured hand. He lied about being allergic to dogs, to hide a presumably un-masculine fear of a tiny little girl boxer dog (which he would own for the rest of his life, which might just go to show where I get my enormous sense of hypocrisy from! And my ability to tell lies to get myself out of situations I don’t want to be in, too, I guess!) and there’s also a story about salted popcorn being propelled down the aisles of a cinema, shoulder shuddering giggles ensuing,w hcih would be another, very sweet comedic aside for the movie John Hughes would have directed. Maybe my mother (Molly Ringwald) would say something in a voice over akin to ‘From the moment that popcorn spilled down the steps of the cinema aisle, I knew I would marry either Andrew McCarthy or John Cusak, depending on casting, and we’d have two amazing children and a very happy life together… everything became clear then.’ End scene.
Anyway, back to the important part of the story, perhaps the main part of the opening chapter, considering that, without it, I’d not actually be here writing this at all, unless I went the route of the usual blogger and hired a ghost writer (oooh, I went there!), but even so, without the main event, I couldn’t hire a ghost writer, and now I’ve officially ‘Inception-ed’ myself.
I was born on Christmas Eve, which was a full eleven days before my due date and as a result, I have given my mam an amazing story to tell to everyone who mentions the fact that I was born on Christmas Eve. She grins, leans towards the person to whom the tale she is telling and states, “Yes, she was supposed to be born then, but she just needed to be here for Santa coming, didn’t you petal?!” and then she looks at me all proud, because as my mother, of course she is proud for having given birth to a human, but also because she’s proud for telling the joke like it was the first time, but also, I’m guessing, because she remembers it word for word every single time, which is actually a very applause worthy accomplishment, given her forgetfulness. Personally, I don’t mind that I was born on Christmas Eve, but other people absolutely hate it and offer me condolences and pitiful glances before telling me that it must be absolutely terrible to have been born then, because people will undoubtedly skimp on presents, given that it’s the time of giving and whatnot, which always seems a little odd to me… why would one skimp during this time? I’m not going to apologise for being born then if people aren’t going to apologise for their blatant cheapness on the day before Jesus’ birth… Bastards.
Obviously, I can’t remember anything about being born, which is probably just as well. I would feel deathly sorry for anyone who can actually remember being cast into the world via means of a vagina, screaming and crying only to me released into – depending on the birthing process, I guess – what I can only imagine being rivers upon rivers of blood and potential excrement… who the hell wants to remember that freakshow?! According to my dad, I was a really intelligent baby and general medical marvel from the moment I was eventually released from the womb and into the real world (absolutely no shit to be seen, I’m told!). Apparently, I didn’t cry at all, just looked around with wide eyed wonder (or, if I was aware of where I had just exited, absolute terror), and later on, when he was tapping my incubator with his finger, I followed his every single tap with my eyes… let’s face it, if that’s not a sign of a genius baby, then what is? I was also told that I was very long and skinny, which looking at me now seems like a genuine impossibility and I often think that I’m told I was long and skinny with a certain sense of scepticism, like my parents have active conversations behind my back, wondering if they brought the correct tiny human home with them, or if they’ve made a terrible mistake. Because, even though my limbs are pretty long, they are also significantly padded, hence their potential disbelief. But, I guess I look far too much like them for that to be a plausible explanation for having a fat twenty six year old child-woman, so that theory is a bit knackered. It’s still good to know that I was skinny once, though (and will be again! My poor, aching skeleton shouts).
In conclusion, this insightful, entirely truthful, if not slightly melodramatic for literary purposes, chapter on how I was born gives you a little taster of what you’re in for over the coming weeks, months, years, decades (depending on how long it takes you to read this), of what’s in store within my biographical process. It will be, hopefully, a good journey, as long as you remember this: You are literally reading the life story of a nobody… that’s what you’re doing right now. Think about that.