I’ve been seriously considering quitting this blog. Before the thousands upon thousands of you start a very intense leaflet campaign, an online petition, maybe even write something on the side of a campaign bus, hear me out.
I’m estranged from my parents. We parted company sixteen years ago and through my concerted effort I have kept my distance. Call it self preservation. I won’t go into details because to be honest, it’s nobody else’s bloody business.
Earlier this week, I discovered that my Father has been reading this very blog. Clearly the popularity of this has spread Westward, around the globe and back from the East to Birmingham and that’s how he’s heard of it because I definitely haven’t told him.
Anyway, he’s read an old blog post of mine where I offered some advice about noticing your child’s talents and nurturing that, so they grow towards a vocation they will hopefully enjoy and find fulfilling. In that blog I also explained how I didn’t really get any guidance from my parents. My aspirations of being an artist were shot down. But I also explained that my parents were from a different generation. They had to leave school and get jobs to bring money in for the family. So as much as I felt I didn’t get much guidance, I kind of understood why. The point of the article was not to criticise my parents and I made a point of saying that I hold no resentment towards them and I still don’t; the point was to encourage and hi light to other parents the importance of nurturing talent in their children so that they don’t end up in an unfulfilling job like me. When I say nurturing talent, not in a Joe Jackson kind of way!
I’ve discovered that my Father has posted extracts from that blog post on Facebook and hasn’t exactly painted me in a good light. His friends who I’ve never met, have therefore made judgements about me without knowing both sides of the story but even so, according to their comments, I am clearly a terrible person. I must kick dogs, push old ladies over in the street, shout at babies and sell meth to children in nursery schools.
The sad thing is that they don’t know me, don’t know the journey I’ve taken, my struggles, my achievements and yet, based on the comments of someone who doesn’t know me either anymore, have made totally inaccurate judgements. I guess this must be like how Brad Pitt is feeling currently with the media. Have I really just drawn a parallel between myself and Brad Pitt?
I left Facebook because I was tired of the narcissism. I was tired of the negativity and the bullshit of it all. I was tired of people who you don’t talk to and don’t really know wanting to connect and have an insight into your life. And, I hate it when people air their dirty laundry on there to invoke a flood of sympathy from “friends.” It’s a surprise to discover some dirty laundry being aired on there is about you.
It’s difficult being estranged from your parents. There have been many times that I wished I had parents around to share my life with. When you go through certain times in your life and see the help, love and support that friends and cousins have had from their folks during similar times, it can amplify your own sense of separation. I really do wish it were different, but it is what it is. I was pushed and so I stayed away, which I believe, is for the best.
I think to go into the nitty gritty, to give my side of the story would be airing my dirty laundry but it’s nobody else’s bloody business is it? My intention here is to write about the effect of being estranged and discovering that I am currently some dirty laundry like a white shirt with unjustified yellow armpits, being aired on Facebook and how to react to that. This is certainly not retaliation with personal attacks. No, this is simple honesty and as a keen writer, it’s actually given me something interesting to write about and share.
So I’ve had a quandary. Should I close this down? Should the Grumpy Young Bloke be no more? Should he just lose his powers and become a Dave, a John or Kevin? I get enjoyment from plodding through my days, seeking inspiration to write something amusing for any strangers who might want to read it. Then to have someone you want to stay away from, and equally, want them to stay away from you, encroach into such a space creates a dilemma. It’s as though it becomes tainted. The bubble I had around myself, suddenly burst and in a reflexive response, my instinct says to close this down and try to keep that distance again. They might be trying to cling on to any remnants of their son, but I don’t want them to.
It seems like a straight forward decision to bring this to a close but then something occurs to me. Just who am I? Am I the same person I was sixteen years ago? Hardly; I used to have a centre parting for a start. How many experiences I’ve had, how many things I’ve done and achieved without help or support from anyone, by my own volition, and I’m not talking about vocation here obviously, although the insurance industry would crumble if I were to leave. Who am I? I’m a man who has been shaped by his journey of many different experiences. This Grumpy blog is only one small comedy outlet of this matured personality; just one facet of my life, a life in my bubble, with my beautiful soulmate Mrs Grump, in our Penthouse with a tree outside containing a wood pigeon and furthermore, happy, relatively content and still very much a work in progress. It’s not the full picture of who I am by any means. I’m still a stranger to you; unless you’re Mrs Grump or Malcolm who both sometimes read this. (I’m waving at you now Malcolm)
That negativity on Facebook was directed at a different person to the one that writes this. I actually take comfort knowing that. Similarly, reading this blog is hardly an insight into the inner depths of me. You can’t read this and know the person writing it. I don’t open up to you. I merely aim to amuse with observations of my day to day. So it’s fair to say that I am the Grumpy Young Bloke, but he isn’t me.
This blog, a creative outlet with literally…. ooh several followers, I enjoy. So why should I give up something so important because of who might read it, misinterpret it, twist it, and fuel their fire against a different person from all those years ago? If I stop this, they’ve won. They will have indirectly caused a chain of events that will once again make me miserable. They will have hurt me.
But I won’t be hurt this time. I don’t care who reads it. I don’t care what people think. This isn’t me, this is The Grumpy Young Bloke. Although at some point I can’t be considered a “Young Bloke” anymore. I feel like I’m pushing it as it is at 35.
So, lucky for you, the Grumpy Young Bloke will continue. “Hoorah,” I hear you cry. Read what you will, share what you like, interpret however you so wish but know this, this is not me, this is The Grumpy Young Bloke and if/when this comes to an end, it will be on my terms.
An honest and very candid post today. Forgive me but I write about stuff and sometimes it’s not always about commuting, coffee shops or arsehole cats. Service shall resume shortly.
Malcolm, why didn’t you wave back?