I don’t want a washer and a dryer and an ironing machine, but, like Audrey, I do dream of a new life.
How do people end up in the place that they live? How do they know that that place is the right place – somewhere that will bring themselves, and their family, the most happiness and the best quality of life? Or is it that the majority of people just accept their lot and try and make the best of it, no matter how they feel deep down?
I dream of escaping from the place that I currently live. There is a certain degree of guilt in feeling the way I do, especially when I know there are so many people in the world who would kill to live where I do. I suppose that is partly what I am trying to reconcile within myself by writing this blog. I know that the grass isn’t always greener – it could easily be a whole lot worse – but, over the last couple of years I have come to realise that I most certainly do not belong in the place I live and, to be totally honest, I am fucking miserable living here.
‘Here’ is Chorlton, a suburb of Manchester, UK. Manchester is a great city, undoubtedly my favourite city in England. But Chorlton is a tiny cosmos of it’s own, and although it is far from being Skid Row, it is not a place I feel safe or happy in any more. If I had the means to move my family away tomorrow, I would do it in a heartbeat. I do not want to live in a town with such a huge rich/poor divide and I sure as fuck do not want to get involved in any bloody PTA coffee mornings so that a bunch of middle class kids can have a fucking pagoda in the playground.
Despite all that I have achieved, living in Chorlton makes me feel like a massive failure. It does not matter how hard myself and my partner work, how much we scrimp and save and how much we ‘go without’, we would never be able to afford to buy our own home here, even if we wanted to. When our daughter was born 5 years ago, buying our own home did feel achievable, but, in those few short years, we have come to realise that it is truly impossible and it is this fact that is making me feel so bitter. It is very hard knowing that you are at the bottom of the greasy ladder whilst everyone around you is having loft conversions and extensions. And I’m sick of feeling embarrassed to invite my kid’s friends round, knowing that they will notice the difference between their homes and our glorified squat. My secret fear is that this obvious divide will affect my kids as they get older. I do not want to forever be the skip rat stuck in middle class suburbia.
An ex-boyfriend used to say that some people were destined to be successful whereas others would always be at the bottom of the pile, no matter what. Although hindsight has taught me that he would say this as a way of keeping me down, controlling me into misery, there have been times in recent years when I have wondered if there was any truth in what he said. For so long I have tried to better myself and improve the lives of my family, but it has always felt like I am going nowhere. Despite this, I will not allow him to be right – people CAN better themselves if they really want to.
So, this blog is to chart our progress as we make our plans and squirrel away every penny in order to start a new life in a place that is more suited to who we are, not who we are forced into being. My goal is that within the next 2 years we will finally be able to have a matchbox of our own, far away from bloody Chorlton.