I've been in this intoxicating, maddening, magical, electric, money-sucking, life affirming, stupidly beautiful city for exactly 10 years today. Can’t quite put into words what London means to me. I never really belonged anywhere: I was born in one nation, raised in another and had parents from a different country still - one whose shores and people and very different customs I never even saw until I was 12. I was the in-between girl, a walking contradiction with no distinct sense of home... And then I came to London.
I was a young dumb fool when I arrived. I turned up with my boyfriend, fuelled by the kind of grandiose dreams and delusions that only someone in their early 20s could dare to dream and entertain. We moved into a mouldy overpriced flat with 2 other strangers that we just hoped wouldn’t murder us (they didn’t), and got started. What the fuck we got started on, I can’t tell you, cause honestly, the last 10 years has been a whirlwind or colour and activity and magic. I’ve worked my ass off, dossed around, danced the night away, eaten terrible food, average food and incredible food. I had dreams come true, and also got them shattered. I got my heart broken and mended. I lost my mind more than once. I learned how to be hard, without losing my softness.I forged some ride or die friendships, made the most of tiny living quarters and somehow, against all the odds, felt more at home and more a part of something than I’ve ever felt in my life.
Maybe it’s because much like me, London is a walking contradiction… With its great shiny glass skyscrapers built next to ancient clock towers and cobbled lanes, and its 5 languages heard at any one time, and its clusterfuck of social & luxury housing battles, and its cafes that have been there since WW2 that sit right next to the latest hipster franchise that changes management every 3 months, and its ghost stories that float in the same air that hardened cynical city folk breathe…
Or maybe it’s because I can tell that in this great fuckening of a city, so many don’t belong. And so we all belong, in not belonging.