Stuart's Dream ...
Stuart's dream reminds of that pattern now, the pattern of my life.
All it took was an unhappy childhood to create a seed of low self worth in my psyche. The seed grew and blossomed about the time that I was posted to Northern Ireland. It manifested itself in one way. It generated a belief: my life wasn't as valuable as someone that was loved, that had family that cared about them or had a sweetheart.
The lonliness and awkwardness of my childhood and teenage years became the fertiliser, literally. A thought emerges as my fingers tap the keys of my keyboard ... I was 19 when I went to Northern Ireland ... still a boy. This lack of self worth made me do things in a certain way. I'd take risks. If there was ever anything dodgy to do, I'd volunteer. I didn't care what it was because I'd rather have lost my life than that of a brother that had family or a loved one ... or a family. Simply because having grown up with non of those things, I knew how valuable they were ... and I couldn't bear the thought of one of my brothers or their families being hurt through that sort of loss. When I look back over my childhood, I can clearly see that from the age of 6 onwards I had no family, they and what little love there may have been fell away slowly as rose petals leaving the bare head containing the seed ... and the seed was one of self sacrifice.
The guys that I served with and got on well with were everything to me ... they were my friends and they were my family. Some of their names have drifted away, lost in the corridors of my mind ... but I still see their faces, hear the banter and see them laughing as we'd share jokes and take the piss out of eachother, some times in the most unlikely situations.
I still miss them ... especially one man in particular. Dave. I met him at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall and we hit it off straight away. We had a very similar sense of humour and often spent time together off duty. Dave felt more like a brother than my sibling. He followed me out to Northern Ireland and we became room mates out there. He always had some thought provoking music. We'd talk before bed time about what ever was on our minds, if we felt like it. Sometimes we'd just take the piss and laugh out loud as we lay in our bunks. Dave would always play one album before bed time, the last song of that album before we'd say goodnight to eachother was 'Brothers in Arms' ... and as I'd go to sleep I knew I was there with my brother.
Dave went on to become a teacher and has worked in Africa too. The last I heard, he was in Liverpool. The last time that I saw him was before he went to Africa. He came down to meet me and my son and partner at the time. I loved that day and treasure the memory of it. Me, Dave and Joshua at the beach. It was like watching my son with an uncle, providing a feeling of family for me as I watched them play in the oceanic waters of the Atlantic at Porthtowan Beach.
I miss you David Clark ... I miss my friend and my brother.
The pattern of self sacrifice carried on after the RAF Police. It was ever present when I served in the Metropolitan Police, then in the Citizens Advice Bureax that I'd served at and lastly where I worked in the NHS as a union rep. If you don't value your own existence, death has no hold over you with regard to fear. If you have nothing in your life that someone can touch because everything that you loved has left or moved away, you become an island ... the bosses find it harder to intimidate you then ... particularly if you're a fighter. So what started as a seed of fate turned into a weapon.
That's why I couldn't let myself fly the car Stuart, there were still battles to be fought for other people. I'm free of those commitments now but I find myself fighting a different battle today. I fight for myself ... and I'm not good at it. It's early days yet though and I'm learning to love and value myself, trying to balance through the solitude and peaks and troughs around my life with PTSD ... but I'll fly your car one day my friend ... my brother.