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I’m two, four, six oh one…….
Okay so obviously I’m not, and yes, I did just sing Les Mis to you in an attempt to answer that sweat inducing interogative that makes us, in fact, question our very existence when someone asks, ‘who are you?’.
It’s three tiny words that have the ability to send you spiralling into the quickest identity crisis of your life. As I sit here sweating over my keyboard, I’m going to attempt to answer it without stealing gold candlesticks from a Bishop’s house, hopefully anyway. I’m also going to attempt to answer it without making any more musical references, although I DON’T PROMISE ANYTHING!
People generally start answering the ‘who’ with the ‘from’. Place, and where we’ve come from, defines so much of our identity, but my ‘from’ would seem to be everywhere. So perhaps this identity crisis is set to last a little longer.
Let me explain…..
I was born in a remote village somewhere in the desert sands of Egypt. The woman who gave me life is Irish and with all the guts and courage the Emerald Isle is so blessed with, picked me up and carried me off to the bustling streets of Cairo. What she was doing in the middle of a dusty village in the desert is a story best left for another time, but as we all know, the Irish seem to pop up in the most unlikely of places. They’re literally everywhere.
After crawling through Cairo for some years, I was plucked once more and set down in the far more exotic location of Newcastle upon Tyne.
(I don’t think I need to stress the level of sarcasm that went into that last sentence, but just in case you missed it, and until Microsoft get their act together and design a sarcastic font, know that I’m being HUGELY sarcastic at this point).
My mother remarried, a Pakistani man this time, (I’m sure you’ve realised by now that she obviously had a thing for the ethnics), and so my childhood in Newcastle was spent somewhere between glittering saris, bubble and squeak and an ever watchful community of Arabs.
After I had successfully completed four years of procrastination, also known as a degree and Masters in English Literature, I jetted straight off to my native Egyptian sands, mostly because the North is just so bloody COLD. Egypt became home once more, and after two years of revolution, curfews, political protests, horse riding and dragging 26 of your high school students through their final years of English language and literature, I returned to Old Blighty.
I now live in London, right next to the Queen, (OBVIOUSLY I don’t, because zone one is far too expensive for mortals, I just threw that one in there for the Americans), and my days are spent between dreams of literary greatness and the taxman.
The point of this ridiculous and overly long answer to what should be a simple question, was to highlight that perhaps my ‘from’ explains my ‘who’, but my ‘from’ is actually, from all over, and now I’m worried that the only thing you really know about this ‘who’, is that I’m a capital letter aficionado.
I like to think there’s a lot more to me than just a love for big letters, so maybe just come on in, I’ll put the kettle on, and you’ll find out so much more.