Brick by brick I tumbled, slowly I was re-built.

Posted: August 8, 2011 in About Me

What led me to be sat where I am today, what journey did I take and what places did I visit along the way? Many I suppose can relate to the many paths that have led to me being sat in a city centre apartment with one bedroom and a small kitchen area off the ‘battery hen’ style living room that I now call home. Not all is lost as I do have the outdoor space I craved when I moved!

The view not being that spectacular unless you sit looking towards the river, which incidentally is masked by the high rise buildings of Liverpool
city centre, but even the brick wall that faces me straight ahead is better than the thought of a thousand prying eyes that could be burning down on me. Instead I sit in the spring sun while a slight breeze touches my body from time to time on MY balcony with vodka in one hand and my eyes focused on the bricks in front.

Does each one of those bricks represent my life and the tries and hurdles I have overcome and passed through to get me here? Do the bricks represent the people that have either crossed my path in a pleasant or unpleasant way, whether they have stuck by me or left me? My mind wanders back through the past and what led me to where I am today…

The major thing that sticks in my mind is from when I was around the age of eleven. It was the day after Christmas Day. Some of you will say Boxing Day, but according to my mum if Christmas Day falls on a Sunday then Boxing Day misses a day and falls on the Tuesday instead. I sit here and laugh to myself at the thought of how I believed what she was saying and just took that for granted. Yes it was done in love and to protect me from thinking Christmas had been spoiled. You see, this was the year my granddad that had been battling for many months with
cancer died. I remember it like yesterday; coming into the living room and seeing my mum, my sister and my cousin sat there waiting for me. Straight away I knew that something wasn’t right, then my mum said those words that passed through my head and the first thought I had was ‘mum I’m eleven, I am not stupid’…….’James your granddad has gone to live with Jesus, he will be happy there and will guide you and love you just the same as he did when he lived with grandma.’

The next thought that crossed my mind was of worry and shock for my Gran, the old frail woman that had lost her husband of many years and was now alone…

This was the start of my belief that if Sunday was Christmas Day then Boxing Day was the Tuesday. This belief lasted for many years as I took in what my mum had said without question or analysing it. I also shared this great knowledge with people at work not that long ago and this was the point that the bubble burst and realisation actually sunk in……..for that I say thanks mum for protecting me but next time please don’t make me look thick!!

The next major place I visited wasn’t until a few years later when I was 15 and in the middle of my GCSE exams. Great timing, my Gran decided that she’d had enough of the world and died!

What a can of worms this began to open. Firstly my dad, whose mum it was has two brothers, one who used to be a teacher until he suffered a brain haemorrhage during a P.E lesson, and a younger one that moved over to Australia when the building of the Sydney Opera House was taking place. We saw that one from time to time, when he would spring a surprise visit and return with his latest woman and another stuffed koala bear to add to the every increasing collection!

Gran died, this prompted the next visit from my dad’s brother, and lets just say that at the start it went well, but things began to unravel as they do when there is death in the family, the skeletons come out and arguments start. And by sure hell did they start!!

It resulted in my mother being pushed down a flight of stone steps, my uncle, who had suffered a brain haemorrhage being taken from work by his other brother and not allowed home, my sister being followed home from work to Manchester and then the following night to find him waiting at her house for her.

The fun really did begin.

My dad sat me at the kitchen table and told me not to worry but if I saw his brother not to go near…..’run back into school and phone the police…..there is nothing for you to worry about……you are safe……just for once James do as I ask you will you……..have you got that…….he’s not dangerous……don’t worry!!

It never happened; he never came for me, odd really I felt like I had missed out on something. It wasn’t until a few years later I got to find out the full extent of what he had done to our family, to my mum, my sister and how they had all hidden it from me……why??

At this point my trust in people had totally gone. My friends who I would have trusted with my life, my family, teachers etc had all lost my trust. I realised I was alone, to survive I had to look after me and not trust anyone around me. I bottled everything up and shut everyone out.

Months passed and out of the blue we received a phone call. My dad’s brother had been living
in my Gran’s old house and the neighbours were worried. They hadn’t seen him or
heard him in over two weeks. The curtains were drawn and lights were never on.
My dad jumped into his car and went straight round. Why? I could never
understand after all the things he had done to our family why my dad wanted to
make sure he was ok! I think I do now, it’s the love you feel, that
unconditional love for someone that’s part of your life. Your brother or sister
who have always been there and whatever they do you love them. Or at least my
dad did. All I could feel was anger and hate; not only for my dad’s brother,
but slightly for my dad too. It felt like he was somehow justifying what had
happened and saying that he forgave him.

A few years passed and it became time to go to uni, great stuff I am moving out and I can be me!! At last I can be the person that I want to be. Do what I want with who I want, when I want and I don’t have anyone to answer to!! BRING IT ON!!!

Uni was the next place I visited. It opened my eyes. There was a world out there that I had never explored and I wanted to try it all. At the same time I was sure in myself that I wasn’t like most of my mates, I hadn’t done the run of the mill get a girlfriend and fuck every fanny in sight. That just wasn’t me!

Don’t get me wrong I was crying out to have some fun but it wasn’t with the girls that I wanted it. The more I thought the more I wanted men. It was men on TV that turned me on, it was men in the street that caught my eye, and I wanted to sleep with men! This was my chance, my new world, the open door to what I wanted to experience and do. I could do it, and on a weekend or in the holidays pop home and be the ‘me’ mum and dad thought I was. It’s all win win.

My first partner was called Jay. Jonathan. He was beautiful, he was exactly a year older than me to the day and he was toned, kind and caring. He made me laugh and showed he respected me and looked after me. He was the one that made me feel special, feel wanted and with that began to remove the bricks in the wall that I had built about trusting people. It moved fast. We met in the October and saw each other every day. He would come straight from work and stay until about 11pm then head home. His parents didn’t know he was gay although they asked on a number of occasions.

It was great, I was at uni and had found someone that loved me, wanted me and made me feel alive, that was until one night I was working late. I used to work part time for NEXT retail in the city centre and we had planned that Jay would meet me once my shift had finished and head off for a meal in a restaurant together. I had been looking forward to it all day. My manager asked me to work an extra hour, I text him, he said he would be there at the new time. He was, he had come straight to town but went to the pub to wait. I was so excited about seeing him my eyes never left the clock, 45minutes to go, half an hour, ten minutes, 5,4,3,2….soon I will be with him.

I stepped outside and he was there. He looked straight at me, put his hand on my right shoulder and said ‘we need to talk, let’s go back to yours.’

That was it…..that night it was over!

He had met someone at his work that he used to be at school with and had a past with. He wanted to be with him.

My brick wall came back; I was so angry and hurt. I loved him and in one small stroke he destroyed what we had and the one thing that was making me happy. We agreed to stay friends, but that was hard. I still loved him and wanted him.

The pain was drowned out literally by the taste of vodka; again I was alone and even worse had no one to talk to. None of my friends knew about Jay and the fact I was gay. Well in my eyes at least, they didn’t!

This led to my next place.

The gay bar.

Lets all go to the gay bar gay bar!!

The sun. In the middle of the city centre, on a main road was Bradford’s Gay Bar. The washed out rainbow flag blowing in the wind kind of gave away it’s connection to the gay world, and the fact there was a big A board outside advertising ‘Weekly cabaret by Bradford’s best drag act Blanche D’ was the other clue.

I walked in…..

A cross between the Queen Vic and Rovers Return in décor, littered with old men in the dark corners, a faded glitter ball hanging from the roof and the tallest bean pole man with the biggest nose I have ever seen to this day stood behind the bar. It was like the music had stopped and all eyes in the room starred in my direction……….’yes! What do youuuuu want?’ came the not so friendly high pitched squeal from behind the bar, as the barman looked down his nose at me. I got my drink and headed to the bandit. That way I didn’t have to sit down by
anyone and making a judgement that my feet were lifting the carpet as I walked, I dreaded to think what the upholstery would be like on the seating!

This place became my main port for drinking. It was fantastic, the cabaret was world class, the banter electrifying, the wandering hands a tad too much and the free condoms and lube were totally on tap, although no one ever seemed to venture near including myself!

It was here in my drunken state I met the next brick in the wall. Here that again my life would take another journey and another part of me would be made.

His name was Danny. He was older than me and was the bee’s knees. He had the looks, he talked the talk and he knew how to sweep me off my feet.

But why me?

I didn’t feel that I had anything to offer. I didn’t have the looks, the talk or charm. Yeah don’t get me wrong I knew how to talk and at times my mouth ran away, but I was nothing special.

I soon learnt that was the case in his eyes too. Mr all sweetness and light by day but not by night. Not after a couple of drinks and when he wanted his own way. Stupid really when I look back and see me in the house that I lived in, me, 6ft3,
broad shoulders, and him 5ft7, thin. Where did he get his strength from?

‘Do this James……… that……… as I tell you or you know what…….’

I took it every time. The head against the brick wall, the pulling me down the stairs, the fists in my face. But why? I still don’t know to this day!

It was short lived and some may describe our time as ‘feisty’ but I would use brutal and evil. It wasn’t all down to the drink; it was a face, a front that to the outside world he was caring and gentle. Just tried hard never to go behind a closed door again with him…

After it ended I decided that the drinking could carry on but I needed time alone. So that’s what I did. I would sit in my house alone, just me and the TV, or me and the laptop. I started talking to people on gaydar, an internet site for the gays across the world to chat and arrange meets.

I chatted to loads of people on there and occasionally met a few for a couple of drinks.

There was one guy that really made me laugh, and I even got to the point of looking forward to getting home and talking to him ‘hotandspiceyone’ was his username. I never knew where that would get me. Just talking I thought, can’t go wrong here.

The next brick…

This just talking lead to a four and a half year relationship, a destroyed marriage and an instant part time family!!. Yeah the guy I met was married. He had two kids and a wife. Yeah I did the wrong thing going round to his house that June summer evening for a drink. I can picture it as though it was yesterday. Driving up the street with the trees lining the road, seeing his car, knocking on the door and stepping into his house.

Wendy house, toys, play post office……………… never said you had kids!! At that moment it didn’t matter. It was a different world. Everything else blocked out, it was our world. We never thought of what we would do in it!

Christmas came, it was D-day. He moved out. I had cooked a Christmas dinner, her dad had died and he had gone back to make sure she was ok. It all came at once. The beef was over cooked by four hours; the roast potatoes were really crispy on the outside and so so fluffy in the middle. It was the start. The start of something big. And yes I am sorry for the pain that came with us beingtogether, but I wouldn’t change it, not one bit.

We lived happily together in Bradford for 2 years. We decided to move for work reasons to near Liverpool and did that on my birthday. It was fantastic. I was with someone that loved me and wanted me. I am not saying that it was all plain sailing, not one bit, there were arguments, sleepless nights and vases thrown across the room, but it was fantastic…he loved me!

When we were happy we were really happy, but when things weren’t right we knew, and so did the neighbours I am guessing! I discovered the guy that I was living with had lied and sneaked out to meet another man on a number of occasions. I couldn’t cope. I hated him and needed him to know how much. I hit him, I screamed at him and he did the same back. He threw a vase at me, so I grabbed a canvas picture and smashed it over his head……how could he do that…wasn’t he happy with me…….what was so bad with me…….

We sorted through it and things went back to how they were when we first met, until the second time!

We were in bed and he got a text. He thought I hadn’t seen it and he lied again. One thing I hate is a liar, be honest and truthful never lie. How ever much the truth hurts, never lie.

I grabbed the phone and rang the number. He answered. He told me he was Luke and that he was his boyfriend. That they had been seeing each other for nearly a month now and that they were in love. He had told him all about the kids and Luke said he was going to be meeting them. He told me that he knew about me; that I was the friend who had nowhere to live and he felt sorry for me and had taken me in. That I didn’t know he was gay so that’s why he couldn’t come round to our house. I soon put Luke right. Even worse though, he lived three doors from my then work. Nights while I was working until 10pm my so called partner was shacked up in bed three doors away with another man!!

I threw the phone and it smashed into hundreds of pieces as it bounced off the wall…..he lunged at me and thumped me in the head, he got me in a head lock and started to strangle me.

I got free; I ran into our bedroom and picked up the nearest thing. It was all in self defence…..he came for me with his fists, I raised my hand and swung with great force, the metal hit his face and he whimpered. He stumbled and hit the wall before ending up in a heap on the floor at the top of the stairs. I wasn’t proud of what I had done; I was protecting me from his hands. As the metal buckle of the belt left his face you could still see the shape of it on his skin…….. Once again I forgave him.

We moved to Liverpool. Away from our families and to a new life.
Closer to work and to a bigger house. Like I said before, we moved on my birthday and my dad helped us do this. We were both so excited at moving and loved the new house. It was great.

Time passed and all was well but then I started to get pains in my stomach and started being ill. I hid this for a while until I needed to talk about it. I hide my feelings and my pain behind a smiling mask that I wear. Maybe that’s from earlier bricks and can be seen as a brick in my life!?

I ended up in the walk in centre after being driven there by my boss from work. The nurse that saw me said that I needed to get to my GP as soon as possible for them to refer me to the hospital and for a second opinion. Again the words came just like they did from my dad many years ago……..’Don’t worry, you will be fine………the symptoms you are showing are typical to stomach and bowel cancer…….we can’t say for sure……’s a possibility’

I walked out of the walk-in dazed and ran as fast as I could to the GP surgery. I was seen within ten minutes and told that I would need to go to the hospital.

My appointment wasn’t for four days, I tried to carry on as normal, I didn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, but I could work and I could put on a fake mask and smile so that’s what I did. The cracks I filled with humour or avoiding eye-contact.

I had to go in. I had never been to hospital before other than to visit sick people. We talked about it at home to try to steady my nerves. I had to be in the hospital for 7am. I was shitting myself and so glad that I wasn’t going to be alone. Or at least I didn’t think I would be.

We arrived that morning at the main entrance of the hospital with my overnight bag and my texts from people at work. We were in the drop off section but I hadn’t realised as my mind was elsewhere. ‘hope you will be ok babes, I will come see you after work, I have a busy day today and cant cancel my meetings…..come here and give me a kiss………you will be fine’


Again at a vital time in my life, the person I thought would be there for me wasn’t! It was just me. Me: alone. I got out of the car without the kiss and as I closed the door uttered ‘lets hope I don’t fucking die eh, thanks for the lift knob head’ and off I went, down the long high ceiling Victorian corridors; me and my overnight bag. This was the start of my next brick…the end of life as it was, and the start of the new.

I was given the all clear for cancer but still waiting to find out what is causing the problems that I have had and occasionally still get.

It was decided in June 2008 that the relationship I was in would come to an end. This done between the two of us and the actions of my other half mainly.

We tried the living together so as not to have to sell the house but that didn’t work, mainly when he decided to bring home his new man and pay for me to stay out giving me the excuse that his mum and sister were coming to stay. This after he had sat me down and told me that he would never bring anyone back and hoped I wouldn’t as it would be too upsetting and unfair on the other person. This obviously went out of the window that night and again he showed me the lies that seemed to flow so freely from his mouth!

Being the trusting and maybe some would say gullible person I am, I believed the ‘my mum and sister are coming to stay’ story until the following day when I got home and found the two plates, my presents from work drunk and the empty condom wrappers in the bin. It was time to move on…

and the next brick!

It’s like heading back to my youth. Trying to build friendships again with people, but this time in a new city, miles away from my old mates and the familiar surroundings. Just like the day I moved out of home and started to fend for myself, I have to do that again.
Alone in a city where the only people I know are the ones that work with. I have to get out and make some friends, maybe this is the start of the next brick, the start of the next journey… who knows what will come my way, what laughs will fill my life and what sadness no doubt will likely accompany it along the way.

What we need to remember is this. People come into your life for a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFETIME. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on. Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season . LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

So how long until the next brick?

  1. Lisa Medz says:

    This is amazing…. so very interesting and touching! Go u x

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