When I was 15 I...

>> Dec 16, 2009

Question three from the Five things About Me Quiz (answer one can be found here, and two here)

When I was 15 I:
a. joined a convent
b. ran away from home and got a job in a nightclub
c. wanted to be a stripper when I grew up

When I was 15 I ran away from home and got a job in a nightclub.
If I close my eyes I can put myself back in my bedroom that afternoon, stomach swimming with excitement, fear and the thrill of imminent freedom. The freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, without being watched and judged and usually found lacking by the parental unit. It was so close I almost couldn't bare those last few minutes in case my parents came home and the whole thing was torn away from me.

I stuffed all my belongings hurriedly into plastic bags and called a taxi, my hands shaking as I dialled. I was terrified lest my parents came back unexpected. I might have been brave enough to leave home but I wasn't strong enough to face their anger and judgement with anything other than compliance.

When the taxi arrived I leapt in and didn't breath again until I pulled up outside my new house, the house my best friend and I had secretly rented a couple of days ago. She opened the door and the look of relief on her face was immense, I don't think she really believed I was coming. And looking back now, I can't believe I really did it either, except I did, and it was the most fun, fraudulent and ridiculous six months of my life.

We partied hard, drink and drugs, the house always full of random people, some just passing others staying for a while and helping out with the rent. How we ever afforded it is beyond me. We both got a job at a local nightclub by forging our birth certificates (tip-ex and a photocopier can achieve so much) and somehow managed to pay our rent (most of the time), eat (a couple of times a week), take our clothes to the laundrette (very high up on our priority list), buy electricity (until we figured out how to con the machine) and go out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, often with just a few coins in our pockets and yet we always came home legless, late and rarely alone.

It was fabulously free of rules, wonderfully hedonistic and taught us both so much about life, people and all that jazz, but of course it couldn't go on forever. We would both have died of malnutrition if nothing else.

It all came to an end after about six months when my mother somehow managed to convince me that I should move home. How or why I still don't remember although it probably had something to do with food. My friend moved into a smaller place and the partying continued on a lesser scale until I joined The Royal Air Force where it simply merged into that great Armed Forces drinking life.  The friend and I are still friends, both now mothers to children the same age and although we don't see each other often, those 6 months, and a couple of other shared skirmishes that will probably be blog fodder sooner or later, have bonded us together for life.

Would I do it all again?  Absolutely. There are times in life when, for your own mental health, you have to step away from those trying to control you and take charge of your own life.  Something I hope to remember when my own children turn a similar age and my first instinct is to grab on harder to stop them getting hurt.

*Having thought this over some more I realised that I must have been 16 not 15 when this happened.  blame the drugs, my memory of those times is a little hazy.*

*Reading this post back through I realise it makes my parents sound terrible.  They weren't at all, in fact looking at my childhood/teenage years now through a parents eyes makes me realise how great they were.  This story however is through the eyes of a petulant, rebellious teenager.

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