Monday, 24 August 2015
AND WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?
Do you know where you're from? No, I'm not talking the 'birds and the bees'. What I mean is, do you have a sense of self springing from a particular area where you grew up or lived at some point in your life? For example, I'm Glasgow-born and lived in the West End of the city for the first year and a half of my life before moving to a new town. However, although I'm a Glaswegian by birth, I don't feel so 'connected' to the city as the town in which I grew up.
Humans seem to be territorial creatures and tend to align themselves with the neighbourhood they were raised or lived in during the formative years of their lives. I spent five and a half of my first seven years of existence in one neighbourhood, and the next six years, seven months of my life in another neighbourhood, before moving back to the first one. Apart from four years spent in yet another neighbourhood from 1983 to '87, I've now lived in my current neighbourhood for forty-four and a half years of my life.
Each of those two neighbourhoods (as well as others) had their gangs, who were bitter enemies of one another. Which is not to say that normal, well-balanced kids from each area didn't get along perfectly well together, but 'officially', as far as the neddish gangs were concerned, they were at war.
If I were to label myself based on where I've lived longest, I'd be a 'Murray' man, but as I spent nearly seven years of my life from the age of seven, to five months short of my fourteenth birthday in an area called Westwood, I tend to regard myself as more of a 'Westwood' man. After all, I spent most of my primary school years there, and continued to go to secondary school in the area, even spending the final two and a half years of my school life there after moving back to the Murray.
Thing is though, as I lived in the Murray first, and have now lived here longer, I feel slightly disloyal in not considering myself, first and foremost, as a Murray man. As I mentioned, I only lived in the Westwood for just under seven years, but that period encompasses most of my school life, and just about everyone I still know from childhood I first met while I was living there. Not only that, proportionately, that period was around half my life at that point, so that's quite a significant factor to consider.
So, to which area should I pin my loyalties and sense of identity - Murray or Westwood?
I don't have the same problem when describing my Nationality on forms - I always put British. That's because I'm a British Scot or a Scottish Brit - doesn't much matter which way you put it. So why's it so hard when deciding which neighbourhood I'm really from? I suppose I could say I'm a Westwood man who lives in the Murray, or a Murray man who lived in the Westwood, but neither seems to do the situation justice.
Both areas left an impression on me in my formative years, and in embracing one, I don't want to spurn the other. The best I can do is to describe myself as a Westwood/Murray man, or a Murray/Westwood man, but it still seems to me like sitting on the fence to some degree.
Aw, shoot! I'll work it out one day I guess. What I want to know though, is where you consider yourself from. Is it the area you grew up, or the one of which you have the fondest memories - or even the one you've lived in longest? Or don't you think that way? Perhaps I've just got far too much time on my hands in even pondering the matter?
If you feel motivated, share your thoughts and observations in the comments section. That's what it's there for.
Posted by Kid at Monday, August 24, 2015