That birthday present doesn’t seem so important

Dear Me,

Yes you, it really is me. But it is me/you from the future, 2012 to be precise. Hard to believe I know, the new millennium seems so far away in December 1984.

I’m writing to wish you a happy sweet sixteen, yeah I know what you’re thinking. Our 16th was absolutely rubbish. In fact you are really angry and confused and pissed off right now.

Bryan let you down again, I remember it well, and depending on what time you get this I can pinpoint exactly how you feel.

Disappointed, angry, hurt, lonely, and furious.

No present from Dad, not even a card, just a grumpy hung-over birthday wish prompted by Mum. Steven of course seems so fucking smug as 4 years ago he got exactly what he wanted for his 16th, I know I know it sucks.

From today until you are 24 you will not forgive Dad for this. You feel cheated and in your head right now, its like he doesn’t love you the way he loves Steven. All you want to know is what did you do to disappoint him?

Well I’ve got the benefit of hindsight bubba, and it was nothing you did, he didn’t love you any less. He just had no money, I know you believe, as do I that he should have planned for this, and put the money aside like he did for our brother. However, as you know dad is an alcoholic. He doesn’t think beyond the next pint of Guinness and whiskey chaser. And he is angry to; it has taken me years to figure that out and a whole raft of therapy. Believe it or not you and he will one day become friends. Of course in family style it will be after a huge argument that’s threatens to split everyone up. But you both make peace. And you have 6 great years. But that’s all, as Bryan will pass away after a long illness just before you turn 30. You see that birthday present does not seem quite so important now huh? Just know that in his own way he does love You, Mum and Steven equally.

But for whatever reasons from his past he struggles to show it, and I really think this inability to express how he feels makes him so angry with himself everybody close to him ends up not loving him. Until he is so sick that he finally lets the barriers down.

If you really want to feel sorry for someone, feel it for Mum, she has had to put up with it for a lot longer than you. Working full time just to make sure we get fed and clothed, with little or nothing for her.

Anyway you’re 16 now and you got what you wanted you have left school and you are working doing what you wanted to do.

And you know what? You are brilliant at it. You are going to have many ups and downs in your life but let me tell you. Doing hair is the most amazing thing for you. You are going to travel the world. You will meet Royalty and Hollywood legends. You will get to cut and colour the hair of people you don’t even know exist yet, but these people in their own way will make a huge impact on the world. Not just yours but the whole world. You will stay in amazing hotels and work with people who inspire you constantly. They will also challenge you to be better and better than you think is possible. A real development from sweeping the floors at Agnes Hair Design when you were 13. (not to mention having to wash the hair of ladies who smelled of lavender water and Pee).

At the moment you are working for Paul, he is still in your life now although you don’t get to see him much. He is a true friend to you and probably your biggest fan/supporter. So hey, lighten up and be nicer to him than you are at the moment.

Right im going to tell you a bit about the future, just before you turn 20 you will move to London, right now that seems like the other side of the world to you. But it will become your home and from where I’m sitting right now its where home has been for almost 24 years.

I have already mentioned great success in your career but you are going to sabotage it. Twice, by my recall. But you will get it back on track. And although you will be angry with yourself for fucking it up, eventually you will realise that you have to follow your own dreams, not try to emulate others. When you finally do that, you will truly find peace with who you are professionally and what you do.

You will spend many years teaching and inspiring others. Yes seriously, I know you are still training yourself, but it will be what gives you the biggest joy. You are great at it, and right now, that’s pretty much what you do full time.

You will make and lose friends in equal measure, and you will spend many lonely years feeling totally unloved. I don’t think you will have heard the phrase ‘you cannot be loved until you love yourself’ at this stage, but eventually it will make sense.

If only I really could reach back and make you understand this I would save you and me a whole lot of anguish. People will let you down FACT. But you will also let others down, and mostly you will let yourself down, you’ll blame everyone but yourself for these failings for years. Eventually you will forgive yourself though. And that’s when you really blossom. And its when you will discover just how loved you really are.

You will never grow out of your love of music and reading, there will be times they are the only things in life that give you joy. You are and will be a solitary person. And you will lose yourself in books and music constantly. And certain books will remind you of certain music and vice versa. Your love of reading and language in general will eventually lead you to try your hand at writing. You will have a blog, where you share stuff about your life and it will be a great help to you and others.

WTF is a blog you are asking. Well I wont tell you too much but the world is going to enjoy a communication revolution during your lifetime and it will literally change everything you and others do. It will change how wars are fought and shopping is done and most importantly it will make the world smaller in many good ways.

Anyway the reason you write is because you are going to have a rough time for a number of years, ten to be precise, and at the end of those ten years you will have a nervous breakdown and very seriously consider suicide. You will enter therapy and finally begin to take control of yourself, and work hard to get better. And using language is one of the ways you will help yourself, (you still only speak one language btw, and you never learned to drive) you have always been articulate, and at times you will use that in smartarse ways and cause pain to others. But in reality it’s only yourself you’re hurting. And it will for the most part be the cause of you losing friends and my one regret is that we became estranged from our best friend two years before he died. And you never had the chance to tell him how much you loved him and how sorry you/we were.

Now I need to talk to you about some of the things you will get up to in life, please take it easy with the fun, there have been times you took it to far and it wasn’t fun anymore. We have a slight obsessive personality, and this has meant we have wasted a lot of time and money doing things that were not good for our health. In equal part you take your work and yourself far to seriously, try and find some balance and not allow any one thing define us.

Which brings me to health, both mental and sexual. I mentioned the rough time, well technically its depression bubba, don’t be ashamed of it, it’s nothing to be ashamed off. I only wish we didn’t feel shame and got help earlier. But when you finally feel ready to get help, it will be there and you will grab it with open arms. You will get better. But be warned that it is always there, close by waiting to pounce, but we are stronger than we think we are and we will not let it win.

Right now the really big one, at the time of you getting this you will be semi aware of something called AIDS. It will soon become known as HIV as the experts become more knowledgeable about it.  It is in all the press and not in a good way. The red tops make it seem like a dirty gay cancer, at the moment you have no personal awareness of it and you think it will never affect you and for many years it wont. But on moving to London you will meet many people who will only have a short time to live. It’s a cruel disease but there are many people across the world who will rally to raise awareness and develop treatments that mean it wont remain the death sentence it is right now, but it does remain a life sentence, at the time of writing this there is no cure, there is the possibility of a vaccine that will help prevent transmission. It becomes treatable though, but only by taking daily doses of very toxic medicines. You are probably wondering why im telling you this, in august 2007 while in the grips of depression 4 weeks after Noah kills himself you will be diagnosed as HIV positive. Now stop panicking! Im writing this in 2012 and you are healthier than ever. But it will be the singular most life-changing thing to ever happen to you. It will cause you to be the most honest you have ever been with yourself, it will force you to re-evaluate pretty much everything and everybody in your life. You will sort the wheat from the chaff. And you will lose some more friendships and that will make you sad. But ultimately you will also realise what is important in life and who your real friends are.

Sitting here now in February 2012 just a matter of months before London hosts the Olympic games (we are planning on escaping London for those two weeks btw) we feel blessed.

We still do hair, and we still teach it also. But as of today we are solely our own boss. Exciting huh? Well a little nerve wracking but it truly is the beginning of the rest of our life.

Take care of you bubba,

Yourself xx

P.S. you will fall out with Steven at Bryan’s funeral, it could so easily have been avoided. But the both of you are to pig headed to settle it. You wont speak for almost exactly 11 years. When you finally start talking you will discover that as brothers go he is pretty smart and funny and very loving and caring.

But don’t ever tell him I told you that because he will never let me live it down.

Love you.



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