There are many things I miss about living in a big city like Manchester. I miss having coffee shops that are open until midnight and cocktail lounges that open at midday. I miss knowing that if I wanted to go and do something, I could do so any night of the week. I miss walking down the street and seeing hundreds of people my own age. These are the things I missed even when I was living at home in York, and I definitely miss them now that home is Blackburn.
But I don’t miss these things half as much as I missed having space to breathe when I lived in Manchester. In the flat that nobody loved I would open my curtains to see a pub, a homeless guy and forever overflowing rubbish bags. At home, in both York and Blackburn I open my windows and see green fields and hills. The only thing I can imagine feeling better, is opening up to see the sea, but fields are definitely a close second.
I’m twenty something, and yes city life was exciting. There was something liberating about the fact that I could remain entirely anonymous while still feeling like I was part of something. But feeling anonymous comes from the fact that there are people everywhere, and there was concrete everywhere, and I definitely suffered from concrete claustrauphobia.
Just before Christmas, when I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing, after moving out of the flat that nobody loved but before I fully committed to being a waitress again, I was flitting back and forth between York and Manchester.
I thought I wanted to jump right back on it and live in Manchester, find house mates, a day job, embrace city living and live like the young person following the dream I thought I wanted to be. I have friends doing exactly that and they are THRIVING.
However, during one of my little flits to Manchester, I was walking through the city alone, when I began to feel overwhelmingly lost. I had no idea why I was in Manchester. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt very aware of all the sadness, anger and fear that my situation was really causing me. My heart beat began to rise and I found myself taking incredibly deep breaths, fighting off a panic attack.
It wasn’t that I hadn’t felt those things everyday since leaving my job, flat and life and moving back home, I had. But in York it was OK that I didn’t know what was gong to happen, because I knew where I was, and the people there knew me. In Manchester I might have known where I was geographically speaking, but I had know connection to that place, nothing that gave me a reason to be there, and above all, there were so few people there that knew me or that would even notice a girl on a street freaking out.
Manchester is a big overcrowded place. With all the office and shopping space you could ever need, but absolutely no room to breathe. A lot of people probably don’t feel that way about Manchester or about city living, but when I’m there, I don’t feel like I have the luxury of time or space to work things out.
Blackburn certainly isn’t York, and it isn’t Manchester either. Here it feels a little weird that I can be somewhere that feels so small in comparison to the city, and yet be almost as equally unknown. I don’t have roots here yet, and I don’t really feel like I know Blackburn, or that it knows me. But I do have space here. Space and time to work all those things out that sometimes make my heart race. Space and time to go for a walk in the park after a stressful day, with just me and my camera. To practice. To practice being myself and to practice getting a little snap happy too.
Yes I miss all the benefits of the city, but for who I am right now, having a little bit of space and a view of the hills is so much more important.
Live life & enjoy the view x
Ps. This post was meant to be a really simple sharing of ‘look I took some photos of the park’ but I guess y photography skills just aren’t good enough to justify that. Sometimes pictures do the talking, sometimes I do, with reems upon reems of words!