I originally posted this story on Vodka. And Chaka Khan. on the 28th August 2009. I had been living in London for two months at the time. Luckily, it was the only time I felt physically threatened while living there.
Truth or Dare
Sometimes I regret my decision to move here.
There. I said it.
Yesterday I was walking down Uxbridge road. The sun was shining down on me. My new haircut was looking kick ass and I was feeling pretty awesometastic. I came towards two large *black women with young children in strollers. One of them was very loudly dropping f-bombs and generally causing a big scene.
I had my sun glasses on, so I know she couldn’t see the shock in my eyes, but I did stare at her as I came closer, mostly to see how old the children were in the stroller. As I went to pass her by, she took a step towards me and screamed in my face:
I didn’t flinch or react. And for a few moments as I kept on walking down the road, I felt fine. Then, it hit me. The aggression and hatred and rage in her words slapped me across the face. I felt the hot tears begin to sting my eyes and quickly changed direction. I ducked into a side road and let the tears fall freely from behind my sun glasses. I forced myself to take in deep breaths and stopped myself from shaking. After a couple minutes of this, I pulled myself together enough to move on. I made my way to Shepherd’s Bush Market and pretended to browse, head down, eyes diverted.
Here’s the thing. London is not an easy a place to live. It’s not a **vacation destination. It is a beautiful and exciting and a full of adventure and possibilities city, but easy? Nuh uh. Life in Vancouver was easy. I lived two blocks from work. Could easily afford my own apartment in the centre of town. Had people looking out for me. People who knew my history.
This is why I moved to London. The struggle, the craziness, the refreshing feeling of experiencing something new every single day, even if it’s not nice. And, to be honest, ***98% of the time I’m so happy with my decision. I can have easy when I’m old. For now, I guess I’ll just have to work on growing a tougher skin.
* I would not normally describe a person by ethnicity, but it is important for the story
** Unless you’re ridiculously wealthy
***Will be 100% when I have more permanent employment