Lucid in London

On Quitting London

Posted in Brainburp, Personal by It's Lucy! on June 13, 2011


If you didn’t know, London is the only existing european megacity, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s by definition every urban sprawl that exceeds the 10 million headcount in its metropolitan area. My city, London, has 13 million inhabitants and I have been one of them for a little over a year and a half now. We had our ups and downs, this city and I, when we weren’t at each others throats we were best friends, but I never came even close to adoring it as much as I did when I first came here at the age of 15, and thought that I will never love a city as much as I loved London. Here’s a fun fact for those of you who never migrated to a foreign country: the grass is greener only as long as it’s on the other side and upon getting closer to the lawn, you tend to find out it’s brown because it was over-exposed to the sun and there’s dog poop everywhere.

K9 feces or not, I never really considered quitting London. Even when I fell of my MTV high horse to working behind a bar in a smelly little pub, I didn’t think about quitting. Even when I kind of dated a guy who then informed me he’s not on the market but in fact living with his girlfriend for 2 years, it didn’t cross my mind. Even when it happened again, I grinned and bared it. When I ate porridge for a month because I couldn’t afford real food and when I walked to work because I couldn’t afford the tube, I told myself this will make a fantastic chapter in my autobiography (and it will!), but the thought of packing up my things and leaving was never even an option. Quitting anything in life is bad form, and although I am prone to giving up on hobbies, people and diets, I didn’t want to give up on London. Not yet, I told myself, not just yet, and commanded the whiney Lucy to do like Mariah and shake it off and keep on dancing. Because after every lost job opportunity and cheating man and every day that is just utter shit start to finish, London gives you something to cheer you up and usually that something cheers you up good.

The sinusoid of emotions here is equivalent to a bipolar disorder, at the very least. If you are not on top of the world, you are in the gutter, if your heart is not bursting with joy, you are very likely on the verge of tears and if you are not at peace, you are probably not sleeping very well, or possibly, at all. There is no in-between, there are no calm waters, it’s either “I’m so happy I could die!” or “I’m so depressed I’m gonna go and fucking throw myself of the Shard right now.” You get no middle ground, nobody does. London is like the boyfriend who you love until he beats you up and brakes your jaw. While you’re on the floor and taking punches, you tell yourself you hate him and you’re leaving the second you will be able to peel yourself of the pavement, but then just as you are out of the door, he does something that stops you cold and holds you back. Somehow you can’t leave anymore, because you love him after all.

So yeah, it’s still kind of weird that I’m considering getting out of this very abusive relationship, as things are going somewhat ok, but still not as good as I hoped or planned on them going by now. But here I am, possibly looking at a new start, somewhere else. True to form, I made a pro & con list in my head. On that list, there are many reasons why London is wrong for me: the list says this monster of a city is dirty and malicious, the weather is all shades of horrible, the people are unfriendly, the public transport system is a nightmare and everybody here gets the pleasure of working like an animal just so we can afford to pay rent. Plus if living here only for a year and a half has left me feeling like a deflated lung, well, maybe it’s time to call it like it is and face the fact I am quite possibly not exactly made for London. Or London isn’t tailored exactly to my fitting. Either/or, we are certainly far away from being a match made in heaven.

In the other column of the list, the pro London pep squad column, it says there is something magical about this place, which is true, because when it’s good, it’s not just good, but it’s the best thing ever. You can also never know when you’ll stumble into a free gig, free beer on the street, or bump in to your next crush. There’s always the city beat, the rush of the London street. Here, everybody moves and shakes all the time, and I move and shake with them. I like moving, it keeps me fit and I like shaking because it’s fun to do (Wadap, Mariah?). I have to give credit where credit is due, and for that reason it’s only fair to admit I had the best days of my life in this city, met some truly fantastic people, kissed the sweetest lips and did the craziest things.

Color me confused right now if you will, but I gather that as in case of any dysfunctional relationship, at some point you have to man up and ask yourself, when does courage turn into stupidity and come to terms with the possibility you might never end up forcing the square peg through the round hole, no matter how much you huff and puff.

And then I think, it’s OK if you quit. You gave it a shot.


3 Responses

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  1. David Macnamara said, on August 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    If it’s any consolation, I think every one who’s ever moved here feels a bit like that sometimes. I’ve been here 7 years, and I’d say every year for the first 5 I wanted go home. I’d never leave now, it’s ace. And I say that becuase I’ve lived where it’s mundane and it was the same mundane there as mundane here. But the problem was, the surprises were fewer and not as surprising!

  2. […] GOD, was it ever! With my freelancing gigs suddenly pulling a disappearing act, I spent the month looking for anything that would pay for my bills and for my food. Spending my days home alone, looking for a job, and then interviewing but still not getting a job, all the while thinking about how I have to save every single penny, because I had no idea when the next payday was coming (or if it was coming at all) was frustrating and stressful. Then I had to ask my mother for rent money, and although she was a complete sweetheart abut it, I felt that at 26, this shouldn’t be my life. The month defeated me in ways I didn’t know was possible, and I don’t think I ever  felt so low and powerless. And then just when I was about to throw in the towel, I got a job offer (in fact, I got two). After that life was really good for a while, but the fact London keeps putting me through shit like that makes me want to, yeah you got it, … kick something until it bleeds, pack up my stuff and be all like “Sayonara bitch!” […]

  3. […] have thought about leaving London a lot in the two years I’ve lived in it. I even wrote about it. It’s a tough city to conquer, and if you come invading it from a foreign country, I think […]

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