Stars mean a lot to me…
One of my vivid memories was when we were living in a different part of the UK and my parents threw a big outdoor evening party at our house for my mums 40th birthday. That would have made me 9 years old. My dad made this makeshift bar in the porch (esentially a table with all the alcohol on it and us on the inside to serve it) and put my brother and I in charge (middle brother, eldest wasn’t there). Putting a just turned 11 year old boy in charge of alcohol was really not a smart move…we both started taking sips of it before anyone had even arrived and he was jumping out of windows drunk by about 8.30pm. It turned really late, and most people left, there were just a few of the closest friends still there. My brother had been put to bed hours ago, the bbq was out, the remnants of the food still lingering on tables. It was nearing 1am and it was cold, and I was awake and watching everyone, not really listening to the conversation, but just being there. I went and got my fleece blanket (which is covering my legs as I write this), and I curled up on the chair, tucked my knees in under my chin, rested my head against the back of the chair and watched the stars. My dad was next to me, and we’d find all the different constellations. My brother had been given a poster with all of the constellations on it, and we’d bring it out and try to find them. My brother wasn’t interested, nor anyone else in our family, this was something between my dad and I. And we’d often look up into sky together, tell each other to go out and have a look when it was a particularly clear beautiful night.
And I’d do this on my own, often. Just look up into the sky, watch the stars. There’s something I’ve always found incredibly grounding about it, and I used it an awful lot when it was terrible in those years. In the bedroom in my parents house now the window ledges are 2ft deep, so in the middle of the night, when I was awake and sad or scared, I’d get some of my pillows and my blankets and I’d make a hide away on my windowsill, pull the curtains closed behind me and open the windows to the cool night air. Sometimes I’d climb out of them (the windows in the room below mine have a ledge that made them easy to climb), and sit out on the grass, back against a tree. No matter how out of control I felt, no matter everything happening, something about watching the stars made me feel just that little bit more okay. Sad, but grounded.
And I still do it today, look up at the stars. Try to feel like I belong somewhere, or maybe nowhere at all.