My Mother Said

Going To Work by L S Lowry 1943

I remember my mother always told me; ‘where your treasure lies is where your heart resides’.

I never understood it nor life itself, yet subconsciously I would search for this promised wealth.

We were a band of brothers, unmoved by what life would hold, we fought wars during lunchtime, the playground our vast battlefield, flaccid hopes languished as we toiled till our souls were worn.

No battle won ever held the same nostalgia as those on days which the sun had shone.

Stories untold strewn across our young chapped lips, beads of sweat raced each other across our foreheads, killed by the swipe of a hand before reaching their final destination.

Inside us budding masculinity and sexual identity were locked in a bitter rivalry, whilst we wanted to treat girls right our nature told us we had to oppose heavily to chivalry.

A generation raised on a diet of hardcore porn and nights of debauchery.

I believed I could fly once, and not like R Kelly but like really spread my wings and I’d be gone.

The only problem was that I was afraid of heights, no matter how high I’d set my sights, fear ensured I never got off my feet.

Defeated, I became conscious of my own minuscule existence in a world that was so much bigger than I was.

Our biggest fear is not that we are in adequate.

Yet my inanimate lifestyle led me to believe that this was so.

Where was this treasure, where was my pot of Gold, under which rainbow?

Would I ever see its glow?

‘Boys will be boys, a term I heard more times than I would have like to.

From teachers who believed that it would nullify the pain I had been made to go through.

I sought my treasure in others, I craved to be accepted, yet soon learned that secondary school kids are just plain dickheads.

Because no matter how many lies I created to paint a picture of a world that was in no way reminiscent of the one in which I lived, they still pushed punched and laughed at me.

I remember one time sat in the headmaster’s office.

There I sat hunched in my crumpled uniform, looking grim faced at a man who had the audacity to ask me to explain why I had been punched,

I simply responded ‘who knows’, to which he replied we prefer definite answers.

Don’t we all I retorted? He responded with a stern look that told me my wisecracks were not welcome here.

We are told very early that our lives hold some sort of significant value.

If you are unable to find it you are plunged into this vortex of insecurity that even at a young age is enhanced by a feeling of being of little meaning,

‘Well’ I said, ‘I wasn’t one of them, I could never be.’

I remember my mother always told me; ‘where your treasure lies is where your heart resides.’

I never understood it nor life itself, yet subconsciously I would search for this promised wealth.

I found it, laying unclaimed, unloved, a box of surprises, amazing qualities, mixed with untold vices, there in a box, unloved, unclaimed, there was my wealth, laying inside of me.