Since I was a child, I have been aware that there were spirits around me. At first, they started off as 'imaginary friends' and were as real to me as my sister sitting next to me on the sofa. As I got a little older, and thanks to popular culture, I began to understand that these 'imaginery friends' were what people liked to call 'ghosts'.
For the most part, I kept the things I saw/heard/felt secret for fear of judgement from those around me. Only my mother and sister really knew of the things that would happen to me with spirit.
I was born in London in the mid-eighties to parents with relatively relaxed views when it came to their religious beliefs. My father's parents were Catholic, and my mother considers herself 'Church of England' but non-practising. Neither parent has ever been a regular churchgoer, and they got divorced when I was still a child. In later years, my mother would sometimes attend the mediumship demonstrations at the local spiritual church near our home in Essex.
Despite being relatively young, my mother would allow me to attend the demonstrations with her.
I can only ever remember attending two such services, but I remember being intrigued by the mediums on the platform, dispensing information from long lost relatives and friends to those in the assembled congregation.
It was during these early visits to the spiritual church that I saw first hand the hope and comfort such messages could bring to those that were living, although my level of comprehension was limited by my age. What hadn't really dawned on me at the time was I had had similar communication from the spirit world in my every day life, I had just taken it for granted.
When I was approximately 12-13 years old, I went through a very difficult time in my life, the first real challenging cycle. I had always known that deep inside me I had feelings for other males that were stronger than those of a normal friendship, and I had no romantic feelings towards the opposite sex. I was very young, but I knew how I felt.
I was growing up in a family with lots of uncles and aunties, and at the time the word 'gay' was only ever used to make derogatory comments about the very few openly homosexual people on TV, such as Michael Barrymore & Paul O'Grady of Lily Savage fame. I wouldn't say that the males in my family were overly homophobic, but they were all strong men with wives/girlfriends and unsavoury comments would be thrown at the TV on a regular basis.
As a young teenager, with hormones racing around my body, these flipant comments from family members were like daggers in my heart. I feared what would ever happen to me if the secret of my desires were ever exposed.
It was also around this time that things were getting really tough for me at school. I was a flamboyant teen going to school in one of the most deprived areas on the border of East London/Essex. It was becoming clear to everyone at school that I was gay, and this led to a lot of unwanted attention from the school bullies looking to prove how macho they could be.
Despite having the most incredible group of teachers, including my form tutor, deputy head and headmaster, all of whom provided me with uncompromising levels of support whenever I needed, they couldn't be with me at every stage of the day, and frequent verbal and physical abuse occurred.
I would wake up each morning in a state of fear for the day ahead. Would I be beating on the way to school? Would I be beaten during the lunch breaks during the day? I spent my entire school day living in fear of what would happen to me, and would actively plan routes to try and avoid coming into contact with any of the bullies.
I did manage to find two safe havens at school. As a helper in the library, and as a member of the school choir that would practice at lunch times. These two activities gave me a 'lunch pass' which meant I could bypass the long queues to get into the school canteen.
Whilst it was nice to 'jump the queue' for lunch, for me it was more to do with self-preservation; it meant not having to stand with the other school children in the queue (it was yet another arena where I could face bullying). I would jump the queue, get my food and eat it as quickly as possible before the other children would start accumulating in the dining hall. I was constantly trying to minimise having to be in the presence of others for fear of the bullies arriving.
On the occasions when the bullies did manage to corner me (and there were many such occasions I'm afraid to say), I remember having empathy for the bullies, which must sound crazy to those reading this!
The strangest thing was, I didn't have negative feelings towards these bullies when they were beating me. I clearly remember feeling sorry for them, I had a knowing that this behaviour wasn't true to their souls, but a projection of what society had imbued upon them.
At the time I didn't really have a knowledge of what 'healing' was, but in some way I think I knew that they needed healing. Their behaviour was a result of how society and their environment expected them to behave, it wasn't because they actually 'hated' me as a person (I would like to think not, atleast).
I loved being in the school choir. Music and singing were welcomed forms of escapism from the trauma I was experiencing on a daily basis, and remember, whilst all this was going on I was trying to come to terms with what my sexuality would mean for my life going forward. How would my parents respond? Would my uncles and aunties be disgusted with me? What would my friends think? What would happen to me in the future? Would I be able to have a family of my own one day? What about if I wanted children?
All these deep questions would flow around in my head like a never-ending symphony. My thoughts and feelings were overwhelming, and this was before I even started to think about homework and GCSE's!
I was lucky to have a small group of friends who did provide me with support during those difficult years, and I will always be eternally grateful to them. Georgina and Claire, THANK YOU!
I tell you all the above not because I seek sympathy, but because it is my belief that spirit kept me strong through those difficult periods. Spirit started to step back in and make their presence felt around me just when I was feeling most isolated. Not everyone’s coming out story will be the same as mine. They might not be spiritual like me. What I will say to anyone struggling to come to terms with their sexuality is - it is a process, allow yourself to explore the full range of emotions you are feeling, and have patience with yourself. When it is the right time to ‘Come Out’, you will know, and whilst you might suffer some adversity, the truth will set you free in unimaginable ways. It will be a huge burden taken off your soul, and you will flourish into the best version of yourself.
As all this was going on, I was again becoming more aware of spirit in my day to day life, similar to how they used to be around me as a child. They would sometimes present themselves at inappropriate times (like before going to bed), and I would literally speak out loud and ask them to go away. They would always do as I asked so I don't ever really remember feeling 'scared'. I have only ever had two negative experiences, and this was because I was ill prepared and hadn't learnt to protect myself (more on this in the future).
The purpose of this blog post is to show that whilst spirit are always around us, they don't always make their presence known. However, in times of deep stress or when you are feeling particular isolated, they may come forward to offer you support, but only if you are open to them.
The last thing your 'spirit friends' would ever want to do is 'scare' you, because it would be counter productive. They will only approach you if they know that you can accept the contact. Spirit know everything, because time in the spirit world does not operate in the same way as it does in our day to day earth bound lives.
If they are aware that you are not ready for 'contact', they will simply guide you in indirect ways. Some examples would be - making sure you see a certain sign on a billboard whilst driving or sitting on a bus, or making sure a certain song plays whilst your on shuffle to remind you of someone or a situation. You might see other sychronicities such as repeating numbers, or numbers that have a signficant meaning to you. Sometimes, a long lost grandparent might visit you, but will present themselves in a comforting manner, such as you suddenly smelling their perfume or cologne in the air.
It is also fair to say that some people do not believe in the spiritual way of life, my partner being one of them (despite having witnessed on occasions me passing on messages to people that I couldn't possibly know about).
Some people are very forthright in their opinions, and think it's all a bunch of hocus pocus, or against their religious beliefs. This is perfectly fine; we must accept and respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if their beliefs are not aligned with our own.
It is my personal belief that everyone has the potential to access their psychic/mediumship abilities. Whilst these are two different things, which I will discuss in future blog posts, we all have an ability to connect on a spiritual level should we choose to.
However, we have to accept that like all things in life, we are all at varying levels. Some people naturally excel in their chosen field, think titans of industry or famous sport personalities, whilst other's won't ever reach those heights.
It's exactly the same when embarking on your own spiritual journey. It's a path that is unique to your soul, and it is terribly important that you do not compare yourself to others, for it is your journey, and yours alone.
The most important thing is to BELIEVE.