Since moving to Sheffield 9 years ago, where I am ‘from’ has become an increasingly difficult question to answer. Everything about my life today, from my job to my home to the way I move to the places I love to the clothes I wear to the choices I make – it all screams Sheffield. Sheffield is where I built my own home, it is where I found out who I am and to some extent it is the place which has dictated who I became.
Sheffield is in my blood – every hill I have run up, every house I have lived in (at least half of all properties in Sheffield), every gig I have taken in, every time I have a 'brew' instead of a tea... it has all been consumed by my soul and now I feel sure wherever I go people would look at me and just know I am Sheffield. I don’t know if I was born a Sheffield girl, destined always to be here, or if I just became Sheffield after a decade of living and breathing this special city, but I do love that where we end up becomes such a huge part of who we are.
Not only do I feel totally entwined with my city, I kind of sometimes feel like I own it. Shared ownership of course. No-else in my family lives here and only a handful of friends still do – it feels as though it is all mine. I am proud to have moved 200 miles from my family and created a life for myself – it has been a real fight at times, and on plenty of occasions in the past I’ve considered packing up my old kit bag and heading back to the safety net of where I’m really from. Yet something has always kept me here, and for now I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Coming home at Christmas is an emotional ride, that feeling of catapulting back from our big, grown-up, independent lives to the bubble of our hometowns where we grew up, to who we used to be, followed by a week of memories and reminders. My heart breathes a genuine sigh of relief when I descend back into St Albans, so different from my Sheffield but so lovable in a different way. I always sleep so deeply in my childhood room, like I never do anywhere else, and I don’t think I am ever more comfortable than when I am mooching around my Mum’s house in my pyjamas, getting in trouble for dropping crumbs everywhere, feeling like I'm 18 again.
Sheffield is who I am now, but St Albans is my home at heart. I don’t know if you could get two more contradictory cities. North Vs South, Casual Vs Glam, Flat Vs Hills, Gigs Vs Clubs, Made in Chelsea Vs This is England, Prosecco Vs Real Ale. How both are such a big part of me isn’t something I could ever explain, but I like to see the disparity between my two homes as the reflection of how far I have come. And I get the best of both awesome little worlds.
After a week of absorbing one Shire, I am headed back to the other and I know as soon as my soul is filled up with Sheffield once more, it will become a little empty for St Albans. That’s just the way it goes when you are torn between two cities.
Bye bye South - thank you for another week of memories!x