..Gatherings, friends, family and Food. That’s what its about for us these days isn’t it?..
Long gone are the days of toys and the good old 80’s Eastenders Omnibus over Christmas dinner.
These days, for me, I look back at Christmas as if mourning the loss of an old friend.
My mum setting Up Castle Grayskull On the floor of the trailer, my Dad laying out piles of Quality Street outside for us to collect, claiming they were magic Reindeer turd. Ah the effort they made to make us believe.
Childhood. It really is a magical thing isn’t it?
It’s so weird to me that because of my books, many truly believe that I never had a childhood… When visitors or interviewers come to my home, they always ask why I surround myself with toys and gadgets from my youth and hold them as such treasures.
'Do you feel you missed out on a childhood?' They ask.
‘Not one bit’. Is always my answer.
I don’t feel like I missed out on it at all… The reason I hang onto my memories so strongly, are because there are so many, just so wonderful.
I don’t act the way I do through lack of childhood…
Its because I just miss it so damn much.
It was the Christmas lights in London that first made me fall in love with this city and Make that decision as a 7 year old, that one day, I would move here. To drive around this great metropolis at night in our pyjamas in the back of the car as the lights rolled across our faces and over our heads.
To smell the smoggy air through my fathers open car window as he flicked his cigarette ash.
To hear the horns of cars, the cheers from crowds and the chimes of Big Ben himself.
It was one of the single most magical Christmases I had ever had in my life.
Such memories fill me with equal amounts of joy and melancholy, and with each approaching Christmas, I plan and scheme to do all that I can, just to feel this way all over again.
As a grown up living away from home, to know what do you do though for Christmas?
For me, they haven’t always been the most ideal, or with much variation to be honest. And there were many years in my late teens, when I would spend my Christmases alone. I remember one year buying myself the Titanic video box set in 1997, even wrapping it up and placing it under my tree. that was a bloody good present that was!
Sadly family isn’t always an option. And it’s hard sometimes to see just how Christmas can magnify loneliness in people who do not have that commercial Christmas situation to fall into.
No Family is perfect. and there have been many a Christmas for me personally that I remember for all the wrong reasons...
These days I do what I can to build the best one I can.
There were years when I used to spent Christmases with my Husband in his Home town of Sydney, Australia…now they were weird ones… Turkey, sprouts & Eartha Kitt LP’s in a 500 degree heat wave do not mix very well, I tell you!
As I drag out my old decorations, it’s so weird to think that I was once even married.
I must admit, that do worry a little how I may handle it when it comes around every year. There’s still that little voice that tells me that I’d failed at making my own family; That niggling voice in my head that has made me so hard on myself all these years. But even that’s had its pro’s and cons…if it wasn’t for the way I bully myself, I’d have never have gotten to here.
This year, I’m going to play Christmas by ear… I have my Dog Brian To spoil, and a spot in the corner with the biggest, ugliest Christmas tree I could fit into it.
And as I cuddle up to him here, and sit by and watch the lights twinkle… I am right back there again.
The boy who got all he ever wanted…
I had one of those rare chats on the phone to my father.
He has the most raspy of voices these days. His 60 a day habit, mixed with the cancer he had in his throat has significantly changed the sound of him.
People had always seen my father as the Darth Vader figure of the story...If only they could hear him now, too...
And if only the way my father was, could have been that black and white.
He greets me with a very affectionate ‘Hello my boy’.
My father was in prison when he heard about my books.
It seemed that within hours of my family and the Gypsy community finding out about them, that they were already doing their rounds throughout the jail. Not being able to read, the man my father was sharing a cell with read ‘Gypsy Boy’ to him.
Much of the adventure and scandal that was read to him was nothing new. A few surprises I’m sure. The only thing that leaped to mind when I heard someone was reading it for him, was that he was going to find out that I was Gay. though, I think he may have already known.
I think parents do know these things…with every side glance as we grow, somewhere lurking in the back of their minds, between repression and denial, is the knowledge that they are indeed the parent of a gay child.
My mother has told me before that she always knew. In fact, she used to shout at me from the trailer door across the camp- ‘Stop walking like Liza Minnelli!’ I guess I’ve always walked like I had two fake hips. (very attractive!)
Jokes aside, my community flat-out does not accept homosexuality in their culture, and there is no moving on that, whatsoever. Sadly, old opinions still stand very strong amongst Gypsies, and that is just the way of it. Gay People in my community have very limited choices. They can either live their whole lives in the closet, with the ‘is he isn’t he’ rumour that gets the crap beaten out of them every day, or they are forced to leave and never come back.
My father did his very best to beat it out of me for many years.
But no matter how much he tried to, or what he did to kill it...he failed.
And I failed him for not being able to change. When I was fifteen, I left home, and I never returned.
All these years later, I still find life on the outside very strange. It’s very odd to be a part of a race, and then its suddenly chopped away from you. Kinda like the Little Mermaid getting her legs, but being really shit at walking on them.
A lot of years have passed since I left, and I am very lucky to have a relationship with my family again, at least by odd phone calls and my annual pre Christmas visit.
My mother always worries about my calling, in case she’s not there to grab the phone from my father when he answers. It’s very clear that she tries her best to keep my chats with him short and sweet. But this time she wasn’t around to grab the phone. I have never felt the need to come out to may father. Firstly, because, he knew I was gay before I did. And secondly because I know how much it hurts him...Not because he is ashamed of it, but because in his old way of thinking, he thinks the way he treated me, made me this way.
‘Hows me grandson?’ he says with a throaty chuckle. He calls my dog Brian, his Grandson.
‘He’s really well Ta, how are you?’
‘I’m Good’ he said. ‘Don’t worry about me- listen, your mum’s not here, but I just want to tell you… I love you. You wont forget that will you?’
It seems that without the death scene and ritual burning, me and my father have actually had our fair share of Luke and Vader moments. Believe me, I never thought it would ever end up this way.
Coming out to your family is not easy. They are your blood, and their opinions matter more than anyone else in the world. and it is no walk in the park. sometimes being Gay comes with a lot of sacrifices. And some people may never be able to accept it...But you cannot help who you are.
And if those that matter truly love you, then that will always prevail over an ancient opinion.
Give them time. But in the meantime, look after yourself.
You cant live your life trying to appease others, when all they want, is for you to be whatever their version of normal is. You cannot change whats in your bones, and it is THEM, who have to learn, and see that. and if just being yourself, and a person who loves them isn't good enough...
Take care of you.
So I got asked to write up something on Porn...Me...Ok, ok, FINE.
Well first off, I admit It- As far as porn is concerned, I know pretty much bugger all, except that as a kid I used to get a tingle when a guy lost his pants on “You’ve been Framed”.
Basically, there have been very few notches on the old Walsh bedpost… especially by Gay terms.
I lost my 'virginity' (you know what I mean) at 27 years old, I’ve never had a one-night stand, and I could count all my shags on one hand.
So what do I know about porn?
Bugger all, I hear you say.
And rightly so.
Though, I do know that I like it. That is, unless there is two people and one cup involved.
Sex was always weird for me.
By an ugly twist of fate, I had to perform sexual acts at too young an age. I didn’t understand what the hell it was, what it meant, and what the effects of it would do to my mind later on.
Because of that, for many years, I saw it as nothing but a desperate attempt for help and protection.
Now the joker in me wants to tell you that ‘I had many years to perfect my foreplay’... (Cue awkward chuckle)
That’s my way I guess, as a child who was abused has to come to terms with it, and to try not become a complete social retard.
Despite the empathy, It is not a subject of social gatherings and hootenannies. It’s a turn off. And I never speak about it. Ever.
Not just because I find it unacceptable in social circumstances, but also because I have spent many years battling that demon, and with help over the years, I have dealt with it my way. I guess years of being scared to tell people in your family goes along with it too. It was my past that I have had to accept and finally put down.
It is not happening any more, and the person to blame was eventually found out. Not through me, but through his own sexual appitite for young boys in our family.
And that was the end of it, and the very moment also, that I decided that I had to let it go.
I have no need for attention. Generally, I hate it, to be honest.
But there are far too many people about, that use some painful memory as a way of attention, acceptance, or even blame for being (to put it bluntly) an Arsehole.
But of course, I did write about it.
That’s been a big social problem for me, having so many people these days knowing all about my past through those books. One minute I’m a good looking, interesting, funny guy… then I suddenly get a Text from my latest lover saying he’s reading my books, and as soon as we meet again, I’ve gone from Blossom’s Brother Joey, To Christina Crawford. NOT a turn on.
I actually said once in an interview with Gay Times that “nobody wants to fuck the abused child”
I believe I may have cursed myself that very day!
So yes. That is my Sex life. I’ve had some fascinating ex’s though...but thats another story.
On the whole, the subject of sex for me has always been a bit of a weird one.
Gypsies, if you didn’t know, are not allowed to talk about sex… ever. Girls would have to avoid men when they were on their period, and they were not allowed to use tampons, through fear that they would lose their virginity to it, before the wedding bed.
We are allowed to swear like troopers, but one mention of the “S” word would get us a good clip round the ear-ole. As did happen, when I said it in front of my granny, when not only did I get that clip, but she also screamed “Don’t ever use them filthy words again, you little c*nt”
Ah, the paradox in Gypsies language and their take on social decency. How I miss it so.
I find it very difficult to talk about my feelings to people.
Not because I’m disconnected to myself in any way, but because I feel that to say I was actually unhappy sometimes, would let people down.
The truth is, I get lonely. And I still have to deal with my demons day after day.
Sadly, Writing so much about my growing up didn’t award me with a 'Cure' to be a Disney princess in the final act.
It’s very strange, and often very hard to be known and regarded as someone who has suffered in some horrible way - to actually meet someone in person who’s read my books, to realise moments later, that they’re suffering too themselves for being able to say something other than ‘I’m sorry’.
I cant even begin to tell you what its done to my dating life…YIKES.
So, this became part of my writings success that I had not given thought to, & never expected to happen.
I never saw my life as hard, or tragic, or something that burdened me in my present state.
But try telling that to so many that have such preconceptions of who Mikey Walsh is.
As the construction of this film's been going on, I’ve been attending quite a lot of film meetings. The movie based crew of Suited Men and women with Great hair gather and speak in great bellowing voices, and me, I mostly show up as a kind of mascot to seal each new step of the process.
In these circumstances, i’ve found that “overplaying happy” to the point of a heyday Timmy Mallet has been the best way to get through a meeting and make people feel at ease.
Of course, I'm still unable to say sweet F.A about it yet, but It’s been a phenomenal experience so far.
Sometimes though, and usually at this time of night, I can’t help but sit and think to myself ...
'Is this what i wanted with my life?'...
I remember my first Boyfriend so vividly.
I think of him so much, still to this day. I haven't even seen or spoken to him in 15 years.
He worked as a barman in an arcade…And To me, as a young Gypsy kid, it was the most incredible job in the world. and he was the most incredible man for having it.
Back then, amongst my culture, I knew it was something I would never be able to be, no matter how much I craved it.
Years have passed and I still can't thank him enough, for loving me as he did, and to have taken me away from my life and to have given me the opportunity to live as a “normal person”
Today, I feel I've strayed very far from my path.
I LOVE to write. And I am so very lucky to have had the success that I have had with my work. The support I have had from my books have been so moving, and so incredible, it has surpassed my own belief. I owe the readers of my work so very much.
I wrote in the dedication of my books ‘I wrote this just for you’
And I truly mean that.
This story wasn’t just about some Gypsy Boy’s life, or for my own therapy. It was every reader’s story too. For us to know that we are NOT alone. That things CAN change, and to know, that no matter what happens… we must never give up hope, and under no circumstances, Ever ‘face the facts’.
Now with my story done, I find I spend a lot of days feeling as if I’m living out the last page, day after day… My goals have been ticked…And I have to admit… it’s lonely.
And so, now I am thinking of change…
Maybe it’s the Gypsy in me that craves it; Maybe it’s the fact that despite the millions of people that live in London, it’s one of the most emotionally desolate and isolated places in the world.
I crave a small town. A little flat for me And my dog, a corner shop nearby and a job in a little gay pub, where I can chat to regulars, Date a nice nine to five office bloke make wonderful friends, and care even less about society’s obsession with “Career”
Of course… all this “London life” work here makes this not so possible…
But someday. Definitely someday.
Well, Its a taboo word isn't it these days eh?
… love.... BLERGH! who's have it eh?
well...me please sir *Oliver face*
But why in most cases do we live in absolute fear of it?
Are we all That F*cked up?
Relationships are hard work I know,
but regardless of how persistent we are at claiming we ain't looking for love, deep down, we all fear being lonely.
Of course, we have our friends, but we all know that there is a cut off point as to what a friendship can give you emotionally and mentally...right?
To know that someone loves you: To wake up with you, to say ‘I love you’, to tell you that you’re beautiful, to share your successes, your failings and your last Rolo.
The sad thing is, that bad experiences in past relationships have forced many of us into losing the ability to risk. And we deny ourselves potential happiness, all because of that fear of “fucking it all up again”.
I had my first boyfriend when I was thirteen. If my family would have found out I was sneaking off with some “Non Gypsy” feller at nights they would have skinned me alive. But I loved that guy so much; I would have done anything for him. And eventually after two years of sneaking off with him in the middle of the night, I did:
I gave up my whole life and culture amongst the Gypsy Race to be with him. And I ran away with him to live amongst the Gorgia (Non-Gypsy) people and start a new life with him.
It was a short-lived adventure. Terrifying, and always on the run from people trying to hunt me down for a cash reward to be the first group to beat me senseless and disable me.
Sadly and unsurprisingly, the pressure of being hunted down got the better of my man… and rightly so, for both our sakes, I was forced to let him go.
I never would see his incredible face again.
At sixteen years old, I was in a new world, with no family, friends, unable to go back, and not knowing how to go forward. The life changing decision I had made had crumbled to pieces, and the man I left it all for was gone forever.
My relationships from this moment on were never right. I was far too scared to ever feel that kind of loss again, and far too desperate to keep hold of anyone who would tell me they gave a shit, whether I truly felt the same, or not. That led to all kinds of trouble and some pretty horrid relationships.
It’s astounding how far some people can go, when they realise that they are dating a doormat.
Myself personally, I have always suffered with low self- esteem. I’ve had the Drive to succeed, to survive the “Other side of the camp” and the confidence in my work, but ever me as a person, as someone who deserves love? No way.
Sadly, because of this, I have fallen into the totally wrong kind of relationships, with the totally wrong people, just because I was so grateful to be flattered by them.
And so, here I am, in metaphorical, full ‘tit n’ minge’ I throw my hands in the air and admit that I have spent the majority of my adult life, being a blind and overbearing boyfriend. And my gosh have I had some stinkers. No regrets. But plenty of nutters.
Fortunately, these days I am quite the opposite. I am very cautious, and will always make sure that the person I’m on a date with can do three things.
Make me Laugh.
Have lots to say.
And make me feel a bit dirty.
Who cares if you are official yet? Who cares if you begin to plan your future so soon?
These things are irrelevant... if that person genuinely makes you happy and the same the other way round, then why do all these things even need to be brought up?
The idea what relationships are, and what they "should be", are all taken far too seriously, and all too often we still bring the shit from 'the one before' into it, starting that same routine time and time again.
I don’t know about you, but I refuse to let an ex from the past ever stand in the way of me being happy. Those that have messed with your heart are not worthy of leaving a scar like that.
Learn to risk your heart again. And buy yourself a Valentines card! you deserve one
Much Love to you xxx
GYPSY BOY AND GYPSY BOY ON THE RUN
THE FULLY UN-CUT AND UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOKS
READ BY THE AUTHOR, ARE AVAILABLE NOW ON iTUNES -
CLICK EITHER IMAGE TO HEAR A FREE CHAPTER AND DOWNLOAD!
…The Long awaited Sequel is out TODAY
...& Just how "Tom Hardy" is this cover?!CLICK HERE for more info...Available at ALL Good booksellers Praise for Gypsy Boy on the Run “Funny, touching, and heartbreaking in equal measures, Gypsy Boy on the Run is a coming-of-age tale like no other.” --Grazia “An incredible story of a unique life. SO AMAZING, you’ll Miss your Bus Stop” --Heat “Determination and the kindness of strangers make his tale an uplifting one.” --Daily Express
“Mikey's story is remarkable, heartbreaking & inspiring.” --Hudson Valley News
Those Traits of Bullies...
Whoever has gone through life without ever facing being bullied is a bloody lucky person.
Whether at school, online, by a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or even a member of your own family, there’s always that somebody who passes through our lives and managed to dig themselves into our psyche and left that niggling, negative scar…sometimes quite literally.
I’ve got quite a few of that kind myself.
Six different scars across parts of my face, a nose that has been broken again and again, (thankfully now fixed) and a scar in my left pupil, given to me by a gorilla that thought it would be funny to burn my eye out with a lighter, when his girlfriend said I had beautiful eyes.
Life back at home on the camp, amongst the macho and very few words, was quite a chore as a closeted gay teen.
I must say though, beyond all the literal scars, it is the mental ones that remain the most damaging to me personally.
And they go far beyond my childhood.
I’m not sure of how certain I am, but it seems that my low self-esteem attracts this kind of person…and I hate to believe that some might even say that I am subconsciously attracted to them.
Weird isn’t it?... To be a victim to bulling destroys our self worth and brings forth the vicious cycle of never having enough of it in the future to realise when a person is treating us badly… and I dread to say, even feel that you could not do any better, because we have gotten accustomed to it.
I am speaking now about the people who bully you, who are supposed to be those closest to you, and love you. Because this kind of bully I find the most terrible of all.
I have not had many Boyfriends. I seem to spend more time getting over people than being with them.
I spent this last year beating myself up once again for letting another abusive partner into my life.
Love is very much blind. And for some people, loving them, will never be enough.
The insecure guy with no self worth wants to say to you now that my list of bad choices were all my fault.
That I deserved it all for being so stupid. And then, off I go again, looking for another soul who I hope to save in exchange for their love for me.
But despite those feelings of loss, I know, that anyone that has been through such relationships are better off alone, than to be with a person who could bring themselves to act in such a way toward you.
The thing I’ve found in Bullies is that there is just no reasoning that can be excused for them.
And, If abusive and cruel enough, they are also clever enough to justify to their own selves that what they are doing, and how they are acting toward you is not of their fault and is well deserved.
There is no reasoning with this kind of mentality.
If you are in a situation like this, get out while you can still lift your head.
From this moment on, it will be YOUR time, and you need to start doing the logical thing, to do what’s right for your own self, even if it feels like you’re “taking the ring to Mordor” to do so.
I would like you to remember…when you are at your most low…when you are being victimised or made to feel bad just for being you.
You are NOT alone…
These people only do this to you because of how brilliant you are.
How they envy, fear and loathe you, just because they could never be half of what you are right now.
And To hurt you, is their only sick hope of bringing you down to their level.
And these people do not even deserve your response.
Whether they’ve hurt you, whether they’ve make you feel absolutely worthless,
You can’t help but be sensitive…but they should never deserve to see the effects of their ways.
So do what you have to do, to save yourself from these Bullies. Walk away, hold on to those people that genuinely love you, seek help, block and report, ignore…do anything possible to help you out of it.
And above all… never give a bully what they want… to see your pain.
You are who you are, and everyone deserves to be loved and respected.
Keep your Chin up, lovely person
Much love to you
Every Cloud... x
I have never been a confident person.
My father always being in my head, even beyond leaving home has had its pro’s and con’s.
In the negative, I regularly feel out of place…sometimes ugly, sometimes worthless and unlovable.
And yet strangely, there has been an incredible plus side to it.
Because without the self-doubts I suffer and my father’s voice constantly assuring me of all my faults, I would never have strived so hard to succeed as I have.
I am extremely proud of the continued success of my books, the wonderful readers I've met,
and how overwhelmed I still get, to think I was ever able to write that amount of words…
I am also thankful of the days without the books coming up into conversation.
They were a kind of therapy for me too, after all… and not the best subject to bring up at dinner parties, or when i'm trying my best to be all sexy.
I guess this is why their growing success, made me gradually become more and more of a recluse.
I never intended to be well known for what my life had been. It was always the story and the reader who related to it that was important…
To know that there is still hope, even in complete hopelessness,
no matter what any culture, race, religion, document or way of thinking tells you.
I also hoped that someone who could be hurting another could read it and see what they were doing…and put a stop to it.
One thing I never thought of, is how certain people would react to me when they met me.
I didn’t give much thought to the fact that by writing these books,
my choice of letting people know me gradually had been taken away.
This, even beyond the bouts of cultural homophobia and the people pretending to be me, was the biggest price I paid for being “Gypsy Boy”.
It made my romantic life a very strange one indeed.
but for all the response I have had from my readers, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
I meet many people who pre-empt that I’m some kind of damaged person…
but hey, i wouldn't be "normal" if i wasn't...
aren’t we all a bit f*cked up in one way, or another?
it is your insecurities that make you truly unique.
And in that, there is, and will always be, a comfort in knowing,
that you are not alone.
Much love to you
The Boxing Gloves
One-question a lot of my readers ask me is,
'What ever happened to the boxing gloves your father had made for you?'
Well... I guess, just like the dreams for my boxing career, they were passed onto someone else,
in the hope that they could achieve with them what I could not.
One sticky afternoon, my father pulled over outside a chip shop and was met by a local travelling man,
who leaned into his window and passed him £100.
And my father reached over and took the gloves from around my neck.
It was a huge relief to finally be rid of them. They had been a huge burden to me.
But I also remember a bittersweetness and how it felt to know that my father’s gift, which had meant so much to him,
had been taken away from me.
Yes, there was definitely a great feeling of relief, but there was also a sense of overwhelming loss.
I took this event as testament that my training days were officially over. But also that I had failed him, and myself too.
I felt my life was over...I was 11 years old.
Now at the age of 30, it’s very strange to look back at that moment.
I never in a million years thought in that moment, that one day I would be sitting here
in a pair of Sue Pollard Glasses, typing away on my battered Mac, a published author with two bestselling books.
Of course, that moment in time still has its lasting effects. I've been thinking a lot about loss lately.
Maybe it’s because I’ve finally put my whole life down. It is finally done.
I have written it all out of my system. But instead I feel, unashamedly, rather lost in the world.
Whether it be a memory, a gold chain, a friendship, a family member, or a person you have loved,
I have learned that there really is no worldly cure to stop the feeling of loss. Except one I guess...
The passing of time.
As the weeks, months and years roll by, with hope in our hearts, we find new plans, new goals,
new friends, new lives and new struggles...And although our memories are strong,
our pain eventually subsides and we are able to look at things more clearly.
I believe that as human beings we are stronger than we could ever imagine we are. We cope, we adjust.
I never saw myself as a strong person. I still don’t. I'm not brave, I’m not courageous.
I’m just me.
Everything that has ever happened in my life, I didn’t get through it with bravery, believe me.
I just had no other choice but to keep on living, keep on going... And all the while believing, with all my heart and soul, that one day, things would turn out good. What an adventure I have had. But I still go through these kinds of feelings all the time.
I am still way too hard on myself. I go through every day on this side, still wondering if it was all worth it.
But then I remember the journey I made to get here. I am here... Still to dream, still to hope, and still believe that my life, and all that lies ahead, is the most incredible gift I could ever have wished for. It’s all part of the adventure, and it’s never too late to have a new one.
We all get lonely. We all feel lost. And we all sometimes feel as if we have failed ourselves in some way.
But please remember – even in your darkest day – you are not alone. Things WILL get better.
I promise you.
Much love to you...