After leaving school I really didn't know where I fit, not that that was anything different, but I remember as I was due to leave school thinking 'How do you know what you want to do for the rest of your life?'
On one of the last few days I was at school, one morning on the bus I was watching people getting on the bus making their way to work and they all looked miserable. I looked around at the outskirts of Rotherham, thinking was this to be my life? I knew right then, that I didn't ever want to spend my life in just one place, to be born in one place, live, work and then die there. It was a really strange feeling and in my ear I heard 'You won't". That memory has stuck in my mind to this day. In that moment of hearing that I knew I never wanted to settle for second-best. I made a vow that if I ever awoke feeling I didn't feel happy where ever I was I would leave, try something different, and for most of my life that has been true. In fact, there's only been one situation, which we'll get to later, that I stayed.
From 16 to 19 I continued to do ballet and do shows. I had day jobs or temporary jobs during the day, and although much of it was very normal and mundane. I recall a few instances where the spirit world showed me that they too can have a sense of humour.
One such time was during a show that I was in. I was in a variety show at the time, singing, dancing and in one particular part of the show, we did a tribute act, before such things became the norm, to a singing group called the 3 degree's. Which is kind of funny in itself, as the 3 degrees were made up of three singers who were similar to the Supremes and I 'm white and they weren't. Nevertheless, with full ensemble makeup, wig and glittery clothes, myself, Shirley and Julie (the other girls in this singsong) did our best to entertain the audiences each night.
Shirley was the life and soul of any party and you could guarantee that if Shirley was there, everyone knew because you could here her from a mile away. Julie was the quietest of our little trio. Shirley and I became good friends, she was older than me, if I remember correctly in her early 30's and going through a divorce to her then husband Stephen.
A change in the choreography instigated us meeting up at Shirley's house for extra dance rehearsals, needless to say what started out with a dance rehearsal often turned into a wine and cheese girls raucous night of laughter. During one particular evening, Shirley was offloading some of her issues of her divorce discussing what she might lose, in the usual fight of who owns this and who owns that.
As she was talking, I opened my mouth to drink some wine and out came the words, "you're going to lose knickers be careful". Shirley stopped mid-flow and looked at me with a quizzical look on her face and said 'Whaaaat?' and burst into laughter. I had no idea where that had come from and we all burst into a fit of giggles. It was a continuing joke for the next couple of days with constant quips about losing your knickers.
A week later, the show had started and Shirley was late. I had a few acts in between other acts, before our 3 degree act. Coming in for a costume change to get ready for the final 3 degrees act, Shirley barged into the changing room, her face flushed and scrambled to get herself ready in time. "Blimey Shirley, you're cutting it fine everything OK?" I asked.
"It was the police that held me up" replied Shirley.
"What? Why?" Julie and I said in unison, thinking there'd been an accident or something.
"With the show and everything I haven't had time to do any housework, so last night I chucked my washing in and hung it out on the line this morning. I've been in meetings most of the day for the next shows we're doing, so when I got back, I put the clothes I was wearing in the wash, took a quick shower and realised all my clothes were on the line. When I went outside, some bugger has stoloen all my washing off the washing line, including all my underwear, I have lost all of my knickers like Gypsy Lee Jill here said I would"
We all looked at one another and burst into heaps of laughter, tears were rolling down our eyes. "It's alright you two bloody laughing" she grinned. "It's not funny going knickerless it makes you want to pee all the time."
The stage manager was getting irate because we were noisy and our makeup needed touching up. We just couldn't keep a straight face. Needless to say, we all struggled to keep our act together, but as soon as we got off stage, we collapsed again in fits of laughter.
As we got changed, Shirley filled us in on calling the police only to find out that she hadn't been the only one whose washing had been stolen. Unlike today, where you can get to a supermarket or shop, at that time in the UK, all the shops shut at 6pm latest. The only shop open was an off-licence shop which sold milk, bread, alcohol and confectionary so she couldn't even go and buy any underwear from anywhere.
"The next time some strange shit comes out of your gob, I am definitely going to pay attention now" said Shirley to me. It also made me realise how we can misinterpret spirit's guidance. We mistakenly believed Shirley's soon to be ex, would either burn all her knickers or bin them out of spite. Just goes to show when something like this happens, you need to make time to stop, go inward and ask for further clarification. Being young and caught up with everything, I never realised how important this would be until I was older.
For months afterwards, the prophecy of Shirley's knickers continued to amuse myself and my family. My mother used to ask 'why is it always happening to you?' to which no-one really understood why.
I was still very reluctant to speak out or speak up when I received messages from spirit in my late teenage years. Despite being outwardly confident and gobby, inwardly I had very little self-esteem and confidence. The voice in my ear was never far away, and I also didn't realise that I could instigate a conversation at that time.
What became apparent between the ages of 16 through to 19 is that spirit seemed to always want to talk when I was travelling. My mum used to say it was because the movement of the bus made you zone out, perhaps she was right, because on the buses, spirit realised they could teach me a very valuable lesson about learning to speak up and speak out but not before we had to witness some very strange, yet hilarious events, which my sister called the spooky bus rides.
To be continued....