By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Friday, 10 February 2012

In another life...

Reader, have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you made (or didn't make) certain decisions that have brought you to where you are today? I constantly do. Not in an oh-I-wish-I-wasn't-living-my-life sort of way, because I love my life and wouldn't change it for the world (apart from maybe to win the lottery so I could have my own house to conduct said life out of), but in an oh-gosh-that-would-have-been-a-bit-bloody-weird sort of way. I mean, everyone has those moments in life where you have to make a decision and the outcome will affect where you are in five years right? And where would I be now if I'd gone straight to drama school? Or followed through with my plan to be a nun? Or ran away from home further than my front garden when I was 5?

Alternate realities if I had....

...successfully run away from home

I would like to think that I would have lived an Oliver Twistesque life, stealing loaves of bread, befriending and old criminal mastermind, getting adopted by a wealthy chap and generally living the life of riley. Please do bear in mind Reader, that I was hardly running away from abusive parents and a life of squalor, I just decided that my baby brother was getting too much attention and it was time to grow up and find my own path in life. Now, unfortunately, I don't think this reality would have turned out too well for me. Either I'd be dead by now, be one of those strippers who stand in the doorways in Soho in their shiny white knicker and bra sets even when it's really bloody cold. Or maybe I'd have turned it abound, written a book about my experiences as a guttersnipe and made millions. I can see it now. Carey Mulligan would have to don a wig to play teenage me, child me would be played by an unknown brat, my pimp/drug dealer would be beautifully done by Andy Serkis and I'd complain that they'd made it all too pretty. I'd go into decline the next year when I saw my book next to Kerry Katona's 5th autobiography in the 99p bin at Morrisons. I'd be found, partially eaten by my pet chinchilla in my squalid flat in Wood Green, above Chikken Deelite.

...Married the first boy I had a crush on

His name was Jack, and he looked like a corpse child. Having been raised on a diet of Tim Burton and Grimm fairy tales, I liked that in a man. We both went to the worst primary school in the area, an institution where even the reception kids brought knives in and I was once sent home with a reading book that had no words (that one's not even a joke, actually happened). Unfortunately Jack the corpse kid was just a bit scared of my attentions. I'm hardly surprised, I used to think that maybe I could shock him into liking me (I was 5, this seemed like quality reasoning at the time), so I used to just grab his hand in the playground. I always wonder what happened to him, I left the school for a better one the next year and never saw him again. But can you imagine if he'd decided that he found my weird, assault-ey attempts at affection endearing? It would have been cute at first. We'd have tramped round the playground holding hands, shared our tray lunches in the dinner hall, gone to each others houses for play dates and then 'gone out' in high school. Of course, he was probably a serial killer. He really looked like one. He had the darkest hair I've ever seen, skin that was paler than mine (which is almost impossible Reader, I look pretty corpse like myself most of the time) and a slight hunch. He also had this habit of never talking, just staring without blinking at the other children (I clearly had great taste as a kid). So I assume that we'd have got married very young, have a couple of very pale children and be trotting along nicely (I'd be a stay at home mum who occasionally helped out at the play group, having given up any career aspirations, almost as if I'd been....hypnotised...) when I'd start finding strange things. Blood round the cuff of the shirt I was washing for him. A very thin wire in his jacket pocket. Jewellery made out of nipples in the style of Ed Gein. Being a bit dim, I'd confront him about it instead of going to the police and end up under the floorboards with all his other victims. The kids would be brainwashed into his murder cult and we'd become an urban legend. Cheery.

...become a nun

So, when I was 12 or so, I spent about half a year thinking it would be really great to be a nun. Stop laughing Reader, it's not that funny. I'd read a lot of stories about young, gorgeous nuns who somehow discover windows to other worlds. And then I really got into Almodovar films, which nearly always have really fun nuns in them. So I decided that it would be a great life plan. I mean, I didn't know any boys anyway, so nothing lost there. Plus, I was a bit of a God-bod anyway at that age and used to like the idea of being very holier-than-thou and having loads of people saying 'I don't know how you do it Sister, I really don't'. I even picked out my nun name. Because you have to choose a new one when you have your marriage to God (yeah, I did my research!) Sister Pelagia (Pelagia is a female saint who represents actors, whores and women in general. Awesome). So if that had come to work out (rather than me getting disillusioned with organised religion and nuns specifically), I would have had to battle against my parents wishes to end up in a convent. I would be about 18, because my parents would have made me go to 6th form first. I reckon I'd be quite good at being a nun too! I'd do the veg garden, get involved with all the charity work, help with the cooking and cleaning-basically be a bit of a star. The problem would come of course, with men. I didn't really meet any truly eligible, attractive men till I went to uni. All girls schools will do that. So I bet that (just as I got carried away by the romance of becoming a nun) I'd get carried away with the romance of being 'rescued' from the convent by a good looking fella, and end up running away with the gardener, Larry. I'd probably then go a bit mental going completely the other way and get into death metal and dye my hair green (but still sneak to church on special occasions). The Mother Superior would refuse to talk to me, because she had me penned to be her second hand nun, but my parents would be overjoyed. My grandmother might disown me though, what with her being a full on catholic, but I'd reason that Larry was worth it. 

Years later, I'd leave him for a banker called John and train to be a teacher or a pilot.

...actually enjoyed doing politics at A-level

I was 16, and my mum was really really pushing for me to do something academic at A-level alongside English, Drama and Media. I was really into arguing and welfare, so I decided to do Politics. Mum was delighted, told all her friends and felt very very smug until, three months into term, I confessed that I'd been bunking Politics to sit in Starbucks gossiping with my friends and dropped it to take up film studies. The thing is, I'd been really into politics when we started. I got an A* on my research into the election process and my argument as to why the Tory party should be forced to sit down with some of their old constituents and be very much told off. But then it got really technical. We stopped debating in class and started talking about Black Rod (hehe) and the traditions in the House of Commons. We were given long lists of legal blabber to de-mystify, and the teacher seemed to stop caring. Switching to film was a great decision, because I loved every single class and learnt vast amounts from my very cool director teachers. I do wonder what would have happened if I had really applied myself to the subject though and I can only assume one thing.

I'd be the Prime Minister. 

Stop Laughing. 

I would! I'd be one of the youngest, coolest Prime Ministers ever and would have come into power around the same time as Obama (who the press would constantly speculate I was having an affair with). I'd increase the arts budget, decrease the Olympics budget and eventually be kicked out of England because I'd have spent all of the money on setting up government run bakeries. I'd end up chilling with Carla Bruni at her townhouse in Paris, smoking too much and doing interviews with Style magazine about my nervous breakdown.

...moved to America

Ok, so this is something that still might happen, but when I was 18 or so, I seriously considered going to university in America. I think I'd probably have one of those really annoying British/American accents by now, the kind that sound like you're from Kent until you go hard on your Rs and lilt at the end of a sentence, like it's a question? I'd probably also be very fat now. I've been to America. They have great great food. I am a big foodie. Nom. I would probably also have indulged my secret life dream to become a surfer chick and put loads of bleach in my hair and wear those little beaded anklets while I'm walking round the beach going 'Rad' and 'Did you see me catch that curve dude? Killer'. Sigh. Happy times indeed.

Have to say though, I'm quite chuffed with the decisions I've made so far. I'm not dead at least, which is always a relief. I have a job that (mostly) involves me keeping my clothes on, and that I wouldn't change for the world. And I don't have to wax a stupid surf board all the time. Always a plus. 

The moral of the story Reader, is to enjoy your life and be happy with your decisions. Because you could be a serial killer's wife. Or spend a lot of time in a doorway in Soho, with only your leg hair to keep you warm.

On that note, I'm off to make more life decisions about what to have for breakfast!

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