Saturday, 9 May 2015

Rebel Without a Cause

I've always seen myself as a bit of a rebel.

I never liked rules, or rather I liked them being there so they could be broken. Drinking and smoking fitted neatly into the image I had of myself.

I was at a very famous, extremely traditional, girls' boarding school. Don't feel sorry for me - I loved it. So many opportunities to be naughty.

In my final year my bedroom led onto a flat roof. My friends and I used to climb over my desk and through the window late at night in order to huddle in the gale force winds (we were on a cliff) smoking. I was, literally, the gateway to rebellion.

In my final exam term I would loan out my revision notes in exchange for bottles of Martini or Southern Comfort. I liked the idea of drinking more than the actual drink itself at that point.

Most of my best friends from that time, and the next twenty years, were the people I met huddled in groups smoking, or the last ones at a party playing drinking games.

I chose my career (advertising) because it seemed like the antithesis of a 'sensible' job. There was a bar in the office. You could smoke everywhere. You were expected to be a bit wild.

The early 1990s were party days. I worked hard and played hard. I burned the candle at both ends, and in the middle.

We spent weekends camping in fields at impromptu festivals, and at clubs like The Cross, The Fridge and The Ministry of Sound. I was intimately acquainted with dawn over the city, and sometimes slept on the sofa in my office since there seemed no point in going home.

Then, nearly 15 years ago, I quit smoking. It took me a while to adjust the image I had of myself to exclude the constantly present cigarette - the badge of rebellion (as I saw it), the smoky haze of mystery and promise. But I still had my drink...

And, until 69 days ago, when I was feeling boxed in and squashed - a boring old, podgy, middle aged housewife, alone at home with the chores - I'd pour myself a glass of chilled Sancerre, turn the music up loud and dance, thinking "yeah baby, she's still got it."

And now it's gone. My last remaining vice. My final rebellion. And I am a sober, skinnier, middle aged housewife.

What next? I know all about cross addictions. The last thing I want (or need) is an internet porn habit, bulimia or an online bingo addiction. So here's how I try to see it...

If eighty percent of the adult UK population drink, then who's the rebel? Who's zigging while the others are zagging? Who's at the frontier, pushing the boundaries?

I am, my friends, and so are you. We are the new It Girls (and boys, Tallaxo!), not the drinkers, copping out on being properly present in their own lives. So stick that in your bong and smoke it.

Plus, this little blog is my own private rebellion, my subversive secret.

Sometimes when one of the other mummies asks what I'm up to I say "oh, I've started writing a blog."

"Really? Does anyone read it?" they ask incredulously.

"Oh yes, thousands of people, all over the world. From India and China to the Ukraine, Antigua and Oman - all over the place."

"What's it about?" they ask, agog.

"Oh, this and that. Nothing kinky or illegal," I reply enigmatically, and walk off.

Still a rebel.

Love SM x


  1. Oh yes, 90's London clubbing days - I remember (albeit hazy) those days!! I'm totally unrecognisable now compared to then yet I still dance around in my kitchen to those dance tunes and turn the music up loud in the car feeling like I'm still in my 20's. I guess drinking was the last link to those hedonistic times....but I absolutely love the idea of sobriety being the new rebellion and I'm with you all the way! Have great weekend. Nikki x

    1. We probably shared the same podium NN! X

  2. I love it, I'm a rebel! The best part about being a rebel is waking up on Saturday morning and getting Shit done! Good Morning

    1. Welcome fellow rebel mythreesons! Have a great weekend! SM

  3. Great post SM. I sometimes wonder how I survived the late 80's and the wild 90's. The Free festivals, The Raves in the middle of secret, deserted Welsh Valleys. A lifetime of booze It was an exclusive club of rebels, but one that was always going to end in tears. Now I am a rebel 'with' a cause. Long live the Rebellion. Long live Sobriety. x

    1. Some didn't survive it, did they Tallaxo? We rebel-survivors are the lucky ones x

  4. It's amazing we survived the 80's and 90's at all! I just know that the older I get the harder it is to continue to keep living the same way. I guess we have to grow up sometime! A x

  5. This is not far from what I've been thinking today SM. How the heck did we survive?? I always find myself thinking "if I can't drink wine, what else do I have to look forward too?" Damn wine witch. Having a dinner party tonight and feeling nervous. Just what I needed to read SM. I hold my glass up to you all and say, well bloody done xx

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  7. My favourite thing I bought from Belle was a necklace that says sober is the new black.
    We are the trendsetters.

  8. Thank you for making me smile SM :) It is great to know that I am not alone and that across the world others are taking on this fight, and winning! Keep up the good work - this blog will be my new rebellious addiction!

  9. Love it, having always been the rebel I have been wondering what my life will be like now with out alcohol a boring middle aged women, but no once a rebel always a rebel