I hear a man's voice "Where are you from originally love?" I tell him Manchester. He tells me he used to work there, so knows it well. We chat a little bit about the traffic and the weather. "You know..." he says, leaning in as I watch Alice precariously balancing on the yellow seat, "...I never understood all that Manc versus Scouse stuff. It's nonsense you know." I smile, grateful for his comment, and scoop Alice up off the seat before she does some damage. When I look back, the man has gone.
Strange that this man said these words. On this day. Strange then that they actually made so much sense. There will always be people who do not accept me, you, or anyone, or whoever we are. There will always be people who, for whatever reason are like the flowers in Alice and Wonderland, screeching "We don't want weeds in our bed!" There is nothing worse than feeling like you don't quite fit in. Anywhere. You are neither one thing nor the other and now and again people make their feelings felt, and you feel like an imposter or a second class person. No identity. Neither fish nor fowl. What did I do wrong and why didn't I just stay where I was?
I take a step back and breathe. I think.
I've lived in Liverpool for close to eight years now. and yes I am a square peg in a round hole a lot of the time. I run from work, to uni, to the house, to school. I don't fit in a lot of the time, and I know that I don't try hard enough, I don't have time anyway - I know that, but that's me and I am what I am. I can't change.
But some days, I do get what it is to be Scouse. I identify with this beautiful city. I love my life here, I love our family and somehow I manage to fit in. I don't force myself into the round hole, because I am not round, I'm square...and it's not all to do with being from Manchester. It is a myriad of oddities. But it doesn't matter. The city has accepted me, and I have accepted the city as my own. I may not be Scouse, and I don't describe myself as such.
But I know what it is to be Scouse and I identify with that and with our whole McGiveron family.
And that is all that matters.