Never Say Never

By John Smith
  • rebel


        nouna person who resists authority, control, or popular convention

  • rebellion


        noun: action against those in authority, or against normal and accepted ways of behaving

It’s not something I ever thought about at the time. I’ve never seen myself as a rebel, or being part of a rebellion, or in any way rebellious at all actually. But I guess with the benefit of the best possible 20/20 hindsight, it could be said that I consistently and subconsciously rebelled against common sense and popular social opinion - so I’m beginning to think that this was my inner rebel trying to get out. What’s brought me to this conclusion, and why am I smiling at this now? It all started long ago. It all started long, long, long ago.

An affliction that existed before I had even taken my first breath, apparently passing through the generations like some kind of family genetic disorder. It first began around the turn of the 20th century, a mere three days short of the billionth second since time began, and only six days since Marie Curie had made her life changing discovery. Imagine if Marie had also suffered from this same condition, and as result had been elsewhere rather than making her historic contribution to mankind. Fate indeed, as they say. 

Fast forward over fifty years, and my dad, at not quite thirty years old, discovered first hand that he too had been troubled with the same conundrum. Less than six months later, I made my entrance to the world, little knowing that my dad would also pass it to me like some subliminal family heirloom.

Despite the mantle being passed to me, I managed to make it through my early years unchallenged by the relatively latent, but still very much alive, pathosis that had attached itself to me. But just as my first year at secondary school started to fill me with a naive and natural youthful enthusiasm, it also presented my first real introduction to the malaise that would prove to be anything but dormant during the years to come. That initial introduction left me filled with a despondency that slowly subsided, but still bubbled under the surface, until it decided to confront me again at a time when I was perhaps at my most vulnerable.

My mother sadly died in May 1979 following a short but painful illness, and left my dad and I with an unparalleled ultimatum. The choice between showing the respect and love we had for my mother and his wife, or being tempted once again by the promise of scratching this persistent itch. On the surface a proverbial no-brainer, but such was the lure of escaping this unrelenting obsession, we were still moved to the extent of trying to find an acceptable compromise that left both needs fulfilled. Whilst we managed to say an emotional and heartfelt goodbye to our loved one, our invisible provocateur would not however allow redemption, and so that nagging ache continued. 

The 80’s & 90’s passed taking my teenage years and early working days with them, with only a relocation to London providing a temporary respite from the all too familiar wretchedness that continued to present itself at irregular, but still persistent intervals. Still we shunned the pull of the obvious, and sheepishly continued to follow the irrational alternative. Don’t get me wrong, there were other times when I had moments of clarity, when I could see the futility of it all. But always, always, it drew me back against all logic and common sense. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t give up.

Then judgement day arrived. The seemingly ultimate challenge and opportunity all in one. The chance to gloriously free myself of all this torture once and for all, or be left horrifyingly and sadistically to suffer the ultimate pain and anguish for all eternity. Melodramatic? Maybe. But then we all know how this one worked out. The cruelest possible ending became fact, and the suffering soared a couple of notches again on the agony scale. Rita Ora sang RIP at number one, and never had a song seemed to fit a mood so perfectly.  In a perverse way, it actually felt as if it was done, for good. “That’s it, never again” became our new mantra, maybe we were finally free of this torment?

Not in the slightest. Before we had fully escaped the definitive lowest of the low, the sly pusher to our addiction for self-loathing came enticingly straight back at us. Amazingly there was an even stronger sense of defiance. Another chance, surely this time, Daft Punk even serenaded us with Get Lucky. We weren’t. But unbelievably we still didn’t wilt, by now seemingly immune to the most dastardly, malicious scenarios “they” could dream up.

And “they” continued to find ever new ways to put us down. Literally this time. We had now dropped to a new nadir, and were sitting ducks for an ever eager shooting gallery. But from somewhere, out of the blue, came a ray of light, a warm burst of sunshine, on Leith’s down-trodden believers.

Were we truly witnessing the green shoots of recovery? Or were we merely being lured into another dance with the depths of despair. We all knew this feeling so well, we can handle the defeat, it’s just the hope that destroys us.

This time would be different though, this time we really believed. This was going to be our time. It took Henderson to deliver, and until the 92nd of 94 minutes to do so, but when it happened, oh my god……

  • perseverance


        noun : persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

  • persevere


        verb : continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success


inner rebellion, defiance, belief, perseverance.