Ever wanted to get a chance to see how I molded up into the person I am today via fandoms, life lessons etc? Well here's your best chance, if I can remember it all, skimming over nearly 2 decades can be hard when considering memory!
So pretty much from Day 1, I've always been a Sonic fan, don't blame me, blame my late father, he bought a Sega Mega Drive, that I played many times during the first four years of my life, I had Sonic 1, Sonic & Knuckles, Streets of Rage and various others, can't remember them all! Also some know that I'm a cat person, again I was born into a family that had a pet cat, she was fully black and ironically named Snowy, she had kittens round about 1996, when I was three.
I remember there was a girl named Kelly who lived over the road, my first ever friend, her Mum and my Mum were the best of friends, they even had me and Kelly attend the same Nursery! Oh it was fun there, so much playtime, filled with kids with faces I've forgotten and names I can't remember. And one Winter, looking at in in a year-wise timeline, it must have been around 1996 or 1997, I was in a play, and I was 'Old Father Time' but I just remember sitting in a big cardboard chimney, bored out of my skull!
Kelly didn't have a Mega Drive, instead we played with her dolls, watched TV whilst Mum and Kelly's Mum talked, life wasn't any better than that! She even had a dress-up box (I always did love to dress up, still do!) and some My Little Pony dolls, G1 of course, maybe bordering on G2.
When I was four, there was a day when Mum bundled me and Jack (oh yeah, my brother Jack, born August 1996) into the car, away from the house, away from Kelly to another house, and Dad hadn't gone along. I remember that little house a lot, we all slept in one room, every morning the Teletubbies would be on and Mum bought great animated classics like Anastasia and Lady and the Tramp, they're still personal favourites. Later on we moved into a house with some of Mum's friends, it was nice of them to take me in, but they listened to an awful lot of music, exposing my interests to the Spice Girls, The Prodigy and Michael Jackson.
Eventually we moved out and moved to the town of Kettering, into the house that I still currently live! Being around four, Mum took me to the local primary schools, I remember traipsing around going from one place to another, eventually we managed to get me into the one on the estate, Grange Community School, with a very Christian headmistress, the only good thing she taught me was when really angry, take ten deep breaths to calm down, works a charm! I made friends, some however were very commanding and poor me was gullible, so I did end up entering a phase in my life where I was a thief, but that was short-lived, with the odd spurt every now and them. But some were brilliant, funny and nice people to know.
I always saw myself as a 'not-boy', while the boys played football at breaktime, I'd sit in the grass with the girls making daisy chains, while the boys and girls played kiss-chase, I'd be playing tag with my own shadow (yeah, that seriously happened) I had a very innocent mind, even as far as giving one teacher a Valentines card, I didn't even know she had a boyfriend!
I was never allowed to play out in the streets, Mum always said it was dangerous, plus I preferred to watch the cartoons that were on cable (give yourself a pat on the back if you had cable) stuff like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, so I saw Dexter's Laboratory, Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Spongebob and Goosebumps, but I had a huge liking for Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy and Powerpuff Girls, seemed like a good balance, one show with three boys for main characters and one show with girls as main characters! Saturdays were good too, waking up at 9:25 am then running downstairs putting on ITV1 to watch SM:TV Live between 1998 and 2001 was always the official start to my weekends! Nowadays it's just a day off and work on personal projects time.
I was always open-hearted, willing to make friends with anyone, quite a few people called me names and tripped me up, I kinda became my own friend, if I was sad, I'd imagine there was an older me who would tell the bullies to go away, it was a good mentality that kept me going, older Oliver was always a nice, caring guy who had the craziest ideas (ironically I became him!) But my best friend was Callan, he's the one who really got me back into gaming, every so often, me Mum and Jack would go around his house, Callan had a younger sister called Shamika and they were best friends, and Mum got along with their Mum, Justine. Callan would always play the games and I would watch, I saw the games go from Pokemon Yellow and Silver on his Gameboy, Spyro 1 on the PS1 all the way to Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper on the PS2, I owe quite a lot of games I play even now to him.
Eventually Mum bought us a Play Station 1, Jack got Monsters, Inc. Scare Island and Toy Story Racer, I got Harry Potter 1 & 2 (I still remember when the first books came out, they didn't have Philosopher's Stone so I got Prisoner of Azkaban because I liked the cover). One Christmas we got a Play Station 2, the games I got with it were Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex and Sonic Heroes, I remember around the time of playing Sonic Heroes, Green Hill Zone's music triggered inside my head and I was so determined on finding where it came from!
So, 2004 comes and it's farewell to Grange School, luckily many of my friends were going to the same school! And the thing about me was that I got easily upset and aggressive in those times, so I vowed to put my past behind me, start new with being nice, kind and happy, boy was that shot down! First day in the new school I spent lots of time studying the school map, reading the French dictionary, walking around, I was a real Twilight Sparkle back then! Walking around I'd encounter old friends, some were still faithful, some weren't. I'll never forget one girl named Rebecca, I saw her sitting with some new friends, I ran to her all happy and smiles, 'Hiya Rebecca! How are you?' then she says 'Do I even know you?' still being innocent minded I said 'We went school together, we were in Mrs Arthur's class' but I was cut short, one of the boys literally told me to 'fuck off', I walked away upset and shocked, shocked that that boy had used a naughty word! Even Callan began to grow distant, and I realized that me and him were best friends from my perspective.
So as time went on, my studies waned, I became more relaxed with my talking, I made new friends, but it was always upsetting when they all talked about their primary school days and I had nobody to reminisce with. Then just when everything was going nice for me, my friends start hearing rumours, about how I used to flip tables in my anger, how I'd rather pick flowers than play football, how it was really easy to make me cry, being honest I admitted they were all true, some friends stood by me, those were my real friends, but I decided I needed to change myself.
So I decided to be more careful about who I open my heart to, I strengthened myself emotionally, though whenever someone shouted at me I'd still break down and I always put on a happy face, generally becoming what 'Older Oliver' was like, as the years went by, some began to mellow and saw me as a really great guy, some even called me a 'legend', being accepted is always a nice feeling.
February 2009 comes along, and we finally get internet in my house, everything I'd ever want to know at my fingertips! So new and so exciting, people at school always mentioned YouTube, so I started there, opened an account and uploaded videos of the things I liked, I liked Spyro games, so I posted a video series in which it contained all the Spyro 1 dragon cutscenes, I also uploaded game soundtracks, which I grew to love more than any music genre (still do!). Eventually I made friends with the people that inspired me, I saw quite a few people had their own dragon characters, and I wanted my own, so I opened Microsoft Paint and using a still image of a dragon for reference, I made my own, cartoony dragon! I called him Oliver, a colourful and kind dragon who went on adventures!
I talked to these people I had met on the internet, they all seemed awesome, they had great work, were fun to talk to, and if anyone was sad, I'd try and make them happy again, that was when I began to realize just how important friends were to me.
In 2010, my past began to come back to haunt me, not primary school things, things from my early days, good and bad. My Dad's side of the family found me on Facebook, and it wasn't the happiest of reunions, it turned out Dad was in an induced coma and the family wasn't expecting him to come out of it, we gained an insight into Dad's life, four years after Mum had left him, he'd had a car accident, he spent the next 8 years paralyzed in a wheelchair, it wasn't our fault, things just happen, Mum found out one day in August that Dad had been confirmed deceased, just me and Mum went to see his body at the funeral parlor to make our farewells, I had always wanted to see him again, to talk to him, I went home and played Sonic 1, actually beating the game, as a personal closure and tribute to him, he'd complete the game, I would always laugh and make Sonic die, it seemed fun at the time in a weird way.
I moved on pretty quick, I barely knew the man so I decided not to cry over lost time, instead I sought to be a really caring and understanding friend, I also found Kelly again, it was nice to catch up with her, although we didn't see each other every day, meeting old friends never has the habit of making successive days together.
Eventually My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic came along, I fell in love with the show, and becoming a brony really helped amplify the qualities I already had, I'm kind, I can be generous, I'm always honest, very loyal to my friends, full of laughter and some reckon I'm just a tiny bit magical!
For a time, the internet life consumed a lot of time over my real life, but I've managed to work a balance between internet life and real life, currently I'm at college studying Creative Arts and Media, something I've found a passion in, life's going well for me, whenever I bump into an old friend, they always seem happy to see me, often saying 'Oh my god, it's Ollie!' and 'Oliver? Man, it's great to see you again!' I know I saw Callan again the other day, walking with a friend, he caught my eye but quickly looked away, as if he'd never seen me, I accept that he has his reasons, whatever they may be, I know you can't expect everyone to be friends with you, but I'm always sure to be there for my friends when they need me, friendship really is magic, and that's why I'm the way I am, full of imagination, being kind yet crazy and always determined to do what results in the happiest outcome. I know I'm not perfect, nobody is, but very few guys my age probably care for all their friends as much as I do.
PS: If you TL;DRed, then here's the basic: I'll always be a great friend to you