Growing up, I always found myself forming deep connections to people, objects and places. I struggled with attachment — this being down to the fact my birth mother left my siblings and I when I was just two years old.
I have always been extremely sentimental, I hold onto things that are dear to me and that remind me of memories and times I don’t want to forget. So much so, I have every single card I have ever received since my 11th birthday.
I grieve the loss of objects and places the same way I would grieve over a person. Objects are easier to keep hold off — places, not so much. In this case, an ambiguous loss occurs and has often left me with unsolved grief.
Just recently, I took a step up at work and this has meant moving city entirely. This is supposed to be an exciting time for a 21-year-old with her whole life ahead of her, yet, sadness and despair linger.
You see, I grew up in care and the impact this has had on me is unprecedented. Moving around from placement to placement, respite to respite, has meant I had forgotten what it felt like to feel truly at home somewhere. I repeatedly felt like a stranger in what was supposed to my home.
By the time I was 17, I was homeless. Places suddenly lost their sentiment to me and I felt detached from reality. I lived in a B&B above a pub for 9 months — spent my 18th birthday there, was actively planning suicide and felt worthless, felt numb.
But then one day, 3 days before Christmas 2016, the cards were finally dealt in my favour. I was offered a flat by the Local Authority — my first chance of creating a home, and I did. I fell in love with my flat. I turned my life around in it, landed the job of my dreams with the security of it, fell in love in it, made the most amazing memories in it. And when it was time to leave, my heart felt heavy.
The realisation hit me that as soon as I left this flat, I would lose my safety net — the safety net that my non-Care Experienced peers have in their parents. The second that I gave up my council flat, I made my life undeniably harder for the future as I know that now my chances of getting a council property are slim. As such, I will be stuck renting private properties with sky high rent prices and deposits I cannot afford — it seems like punishment for perusing my ambitions.
Buying a house has never been in my future. It’s just not something that happens for people like me, people with no support from parents, no funds, struggling to make ends meet. At least, it wasn’t.
At SNP Conference, Nicola Sturgeon announced that people in Scotland would only have to conjure up 5% of a deposit for a house and the Scottish Government will top up the rest up to the value of £25,000. This of course, is welcome news to Scotland’s young people, but to me — it’s more than welcome news. It’s hope, it’s possibility, it’s a new future.
No matter how hard I work, how much I achieved, I could never see myself having home that I can truly call mine — one that I don’t have to fear becoming attached to, because I will never have to leave it. Now this doesn’t feel like a distant dream, a desire that will never happen — it feels like a reality, one that could quite possibly happen.
With this announcement, although finding even 5% of deposit will undoubtedly still be difficult on my own, it doesn’t feel a million miles away.
A future with stability for myself and any future children I may have, feels within arms reach. The life I always wanted, envied and absolutely avoided at all costs, no longer feels impossible for me — thanks to the SNP.
And for that, I am grateful.