Counseling 101: How Tynemouth Saved Me From Myself

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I grew up knowing my father’s undying love for Tynemouth, his hometown in the United Kingdom. Even when he was already a permanent resident of the United States, he had stories to share about his special place. As soon as his words started with, “You know, in Tynemouth…”, we knew that we better buckle up because we would be in for another ride down Dad’s memory lane.

Did we believe any of it, though? I must say I did when I was a toddler. It all sounded so majestic and peaceful, you see. I often compared it to that town where Belle came from in Beauty and the Beast, even if Dad said that Tynemouth was surrounded mainly by the sea. But as I got older, I began to think that some of his stories were weaved by his wild imagination.

The primary thing I could not fathom was how a place could be picturesque all over. As per Dad’s words, “You can look at Tynemouth at any angle, and it will be picture-perfect.” It might be the city dweller in me talking, but that could not be possible. I mean, no matter how colorful New York City was, everyone knew that it still had gray areas hidden in the shadows.

Then, I Had A Relationship Problem

Talks about Tynemouth became far between when I finally moved out of my parents’ house and shacked up with my boyfriend, Zac. He was an aspiring theater actor on Broadway when we met while I was completing my medical residency in one of the biggest hospitals in NYC. Although we had only been dating for almost a year, I agreed to live with Zac because I felt like he was the one for me.

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Little did I know, Zac was a poser. He had been posing as some wealthy family’s heir among his peers, claiming that acting was among his hobbies. After all, people who had barely broken into the industry typically earn peanuts. Still, he always had new clothes, shoes, and whatnot.

How could Zac afford all those? I bought everything for him. I was not the type of girl who waited for the guy to give me gifts at all times. I was cool even without receiving any material objects as long as the guy is nice to me.

That’s what happened with Zac. He’s always apologetic for not having enough money to cover his half of the rent and other bills. Since I made more than enough for myself as a doctor, I told him not to worry about that. In return, he would always have the house cleaned and have warm food prepped for me.

This setup worked until I heard his phone chime while he was in the bathroom one day. Call it a woman’s intuition, but I felt a sudden need to read the text he just got. And when I did, my heart sank.

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“Thanks for the lovely night, handsome,” the text read. It came with a naked picture of a woman.

When I confronted Zac, he had the gull to direct the blame on me. He spewed a lot of excuses, such as “You are always on call at work” and “You tend to come home super late and tired.” Well, duh, when you’re the one wearing the pants at home, that’s what happens!

I kicked Zac out that night despite his pleas to wait it out in the morning. I could not be bothered by it – I was sure he had other girls to shack up with instantly. Still, I could not bear to stay there, so I took a cab and went straight to my parents’ home.

At once, my parents knew that something was up when I asked them to buzz me in the building. Crying, I relayed everything that transpired between Zac and me. My mother, the hot-headed one in the family, wanted to hunt down my ex and make him pay for everything. But I liked my father’s suggestion better.

“Go to Tynemouth and unwind there. A new place might do you some good.”

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Letting Tynemouth Save Me One Day At A Time

After filing an urgent leave of absence at work, I flew to the UK and traveled to Tynemouth. I held zero expectations in my heart; all I wanted was to escape from New York for a while. However, when I reached Tynemouth, I felt transported to another – calmer – dimension.

Most of the structures looked the same. They were all old but well-kept. There was something about their uniformed appearance that gave me a sense of peace. Then, it also helped that the other side of the area was a never-ending body of water. Seeing, hearing, and even smelling the seas genuinely calmed my nerves.

Final Thoughts

I stayed in Tynemouth for 30 days. I took crash courses in painting and cycling; I was at the beach every day. I even found some of Dad’s old friends and school counselors and visited their homes.

Were 30 days enough? No – it would never be. Tynemouth was a healing place for me. Alas, my life was in New York, and I could not leave that behind. But I promised myself to visit Tynemouth as often as possible.

Who Needs Counseling When You Can Visit Tynemouth?

I had never lived anywhere but the city my entire life. It was not because my parents were born in the concrete jungle like I was, no. In truth, my mom and dad met, grew up, and fell in love with each other in a tiny town in Tynemouth, where my grandparents still lived. But they wanted to give me better opportunities than they ever had, so they saved up and moved to NYC before I was even born.

Life In The City

I would often see in the movies that kids who got uprooted from their hometown tend to have difficulty fitting in with everyone else. Well, I agree to disagree with that. Despite growing up in New York, I still felt as much of an outsider as my mom and dad ever felt the first time they set foot in the Big Apple.

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I was never sure why I did not feel a sense of belonging in that city. My parents would always ask, “Is anyone bullying you?” I would reply no, and they would not believe me because I would continue to look sad and sluggish.

When I continued to act like that until middle school, my parents decided to take me to a counselor. Mostly, they worried that I might be entertaining some suicidal thoughts in my serenity. I would insist that that’s never happened – that I merely had nothing to say – but they had seen too many teenage suicides to take my word for it.

Although seeing a counselor was against my wishes, I tried to be as honest as possible when I met one. I told her that I did not feel like I belonged in NYC, and she said that some people tend to feel that way about a location. She clarified to my parents that it’s hardly due to bullying in my case, which allowed them to sigh in relief.

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Then, the counselor suggested something we had never done before. “Why don’t you visit your hometown? Your daughter might benefit from the quiet life and fresh air there.”

My parents contemplated it the entire weekend. The reality was that I had never been to that little town in Tynemouth. Mom and dad tend to fly their parents to NYC every year for days of luxury and fun, but it was never the other way around. They insisted that nothing is exciting about seeing fields and waters left and right, so the new arrangement was better for everyone. However, because of my counselor’s suggestion, the prodigal kids had no choice but to come home.

Visiting The Small Town For The First Time

My parents showed me from the old photos; there was genuinely nothing to see in their old hometown. Since it was the UK, I expected it to be wet and cloudy all the time, too. But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the sun shining brightly once we landed at the Heathrow Airport. I took it as a positive sign for our trip.

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My parents had a lot of pit stops on the way. That made me feel like they were trying to do everything to avoid seeing Tynemouth again. Instead of copying their emotions, though, it made me more interested in finding out what’s so bad in that little town that they dreaded every minute they got closer to it.

A few hours later, I found out how sorely mistaken my parents were about their hometown. Tynemouth was beyond exquisite! It was a far cry from the modern city I grew up in, but its tiny houses and buildings held a certain charm that contemporary structures might take forever to have. I looked at my parents, and I saw a pleasant surprise on their faces.

“I see a lot of progress here, but the people managed to maintain that old-town feel. Wow!” my dad could not help but exclaim.

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Every day since our arrival in Tynemouth, my parents and I would visit their old hangout places. Some of them continued to stand up to this day, but the others that got replaced still showed a semblance to the past. We would end each day with a dip in Prior’s Haven or King Edward’s Bay – two of the most famous beaches there.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Tynemouth was the perfect counseling advice I got. It was also something that would hopefully stick for the rest of my life. That’s especially true now that my parents fell in love with their hometown again and could not wait to visit it soon.

When I told my friends back home about my little adventure, they did not get the appeal of staying in a small town on purpose. Instead of feeling alienated by that, I merely shrugged and thought, “More of Tynemouth for me, I guess.”