A Brit Abroad with Gabriel Kidd: Family Values


Pretty mad to think that we’re in April already, isn’t it? That marks nearly 3 months since I came back from LA, when it feels like I came back last week haha.
In today’s blog I wanted to talk about family. This kinda goes back to previous entries, but I’ve always wanted to write about the importance of family for a while so here we are. My family have always been really supportive of me and my decision to pursue professional wrestling. I was 11 when I started training, and classes were every Sunday morning.
My dad would drive me to the wrestling school, drop me off, and then pick me up when the class was finished. I remember the first time we went to the school, the whole drive there he was saying “If it’s anything like UFC, you’re not going again.” But of course I knew it wasn’t. When I started on shows when I was 14, my mum used to tell all her mates that I was a wrestler. I remember being at family parties and all these 40 year women would come up to me saying “are you the wrestler?” Which at that age, you can imagine, made me feel like the man. My sister never really cared heh. She’d just tell her friends its something I do and get on with her day.
I always struggled in school, it just wasn’t for me. I always did better in the practical subjects like physical education and drama rather than the subjects you’re required to sit down in a classroom with pen and paper. At the time my parents and I would butt heads about that quite a lot. I always would say stuff like “I want be a wrestler, that doesn’t require me to be able to do trigonometry” and they’d always respond with “That’s fine, but you need good grades and a back up plan in case that doesn’t work out.” I can look back now and say they were only looking out for my best interests, but I definitely didn’t realise that for a good few years.
So when I decided I was going to leave my office job and make wrestling my only source of income, I knew I had to call my parents and let them know. At first, I thought they’d question my decision a lot and maybe try and get me to stay in my current job. I knew whatever they were going to say I was going to quit anyway, but there was that thought in my mind that they might take it in a bad way. I called them and told them. The line went silent for a second and of course my mind went racing, but they both said “we thought this was coming, we know you’ve wanting to do it for a long time” which obviously put my mind at ease straight away.
They were both extremely supportive of my decision and throughout my time as an independent pro wrestler. My Nan (grandma) said exactly same thing. When I first went full time and wasn’t getting paid a lot, she would sneak a £10 or £20 note in to my room when I wasn’t around. I will never forget how much that helped me out at the time, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really made a difference.
I guess the reason I wanted to write about family is because I really miss mine. I talked in previous entries about when you’re chasing your dream you subconsciously neglect important things around you, and I feel like I neglected my family in a way. Not necessarily in a bad way, but if I was given the choice of attending a family party or going to a wrestling show I wasn’t booked on, I would chose the wrestling show because it could have lead to more bookings or a match if someone had to pull out. I don’t regret my decisions to do that, because I feel that’s what I had to do to make it where I am now, fully dedicate myself.
The week before I left to come to japan for the first time, my mum had organised a party at my Nan’s house to see my mum’s side of the family before I left. I had wrestled in Glasgow the night before and had to get a train back home at 4am to make it in time. I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and just being on the road so much that when I got to the party I practically slept the whole way through. Again, I don’t regret my choice to go and do that show in Glasgow at all. But I can’t help sometimes wishing I could have spent more time with my family on days like that.
I have seen my family for 10 days between September 2019 and now, April 2021. Of course I was supposed to visit home in May last year but made the decision to stay in Japan to wrestle. It may not sound like it from what I’ve just wrote, but I really value my relationships with my family. I miss them everyday.
Sometimes it really gets to me. Both my Gran and my Nan are getting older now and I can’t help but think my time with them is limited. But I try and focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t, and I can FaceTime and message them regularly. I try and speak to my parents every week and message my Nan as regularly as possible. My Nan actually writes letters to me, whether I’m in Japan or LA. They always make my day. So if you’re reading this and you’re around your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins or even your partner, give them a hug. Tell them you love them.
You only get one family. Thank you for reading as always.
Today’s track for this diary entry: The Blind Boys of Alabama –Welcome