Saturday, 14 May 2016

My life for 13 years comes to its end.


I left school officially yesterday. Well, I still have to return for exams and the dreaded results day. It was strange; I expected to feel sadder, more nostalgic but instead I went through the day as if it were normal (apart from the convict outfits, the horse in the headteacher's parking space, and water fight on the field).

The day was fun and exciting. We all signed each other's yearbooks with messages we'll  read years later half remembering the faces who wrote them. I didn't feel remorse or anguish. I will miss people, but I will also watch their lives unfurl on social media. We won't be so detached from each other as previous generations may have been, perhaps that's why. Perhaps because my sister will still attend the school I don't feel totally distanced from it. Although I suspect next week when I realise I won't ever have any lessons with classmates and a formal teacher we call Miss or Sir I will feel a little sad. My life for 13 years comes to its end.

The people you meet at school are a unique and strange bunch. We are banded together mostly randomly and fight and laugh and cry all the way to the end. All the while dreaming of that weakly envisioned future where we get to escape. I don't know what all of their futures will be, or what they have been dreaming of. It'll be interesting to watch everyone find their way.

I'm excited about all the reading I can do when exams are over. All the parties, and travelling, and writing and thinking (I'll have space to think). All the freedom I'll have. But what an earth do I do with that freedom? What if I forget to do what I told myself to do in the build up to this moment?

I'm slightly scared for the future more than anything. School is a safeguard. For me it has become a form or procrastination. I don't have to face the rest of my life when I'm working hard for exams. But the rest of my life is at the edge of my finger tips now; no waiting and daydreaming about who I will be when I grow up. I am going to be that grown up very soon. I'm not sure what to do with myself. I think I lost my plan along the way. It feels too real.

I don't know what it feels like to abandon 13 years of routine but I'll soon find out. I expect I will feel both liberated and lost. The world is big out there, I haven't really been in it yet.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

What is it to be happy?




What is it to be happy?

I haven't worked this out yet. It seems almost random. I know what makes me happy; syrupy, dandelion sunshine; singing with my sister; walking with my dad; being with my mum. I feel relieved to see my friends, to laugh with them. I like to feel my love for them rise to my chest whenever we're together.

But these things don't always mean total happiness. They just promise it.

The happiness where everything is slotted into place is random. Not everything will be slotted into place, but something feels perfected. This morning I laughed out loud for no reason. I was happy to be alive. I was hopeful for the rest of my life. That was random.

Where does that happiness come from? Can we take a drug for it?

It has lasted all day and I have felt complete. No holes in this feeling. No heavy, leaded heart.

I am excited about this feeling. About its randomness. I like this rollercoaster life. The soaring in the sky and the slow drag at the bottom.

I don't really care where this happiness comes from.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

To my mother, who loves me.

I am incredibly close to my mum because she is an excellent mother. She swears and screams at me when I misbehave, and I swear and scream and cry at her when she is annoying as hell. I remember the first time I eloquently shouted "fuck off" at her in a fit of passion when we were driving in the car and she was probably discussing school work and I decided to untie years of etiquette that I shouldn't swear in her presence because it was the best way to let out how I felt. I think rather than being a moment of extreme disrespect for my parent it became another level of communication between us. Somehow it was a move into our more adult relationship. If being adult means speaking crudely in extreme situations. Or any situation. But it was certainly a move to being closer to my mother, which I feel happens each day, no matter how much we loath what the other may have done. Mum says that she feels safe in the knowledge that whatever awful thing we spit out at each other means absolutely nothing and that love still flows between us no matter what. I think she's correct. 

Why does my mum always know what to say? And yet, sometimes, when she asks for my help I am lost for words. Does she know me through some divine connection for having created me? Can she read my mind? 

My mum is the one person in this world who knows just as much about myself as I do. I tell her everything. I am not one to keep my secrets to myself, so to have another person who can absorb them for me is the best thing I've ever been given. I am never judged, never shouted at, never ignored when I go to my mother with my horrible, hurtful thoughts. I think she could be the only reason I haven't gone completely mad yet. 

I have the absolute comfort in knowing that wherever I am in the world even her voice over the phone can soothe my worried heart, my whirring mind, my fidgeting hands. She can cure my sickness if I lie next to her in her bed. She can take my biggest heartfelt concerns and store them away from my overthinking head when I tell them to her on sleepless, crying nights. 

There was probably a time when I distanced myself from my mother experimentally. Failing to recognise her importance, her vitality to my being. I don't think that everybody has the choice to come back to their mother in some intense and lovely attachment after those lonely teenage years spent rejecting her existence. I did have that choice, and now I sit with the pleasant acknowledgement that in my heart is some powerful, invisible line across two bodies that attaches me to her every hour of every day. It may be a little strange to suggest that perhaps my mother and I are soulmates, but I'm beginning to believe that the notion of such intrinsic connection to another person has little to do with romance and much more to do with the random and perfect compatibility of two people. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Boring boring boring.

Right now my life consists of absolute monotony. I get up, I have breakfast, I get dressed and at 10 O'clock I begin revision.

It is as boring as boring can be.

I begin to think of the 15 million things I would rather be doing than making a spider diagram of Elizabeth I's foreign policy in the years 1571 to 1588. I ignore all of those things, and force myself to focus on the blurring, green, ugly writing on the page. It's so boring it hurts. I fantasise about everything I can do in the evening when I'm finally free from that day's work. But, when I actually get to the evening I seem to do nothing. Too brain dead to conjure up any enthusiasm for something fun. I let my mind turn to mush, probably letting it turn over the things that I put in it earlier that day. My Easter break started over 10 days ago but I can't remember much of what's happened, it's all been the same. I went to Paris, so that memory is stark against the sea of unexciting notes and past papers, but everything else has been one long revision session. I feel like it's Groundhog Day.

I have over a month to go until exams, and a further month after that whilst exams go on. It's going to be like this. All the time. I don't have much brain space for that time. I'll write whatever dull thing comes into my mind to keep me sane. I'm so not excited.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Religion on Easter Sunday.

I feel the need to pray sometimes, or go to church. I'm not religious and I haven't been since I was around 6 years old. I don't believe in a god and yet often I am tempted to go to church and pray; a forced silence and a type of meditation. I really need to meditate.

I don't really like religion itself, not organised religion, and I haven't gauged quite yet why people completely follow it. At this time of year I'm not really into the whole "He is risen" thing, and at Christmas I don't celebrate Christ's birthday. But, as I begin to face troubling thoughts and worries with an adult mind I can see more and more why God is so appealing, why the church is a sort of safe haven, and why churchgoers become a very close-knit community. This is what I have understood from my local church, anyway.

I am lucky; my local church is friendly and open and inclusive. It is a community in itself, and a part of the community outside. It's a beautiful, old, spacious building. The graveyard has a beautiful view over our village and the trees and the hills. It's a good place to think. It's comforting, when you need that.

It is probably specifically from this church that I have begun to see why religion can be extraordinarily helpful to some people. I don't understand obedience to a god, or a bible, when it limits your freedom of choice, or suppresses your desires. I don't get the God part, but I can see why the concept might provide pacifying answers to questions that are bigger than yourself. What I have certainly come to understand is the calm, quiet, contemplative headspace that the church can provide when you're in desperate need of time to reflect. I really do get that now.

Of course, meditation can happen in any place of worship. Or in any quiet room, or on a walk, or by closing your eyes. But the church, or a place for a community, is a comforting thing and I see much more now why it becomes a daily, weekly, yearly routine for those who need the time to think. When I drive past the pretty little churches in the pretty little places I live near to I feel the solidity and the tranquility of its oldness, perhaps my interest stems from the history of these types of churches too. Perhaps others may feel rejected and unwanted by these religious houses, which for many must be true, but in sitting down at the pew and holding your hands together and closing your eyes and thinking deeply about something there must be some calm in it.

Maybe one day I'll walk into one of these places and do just that. Try to find the calm. And maybe I'll walk right out. It's very possible it's just not for me. But, on this Easter Sunday I think I am beginning to see why and that, in itself, is a fascinating thing.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Giving up.

Giving up is one of the worst things you can do. I think. Perhaps not for every situation, but in my life giving up on things would prove disastrous. I have a few things to give up on. My school work, my writing, my friendships, my part-time job, anything that I love. Like most people, I suppose. I could give up on the things I have to do today. I could give up on writing this post. I won’t, because I can get on with things and tick off lists and achieve small but useful goals, but I definitely could.

The feeling of giving up is awful; total disappointment in yourself. The taste is vile. It’s just energy wasted. You don’t get anywhere by giving up, obviously, but it just seems such a sad and silly thing to do. It’s like driving somewhere but halfway through the journey you stop the car and get out and abandon the car and walk away. It’s a bit weird. You’d always ask yourself why you did that.

I probably wanted to share a miniature thought about giving up to remind myself not to do it. It’s so easy to do it, it’s so tiring keeping going. But I must and I always will. And through my life as I achieve cool things because I didn’t give up I’ll always, always be glad that I didn’t.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Not judging other women.

It is hard not to judge other people. I think it is particularly valuable for women to make an effort to not judge other women. I think that women openly judging other women is harmful and unhelpful. No one benefits from internalised misogyny.

Throughout my life at secondary school I have judged other girls for their promiscuity. I have judged other girls for the clothes they wear. I have judged the rumours about their sex lives. I have thought that they were doing something wrong for not thinking like me.

I am getting over that stage of my life now, I try not to judge women in that way anymore. They don't need me to make their lives harder. Something darker has already made them uncomfortable in their own skin, they don't need me to tell them to change something else.

I know that being judged by other women is awful and unhealthy. I know that women do it because they can't work out what is good about themselves so they desperately seek out the bad in others. They look for flaws in faces, bodies, and lifestyles to make up for the problems in their own. I know because I do it sometimes. It doesn't make me feel very wonderful.

Women need other women to support them much more than they need to build walls around themselves to protect them from each other. How extremely lovely it is to give a woman the freedom to live and look how she would like right from the beginning.

It is hard not to judge other people, but we really should try harder.