the end

That's it.
A-levels are done.
It feels kind of bittersweet, right now more bitter than sweet.
I am terrified about emptiness and loss of direction and loss of structure and loss of purpose and isolation and disappearance and the demise of academic interest.
I poured too much of myself into my a-levels, they consumed my life and, whilst it was partly because I enjoy learning and because the fear of failure continued to ebb away, it was also because it filled a void.
The focus and 'need to do something' patched the holes of personal failing that they subsequently perpetuated. I could silence my insecurities by saying "I need to work",  I could fill empty time by writing an essay that "needed to be done" and I could neglect my mental and physical health because "these exams are just so important".
And now I have to tackle this. I have to openly face the anxious pools of darkness and I have to actually think about myself and my health. I can't really explain the self-inflicted neglect that past 2 years have caused other than such a focus is unhealthy. It means when the plug is finally removed, you reach crisis point.
Maybe I'll write a post about my a-level experience once I've processed it all, it may guide some that are embarking on that whirl-wind of a journey.
But now to the future.
I need to create a new identity for myself (my identity was consumed by school work, unhealthy but again, filled an abyss), need to tackle some mental instabilities that have been ignored for too long, need to find enjoyment and creativity and learn to do things because I can and because I want to.  I also want to learn some healthy ways of approaching work, explore new paths and talents and be inspired by life, rather than terrified.
Expect to see more creative, more considered and less exam drenched content. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.

Narcissistically, I have just read over my own post from 2015.
I quote: "May, you brought the realisation that what I knew was coming to the end, that I was growing up and things were getting serious"
This, apart from being horrifically written, was in reminiscence of the end of GCSE's.
And I look and realise I am, 2 years later, experiencing the same emotions. And whilst I was terrified about A-levels, I have had a whale of a time, in a mad, panicked kind of way. And so maybe next year won't be so bad after all.
Also, 'things were getting serious' makes me smile as I remember being so scared about lessons being so dull and lacking in laughter. They have, thankfully, been far, far from.

Finally, I've changed my blog URL. I needed greater personal anonymity so I could exist with a sense of duality. Not much different but hope u guys stick around.


Week one of exams fini.
The past 3 weeks have been, admittedly, close to some of the worst. But I know its not just me, my friends have cried and broken with the relentless nature of exams. It's involved so many tears, panic, phone calls, cries for help and required a whole new way of looking at myself and capabilities.
Today, I am exhausted beyond the point of function, my eyes fuzzy and my head clouded. I know I need to open my Othello text and stick my head in notes of the collapse of the GDR but not today.
This past week has been an exercise of self-care, so here are some tips on getting through the impossible.

Comfort: in your clothes, your surroundings, your food. Some things that helped me include reading Harry Potter, wearing old sweatshirts, dried pineapple and walks with dear friends.
Escape: my dear mum has driven me out the beach in pouring rain on numerous occasions this past week as 'long views' are supposed to add perspective and the openness allows me to escape the panic.
Tears: in exams, with friends, in the library, in hugs, in bed, in the bath. We've all decided tears drain the emotion and provide a sedated fatigue.
Help: asking for anything you need. For me this has been different seats in exams, trips to the doctors and constant emails and reassurance.
Sleep: aided by lavender scents and warm baths, it adds a little perspective.
Distraction: for me it has been planning my 18th in Budapest (!) and the political MADNESS that is unfolding in the UK.
Care: towards yourself and others. I feel everyone has been so nice towards each other recently (I probs could have played a greater role in this lol) but just kind texts and kind words and kind reassurance.
Perspective: as I cried on the phone to my mum in the school yard (yes I was such a MESS), epiphanic perspective dawned. They don't matter, I can resit, they aren't a true reflection, my health is so much more important. Whatever it is, remind yourself of the rationality.

But out of the ashes, some good things have emerged. The kindness addressed above, the recognition of the voice of the youth that WILL NOT BE SILENCED and the realisation that I need to look after myself.
I hope you are all coping a lil better than me (lol)

oo in lieu with 'self care' this was my pre-exam bath. SO EXTRA but gr8 nonetheless.