the world i live in

"Today is going to be a hard day" I said to myself as I rolled over to turn on my radio. There wasn't really a reason, it just felt empty and dull, with no energy to ease the boredom.
The past week or two have been bliss, surprisingly. I say surprisingly as I have been dreading these summer holidays but I am enjoying the freedom and relaxation. Much of it has been reuniting with friends, partying, trips and a general sense of ease towards a slower pace of life with a pleasant feeling that I still have time to do all the things I planned over summer.
But today is hard.
And the darkest moments over the past year (which have all stemmed from the same stimulus) have felt so unbearably lonely as my fears and wishes felt stagnant and lame, I figured maybe I would write about them, partially to make today a little easier (which it will become) and also to maybe reach out to another who is in my (arguably strange) position.

(side note this is going to be unbelievably frank, which makes me think of an excerpt from an interview with Tennessee Williams in the back of Streetcar. It will also probably not make sense to anyone else, but that's okay)



I gave A-levels my everything. I mean, I abandoned everything to focus on an arbitrary qualification. My life became defined by school and by exams. The reasons why I find hard to uncover.
Part of me was desperate to achieve, fuelled by an entirely self-inflicted fear of failure, need to prove myself and compare to others.
I was also excited by learning. It felt new and fresh and intriguing, presenting concepts that were so much bigger than my individual existence.
But I also used A-levels as a cape of ignorance, reflecting thoughts and events I didn't want to think about, didn't need to think about. I could neglect my health and my sanity for a short term fix of an hour of revision or a day of stress, filling the emerging emptiness. Work would take away the fears and the anxieties because I could focus, because the distraction felt necessary. But of course it didn't take it away, under a blanket of oblivion they grew erupting at crucial points in the year, leaving me crying in the yard, at my desk, in bed.
I became a physical embodiment of my studying. I would talk about little else, think about little else and enjoy little else, spending as many hours as possible away from home, in school, but it didn't matter, it felt justified, necessary.
And this focus became so narrow, so intense, the rest of the world fell around me. I forgot who I was, what I liked, how I spent free time. A pitiful example of this self-destruction can be seen in the composition of my birthday list. My family asked me what I wanted for my birthday and, after days of ignoring the question, I replied "I don't know what I want because I don't know who I am anymore" which was the truth.
And while I was slaving away, losing myself with a sadistic sense of satisfaction, it was completely covert. Because as long as I was academically achieving, and fucking hell I should have been, it didnt matter. There was no problem visible to outsiders. I was just a girl driven to do well. And of course I didn't speak out because how do you explain the mess of thoughts that are driving you to work so hard.

What was I so scared of?
The emptiness of my gap year, the loss of immediate support and care, the loss of identity, the disappearance of the sense of belonging and a sense of focus, independence and no longer a need to stress and an ability to blame everything on studying.

And I suppose now I am living the aftermath of the apocalypse.
In all honesty, its been okay.
Some days have been unbearable, some totally enjoyable.
I've learned to busy myself, adapt to a slower pace of life, allow myself to read in the day, bathe at noon, watch a movie in bed, sleep until 9, lie in the sun, and bake. Its difficult, I feel empty and lost without the sole thing that defined my being, I yearn for the structure and focus it provided and the opportunity to hide from the thoughts that I am having to confront. It feels sort of trapping, I can't go back but the future is terrifying. I love working hard and feel I'll never meet such a challenge–this is naive and irrational but a consuming thought.
I have, on too many accounts, cried "I just want to go back to school" because it is oh so safe but I know I don't grow in my comfort zone.
And the gap year, whilst physicalising my fear, is entirely necessary. I need to escape the sadistic self-neglect that will, inevitably, ruin me.
Maybe it will be the best year of my life.
Who knows.

I just want to learn to live again.

***
In the depth of this panic (kind of now, kind of throughout the whole of 2k17) reading about someone else experiencing my pathetic but existential crisis would have saved many a tear.
I suppose, as well as this being therapeutic, I want to remind people that a) loving school isnt sad (I thought it was even tho I did) and b) all fears are legit, no matter how irrational

4 comments

  1. The way the education system works - it isn't fair, it truly isn't fair. When I say I didn't leave the house for 2 months other than for school to revise for my GCSE's , I promise you it isn't an exaggeration... it's a horrible system.
    Aleeha xXx
    http://www.halesaaw.co.uk/

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  2. We are so adapted to school, breaking the routine is so hard! I alwayss find summers hard because I feel like I have to constantly be busying myself. Also loved that interview extract from the back of streetcar, flashback to a-level english aha. xx

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    Replies
    1. i know!! slowly learning...
      haha yes, can't quite leave it x

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