friendship and changes

This post is inspired by Libby, so thanks for the inspo gurl.

I am at that cusp in the trajectory of my life where friendship is changing. Its kind of inevitable, I know, but its also difficult.
I'm grasping at ties I should probably cut, knowing that eventually they'll drift but that I also don't want to say goodbye, just yet.
Fatally, I scroll through photos and soak up the laughs and drunken adventures and travels and dramas until I feel weak with a crumbling nostalgia. I want it back, oh so bad.
But, underneath the facade of memories, I know that some of these friendships make me feel little worse than is worth sustaining. I know I feel somewhat inadequate and replaced and as though I am the one always trying, the one reaching out, the one organising.
And I'm giving and giving and giving until there's nothing left.
But little comes back in return.
To actually say farewell though, to put down my phone, to leave the memories in the past, feels too much. And the emptiness that would ensue, oh.
But it could be so freeing.
So much of me wants to run away from it all, breathe a new air, escape the past, not because most of it wasn't exhilarating and warming, but because I'm ready for newness. And because what they're moving on.
And some of what I have here is still so rewarding (e.g. a friend who encourages spontaneous piercings, who I go for meals with that accidentally and inevitably end up as nights out) and there are so many relationships I want, and will maintain, alas, I'm also ready to move on.
But I suppose the scary thing about moving on is the fear of "what if".

As I dapple in these thoughts, I am reminded of just how special these friendships are. Years of closeness, where they become an accepted part of your world and routine. Where you know you entirely belong, where everything is done together, where you know everything about the other. Where they become more like a sister. Or friends who adventure to the beach after a night out to watch the sunrise, or who travel round Europe for 2 weeks with you or buy you Hungarian cake on your 18th birthday or make A-levels and the library enjoyable or dance and sing and party with you and make you feel so much less alone.

Maybe I can't say goodbye to that.
Ah. Like everything in my world, I think I just need to let it be. And, if they were there only for the most formative 10 years of my life, fuck thats enough. That's more than enough. They've moulded me, and I hope I them. A little bit of ourselves will be with the other.

This year, I just need to ride it out. I am lost in a limbo, still craving the past while everyone around me moves on, but anticipating next year and the newness it will bring.
But, as Libby alludes to, the end of school means friendships can exist in so many new ways. You aren't confined to those with whom you share a class, eat lunch, walk home with so I'll explore and value that, as I make friends with the old ladies who volunteer at the food bank, and the wonderful people in this ever loving online community.

Thanks for always listening.

Twitter - Instagram

la vie

Life has been kinda hectic; I love it but I'm also exhausted. It's a good exhaustion, I think.
I have lots of thoughts I want to document (about friendships, self-esteem, validation and expectation) but I thought I'd just do some updates, to allow time for those ideas to become a little more comprehensible.
SO, I've been doing a lot of travelling. Every time I make a journey alone, it sparks a little pride. Despite all the other stresses, I feel so empowered jumping on a train alone and traversing around the country. I've seen some beautiful sights, new cities and old friends, its been rewarding and warming and exciting, but also a little saddening and demoralising.
I suppose it has reinforced the divide between me and my school friends, their new lives and mine and the decreasing compatibility. Its been difficult to accept their new worlds and my integration into it, for just a night as I top and tail in their cramped bed, but this is more down to me than their evolution as new human beings.
It makes me happy to see them happy, just a little sad that I'm not as much a part of it.

After an accidental night out at home, I made a brief trip to Leeds. I was nurtured by my friend who made my veggie chilli upon arrival, partied with a strange group from school and took advantage of the 90p tequila shots. My body and mind regretted the double night out but it was a lotta fun.
I then had a weekend away with my family in Scotland, in which I enjoyed the openness of nature and the freedom of the sea, read, ate my body weight in cake, and explored Edinburgh. I perhaps wasn't as relaxed as I hoped but managed to accept it for what it was.
And then I have just returned from a weekend in Sheffield, visiting my best friend. It was so lovely and relaxed and it all disappeared into a sense of normality. We met up with another good friend and caught up on the ins and outs of uni life. I bought some vintage clothes, experienced (and hated) the perks of communal living and felt relieved to be re-united. We went clubbing, for which I was in a weird mood which got me down. I felt insecure and insignificant, but with encouragement from her flat, I had a good time. I did leave feeling a little low, I'm not sure why, perhaps the frustration that I still let anxiety and stresses get the better of me (e.g. crying on the phone to my mum as my pal slept because I didn't want to get the bus home–but the 5am bedtime may have had some influence) and the fact that I feel I came across weak and pathetic. But I'm trying to not let these thoughts dampen the weekend.

The weeks in between have slipped away in a blur of work, driving lessons, Oxford applications, volunteering, cake baking and organising. I've been trying to save a little time for self-care, writing or painting or sewing, but its been neglected in my priorities.
I'm loving the blogging community and its curing the loneliness that the uni trips appear to induce. I finally have a weekend at home and am anticipating a walk at the beach and brunch with a friend.
How are you all?

on taking a gap year

This time, exactly a year ago, my life was a-buzz with future decisions.
What uni are you going to? What course are you doing?
I felt so much pressure to have chosen a direction, written a personal statement and decided upon an academic path for the next 3 years.
It wasn't until I sat down with my tutor and she said "Katie, why don't you just take a year out?" that I heaved a deep sigh of relief and felt a sense of calm.
I still got bombarded with questions, people couldn't comprehend why someone academic wouldn't be disappearing off to uni at the drop of a hat. To be completely honest, people fail to understand, fullstop, that uni just isn't the path that everyone wants to take.
One conversation I remember vividly, I sat down with my history teacher and he went "so why aren't you applying to uni?" and I divulged the ins and outs of "not being ready" and "my brother dropping out", sort of regretting my decision because his opinion was one I really valued. But he ended it with "I wasn't trying to change your mind, I was just exploring the reasons", "nothing would change my mind" I replied, because I knew what was right.
It didn't feel right, as I cried relentlessly from January to September (and sometimes still now) about my fear of the future and emptiness, but going to uni straight away wouldn't have been right either.
So if any of you are in a similar position, whether you feel lost or unsure what to apply for or not ready to leave home or just need a break from studying, here are some positives that I have gained from the brief moments of my year out, so far.
And, if you're not sure uni is for you, embrace it. Everyone is different, ignore the pressure.

(Also disclaimer, I suppose my gap year hasn't been all that rosy so far, I mean we are 1 month in, but its caused a lot of panic, so this post may seem ironic–however, I can also see immense value in what I've done so far, so I'll share the positives to make others feel less alone)

Its allowed me to clarify what I want to do. This time last year I had written a PS for European Studies/French and Politics, I now know that that would have been entirely wrong for me, and that History is the course I want to study.

Its allowed me to solidify where I want to go. Again, had I applied this time last year, I would have gone to entirely the wrong place, where I would have been unhappy and lost. I think I now know what I want and where I want to be.

It allowed me to get the grades I did. Had I been panicking about needing to get in, I wouldn't have come out with the A-levels I did. The knowledge of a year out gave me space to put everything into my studies, it didn't really matter what I got, I could resit if I needed to.

It was rewarding knowing I was doing something for me. I was getting the best grades I could for myself, because I wanted them, because I was capable, not because the shitty education system told me I needed them.

It has allowed the improvement of my mental health. I'm still working on this but had I continued studying this year, I would have layered the bad habits I had already acquired, until I had 5 years of self-neglect to contend with, as oppose to 2. I've had time to face the problems and work on solutions, the space to listen to these problems has been terrifying but I have also begun to understand myself a little better.

It's allowed new experiences. My life was solely studying prior. But I've met new people, joined new organisations, created a new routine, learned new approaches. It's also allowed so much freedom. I've built my time with volunteering, working and other past times, others have taken on full-time work, courses or travel. I suppose I have no responsibilities, and can make use of this as much as I want. I doubt I'll ever have so much freedom (this can also be slightly daunting)

I've already grown, so much.

I've got so much to look forward to. Exciting things are planned, including meeting new people and travelling, and much of it is unknown, which I am beginning to appreciate for its wonderful intrigue.

SO, I'm not imploring you to take a year out but I suppose I'm suggesting it, it needn't be the end of the world. And nor is not going to uni or taking a break from studying or going into work or pursuing whatever you want.
Do what makes you happy.
As I see it, there's nothing to lose.
(I'll update you on the positives)

current faves

Recently, I've developed a real love for autumn. I used to be terrified about the darkness and claustrophobic entrapment of winter but, this year, I find myself excited about the opportunity to justifiably wear pyjamas for most of the day.
Along with the new routine of a gap year, I have developed a lot of new loves, reaching for new tastes and entertainments. I figured I would share.

Oh Comely–I received a subscription for this magazine for my birthday, but have always been a fan. It has a little bit of everything, presented in the most aesthetic fashion. It exercises curiosities I never knew I had and makes me feel warm inside. Definitely worth a read.

East West Street–This book requires a lot of reflection and I find myself muttering "what the fuck?" repeatedly. In short, it follows the Nuremberg Trial, the 2 lawyers who came up with 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' and the Holocaust in Poland. It is a mightily impressive feat, the extents to which the author has gone is mind blowing and it has thrown up so many questions. I am fascinated by the Holocaust (sounds like an excerpt from my personal statement) and found the process of prosecution shocking, the way the defendants acted and defended their actions, the extremity of the task (how do you even go about prosecuting people for murdering 12 million people?) and the ice it broke in the way of international law. As historical accounts go, this was an easy read and I would thoroughly recommend.

The Guilty Feminist–I had sort of abandoned this through A-levels and summer, but when in a funk in early September, it became my remedy. I knew that a long walk and an episode of TGF would soothe my mood and lift me. Its funny and engaging, but also discusses immensely important issues. Its totally inclusive and I love the premise of 'Guilty Feminist', that we all mess up, but that's ok. Fave episodes include: Minefields, Sexuality and Orgasms.

Instrumental music–Its no secret that I'm obsessed with, well,  depressing classic music. I don't know what it is. I also lurve when I've played a beautiful piece on my flute and then can listen to how the profesh' play it. Ew, cringe.
Current faves are: Niel Cowley Trio–Grace, Carnival of the Animals–The Swan and George Bizet-Entr'acte.
It might sound twatty but dis music just makes me feel some kinda way.

Celebs Go Dating–Some real high-brow entertainment for y'all but I'M OBSESSED. Its so addictive and shitty. I love it.

Earl Grey Tea–with almond milk, perfect.
Black Coffee–As I don't drink milk, I've become accustomed to black coffee when I'm out and about. And now I'm hooked.

Letter Writing–I bought some peng stationary in IKEA and its sparked my love for letter writing and receiving, especially a first letter from Dalal.


This top (UO) and these shoes have been staples in my wardrobe recently. Nothing can beat a bretton stripe and, despite the hefty price, this ones a winner. These shoes have replaced my beloved, but worn out, new balance. They're unbelievably comfortable, although I made the mistake of wearing them on a night out, utterly trashed.

Succulents–I'm addicted to buying plants, having recently just transported a succulent to Leeds on the train. They add SO MUCH LIFE and are so cute. This particular one is from a shop in Greenwich.

SO yeah, lots of things have been tickling my fancy recently.
This weekend I am off to Scotland with my family and am greatly anticipating a weekend away from the internet. I've deleted all my 'personal' social media apps (fb, sc) because they were PISSING ME OFF and I'm needing a break.
I'm also craving, beyond an extent I believed possible, a trip to Paris. Who knew.
Hope everyone is well, let me know your faves.

on fridays we have existential crises

(this is really long and rambly and probably doesnt say at all what I want it to but I needed to get my thoughts down)

"Its a dangerous thing to romanticise the past. To allow nostalgia to drag up old memories from the depths of our hearts and fashion them into something their not. We built a mirage from a memory and knelt before it like a false god. What we called love was nothing but foolish hope" - Beau Taplin

This past week two repetitive thoughts have been creeping into the moments of stillness: Nostalgia and a fear of growing up. I suppose they go hand in hand. I get moments of panicking nostalgia, a painful longing for the rose-tinted glory of the past. I especially yearn for the sense of belonging, the constant connection, the familiarity. The laughs in class, safety of the library and the general relationships and conversation that you can never recreate. I miss working tirelessly for something, with immense support and a sense that nothing else matters, that my world was narrowed on this one goal. I was so defined by this and I crave the punitive past.
When I drown in these glorified images  I get terrified that I'll never feel such happiness, contentment again. But, as with all nostalgia, it ignores the shit parts of the past.
The constant headache of fatigue, the tears and fears of "I can't", the shitty teaching, the boring lessons, the inability to care for myself that has resulted in this mess.
I can now use my free time exactly as I wish, with no fear of needing to complete an essay, revise or read. I have grown in independence and maturity, confidence and grounding. I can write, read, sleep, sew, walk, run, go-out or stay-in and, as long as I meet my sporadic commitments throughout the week, my time is utterly liberal.
But the past is so inviting. And, as I documented in my phone one day last week, it could be so easy to slip into the world of yesterday. To glide into the library, begin notes on Williams' use of plastic theatre, and build up the wall of ease.
Alas, I can't.
It doesn't exist, it never will. This is my life, no matter how I long for the past.
I think part of this sense of longing ties in with my fear of uncertainty.
And its terrifying, not knowing where I'll be next year, whether I'll be happy, what I'll enjoy. I crave the familiarity of school, knowing who I'll see, what I want, how I can achieve it. And in my head, I've had the glory days (which is entire rubbish because they were punitive and stressful) and nothing will match, growing up presents no excitement, no challenge, no focus and I can't imagine feeling the security I did. I look at people in school, my sister, the kids I tutor, people online, and think "you're so lucky, I want to be in your position" but I know I don't want to be a part of that anonymous machine.
But what do I want? Do I want to go to Oxford? Will I be happy there? Will I hate myself for not going? Will I even get in? Will I enjoy history? What the fuck do I want to do?
I don't know.
In that first therapy session, which I will discuss below, she observed "it sounds to me like you always need to be in control, have everything in your life managed" and I was in denial.
But I think its a bit too true.

Delving into these messy thoughts is getting me down, but I needed to document them.
I'll probably cry after writing this but that appears to be my coping mechanism.

In more reassuring and positive news, my mental health is a lot better and the days are slipping away with a sense of enjoyment. The therapy session was strange, it was kind of painful as it unearthed up a lot of things I had buried deep and made me realise that I'd abused myself for way too long, which is a scary realisation to have. The therapist wasn't right but that's okay, I feel good currently but I know there are some things that need to be dealt with, so I'll continue the pursuit.
So yeh. I fucking miss school and every time I return (for UCAS application etc) it makes the wound a little rawer. But with time, it'll heal, I'll find a new sense of belonging and I'll feel a part of something again.
I hope.

(Btw, if you're new here and wondering how tf someone can miss school so much, check out this post and this post and they will explain the background to these emotions lol)


My to-reads:
  1. The Bell Jar-Sylvia Plath 
  2. All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr
  3. How to Stop Time-Matt Haig 
  4. Never Let Me Go-Kazuo Ishiguro 
  5. Fahrenheit 451-Ray Bradbury 
  6. Wuthering Heights-Emily Bronte (I hate her poetry so not sure whether this is a good idea)
  7. Pride and Predjudice-Jane Austen 
  8. The Waves-Virginia Woolf
  9. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?-Edward Albee
  10. The Glass Menagerie-Tennessee Williams
  11. Antony and Cleopatra-William Shakespeare 
  12. Beloved-Toni Morrison 
  13. White Teeth-Zadie Smith 
  14. The Siege-Helen Dunmore
  15. Great Expectations-Charles Dickens 
So I suppose I've got some serious reading to be getting on with. 
In other news, and meaningless updates, this weekend has been rather enjoyable. Friday was fuckin awful but I went out in the eve and had a blast, danced on tables, drank a lil too much and ate chips, reflected upon with a slightly hazy memory. Saturday, through hung-over fogginess, I cleared my room and began redecorating, went for an inclement walk in the countryside and had a curry feast, cooked by my mum. I also squeezed in a few episodes of celebs go dating, of course. Today I had a delightfully slow morning, went to Ikea (and spent too much on stationary and wrapping paper-the essentials) and continued my decorating. 
And for the next few weekends I am away, visiting friends and holidaying with my family. So I suppose life is busy. 
I am currently reading East West Street, which is immensely interesting and is a real masterpiece, refraining, not very successfully, from buying this coat from Urban Outfitters and am greatly excited that its October, having a) survived the one month I had been dreading for the past 8, and b) been anticipating autumn for a little too long. 
And finally, I am currently in the madness of uni applications. I am applying to Oxford for History (and other places) but am greatly stressed by the process as my personal statement is done, but I don't feel its right, and I haven't studied history in 3.5 months, thus the exam is going to be solid. I also don't have much motivation to revise for it, which could be a warning sign that it perhaps isn't what I want, but I also know, having got the grades, I would ceaselessly regret never trying. 
Its sort of messy, but over the next month I will factor in a little practice daily and just take the experience as it comes. 
Anyway, let me know how you all are and if you have any literary recommendations.
I now need to get back to painting, ugh.