Goodbye

I hate saying goodbye.

As I climbed into bed last night, once again I was fighting back tears. This time though, they weren’t ‘completely on the edge of a stress related breakdown’ tears. I guess you could say they were happy tears. But they weren’t really, they were sad tears. What they definitely were was ‘tipsy after a couple of drinks and an awesome night’ tears. They were goodbye tears. The ones where you remember silly things and laugh, but then you realise you may never get to do those things again and your chest aches.

Over the last few months I’ve become extremely friendly with someone in final year. We went for drinks together last night to celebrate the end of her exams. It was cute. It was very very cute and I really enjoyed myself. But although I know I’ll see her once or maybe twice more before she leaves, I really don’t want her to go. She’s made the last few months of uni so much more fun, and so much easier. She’s cared about me, and while she’s dragged me into all sorts of things that I never intended to spare my time for, she’s absolutely lovely.

She’s the girl who I said I wanted to be like in a few years time. After a night of laughter, I was sad when I got into bed last night. I don’t want to say goodbye, and whilst I cannot wait to see her again in a few weeks, I know that will be the final time, and I’m just not ready for it yet.

I’m struggling with words tonight. My head is all colours and patterns and I know I might struggle to control my thoughts and sleep. Why do people have to leave? Why do we have to grow up?

I hate saying goodbye. And if I’m feeling this weird about it now, I know I’ll be an absolute mess when the tine comes to say goodbye forever.

The World Is Busy

I’m hot and it’s dark. It’s getting late and I need to sleep. But I’m stressed and I’m struggling. I need a friend, but there’s nobody there. I’ve been forgotten and it’s breaking my heart.

I’ve not had a panic attack for months. I cannot remember the last time I cried myself to sleep. I’ve been coping amazingly.

But tonight, I’m not. I tried to reach out, for someone to talk to. I realised that I have nobody. It’s gotten me into a mess. Today has been tricky. I’m stressed and unmotivated, and this evening I’m disappointed in myself. I need a friend. I need someone to be here for me, to care about me, someone to be positive for me, to tell me that it’ll all be okay. I need someone to believe in me. Because today, I cannot believe in myself. For me, that’s something that I haven’t asked for for a while. I need someone to love me. But there’s nobody there.

It’s strange how there’s people there to answer the messages they want to, or to be free when they need to, but not to be there when you’re screaming their name. There’s not many people I trust in this world. I don’t have many friends. Tonight, I need ones that I have. But I can’t find them, I can’t find any of them. I can’t find her.

I don’t want to cry myself to sleep tonight. But I can’t stop myself, because I need to talk. I have things I need to say. I need to let go. It won’t take long, it’s not serious. It’s silly, it’s exams. It’s ten minutes.

People can’t find ten minutes. The world is busy and the pace is fast. For me, time is slow. I need someone to talk to. But I’m alone. So the tears will fall, but I must sleep.

I hope tomorrow will be better. I hope that friendship and love can be found. It’s ten minutes. It’s a few simple words. It’s a text message.

But the world is busy.

Good Luck

Luck. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Personally, I’m not really convinced that it’s a thing at all. Of course, there are times when something that seemed very unlikely happens, but I prefer to call it chance. Luck somehow implies that you had an onus on it, and that there was something about you that made it happen. There wasn’t. We all know that, it was pure coincidence.

I guess it’s even more bizarre then that we wish each other luck, as though it is a thing that a person can possess. You can’t get lucky in an exam, you either know the content or you don’t. There’s no luck about it, so surely wishing each other luck is silly?

Today, I was stressing. I looked in the mirror and whispered ‘You’re going to be fine, I promise’. I burst into tears. You see, those are the words that my best friend used to say to me before an exam. She’s not going to be here to do that tomorrow when I take my first university exam of first year summer, and I won’t be there to smile and whisper back ‘thanks, you too’. You see, while I may have only said those words in the mirror today, they were always said after the words ‘good luck’ when we were at school. They meant a lot to me, and they gave me one last chance to smile before I walked into the exam hall and desperately tried to get hold of my breathing.

Now, I’ve just told you that I don’t believe in luck as a concept, so why would those words mean so much? To me, they’re not that. They’re not ‘luck’ and they’re never going to be some special power that makes the exam go perfectly. But they’re still something, and they’re still words that rattle my heart a little and make a difference to me. To me, ‘good luck’ means ‘I’m here with you. You’ll be okay, even if the exam doesn’t go okay, it’s not the end of the world and I’ll be your friend no matter what.’ When said by my best friend, ‘good luck’ means ‘I’m your friend and I love you.’ Most of all, those words mean ‘I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself’. Belief is something that I’ve always struggled with, and the problems of stress have always haunted me, but just for a second, she could make the pain and worry go away with those simple words. ‘Good luck, you’ll be fine. I promise.’ – they echo in my head, they’ll echo in my head tomorrow, but it’s not right when she’s not here to say them.

Sure, other people might say them. I hate it when my parents say them. That makes me panic. That means ‘you’d better do well or we’ll be disappointed’ and it doesn’t feel loving in the slightest so I get nervous. When other people wish me luck, people who care about me for me, not my grades, it makes my heart flip. It makes me feel a little safer. It’s strange, it’s probably not normal, but it helps. Anything that helps me through exams is important.

Tonight I will text my best friend just before I sleep and wish her luck for her exam in the morning, even though she’s five hundred miles away. I’ll tell her that I love her. Tomorrow, I’ll text my final year friend and wish her the same. In the morning, I’ll put on my swallow necklace and subconsciously touch my ‘believe’ friendship bracelet. I’ll do my deep breathing and in the afternoon, I’ll take my exam, too. Perhaps someone will wish me luck; they probably won’t. Perhaps somebody out there will think to text me, or call me, to make sure that I’m okay. Perhaps somebody will remind me to breathe and tell me to take my time. They probably won’t. I don’t have my favourite teachers anymore. Maybe my best friend will be thinking about me tomorrow, just like I’ll be thinking about her. She probably won’t, she’ll probably be way too stressed.

But I just hope that it’s okay. I hope that someone out there believes in me, because as I climbed into bed tonight, the tears started to fall. I’m absolutely terrified, and I wish someone could be standing by my side, ideally physically, but on compromise, virtually will do. Just a few sentences, a few seconds, a text message changes everything.

Good luck. Two little words that completely change my outlook and therefore the outcome of an exam.

I hope someone out there believes in me, and I promise to use every last part of me to try and believe in myself.

Awesome

She’s awesome. My best friend is completely well and truly awesome. There’s hundreds of reasons, and tonight, they’re whizzing around my head. I miss her. I miss her warmth, her hugs and her laugh. I miss her silly faces and her ability to feed me waaaaay too much sugar. I miss revising with her, or being able to turn before an exam begins and watch her mouth ‘good luck’. She’s awesome, and she’s done so many awesome things. It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful. And there aren’t many beautiful people in this grey world, so she is very very special.

She’s my hand while talking to teachers.
Started to instil a positive mindset into me.
Given me the cutest birthday presents.
Carried me home whilst terribly drunk, and sat and held my hair at the toilet later on.
Wrapped me into a protective bubble in her arms when I was telling her the darkest secrets of my past.
Drawn pictures with me late at night.
Taught me to run.
And came back to run the end of the 10K with me so we could finish hand in hand.
Made me friendship bracelets.
Helped me to overcome fears and fight off demons.
Taught me that if you love someone enough, you will do anything to help them.
And in that, taught me that it’s always possible to forgive. The one time I thought she would never forgive me, she did.
Took me to a pub quiz where I knew nobody, had three glasses of wine on an empty stomach, got dizzy, and made and fed me pasta when we got home.
Rescued me from the flute lessons where I just broke down due to stress.
Taken long post-exam drives with me in the countryside.
Took me for coffee after my flute exam.
Stayed up all night just holding me while I sobbed.
Sometimes, she cried with me.
Went on a night out with me in London.
Made me laugh all day long.
Allowed me to be buzzing and happy despite being hundreds of miles away.
Supported me through my grandad’s illness and death.
And lit candles with me to remember him afterwards.
Stayed up late watching movies.
Accompanied me to my charity hair cut so she could laugh and take photos.
Always remained calm no matter what I have to say.
Eaten copious amounts of food.
Ran around Bristol like madman with me.
Waited with me at 5am outside Matilda in order to get tickets.
Made me feel brave enough to face giving blood.
Always believed in me.
And in doing that, she’s taught me to believe in myself.
Took me to visit my friend in an eating disorder clinic.
Made me cocktails on my eighteenth birthday.
Got tipsy and danced with our favourite teacher on her eighteenth birthday.
Taught me to trust again.
Talked me through lots and lots of panic attacks.
Been proud of me when nobody else was.
Allowed me to feel pride in the odd time that I proved her wrong.
And still helped me every single time I cried tears of frustration over things I couldn’t do.
Most of all, she’s been the big sister I never had. She’s been here for me every step of the way and I firmly believe that she will be, forever. I’d do the same for her, always and forever.

This friendship started with a shared secret. It was a secret that belonged to neither of us, but a secret that had a massive effect on our lives. It brought us to be extremely close, and have thousands of memories. I often wonder if she can remember like I do, if I’ve had an effect on her like she’s had on me. I wonder if she can remember things that I cannot.

But it doesn’t matter, because even if there’s things I’ve forgotten, the warmth in my heart when I think about her is enough. The ache I feel when I’m worried about her or haven’t seen her for months is enough. The smile I get when I’ve spoken to her is enough. It’s enough to know that she’s awesome. For that, I cannot thank her enough.

I truly hope that her exams go well. I want her to know that I miss her and love her, and I’m never ever going to let her go. I know these are just words, but she’s too far away for anything else. She’s awesome. And I wish she’d never forget that, or forget how much she means to me. I can’t wait for summer.

When I Grow Up

The last few days have been a struggle. The reality of exams has kicked in and it’s hit me, like I thought it would. This year has been a little different to the last few though. I’ve lived a life of lies, pretending that I’m okay, trying to be positive. I’ve done well. Most of the time, I’ve even convinced myself that I’m okay. Clearly though, I’m not, and the tears shed in the last few days demonstrate that pretty well.

This morning, I made a decision. Ironically, that decision had me listening to Matilda again, specifically ‘When I Grow Up’. Because I’ve decided that when I grow up, I won’t be like my parents are. A friend told me this morning that the world is bigger than university and exams so it doesn’t matter if you fail.

But it matters. Of course it matters, for so many reasons. I can’t fail. It’s difficult to put into words why, and why exams have always called me so much stress. I’ve never understood why I need to work so hard and achieve so highly. I’ve never been able to voice it, or explain to it to concerned teachers.

But in reality, I’ve always understood, haven’t I? Of course I have.

But when I grow up, I won’t be like my parents. When I grow up, I won’t put pressure on my children. Of course I’ll encourage them to try, to work, to put in effort, but I won’t ever allow myself to make my children feel how my parents have made me feel. I don’t want them to feel that I am putting pressure on them. When I grow up, I want my children to know that I’ll be proud of them for trying their best, regardless of if their best is an A or an E, a grade eight music exam or scoring a goal at football, giving a speech or saying their promise as a Rainbow, going to university or working in a local shop, inventing something that changes the world or overcoming a fear. I will be proud of them no matter what, as long as they try their best. It doesn’t need to be academic, it doesn’t need to help their university application, and it doesn’t need to earn them money. Because my children won’t just be a letter or a number or a percentage. My children will be people. Just like I am.

To my parents, I may not be a person. I may be a grade, or an expectation, but I’m learning that I’m so much more than that. I am a Rainbow leader, I am a volunteer for a children’s summer camp charity, I am someone who loves to draw, I am someone who cried with happiness after getting a merit in a flute exam, I am someone who would stay up all night if my best friend needed me to, I am someone who wants to cure cancer, I am someone who wants to watch the sunrise, I am someone who wants to run a half marathon, I am someone who wants to overcome my fears, I am someone who is excited to go to turkey next year with her best friend, I am someone who wants to learn basic piano and publish a children’s book.

Yes, I want a 1st or a 2:1 in my degree. But I must not let that define me. Because I am so much more than that. I am someone who tries their best, I am someone who cares for others, I am someone who has hopes and dreams, memories and photographs. I am someone who smiles and cries, just like everyone else.

I am someone that actually felt the need to add to her bucket list ‘take an exam without stressing’. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to escape the expectations that my parents have set and the pressure that they have applied. But I’m going to try. I always try my best, and this won’t be any different.

Because when I grow up, I want my children to feel valued for who they are, and how can I teach them to do that if I don’t value myself?

So yes, perhaps I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself. But I’ve always been desperate to please my parents, and this is the only way I’ve been able to. When I grow up, I want to value myself for who I am. I want people to be proud of me for who I am, and not what is written on a piece of paper. It’s going ot take work, but I hope there’s people out there who care enough to help me.

When I grow up, I will be smart enough to answer all the questions that you need to know the answers to before you’re grown up. When I grow up, I will eat sweets everyday on the way to work and I will go to bed late every night. And I will wake up when the sun comes up and I’ll watch cartoons until my eyes go square and I won’t care because I’ll be all grown up.

Because even if you’re little you can do a lot. You mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you. And my kids won’t. Because they will be people. They won’t be grades. When they grow up, they’ll be exactly who they want to be and who they can be. Their best will always be enough for me, and nothing you can say will change that.

500 miles

Yesterday, I needed someone. Yesterday, I cried for four hours solid. Last night was terrible, and I needed someone to stand beside me and prop me up for a while.

But there was nobody there, and I remembered how lonely university can be sometimes.

After a couple of hours, I decided to contact my best friend. I didn’t want to panic her, or worry her. It’s too close to exams for me to mess up her life again, but I just needed to hear her voice. I know that there’s nothing she can do from 500 miles away but I needed to know that somebody cared. I tried to keep my voice as even as I could. I didn’t want her to know that I was crying. I told her that I just wanted to say hi, but she was busy. She said she’d call me back later, but I knew as soon as she said it that she wouldn’t. I didn’t rest any hope on it at all like I may have done in the past. She’s rubbish at getting back to me sometimes.

I continued to cry for another two hours. I breathed deeply, I stood and talked to myself in the mirror, but nothing helped. Nothing made the shooting pain go away, and I cannot remember a time when I felt so alone.

I’m fighting with myself about if it’s okay to call her again today. I don’t know if I can afford to screw over her chances like I have so many times before. I don’t know if it’s time for me to grow up and face the world on my own. I don’t know if I should pretend it’s all okay, plaster a smile on my face, and get through my exams before I allow myself to think and feel. I don’t even know what I’m capable of.

I’m just in need of a friend, and it’s a friend that I couldn’t find last night. In my heart of hearts, I need to tell someone what is making me so upset, but I just don’t want to worry her. She’s busy.

But in reality, I know that I need her to find half an hour for me, but I don’t know if I can ask her to do that. I need her to listen, I need her not to get frustrated, and I don’t even know if I really need advice. I just need to know that someone’s there, because this isn’t an easy situation. Perhaps I’ll call her again at lunch time to say hi. I probably won’t though. I don’t know if she caught on. I don’t know if she’s just too busy. I don’t know if she’s completely oblivious, but it’s times like these when I wish someone like her noticed, someone who I trusted. I wish someone would ask ‘are you okay?’.

She said she’d call me back.
She’s 500 miles away.

Just Like Her

Yesterday, I went to a meeting. I had to have a handover for a role I’m taking on next year. I got there to find two people there, the girl who I’m taking over from and her best friend, who’s also on the same team.

Bless them, they’re such cute friends. I rolled up as they’re planning their joint wedding – nope, neither of them are engaged.

Not long after getting there, the one I went to see, we’ll call her X, said that I reminded her of her best friend, Y. That was the best compliment X ever could have given me. Y is amazing. If I’m going to be like anyone, I want to be just like her. She’s organised, very very clever, an amazing leader, fantastic with kids, knows how to have the best joke, and is one of the most genuinely caring people that I’ve ever met. Yeah, okay, I can’t quite see myself planning a wedding any time soon, but she’s awesome. If I could be even half of her or half as kind, I’d be over the moon.

They’re graduating this year, and I’ll be gutted to see them go. They’re awesome. Both of them. They’ve really made me feel welcome in the past year, and they’re always there to give me a hand or a face to grumble at. Since we had the meeting, a three way Facebook message has evolved, and the flow of conversation has had me I fits of giggles for over 24 hours now.

Yesterday, they put me on a happiness high that usually only my best friend can achieve. To say that I remind her of her best friend is beautiful. When I’m going out into the big wide world in a few years time, I’d love to be just like her.

I’ll miss them when they’re gone.