Fear of the Unknown

I am afraid of the future. I’m excited, but at the same time, it absolutely terrifies me. In some ways, that makes it even more exciting though, and I love that recently I have learnt to embrace feeling scared and turn it into a positive. When I am overtired though, it doesn’t make the achey feeling in my stomach any easier to handle, knowing that nerves can be the same as excitement. Especially not when those nerves stem from the thought of another year of teaching being over in less than three weeks, and another exam season beginning. Especially not when the fear is due to moving again in September to a new location, starting a new job, meeting new people, and learning to cope again. Especially not when I am terrified of my family this summer, and if we will remain a family with the tensions caused by my brother in the house.

I don’t know what is happening. I can’t control the future, and there are some situations that I cannot meticulously plan for like I do in every other aspect of my life, and it makes me feel a bit sick. In fact, today, it has been making me feel extremely sick, hot, and queasy, despite supposedly being in a lab where I needed to be focused.

My thoughts are no longer thought’s, they’re simply inexplainable feelings that I cannot give names to. I don’t think about what it is that’s scaring me, I just feel afraid. I can’t control my feelings when I can’t name them or reason for them. I don’t like that very much, either.

To be honest, I’m not really scared of the future – that’s the exciting bit. I’m simply scared of the unknown. That is as far from exciting as you can get. That’s petrifying.

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conflicted

It’s late, and really I should be going to sleep. I have an important meeting tomorrow night, and the hairdressers and dentist early tomorrow morning. I can’t lounge in bed all day tomorrow.

But I’m here, because I’m upset. To be quite frank, I’m simply exhausted. I’m conflicted, and combined with hormones and stress, it’s proved to be a little too much.

I love university, I can’t wait to get back, and after what happened in my house tonight I just want to go back.

But only a couple of days ago I didn’t want to go back, and even tonight when someone mentioned university I was choking back the tears of wanting to stay at home.

My house may be hell sometimes and my family may struggle, but all my safe zones are near my home. My school, my old teachers, my flute teachers, my best friends, and Guiding leaders. Some of those safe zones are gone – teachers have moved on, ex students have to have an escort into school, and I only see my flute teacher a few times a year. But they’re still there. They still kept me safe while I was at home, and now, I have nothing. At university, I have friends, but nobody I can truly rely on. There’s nobody there who can help me or who I trust, and so I put on the best smile I can and have as much fun as I can. But it’s still hard, I still struggle with stress and social situations but I do it without support.

But university is an escape from the four walls of my house and the arguments that happen within it. It’s a chance at independence, a fresh start, and an oppportunity to be whoever I want to be. It’s a laugh, and it’s new. It’s different, which is hard, but it’s also amazing fun!

Still, with less than two weeks until I go back to university, I’m not sure how to feel. I wish I could just be normal. I wish I could be like the others and overexcited to get back to uni, itching to get a house and have fun with friends who I haven’t seen in so long. But I’m not that person. I’m not a normal teenager, and even that is something which I’m struggling to accept.

I need a hug. I need a friend. I’m feeling very lonely, and most of all I just want to feel normal.

Please stand by me, I need you by my side. I need to know it’s okay, and whilst I’m too afraid to ask you, and to seem so silly when you’re having so much fun, I need to be reassured. I need the same reassurance you gave me when I was breaking, because I’m afraid this year may leave me broken, and I’ve got far too many ambitions for that.

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.

Social Decisions

I’m a bit of a social outcast, be to honest. Always have been, I think I’ve told you before. But I made a decision, recently. I decided that I don’t want to be a social outcast forever, and so through the fog and haze that has been exams, revision, and worry, I’ve found my positive mindset on one front, and I’ve tried to socialise. Lots. I don’t want to be the social outcast anymore.

Socialising, however, takes it’s toll. Until I get to know you, I’m very much the introvert. Decisions are a danger zone and direct questions terrify me, as my flute teacher must well know by now! So to be in a room with a group of people is hard. Not only do I have to think of the correct things to say, I also have to perfectly articulate answers which will be accepted by my peers and say them in a voice that is loud enough to hear. I don’t watch TV, and I don’t really listen to music, so in ‘pop culture’ topics, I’m lost before the conversation has even begun. I can’t explain exactly why it’s so hard, and once I know you, I can talk for England, but new-ish people, pressured situations, or direct questions in a one-on-one environment (particularly about difficult topics) are extremely tricky. So while sitting with those that I will share a house with next year doesn’t stress me out (I don’t overheat, which is my main sign of stress), it’s exhausting.

Working in a group is obviously bad because I’m rather the perfectionist, but even I don’t really understand my issue with just talking to new people. I don’t even think it is an issue, I don’t dislike it, I just subconsciously avoid it. Bizarre. Maybe it’s about worrying that I won’t fit in or will say something wrong? I honestly and truly don’t know.

Recently though, I’ve been trying to socialise, and I decided that if I didn’t jump head first into the deep end, I’d never get it. So, I did just that. With the people I’m living with next year, I went for tapas, stayed up really late and played cards, chatted, scrolled through Pinterest, watched movies, and played more cards. Every single night. On order to try to fit in, I stayed up much later than I would usually on a few occasions. I’ve also spoken a lot more and spent more time with my course mates now. I like them, we have something in common. Same is with the guide and scout society, they’re my favourite people at university. Again, it’s probably because we have a ‘weird’ interest, that doesn’t conform to twenty first century first world social idealism. I know they’ll accept me, and that’s important, because guiding is one of my favourite hobbies.

So I’ve tried hard, and I’ve learnt a lot. But it has tired me out, and I can’t keep it up. I’m always going to be independent and an introvert, and whilst I know it’s vital that I socialise for my health and well being at university (and to force me to take breaks from studying), I’m always going to need time alone. I haven’t had that this week. Now, I need to work on finding the balance. Making that decision can be tricky. Do I work? Do I socialise? Do I sit in my room and do my own thing? Do I run? Do I play my flute? But I can’t continue as I am, because I’m starting to loose sleep in order to be with just myself. I’m not getting the vital ‘me’ time that I need to function. I’m not able to ground myself, to completely 100% be myself, to let go, and to fully relax when I am around others.

I will strike the balance, I just need to keep making these social decisions, and keep that positive mindset. Now is the hard bit. Now, I have to make the decisions sensibly. It’ll be all too easy to slip back into my lonely cycle of work with no breaks, but however much I like it, it’s not healthy. So whilst it’s okay to say ‘no’, I need to say ‘yes’, too. I have to make those decisions. And I hate decisions. Even more than I struggle with socialising!

I did it!

In a haze of sleep, stomach ache and glitter, I’m feeling rather happy with myself this morning.

Last night, I went out, I didn’t get overly drunk so I didn’t panic, and I enjoyed myself! I even attempted to help someone who was being sick! It was easily the best night of the semester and my first ever ‘proper’ night out. I was about on par with how I felt at my best friend’s eighteenth, and while anything would struggle to top that night, last night was pretty high up the ladder.

I didn’t panic. Wow. I danced. I didn’t cry. I had so much fun, and I’m so damn excited for January after exams are over now! My only disappointment was that the dominoes pizza we waited four hours for never arrived. But on the bright side, I don’t even really feel that bad this morning.

I’ve got a HUGE grin on my face though, and the knowledge that I’m going home tomorrow and I get a one and a half hour coffee with my best friend on Tuesday is honestly amazing. I’m so excited I can’t even put it into words.

I had a disgusting dream last night. I always have the worst ones when I’ve been drinking. Something to do with my best friend, shopping, laxatives, another weight loss item which I cannot remember, and a heck of a lot of tears. I meant a heck of a lot. And shouting and screaming, too. I’ve told myself though, on my own, that it’s not real and it’s not true and I’ll see her in five days and can assess it all for myself.

It’s going to be okay, I just have to keep riding this high!

Time Passes

I’ve been thinking about time. No matter how hard we try, time is one thing we cannot change. Each moment ticks past at a steady pace, never getting faster, or slower. It doesn’t matter how hard you wish, you can’t go back to the past, or make the future come quicker. Our lives are governed by the passing of the seconds, the minutes, the hours, and the associations that we as humans make with them.

Ten years ago, I was just a little girl, attending primary school, brownies, swimming lessons, and generally having the time of her life. I used to spend a lot of time with my nan and older cousins, and laugh the days away. I was bright, I loved (was perhaps a little obsessed with) school, and always worked hard, and had good friends.

Two years ago, I was just starting my A Levels. These were the hardest years of my life, and I found the pressure unbearable at times. At the start, two years ago, I was ready to drop out. I didn’t think I could pass, and I was convinced that I couldn’t achieve. I had my design teacher, my flute teacher, and my best friend on side, but it felt like the whole world was against me. I was worried about exams, I was stressed with the workload, I was trying to balance too many plates, and I also had my best friend’s eating habits to worry about on top of everything else.

In two years time, I want to be doing a placement in Australia. I want to swim in the Great Barrier Reef, and I want to have crossed some more items off my bucket list. I want to have a fabulous time at Charnwood, I want to have visited Turkey with my best friend, and I want my degree to be going well. I want to have finished my ALQ for rainbows, and I want to be on my way to getting my Queen’s Guide. I want to be an ATE monitor.

In ten years time, I want to be curing cancer. I want to be doing everything in my power to make lives better for those around me.

In fifty years time, I want to be happy, married, with children. I want to feel like I’ve made a positive impact on the world. I want to have friends that I’ve known for years and years, and I want to know that I’ve got people that I can rely on, always and forever.

We can hope, we can dream, but we can’t change the past. Time must be accepted, and we must live for today, because you don’t know what might happen tomorrow.

Hopes and Dreams

Although I’ve learnt over the years that living in a land of dreams is often dangerous, dreaming and hoping is in our nature as humans, and no matter how hard we try and fight it, we will still dream.

I dream of my graduation from university. I dream of my job in cancer research. I dream of helping to find a cure that saves the lives of millions.

I hope that I will have children, specifically two girls. If I were to have them now, I’d call them,
Charlotte Matilda (Lottie)
Isabella Rose (Bella)
And if I had a boy,
Oscar James

I dream that I will have a beautiful wedding, and I know who would be my maid of honour if I were to marry today. I hope that I will attend my best friend’s wedding, and see her kids grow up.

I pray that I will tick every item off my bucket list, and that I will laugh a million times before I die.

I hope to run my own Rainbow unit, changing the lives of girls. I want to train as a monitor for ATE.

Finally, I pray that I, my family, and friends will be happy and well. I hope that we can be healthy and live long lives together.

I hope to share ten million memories.
I dream of taking as many photos.
But even then, I don’t wish for much. I just hope that whatever happens, everything will work out okay, and that I do not leave this earth until it is okay. Only then, can it be the end.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

A letter to… Myself in Ten Years

Hey Alex,

I hope you’re happy, well, and safe. I hope that you’ve learned to cope with the world, and I hope that you’re not lonely. I hope you’ve developed your ability to integrate, and that you learned to cope with stress. I hope that you graduated from university, and are happy. I hope that you have kept those who mean the most to you close, because you’ll need them, I’m sure. They’ll need you, too, so don’t forget that. I have so many hopes for you, Alex.

I sit here now with dreams and ambitions, and I’m afraid that I may not be able to fulfil them. You will now know the outcome of many of those dreams, and you are probably sitting and laughing at your old self. As I write now, I think I have made progress, but I’m sure that you can see that the progress I have made is small, and that in ten years, I have made much more. Only you can know that.

I told someone today, a teacher of mine, that I’m not sure that I want to grow up. She was telling me that I don’t need to worry about hat my parents say now about my grades, because I’ve worked my socks off, and that I’m not a child anymore. I told her that I wasn’t ready to be an adult, and she told me that at twenty five, she’s still getting used to it. I hope that being a grown up is okay really. I know it’ll be so so much better if you’ve learnt to understand and deal with emotions.

I hope that by now, Alex, you’re curing cancer. I hope that you are working in your dream job, and I hope that you’re still doing amazing things in the world, even if that is just being a leader in Guiding, giving blood, and sticking on the bone marrow register.

Most of all though, I hope you’ve learnt from the mistakes that I have made and will continue to make. Life is going to be fantastic, and you only get one chance, so ensure that you make the most of it.

Much love, keep smiling. Don’t worry, be happy!

Yourself, ten years younger

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*

I’m Lost Without You

You’ve gone already, and I miss you. You’ve left. I got my results, I didn’t get into Uni, but you did, and you’ve gone, over four hundred miles away. I’m in tears every couple of hours because I miss you so so much! Please come back, please stay in touch. I’m lost without you. I need you here.

Flipping heck, I’ve no idea what has happened today. Results day isn’t even for another two and a half weeks! My best friend’s Uni start date isn’t for another 40 days. My dreams and emotions however, tell me differently. They’re all over the shot.

I know what it is, really. It’s this silly book that I’m reading. By the end of chapter three I knew that the ‘best friend’ was just like mine, and I am just like the main character. Now at the half way point, said ‘best friend’ has to move away, and they’re loosing contact. The character feels like she’s had to give up her friend. Just like me.

It feels like a reflection of my life in a few weeks time, and it makes me feel sick. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself that I’ve got tonnes of time with her over the next few weeks, and even if we are moving physically, it won’t change our relationship emotionally, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Because I’m going to miss her. I already miss her, and she hasn’t even left yet. That’s complete madness, because I know that really I’m NOT loosing her!

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

A letter to… My Reflection

To my reflection,

You’re an interesting one, aren’t you? Difficult to figure out. I don’t think even I have managed to completely crack the code yet, although a few have come fairly close.

Right now, I’m standing and looking at you, and this is what I’m seeing. Big, disgusting feet attached to chunky legs, in desperate need of more running and toning. I see an upper half that I’m not happy with, I’m not confident with. But in some clothes, you look awesome. I like that you can see your collar bones, and I like the colour of your eyes. Your hair is an untameable mess, that looks so much better when you straighten it. But you’ve taught yourself not to care about what others say or think, or even what you think about yourself, really.

You’re crazy. You would never admit it, but you’re crazy. Just take a look at yourself! You have all kinds of problems that you just shouldn’t have. Get with the programme, get them sorted. You’re supposed to have a brain, aren’t you? Occasionally, people even tell you your intelligent. So why have you let yourself become this monster? What happened to having fun? It’s a shame really, you’re essentially a helpless case.

Your face is a mask, built up over many years. The last few years in particular have shaped you. There are some out there who think that they can see through your mask, but they can’t really, can they? People have told you so many times that you’re ugly, stupid, unwanted… Now, you tell yourself that too. In fact, you believe that. Deep in your heart you want to undo that, and that’s why you have a need for constant reassurance. Of course, you’re too weak to do it on your own. You’re always the helpless one, aren’t you?

You’re a hard worker. You want to achieve, and you want to please. You would work until your death if it meant high achievement. Again, maybe that’s for the wrong reasons. Maybe that’s because you know you will get the positive attention from your parents that you’ve always craved. But really, that self satisfaction and pride does wonders for you. And that work ethic should hopefully help you to go a long way.

You are one to cling onto relationships. Maybe that’s because you haven’t really had enough positive ones in your life. You allow yourself to be ruled by the fear that you will loose those closest to you, and you are a selfish individual. You’re needy, and you’re never going to be independent. That’s not fair on those around you, and you’re often one to ruin experiences. Again, selfish and unfair. Often, you’re a complete waste of space.

You do however, shape the lives of others. And when someone lets you know that you’re appreciated, you feel like you’re on top of the world, and nothing else matters. You live to feel wanted, needed, and appreciated, and although it’s clear as day to everyone that you’re crap at it, you try your best. People don’t always see that you’re trying, and that hurts you. You need to learn to be more positive, and draw on the happier experiences. Too often you are dragged down by the things that have hurt you, but in doing that, you’re simply hurting yourself further.

So to you, my reflection, I give my final words of advice. Please take note of the comments of those you love, but don’t listen to those who wish to hurt you. Take a deep breath, jump off every cliff, cross your fingers, and the best will come. Try to take chances, we only live once. Don’t let the mask go, it’s good for you to keep the truth inside sometimes, but make sure you never ever loose that sense of escape.

Sincerely,

Myself

*This is part of a personal summer challenge that I have set myself to write ‘a letter’ to a different person or thing every week. I plan for there to be nine letters in total, and if anyone would like to join in this summer, even if just for one letter, or a letter to a person of their own, please link back to my blog, as I’d love to see it!*