Scars

I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt for ages. Ages and ages. Today I stumbled across it when I came here to write a post. It fitted my thoughts and feelings perfectly. It summarised what I wanted to write, so I am using the Daily Prompt today. It means I have to think a little less, and that will help.

I am revising for exams at the moment. One of my units is, essentially, about the brain. That of course means studying mood disorders: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, the list goes on.

I find the brain so engaging and interesting and mind blowingly cool (excuse the unintentional pun). But that doesn’t make some of the topics any easier, when I have to revise them over and over again. Studying the brain makes me revisit memories, scars, I guess that you could say. It makes me remember things that I try my hardest not to think about. It pulls at my heart and pushes me over, and it breaks me. I’m trying not to let it break me. This is science, and it doesn’t have to involve looking back at the things that hurt me, but it does. I just can’t help it.

Leavers dinner, afternoon’s in coffee shops, summer drives, tears, late nights, fear, worry, love, pain, friendship.

It hurts. I’m trying not to cry. I have to take an exam on this. I have another three weeks of revision to get through before that exam. But memories are impairing my revision, and I need someone so badly to come and hold me and tell me that I don’t need to worry about the past. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. But nobody is ever really safe. Everyone is haunted by their past, scars never go away, mental illness doesn’t go away, and it makes me fear for so many people in my life.

Results

Yet again, that time of year has come around where we sit and wait anxiously for numbers on a piece of paper (or email, as the case is now). Today, at my university at least, was January exam results day.

My January exams were I mess. I was a mess. I didn’t know what happened, but I didn’t feel like I possibly could have worked hard enough, and time and time again I felt like I wanted to give up, and that it didn’t matter any more. Despite that, though, I wasn’t stressed. I didn’t have panic attacks, I slept at night, and I ate good food. It was a surreal experience for me, because that’s just not how I’ve ever taken exams. I’ve just never been chilled out about it. It was bizarre, so bizarre that I am struggling to explain.

My first exam went fantastically. I went into that exam feeling extremely prepared. I was very happy, and I came out feeling confident. That was new, too. No stress, at all.

The second was great, too. Not quite the same confidence, but still good.

The third, I was angry and frustrated about afterwards. I felt medioka before, but I didn’t think I’d have gotten a good grade. I didn’t think it would be good enough for me to stay on my course, anyway.

My last exam was a mess. I struggled to work for it, I struggled to remember the content, the exam was horrific, nobody seemed to have any similar answers, and I guessed 80% of the answers. After that exam, I cried when I got home.

I cried again a few weeks later, on a night out in a toilet with my best friend, drunk. I’d forgotten about that, it was otherwise an amazing but really very hazy evening.

I’ve had the odd thought since then, but I’ve tried to block the thought of exams out of my mind. I really and truly have tried to ignore it, and I’ve done very very well at distracting myself. I knew, especially after that last exam, that results day would ruin me. I would come crashing down, and burn, and all my hard work would be wasted, and I would feel like a failure.

This morning, I had a panic attack. This afternoon, while sat in a room with my two closest course friends, they pressured me to read the email that I had sworn that I would only read on my own.

That first exam, I got 78%. The second, 64%, the third 60%, and most shockingly of all, the fourth I got 49%. I passed them all. I averaged out at a very high 2:1, and I was absolutely over the moon. Of course, everyone wants a first, but when you are convinced you’ve failed and are about to be kicked off your degree (and I have had an extremely realistic mindset recently and know for sure that’s not just general worry and exaggeration), nobody is complaining about a 2:1. I can stay on my course, and go on placement, providing I keep it up this semester. I did really well, I shocked myself, and I was so so very happy.

My dad was perhaps not so enthusiastic. I played it down and laughed it off at the time, but later, when I was at home in the silence of my own room, I cried. I cried not only because he was less enthusiastic about my 2:1, but also because I was so shocked at myself. I did so amazingly better than I expected, and he wasn’t very enthusiastic. I’ve always relied on my parents to be enthusiastic about my grades and education, even when they couldn’t be about my other achievements. Now though, I’m not getting the 100% very best grades. University is a lot harder than A Levels, and my family don’t seem to get that. It’s heartbreaking, because everyone wants those closest to them to be proud of you.

But maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t matter so much. It hasn’t affected me as much as it would in the past. I didn’t worry about texting them, because I think (although I am a little afraid to admit it), I am proud of myself. I am proud of how far I’ve come emotionally with coping with stress, and I am proud that my work has paid off, even though I thought it hadn’t. I’d set realistic goals, and to think you haven’t achieved them is gross, but I did, and I am so very happy with that.

I guess I’m learning, at last, that paper and grades don’t define me as a whole. I want to work harder next semester to get a first. I want even more time working and to do that. But I want to do it for me, not for anyone else. My best friend has spent over five years teaching me to be proud of myself, telling me that she believes in me, and having confidence in me.

Maybe I’m finally learning. Maybe it’s time to take the self-confidence I’ve never had. It’s not easy, and I’m not there yet, but this is a massive step. She’s proud of me, and in terms of emotion and coping, I’m absolutely in shock.

I’ll go to bed tonight feeling a little confused, I will admit. I am upset that I haven’t pleased my parents, but I’m extremely happy with how I’m changing emotionally, and my results on paper. I’m glad I have friends around me to laugh and have lunch with after our results, and I’m glad that my best friend is always here for me. I can’t wait to see her again. Tonight, I really miss her. She’s done a lot more for me than she’s ever going to realise, and I just wish she was here so I could give her a hug, tell her thank you, and have a minor cry so that I can work out what the hell I’m really feeling.

Right now, I’m crying and hurting, but with a smile on my face. I don’t know if this is really me, or if I’m hiding behind a happiness mask. I’ve genuinely no idea, and it’s terrifying but liberating all at the same time. It’s new. I didn’t stress. I got 68%. It’s results day.

I think it’s okay to be a little confused today.

Five Years

Five years, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really that long. But when you look at it that I’m twenty in a few months, five years seems much longer – a quarter of my life in fact. And five years is the amount of time I’ve known my best friend, as facebook very kindly told us today.

There’s times when I wonder how we made it though that time: how did she ever put up with me? How have I coped with her? But the answer is simple, we care about and love each other more than the other realises. That’s what friendship is about, and I love and appreciate that more than anything else in the world.

Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs. All friends do, and it’s perfectly normal. We’ve got our happy memories and laughter, and we have our regrets. In fact, I have a lot of regrets. But it’s important not to focus on the past, and instead consider the future.

There’s been times when I thought I might loose her, either through pushing her away with my own silliness, or really, actually loosing her. Forever, and gone. Dead. I hate that word. There’s been nights that I’ve been terrified that I won’t see her in the morning, or that she won’t want me to care anymore and will demand to never see me again. There’s been many many nights that I’ve worried about her.

I wish I had a magic wand and could make it all okay, for both of us.

But I can’t, so what’s important is that I’m always here for her. She could call me in tears at 3am, and I wouldn’t care. Hell, I’ve called her in tears at that time. She could call me one afternoon and tell me not to ask questions but make her laugh, and I’d try my complete and honest best to do so. She could ask me to sit in silence with her just so she knew that someone was there, and I would do it. She’s done it for me. If she needed me to, I’d happily jump on a plane and see her right now. I’d travel wherever she needed to go. I would do absolutely anything, and I truly and honestly mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I miss her every single day and I think about her every day. I worry about her every day, regardless of how she actually is. I wonder how little parts of my day would be different if she was there, and sometimes there’s nothing I can do to make myself feel okay because I just need her by my side, and she can’t be there. She’s far away now, and I miss her. I miss her more than I should, or more than I’d care to let anyone know.

Because friendship is everything to me. So here’s to the next five years, and that thought brings the escape of the single tear that I’ve been fighting back for weeks. Because I’m very very lucky to have someone who means and cares so much.

Contented

I feel easy, free, happy, warm and fuzzy. I’m content, and it’s beautiful. I always feel awesome after time with my best friend, it’s like a complete detox from the world. I think her awesome-ness just rubs off on me a little, and it makes me feel all glowing inside. I absolutely love it.

Despite an afternoon of a nagging brother, a very stressful day ahead tomorrow, and feeling very tired, I’m coping well with the world. I’m noticing little things today. I’m appreciating the little things, and I’m taking the time to float around on my little happy cloud and to just be. No expectations, no anxiety, just being.

I did a good deed today. I went to the supermarket, and as I walked from the far end of the car park, I watched the people climbing into and out of their cars, busying themselves and going about their day. Being such an introvert, I love to people watch. It helps me to figure out the world and to learn a little about people, to try and understand people, and what makes us who we are. To understand what makes my best friend so caring, and some other people so disgusting. Sadly, it’s something I don’t often get time to do. I lead a busy life. But today, on my happy cloud, I found time. I noticed, whilst walking through the supermarket carpark, two ladies. One, elderly and struggling to walk, and the second presumably her daughter. They’d just loaded the shopping into the car and whilst the older woman struggled to climb into the back seat, the younger one was trying to negotiate two trolleys into some kind of organised form so she could transport them back. ‘Hey,’ I said ‘Would you like me to take those for you?’ She was speechless. I took them, and as I walked away I heard them discussing how nice it was. That made me smile, that I could make someone else happy, and just prove to one more person that not all teenagers are the same. We’re not all the stereotype.

Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band. I’ve fallen in love. It’s not the only thing I’ve fallen in love with this week – look at this, it’s not surprising that I’m chilled!

 

But my best friend is awesome. Nobody else on earth makes me feel this good about myself. She’s looked after me again, and taught me that people will always care about me. She’s reinforced my ‘okay-ness’ and I can’t thank her enough. She’s a shining star, that girl, I only wish she could see it.

I owe her a thank you. Her, and her flat mates. They made my time full of laughter, and made me content that I can socialise if I try. The world is fairly safe.

In my content-ness and warmth, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about supporting myself through the enevitable stress of second year; and also trying a variation of something I saw online. Every week, I’m going to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Idea for challenges are needed, I’m going to write the list best week and I only have two or three things so far! Sometimes that’s going to terrify me and there’s weeks when I’m sure the task won’t end well, but even from 500 miles away, my best friend stands by my side.

And I’ll stand by her. Forever and always.

The Beginning of the End

I guess that you could say that today is he beginning of adulthood. I’m absolutely terrified. Today, I lost my security blanket. Just thinking about it is bringing me close to tears. I’m afraid to admit, even to you people out there in cyberspace, that this afternoon I’ve waltzed around the house singing at the top of my lungs. Of course, I was singing to hold back the tears. Distraction, and something else to think about for once. When I cooked dinner, I nearly slipped. I sang louder. I was okay.

Perhaps it’s more than just today, and it is more of an acumulation of things that has made me so upset. I’ve been starting to ‘think’ for a few weeks, and the pulling away of my warm and fluffy blanket this morning has sent my brain into spiral mode, thinking and thinking and thinking.

It would be a lie to say that some of that is not happy thinking. I remember some things and I smile, like getting drunk with a teacher and how amazing my design teacher was when I did my GCSEs. Things like getting my grade seven flute and a design student of the year award are awesome. Equally though, I hate this time of year. Summer, when you’ve been in school for 14 years, is a time of endings. It’s a time of moving on, growing up, and as of last year, it’s a time of horrible memories. But I don’t want to talk about leavers. I should, but that’s irrelevant.

I’m not leaving this year though, I left school last year, and not much will change when I go back to university to start second year. But the staff members who provided security to me  in my last few years of school and especially this time last year are going. Although we may say we go back to school for flute lessons and DofE, we know that we go back for safety, in reality. We go back to see familiar faces and to ground ourselves in knowing that however stupid adults are, there’s some who care, and when we were in school, there was someone to look after us, and if we ever really needed it, they’d be there again. But those people are leaving or have gone. As of September, we will have no reason to go back to school. We are loosing our safety blanket, and our school era is well and truly ending.

I feel horrific. I don’t want to grow up. All my life adults have let me download, pressured me, never understood me, and placed unrealistic expectations on my shoulders. I don’t want to be an adult, and I am terrified of not having those few who do care to keep me safe. People don’t want out for you when you grow your, only those cloest friends, and theh may be hundreds of miles away. Adults go it alone, and thinking about school and growing up is hurting inside.

It’s the beginning of the end. The beginning of getting old and growing up. As a kid, I used to cry on my birthday for fear of getting old and dying. That fear has never felt as real as it does now.

I’m losing the adults who care, and I’m terrified of loosing my best friend. I’m worried about her, and I wish she knew how much I care about her. I’d never tell her this, but there’s times when I hug her and I squeeze extra tight in the hope she’ll realise just how much she means to me and that I’m always here to fight by her side. She wont know, ahe probably thinks I’m clingy. Sometimes it may be because I need her to hold me tighter and to make me feel safe, but often, I’m just trying to show how much I care. Words were never my forte.

I don’t want to grow up. It doesn’t work like it does in fairytales. It’s just not that simple, and I’m not ready to face the real world yet. And I’ll never ever be able to face it alone.

I hope that forever I can keep my best friend, and we can be young together. We can be the adults for each other, taking it in turns to be care giver and taker, like we have been so often when the adults in our lives have failed us. Sometimes, we’ve cried together, but we made it. I hope that the beginning of the end, and really being an adult won’t be too scary. I left school a year ago, I turned eighteen ages ago. I should be fine. But I’ve learnt thay life is never that simple. There’s always a mountain to climb. Now it feels like I’m leaving, and it’s like last year all over again.

I need to talk. I really really need to talk. I need to take time to think and accept. I need to understand everything, not just leaving school and these teachers leaving. There’s lots of things happening to and around me right now that I need to contemplate. 
I hope it’ll be fine. I hope she’ll be okay. I hope I have chosen the right path and am doing the right thing. I hope I can smile and have fun. And if I can continue to hope, it will be fine, because without hope, we are dead.

What I Want to Tell You

I want to remind you that I’m here for you, and I want to remind you that I care. I need you to know that I love you, and you mean so much to me, that I simply cannot find the words. You make me laugh and smile, you know when to mess around and wind me up, and when to stay quiet, hug me, or give me advice. It means more than anything in the world. This friendship is crazy, and there’s times when I’m not even sure how it happened.

I want to remind you that I trust you. I trust you with my life, and there’s been days that I would not have made it through without you. I know that if I ever needed you, you’d be there. It’s just a phone call or a plane ride. You’re never more than a day away.

I want you to know that you taught me to be confident, to believe in myself, and to start to learn to be positive. You’ve done more for me than many adults have. You’re wise beyond your years. You’re a listener. You care. You give the best advice.

Most of all, I want you to know that you can trust me, too. I want to remind you that you can tell me anything, and that I love you to the moon and back. Nothing will ever change you, because I have already defined who you are. I already know that you’re beautiful, funny, kind, and silly. I know you’re awesome, and nothing is ever ever going to change that.

I want you to know that you can call me, anytime. You can laugh, you can tell me funny stories, you can be drunk, you can be sober, you can be sleepy, happy, upset, or angry. I may not always be able to find the words, but I’m always here to listen to you. I want you to know that if you need it, I’m here to hold your hand. I’m here to fight by your side. I’m here to wipe away the tears. And when you don’t need it, I’m here to just be present while you’re angry, or to laugh with you when you’re happy, or to be excited with you when you graduate.

No matter how bad or good anything gets, or how far away I am, nothing changes that. You can always trust me, just like I trust you. I’ll wait until you’re ready, I’ll wait forever if I have to, but I’m here to be by your side. Always and forever.

So maybe you didn’t want me to know about therapy. Maybe you did and your hints were your own way of telling me without having to talk. Maybe I got it all wrong and you did want to talk. I don’t know. I’d like to know what is going on, I’d like you to trust me, because it breaks me every single day to know that you’re hurting. But I want what’s best for you, and perhaps telling me is too much. Just don’t forget that I’m here when you’re ready. Nothing will change that. You can’t change that. I’m ready to listen, and I’m ready to do whatever you need me to, or even the things that you don’t need me to.

I’m here to wipe away tears. I’m here to listen. I’m here to chat for hours on the phone, or even to sit in silence if it helps to know that I’m here. I’m here to eat ice cream and watch movies and play card games at 3am. I want you to know that I’m your friend. I want you to trust me, so please please try. I may not show it, but I think and worry about you every single day. Even now, you may claim that you’re okay, but nothing is ever just okay, and when you care for someone as much as I do you, the things you keep quiet are not forgotten. You don’t have to be okay, I’m your friend. I’m safe, like I know that you’re safe. I couldn’t live without you. I want you to know that. So don’t forget it.

Talk to me. I’ll wait as long as you need.

Disappointed

Do you have a friend who you would go to the other end of the earth for? Someone who you love unconditionally and would do anything for? Someone who isn’t quite like the others, and understands you in a way that nobody else will ever be able to? I do.

But I’m starting to think that perhaps I don’t understand friendship. That perhaps this is all very one sided, or something. I’ve got it wrong somewhere, because it just doesn’t work. I’m not sure that I even know what a friend is anymore. Maybe I’ve never known, maybe I’ve always been wrong. I just wish I’d figured that out before I got myself in too deep, because now I cannot turn back. I’m hurting, and I can’t change it.

I remember back to last year when at the last opportunity of seeing her before she went to university five hundred miles away, her mum didn’t allow her to go. I didn’t see her. I never got to say goodbye. I remember when we came home at Christmas and I was late taking her back home after coffee by about ten minutes and her mum was livid. And then Feburary, when despite that we had trains booked for her to visit me, the day before she came she changed one to go home earlier to help at her mums request. I always thought it was her mother. I feel awful that I’ve always held a slight grudge against her. Now I think that perhaps my friend just doesn’t want to see me. I wonder why she doesn’t just say.

I’ve never coped well with change, or changing plans. She knows that. But still they change, and still each time I expect them not to. But she doesn’t. She cancels, she changes them. It never works anymore. It’s no fun anymore.

All I wanted was to be normal. To have fun, to laugh and to smile. I just wanted to be like teenagers should be without tears and frustration. I just wanted one night. We’re done with university for four months, and I asked for one night. To be friends.

But yet again I’m crushed. Stupidly, I allowed myself once again to believe that once plans were made, they couldn’t be changed. But they’ve changed.

I don’t know. I’m clearly in here too deep, aren’t I? There’s a skew in understanding of friendship. Hers is very different to mine, and I often wonder if she actually really considers me a friend at all, or perhaps just someone who interferes, gets emotional too easily, and needs a shoulder to cry on once in a while. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to see me anymore for longer than she has to.

I would go to the end of the world for her. A few months ago I paid way more than I should have to visit her for an hour. I blew a weeks food budget. But I missed her, and I took the opportunity while I could. I thought I’d see her tomorrow, and tomorrow night. I thought I had managed to find 24 hours in four months where we were both free. But she’s not staying. I’ll only see her for an hour. She can’t come back to mine because she can’t pay the £2 bus fair home. She’s saving to pay for something big and every penny counts, she says. It’s strange that she finds time and money to go camping with other friends, or nights out, or to see her university’s friends when they come to England. But not me. She probably knows I’m hanging on too tight and whatever she says I can’t bring myself to let go. I love her too much and I will hold on forever to keep her in my life.

I’d just drive her home, but its not me that pays for petrol and I know my dad will be frustrated if I do. It would cost half as much for her to get the bus, and he’s annoyed that I always am the one to give people lifts and ferry them around. I don’t want to annoy him on Father’s Day weekend. He’s my dad.

I’d just stay at hers, but my brother needs the car. Besides, I specifically said I wanted her here to show her my new room and new running route. I don’t chose to live fifteen miles away!

I’m tempted to just give her the bus money. But it’s too late now. She would only stay because I was forcing her to. If she wanted to stay, she’d find £2. It will be no fun if she doesn’t want to. She doesn’t want to. It’s not mutual anymore. I’m broken. But I still want to put £2 in her hand and solve the problem. I miss her.

Perhaps I’m not worth it. Sometimes I sure feel like I’m not. I’m not worth the two pound bus fair. Our friendship isn’t worth that. And I was so excited. I got my hopes up. I sure as hell should have learnt by now, shouldn’t I?

And whilst a part of me wants to get angry and annoyed, and shout and scream that it’s not fair, part of my wants to stamp my feet and kick and tell her that she lets me down like this every time we have a plan, I won’t. If anything, I need to teach myself a lesson. I need to get over it. I won’t tell her that she has to stay and she can’t change the plan, because this is how it has always has been, and it won’t change her. She would be here because she thought she upset me, not because she wanted to be . That’s no fun! So instead, I can’t be like this. But it’s hard. She’s my friend. I wanted time with her this summer. I’m dissapointed.

I’m more than dissapointed, but I’ll try not to let that show. I don’t want her to know that I’m heartbroken and unconsollable right now. I’m trying to blame myself, it’s my fault. I don’t understand friendship. I’m not good with relationships and people. It’s all me. It’s not making it hurt any less though. She cancelled on me. Again. But I’ll see her for an hour. The time that she can afford.

It’s not fair, but there’s nothing I can do. I just have to be grateful what I have and instead, blame myself. It’s me that needs to change. 

But I love her. And she’s let me down. All I asked for was one night, but she let me down.

Freedom

I’m home, I’m free, it’s over. The first year of university is done, and somehow, I survived.

I’ve had a fantastic time, I’ve learnt so much and come so far in terms of positivity and confidence. I’ve learnt to make friends and to have fun. I feel like I’ve done okay and I hope the results will reflect that.

But for now I’m going to enjoy the freedom. I’ve gotten myself a summer job, I’ve got friends to spend time with and sunshine to enjoy. There’s fun to be had and the pressures are gone, so I must make the most of it.

For me, the freedom doesn’t happen that much. The pressures of exams provide a crippling pain and I’m bound by stress and fear. I’m keen to please, and deathly afraid of failure. But that is gone now.

Now, there’s walks to go on and ice creams to eat, there’s routes to run and nights out to have, plans to make and organisation to be done. It’s a four month summer and I must make the most of the freedom.

But am I really all that free? Or am I caught by the chains of my own existence? Trapped by the past and the future, a rabbit in the headlights and unable to escape. Unable to help myself, never mind others. Trapped. Bound. Afraid. Worried. Helpless.

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.

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.