When is the right time to say those three little words?
I think there’s a difference between being in love with someone and loving someone, but I think the distinction is often hazy, and for good reason because there are so many different ways of loving different people.
To me, loving someone is that deep feeling of comfort and a desire to make sure they’re happy. It’s feeling absolutely helpless when they’re sad or hurt, and wanting nothing more than to be there for them in any way that makes them feel even the slightest bit better. It’s that physical ache that you feel when you miss them, and that complete feeling of content when you’re close, or even just when you’re talking. It’s caring for someone and knowing that their needs far exceed your own, putting them before anything because seeing them happy fills you with warmth. It’s never really stopping loving them, no matter what happens. It’s knowing that the idea of losing them petrifies you.
Being in love with someone is slightly different; it’s all of those things but on a different level, one that can be either stronger or weaker than simply loving someone.
When talking to my friend about this, he said that when you’re in love with someone ‘you just know’, but I’m not so sure; to me being in love suggests that one could fall out of love. That idea scares me, so I think that loving somone and being in love with someone come together in the form of ‘love’ and that really they’re just two branches of a bigger tree, but loving someone is a purer sense of that emotion.
I know that there are people who I love, in both ways, and I know that telling those people could so easily be misunderstood because of the stigma attached to the three little words.
I know that there are people I love far more than others in a completely different way to the way I love, say, my sister or my best friend. It’s strange, because the whole idea of love is terrifying to me because if it goes unreciprocated then it would hurt more than anything I can imagine, yet if it was mutual it could be the best thing in the world.
Ultimately, I think it’s one of the strongest emotions there is, and its power is what terrrifies me most.
But to answer my question, I don’t think there is necessarily a ‘right’ time to tell someone ‘I love you’ because it could be misinterpreted or meant in so many more ways than one. But either way, I think you really do ‘just know’ when you love someone, and in whatever form that may be I think it’s important that you let those people know just how much they mean to you.
So in my previous post I wrote that going to university would mean leaving everything and everyone I know, but really there is one person I’m most terrified about leaving behind.
If he ever reads this, not that he ever would, he’ll know this is meant for him right away.
I’ve known him forever, literally, and so I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t around. It’s only recently that I’ve realised just how important he is to me, I mean I’ve always known but just never quite acknowledged it, I suppose because I just figured things would stay as they are with us. Anyway, I’ve always considered him the best of all my best friends, possibly because I’ve known him so long, but only in the past few months have I properly realised that he feels the same way.
He’s like my best friend, brother and other half all rolled into one, in the least sappy way possible. I know that I could tell him all this and he wouldn’t bat an eyelid because it’s the truth, but our relationship has never been a sappy one; we’ve never needed to say the ‘I love you’s because we’ve just known, and because I don’t think a simple ‘I love you’ would suffice to express the way we feel.
If anyone is reading this and getting a niggling suspicion that perhaps we’re not just friends, let me just stop you there; we’re friends. That’s all it’s ever been and all it ever will be because that’s just us. (Plus, he’ll always be the boy who sits on me and farts, and the boy who wipes goodness knows what on me.)
He’s the one person I can trust more than anyone else with anything at all, and I know I’m the same to him, because neither of us would ever dream of judging the other. He’s also the only person I don’t doubt likes me – even if he didn’t, it’s been 17 years so we both know by now that we’re stuck with each other, and there’s no point trying to pretend otherwise so a simple dislike for one another wouldn’t keep us apart.
But yes, saying goodbye to him terrifies me… We’ve never been more than 20 minutes away from one another, and I know that there are phones and texts and Skype and I know that there will be university holidays and things, but I’m still terrified.
So I suppose this is a post that probably means nothing to anyone, but it’s also a strange little appreciation post for him as well as a way to let loose some of the ridiculous anxieties I have.
I’m having one of those depression days again and I feel awful.
I think it was triggered by a mixture of things, the most notable of which being that I am so goddamn paranoid… I hate it.
I worry that the slightest thing will make my boyfriend realise that I’m way less than what he deserves or could have. I worry that he doesn’t actually like me. I worry that we’re low-key because it’s not a serious thing. I mean, we talked about it and we are together but just not shouting about it, which is completely fine and yet I’m still worried… Part of that conversation was an agreement, initially brought up by him, that we can do whatever but no falling in love (which I don’t feel like talking about). This agreement was fine at the time, but over the last few weeks I’ve started wondering if that’s just what he wants because we aren’t actually serious. It’s horrible.
The thing is, I know that I don’t doubt him even if it seems like it; I doubt me because I know I’m not good enough for him.
Obviously, there’s also the whole panic about grades which I could probably eradicate by some revision, but over this past three week holiday I’ve done none. Sure, I’ve sat down with my books and all that but none of it’s stuck – I have a brain like a sieve, as I’ve probably said before.
Linked to that is the stress of university; I don’t have to apply til later this year unless I go for Oxbridge, which I don’t think I want to do. It’s just the whole future thing, I think, and the distance bit and the fact that I’ll be leaving behind everything I know. Bit scary, really.
On top of all that I’ve got strange little problems at home, and I’m just as paranoid about my friends as I am about my boyfriend, again because I can’t see why I’d be even slightly interesting to them.
All of this has come crashing down today and landed me with an awful migraine, one that came with all the symptoms of flu; in short, my depression has taken today as its day to remind me that it’s still there, as loud as ever.
I wish I could get rid of it, because I know that it’s the reason for my paranoia and anxiety and everything else, or at least I know that the three go hand in hand. I hate the fact that everyday I have to fight my own head, with my head, and that every time I wake up on and after days like today the phrase ‘won the battle, lost the war’ seems oh-so relevant.
I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It’s like this muffler stretching over my nose and mouth and a weight on my chest that makes breathing really hard, as well as this ache in the back of my head and a mixture of guilt, anxiety, paranoia and so much else biting at something deep inside my chest. Ohmygod I hate it.
I’m currently 17, meaning that the time has come for me to seriously start looking at, and visiting, universities. Because I haven’t found any personal articles written about any universities, no blog posts or videos or anything, I figure I might as well be the first. So I hope this is useful.
EDIT: I live in London and have done my whole life, so everything regarding university is written from that perspective. The course I wish to study is Anthropology, ideally a combined course with Philosophy.
From London to Leuchars station, 10 minutes by taxi from St. Andrew’s, took about 5.5 hours by train. As I travelled with three friends this wasn’t such an awful amount of time, but alone it would be tedious to say the least. On the way back home it took longer, about 6.5 hours, which really was a long time.
St. Andrew’s town itself is, predictably, small, with a population of 20’000, of which 8’000 are university students. This size means that, as we were frequently told, the students ‘make their own fun’ as there isn’t exactly a mutlitude of clubs or pubs or the sort of social things that usually come with the idea of university.
This problem appears to be solved by the fact that students seem to visit Edinburgh, about an hour away by train, and Dundee, about half an hour away, when they choose to properly go out. Obviously, this would be an expensive night out as the cost of train tickets, admission, drinks etc. would be rather a lot, particularly for an in-debted university student (something I will come to speak about a little further on).
Despite my previous paragraph of social woe, St. Andrew’s isn’t without a night-life; the student union bar is an apparent social hub, and because the university takes over the whole town there are many places to hang out and enjoy being a student. There are also the university halls of accomodation, all with common areas and decently sized rooms with all the utilities one could require. There isn’t really a need to visit either Edinburgh or Dundee unless you want shopping malls and clubs, and the hours journey to Edinburgh isn’t actually much longer than travelling from A to B in London.
Meeting people would be easy; of course the size of the university means that the student body forms a close-knit community, and the fact that you can walk from one end of town to the other in 25 minutes means that you’re always in close proximity to friends, and other people full-stop.
According to Which? University, St. Andrew’s has the overall student satisfaction rate of 89%, nearly matching those of Russel Group Universities such as Cambridge (90%), Oxford (91%), and Durham (90%). This means that the whole small-town thing clearly isn’t a problem.
Perhaps now would be the time to talk about the aformentioned small-town; St. Andrew’s is located on the East Coast of Scotland, with beautiful architecture and beaches, the biggest of which being West Sands Beach, a huge stretch of flat sand with rock pools and shells and all the charm of a picturesque, if chilly, coastline.
The beach is an area of town that most everyone mentioned at some point, as was the ruined castle, the rich history, and the abundent traditions.
The main street, Market Street, is just a normal long, cobblestoned road with all the shops you would need; New Look, Phase Eight and H&M to fulfill high-street fashion needs, Superdrug and Boots, Subway, Nandos and lots of little coffee shops and independent restaurants, the ones we tried having served delicious meals with lovely staff.
Parallel with Market Street is North Street, where the admission ‘block’ of the university can be found. Just like Market Street, North is cobbled and lined with beautifully designed buildings, a theme that runs throughout the town.
Now, I think the time has come to discuss the debt issue; as St. Andrew’s is a Scottish university 1/3 of the student body is made up of Scottish students who don’t have to pay to attend. EU students also have discounted fees, I think, so together that’s a substantial percentage of the students who have no or less debt than those from England and Wales. This means that they would have extra spending money compared to, certainly, me and people in my position. This would also explain how they would manage to go into Edinburgh and Dundee for a night out. I can’t pretend that this financial issue doesn’t worry me slightly, but I don’t think it would be as noticeable as I think I’m making it out to be.
Courses-wise, St. Andrew’s manages to strike a middle ground between the English university system, where students pick a course or a joint course meaning that at most they can study two subjects, and the American college system, where breadth is valued more so students study a range of subjects. St. Andrew’s is much like the American system for the first two years of one’s course in that students study three or four subjects and then cut it down to two in-depth ones in the last two years, like the English system does from the start. Personally, I like this method of teaching as it would mean that I could study Anthropology, Philosophy and Film all at once for the first two years, and so even if I didn’t get a degree in it I would have some kind of a background in film, the industry I wish to go into.
The students and professors that we met were lovely – very welcoming and easy to talk to, as well as happy to discuss their worries before attending the university.
All in all, I found St. Andrew’s to be an absolutely lovely university and town, and highly expect to be applying there later this year. My only real worry is that, for me, it’s a very long way from home and, since I’ve only ever known London, my entire life is here. Of course, the finance side of things worries me too, but there are plenty of scholarships and bursaries to apply for and really money-worries will crop up with all universities, as is the nature of higher education.
I hope this little post has been educational and helpful, and if you wish to know any more about my visit to the university feel more than welcome to drop me a comment.
I’m not going to even begin to attempt to hide the fact that I am rubbish when it comes to revision; for my GCSEs I read my English texts the night before each exam, barely picked up a Maths textbook, didn’t even try to try with French, winged Latin, flunked History, glanced maybe twice at my sciences, and tried a bit (the most) with Art. Obviously, it showed in my grades which were, predictably, nowehere near what I know I could’ve achieved.
I think my problem is, and it’s the same for many people, that I was ridiculously clever in primary school; I was that kid who could ace a test in a few minutes and would always move onto the extension work. Because of that I was praised so much so that when I moved to secondary and found myself at a more average level I floundered around, terrified at the prospect of not being top but unable to work to get back there because I’d never needed to try before and so had no idea how to try.
Now, at A-Levels, I’m still in that position. I’m average, perhaps even a tad below it now, and I’m still lost when it comes to studying. It’s not that I haven’t asked for help, it’s just that my brain is rather like a sieve now.
Obviously, this is a realisation that has caused me no end of grief because, hell, the exams I have coming up are ones whose grades are given to my prospective universities, so to say that they’re a big deal is on a whole other level of understatement.
Right now, I’m sitting at my desk having just got up from lying on the floor scrolling through Buzzfeed quizzes and articles on ‘How To Motivate Yourself To Revise’. Shouldn’t the fact that if I don’t study I won’t go to university be motivation enough? You’d think so.
So I suppose the point of this little post is to say to all those other people in the same state as me that you’re not alone! But that that’s not a reason to stay the way we are, because really we won’t get anywhere by Googling motivational inspiration.
Really, I think we need to set ourselves a goal, an achievable one that’s just far enough away that we’ve got to actually try to reach it. For me, that’s getting into a good university so I can move out. For you it might be the same, or different, but whatever it is, focus on it because if you’re anything like me you’ll be kicking yourself in a few months if you didn’t try for it.
So good luck, my fellow perfectionist procrastinators, I know you can do it.
This isn’t going to be the generic TFIOS post where I tell you all the heartbreaking cancer story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, because by now I think everyone knows their tale of torment.
Instead, this is a post about my (borrowed) cancer story. This is about Adam.
I met him about three years ago on Rottingdean beach near to Brighton, and in the least cheesy way he saved my life. I won’t give the whole long story because I don’t think anyone really wants to hear it, but mostly because it’s the first thing I have about him and I want to keep that to myself, if that’s okay.
Anyway, he saved me from drowning and after that we spent the next three days hanging out, being stupid on the beach and just talking. When it was time to go home, we left unexpectedly so I didn’t manage to say a proper goodbye to him. Over time, obviously, Adam became just a fond memory but one that I didn’t spend too much time dwelling upon.
Nearly a year passed and I was walking through my town’s town centre. It was raining so my hood was up, and my hands were seized into place by the hefty shopping bags I was carrying. I don’t know about you, but when someone calls my name while I’m out in my town I generally get a bit twitchy, I mean my home-town isn’t really known for its lovely townsfolk.
So, when I heard someone shouting my name, the twitchiness began. I peaked round the edge of my hood but couldn’t see anyone I recognised, so I kept walking.
Again, someone called my name and finally I recognised its source. I walked over to him, his hood covering his head but his smile still just visible. Adam.
It was weird, obviously, because there was no real reason for him to be here, particularly not on a rainy January morning.
But there he was, standing exactly a head taller than me with dark eyes and a bright grin splitting his face. We talked, asking the normal questions and giving the predictable answers, until I asked him how everything had been since last we’d met.
His expression faultered and he slowly reached up to tug back his hood. ‘I have leukemia,’ he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’
I remember staring at him, shocked, because it was so unexpected and just so, so awful. We weren’t even particularly close friends, I mean we’d hung out for a few days the previous summer but really that was all – there was no reason for either of us to properly remember each other, and yet we did.
He pulled me in and hugged me, and I remember the rain. It’s a strange thing to remember so clearly, but it’s possibly the clearest of my memories from that day.
He gave me his email address before he left. I didn’t even wait a day before sending him something, and for the next nine months we talked everyday. We met up a few times, but we both agreed that forming a physically, and therefore stronger emotional, friendship would hurt more when it inevitably came to its end.
It turned out that when we met, he was in remission and had been for a few years. The cancer was gone, and it wouldn’t come back, and yet there it was, back.
He spent that year travelling, visiting everywhere he could in such a small space of time. It was only after six months that he told me why: he’d been given a time limit.
Towards the end he spent more and more time in hospital, and I began to converse more with his cousin than with him because he couldn’t. Finally, after far too few months, the last three days of which had been utter radio silence, his cousin emailed me explaining that the absolute worst had happened. To say that I was heartbroken would be such an understatement.
Suddenly I didn’t have the constant correspondence or the comfort of one of my closest friends, and that’s really all we were – the closest of friends, nothing more or less than that.
Why is this post headed with the name of a book? Because I watched the film of it last night with two friends and ended up bawling as I always do as it finished. Perhaps one friend understood why, but the other definitely didn’t. I might show him this at some point to explain, partly because I never (openly) cry and partly because he’s one of my best friends and I think I want him to know this, but I’m not sure…
I miss Adam, but in a less painful way than I once did because I shoved that grief down until I felt I’d bottled it enough to keep going.
I guess Gus was right, though – that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.
I mentioned in my previous post that I was looking through some old notes I made on my phone and I found a record of some messages that my best friend, who incidentally lives in a different country to me, sent me when I was going through a particularly rough patch.
I want to paraphrase them a little so that they are suitable for anyone and everyone who might need them, because they helped me and I believe that everyone deserves to be made to feel better when they’re having a bad day.
I will always be here for you and I won’t be mad at you for hurting yourself. I just want to help you to get happier, so whenever you feel like hurting yourself you can always write to me. I will never be dissapointed if you hurt yourself again, because it happens, and sometimes you just break your Wall (the one you put up to try and keep the bad things away). I will always love you, no matter what you do to yourself. You will always be my best friend and I will always be there for you.
If you get sad over small things, I won’t laugh and make fun of you – I will cheer you up and try to help you. If you are scared, and if you feel your anxiety, I will try to calm you down and just help you in any and every way that I can. No matter what is making you sad or scared, I will help you (even if you are too scared to ask for small things, even a sachet of ketchup, I will ask for you). I will always help you and I want you to know that you can ask me anything.
You are my best friend and I find you so beautiful even with your scars. Your scars and past don’t define you as a person. It’s the way you treat others that defines you.
I want you to know that even if it’s 4am and you are feeling sad, call me or write to me! I will just apply cold water to my face and stay up until you are feeling better. I love you.
Please remember that I will always love you and you will always be the same amazing girl that I call my best friend.
No matter what you do and no matter how much you hurt yourself, you will always be you in my eyes.
I am not mad at you for hurting yourself and I will not be dissapointed at you for hurting yourself.
I will always love you. Please remember that.
I know that her message was personal to me and fitted my situation, but I think that most of it could be applied to any situation where someone feels bad.
I also want to add that if anyone is reading this and is in need of someone to talk to then comment on this post and I will find a way to get into contact with you, whatever the time, because no one should feel like they have no one.
While looking through the notes on my phone I found a piece I wrote nearly this time last year. I wasn’t going through the best of times, but by the time I wrote this I think I could effectively ‘see the light in the darkness’, so here:
I have scars on my wrists,
And bruises on my knuckles,
With broken veins and a broken heart.
I have a void where I should have life,
A hole where I should find love,
Yet still I am alive.
I have scratches and marks aplenty,
And cold that runs so deep,
But somehow I am thawing.
I have scars, yes,
But they’re not all so bad,
They show that I have lived,
And survived a lot of things.
Perhaps to the others my hardships
Are nothing but minor setbacks,
But to me they cut too deep
To ever really hide.
I have family and friends,
And I love them all so much,
And it’s thanks to them that I’m still here.
I have love,
Not that I can always see it,
But I know that it’s always there.
So thank you, every one of you,
Who has held me when I’ve cried
And helped me to my feet.
Thank you every one of you,
For the solidarity I needed.
Now I’m not going to pretend that I’m particularly good at poetry, but it’s always been a way for me to express myself; I’ve never been much of a talker and so at a young age I realised that I could far more easily convey myself through the use of written rather than verbal communication.
This poem, sort of named The Scars On My Wrists, was my way of trying to look at my depression. I’m not sure what else I can say about it because I think the poem says enough, at least in the best way I can express.