Just a thought

I woke up before anyone else this morning and suddenly had the realisation, while considering ways to motivate myself, that out of all the people I could've been I was born as me. I could've been anyone else at all, or no one, but instead I was made as me. Doesn't that prove that I'm supposed to be here? For some reason instead of anyone else it was me that came into being at that particular point in time, and I don't know about you but I think that's pretty amazing – I'm here for a reason, we all are. Not one of us deserves any less than to be alive because we were born to live.
(Which reminds me… alive or just breathing?)

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Bit Of A Shambles Tbh

A-levels are over! Yay! No more school! Or revision! Time for Netflix! All day! Unlimited time to duvet-burrito! No need to get up! Or dressed! Or do anything at all!

And therein lies the problem. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Even though I did relatively little revision, by which I mean next to none, I still had a proper purpose and something to aim towards. Now, with no exams, I’ve found myself at the beginning of a slippery slope that’s started with bed and Netflix and the fridge. It’s great for a couple of hours but then I realised that I have two months of summer before uni that I need to fill, and no way can I do that with days spent in bed rather than actually doing things. I need to find a new purpose, one that means I’ll meet people and live rather just exist.

For a lot of the summer all my friends are away and they’re all away at the same time. I can’t lie, I’m worried; I don’t like being on my own, there’s too much I don’t want to think about (probably more on that in a different post). Therefore, I’ve got to find things to do that, at the very least, get me out of the house.

I’ve just got off the phone after crying to a friend, who’s already away, about this dreadful cliff I find myself standing on the edge of, and he suggested buying cheap train tickets and just going to places for a day. I like the sound of that – there’s a lot to see and you can go quite far in a day. He also reckons writing stuff into my calendar so there are little milestones and things to look forward to is a good way to go.

(Side note: he’s going to Costa Rica to help build a school, which was a trip organised by my school, but I missed a place by one person and to be quite honest I’m pretty gutted because that is exactly the sort of thing I want to do. I want to do something like that at some point but part of the allure of the trip was that it was still partially linked to my school, and so would’ve included people I already know, even if only through passing them in corridors.)

The long and the short of it is that I need to find things to do (in London, which you’d think would be easy) where I can meet people, and I need to get back to being ok on my own. Stress.

I will not let him die.

A few months ago I began speaking to Daniel, a homeless man who often sits at the end of my road. He told me about the split in his relationship with his wife, and the ‘amazing’ 18-year-old daughter he has who lives with her mother. He has a dog called Poppy who also lives with his wife in Palmers Green, who he wants ownership of when he finds somewhere to live.

I’ve spoken to Daniel pretty much every time I’ve seen him, and if I haven’t stopped for a chat then we’ve always said hello. He knows me as ‘the girl with the photographs’ because I approached him with an idea for an art/ awareness project; I gave him a disposable camera and asked him to take pictures of his daily life. I’m now waiting for them to be developed so I can put them on display somewhere, and honestly I’m really excited because whatever they turn out to be will be an insight into the life of someone who is massively stigmatised by society. The point of my project was to humanise homeless people, something that is so important – when I first spoke to Daniel and asked his name he stared at me and went ‘no one ever asks’ and then ‘no one sees us’. It was then that I promised him that see him, and that I will make others see him, and other homeless people, too.

Lately, Daniel has begun looking awful; he’s hunched over and almost comatose most times I walk past him, and when I say hello there is less and less recognition in his eyes. I know that the world sees the homeless community as druggies, violent and dirty people addicted to mind-altering things. I cannot deny for one moment that this is the case with some, but just like with any stereotype it is the mistakes of the few that taint the many. I hate that, and I hate that Daniel may now be slipping into the stereotype.

He will die. There is little point beating about the bush and denying this because honestly at this point I think it’s the truth, unless someone can help him. But there seemingly exist no charities designed to help the homeless get back on their feet that truly help – sure, the YMCA can offer accommodation but hostels are on average around £8 a night and people like Daniel simply do not have that money. I am well aware that that might be ‘because they spend their money and drugs on alcohol’ but so what? An addiction is an addiction, and it’s terribly difficult to stop, and near impossible to move past without the right kind of help. Charities that do exist are hard to find and even harder to approach if you are in trouble, particularly because those who need the most help are most often those who cannot ask for it.

I don’t know how to help Daniel now, because talking to him cannot get rid of his problems, and buying him food and water cannot make up for the other things in his body.

He can’t die. He is a person, just like you and I are people. He has a family and friends, and I know that this was not the life he chose; he was happy, and it took one small thing to cause a snowball effect that has led to this. I refuse to let him go without a fight, but I don’t know how to help him. If anyone sees this and has any ideas of where to look for assistance I would be eternally grateful because Daniel is my friend. I have seen him change from alive to a shell of the person I met a few months ago, and it is heartbreaking because this is not what he wanted.

I am not asking for money, I am asking for help. I am asking for awareness to be raised of the horrors of homelessness and for the stigma to be lessened. Just because you do not have a home does not mean that you do not deserve one.

That Time Of Life

So I’ve been lying here for the last few hours staring at my phone screen waiting for my boyfriend to reply to my messages because he’s sad and isn’t ready to talk about it yet, so I’m worrying that he’s sad and worrying that I can’t help him.

I’ve also been lying here getting deeper and deeper into my Pit Of Despair, because I was talking to my ‘brother’ today about universities, because all of a sudden we’re nearly 18 and have to think about these very Grown Up things that I for one am not nearly as ready for as I thought.

He and I have never actually sat down and had a proper conversation about unis, other than a brief ‘oh I wanna go here’ months ago before any of it was really real. But now it all suddenly is, and so we had that conversation and he’s been accepted to all of his uni choices and none of them are here in London and suddenly it’s real that he’s moving away and won’t be close by anymore and suddenly we’re Growing Up and I am SO not ready for that because we’ve never lived more than 20 minutes away from each other and we’ve known each other since we were 2 months old.

So that was rather a scary thing to realise at lunch time, and then became scarier as the day went on because all of my friends are moving away for uni to and I’m just kinda sorta… here. I’ve applied to do an Art Foundation at CSM, and at a local college, and I’d love that, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to be left behind because, realistically speaking, I am well aware of the fact that my getting in would be the most amazing and unlikely stroke of luck out there, somewhat akin to being struck by lightning. 3 times.

I also can’t shake the feeling that I actually just want to be let loose and be free for a bit, travel and help people and do something meaningful.

But I am also well aware that I significantly lack the funds to do so. And the courage.

If I am being completely honest, I don’t know what I want to do. I know I don’t want to get left behind, and I know I don’t want to lose people, and I don’t want to break up with my boyfriend because I love him an absolutely ridiculous amount, and I didn’t realise it was possible to love someone as much as I do him and to lose that is a terrifying prospect.

My friends keep saying, when I talk to them about not knowing what I really want to do, that a) it’s normal to feel like this because it’s scary and b) I actually do know what I want to do in some way because I know what I love – art.

a) I know it’s normal, and I know it’s scary, and I know everyone feels like this.

b) I do love art, but in the end you can’t make a career out of it alone, and (again if I’m being completely honest) art is amazing but I genuinely do not believe that I have enough of it inside to make anything worth looking at or paying the remotest bit of attention to because one thing that studying art so far has taught me is that all of it is a copy of something else, and originality is basically all gone, and I want to make a difference and not just blend in to a mishmash of other things and people, even if blending in provides safety.

I don’t know, I just feel more than a little bit lost rn, and as much as I keep telling myself that that’s normal and what makes things interesting blah blah blah I’m actually shit-scared because I have no idea what’s going to happen next (and not in some romanticised ‘anything could happen’ way but more in an ‘holy hell anything could happen. help’ way).

So that’s that for now.

So today was one of those days where I’m uncharacteristically emotional. I hate that, because I’ve always had the mentality that crying is a sign of weakness, that emotions in general are a sign of weakness. Only in myself, though, because when other people show how they feel I think it’s pretty cool – they’re proving themselves to be alive and human and real. When it’s me, however, I hate it. As does everyone, I think.

I have exams next week, that I’m oh-so ridiculously stressed about, that don’t even really count for anything and result in grades that won’t ever make it to any official records. Because of that worry, however, I haven’t been sleeping properly and I’ve pretty much stopped eating. It’s been like this for about four days, and I feel so awful. I don’t want to go back to how I used to be, and yet all these food-related thoughts powered by extreme sleep deprivation have infiltrated my mind, or at least become more noticeable than usual.

All of that anxiety has then made it horribly easy for other unwelcome, supressed thoughts to make themselves known (again): your boyfriend doesn’t really like you; your boyfriend’s friends hate you; your boyfriend doesn’t love you (and here come all the reasons why); your friends are only there because they pity you; your grades are slipping and your school will reassess your scholarship and kick you out… I could go on but I think at this point the list would go on for far too many pages.

I should note that I know that a few of these things aren’t actually true, but on days like this the rational side of my mind manages to disappear for a few hours and leave me alone with the other side, the one that mocks and taunts and points out everything that is, and could possinly be, wrong.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that on days like this I hurt the people closest to me, and it’s true; my lovely boyfriend who I like and love and care about so much, who is also the kindest, most thoughtful, funniest and most cleverly intelligent person I’ve ever met, saw me on the stairs at the end of the day, a few very short minutes after I’d ended up crying into my friend’s shoulder in the toilets, gave me a hug and goodbye kiss and I was so close to crying again so I turned away and hot-footed it down the stairs. He laughed from behind me, at what I have no idea, but I’m so terrified that I hurt him and that was a laugh of incredulity at my awfulness. He’s honestly so amazing, and I know that if I keep doing this he’s going to leave. I’m so scared about that.

Hastily pushing that painful topic aside, I was also supposed to have dinner at a close family friend’s house this evening. I went round after school and told both them and my mum that I’d had a horrible day so couldn’t stay to eat as I needed to get to my room and calm down. I should mention that a few tears made their hated appearance around about then because, as well as the nastiness of my day, I knew that I was being rude. Something my mum’s just come home and told me in greatly exagerated detail, having left a few hours after me.

The reason I take issue with my mother sometimes is something I should probably mention and explain here; whenever I’m having a day like this, and even when I’m not, one of her seemingly favourite things to do is mimic me, putting on a ridiculous voice and flapping her arms about while twisting the things I say and intentionally making me feel guilty. She’s even admitted to the fact that emotional blackmail is something she knowingly uses on me, which is horrible because she knows exactly how bad that makes me feel.

Anyway, I’m well aware that this post has become something akin to the content found on an angsty teenager’s blog, so I should end it before it gets worse.

I’ll finish by saying that I hope no one else feels like this, but as it’s inevitable that one or a few of you do please feel more than free to leave an emoji in the comments and I’ll find a way to contact you and try and help.

Shadow Boyfriend

‘Ah, wouldn’t a shadow boyfriend be amazing? I mean, a boyfriend made out of shadow who could hold hands and be there forever…’ – my friend, 2016

A shadow boyfriend, you say? So, essentially someone who’s there for you pretty much all the time and will hold your hand and be there, behind you, most every step of the way? Someone who is flexible and solid and dependable… Except when things get dark and they suddenly fade away. Right when you need them most.

I don’t quite fancy that now, do you? Really, though, that shadow boyfriend thing is how a boyfriend, or girlfriend, should be, minus the disappearing act at the end. Shouldn’t your, excuse me, ‘other half’ be there for you through thick and thin, dependable and reliable and there if you need them, and shouldn’t you be there in exactly the same way for them? I think so…

But then haven’t I just described a best friend? Aren’t they someone who ticks all those boxes, and more, and doesn’t ever leave unless you really push them to?

Doesn’t that, therefore, mean that your, again excuse me, ‘significant other’ be your best friend? Of course, I don’t mean for you to run up to your bestie of however long and ask them out, but shouldn’t you have that level of trust with them, that unwavering knowledge that they’re there? I think so.

It’s pretty awful, then, when you don’t have that. I suppose it can work for a while, a relationship built on something other than trust, but I think that depends on how you define ‘relationship’.

For me, my absolute best friend is ridiculous in all meanings of the word, but they’re also my confidente, ‘my rock’, and the person I know really will be there no matter what, because I will be for them too.

A boyfriend, or girlfriend, should be the same, shouldn’t they? All the things a best friend is, but slightly different.

Perhaps, then, your best friend is your soul mate and your boy/ girlfriend is the person you’re more than happy to spend your life with.

I know I’m only 17, but that’s how it seems to me at the moment, possibly because my whole relationship-thing is pretty rocky, even though I think I’m the only one that’s the case for; my best friend is that one who’s there, always, and my boyfriend is too but in a different way… I can’t talk to him about anything and everything, but I can to my bestie. I’m not sure if that means I’m doing something wrong here, because I’ve just written a post on how you should date your best friend, but for me that’s just the way it is. Weird.

Either way, I love them both a stupid amount, and whatever happens I will always be there for them both.

But I think the point of this post wasn’t to highlight the significance of significant others, but instead to say one thing: whatever you do, don’t get yourself a shadow boyfriend. It’s far better to go it alone than to go it with someone who leaves just when you truly need them.

I Love You

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.

Just One Of Those Days

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.