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.

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Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters

I always wondered why someone hadn’t done something about that, and then I realised that I am someone. 

It’s funny how many people mention in day-to-day conversation something that they’re unhappy with in the wider world. It’s strange that they always say that that thing is ‘awful’ or ‘sad’ or ‘unfair’ or any other negative adjective. It’s remarkable how even one person noticing and commenting on these things has the ability to change them.

Every single person on the planet has the ability to change something for someone, and everyone is capable of making a positive difference in the world around them. If you stop and think about that for a moment or two it becomes a pretty powerful thing; ‘changing the world’ doesn’t have to mean going out to some far flung place you’ve been told needs help because ‘the world’ includes where you are right now, and where you are right now is somewhere you can have a direct impact upon.

For me it took a while for that notion to sink in, because I’ve grown up with charities and programmes that stress orphanage- and school- building in countries far away that don’t have the same facilities as we do here, so for a very long time I thought that the only way I could ‘change the world’ was to leave my own but try and replicate bits of it elsewhere, but that’s really not the mentality needed to succeed in world changing…

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. 

Think about a remote village somewhere a world away and think about the fact that this hypothetical place has amount of uneducated children and adults. Now imagine you have the chance to visit this place and do with it what you will. You take up the opportunity and are now all set to go and change this place; (working on the assumption that you have the means to fund this) you’re going to go and build a school and train teachers to teach this community, and as far as you’re concerned that’s that and you can go off and put this plan into motion.

When you get there, you do this and within a period of time you have a school and teachers and students, all of whom are pleased with this change in their community.

But, what does this education system do to the rest of their world? If it suddenly limits the amount of time spent culturally enriching their community, or decreases something imperative to that community’s well-being, then was this project for better or for worse?

If you think about it, when you imagine going off and doing something like this its likely that you picture something familiar, like a standard school for your area, mentally photoshopped into different surroundings. That’s normal, I think, but it’s not quite what we should all be imagining; just because something is how it is here doesn’t mean that it must therefore be like that somewhere else, because whatever it is is how it is because of the community it’s in.

My point here is that we need to consider what the people and/ or place we want to help actually needs to be, rather than trying to mimick our world in someone else’s – just because something seems like it should be a certain way because that’s how we’re used to it doesn’t mean that that’s the only way it should be.

In essence, I mean that we need to really think. What is it that will help? Where can I start? And how? And when? 

Well, I think now is as good a time as any to start looking around and talking to people, to start conversations that matter – I mean, talk about the things that are difficult to talk about and plan and do something to change those things for the better. 

Start a conversation that matters. 

Ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when? – Emma Watson  

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 now what…

Once upon a time…

I had a Plan. It was simple, something I really wanted and so pretty much had my heart set on.

Then I did my GCSEs and for some reason got it into my head that I didn’t need to study because I’d ‘got this’.

Needless to say, I hadn’t ‘got this’ at all – far from it. I collected my final grades on results day and was bummed to see just how wrongly ‘got this’ described my situation. I hadn’t done badly really, but I knew that I could’ve done better… Hell, I could’ve aced those exams if I’d studied and I knew it.

However, I just managed to keep my place at the sixth form I really wanted to go to and so I was off, with visions of this Plan clearly pinned in front of me and my regrets over my grades shoved at the back of my mind to be confronted at a later date, preferably when my Plan had materialised and I could laugh over them.

This method of hiding from the sad truth rather than facing it and deciding where to go from there meant that it was only at 2am, when I was lying awake contemplating existence, that I’d allow myself to even begin to consider a Plan B… On some level I think I’d still managed to fool myself into thinking that everything would work out fine and that I’d still ‘got this’ and my Plan would still go, well, as planned.

Of course, this couldn’t possibly be the case so I began to very tremulously think about what else I could do if these grades proved to be the be all and, most likely, end all of my Plan.I let myself begin to dwell on other ideas and, before I knew it, my Plan had effectively gone out the window and been replaced by a horrible feeling of complete self-doubt. Even so, I refused to acknowledge that I was falling and so kept on going, spinning into a plan-less void of anxiety over a future that could still be on track if I hadn’t been so bigheaded back last summer.

However, today I had a meeting with my housemaster at school. It was a little soul-destroying and I came out feeling like I’d been hit by a few trucks and run over by a bus. I’d been told that the grades I’d achieved at GCSE really would influence my future, and not in a positive way in regards to my Plan, the thing that I suddenly felt slipping through my sudden, frantic grip. But, after a bout of teary panic, I decided that I could turn this around.

Yes, I wish my plan could still be a Plan.

Yes, I wish I’d studied and thought everything through properly.

Yes, I wish I’d thought of a Plan B earlier on and avoided all of this.

But I didn’t.

And that’s ok, because instead I got the kick in the teeth I needed to make me go home and consider six questions I should have thought about a long time ago:

  1. What do I really love in life?
  2. So far, what’ve I done that I’m proud of?
  3. If I didn’t care at all what anyone thought, what would I do?
  4. If my life was completely limitless and I could have and do whatever I wanted, what would I have and what would I do?
  5. If I had a billion pounds, what would I do?
  6. Who do I admire most in life and why?

Perhaps they seem silly, but they helped me.

I don’t have a Plan anymore, but I have plans.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.