Thursday, 15 February 2018

I'll be okay.

On Tuesday night I went back through old blog posts, mostly from the past year. I forgot that I would find it a difficult process, that it would upset me, but I carried on with it anyway.

It's an odd thing to revisit feelings you publicly articulated in a way that was not too personal but personal enough. Reading some of the posts made me sad because I had been sad for a large part of last year. I noticed patterns in my writing such as always telling the reader, but mostly myself, that it was all going to be okay in the concluding paragraph. I knew that I was writing those posts, exposing such a deep and unsettling emotion, because I was going to be okay.

I felt so sad re-reading my own writing because I felt so far away from the girl saying all those things. It's a good thing that I no longer resonate with that feeling, that it has become something distant, but I forgot how lost I was. I had an overwhelming desire to tell this girl, who had written all these sad things, that she really definitely was going to be okay. It would not last as long as she thought it would (it felt like it would never end), and it would not get the better of her.

In wanting to reach back to myself and show her how I feel now I know that I will never be her again. I know that I will feel sad, deeply and painfully sad, and maybe I'll write about it here, but I will never feel so trapped and so endlessly low.

Because it ends, I know that it ends. And I can come back here, to this place where I'm sharing a lot of the things going round in my head, and I can remind myself that I did it, that I'll do it again, that it won't last. And that I'll be okay.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Existing.

I didn’t delete blog posts until recently. In fact, I’ve only done it once. Most of the time I am quite comfortable with writing something very personal and posting it on the Internet. If it’s something I’d be happy telling a person I’ve just met I know that I’ll be happy sharing it with whoever cares. But there is a line, it’s a deeply personal line in my head, and I know that I’ve crossed it when I keep cringing as if I’ve told someone an embarrassing secret. Not just someone, anyone with a WiFi connection. 

I think a lot about whether I share too much on my blog. I pride myself on always being my authentic self but I sometimes wonder if by constantly publicly writing about it I lose a bit of it to a virtual space. Or to people who aren’t listening. Because I am wanting people to listen.

Does it matter who you are saying something to or is it just the fact that you are saying it at all that counts? 

I guess it all just comes down to existing. To wanting to prove that you existed as much as you can. To leave footprints with words and feelings on the people you encounter, and expanding it out to people you never will. Do those people really care? Will they really remember? 

I think of people I look up to whom I will never meet because they are too famous or too famous and dead and I think of the impact they have made on me. I have pictures of Audrey Hepburn all over my room, and I declared an undying love for Regina Spektor at the age of 12 which is yet to die out. And they have shaped me, in small ways, and they have influenced how I think or behave or look. I was never alive at the same time as Audrey Hepburn but whatever she left behind still reached me, I still benefit from what she did with her life. 

I think about books I’ve read when I’ve felt scared or sad or lonely, or films that have helped me escape, or music I’ve felt inspired by and I realise that even if I never meet or know the person or people behind those things they still reached me. They still made an impact. They still made me feel less alone, less fearful, less weird. 


If I can do that on a much smaller scale, help someone, make someone think, then I know that my oversharing is worth it. I know that my being completely honest and open is good for me and maybe for someone else. And maybe I won’t just fade, and someone will know that I existed. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Coward.

Last night I found myself standing on a stage in front of about 100 people completely butchering my lines. No one really noticed apart from the director and my cast members, and even then they weren't sure because, God knows how, I kept in character.

I only realised that I was getting things really wrong when I looked up at my poor cast-mate's embarrassed face as I repeated words twice and didn't make any sense. She has countless more lines to remember than I do and never butchers them, I had one monologue and was messing it up.

I knew immediately that I had let myself down through lack of focus. I had let myself go into autopilot and forgotten to be in the moment. I could have told you it was going to happen before I got on stage when I was silently panicking that the emotion I had brought to focus the night before wasn't there. And I could have done a lot more to stop my mind from wandering but I got so caught up in feeling scared and believing, before it had happened, that I was going to mess up my performance that I did.

I keep doing that a lot in various parts of my life recently. Believing that I can't do something and subsequently not being able to do it. Paradoxically I know that I can do whatever it is I'm trying to do, and that I have the potential to do it really well, but it's almost like I self-sabotage as if to prove myself right, or wrong, depending which way you look at it. Perhaps I do this as an excuse not to do things that scare me, or in an attempt to avoid failure. Perhaps I'm just being a coward. Perhaps I just need to stop pretending that I don't believe in myself.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Brave.

I still cry every time my parents leave me at university. As if it's something that never happened before, as if I don't relax into my other life after they've gone. Me and Mum cling to each other right before she leaves because it's hard for us both. I get caught between wanting to watch them walk away down the long corridor or hiding in my room to make the experience go faster. It is always at this point that I cry.

I'm not entirely sure when being an adult and living independently is going to stop being a bit lonely and a bit terrifying because it certainly isn't easy. I keep feeling quite a paralysing fear that I've started doing it all wrong. I haven't been brave enough, I keep... feeling scared. The feeling of wanting to hide and escape means that sometimes things don't get done. I don't write because I'm terrified of it, and I find more comfort in watching a film with the family or doing every single bloody thing to avoid the feeling of dread at an empty page.

I cry when my parents leave me because it is my comfort shrinking to the far end of the corridor, down the stairs, into the car and onto the M11. I have to be big and grown up and walk briskly towards an unknown, exciting, frightening future. I have to be brave. I can be brave.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Transphobia.

I realised, about a year or two ago perhaps, that I was transphobic. I realised that I had let other people's prejudices influence my own because it suited my world view at the time and I did not understand what being transgender really meant. But I never voiced my prejudice, thank God, because I knew deep down that I was wrong.

My previous transphobic views were made known to me when I started watching the series Transparent on Amazon Prime. Suddenly I had access to a positive narrative about a transgender woman who after an entire life of living as a man with a wife and family made a decision to transition to what she always had been. An earlier recognition of my flawed understanding of gender came from  Laverne Cox's role in Orange is the New Black but I still lacked sympathy or proper acknowledgement of the validity of being transgender. 

I am ashamed to admit that my conscious transphobia was influenced by radical feminists and Second Wave feminists some of whom believed that transgender women were not real women and were just men in disguise here to take our roles and rights all over again. Okay so a white woman who can present as a man can still take advantage of white male privilege but that really, really isn't the point. To argue that transgender issues are not a part of feminism, a movement which endeavours to provide equality for all women, is, I realise now, wrong and absurd. 

I think that some feminists and women are afraid of the concept of transgender because it challenges what it means to be a woman. It's not just having a vagina that qualifies you for womanhood. I think that feminists fear that the attention will be taken away from reproductive rights, which are so important to women and to their womanhood, including mine, and that part of themselves will be diminished. But transgender women do not make the struggles of being a woman disappear. It is a different type of womanhood, and who are we to say that is wrong?

In fact what learning more about what it means to be transgender or non-binary through art, writing or otherwise, has taught me is that my own gender has been confined to a box and I am now understanding more about what it means to be me. I have learnt that I am more feminine than I am masculine and that I should celebrate my femininity because society is always trying to disempower it. I have learnt that my female body is important to me and my womanhood, but that it does not define it. I have learnt that I know that I am a woman simply because I just do, and I don't need to know the reason why, it is just instinct. I have learnt that I know nothing about what it means to be transgender and I am trying to understand it more everyday. 

I've realised that I was completely wrong, and I am very sorry for that, but I am also very grateful to be able to love and feel empathy for more people in this world than I did before. 


Friday, 29 December 2017

Small, quiet happiness.

I live my life like the British weather. Unpredictable, sometimes cold in warm seasons, always the potential for rain or random, angry gales. My dad has always told me that emotions are like the weather, when it's cloudy you know it will always pass. He's exactly right, for me anyway, as I can spend whole days feeling really, really up and then all of a sudden feel really quite down.

Yesterday I was in the car with my parents driving through the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire countryside and the sunshine was so golden settling over snow covered fields and I felt perfectly contented. It was the brilliant feeling of just being able to breathe and see and be. And I felt like that for hours, hours of contentedness.

Later on my mood lowered itself and I was unable to maintain such high levels of happiness. I was annoyed at first. How come such random anger and upset can come and cloud over my contentedness as if I had no control over it.

I do have control really. I can't control the weather but on a good day, and thankfully most days are good days, I can override sad thoughts and bitter feelings. It's just really quite irritating, quite frustrating when a perfect all encompassing level of happiness can't be maintained for longer. But it's okay, I guess, to value things more when they can't last forever.

Because those moments of small, quite happiness can produce such brilliant joy.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Brilliant Procrastination.

I think I am a lazy person. Or a brilliant procrastinator. Or perhaps brilliant is too great a word. My procrastination in an ideal world would involve creativity. I would be making little origami Christmas tree decorations or making mince pies or even just reading a book. I struggle to do any of those things.

I am procrastinating doing a lot of things. My dissertation is one of them. I've reached the end of my second draft and it's really, really hard to care about finishing it. So I find excuses. I'm ill, or I'm not in the mindset, or this coffee shop hasn't got the right atmosphere. I'd rather be doing other things like making little Origami tree decorations or reading a book. So I sit on my phone and scroll through Facebook instead. Naturally.

I've realised that scrolling through Instagram has become a bit detrimental. I keep comparing my life to other people's every single time I'm on the app. I come away feeling a little bit worse about myself each time. It seems that everyone else is either less lazy or a much better procrastinator. This isn't a post to whine about social media it's just, you know, if every time you use it it's giving you a mini complex you should probably take a break.

I've gone off course. The other thing I keep procrastinating is writing. I've done it for years. I've even talked about it on this blog for years. I could tell you for hours how much I adore writing, all the different things I'd like to try writing, all the ideas, all the dreams. And then at the end of that conversation I'd feel a little bit empty because I'd remember that I haven't done a lot of those things because I keep putting them off. Oh, I'm too busy. I'm not in the right space. I can't.

There are a lot of things I love and a lot of excuses I keep finding to not do them. I couldn't for the life of me tell you why. Perhaps I'm very lazy. Or just very scared of, you know, getting it all wrong.