Friday, 12 August 2016

where have I been?

This is my first post in around 5 months. I wish I had a good reason for abandoning my blog for this long; I was writing my first novel; I was inspired by a youtube video and made a split-second decision to stop using the internet; I went on a trip around the world in an effort to find myself. However, none of these are true - to answer the question in the title of this post, I have not been anywhere. In many ways, I feel like I have been sitting still for too long. (Remember that scene in Twilight: New Moon when Edward left and there was a montage of the seasons changing as Bella sat in the same seat for months on end? I used to make fun of it, but...) As I'm sure you'll agree, I've decided I really don't want to follow in the footsteps of Bella Swan, so I've been trying to sort out all the nonsense in my head - hence the long-awaited blog post.

Wearing the Depression Hoodie™️
Around this time last year I was getting ready to move into student halls in Edinburgh for my first year at university. Overall this was an overwhelming, exciting and fairly positive experience. On my course especially I found lots of people with similar mindsets, beliefs and interests - a complete novelty for me. I found myself gaining confidence to speak in tutorials and even a couple of lectures, because I felt reassured and comforted by my peers.


So, I would leave my university campus feeling energised - then I would go back to halls. Which leads me to the other side of the double-edged sword that I have not yet mentioned. On one hand, uni was a great -perhaps the best- opportunity to meet new people and friends (which I totally have, by the way). However, it was also all to easy to completely isolate myself from everybody. When you aren't close to anyone around you, there is nobody to check up on you or chastise you for being antisocial. Initially I found this deliciously freeing - I had an entire city to explore and I could do it all by myself! I walked absolutely everywhere, getting my bearings, finding shortcuts, discovering hidden gems in a capital city.
Furthermore, since my flat's communal area was harsh, cold and decidedly inhospitable I could go full days without having a proper conversation with another human being. I justified this by telling myself I was practising self-care; I was just having a 'me' day. I have now realised that having five of these in a row is not self care, and can in fact be pretty unhealthy (not just in the mental sense, but also in the 'if I'm not leaving the house I may as well just order 2 for Tuesday pizzas from Domino's and eat them for the next 3 days' way).


On the other side, the literal distance between me and my schoolfriends was not helping. Not only I am notoriously bad at virtual conversations, but I became increasingly paranoid that they had all lost interest in me and consequently lost the courage to message them out of fear that I was irritating them. Days of not speaking turned into weeks, which turned into months. I am aware that this is mostly my own fault for being ridiculous - which makes it more frustrating that I have lost people I cared about.

By the end of the 'school' year in April I had grown closer to my new friends and participated a bit more (it's definitely easier once you turn 18) but I didn't have enough money and hadn't planned far enough ahead to stay in Edinburgh for the summer. So I got a job and moved back into my bedroom at home. Objectively I have not had a very good summer: it has either been spent working, watching Big Brother (shameful I know) or burying myself in books. However, all this time spent alone has led me to think a lot about who I am as a person, what my limits are, figuring out what makes me happy, what my best selfie angle is...


Although I don't have all the answers yet, I'm certainly on my way to figuring out who I am. I've certainly learnt that although I enjoy spending time alone, I can't blame introversion for isolating myself from everybody. Although it doesn't make me unhappy, it's also true that it doesn't always do wonders for my mental or physical health. In fact, I would say my creativity especially has suffered lately. So I'm going to try (no definite promises) to make a bit more of an effort this year - making friends, making art, making memories. They're all important - hence this blog post. Hopefully see you again soon!


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