Washed Up In A Very Good Way

I’ve discovered that excitement can rob you of sleep just as effectively as nerves. I feel like I’ve been swimming against the tide for so long and finally made it to the shore. The water that pulled me under is still dripping from my clothes, it has stolen so much warmth from me, and it still weighs me down. But it can’t hurt me any more, it is now powerless. And I know that soon, now that I am on solid ground, the water will evaporate, and it’s weight will be lifted from my tired bones, and the warmth within me will return. I still haven’t learnt how to swim, how not to sink, and I am sure that I will slip and fall into the river once again, but just for today… I can’t believe that I’ve made it.

I had to keep re-checking my university offer last night to make sure that it was real. I kept convincing myself that I must have misread it, and that actually I’d been rejected, or that the website had made a mistake. Thankfully I was just being ridiculous, and eventually print-screened the page to save myself the hassle of checking over and over.

It turns out that university is not going to be a totally fresh start. One of my good friends has applied to my university through clearing and managed to get a place. I was going to continue meeting up with my friends anyway (if you’ve read other posts on this blog you will know how awesome my friends are, and I still want them to be a part of my life), and it’s nice that there will be somebody there that I know, but I’m going to try and mostly fly solo for the first few weeks because I think its important that I challenge myself and meet new people rather than sticking to my comfort zone. University is a chance to totally reinvent myself, and I’m a fool if I don’t take that opportunity. I have spent too long wishing that I could be like everyone else, and now that I can be I’m not passing up on that. I’ve applied for a student bank account, and accepted my accommodation offer, and now everything feels so real!

My parents took me and my little brother out for pizza last night to celebrate the fact that I got into university. They gave me some money in the morning as a congratulations, and I was hoping to put it towards a new camera (I love art, and seeing as I can’t draw any more I got into photography instead. I used to carry my camera everywhere… Until it broke in the new year.) Unfortunately, the pizza restaurant was right by a book shop, and I love to read almost as much as I love art (the colouring book I bought the other week has proved to be a great success). I bought five books, including one that I last read when I was seven or eight years old (just because it brought back so many memories I had to read it again!) I now have nowhere near enough to buy a new camera… But I do have some books to take on holiday with me tomorrow.

Two weeks ago we never even imagined that I would be able to go to France with my family. We were scared, and I had pretty much given up. I’m still waiting for ‘emergency’ heart surgery (my consultant wants to do it himself, but there was an administrative hiccup and so now we have to wait until I get back from holiday) but I’ve been started on some new tablets to try and ease my symptoms until then and prevent my heart from beating in whatever way it decides. Today I feel lucky. I couldn’t ask or hope for anything more in my life. I’m not well but I’m much better than I was, and I proved wrong all the people who doubted me – the people at my school who told everyone that I was going to fail and should drop out, and that they didn’t know why I bothered. Well this, right here, right now, is why I bothered when people told me not to. This is why I tried for so long, even thought their words killed me inside. And this is how I know that even when everything has been pulled out from underneath your feet, all is not lost.

We all get to a point where we stop swimming against the tide and start drifting along in life. It’s hopeless, bumping from disaster to disaster, sinking lower and lower, and it’s terrifying. But eventually the tide will sweep you to the shore. You will break the surface again. You don’t have to be able to swim to survive. Life is like a river, there is an ebb and a flow. And when the water recedes, you will crawl out of the shallows and stand on the shoreline, exhausted, and shaken, and still soaked to the skin, but back on dry land.

The formal meaning of the term ‘washed up’ is ‘to be deposited by the tide on a shore’ society turned it into a negative thing, meaning unsuccessful… But right now I’m pretty happy to be washed up (in a metaphorical sense). Because until recently, I was drowning.

“When the world says give up, hope whispers, try it one more time.” – Unknown

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