In a few weeks I leave home to start university. Every time I think about that, my brain gallops away at a million miles an hour and gets completely lost in a long stream of ‘what ifs’. Because the future is a scary thing to look at, for all of us. We can all plan a route but there’s nothing we can do if the particular road that we want is closed.
I received a phone-call this morning from the specialist hospital in London where I see the cardiologist that wants to poke my heart. I have to go there on Wednesday for a preoperative assessment. This was a bit of a surprise, seeing as I haven’t actually been told a date for the procedure yet (I guess it is going to be soon). I’m still not sure if that news is welcome or not, there are too many conflicting emotions inside of my head right now, and no clear winner.
I have to empty my room over the next couple of weeks, because after I leave, my parents want to buy new furniture and redecorate (I moved into my current bedroom when I was eleven, so they want to make it more adult). Staring at a pile of plastic storage boxes waiting to be filled with the last eight years of my life and moved out of sight, really made everything hit home. I’m so excited to be moving onwards and upwards in my life, but a tiny part of me will always miss being here. And every single part of me is going to miss my dog, because I don’t actually know how to exist without a chocolate Labrador (he knows when I’m ill before I do, so he wakes me up and stuff… We never trained him to do that, he just does). My dog is quite possibly the best friend I will ever have. He snuggles up with me when I’m feeling ill, and since we’ve got back from holiday he’s been so freaked out at the fact that I left him for a week, that he refuses to leave my side. The worst part is that he won’t even understand that I’m coming back.
I spent a lot of time lately wondering how I’m going to cope with university. My heart has finally calmed down after what can only be described as a five day riot, but I’m finding it hard to manage at the moment due to other health issues, and we don’t have that long to turn things around. I then began to worry about other people’s reactions to my health issues. In the past people have run a mile. I’ve lost friends, some pretty horrible things have been said by some pretty insensitive people, and their words still stick in my thoughts to this day. I don’t like opening up to people about things like that anymore. My imperfections are not glaringly obvious, and as a result they are easily hidden. I hide within myself, and I hide the emotions that I feel in plain sight. So I don’t know why I did what I just did…
I took a leap of faith, yet I’m not emotionally bruised and bleeding. The other girl who will be living in my flat at university seemed to be really nice. We were getting along well, and so I just came out with it. I told her that my heart is a little messed up, and that I have diabetes, and other various things. I told her I’ve been in and out of hospital a lot, but promised her that I am a normal human being and not a freak. And then I hoped. I hoped that, unlike so many others, she would stay… And she did. Not only did she continue to talk to me, but she was so lovely I was instantly relieved. I nearly cried.
Sometimes it isn’t how we feel or what we are going through that is the hardest part, it is the shame that we feel for these things that we can’t change. Sometimes the fear of other people’s reactions forces us to shut ourselves off from the world, and for a few months that’s what I’ve done. For a few months (actually, maybe a couple of years) I was ashamed to be open and honest and living inside of myself was pretty destructive. So I was terrified of telling this person that I’d only just started talking to, considering the fact that I’ve lost some of my closest friends in the past. And I don’t know why I did. I instantly wished I hadn’t. I sat there shaking until she replied. Actually shaking. The tears of regret were ready. But they never fell.
I’m over that hurdle now. It is such a huge step for me. I’ll never be healthy, and I’ve been that way since I was a toddler. Some people who have known me for years have no idea about my health, or about my feelings, because I just don’t know how to talk to them. I remember once telling the other members of my girls football team about one of my health, and the looks on their faces, and their verbal responses made me so ashamed that I never dared mention it again. Unfortunately once people have sat in the back of an ambulance with you while your heart beats to its own rhythm, or your blood turns acidic, you sort of have some explaining to do.
The future provides endless opportunities for worry and stress. There are so many things that may or may not happen, and we spend so much time wondering about them that before we know it those things are upon us. No matter how much we try, no man can move a mountain.
What we don’t seem to realise is that we meet the future every second. We come face to face with things we never dreamt of encountering, things we have been dreading, things we have been putting off, and they become a part of our past.
Step 17 to getting out of a rut in life:
You only have to look after the present, the past is beyond your control and the future will take care of itself (it is older after all). And sometimes, you just have to shut your eyes, and grit your teeth, and go for whatever it is you’re too afraid to go for. It’s ok if you fall. But you might also find that somebody is there to catch you (and the landing might not be as hard as you think)