I miss London. I can’t tell you exactly what I miss about the place where I’ve always felt I belonged, because in truth, I miss everything. London is home. I have lived there, nearly died there, walked its streets at night, fallen apart there, had my first kiss there, ridden the highest highs and the lowest lows… London welcomed its arms to me when I left home for the first time; when I was a younger teenager during hospital admissions I always spent a day in London with my friends if I was let home for a weekend, or sometimes I’d be let out for the day just so I could drag my family (and a PICC line and an IV pump) there… And seeing all the TV coverage of the queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, and the skyline I’m used to seeing from the window of my flat, made me yearn for home. Seeing the hockey they are playing in the olympic park, which I could also see the other way from my window because I lived so close to it (and hear, and see the lights reflecting back off of the clouds if there was an event on)… Made me miss the flat I’ll never live in again (but then I remembered the kitchen and the hygiene levels and was glad to have escaped). I wanted to be in Mile End. I wanted to be wandering around Barbican or be by the Thames or walk through Richmond or lay in Hyde Park again. I wanted to lose myself in the city where I finally felt… Found. And then it came.
I miss uni. I miss lectures. I miss learning and thinking. I miss campus. I miss the building with no lifts that almost killed me (Literally. I usually ended up in resus a couple of hours later) every time I had to get to the second floor to do a histology practical. I know I said I’d have a month off of studying and freaking out about exams (because I won’t sit the two I missed until August) but exam stress is already starting to bubble away again and… I figured out who I am. Or at least, short-term, who I want to be. And I decided that I want to start revision now (basically just start looking over lecture slides on my phone to fill ‘The Void’). Because all I want to be right now, with every single part of me… Is a second year undergraduate Biomed. student. I am this degree, and this degree is me; and as long as we are together, I realised, everything will be ok.
Reading is occupying my mind some of the time (All Quiet On The Western Front – a feast for the A level english literature student part of my brain that still lives on), and Breaking Bad has me hooked. But there is something missing. There has been a noticeable void, and my writer’s brain seems to have fallen into it right after I promised I’d finally test the water and agree to write a magazine article (which is so. Totally. Not. Happening. Because who was I even kidding when I thought I was
well enough in a fit enough state to do that? And what do I even write about because has anybody read the junk I produce?) I tried writing some of the new pile of utter trash novel I’ve been working on, and writer’s block reared its ugly head.
I can’t focus. I can’t stay ‘with it’ long enough to achieve anything before I am dragged back to sleep or have to fashion another rudimentary IV in order to save my own life again (I also don’t think staying out of hospital is going to be a possibility. I keep ending up in the same situation as the other day without warning. I realise far too late because my body is in such a constant state of “too close to death” that I don’t get particularly symptomatic when it gets to the whole “very extremely close to death – hours away – unless you do something NOW” state; by which point it’s so late that I collapse a couple of times after using teeny tiny needles to hit teeny tiny veins because I can’t find any other usable ones, and just have to hope that what I did will hold me for another few hours before I have to do it again, or at least mean that I will at some point wake up and not have to bother anyone. Not even an entire day now. Hours. Not. Good.)…
I open lecture slides on my phone… And none of that matters. I am lost again, wallowing in pools of knowledge that overflow from the brains of the people who took the time to make the slides. I can read the slides one or two at a time and spend hours on the internet feeding the interest they spark within me. I can read them two at a time, and give in to the sleep, and wake up and pick up right where I left off.
I hoped to be a doctor, but I look at myself now and know I will be lucky just to survive this three year degree. So I… Let. Go. (Not sure I saw that one coming either. Well… I sort of did, but denial is my best friend and I didn’t expect it to back away so easily). Maybe someday I’ll be fixed enough to complete a medical degree, and then I’ll be living the dream. But for now, that door has been slammed and locked and there’s a tiger on the other side of it. This degree, and the city of London itself… Has opened up so many more opportunities for me. I considered medical/ science journalism when I was trying to pick a degree. From time to time I consider throwing everything away and pursuing writing more seriously, especially when I’m asked to write for magazines or whatever. I occasionally consider pursuing my art as I’ve been encouraged to do (although I still can’t comprehend that people keep offering to pay me so much for a sketch or whatever). I consider taking my camera and watching the sun rise over the city over various months, because I LOVE photography (which became my love when I lost the ability to draw). If I make it through this degree, I want to move to Cornwall and settle down, maybe do a graduate degree in Plymouth or even stick around in London. Maybe go into research or journalism. Maybe attempt to get a PhD. Maybe publish some of the stuff I’ve written in between. Sell t-shirts with health puns on them. Have an awesome summer. Live.
I want to live again. I want to feel alive.
“Find the place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
Thank you to the person whose comment on my previous blog post put me in the sort of mood where I was in a suitable place to realise that all is not lost (and also caused me to nearly drown in a tidal wave of feels). And thank you to my incredibly talented fellow fish (long story – we promised each other that through all the rubbish we would “Just keep swimming” – yes that is a quote from Finding Nemo and yes we are making plans to go to Brighton or Bournemouth and go see the new film and then go to an aquarium and find an actual Dory…) who mentioned me in her own blog post earlier (which I will link to at some point), and said the sweetest, most incredible things about me which were not deserved at all but also induced considerable feels.
Also, thanks to my cousin, who is 13 and earlier sent me a piece of school work she had done at some point about her inspiration – me. I nearly cried. And then I… Nearly cried. And then I… Nearly cried. And then I asked her if she genuinely thought the things she had written, and she started telling me how much I’d inspired her and stuff (which is unusual because me being ill usually irritates the people I live with, so for a family member to find me an inspiration because of it and my desire to become a doctor and “help other people and support them”, as she put it, was unexpected). Somehow it meant more coming from a 13 year old. Someone looks up to me. Actually looks up. To me… Thinks that I am genuinely inspirational enough to tell other people about. And I mean… I don’t see why she thinks that, but how could I ever want to be anything more than this? Than what I am right now?
It all made me feel like someone… Worth being. Just as I am. So thank you all.