I walk home feeling like a failure, the weight of my shame clinging to me like the rucksack I wear on my back. I bought my brother a birthday card. I needed printer paper so I could print some paperwork, and used over 1/4 of my remaining £20 to buy that, because I had no other option – I needed it now. I got myself a packet of biscuits, and a ready meal. And then I stood at the checkout, and I asked if they sold stamps. They did, and I asked for one. But they wouldn’t sell me just one, and they only had books of 12 stamps. I needed first class, because my brother’s birthday is on Thursday. The book of stamps was £7.80. I looked at the screen where my total expense without the stamps was displayed in glowing green: £14.37. My heart sank. I asked if she could rip the book in half, if she could sell me just one stamp. She wouldn’t.
So I walk home feeling pretty lousy, with a card in my rucksack that my little brother isn’t going to see on his birthday, because I am the world’s crappest big sister. I feel awful. I feel like a complete failure of a human being because it’s something so small and simple, yet so important to him. I watch the freshers swarming around the uni buildings like ants, travelling in huge groups of new faces all equally as lost in the process they are going through. As I watch them, I add up how much money I have to live on for at least the next 4 days (realistically it will probably be longer before my loan comes in). Single figures pop into my mind at the end of my calculation. And I hate being an adult. Right here, in this moment, I hate being an adult. I also have no idea what I’m going to do.
Student finance, if you could just pay me, that would be great. Please.
It gets better. This guy power walks past me on the pavement, all moody and in a rush to get wherever he is going. He walks into my building. We get into the same lift. He presses the button for my floor. And then as I smile at him, he looks down at his phone, because we live in a world where he couldn’t possibly smile back at me. I get out of the lift first, and I use my keycard to unlock the door to our floor. I hold it open for him, and he walks through. I turn to walk down the corridor (I live right at the other end). And I don’t even know what happens, it’s like my vision… Not even my vision really but my entire self, just goes for a minute. And I’m completely lost – like I have no conscious thought and I feel like I’m not even part of the world any more (I am not describing it well) – but I’m still moving, and the next thing I know I’ve walked full on into a wall. And it hurts, and there’s this guy right behind me which I am now very aware of, so I suck it up and carry on. And my shame bursts out of me like a boa constrictor and crushes me as I walk down the corridor wishing the ground would swallow me whole.
I walk into my room wondering what on earth just happened, and I just stop in the doorway, and I look at this little bubble of emptiness – it’s so nice, but it’s so lonely. And then I see the view. I load up YouTube again to fill the silence, and watch Julien Solomita and Jenna Marbles/ Morey talking away about censorship and stuff in a podcast, and I watch the police horses walk through the park, the officers riding them talking as they move past the canal…
And my brain just thinks what now?
And not just right now (although I have no idea what to do with myself right now) but what do I do about the card? What do I do about finally finding another human with which to interact and then discovering he was an antisocial person who watched me walk into a wall? (I still find this genuinely weird. Honestly it was like someone just took me out of my body and switched me off, and then I rebooted having just walked full speed into a wall. It wasn’t even like everything went black, there was just a gap in time. Like… For no apparent reason. Somehow, there was a gap in time. And I do not like being out of control, so this weirds me out). What do I do about the money situation? All my friends want to meet up and go to the cinema or for drinks or whatever, and that all involves money. How do I tell them that I can’t? I say I’m broke and they just say that they are too, but they are getting student loan payments and right now I’m not.
It’s a tiny issue, but my brain is pretty stunned and struggling to deal with things at the minute, so…
I just want to eat ALL the food, and get drunk. I spoke to my friend who used to live in Hong Kong earlier (the one who bought me t-shirts and wants to pay to take me to the cinema for some reason because she’s so lovely) because she lived in this building last year (and will be returning this year, after leaving her family’s home in Romania, heading to their family’s home in France/ Paris, and then actually booking a train ticket to London). I just said that this place is lonely. A few seconds later, my phone started ringing. We talked for an hour as she walked through Bucharest. She wanted to lend me £100, but she’s a student too and although she has enough money to afford that right now and assures me it won’t be an issue, I don’t want to owe her as I don’t know when I will be able to pay her back at the minute. I guess I feel like even more of a failure if I have to borrow.
I also sent one other message, and got an awesome response. Aunty Godmother invited me to have dinner with her and her family tomorrow, and then stay the night. I think that will be great, because they have a dog I can cuddle (who is OBSESSED with me) and they make me feel part of their family. They never complain at me or about me, or get frustrated, or say anything negative at all. My health hasn’t torn them apart and they don’t resent it yet. They don’t even raise their voices at me, and it’s so, so nice. I can use my Oyster to get to Sidcup, which is awesome because I have no money for train tickets (I can’t even get the train back to Kent to deliver my brother’s card, which my brain thought was a legitimate solution to my stamp problem until I realised that a train fare is so much more expensive than the book of stamps). Plus, free food and wifi… and TV. And my cousins, who are like little sisters to me now.
I’m also meeting my Italian Uni Friend tomorrow (if she actually shows up this time. I’m not holding out much hope). So hopefully tomorrow my brain will not have time to sit alone and spew poison into my train of thought. Honestly, I just miss being around other humans. And my dog. If I was in my own flat this year, I’d totally have got a puppy or a rescue dog (then service dog training blah blah).
I screwed up. I’m not even sure how or when, but something has somehow gone a little bit wrong. And I just feel like I’m responsible somehow because it’s my life and I’m me so I’m the one in charge of it.
At least I haven’t nearly died yet. This is an achievement, given how many times I nearly died last uni year (started in freshers week. Clearly my body started the year as it meant to go on. I hope the current situation is not also an indication of the year to come – lonely and broke). I am however, retaining so much water that hardly any of my clothes fit, which keeps making me think that I need to go on a diet, until I realise that I’m hugely swollen with water, not fat, and that there’s nothing I can do to make myself shrink back to my normal size so that my clothes aren’t so tight I look like I might burst out of them.
My specialist nurse from the hospital nearest my uni messaged me this morning. I don’t want anything to do with that hospital (or the particular health hiccup that the consultant she works with manages) right now. The hospital have been phoning me (I know the number, but it could be a different consultant calling about a different health hiccup. Either way I cannot deal with hospitals right now and am going to stay safely in denial). I’ve been letting it ring through to voicemail. They left messages. I haven’t listened to them. Because I kind of realised when I think about my timetable that I literally have no time to be unwell this year. I can’t afford it. I miss one day and I will miss three hours of lectures and a three hour lab session which my coursework is based on. Coursework counts towards out final grade, and the grade I get at the end of this year is 30% of my overall grade (instead of last year’s 10%). I still don’t even know how well I did in the two exams I sat in August, and the exam grade for the paper which the uni lost and then found has not been updated, so I still can’t re-enrol and I’m pretty sure I don’t actually exist on the university system. I kind of forgot all this stuff was stuff, and I didn’t care about it as much as I could have, but it stressed me out a little. I cannot get ill. Just… Nope.
But now that I’ve sat here for an hour staring out at this view, the emotion has passed, and just the reality remains. And the reality is pretty amazing. I have food. I have a roof. I have a lovely room. I have everything that should make me happy and hate that right now I’m not. It makes me feel even more ashamed and pretty disgusted with myself, because I have an overwhelming appreciation for these things, and despite this I am not smiling. Having said this, material things aren’t happiness. You can have all the nicest things in the world and if there’s nobody to share them with and nothing other than those belongings, you won’t be happy. Happiness is being with other people, feeling dog’s fur between your fingers and a cold nose on your leg. Happiness is belonging. And part of me is happy. Part of me looks out of the window and my heart feels at home. A slightly larger part of me just feels a little lost and overwhelmed right now. With no people to be with or go places with, and no money to go swimming (which makes me BEYOND happy) I kind of just… Don’t know how to human.
I haven’t figured out how to successfully adult yet, but I seem to be working my way there via a process of trial and error (mostly error). Having successfully worked out how not to be an adult, I’m hoping that soon I’ll just magically get a grip. The weird thing is, looking at adults who have families and homes and pets and spouses and secure jobs, I’m not actually sure it ever gets any less stressful than this (hats off to those guys for somehow forging some stability in the chaos). Even when things are going well, there seem to be a million things to think about that all need to be sorted. And we won’t cease to exist if we don’t do them, but we are taught that they are necessary for our lives and we seem to give them the same importance as air. I’m not saying I want a house and kids and a husband right now (that can wait quite a long time thanks!) I’d just like less… Not knowing. I’d like things to be a little more stable.
Until then I have way more printer paper than I needed (because they only sold it in packs of 500 sheets), so I am going to shove on another podcast, and draw some stuff. Sorry to post so often an with so much junk, blogging just kind of helps me feel less alone and figure out my thoughts.