Hello. I hope you are ok.
I was going through my blog recently and editing some older posts or deleting them altogether. I cannot remember why but I changed my blog name a few times during this period. This blog starts at 2018 and right through to now.
I find my depression is so evident in this blog. There are huge gaps where I don’t post for weeks, and when I do – the quality of the post is not great. Apologies. I was trying to do a regular interview series called 4 questions with, which I stuck with and I am proud of. But in terms of my theme and the look of my blog, I had no idea. 2018 was the worst year of my life in recent memory. 2020 is trying hard to compete with it. in 2018 I started to realise and process what had happened to me when I was 17/18 years old. Sexual assault and rape. It was like a stuck record had suddenly started to find its groove and play again. The memories I had made me feel violated; any good memories felt tainted. My anxiety was crippling. My depression was too. I lost the habit of washing and relearning that was fucking hard. I did not leave the flat much at all, certainly not by myself. I tried, but I would get out of breath by the time I had gotten to the end of my road. I pushed and pushed myself, because I still had this thought in my head that I had to work, work, work. Otherwise I was failing and lazy. To be honest, a walk to the end of the road should have felt more like a victory at the time. That’s why I also struggled to blog because I had no Wi-Fi in my flat and I could only use the Wi-Fi in my public library. Obviously, getting to the library was difficult. I had to get my boyfriend to come with me and he was not always a willing participant. I could not settle in the library. if there was too much noise, it set my nerves on edge. I would lose motivation quickly. The library did not feel safe. Being around unpredictable people felt like being on a ship during a storm. The one place that did feel safe was my bedroom.
I look at some of the books on my blog at that time, books I was looking forward to reading, and I still haven’t read them. That makes me think – how much time have I lost feeling stuck and being sick? So much stuff collected and collected. I am now 25 years old and I could not tell you what I have done in these last 5 years. Apart from rot in my bed. I do wonder how on earth I am still alive. I have treated my body awfully and it hasn’t broken down yet. Every time I have tried to destroy myself, my body has refused to die. Bodies are pretty amazing, with what they can do.
When I moved from primary school to secondary and was required to wear a blazer as part of the uniform, my mum purchased a blazer that was oversized and would last. Which meant by the time I was 13 or 14, and hitting puberty, it fitted a little snug. This was a common snag with my trousers too. I didn’t feel I could go to my mum and ask her to purchase me a uniform that was in a bigger size. There were a lot of things I felt that I could not go to my mum and talk to her about. And this was one of those things that became a problem that snowballed quickly.
I did not enjoy puberty. I hated my body. The clothes that I had to wear were uncomfortable and I felt did not give me protection. I felt vulnerable. I was only allowed in the winter to have a jumper on underneath my blazer and over my white shirt. It had to be removed in class. I didn’t wear a coat. Coats were not cool. Had to carry them around school all day. Not convenient either. That jumper fitted, it felt comfortable and it was a relief to have it.
I did not feel I could express myself. I grew frustrated that I had little control or choice. This was one strand of a whole bunch of balloons I was trying to keep a grip on. My depression grew and grew when I was a teenager. My anxiety caused me to overthink everything. Something as a small as a blazer was an issue. I didn’t understand this then. I thought I had to put up with discomfort.
A bigger issue was how depression was warping my thoughts. It became the default to look up at tall buildings and think of throwing myself off of the edge. I did not care for road safety. As far as I was concerned the car could see me and it had all the time in the world to stop. If it ran me over, who cared. I walked into school and every morning I wished a bomb would have been dropped onto it the night before. I could look at my reflection in the mirror and with no doubt in my mind be able to say to myself I hate you and mean it. I hated myself. I hated that I was every day waking up feeling like shit and then having to attend school, which compounded the feelings I had of feeling like shit. I became obsessed with little things like blazers because I could hang my hopes on in the future maybe being able to have something that would be perfect.
I could not talk to anyone. Everything in my mind became a secret. I had become so used to having the mickey taken out of me, I did not want to share any of my thoughts. I felt my voice did not matter. My social ineptitude became much worse as a teenager. I could not relate to those around me. It made me resent them. It became not about what was good about me, but what was I lacking that I could not have friends or relationships with the girls in my class. Why was I not interested in boys or make-up? What kind of freak was I that I was instead obsessed with Doctor Who and James Dean? (There’s nothing wrong with being different!)
I had a catchphrase as a teenager. It became something I said to everything. It was I don’t care. I didn’t care. Wow, you think not caring gives you freedom. It did not give me any. I fought everything because I did not care. I was an arsehole. You could have asked me if I was left-handed or right-handed and the answer would have been I don’t care. I wasn’t sure of anything.
I was fucking miserable as a teenager. I try to not think about it because if I do, it gives me bad dreams. Of walking those endless school corridors, my footsteps echoing. I try to remember I didn’t know what was going on then and my teachers and my parents did what the protocols were to protect me. They didn’t know what was going on either. I was in the wrong place, trying to connect with the wrong people. It was no one’s fault; I was ill, and it was what it was.
I read one book by Tasha Alexander, which I loved and so I borrowed A Terrible Beauty before lockdown from my library.
It is an odd read. It isn’t a high-octane thriller. It has intrigue, crime and mystery – a dead man comes back to life!
I feel like the emotional depth of the story and its characters took centre stage. There were a couple of surprise moments and excitement towards the end. The build-up of the story is slow. I don’t mind slow. The setting of Santorini and Greek myths was a distraction. My best description of A Terrible Beauty can be found in the text, in this quote, ’High stakes but seemingly endless time in a prolonged state of expectancy’
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