I went home this weekend for the first time since Christmas, exactly one year since my too-near-brush with death, I guess to regroup and recharge with a few days of isolation and little technology. Maybe I should have gone away alone rather than listening to my parent(s) recount the events but the weekend in my quiet, never-changing home town has given me a lot of time for reflection. And the overriding conclusion has been: spending a few days with my life literally in the balance at twenty years old was and will continue to be the making of me.
I’ve learnt that my resilience and grit is almost limitless. I’ve learnt that I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was (and I thought I was pretty damn strong to begin with). I’ve learnt that the people you have around you are important (though some times it’s better to surround yourself with no one) and I’m grateful for the very few who stuck this out without leaving. And moreover, I’m proud of myself for everything I’ve managed to achieve despite 16 years of a chronic illness, 5 years of another and 1 year of a life threatening one.
I’m proud that I had the shake up I needed to not settle on a degree that wasn’t challenging or fulfilling. I’m proud that I completed a two year extra A Level in six months to change to the perfect programme for me despite being nearly bedridden. I’m proud of my incredibly fulfilling job that has taught me more about myself than I thought possible (and I’m thankful to them for supporting me the whole way through). I’m proud that I know whatever happens with my degree there’s a job there waiting for me that brings great opportunities. I’m proud that at twenty one I’m financially independent of my family. I’m proud of my little flat in London and I wouldn’t move back home for anything (though visiting is nice). I’m proud that I’m healing myself and slowly regaining my health through pure grit and resolve.
I don’t spend enough time looking back on what’s happened or my ‘achievements’. I just focus on what’s next, what can I do better, how can I grow in some way. And because of that, it’s easy to forget the good things that have happened.
Now remembering those good things, and remembering the circumstances I achieved them in, I have nothing but overwhelming hope and excitement for what’s to come. If I can do those things while I’m no where near to functioning like a normal human being, what can I do when I am?
And I realise that I’ve finally understood and started to live by a motto I’ve always loved: what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? What would you attempt to do if you weren’t afraid? Now, when I’m afraid to take the leap or make a huge change in life, I can look back and know I will never be more scared than I was that night one year ago, and because of that, I’m not afraid any more.
“When I studied at Oxford, I had a bit of a breakdown, which, fortunately, turned into a breakthrough. A term is only eight weeks, and they’d do things like give you Ulysses, and give you a week to read it, digest it and write a paper on it. I remember a few weeks in I was frustrated and I hated it so much. I thought, ‘There’s no way I can do this, I cannot complete the task.’ I complained to a teacher and they told me that I had to accept failure as a starting point, and then I had to do my best from there. That was hard for me to get my head around. I like to start at the top, tick all the boxes, do extra work, do more than is asked from me. So, start at the bottom? Just to survive? That was tough.”—Emma Watson in WONDERLAND (via ablogwithaview)
the notebook problem: you see a notebook. you want to buy the notebook. but you know you have like TEN OTHER NOTEBOOKS. most which are STILL EMPTY. you don’t need to notebook. you’re probably not gonna use the notebook anyway. what’s the point? DONT BUY THE NOTEBOOK. you buy the notebook.
I am honestly so much more content sitting in my room alone at night smiling and crying to myself as I watch my favorite tv shows, than being out in the uncomfortable situation that involves me pretending to be having the good time of my life with boring people, who don’t know a thing about me, who don’t care about me, who do pointless things.
“What she was finding also was also how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”—Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader. (via ablogwithaview)