Hi, Hey, Hello!
So today is kind of a milestone for me (actually there a couple of milestones that fall in this week alone). It’s now been two whole years since this happened:
Yep, I graduated 2 whole years ago and was officially ejected out of the reassuring womb that was the education system. And as such I’ve found myself getting all reflective about shit aka life in letter format. Because why not?
Hey 21 year old me,
So, a big thing happened today. You finally left education, actually managed to pull a 2.1 out of your ass, walked across a stage in heels you’d never actually stepped foot in before without falling flat on your face in front of a cathedral full of people, actually fit a cap on your head, blagged the top of your bra being visible, didn’t get the pastel dress dirty. You somehow managed to do it. There was that super long time where you didn’t think you would, but you did it.
Saying that things get better from that odd clusterfuck hole of you don’t even know what that you’re in now would be both a lie and the truth. I mean it lasts a whole year and that sucks, it doesn’t really feel like it’s making you any stronger so that whole saying seems more and more like bullshit the more you repeat it to yourself. You reach breaking point…again and will cry more than you ever have in your life. Everything just seems sort of pointless and to be brutally honest you spend a lot of time sitting around wondering why you didn’t listen to people when they jokingly suggested that getting an English degree was pointless because ‘what can you do with it?’. It’s soul destroying to be honest, the continual cycle of applying for any job that you can find because you just want something but hearing the word ‘no’, or worse not hearing anything at all. It leads to a pit of despair and an ever growing black hole where nothing feels right or good or like it will ever get better. Stress is pretty much the only thing you can rely on to always be there every single second of every day. That and feeling like the most useless thing ever.
But through some stroke of fate you get a job. It’s bit like falling into a familiar dream only this time there is no evident ending, which is both a blessing and something that feels almost like a curse, but mainly a blessing. It means that you no longer pass days in a blur of This Morning, sitting around for hours on the sofa doing nothing and just sitting in a Starbucks to try and pass a few hours not in the house. It means that you almost feel a bit like you have a purpose and it also creates this weird lipstick addiction that you always knew a thing brewing in the background of your life but it never came to fruition because you were broke. Also the book buying thing that is already an issue for you? Yeah it’s a bigger issue now, I didn’t think it was possible, but it is. Trust me. It’s great, because it opens up a realm of possibilities and new worlds and you’re always discovering new things, but still a problem.
There are things that you are good at, you are efficient (when you finally get down to it), answering the phone still causes a surge of panic but it’s manageable. You get through the day. And a lot of the time that is enough. You get out of the self loathing, never ending black hole of unemployment but it doesn’t go away completely. The anxiety gets worse, some days it feels like it might crush you. Small slips up eat away at you for days and panic attacks seem to be always looming. You’re pushed way out of your comfort zone but have to pretend that it’s okay and just push on through even though there is no time to take to yourself and just get back to a place where it doesn’t feel like you’re drowning and reset. It’s a weird mix of you’re doing fine but also feel like you might crack and then shatter.
However somehow in all of that you find even further solace in writing and reading and creating. It injects a new lease of life into that, which yeah also takes multiple hits over the next two years, but they disappear for less time the more you come to depend on it as an outlet to just not be on anymore. Being social gets mildly (and I mean mildly) easier with those at work as you lower the wall just enough to not seem like a totally closed off bitch. The commutes, although sometimes hell, give you an hour a day where you can just get lost in a book and everything seems fine as you discover so many new favourite pieces of literature.
It’s all a strange rollercoaster sort of thing, it gets easier. You’ve already learnt all the coping mechanisms and ways to try and not go completely off the rails and over to the dark side already, I’ve just learned how to make them work easier and hopefully quicker and in a way that ultimately involves way less actual crying then before. It gets easier and mostly better. The bad days don’t last for months anymore and that can be nothing but a good thing
Oh yeah final thing, you finally join a gym and don’t totally hate it but the insomnia is still very much a closest friend. Good thing you work surrounded by coffee.
Love at 23.
Parentheses count: 3. See you at the weekend!
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