14. Nothing is coming to save you. Let yourself sit with that for a second. It will feel like rock bottom. Stay there for as long as you damn well need to. Lay down at rock bottom and look up at everything that you fell from. When you’re ready to stand, you’ll climb your way out by your own volition, and there will be no other hands to let go of yours, and that’s what’s most important. Nothing is coming to save you. We eventually have to let go of the idea that there is.(source)
→ I read this today and it really resonated with me. It describes quite well my situation these past few years. I did not learn this lesson as a twenty something, I learnt it as a teenager, which was a awkward time to do so. It took me some years to climb my way out of rock bottom, I still feel like I am climbing sometimes, like I’m always going to be climbing, heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel, but never emerging. I feel like I am stronger, having fought so hard, that I have a good amount of independence. But, I have also become very withdrawn too. I am fiercely protective of myself and my feelings, scared to trust other people because I never quite believe that they have good intentions, that their kindness is not some sort of lie. I test people – I am too scared to reach out to them, of rejection, so I wait and hope they will approach me. They rarely do. If they do, I say no to any offers of friendship, hoping they will push the invitation. They never do. I wonder if university would be easier if I had friends. I had a taste of it last year- of being able to work on coursework together, or revising together, and its one thing I miss about being there. I was alone, but not too alone. Here, I am very much alone. It’s third year, everyone is all paired up, and there are so many people, I slip into lectures unnoticed, and slip back out just the same. It’s a quiet existence, and I do not mind that, but sometimes I do want to talk to someone – sometimes I do want someone to ask about my day, or to talk over work with someone. There’s no one there. I never made enough effort, I was always too awkward, I always said the wrong thing. I end up feeling like there’s something wrong with me. I spent so many years trying to become something I was not, so that people would like me, they did not, so I gave up and became myself, and still people do not like me. They do not understand me, nor do I understand them. I realised the other day, that I actually do not really know what it means to have friends, to have a social life. It makes me feel flawed, wrong. I look at other people my age and feel so different from them, like there is some invisible barrier between us I’ll never be able to cross. Like there’s some fundamental knowledge I am missing, like being the only person that does not get the joke.
→ I am feeling very overwhelmed by things at the moment. I have my six modules, none of which I am really getting into at the moment. I go to lectures, I make notes. I’m not really processing the information. I worry about doing so many exams at once. Tonight I realized that I have a coursework for the one module, which involves using a particular software that I cannot use, so I am panicking about that. (Especially since I have no one to ask, as I have no friends.) Meanwhile my group project trudges along and I am so stressed out regarding that. I feel like I am envisioning this project totally different to my group members and its infinitely frustrating. I try to be flexible, to listen, to join in discussions not to impress my ideas on them, but to consider, to process all our ideas and try and bring them together. But I find myself getting confused by what they are saying. I cannot understand their vision, and that’s the true problem. In a fit of desperation I wrote down all my ideas as a rough draft of a project proposal last night and sent it out, and today in the meeting they tore it to shreds. Of course they did it kindly enough, but they started talking about things that were similar, but not the same, to what I was written and going off on tangents and I tried to keep up but I found myself so confused. I need to finish off the proposal, to try and change it to fit their standards, even though I am so uncertain about what they expect, and I really need to get stuck into my research. I’ve sat for hours reading through the internet, research papers, textbooks and each time I find myself feeling overwhelmed and confused as to how to get my ideas because I have many, I know what I want to write about and how, down on paper. Third year is so different from all the years that came before it – we’re expected to remember every little thing from previous years, to be competent, to be independent. I feel like at some point I was left behind, and now its school all over again, staring at the backs of my peers, desperately trying to catch up, coming close, but never close enough. I talked about this last year did I not? How I do not feel like an engineer. And its even worse this year, because I need to have a certain level of knowledge, I need a certain amount of confidence in my abilities, and I do not have it.
→ I have had a miserable week, hell, a miserable two weeks. I’m tired, I am always tired. My mind drifts from random thought to thought, never quite focusing on anything for too long, my nights are filled with strange dreams and I wake, with a fleeting moment of images and dialogue flitting through my mind before its gone, and all I’m left is with a sense of unease. It carries on to the long walk to university, and I find myself thinking things I’d rather not be dwelling on, unable to direct my thoughts away. Walking to university is exhausting, lectures are dull and time drags by so slowly, the material washes over me. I told someone today that I have no idea what modules I am doing, I just go to them. They gave me a very strange look and I understand, it does not make much sense, does it? But it makes sense to me. I am just going through the motions at the moment. I feel disconnected, uneasy, exhausted. It’s terrible, I know. It’s week 5 of university and I am already behind on my personal goals for my work.
→ I started Japanese lessons again last week and thus far I am not enjoying them – I am acutely aware that I am not at the level of the other people in my class and it makes me feel desperately out of place, very uncomfortable. I do not like it. I wish I was better at languages. Really, I love Japanese and I am in love with the idea of being able to speak it, but I wonder if I am really doing the right thing by actually taking these lessons. I do not think I am committed enough, and even when I do study, I am uncertain if I am doing it right. I’m not really certain of how to learn a language? When I do try and learn, I never really feel like it clicks, that I am really learning. It’s just a very different learning experience compared to engineering – the small class size, the interactive manner of teaching, working in groups and one on one, having to go up and write things on the board. It’s nothing that I am used to, and it makes me feel awkward and uncertain, and deeply embarrassed. I don’t feel like I should be there. I don’t feel like I should be learning Japanese- I struggle so much to wrap my mind around this strange, foreign language, to get to grips with writing the symbols and being able to read them, to remember all the new words for items. You’re looking at the world in a whole different way, Roman letters replaced by symbols, sentences reversed and held together by particles, each one with its own list of uses, past and present tenses, counting systems. It’s confusing, and I cannot bring it together in my mind. It’s not a problem to be solved, to be worked through to the final solution – its on ongoing effort, constant memorization, learning how to view the world in a whole other way. I find it really difficult, and I wonder if I am doing the right thing.
→ “I want to stay in a good frame of mind” I wrote, and how ambitious was I.