The longer you step back from blogging, the harder it is to step back in. You want to write a casual entry, but it feels like you have to fill in the spaces between, and it becomes awkward. So here I am discussing this awkwardness to ease back in. There will be gaps, perhaps.
Let’s just pretend they aren’t there.
I have now finished work for 2015. I have until January the 4th to collect my thoughts before starting again. Starting work has not been easy. By November I was back at the doctor’s office to get stronger medication and a referral to counselling. I’ve had a lot of problems sleeping and getting out of bed in the morning: it was humiliating being told off by my boss for tardiness. This isn’t who I am. But it, sadly, is who I let myself become. I tried to start running. I envisioned those characters in books and movies running away from their sadness and their anger and frustration, and unfortunately the reality is not so swift and graceful or relieving. I stopped running. I did some more Yoga, but not really enough. I took the stronger medicine. I ate badly and relied on plenty of sugar to get me through the days. Well, that is what I have been doing. That is what I am still doing. Work is very difficult, very challenging. I love it, it’s everything, everything I have ever wanted but it’s also very new, very different, and did I mention hard? There is a steep adjustment curve coming fresh from university. I am trying, trying much harder, taking every day at a time and persevering. I want so badly for this to work. To become the person I envision in my mind, and not let this anxiety cripple me.
My new city is still very different, and a little overwhelming. I have settled nicely into my new flat – I have my new marimo, I have been slowly increasing furniture, putting more pictures up, trying to keep up with the chores (there’s a rabbit hole you cannot fall down when you aren’t feeling mentally well: whatever happens, keep cleaning, keep showering, keep putting your best clothes on. Do not let your surroundings mirror your feelings, or they will consume you.) I have been into town a few times, and each time felt better and more proud of myself as the crowds make me feel just a little less shaky and nauseous. Somehow, I got my Christmas shopping done. I also invited my mother and my sister round to my flat for my mother’s birthday. My sister and I took our mother to see Girls, the musical based on the calendar girls. It was very British and very funny. My mother loved it. Before that, we took her out to a fancy supper. The place was loud and crowded and I hated it, but my mother thrived on the energy of all those people and being out. I was so happy to make her happy – this was my idea, and it had worked, I thought. The next day was not so great – my sister was grouchy, and my mother and I reacted to it, and it was pouring with rain, so a trip to the city centre to shop was not pleasant. We had to rush, too, which didn’t help. Then we went home. I felt sad and disappointed as to how things had turned out. We had a fancy lunch on Sunday, the whole family and my sister’s boyfriend, and I am embarrassed by how snappish and moody I was. I guess that childishly I wanted to get back at my sister. Her boyfriend was there – let me make her feel that same uncomfortableness I did on Saturday. Let her taste that bitter disappointment. That was my outing, and you ruined it. I can be a terrible person sometimes, especially when my anxiety isn’t stable. I can be so withdrawn and cruel when I am hurting. Its so easy to become self-absorbed when hurt. Pathetic, really. After lunch, my Dad took me home and the work/sleep cycle started again.
I will be going home for Christmas. Home again. I keep going home. Returning to the safety of the nest. I envision myself in a comfortable armchair, cat snuggled up on my lap, a warm and heavy weight slowly causing my legs to go numb, her claws slightly pressed into my thigh. A book, my kindle, browsing on my father’s tablet. The sound of the birds outside. The sound of my father and mother, inside, somewhere in the house. I want to be home.
And yes, it’s Christmas. I don’t feel particularly fazed, as ever. I never like this time of year. Its dark, the year is closing before I am ready for it to, and I want to go home to South Africa, and to what once was. Every year, the same heavy feeling of homesickness, but now, for the first time, it is rather the memory of it. I no longer have anything to long for, and the absence of those ties is perhaps worse than having them. I want to go back, fetch the rope and stretch it back out. Tie the knots a little tighter this time.
Next year I will be 24. I will have spent 18 years of my life in the UK. Some other dates, all around this time. My grandmother will be dead for three years. My cat, it is her 10th birthday on Christmas, which she nearly didn’t make – she had cancer, and maybe still has it. We are all ageing, moving slowly towards the inevitable end. I feel older. But also too young. I work every day feeling like I slipped into an alternate universe, or into another point of time, and am having to adjust despite my alienation and lack of understanding of this new, foreign culture. Next year, I will be working for the whole year. This is my life now. Its thrilling, but terrifying. Where will I be next year? Will I finally adjust? Will the counselling work out, third time a charm? Will I ever stop feeling embarrassed for every little thing I do or say?
The future and all the potentials it holds are enormous, it’s overwhelming, it’s amazing. Here’s to next year, here’s to this year. I survived it, in the end. Never thought I would, to be honest.