“And there was a new voice, which you slowly recognize as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do – determined to save the only life you could save.”

On Tuesday I was woken by the phone ringing. It was a graduate recruiter phoning me back about my recent interview. I listened half-heartedly, waiting for the “however” to drop after the thank you for your time‘s and it was very competitive pleasantries. I bolted up right, suddenly awake, when the however never came. Instead-

I got the job.

I have a job!

I didn’t know what to say. The rest of the call passed in a blur. After the phonecall I sat there for a moment, wondering if I was really awake. Then I promptly started calling all my family – my sister, my father, my mother. I couldn’t believe it. I think even they didn’t quite believe it. They were as shocked as I was, but also as happy and proud. My sister was practically ultrasonic so she was so happy for me. It felt good to make my family proud. I had to go into university after that and I could hardly concentrate. I knew I had to. That I had to really get stuck into my work now. Because the job comes with one condition – that I get a 2:1 degree class. Which is something I am working towards, but I still feel very pressured now. I cannot slip up. This is a once in the lifetime opportunity, hanging in the balance. Just a little mistake, just a tiny slip in my grades, could mean I lose this, this amazing gift that I’ve been given.

And I’ve not been good this year. I’ve been depressed over job hunting – I had 15 job rejections, including 4 failed interviews, before I got this. I am struggling with my project. I am tired, I cannot sleep and keep missing lectures because I struggle to wake up in the mornings after a whole night of tossing and turning and fretting. I haven’t been working as hard as I should have. I have been struggling to concentrate. I am stressed, with so many difficult projects to tackle and exams to work for, on top of the stress of job hunting that I had. (Had!)

I try to reassure myself. I’ve come this far, I’ve only got a little longer to go. I can do this. But on Tuesday evening, after I had calmed down and thought it all through, I realised I was afraid. I had to take a couple of my anxiety pills – even though I was just sitting at home. Because I was freaking out. It really sunk in that this was it – this was the last crucial year, this was all I had left, and then I am going to be thrown out into the real world. I’ve got to live by myself in a new city and I will have to drive to work and then I will have to work from 8am to 5pm and study for my engineering chartership in my free time—

I am going to be earning money for the first time in my life. I’m going to be able to buy you things for once! I told my sister, ecstatic at the thought. All I want to do is be able to pay my own bills and treat my family occasionally. And I will. But I’m going to have to work like crazy for that money. And—

This is terrifying. I’m so happy, so relieved to have made it, so shocked and unbelievably grateful. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and it’s so close to being mine. I am terrified of losing it.

But let’s end this on a positive. 5 years ago I failed my A levels after years after struggling with depression. My teachers, my parents told me I would never be an engineer, they asked me with concern what I was planning on doing with my future. University’s turned me away. I did not listen and I fought for what I wanted, fought to believe that I was capable of more. I snuck into an engineering foundation year through clearing and worked like crazy to get into an electrical engineering course.

5 years later, I’m about to graduate with an integrated masters in electrical engineering and enter a competitive engineering graduate development scheme in my chosen field. I will be working towards becoming a chartered electrical engineer. I’m going to be living in a great city – one of my favourites! And I will get to stay in the North of England and near the Peak District just like I wanted to. I will be close to my family. I will have financial stability.

I do feel a little bit awesome. I tell myself not to, not to jinx it! But hell with it, I did it. I really did it!

“A stone on the path means the tea’s not ready, a stone in the hand means somebody’s angry, the stone inside you still hasn’t hit bottom.”

I haven’t really done much this week.

I went to Japanese class on Monday evening, and I went into uni for the day on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday I overslept and missed lectures, and then I had to rush to get ready so I could go to my driving lesson before catching the bus to go up to Leeds. I had another assessment centre on Thursday. I wasn’t looking forward to it, although I was looking forward to a night in a fancy hotel.

The train ride was fairly quick but it was boring. And packed. I was packed in with another lady, both of us with our suitcases wedged in front of us, both of us reading. It was quite nice in a way, to be doing the same thing. But not particularly comfortable. Eventually I felt a little sick and more than a little moody, so I sat and listened to music and stared out the window for the rest of the train ride. I got into Leeds in the evening, and it was strange being there again. My sister had gone to university in Leeds, so I associated Leeds as her city, and as a place I have many memories of spending time with my sister there.

As I stepped out through the ticket barriers I fully expected to see my sister waiting for me there. I’d never been to Leeds and not had her there. I saw her so clearly, right down to the details- her clothes, her silly hat, her smile- that I had to stop for a moment and try and bring myself back to reality. Nothing had changed in that station and it was like stepping back in time. There was my sister waiting, there was the McDonald’s she brought me to for breakfast before I got my train that one time. That memory made me smile: it had only been around 7am but I had insisted that she buy me a mcflurry, and naturally I felt nauseous the whole train ride home consequently, much to my sisters amusement. And then the other memories came and I longed to be with my sister. I wanted to go back to her house and spend the whole weekend lazying about marathoning The IT Crowd. I wanted to go buy cheap £1 cheese pizza slices with her. I wanted to go see bizarre French films at her local art cinema with her. I wanted to take selfies with her in front of her uni. (Well actually, it was our reflections in a glass building, which only made it that more ridiculous.) I wanted to go see Dir en Grey with her again, my first concert, taste vodka for the first time with her at that concert, curl up and go to sleep beside her and wake up to my sister annoyed because I’d punched her accidentally whilst I’d been sleeping, although we were so tired we ended up laughing over it. We’d always laugh over the fact that she slept like the dead whilst I am a violent sleeper who moves around a lot, all flailing arms and cold feet pressed against her.

There were so many good memories. I remembered that one weekend I went to hers after fighting with my mother, how she took me in on less than a days notice, the way I went to see her on my birthdays – she took me to see Dir en grey and complained the whole time, but sat through it and took videos for me. She took me to a comedy show for my 18th birthday and introduced me to different types of alcohol and let me get drunk, but also told me when to stop. That that was my limit and I must always stick to it. (I decided after that not to drink at all, but I still appreciated it. )

OK maybe I’m making the memories more glossy than they should be. There was that time she wanted to go to a bar with me and some of her friends, but I was too young so we all had to go back to hers. Her friends were being drunk and rowdy and I hated it. But even then my sister made sure to attend to me- to give me something to eat, to tell her friends to back off if they were being too much. That’s why my sister is my sister, but also my best friend, and even a second mother to me. I was always aware of how she nurtured and protected me. It made me feel so loved. It blew me away really- how much she loved me. How lucky I was to have that kind of relationship with my sister. I thought things would always stay that way between us. That we’d never drift apart. Other siblings, but not us. Nothing would ever be able to break us up. She would always be there. Her standing in front, protecting, and me standing behind, being protected.

Except something did change. She grew up and entered a new stage in her life. I remained the same. And I am taking the changing nature of our relationship hard because I need my sister so much. Probably more than she needs me. Grief is such a weird emotion. I didn’t know it was possible to feel so devastated over something so intangible and hard to describe as sisterhood, and the loss of whatever it is.

Arriving in Leeds was like arriving home to something, something familiar about it, but also strange because that familiarity was long gone. I stepped out of the station, shook of the memories and focused on finding the hotel.

I did a literal double take when I saw the hotel – the company had booked me a room at the Queens. Which is one of the best hotels in Leeds, according to both google and my sister. It had a red carpet to the door and spotlights shining down on the entrance, a concierge in a top hat and suit waiting before the door. I couldn’t bring myself to enter for a moment and when I did and the concierge greeted me as madam and wished me a good stay I felt desperately anxious that maybe I’d got the wrong place. That only got worse when they couldn’t find my booking. Thankfully they eventually did and I went to the lifts – which were lined with golden mirrors inside if you please – and to my room. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Lets just say that 4 star in Bangkok is very different from 4 star in the UK. It was nice though. I was taken with the décor – all bold patterns, reds and creams and dark wood. I looked forward to a quiet evening in doing work.

I went out to get Mcdonalds, how classy am I eating cheap mcd’s in my four star fancy hotel, and then sat back and did not work – but watched kdramas and enjoyed my crappy food, being able to have the heating on really high and the quiet, clean atmosphere. The next day I couldn’t get the shower to work and had to phone reception to get someone to fix it and lets just say it wasn’t broken. That was embarrassing. I think I realised why it was a four star hotel then, and even more so at breakfast. The service was impeccable. From the polite front desk staff, to the friendly concierge (who remembered me the next day!) to the service at breakfast. Man, this was the first place which has had a disclaimer about allergens on the menu. So I didn’t feel too uncomfortable asking the waiter if I could get porridge made with water. And he was so nice about it. I got my porridge with water. I got green tea. Fresh cut fruits. It was delicious and the service was friendly and helpful and so wonderfully aware of and accommodating to different dietary requirements. It was the first hotel breakfast buffet where I had that luxury. After that I packed up and checked out and waited for the taxi. There was a mix up with the booking which was stressful but I eventually did get to my assessment centre, even if I was unfortunately 20 minutes late.

It didn’t go badly but it could have gone better. Of all things to go wrong I ended up having a coughing fit in the middle of my technical interview- a full on eyes watering, snot dripping, cannot breathe, choking, kind of coughing fit. I had to excuse myself from the meeting it got so bad. It was not the image I wanted to present. The day was turning out to be embarrassing in all kinds of weird ways. After the day ended I went back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and get changed in the cramped hotel bathroom stalls, into something comfortable, because I still hate wearing work attire. This time I wore a skirt and it was good for keeping me sitting up straight, but also so tight around the waist it was hard to move or like, breathe. I was wearing stockings too and they kept shifting down. Such a pain. I got subway for a hasty supper at the train station, very healthy eating these pasty few days right, and joined the crowds waiting for the train. The crowds were so thick that they came almost to the edge of the platform, and I felt worried watching anyone walking past, as they did have to walk right on the edge of the platform to get past. Eventually the train came – late- and I was squished up into my seat again as it was again packed. I have always wondered, ever since I commuted by train and every time I use the train since, where all these people are going and what for. Train stations get so busy, even the long distance trains get packed up daily, where is everyone going? Why? It fascinates me.

I was exhausted, too exhausted to really care about being uncomfortably cramped, and so exhausted even that I passed out and only woke a few minutes before the train pulled into my stop. On one hand, lucky me for waking up then. On the other hand, I could have easily ended up in Plymouth. Can you imagine? I dragged myself and my bag to the bus station, it was pouring with rain just to make my life that more fun, and very dark and quiet in the back streets I had to walk along, which was scary. I got the bus and eventually got home, went to bed.

Haven’t really done any work this week. Have managed to send off a few more job applications. Have mostly spent a lot of time in bed, exhausted and not feeling very well. (I have my third cold/possible virus in three months. My body hates me right now.) It does not really feel like I’m at university right now. I feel distant from it. I feel distant from everything, to be honest. I am aware that I am becoming reclusive. I haven’t been to work in a couple of weeks, I have only just been keeping up with my driving lessons, I have been skipping a lot of lectures and meetings and not studying. I get this way when I get sad and start feeling like whats the point. I start withdrawing. I want to quit everything and just stay indoors and never, ever leave. Its not good. Again, I’ll have to set the deadline as Monday and hope that this week will be the week I can do better.

“We’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out”

Wednesday Night, I got back after a hectic five days travelling all over the country. I had an assessment centre on Monday in the North of England, and another on Wednesday in the South. Yeah.

I went home on Friday night, to see my mother and my cat and to break the travel north up a bit. My father is away on business, again, and I get the feeling that my mother gets lonely without him around, and finds it tiring looking after the house and herself whilst working long shifts. I can understand that. I get like that too, living alone. Some nights I come home and wish there was a meal waiting for me, that the dishes had been done, that the trash had been taken out. I don’t usually have anyone to pick up for me when I’m busy though, not like my mother has my father. So I went home and spent the weekend babying my mother a little – keeping the house neat for her, making sure she had nice food to come home too, listening to her. I had a good time – my mother was working so I had the house to myself a lot. Just me and my cat in a nice quiet, heated house- what could be better? On Sunday I hooked my phone up to our HD TV and watched korean dramas whilst ironing. I felt like a total ajumma but korean dramas, a mindless chore, the sun streaming through the windows and my cat sleeping on the mat nearby. It was wonderful. I needed that.

On Monday my mother woke me up early so I could catch the train to my first assessment centre. As the train pulled away she waved and blew kisses which was embarrassing, but also kind of cute and made me smile. The day turned out to be very long and tiring. On the way back I picked up katsu curry from yo sushi, because I did not want to cook but I wanted to keep my personal promise to myself that I wouldn’t let my mother do anything until I left. Then my mom picked me up from the station and we got home, planning to go straight to bed, food and all. My mom had to catch a call from her friend so I sat down to eat by myself – although the cat has started to climb up on the table to sleep at night, and that evening she took it to the next level – climbing up and sniffing at my plate, at my spoon as I lifted it to eat. I started to laugh, I couldn’t help it. I knew I shouldn’t encourage her but she was so blatant and cheeky, and so cute for it. I ended up reaching out with a chopstick, flicking it side to side and my cat started playing. I realised she was entering crazy time and abandoned supper to play with her, laughing and teasing her. I needed that too. My cat makes me so happy. My cat grew tired and gave up and my mom got off the phone so we took to bed. I curled up with my favourite stuffed toy next to my mom and we watched crappy TV and talked. We were both exhausted after our long days. This is how it’s going to be every day when you get a job, my mom told me, and I whined at that because I was so tired I could barely move – the whole day keeping up a mask, trying to be someone else (I read somewhere that if you are shy you should pretend to be someone confident you know when at job interviews. I pretend to my sister. It’s exhausting – we are nothing alike – but I definitely feel more approachable and less awkward when I do this) and I cannot even imagine having to do that every day.

I had Tuesday morning to myself where I planned to get up and do prep for the next interview, but I slept in and then rushed about to pack and get ready. My mom took me to the station again, with a quick trip to McDonalds before hand. Perhaps not the best idea as I had a long, stressful journey to look forward to, not that I had quite thought out how much it would be so.

There had been a landslide in the south of England, you see, which is causing massive disruptions to transport around it. For me, I then had to go via London to get down to the city I needed to be. The journey to London was quick but went slowly if you know what I mean – it was so dull. I tried to work but it made me feel travel sick. Well, that and the McD’s beforehand probably. I got to London and immediately I felt panicky. Where did I go? There were so many people too. I eventually found the subway, and then I had to ask for directions and then I got down into the labyrinths of London’s subway system proper and felt totally overwhelmed and out of place – a country bumpkin in my bulky northern winter clothes and walking boots and big bag. I got told off on the elevator by a pissed off Londoner for standing on the wrong side of it. On the subway now, I nearly fell over and my bag did and I felt embarrassed as hell. I was hot and felt dirty. I knew I looked like a tourist. Out of place. I made it to Paddington where my day picked up a little as there was a South African stall right there. This meant I could spend the next train ride – it must have been a diesel train as it had manual doors and windows which could be left right down! – standing by the huge open window in the vestibule, breathing in deeply the cold air after the filth and muggy heat of London’s underground, munching happily on biltong before downing a cold Fanta – with all the sweeteners left in, compared to the rubbish UK version. Eventually I made it to the city I needed to be, found my bus ok and even succeeded in making my way to my hotel without fuss. The hotel was amazing – look at that bed- but I had left all my charging leads at home which meant I couldn’t quite chill out and work on my thesis and job prep as I anticipated- I had even set up tethering on my phone to do so- but my phone was too flat and my laptop although mostly charged does not hold charge like it used to when it was new. Dinner was from lidl – cold pasta salad, strawberries and chocolate. A little dodgy, but cheap. It was all OK, but a little boring. I went to bed early as the next morning I had to get up early to make the breakfast buffet – bacon on croissants for breakfast remains one of the best things about hotels – and get myself checked out to be ready for pickup at 8am. Breakfast was so weird – there were all these business men in their suits and it hit me that there I was, in my shirt and pants, just like them. I was on business just like them. It was very, very weird. I felt like an imposter. Anyway, then I had to get to the company for another long, tiring day. This one was worse, as I wanted this job really badly…

After that I had to make me way home again. I wanted to avoid London so decided to risk the replacement bus going on my original route. Bad idea. My phone was flat. I had to get a train (OK), a bus (packed to the max and chugging along in heavy traffic), a train (cramped), another train(OK) and another bus(blessedly empty) and a short walk(which felt longer than it probably was) before finally getting home. A two hour journey turned into five hours. With a flat phone and a flat laptop so little to do but listen to music and stew in how miserable and bored I was. I was so tired when I got home. I slept through the next morning and could barely concentrate in my lecture in the afternoon. The next day I missed work and barely made my driving lesson, and only just got myself to do some work on my coursework.

The thing is, neither of my assessment centres went well. And it’s really knocked my confidence. I struggle to talk about it here – I don’t know what would be too much information, crossing boundaries. But basically I just don’t feel like I measure up. I don’t feel ready and I think they (companies) look at me and don’t think I’m ready either. I feel technically incompetent. It’s embarrassing having to admit to how badly my project is going right now. Its embarrassing how much I stumble when asked about basic engineering principles- my mind just goes blank and I end up saying something stupid, or nothing at all. I’m not good at the social part of assessment centres – lunch and breaks where you are expected to mingle, and I’m never sure if we are also being assessed then too. Either way, I do not know how to mingle. Pretending to be my sister can only get me so far, after all. On Thursday I changed put of my work clothes in a cramped bathroom stall at the train station even though I nearly missed me train to do so – because I just could not stand wearing my work clothes a second longer. I don’t feel like they suit me – as if I’m a child dressing up in an adults clothes. I don’t know how to carry on with uni when it feels so pointless now, when it feels like all my hard work is amounting to nothing. I have always believed that if I worked hard enough things would work out, but here is a thing – job seeking – where it doesn’t matter how hard you work. Sometimes, you just aren’t good enough. You just don’t measure up. Or “fit the requirements” to put it formally. And isn’t that terrible? I am beginning to wonder if I will be able to get an engineering job. But if not engineering, then what? Just what is going to happen to me after graduation? I don’t know, I don’t know. And I hate that. It is stressing me out, paralysing me with fear. What am I supposed to be working towards? What use is it working for a 2:1 when you can’t even get a job with it? All these questions go round and round my head. I know I need to move on, somehow. So I’ve set the deadline as Monday morning – come Monday I will work, regardless of how I’m feeling. I can mope now, but I still have things I need to do. Responsibilities. If nothing else, I owe it to myself to keep going and stay true to my own beliefs, even if right now the world is trying to tell me things don’t actually work like that. I tell myself that and try to believe it.

I have more lectures and labs next week. Another awkward meeting with my supervisor where we both wish we were somewhere else entirely. More driving lessons. Another assessment centre to go cross country to. I’m so tired. I’ve got to keep moving forward though.

Monday morning.

I’ll have gotten over it by then.

(NB: the pictures are lying slightly as the top one is from the North and the bottom one is my hotel in the South. Oh well. )

“Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow kind, perhaps in the nook of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled or betrayed anyone.”

Its been a while since I posted about my eating difficulties. Its not something that is easy to post about – it feels absurd and ridiculous still that I have something like this, and it doesn’t feel serious enough to really be worthy of attention. But I read an article today about eating difficulties and it made me thoughtful. Well, it made me sad.

I don’t think I’m getting better. By which, I don’t think I’m developing a healthier relationship with food or my body. I’ve bought new clothes, force myself to eat good, healthy meals as often as I can, and not to make up for binge eating by starving….but. I still find myself twisting in front of the mirror, trying to find bones, despairing over the face that they are not there, at the roundness of my belly, of the width of my thighs, of my new stretch marks, of the blemishes on my face and the roundness of it too – I feel grossly overweight and unattractive and unable to convince myself otherwise. I find myself trying to stand a little taller sometimes, trying to sit a little straighter, to hide the way my belly rolls. I find myself not bothering with makeup and ignoring half my wardrobe- not feeling worthy of it. Makeup especially – there doesn’t seem to be much point when the canvas is all wrong. I find myself binge eating, still. Far too much. Not as great amounts, and not as often, but still too much, too often. I am always thinking about food, more now than ever actually. I’ll be totally overwhelmed by the need to binge, and unable to focus on anything else, or I’ll find myself considering my meals, trying to weigh up what will be healthiest and how much to have. If I’ve had a packet of crisps or a small chocolate bar as a snack I’ll either feel the need to compensate by making an especially healthy, small meal or think well, I’ve already failed and give in to binging, depending on my mood. I don’t want to eat, but I keep eating, and even eating my three good meals feels so wrong. I feel I need to do something about the way I look, and if only I had the willpower. I find myself looking at other girls, comparing myself and coming up at a loss.

I’m always watching other people – noting their figures, noting the way they dress, their smiles, the things they talk about. Straight legged girls, or girls with beautiful toned curves. Girls with clear skin and glossy hair. How two girl friends walking home in the rain lightly hold onto each others wrists as they squeeze together under one umbrella, how a woman on the phone tells someone she misses them, two students discussing a secret room in a club they can never find again once they leave, a girl wearing heels for no apparent reason than she wanted to.

I feel helpless against it.

I realize that I am probably willing myself not to get better. In fact, I may be feeling bitter about being better, may be longing for the days when food meant nothing to me and I did not have to eat, could easily get by with just a tiny amount of the stuff, and binging on a bar of chocolate was enough to get the high I craved. I want to be thin and clear skinned again – that was how I was. It probably wasn’t quite so magical, but I’ve formed this ideal in my head and the fact that I once had it in order to really make me feel bad about not still being it. I may be clinging onto my illness, too scared to let it go, puzzled by what would be left without it. If I am feeling stressed and lonely, what can I do except eat, to give me some joy. If I don’t eat I find myself on online shops, making useless purchases, anything to fill the emptiness and to make me feel happy.

I find it hard to feel happy these days. I find myself too scared and anxious over happiness. If I allow myself to feel positive and hopeful, what if it doesn’t make a difference? My mother keeps telling me to think positively, and then things will work out. But what if they don’t?

The “What if’s” gnaw at me, all the time. I feel a sense of dread, a firm belief deep in my gut that something bad is going to happen. Not it may, it will. Something bad is about to happen. I don’t know what.

I’ve faced failure a lot over these past few years- mainly academic. But that is just in paper – I feel like as a person I’ve perhaps grown up in the wrong way. I feel a little broken, and more than a little detached from everything going on around me, looking in and not understanding, being unable to cross over into that world. Perhaps I am in a parallel universe, looking into this strange and foreign place and longing for it, but unable to be part of it.

I’m hurting over the loss of my best friend – who I have not heard from in months, and who has been drifting away from me for years. I really need her right now, but she doesn’t need me. I don’t have anyone else. I have coworkers who I can chat to, I have my family, I have my driving instuctor so its not like I go without human contact, but I never connect with people. There is no one who I can really talk to. I don’t know though. I feel disconnected from the people around me, I do not know what to say, and antagonize and regret anything I do say. I don’t know how to make friends, or be friendly, and it feels like I’m now at the age where I’ve lost the chance to have the friends who you read about in novels or see in films – those long time friends who know you inside out, who are always there for you, and who do their best to be there for you. I lost my last friend this year, she drifted away and outgrew me, who is so childish and difficult and withdrawn. Now I am losing my sister to the same thing – to adulthood, to her growing up and changing. I am missing my sister too, in fact. Why am I always the one being left behind? Because there is something wrong with you. It has to be me. The fact that I never say the right thing or have the ability to make people stay. I eat away these feelings, this loneliness, this confusion over how other people work, how the bonds between people form, and how you can get someone to like you.

I also eat away over my stress over my life. I have my thesis to work on, which I still don’t understand, alongside two other projects, and have exams to study for, and job application after application to labour over alongside. I’m facing so many deadlines, and I feel utterly overwhelmed. I am not working right now. I’m trying to put it off. I don’t want to face it because it makes me anxious and stressed out. Of course procrastination makes me stressed out and anxious too, but not if I eat enough sugar to get that nice high. I can pretend its OK then. It feels like I’m doing life all wrong, I cannot succeed in my personal life, and I’m always struggling to keep up with my academic life. I’m feeling trapped when it comes to my financial situation, and I keep applying for scholarships, for interneships, and now for jobs, and getting rejected.

It feels more than a little disheartening to spend hours researching a company, putting together an application just to get a generic email back saying “sorry, you don’t meet our requirements.” That wording too, that implication: you are just not good enough. Here I am, sitting thinking I’m ticking all the right boxes – the high academic achievement, studying abroad, learning a different language, volunteering – but its not right. I get paranoid that perhaps they see past it all – see how shy and insecure I am underneath the facade I want to project. I want to be someone clever, someone independent who also works well in a group. I am passionate about travelling and working abroad, passionate about my degree and using it to do something useful and I want them to know this. Perhaps they focus on my failed A levels. Perhaps they see that I am shy and introverted, because I’m not involved in societies, maybe? Or do I not have the right hobbies? Is it the languages – because I have not grown up bilingual and have managed only to get to beginner level in my chosen second language? Is it that I have not got enough work experience? Perhaps. But as my coworker noted, as we were having a good bitch about the stress of graduate job hunting, it feels ridiculous and unfair that to get an entry level job you would have had to already had that job before. It feels wrong to use the word unfair. I have always believed that if I worked hard enough then I will be rewarded though. I always thought it would pay off. I’m frustrated by it. It makes me crave something that makes me feel good. Like, some chocolate.

I probably over think things. I don’t know how to switch my thoughts off. “What would you do if you had more free time”? My doctor asked me, not getting it at all. Its not that I don’t have time, its that I feel overwhelmed by the management of it, that I cannot concentrate on anything anyway, because of my thoughts. I’m so caught up worrying if I’m doing the right thing, that I feel frozen, and I don’t want to face it. What if. What is about to go wrong. Am I about to mess up. Am I messing up right now. What is wrong, what is this bad feeling settled inside me.

I don’t want to face anything. I’m tired. I’m scared. I really want some bloody chocolate to make me feel better. I know I’m not supposed to though.

“Spoken Words. Broken Hearts. Instant Dreams.”

My family came round over the weekend – my parents and my sister.

I got up bright and early on Saturday morning, keen on taking things day by day like I said I would, and headed to university to work on my coursework. To my surprise, things began to work, and I felt very relieved, even though there was the lingering worry that I still did not really understand, and so was doing it wrong. I then went home, and waited for my family. They arrived one hour after they said they would. It was confusing and overwhelming – they all wanted to speak to me, all wanted my attention, all at once. I admit I mostly wanted to talk to my dad – he recently went on a business trip to Seoul and I was eager to hear about what he thought of it and what he had done and what he had eaten.

Also I’d asked him to buy me some beauty items there and was not disappointed – he brought me a whole bag of goodies. He got me the wrong cleanser – I asked for the History of Whoo brightening cleansing foam, but he got me the History of Whoo cleansing cream. I did not complain of course – too awed by the stunning packaging, and the fact that my father had splurged on something even more expensive and luxurious when I thought he would baulk at just the whitening cleanser! He also got me HERA sunmate daily – my daily sunscreen/makeup base. And the Sooryehan essence foundation. I got a bunch of samples – including HERA homme items which made me laugh – I wanted to know how my father had ended up with those, and I tried to persuade him to use them but my father remained unimpressed. He also stashed away the red pepper paste and some kind of Korean dressing from the plane for me, and his hosts had given him various odd smelling teas that he gave me some sachets of. I’m a little wary of them – one of them smells like coffee, its very odd! Meanwhile my mother took it upon herself to go poking around my house – cleaning things as she wished, and criticizing as she wished too. I pleaded with her to stop but my mother can never be stopped. She even went into my cupboards and my fridge, inspecting…who does this?! My sister was preoccupied this weekend as she has a new boyfriend – so when she wasn’t glued to her phone facebooking him, all she wanted to do was speak about him. It was an overwhelming mix of emotion that came over me faced with my family – nervousness, annoyance, happiness, excitement, anger, embarrassment.

We went out to get something to eat at a lovely Thai restaurant. I had a spicy red curry with coconut rice. So tasty! Afterwards we went to the theatre to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. This was where the evening took a turn for the awesome. I’ve always wanted to see this rendition of Swan Lake and it did not disappoint. I loved it. It was fairly strange and I am not entirely certain of the plot (I went in knowing it had something to do with swans, and came out knowing it had something to do with swans) but it was beautiful and gripping and emotional, and with a great streak of humour too. At one point I was so completely absorbed in it that I dropped my program on the lady sitting next to me. I would feel bad, if she hadn’t been texting and whispering for the majority of the performance.

If there is one thing that makes me ache seeing this was remembering when I used play the main swan lake theme on my violin. As I was watching it I couldn’t help but remember what that felt like – it had been one of my favourite pieces to play. That evening I listened to the whole opus and ached to pick up my violin and play. I think sometimes I regret failing my music exams more than I regret failing my A levels because it feels like there is no second chance with it, that it was a lost, wasted opportunity. It has really hit me how I squandered what was a really precious, unique opportunity – a lack of time and money means its impossible to take music lessons now, and I badly need a few refresher lessons before I pick up the violin again. I long to play again though – at the end, it became all about exams and I began to hate it, because I was depressed and it was just too much effort, but I remember what it was like before, how wonderful it was to play, how I loved it and how much I actually did want to become Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8. I love music, I always have. Isn’t it incredible how it can inspire so many emotions in a person? How it can define moments of our lives? And there’s something especially rewarding about being able to create it, rather than just listening to it. But its time consuming and expensive to learn it. I really regret giving up on it before. I hope that regret doesn’t hang over me for a long time, and one day I will be able to face it and my shame at letting it go and play again.

Anyway, after the theatre my sister and I dropped the parents off at their hotel then went back to mine where we just went to bed. I admit I was a bit disappointed – I wanted to talk to my sister a little bit, when the parents weren’t around, bit she was tired, and still occupied with facebooking her boyfriend.

In the morning my sister wouldn’t wake up and get ready so it was a long, boring morning waiting for her to do so. Eventually she did so and we went to pick up the parents and we went to IKEA and to the supermarket – nothing out of the ordinary. It was all right. My sister and mom wanted to shop before going to IKEA so my dad and I went to get coffee, then look at fish in the pet store ( we were both disappointed to find that there was no PCWorld (technology store) or the like we could look around but the pet store was not a bad alternative and certainly better than being dragged around clothes stores) That was nice – my favourite bit of that day.

It was not a bad weekend with my parents overall– not as bad as I feared it may have been.

They left in the early afternoon on Sunday and I moped about until bed time. I really should have done more work as I have some major deadlines coming up. The first is this Thursday for my big coursework and I’m still not done -and my circuit doesn’t even work so I’m going to lose a bunch of marks for not meeting the specifications. I admit, I was disappointed. On Saturday I was so happy with the results, but I was talking to my friend today and he went through it and everything he did was totally different , and made much more sense and worked. I felt oddly hurt. I’d spent so much time on my circuit, so why? Yeah, I felt pretty stupid. “I’m not a good engineer,”I laughed, tried to make a joke of it, but I was irrationally hurt. In the car with my family my sister remarked “me and daddy are waiting for you to get rich cath” and she laughed, and my dad smiled but I knew neither of them were truly joking. I’ve been in university for four years already and I’m still not done – I know I’m a financial burden on my family by this point. I have been aware for a while now that I need to start work – and there is a financial element to it. I think about the engineering jobs and their salaries. But… I’m struggling to get work and its already making me feel down. So that comment hit a nerve. I do not want to be reminded of my failure to get work. I especially dislike the way my father agreed – after telling me just a few hours earlier that he didn’t mind I was probably not going to work this summer. I do feel a bit of a failure right now, as detailed in so many posts before. I feel extremely worried that I’m not a very good engineer, that I’m not particularly suited or “made” for the career I have chosen. There’s so much pressure to succeed isn’t there though? There’s no room for doubt. This is the career I have chosen so I have to stick with it, and hope that someone will eventually hire me and I’ll be able to grow into the sort of engineer I want to be – competent, capable, confident. And earning lots of money so I can repay my dad and my sister for everything they’ve ever given me. I wish they’d just wait a little longer.

I wish I didn’t feel this guilt for being so unsure, so childish right now. I know I’m 22 but surely I’m still allowed to feel uncertain?