My sister came round last weekend. She was supposed to come on Saturday but on Friday I got a text saying she was coming tonight and was that OK? Well, it was far too sudden but it was hardly like I could say no. Things at home are continuing on their downward spiral, and my sister had to get away then. She was furious and fed up with the way things were. Again, I felt that anger that things were turning out like this. My father texted me to tell me to try and get my sister to calm down, the obvious implication that he wanted me to turn her round to their (our parents) side and I felt angry at that too. She’s my sister I thought. And you’re my parents. How dare he put me in that kind of awkward situation? I don’t want to have to take sides. To be honest, I never thought my family would get to the point where there were sides to be taken. As a family, we’ve never been perfect but its never been like this. Never been as bad as this, even when my sister was at her most rebellious, or I was at my most depressed, and so quiet and vicious because of it. A part of me hates that I wasn’t there at the beginning of it – it’s too much of a shock to come home and to realise just how much things have changed for the worse when you’ve been away. To see what’s been hidden from you, censored through the miles, the phone calls.
I do feel bad for my father though, even if he is annoying me with his attitude it hurts to talk to him these days. He always sounds so tired when I talk to him. He’s trying so hard, too hard. I feel helpless, as always. I wish there was something I could say to make my father feel better, my sister too, or to get my mother to change back to the person she was. I hate it all. I hate this anger. Selfishly, I feel happy to have been able to escape it, to be back in a position where I don’t have to see it, to have to overhear the arguments, to feel the tension thick in the air.
Well, anyway. My sister came down on Friday night, arriving at midnight and I fed her supper then, despite the time. Then we shared chocolate cake, heavily iced in rich buttercream mixed with crushed chocolate cookies, as we had a good bitch. The next day my sister drove us to a nearby forest and we went for a long, meandering walk through ancient trees. It was very, very pretty. We talked and played stupid games. I spy with my little eye something that begins with t — . We came back and I made food, we ate more cake. We talked some more, watched stupid videos on youtube and laughed together. The next day she took me to the supermarket and generously bought me a whole load of groceries. We came back and talked some more, and I made more food (a butternut tagine that I was very proud of – have you ever tried to cut up a butternut with a blunt knife? I do not recommend it) and we talked even more, until she had to go. We hardly shut up the whole weekend and it was nice. As predicted, it helped to lift my bad mood to be able to talk about things, everything, even the stupid little things, to be able to laugh carelessly and be a bit idiotic if I felt like it. It was also nice being able to feed my sister good, comforting food and to make her laugh. I worried about her the whole weekend, watching her out of the corner of my eye, knowing she was hardly as cheerful as she presented herself. I almost wished she could stay, in a way. That I could share my retreat, my quiet place, with her.
Once my sister was gone my mood fell again, and I spent the week doing little at all and eating too much and fretting about university. Last week, I was not registered for a single module or even on the right course. I sent emails to the right people asking to meet and they never replied. I went and tried to talk to people but they either did not know what was going on either, or they weren’t in their offices. Thankfully on Monday I finally managed to get hold of who I need to get hold of and get all the necessary paperwork filled in and handed in and to get answers to all my questions. I know what’s going on, now. I’m registered for my modules. And I’m on the course I want to be – that I’ve wanted to be on since I was 18 years old. Electrical and Electronic Engineering (MEng). That little MEng makes all the difference, to me. That fact I’m “MEng hons” makes me feel even more ridiculously pleased than I already was. And yes, I am proud too. I know its bad, pride, but damn I’d done it.
I was looking at my photos from Japan that other day, trying to formulate the rest of my diary entries, but it’s hard. I have not quite gotten over my amazement that I went to Japan for the second time, that I managed to go to Hokkaido and Aomori, where I always wanted to go. This is not the first time I have thought this. I remember clearly standing at the base of asahi dake, absolutely blown away by the beauty of what I was seeing, absolutely stunned as it hit me full force that I was standing in Hokkaido. It felt completely surreal, like any moment I’d wake up. But, I’m not waking up I thought to myself. I’m here. I felt so incredibly blessed, so incredibly lucky, to be where I dreamed I would go, so so long ago. It hit me how amazing it was to have my dream come true. It hit me just how many things I had made happen, when everyone told me they would not. Looking back I feel that sort of pride too , as it was my own hard work that had gotten me there, achieving the things that everyone told me I’d never achieve.
Three years ago I failed my A levels and was rejected from university. I was being told to “reconsider my options” and to essentially, give up. But I didn’t give up. I didn’t listen to that sort of reasonable advice. I ignored all evidence of my short comings and I fought. I wanted to be an engineer and no one was going to tell me I was not capable. No one. My dreams, that fragile hope for the future, was what got me through my depression without physically harming myself and I could not let them go, not so easily. I went through clearing- and that remains one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done, and I got myself into a foundation course. I did that foundation year, got myself into one of the universities that rejected me, became part of the top 10% of my class in my first year, went to study abroad in my second year, got to travel and see places I could only dream of seeing before, and now this – getting onto the masters course. So yes, I feel proud. I think this is a case where I can be allowed to feel ridiculously pleased with myself. Back then I thought to myself that if I only worked hard enough I would surely be rewarded. Thus far I’ve not been proved wrong. It’s not been easy, I doubt its going to get any easier, but I hope I’m never proved wrong.
I admit, I’ll never forget the things said to me, or that feeling of failure when I was rejected from university the first time. It’s good, in a way, it gives me the strength to fight. I have a point to prove- to myself, to the world. That I am capable. But it gets tiring, fighting all the time. Always doubting, always, always looking over your shoulder, waiting for the past to catch up and for everything to return to the way it was.
I admit, second year was a tough one for me. I’m not sure I really enjoyed my time in Malaysia. Academically everything got very rough, my grades fell, and my degree means enough to me that that really affected me quite a lot. Then my Grandmother died and I was overcame with homesickness, and sadness, regret, longing, pain. I want to say my study abroad period was amazing, but I think I hit a bit of a low last year. I began to really doubt myself, to start to give up. I began to really doubt whether I was capable of meeting my goals. I thankfully managed to achieve what I wanted anyway, but I think this year I need to be better. I need to be more determined, more focused. I cannot give up yet. I don’t want to live whilst waiting for the other shoe to drop- whilst feeling that I’m about to lose everything, suddenly, without warning, any second. That this will be the year that things go wrong again. I admit, I sometimes struggle to believe that I am capable of anything more than failure. It feels very pathetic, with all that I have managed to achieve. Second year was like that, especially. I will not have third year be like that. How much more do I have to achieve before I believe in myself? I wonder. Just when will it be enough? So I say to myself now- enough. It’s enough.
That doesn’t change the fact that I’m terribly nervous about starting university tomorrow. I know, tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start my fourth year of university, and my third year of my degree. When on earth did this happen? I hope third year goes better than the second. No, it will. I’m so scared but I refuse to let it get to me. I’ll try and find my old determination, and I will not let things become so messy and painful as last year. I will not let my stupid emotions make a mess of things again. I cannot. It’s enough, now.