I’m quite an emotional person, but I have trouble expressing myself. When my parents and I had a meeting with my tutor last month to discuss my work and my anxiety, she mentioned that maybe the reason teachers aren’t softer on me, even though they’re aware of my issues, is because I give off the impression that I’m fine all the time.
Sometimes when school is dragging me down, or I am just ridiculously tired, I wish I could find a private place and cry with a friend or two—cry, get it over with, and wipe up that emotion with a few tissues and a hug. But I am not a crier. I don’t let my feelings out; I internalise them. All those tears are trapped inside me, and trying to shed them would be like drawing blood from a stone.
If someone were to notice, they could perhaps decipher a little of what I’m feeling by the clothes I wear. Sometimes when I need a defense against the world, I wear all black. It’s tough, it doesn’t let any light in, and when I put it on, I am a fortress of nylon and lace; my delicate rings become knuckle-dusters.
This week I’ve played Rumours on my record player at least once a day. I am obsessed with the interpersonal dynamics in Fleetwood Mac. Imagine having to sing harmony on a song written about you by an ex-lover, like Stevie Nicks did? That takes humility. I want to be like the women in Stevie’s songs. They are mystical and they feel things, but they aren’t wimpy. Emotion doesn’t make them weak—it makes them wise. It’s the opposite of a pity party: exorcising demons with poetry instead of keeping them locked inside. Even in sadness, these women are strong. When love or life goes bad, they just wait for the rain to wash them clean.
Stevie said recently that in the heyday of the band, she and Christine McVie were in a male-dominated world, and thus they could not merely walk into a room. “We have to float in like goddesses,” she told Christine, “because that is how we want to be treated.” Those are words to live by. This spring, I want to channel Stevie circa the ’70s: her look and her attitude. I want to embody those songs. ♦