Dear Diary

April 10, 2013

Dreams and nightmares do come true.


Standing on a platform at London Bridge railway station, about to catch the train to New Cross, Dad told me to look up—if he hadn’t, I might not have noticed. Only if I tilted my head right back could I see the tip of London’s tallest skyscraper, all 95 storeys of gleaming glass pointing to the sky. It was the first time I’d seen the Shard in the flesh, not on a screen or in the newspaper, as the last time I visited London I don’t think it was even a hole in the ground. I felt like I could reach out and touch it, but it was so gigantic that I couldn’t really comprehend it. Just like I couldn’t comprehend the holiness of St. Pancras station’s arched cathedral-like ceiling earlier that day or my journey on the tube before that where the women carrying her load of brand-new bed sheets and the man engrossed in a tilting game on his phone captured a different kind of holiness. One where the wheels and cogs of this mammoth city all seem to work together and create something special, down the to the bones of the people and the metal of the train tracks.

But the most divine miracle was that I was in London at all. A couple of years ago it would have been unimaginable for me. Last year, when a pinprick of light appeared at the end of the tunnel of my two-year struggle with agoraphobia, when recovery finally seemed like a possibility, the idea coming to London was up there, shining like a shrine to freedom. It was something to work towards. But strangely, on Friday morning, it felt a normal thing to do. Which is exactly what I want.

When we arrived, however, it felt surreal—like a film set of London, and I was just an extra. Like if I walked around a street corner I’d find that the buildings were just facades with no insides. And so many people! They don’t look at you at all, which only added to my feeling of being in a movie or a dream.

Thankfully I had Dad to hold on to. He was my navigation. He grew up in and around London, so the whole transport system is ingrained deep in his brain and heart. I kept repeating variations of “How can there be so many people, Dad?” My hometown of Birmingham is Britain’s second city and seems like a village in comparison. From my house, it’s 15 minutes travelling into the town centre and 15 minutes out into the countryside.

I’ll have to get used to this largeness. With each route we took, I tried to memorise the names, familiarize myself with the bus numbers, pretend I was a local. I was staring into my new home. When we arrived at New Cross, excitement finally took over anxiety and I wasn’t sure whether to dance or cry because here was a place I had mapped out in my mind, seen in my imagination, and made reality. It was the final confirmation that Goldsmiths was the university for me and I didn’t even have to worry about being accepted because I already am. It just felt right.

That sprawling sensation that London has, when we were on the train and could see nothing but civilisation pouring in all directions, simultaneously terrifies me and enthralls me. The suburban areas are full of small windows illuminating other people’s existences for a split second as one of our final trains shuttled past in the dark. It made me realise that to other people, I am also one of those small squares of light, a little box of existence. I take everything so deadly serious sometimes, I act as if anything could go wrong at any minute. Being a little person in such largeness is humbling.

After having dinner with some of my family, we quietly began our mini-trek back home. As we got further away from city lights and travelled through blank hills and trees instead, the darkened windows became like a mirror. I wished they’d lower the artificial lights in trains at night—to see my reflection so close and so clearly was a little disconcerting. So I pressed my forehead against the glass, searching for any spotlight in the distance. My eyes followed the North Star, constant, all the way home. ♦


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  • Fortune_Goddess April 10th, 2013 8:32 PM

    Okay.. I just wanted to use this as a sharing place. Today this guy said something to me. He’s my friend even though we’ve dated a little. He’s dating my friend, I’m dating this amazing guy. He still flirts with me, though. Today, I am wearing a chambray shirt tied at my stomach, a tank top, and braids. He comes up to me and says “hey, are you gonna takedown your braids?” I’m like, nah, probably not. He says “you should, cause I’m digging the slutty cowboy look but the braids are overkill.”
    What the hell?! Now I can’t wear that or do things with my hair or do anything without thinking its somehow for him. Fuck.

    Sorry to comment on this great diary post. I love reading the diaries every week. Thanks guys, just had to get that off my chest <3

    • ColoredSoft April 10th, 2013 9:48 PM

      Okay, screw what he thinks. He sounds like a jerk, and jerks aren’t worth listening to you. Don’t let mean people ruin your day.

    • ___ellarose April 10th, 2013 10:48 PM

      hey! one of the most important thing I have learned from Rookie is whatever makes you feel comfortable and sexy is what will look the best on you and “how you dress doesn’t mean yes” Don’t even give a shit about that boy:)

  • freckledwallflower April 10th, 2013 8:37 PM

    ahh! you’re reading the fault in our stars!! which is only my most favorite book ever, and one i’ve read four times!

  • thefilmrookie April 10th, 2013 8:41 PM

    Ruby Book, you are one of the best writers on this entire website, in my humble opinion. Writing this weeks diary, and last weeks was so brave of you. I wish you all the best, and I am mentally sending you fairy dust and unicorn farts to make everything better for you!

  • -alexandra- April 10th, 2013 8:49 PM

    Britney- The Fault In Our Stars makes me cry as well.

  • -alexandra- April 10th, 2013 8:50 PM

    Also, I wanted to mention that ‘Burrito-Induced Nightmares’ is my favorite Rookie tag in history.

  • Hecticglow April 10th, 2013 8:53 PM

    Wahh Britney I love the Fault in our stars. Speaking of books, Rookie should have a book club were we all read a book and then a the end of the month there is a cool discussion of it and we all become enlightened and well read and happy little library elves. I think I went on a tangent, Sorry. Oh and ruby I’m sending you a mental goodie bag of rainbows, unicorns, and cup cakes.

    • lizzyheinie April 10th, 2013 11:42 PM

      I would totally join in this book club! Can we make it happen Rookie please??

    • HaverchuckForPresident April 11th, 2013 6:10 AM

      Such a good idea. It could be part of the theme

  • Sharon April 10th, 2013 9:01 PM

    katherine oh my god i love you hahahahaha

  • Faith April 10th, 2013 9:02 PM

    Ruby!! I hope and pray you get better, and I really wish I could mail you a box of cupcakes and macaroons! I went through a chaotic 8th grade “downfall” I guess, never thought I’d be like that, but I started getting the help I needed as well as (don’t want to get all religious, but if it helped me, why on earth would I keep it to myself?!) trusting in God. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t on my own, and God’s helped me realize that I don’t have to go through things on my own and that He’s always been there. So I just want to let you know that God loves you so so much!! We also love you too girl!! Stay strong!!

  • book_kitty April 10th, 2013 9:04 PM

    Katherine – Burrito-induced nightmare is an epic tag.

    Ruby – Your writing is always amazing, but especially these pieces from the hospital (I realize her diary is down now, but I read it before it was removed)


  • eyelet April 10th, 2013 9:13 PM

    Katherine, that stinks but I LOVE CHIPOTLE.

  • LadyKatie April 10th, 2013 9:17 PM

    Ahhhh Britney, are you enjoying The Fault in Our Stars?! It’s one of my favorites! I’d also recommend John Green’s other books, especially Looking for Alaska (also a really sad one though).

  • roserach April 10th, 2013 9:27 PM

    Will ruby’a entry be able to be reposted without privacy interrupting things in it? Regardless I hope she continues getting better.

    • Anaheed April 10th, 2013 10:06 PM

      Unfortunately no. The privacy-related stuff was the premise of the whole entry.

  • Melisa April 10th, 2013 9:38 PM

    Ruby — I find Tom Riddle very fascinating. As twisted as he may be to us, who knows what’s going on in his mind. (Yes, I realize the entry has been taken down.)

    Katherine — Gosh, is Chipotle THAT good? I’ve heard my friends who went to US rave so much about it.

  • noqa April 10th, 2013 9:47 PM

    Naomi, that first paragraph was poetry

  • abby111039 April 10th, 2013 9:57 PM

    Burrito-induced nightmare. It’s a tag. My day has just been made. :D

  • Corrina Pascale April 10th, 2013 10:33 PM

    Ruby- I didn’t get to read yours, I understand though if it’s too private. Like everyone else, I hope you’re okay and I love your writing.

  • MikaylaT April 10th, 2013 10:41 PM

    Britney! I loved TFiOS. Easily my favorite book ever.

  • litchick April 10th, 2013 11:04 PM

    The illustration!!! Love it!

  • 2cool4school April 11th, 2013 12:10 AM

    I really enjoy reading these entries every week, they make me feel less alone and that its not wimpy to acknowledge your feelings and whatever.

    other note: Feel better Ruby, I know this must be a very hard time for you and I hope that you will be OK. <3

  • EveyMarrie April 11th, 2013 12:56 AM

    Chipotle-Gate 2013. I’m done. Just freaking done.

  • unicornconnect April 11th, 2013 3:39 AM

    Britney: that part in the fault in our stars is when I started crying and I didn’t stop until I had finished the book. The thing that terrifies me the most about death is missing out on doing things I should’ve done, that I will die without having accomplished anything.

  • unicornconnect April 11th, 2013 3:40 AM

    Oh, also, Caitlin, extremely loud and incredibly close was one of the saddest movies ever!!!!!

    • Caitlin H. April 11th, 2013 6:42 AM

      Yes!! I think I spent more time crying than watching, but it was a really honest adaptation of the book (and i love sad films).

    • Caitlin H. April 11th, 2013 6:50 AM

      Yes!! I think I spent more time crying than watching, but it was an ace adaptation and i just luv sad movies.

  • Stellalune April 11th, 2013 5:19 AM

    OOOOOMMMGGG!! Naomi I just had the same exact experience!!! I’m moving to London in September to got to university and I visited last week and just totally fell in love with the city!! People on the tube, the masses of people the whole Britishness of it all :)) I’m soo excited to actually get to live there!!! Thanks for your diary entry, totally reassured me about being nervous, if that makes any sense :D

  • A Beautiful Tragic April 11th, 2013 7:44 AM

    That picture is a drawing of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close! I love that book so much. I see what you did to add that picture to fit in the theme “age of innocence”. Honestly, that kid in the book HAD this precious innocence but life decided to destroy it, just like what it did to everyone else. The book broke my heart.

  • Ella W April 11th, 2013 12:27 PM

    Naomi, I completely get the not knowing your way about London thing. I’ve been with my parents about 20 times, and I still rely on them to get me everywhere!
    I also hope Ruby’s ok, and that she’s getting better and so on. Missing her diary entry but I understand why it couldn’t be put up.

  • meganjanie April 11th, 2013 2:30 PM

    Everyone keeps saying this, I know, but I hope Ruby is okay. She is awesome!

  • Annie92 April 11th, 2013 3:01 PM

    Oh Naomi, you’re making me wish I didn’t drop out of Goldsmiths! It’s brilliant there, the people are absolutely lovely- contrary to the belief that they are all pretentious etc etc. You’ll love it. x

  • Sssophiabh April 11th, 2013 6:54 PM

    OMG rookie totally needs a monthly missed connection column!!!

  • kirsten April 12th, 2013 12:51 AM

    i’m sorry about what has happened to you, ruby. i haven’t been following diaries for a while, but i always enjoyed reading yours and i hope you’re doing okay <3

  • Laura Lemon April 12th, 2013 5:03 PM

    The Shard! When I read that I died because of Doctor Who-related Reasons…

  • L C April 12th, 2013 11:33 PM

    I’m so sorry that you’re in so much pain. I didn’t get a chance to read this week’s entry, but your post from last week was really moving and beautifully written.

    I just wanted to say that I’ve struggled with depression for a long time (now I’m in my 20′s) and it does better, and easier to deal with. I hope you find a medication that works for you. And just know that the thing about depression is that it is cyclical – no matter how bad this episode is, you’ll come out of it again.

    If you’re interested, one of the best books about depression is The Noonday Demon by Andrew Sullivan. He describes, exactly, the feeling of hopelessness and feeling afraid of everything and nothing specifically. He also talks about genetics, and different cultural views of depression.

    “Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair.”
    Also, some good advice
    “Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”

    I hope that things get better for you really soon. You’re already a wonderful writer, and the one upside to this ordeal is that these experiences will probably help your writing in the long term. Read poetry. Take care of yourself.

  • mayacolor April 16th, 2013 5:01 PM

    naomi, i grew up in london and left when i was 8 i’m 14 now and i’ve literally LOVED goldsmiths all y life everything about it is so bautifu, if you at the studets they all ahve nice clothes, its weird to read about this are which i used to live in now ! haha. now im not a londoner the place suddenly seems special now aww