It’s no surprise to me that I am beginning to write this in the middle of a rammed university library, where fellow students are trying to bang out those last essays. I just sneakily ate a banana (I maybe tried to catch the eyes of boys while I was doing it in order to torture them a little but no one noticed) (if there is anything university has taught me, it’s how horn-inducing libraries can be) but I am still fatigued by words and screens blurring out in front of me.
I’ve realized now that spring is starting and the days are a bit warmer (though not that much warmer) that the past winter I have been a work hog, in work mode, digging and digging my way through the mud (of work). My life has revolved around studying more than ever before. Third year is hard, you guys. But spring means, for me, the end is in sight. Can I speak of the absolute impending doom I have felt at the prospect of being finished with university?
If you were a regular reader of my diaries for Rookie you know more than a lot of people who I am literal friends with about my STRUGGLE (yeah Knausgård, I am stealing that title from you). Now I see the start of university as the start of my “real life.” Real life to me means functioning at a pretty basic level, like not staying in bed all day, but even that was more than I was used to. You know that disgusting thing called exposure therapy? It was that on a cataclysmic level—I didn’t really mean it to be, it just happened.
University was always something I wanted, that I knew I would do, that I pictured myself enjoying—I rarely thought any further than that first degree feeling (apart from those other giant stepping stones like getting married and having kids—more on that later maybe). Now I feel like I am having to make decisions that I am not quite as sure of. I was SURE I wanted to go to London, SURE I wanted to do English with Creative Writing, SURE of all the new and life-changing friendships I was making, SURE of going home in the holidays and retreating into that comfort.
Things are going to change. I thought of writing here, in this very update, how would it be possible to write how much has changed in two years? And then proceed to try and explain. But there is too much minutiae to catch you up on. And while yes, I am more me (’cause how could I not be), I’ve also felt recently that I am balancing on the most unsteady ground I’ve ever walked on.
It’s odd, for me, to explain that mental health struggles are not unsteady ground. Because throughout all that mind-shit I had to deal with, I was living at home with parents and swaddled by familiarity. Then university was another solid frame to hang my coat on at the end of the day—three whole years in front of me, sorted. Coming to the end of that belief of stability has been frightening. I’ve had to make decisions that I didn’t feel 100 percent ready or qualified to make.
For example, I’ve taken to writing poems. I didn’t really expect for my heart to latch on to poetry as a thing to do, for proper and for real, but apparently it has? Can you feel my doubt??? (Welcome to the life of a downtrodden poet Naomi.) We’ll see how that goes BUT this did lead to me choosing to do a Masters degree in Creative Writing, specifically poetry, at Edinburgh. Yep, Scotland I am going to be in you for a year (at least). Let’s not talk about adult jobs and professions just yet!!
So I guess that’s where I am. I figure spending a year in Edinburgh writing poetry isn’t the worst post-graduate thing to do, and I tell myself there’s no way it’ll be a waste or “silly”—’cause you know what? I’ve got more shit to figure out and more happiness to try and make and more feelings to just FEEL. Also when I was doubting a lot and rang Dad for help he was like, “Would you say you were being silly if you were a man?” Probably not, Dad!! Thx Dad. ♦