attics

Sherlock Holmes said that your brain is like an attic, and ordinary people stuff it full of unnecessary boxes and junk. I’ve been thinking about that today. My headspace is all jumbled up, bursting at the seams, my thoughts are nothing if not erratic. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and full of everything, and other times I feel completely empty. It’s hard to find a balance. No matter whether I’m full or empty, I always get things wrong. I never know what to say to people, or how to just be normal in conversation. I’m so terrified of doing too much that I usually end up not doing enough. Even the shortest conversation is a struggle, sometimes. I’m good at getting things wrong. It’s a talent, really.

grading

How does poetry pass the test? How do you give a poem a grade? Even in workshops at uni, I can tell which are good, which need some work, and which are utter shite. But how? They’re just words on a page. Last year I got a First on my poetry. If another person marked them, I could’ve gotten something worse.

I think it might be an instinct thing, a gut feeling more than a physical grading scale, but no two instincts are the same. How does it stay fair? I used to think writing was something some people were good at and some people were bad at. Now I know writing is a skill to be learned, just the same as anything else is, and as long as there is the will to improve, anyone can do it.

I want to get better at it all the time. Sometimes all I know is the drive to write better, the hunger to make my words do more. Other times I feel like I’m too close to my own writing to know whether it’s good or bad. I have words in my head that don’t stop kicking until I’ve written them down, but there’s always more. Will the kicking ever stop? Do I want it to stop? No. Never. I never want to be without the comfort of words. I don’t know what else can carry me through the same way writing does.

summer.

It’s like the weather. When it’s been hot for so long – long enough that it feels like you have a permanent headache and you can’t shift the clammy smell in your armpits – there always eventually comes a chilly, overcast day to clear the air, and you find that you can breathe easier.

When I’ve been happy for a while (or at least, not sad) there is always a day where I wake up solemn, knowing I’ll feel teary but also that it’s OK – it’s just clearing the air, reminding me. I can ride these days out, roll with it until I either slide back into the rhythm of the happy days, the summer days, or flail for a bit because I can’t find my way back to the warmth again.

But once you’re there, once you’re back to smiling without thought again, the cold days see a lifetime ago – an untouchable memory that you can’t look at for too long. It’s more difficult in winter, but just the same: ride the cold out, wait for spring to arrive like it always does.

~ another journal entry

masks.

I feel as though there are too many versions of me in too many people’s heads.

I know everyone behaves differently depending on who they’re with, but sometimes I feel as though I’m constantly switching one mask for another. Other times they all get jumbled up and I forget who needs me to be what for them. Does this person need me to be the sarcastic, never-troubled me? And is this person after supportive, lay-all-your-troubles-on-me me? Where does cheerful, never sad me fit in? Anyone care for a bit of poetic, ‘let’s look at the trees’ me? They all have at least some roots in reality, but they’re all grounded in deception too.

I’m usually good at knowing what people need- which version of me they need. Except when it comes to myself. I’ve never been good at working out exactly what it is that I need to fill in any new holes that might’ve appeared. All these different versions of myself bubbling under the surface – one day they’ll spill out and I’ll lose them.

What will I do then?

passivity.

There’s the gentle lull of home routine, the fulfilled expectations and the predictability. Of course there’s also the knowledge of the world to come once I leave again – like seeing a train headed towards you on the tracks but resigning yourself to the impact.

I’m exceptionally good at deceiving myself – it’s something of a talent – I’ll often fool myself into postponing responsibilities and working myself into a tremendous flap once they can no longer be ignored. Avoided is a better word – I know they’re there, after all. I’ve always been jealous of people who can just get on with things, can accept that there’s no shying away. I have lived my whole life with my back against the wall, watching things pass me by. Opportunities, decisions, adventures. I wish I could unstick my hands from my sides and grab whatever’s closest.

unpredictability.

~ please don’t read if you’re easily affected by negative thoughts/feelings. ~

I’ve grown accustomed to periods where I’m drowning – either in loneliness or in blind despair – and am sometimes lucid enough in these moments to identify a trigger or cause. Spending a weekend more or less completely alone in my room, binge watching TV shows, eating, listening to sad music – typical ingredients for me feeling exceptionally shitty.

Today had every single one of those components, yet I found myself relaxed and peaceful for the most part. I don’t know that there were any distinguishing differences between this weekend and any other apart from the absence of the hollowness. Is it me that decides which days I’ll feel low? Something in my head? Or am I a pawn in something much bigger, unaware of the player’s hand upon me – a marionette oblivious to it’s strings.

The unpredictability of this drives me crazy. One Sunday I’m practically biting myself with frustration at feeling alone, another I’m revelling in the solitude, dancing on my bed. I feel so far away from myself, I often find I never know the decisions I make until the words have left my lips.

I can make myself feel terrified much easier than I can make myself feel happy – which, in itself, is terrifying. I don’t think I ever truly knew the meaning of the word until I’d put the scissors back down again. The knife back in the block. Happy moments are harder to pick out.

I exhaust myself.

(again, please don’t worry about any of the things I’ve said here – this piece from my journal was written a long time ago and I have picked myself up since. i  just wanted an outlet for these things i used to feel. that’s all.)

warmth.

It’s still here. The warmth that comes with feeling like all my worries are just the same as everyone else’s. The easy routine that means I know what I’m doing each day. I feel as though I’ve fallen into it head first, completely immersed myself in the only real happiness I’ve felt for a long time.

A part of me thinks that writing it down so honestly like this will jinx it, but so far it only gives it more fuel, more power – gives it more realness. I’m being a normal person, a normal student. I cook and I clean and I go on nights out and genuinely enjoy them! Mum held me close as we were waiting for her coach, and there’s so many memories in that moment, I could have drowned in them. She’s proud of me – I can accept that she’s not exaggerating now.

I’m so ready to feel proud of myself too.

I’m not oblivious, I know that I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m too content with enjoying this for however long it lasts. I have new friends, I’m learning about things that actually interest me.

I think I’m finally growing up.

going back.

“maybe i’ve always been more comfortable in chaos”

I can’t stop it, but at least now I know that I want to. I’m ending. I can’t find my way back to myself because I don’t know myself. I don’t know if I ever did. I thought I did, once.

Now I think I was what was expected and once all the expectations were filled, I lost more and more of who I thought I was. Childhood seems a lifetime ago but I’d do anything to go back again. Just to savour it properly, since I forgot to slow down the first time around.

I don’t want to spend my whole life forgetting to enjoy it, but I don’t see anything to enjoy anymore. I’m ending.

I’m angry, too.

 

(please don’t worry about how this entry sounds – i wrote it in my journal a long time ago and have since picked myself up. i wanted to put it up just because it was an important time for me.)

 

scales.

I don’t know if we get a conscious choice when it comes to identity. The way we’re perceived is so often misread or warped. Identity is often labelled ‘fluid’ which is true to an extent, but I think that the main component of your identity is its ability to absorb. Both consciously and not. I could select a handful of traits that make up my identity – or rather, what I perceive to be my identity – and trace them back to cultural or familial influences.

Nature vs nurture at it’s finest.

But the deeper elements of me, the bits I can’t truly grasp but are nevertheless there anyway – where do they come from? If it’s my subconscious mind that chooses which bits should be absorbed, which bits will affect me deeply enough to stay with me – how can it choose? Or does it not choose, and instead – like glitter or dirt caught in glue – experiences and observations get caught and no matter how hard I try, I can’t shake them off. Is my identity therefore a rolled-up bundle of careful selections and permanent burdens? Could I still have what I recognise as an identity without one of these elements?

If I were primarily made up of selections, I would have more control over who I am, but that would never work out for the best. On the other hand, to be composed entirely of burdens would see me barely able to crawl my way through life. I think that being comprised of a set of both saves me.

My most easy to grasp ‘selected influence’ and ‘reluctant burden’ balance each other out. The influence being the love of my family (which, if it were a physical entity, would be my dearest possession) and the burden being the knowledge that I am capable of purposely harming my body during the grey haze of self-pitying despair. Without my family’s love, I may have suffocated in that haze. Without the knowledge, it’s possible I could have drowned in love – ultimately leading to the bad kind of ego and recklessness.

Perhaps this is where so many fall. They may lack the balance between influence and burden. If it is that it comes in pairs, I feel sure that I must have unbalanced sets. Else I would be perfect. I don’t believe anyone is completely balanced; just that for some, the scales are tipped to one side. But there’s always a chance to add more to either side. There must be infinite room on identity’s scales, or we would fail to grow.