I don't know what to say sometimes- I often don't know what I'm even thinking. There's just a mill in my head with a thread caught in it, spinning around and around. Writing used to be my way of dipping my hand in, trying to catch an end, trying not to lose my fingers. Now I think writing might just be my way of observing. Watching the thread wind around and around.
University was a mistake? I guess is the thought I want to unravel. I came to university hoping that it would finally change my life, as nothing so far had. And it did! I experienced trauma that will maybe be with me for my whole life. I saw a worse side of people, and the worst thing about it was also seeing how well it hides in plain sight, and how people can convince themselves that it doesn't exist at all. I went to art school hoping to be understood, and to push myself. Instead I was pushed backwards into a trench I'm only just beginning to struggle out of. Instead I learnt what it was to be truly, truly misunderstood by the people around you. University is insane. So many things here are "OK" that are really, really not OK.
Time at home sort of confirmed this for me at last. A working day in the office feels good. Left to my own devices I eat well, exercise regularly, work hard, feel a little fire start in me when I get into a project. I love to learn. I seek things out. I don't panic- that's the main thing. I was at home for only a couple of months but it's the longest I've been home- out of that university environment- since I first moved out. Now I moved back on the first of this month, and... if I'd been left to my own devices I'm sure some goodness would have continued. I set myself up at a new desk, I decorated my room, I slept for long enough and not longer, I did my physio in the morning and at night. And then uni started.
Uni is... other people's lives. I love other people's lives, but when I get too involved, other people's thoughts bleed into my head and keep me awake at night, trying to feel other people's fear, joy, pain, peace. Uni is daily updates on everyday dramas which stick to me for too long. Uni is... no sense of scale. Everything weighs something. And in the meantime, you are trying to perform- for every act of creation, drawing, art, thought, becomes a sort of performance for good grades and affirmation that you are not wasting your time, that you are the right sort of person to get the right sort of job after uni. A performance to prove your worth. Everything is.
I've never been the right sort of person. I'm aware of that now! I'm not built to succeed in art school, or art school isn't built for me to succeed. It feels wrong to feel that way, but nobody's really ever given me enough reason to convince myself otherwise. I panic, and the panic keeps me from sleeping, and the panic turns into psychosis. There's no allowance for when flashbacks or hearing disembodied voices knock me down like a wave. There's no time to explain that presentations require my careful, rude, constructed distance, because when I talk I feel like there are a host of hundreds of people watching my words as they form. How do I explain any of that. By industry standards I'm being too strange and rude and arrogant when really I'm just protecting myself. Essentially, I'm not worthwhile. Whatever promise there may have been in my work drains out of the hole in my head where common sense escapes. No matter how hard I try to fill it back up, I have never found a way to stopper that hole. The only option I ever had was to fill it in with the cement of antipsychotic drugs, which make me stable, but useless. Stable, but asleep in every way. Stable, but so... unable to live my life in any way.
So uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. How do you make it work. How do you accept- at this stage!- that this is how things are? I revel in small moments. This week I remembered how I like my hot chocolate. I bought a packet of mini marshmallows so that any time I want to, I can recreate this little moment when a friend made me hot chocolate in an oversized mug, late, late at night. I revel in small comforts. This week I made plans with somebody who wanted to see me, knowing that we delight a little in each other's company, that there is such a warm distance between us. This week I tried to feel like I was in one place, instead of pinging from one mistake to the next with my head buried in my arms. Listened to the voices beyond my door. Hung my wet clothes over the radiator. Lay on the floor. Didn't think about much. Just let the mill in my head spin slowly. I'm sick, which helps. I have a cold, which makes things so much slower.
Can't remember how much I ever wrote about self harm before.
But in a way- self harm was important to me for many reasons, and I think the most important one for me was to prove that time can pass, and the body is always working to heal itself. I burnt my hand a little badly before I left home, and the marks are shiny and pink-silver still, the skin seeming forever altered, but really still just healing. I've got a cold and my body is fighting it off whether I want it to or not. I take painkillers and they fill the doors in my head where pain gets through. I sleep and my cells regenerate. I haven't self-harmed in a couple of years, and the scars are thin and white. The evidence of my healing persists, just like the soft, thin skin of my wrists, just like the small knots of scar tissue along my jaw, just like the tissue I break up in my heels when I do my physio. Time is passing. Like my skin, I am always slowly growing back, whether I choose to or not. I will look different when it's done. But I will still be whole.
I want that-
I want to be myself again.
University is such a mindfuck. I feel like there are people in my head constantly, reporting on what I'm doing wrong, what I'm not doing at all. It feels strange to interrupt a week in which- I've seen things that will haunt me, heard things that terrify me in a specific way for the first time, felt frozen with fear, scrambled to react fast enough to keep everyone involved as safe as possible- just to present work at a crit that gets soundly torn down. I expect myself to care but really I just react- upset, but unsurprised at my own failing. I'll fix it. But also, kind of, why. Is this work I care about. Is this work I did for myself, or is it work I pulled together hoping it'll be good enough but knowing it can't be. Does it make sense at all to be doing this?
I keep thinking about dropping out. I think it'd be better for me. I think it'd make myself love myself again. I think I'd finally care about myself and what I'm doing again.
But that's not how it works. I'm not ready to do things for myself yet, I keep realising. I don't want to do anything that will make my parents disappointed in me, think that I'm not grateful for everything they've done, they do, they give up for me. The same reason why I tell myself I can't transition, can't live authentically. I know how much they care and need this for me. The expectation for what I should be, how I should experience my life... overwhelms reality. Overwhelms my gut instincts, the actual experience of things. The projection of how things should be overlays the truth until I can't really make out either.
I'm disappointed in myself sometimes. Not because I can't succeed here- but because I keep trying to. Insanely. Knowing what the end result will always be.
There is meaning somewhere else.
There has to be meaning, somewhere else.
I don't want things to get broken through sheer apathy ever again. I don't want to let my life happen to me. Staring at the ceiling trying to say the right thing instead of GOD! Doing something! Now I know that every little thing you let yourself experience can break you for life! Now I know how every moment of inaction, of words blocking your movements, how these things can stay with you. How they freeze you in place.
23 in 12 days, by the way!