thinking

Why I read.

I wasn’t always the type of person to enjoy reading a book. I’m only 18 now and frankly I didn’t start to enjoy it until about a year ago, which was lucky because by then I’d already settled on studying English Literature which, as you might guess, involves a lot of reading.

Just finishing up my latest venture into the written word and I had that amazing feeling of clarity. That feeling is what I search for in novels.

I love beginning a book not knowing what’s going to happen, it’s that feeling of stepping off the stairs into the darkness below trusting that there’s another step to catch your fall. I like that feeling, and it escalates as the novel continues, throwing facts and details at you that individually make no sense but in a bigger picture with context make a world of sense.

You start to draw conclusions and links between things that haven’t quite happened yet, in the hope that they will and prove you right. Eventually you end up with a web of speculation, the novel is the torch shining through those intricate details, just waiting to illuminate some major plot point to tie it all together.

Eventually it gives you a glimpse towards the end and it’s suddenly locked on and focused to the end goal, the big reveal, when it all concludes in sudden realisation. Everything falls into place, those loose ends? Consider them dealt with. Characters become fully rounded and you’re left to ponder what may happen next.

It’s sad though, I find it sad at least, that books have to end. Sometimes I think I’d be quite happy to suspend myself in this world created by the author and go about my days following a main character and their interactions but that’s the reality of it. It has to end, I have to come to acceptance with this every time I read a book.

Just some musings I found myself thinking of while finishing a novel. Hope you agree!

2013, A Summary: Quotes of note.

Every now and again someone says something or I read something and it really resonates. It doesn’t happen often, not truly, but when it does it sticks in my head and I remember it. So here are some of the quotes from this year that have meant a lot:

Gatsby? What Gatsby?

I think I can speak on behalf of myself and a few of my friends when I say this was our mostly highly anticipated film of 2013. After studying the novel for a year as the first half of my A-Levels I felt a connection to the wonderful world of words married together by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a definite must watch and when I did, it exceeded all expectations.

I cried most of the way through it, either that or I was verging on tears. It was beautiful, not only were there a fantastic range of actors and actresses but the visuals were stunning. The story itself wraps around my heart strings and tugs for the full two hours and twenty minutes.

I could have very easily quoted the entire film because there are so many poignant lines, most of them spoken by Daisy, that really struck me. This one though umbrellas all of them. The thought of someone from your past suddenly falling back into place and being flung back to a time where you were truly happy, highlighting just how unhappy you are presently. The thought is heartbreaking, as is the entire film. But this idea sticks for me. Incredible.

Yes, you have a place.

This quote is an email from the admissions office in Glasgow University. Note the lack of social etiquette or any kind of professional trimmings you’d expect from a University representative. Results day had obviously taken it’s toll on all of us because the email in it’s entirety was simply the above quote.

This is because, in context, I’d been hounding the admissions office for hours on end. This was in the heat of results day, I’d been rejected definitively and rather harshly from Lancaster and within the space of a few hours my future hung in the balance. Everything depended on a yes from Glasgow. Evidently I got it, but for several hours I was sick with the thought of going nowhere.

I’d called them thousands of times, and that’s no exaggeration. I was sitting in the school library with a desk phone in one hand and my iPhone in the other and I was just constantly pressing redial every time it failed to connect. I couldn’t have expected anything more, everyone who’d failed to get into their firm choice was doing the exact same. Eventually I sent them an email in desperation, they replied with something semi-positive but vague like “you’ll hear officially from UCAS tonight” which wasn’t enough. I needed solid confirmation. So I asked for it to be spelt out and voila, that short, rather abrupt email hitched my wagon to a place in Glasgow University.

So the above quote encapsulates the ultimate feeling of relief and panic suddenly leaving my body all in one swift sentence.

You chose your heart over your head, and your head triumphed!

Of course I have to include a line from one of the most quotable figures in my secondary school. A past English teacher of mine, suddenly turned prophetic in a moment of absolute clarity in regards to my future education.

I’m not saying choosing Lancaster University as my firm choice was a wrong decision, but it was right that I ended up at Glasgow.

I’d fallen in love with the idea of Lancaster and what it could’ve held in store. It was remote and it was safe, security was definitely to be found in Lancaster, which is what I felt I needed at the time when I had to make the decision. Was it the right place for me then? I guess I’ll never know, which is for the best.

It’s evident to me now that Glasgow University was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I needed out, I needed escape, independence and Glasgow was my clean slate with no dirty laundry or skeletons in the closet waiting for me.

This quote taught me that I know what I want, but what’s important is what I need. I think this is a battle a lot of is face at times, when what we want is right in front of us but to grow we need to turn to the thing that’s farther away and go for that which we need.

I made it.

These were the first words uttered in my new room, my new life, in Glasgow. I’d spent all day travelling and I was knackered. Most people who know me will know I’m not one for crying in front of others. I like to stay strong in the moment and deal with the emotions later, privately. So when I said goodbye to my mum and my sister I kept it together and held it in. After a stressful couple of hours on the road, however I was ready to break. And so when I burst into my new home, I dumped my bags, called my mum and I burst into tears.

I couldn’t even say it at first, but she knew what I wanted to say: I made it.

Not taking shit from anyone, not depending on people, this year is my year. Bring it on.

These were the closing words in my very first diary entry on the 31st December 2012. I’d decided the year just gone was a complete and utter write-off and that 2013 was going to be better. I think I can safely say without a doubt that it was. It took a while to turn it around but it blossomed into an amazing few months from the beginning of summer onwards.

I felt it was poetic to end this post with the quote that began it all in 2013. It was a year of self-discovery, a year of independence, and most importantly it was my year.

2013, A Summary: The beginning of the end.

This year I set myself the challenge of keeping a diary, the Bridget Jones type. I wanted to document most of what happens in my life over 2013, warts and all, read it back and laugh in hindsight.

Oh, how naïve I was.

It turned into quite the commentary, and now it’s one of the most precious things I own. It’s all there, the smiles, tears, laughter, pain, all of it. Frankly I was scared to read it.

It’s strange to think that I’d be scared to read it; I wrote it, I lived it but when I sit down and pick a month to re-read I find myself cheering on the person behind the story. It’s like when you read a series of books you get attached to the character, you want them to succeed. This is the kind of detachment I feel when reading it, I feel like it isn’t real. It was shocking to realise how much we forget, whole weeks and months of events completely slipped my mind.

It’s hard because while there are points of triumph that make me want to punch the air in a smug sense of victory, there are other moments that remind me of how vulnerable I can be. There has to be a balance, do I read it for the good times? Or do I avoid it for the bad?

I was able to sit down and read it the whole way through. Each day has it’s own page but usually whenever something big happens I need to squeeze in some extra paper to take note of the details. It’s daunting because I’ll know something momentous is coming up because four pages will flutter out of a certain pivotal date and I’ll think:

Here we go again…

Anyway, onto this series of blog posts. The reason I’m writing these is to put the pieces together. I feel like living out the book I’ve filled was an adventure in itself. I went out and found all the puzzle pieces that were my experiences and now I feel like I need to knit them into something that makes sense so I can grow from it.

So if you’ve read this far I just want to say thanks for being interested. I don’t usually write so personally and this is the first time I’ll have thought of this year as a whole rather than day by day. These posts are not a tell-all. I don’t dish the dirt on anyone that’s been less than kind, I reflect on what that’s taught me. Sorry to disappoint if that’s what you were looking for.

So get ready for all the laughs, all the lows, some amazing people and a few quotes along the way. I’ll put all of the links below so you can easily go between all of the posts you haven’t read. Enjoy! And if you want to you can let me know what you think.

Quotes of note: http://wp.me/p3VoF3-2e

Losing my glasses.

My sight became an issue a few years ago, suddenly I became aware of the fact I had to squint to see anything that wasn’t directly in front of me. This then became annoying to the point of seeing an optician and so on and so forth. Since then I’ve had glasses which do their job, can’t argue with that.

What’s annoying about glasses, though, is that they go walkabout sometimes and leave me stumbling around trying to find them. They do this on purpose, they play the most cruel game of hide and seek. They know I can’t see, so how am I supposed to find them if I can’t see them?! Setting me up for failure from the start.

I don’t like short-sightedness, it leaves me feeling vulnerable or somehow of less value than people who can see normally. Sometimes people instantly turn off on someone as soon as they don their spectacles and this is why I go without sometimes. I personally think I look better without them, and after long periods of time without them they give me headaches from straining to see so it’s a losing battle.

When I’m stumbling around, trying to find them I can’t help but think this is life taunting me. This is a physical representation of what goes on in my head every single day.

I’m an over-thinker, I always have been and right now I can’t see that changing without some severe mental-reconstruction, if that’s even possible. I’ll stumble around in the dark and construct scenarios with only the tiniest shred of evidence to go on and I’ll end up in an elaborate world of a million possibilities, all worse than the one before.

I’ll play out future conversations, interactions, arguments, failures, uneasy situations over and over again to exhaustion with no real conclusion other than:

I’m blind.

No one can see the future. No one can precisely pinpoint exactly what’s going to happen in any given situation, this is the blindness that frustrates me most, and losing my glasses plunges me into this turmoil every single time.

When I lose my glasses I realise how futile it is to worry, how pointless it is to squint to try and catch a glimpse of details just out of my reach. Eventually they’ll come into focus and everything will play out when it’s meant to.

I think it’s going to be my life’s struggle to battle with the fact I’ll never quite find my glasses in that respect, I’ll always feel that little bit more vulnerable because inside this head of mine there are a million and one of me finding new ways to screw up before I even get the chance to.