This is going to be very incoherent, and probably a bit boring and weird. I'm not really sure why I wrote any of this. It was all written in pieces, over like several weeks, but I just feel like I want to get something down.
I. Term time - Loneliness
I'm back at university. It's weird. I was so looking forward to surrounding myself with people but I just haven't. I don't have enough people to surround myself with. I spend most of my time either alone or flitting between a very limited number of people. I just don't really do anything with people, not out of habit. I walk to lectures alone, eat alone, go shopping and work alone nearly all of the time. It just doesn't occur to me to do these things with other people, and it feels natural not to. It's just that I've started noticing this very sharply since I've been back in this situation. University seems to be an odd place to do so many things alone, when this is presented as a key time in your life to get out there and meet as many people as possible and you'll have all the time in the world to be alone once you're old and unmarried and surrounded by debt and mangy animals. The idea of reinventing yourself the minute you get here is misleading, as if everyone can just come out of their shell into their idea of a perfect human being the minute they enter a new place, or that they would even want to. I keep coming back to this quote from this article: Every time I feel like I'm getting left behind, or like I should be joining in being with people I don't like just so I'm doing something, I try and remember this.
"Cherish your isolation: It has given you the space to survive. It is in that space that you’ll craft your life. I was in my final year of high school when I dropped out and realized that none of my friends had time for me unless I was there to match my steps with theirs. I floundered in their slipstream for most of my twenties before accepting that I had to unmake that world, and make a life for myself. Because that’s what you do, whether you’re homeschooled, chronically sick, or just prefer solitude: You make a life for yourself."
It's hard though, trying to rebuild a life around yourself when you're not sure what you want to be surrounded by anymore.
I've always been a bit naturally solitary. But recently I feel like I've drifted away from a lot of the things I was once really involved in, people I was close to, in the way you do when you find something else to care about. Only I haven't moved on to anything else. I've just become gradually more isolated, naturally moving away from former interests without finding something to take their place. The list of things I enjoy doing gets shorter and more specific by the day. It's currently limited to looking after the plants I got for my birthday, tidying my room in short bursts and watching tv shows, so long as they're half an hour long or under and I'm eating at the same time. I feel like this is the point at which I should take a leap into something new, but I can't. I can't find what I feel I should be doing, or the even any extra energy I could do it with. I'm acutely aware of all my inabilities and failures, and it has made me feel lost and insecure. I just want to be somewhere absolutely different, where I have no responsibilities, no ties to people or places. Everything feels irrelevant, but I'm grasping onto what I feel I should be letting go of, because these things are all I have at the moment.
II. Home - Exhaustion
I am back home for Christmas. I am tired constantly. Any spare time I have, I eat mindlessly for a bit then go back to bed, and I nap for as long as I can until I overheat and my head starts to hurt. I don't read, or write, or watch films. I have a heap of tabs open in my computer, all articles and videos which I haven't read or watched yet because I am too tired. I go days without replying to messages because even that minuscule amount of emotional energy exhausts me. I can barely think about the holiday work I've been set. I don't have time. I spend so much of my time fighting with a consistent stream of intrusive thoughts and impulses so I can keep up an appearance of being normal that sometimes I just have to lie down in the dark and let all the too bright images in my head wash over me. I find social interactions exhausting, not just because that's how I feel normally, but because I have to fight down all I'm feeling and engage, interact, move my face in an appropriate way, and not lie down, all at the same time. It leaves me drained, unable to do anything but the work, emotional and academic, that I have to do to get by without anyone worrying about me.
But in between the dull effort of trying to keep my head above water, I get moments of bizarre sharpness and clarity where I can see clearly my potential, the directions I could take with it, all my flaws and strengths laid out clearly. They're rare but they keep me going. It is in these moments that I read, think of ideas about what to write and start writing them, send honest and heartfelt messages to my friends. I plan my days in advance, get through the odd jobs which stack up in lists. I am inching through my life at the moment in sharp, clear, bursts. I feel like it should pick up at any moment, but I've felt like that for months now.