Friends

Something I think about a lot is the fact that I don’t have a best friend. I have loads of fabulous wonderful friends who are ridiculous and I love them, but I don’t have that one person who I can go to with anything.

I mean, a lot of why is my own fault. After a bad relationship I kind of pushed everyone away. A lot of things happened that I bottled up inside and didn’t want to talk about. It became easier to just put myself above everything and it really made me selfish with my time. It was a lot easier to be alone than to be surrounded by people who didn’t know. It’s only recently that I’ve opened up about a lot of it.

I’m also terrible with keeping contact with people. When I went off to uni it was a new start and I could be a new person, and everyone from school reminded me of home and a person I didn’t want to be.

More recently after moving back home it’s hitting me that I don’t have that one friend soulmate. Someone I could cry on, tell anything, eat junk food with. Someone to tell me I’m being ridiculous when I need it. Spend hours on the phone being silly.

Is that a romanticised version of a best friend? Maybe. But it would be quite nice to have.

The reason I wrote this was because today is Mental Health Awareness day and there were a lot of tweets about people having wonderful friends who have helped them through so much. I do have that, but I still sometimes feel like an annoyance. But maybe one day I will find someone I mesh with so well that it won’t matter.

Anyway I know that I need to make more of an effort with people. Maybe I’ll meet my friend soulmate at some point, but I won’t if I don’t try.

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All Consuming Technology

What I find funny is that a lot of adverts for technology items focus on productivity and making it easier to get tasks done. What’s funny about this is that the reason I get nothing done is technology. My days are consumed with television, games, YouTube videos, and staring at my phone waiting for the next text/tweet/like. When I think about how much my life revolves around it, I feel flat and lifeless. Yet, here I am, writing a blog post on a laptop. Ironic.

Take these items away and what do I have? Time. Time that I would be forced to fill with activities, cleaning, actually leaving the house. But what do you do when you live somewhere you find tired and boring? When you’re waiting for a job to begin? When you know your days are soon going to be filled to the brim with travelling and hard work? The motivation to get up and go just disappears, because you want to relax while you still can. In my book, relaxing used to mean a cup of tea and a great TV show, but now Netflix is becoming a thing of nightmares that I can’t bear to use for longer than two episodes.

Basically what I’m saying is that I’m in a temporary life slump whilst I wait for my job to begin. It’s not fun and it’s incredibly boring, and I was hoping writing about it would ease the lack of motivation. Maybe I just need to accept this state of graduate living for a while.

A Feeling of Wrongness

I think it’s pretty clear that how you approach something can effect the outcome. For example, going into a lecture feeling hungover and negative usually ends in you counting down the minutes until it’s over. But what if you’re someone who strongly knows when something isn’t right for you, and no matter how positively you go into it, in the back of your head you know that you won’t be doing this in the future?

Recently I took part in a work experience opportunity that gave me an insight into a certain type of job and industry. Obviously I went into it feeling nervous; I had to get up super early (which my body never agrees with), I was going to a place I’d never been before, and I didn’t really know what to expect. Thankfully I didn’t faint, which we all know is one of my party tricks. So basically I went into it feeling more on the negative side, simply due to nerves. It was all okay though, because I was doing what I do well. Writing. And the people were nice and it was a nice place. But within a day I knew it wasn’t for me. It had always been a perfectly viable job option, and yet I could sense this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.

A lot of people do jobs that they don’t want to do in order to live. It sounds stupid, but I know when I’m not supposed to be doing something. I get a feeling of wrongness. A lot of the time it feels like I’m the one doing something wrong, maybe I have high standards or I’m just being naive with how I see my future, but once in a while something happens that doesn’t give me that sense. It feels right, and it tells me that I’m not crazy and that there are things out there for me.

My work experience ended on a high note, with my mentor giving me praise for my work. How can something I’m reasonably good at be something that I don’t enjoy doing? It’s food for thought, but is my feeling of wrongness just the universe telling me that this isn’t my path? Or is it just me?

My Time at University and Graduating

Two days ago, I handed in my last ever assignments at university.

I probably won’t be able to process this for at least two months. I mean, how could three years have gone by so quickly? But in reality, those three years are an accumulation of everything I’ve achieved. That equates to:

  • 46 Assignments (roughly)
  • 1 Exam*
  • 1 12,000 word Dissertation
  • Countless nights out
  • 1 Student who isn’t ready to leave yet

*Creative Writing doesn’t do exams, this was from my joint honours in first year!

After all that and the mountains of emotion that comes with university, I can proudly say I’ve finished. I will be graduating 21st October 2017, and I have no idea where I’ll be then. But wherever I am, I know I wouldn’t be there without this experience.

University isn’t for everyone, that’s a well known fact. Some people are naturally independent and charismatic, able to climb the career ladder without the help of education. But for me and many others like me, I was nowhere near ready for the world when I left sixth form. I had no life experience, no independence, and more importantly no confidence. Uni isn’t just a place to go and get pissed regularly with your friends. I mean, it can be, but it teaches you so much about yourself and what you can achieve. I know this is silly, but I went for an eye test on my own for the first time on Monday, and that was a personal success! I don’t think I could have done that if I hadn’t continued education to be honest. I mean, who knows where I would be if I hadn’t?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life before university. Now I do.
I didn’t know how to completely be myself and not care about others before university. Now I do.
Even silly things, like I didn’t really care much about make up before uni, but now I do because I found a love and passion for it.

What did university do for you? And if you didn’t go, what was the best part about not going? (Aside from the debt, lol)

My Thoughts on Expectations

You know what the one of the best moments in life is? The moment that no one bats an eyelid. The moment when you realise that no one gives a damn about the thing you’ve been agonising over for the past week.

We all have ideals about life, partners, education and ourselves. And of course this can be good, striving towards your ideals is a great motivation for doing well and making the most out of life. But how are we supposed to know if these ideals and expectations are reachable? We all have that one ideal version of ourselves right? Mine is a little bit like this:

This Lauren gets up early every day, make up perfectly done, ready to start the day with a coffee in hand and plans for the day. She also never has writers block, loves to jog and spends her weekends going on forest walks and discovering new things. She reads old novels and speaks intelligently about Hemingway and Fitzgerald with ease. She dresses in a sort of rocker/indie/Sarah Manning from Orphan Black type fashion, yet still appears to be completely on trend. She doesn’t spend her money on stupid things, yet still manages to have all the latest make up and clothes.

The key thing here, is that I’m referring to her as ‘she’. I’m doing that because she is not me, and as much as I want her to be me, she isn’t. My problem is that as much as I try to be like her, reading the novels and trying to write, I feel like a phoney. It’s because my expectation is so high that I’ll never feel worthy of my own creation. And that’s just completely stupid because I’ve created this out of my own head. To be that person, it takes hard work and effort, that of which should be spent on more important things. As much as I want to strive for better, this version of me is just a character. The stereotype of the perfect girl, but not the archetype. Unrealistic. Not being perfect is what makes us, well, us. And I wanted to write about this because it’s always something that bothers me, trying to seem like I’m more intelligent/mysterious/interesting than I actually am. I don’t need to do that, yet I still try. We all do. And I just wanted to tell you that you can be that better version of yourself if you reeeeeeally want to, but if you stay as you are, that’s okay too.

I didn’t mean for this to get so deep, but that’s how it turned out. Funny how writing brings things out, isn’t it?

Writing as an Escape

Whenever I feel angry or completely hopeless, I’m always in need of an outlet. Talking to someone would be option 1, but that’s not always possible. There’s always those days where you just feel annoyed at everyone, so who can you talk to? I’m starting to realise that writing is that person.

Opening a Word document and throwing all my feelings onto a page is something which helps me figure out what I’m feeling. Just today, I wrote a short piece about my thoughts and ended up realising what I was actually scared of. It’s a great way of sorting out your mind. I’ve done it before of course, I went through a whole series of letters to someone I ended up naming ‘Pal’, and I often look back on them as a way of reflection. Here is one:

Hey Pal,

So there’s this girl. She has this steadfast dream and a hunger to achieve it. She oozes confidence, with the realisation that she’s good enough. She is completely willing to work hard in order to get to where she wants to be, yet she knows how to balance her life. Her firm grasp of what really matters makes her simply a wonder to be around – boys look at her and see a gem, someone who amazes but still understands. She is completely unique with the understanding that no one could ever really be unique. Her days are filled, yet she doesn’t feel busy or worry about what is next because she knows that you have to enjoy every part of your life. She is happy, and when she cries it’s for a real reason, or empathy for those with a real reason. But let me tell you something about this girl. She doesn’t exist. She is a figment of my imagination, because she is exactly the girl I desire to be. But is a perfect self who I’m supposed to be? Does the lack of strength in some areas simply make me human, or somehow wrong in my psyche? Does being nervous to spend time on my own in public mean something more serious, or is that just an excuse to hide the real problem – I’m human. Just not the human I wish I was. Is it ever really possible to be your ideal self? My ideal comes from films, television and stories, things I hate about myself and things I wish could be. Is that wishful thinking, or are stories really just stories? They must have come from somewhere right? Some people have said I’m naïve, for thinking a perfect me is possible, for seeing the romanticism of life and for trusting people I don’t really know. I just think that’s stupid… since when did everything become so dark?

Yours

The pieces you write don’t have to be articulate or novel-worthy, they just have to help you. For a lot of people, anything creative helps. Music, art, dance – they’re all ways of expressing yourself and giving yourself some clarity. And a lot of the time, you can end up with something really beautiful or inspirational. What I’m trying to say is, there are lots of ways you can make yourself feel better without hurting yourself. Like right now for instance. I got angry, wrote a short piece, then ended up writing this. How things change in one day!

And hey, if that doesn’t work, food is always a good option.

The Future…

So, I did it. I’m writing another post. (Yay for me!) This blogging thing is going well, so far, so good. Leading on from my previous post, I wanted to talk more in depth about what I’m doing right now and what I want to be doing in the future.

Leaving university will be, I’m sure, horrendously scary. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have that moment of ‘wait, everything isn’t just handed to me on a plate?’, before sinking deeper into ‘I have to actually work for a living?’, and finally finishing with the revelation that all those hours of watching Downton Abbey re-runs didn’t in fact help my degree… but I’m pretty sure everyone goes through that. Right? Despite this impending doom being over a year and a half away, I’m feeling it now. I’m surrounded by people who either seem to completely have their lives together, or have absolutely no idea how to even live alone. It’s a terrifying time, and frankly, one which I would hate to miss. This feeling of unknowing is the one thing spurring me on to do something about my future.

From my previous post, you might be able to guess that I’m pretty fickle. Ever since I can remember I’ve changed my mind constantly about what I want to do with my life. I went through the usual child ideas, zoo keeper, gladiator (yes, those ones that used to be on TV), actor. I was always writing stories as a child, but then what child didn’t? I went through a phase of wanting to be a Film Critic, and let me tell you, that swiftly ended after taking a Film Criticism module at university. I then wanted to be a Script Writer (still possible, but who knows), and currently I’m in the phase of wanting to work in Publishing. I’ve always been good at grammar and spelling, so why not put it to use? So anyway, whilst currently working towards that dream, I’ve been applying for publishing work experience. Who knows if I’ll still want to pursue this in a year, but what harm can the experience do?

This is what I’m trying to say. Being a student studying a particular course, does not automatically put you in the box of that job area. I mean, if you’re studying something like Law, it’s pretty likely you’ll be a lawyer, but all those students out there doing courses they kinda enjoy but they’re still not sure if they want to do that? There are so many options out there. Brian May has a degree is Astrophysics for gods sake. Right now, your ideal future picture may look a lot different to what you think will actually happen, but I’m saying don’t restrict yourself. Apply for everything, experience everything, and do everything. I mean, not everything, I’m not endorsing illegal activities, and maybe you don’t really need to go on that trek across the Himalayas just to decide what job you want, but what the hell do I know?

What is this all about then?

I’ve never been good at sticking to something. I flake out when things get too hard or I freak out. The amount of hobbies that I’ve begun and haven’t finished is frankly ridiculous.. photography? Check. Learning the guitar? Check. Crafting? Check. YouTube? Double check. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve stopped playing a game or reading a book halfway through is kinda ridiculous. I’m the queen of non-committal acts, of changing my mind at the last minute. Now I used to see this as a problem – I mean, don’t even get me started on relationships – but recently I’ve been seeing it more as.. a way of saying that I’ve tried many different things. I have multiple passions, not all of them active, but multiple being the key word. The reason I’m depicting this in such a ridiculous manner is that I’ve decided I want to stick with something. And I chose blogging. I tried it once before, (see future post about that film blog) but now, I think it’s the right time.

My name is Lauren. I’m 5″3, 20 years old, and am currently studying Creative Writing at University. I was originally going to be studying English and Film… until I realised (last minute of course), that I hated English. No offence to those who study it, but I’m rubbish at it. I realised two days before results day that I wanted to be writing my own words instead of studying others. Swiftly, I dropped out of the universities I had applied for in order to enter freely into clearing to chase my new agenda. If you didn’t believe I was fickle before, then there’s your proof.  Yes, I got the grades I had expected and would have been able to go to the higher ranking University that I had originally applied for, but I realised that I wouldn’t have been happy. Something which I rank above everything else is happiness. Mainly because if I’m not happy, then I’m not working to my full potential. So here I am, currently in my second year doing a subject that I enjoy, attending lectures that I enjoy and looking forward to more of the same.

But I have realised that it isn’t enough. And that is the main reason for this blog. Not for any course that I’m doing (although it does require I submit articles to online blogs, more of that later) but for the life that I’m currently living. This year, I’ve experienced anxiety, stress, self doubt and a feeling of complete lack of control… and it’s only just turned November! I want to blog about the things that I’m feeling in the hope that I find someone else who is experiencing the same, or someone who is looking to go to university and is unsure what to expect. But mainly? I just need an outlet for me. A standard-but-probably-not-really-standard student with a proclivity for candles and going to bed early. And hey, you never know. Maybe I really will stick with it this time.