5 months, 25 days

It will likely be one or two paragraphs today, as I haven’t been outdoors since yesterday. I needed a rest – yesterday was pretty long for me and I was outside for most of it. I’ve spent most of today finishing off the book I started yesterday, ‘Ugly’ by Constance Briscoe. It didn’t get any less depressing until the very end, when the little girl turned 18 and could finally walk out to go to University, telling her mother she’d never see or speak to her again. I was almost in floods of tears by that point. It’s really brought home to me how much worse my childhood could have been, as well as the realisation that my life could become so much more, with the right amount of self belief and hope. Despite being left to fend for herself virtually from the age of 12, the book’s narrator survived against all the odds and went on to become one of the country’s top lawyers. All she did was maintain hope, through all the hard times and struggles. When she was starving, cold, alone and in the dark she kept hoping, praying and believing that one day everything would be all right, that one day she would find a bit of happiness. And she was right to believe that.

It’s never been natural for me to believe that things will be OK one day. It’s only in the last year or so that I have begun to tell myself I might be wrong to feel so fearful about the future – and that has only been a very tentative start because it’s still a daily struggle to maintain hope. Regular situations like walking down the street, going to Uni, going to meetings, talking to people, asking for help still scare me a little. The narrator of ‘Ugly’ was completely different to me. She went out and got herself a job at the age of twelve! I would have died if I’d been forced to do that so young. It doesn’t make sense to me that someone could carry on fighting life when it was being so hard on them at such a young age. In my case, I guess I’ve given up on a lot of situations before they’ve become too difficult for me. Countless situations, really. The only arena where I’ve ever really tried is education, which is why I’m lucky enough to be studying for my second degree. But that hasn’t brought me the independence and security that I so crave.

The only thing stopping me in life is fear, I know it. Where that fear comes from doesn’t even matter now, it’s all in the past, I’ve analyzed it to death. I want to move past it; I think I’m moving past it, doing scary things like AA meetings and my voluntary work every now and then. The idea of getting a job in the summer after graduation doesn’t so much put the fear of God into me like it used to. I guess the programme has given me a bit more hope than I had before. I know what’s coming in the summer and I’m just waiting for it now. At least until then life won’t be such a struggle for me – my financial problems have virtually come to an end thanks to my unexpected government grant. This time last year, we had so little money I was practically starving myself in order to have enough to go out drinking every weekend. Things are very different now. A lot really has changed since last year.

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