2.

Dear Gillian,

This life still feels so surreal to me. I’ve been living it for just over 7 weeks but it really feels like I’ve been in this routine for years. The transition feels smooth but hollow, and I’ve never really sat down and thought ‘this is it'; this is it, I made it to medical school; this is it, I moved out of my parent’s home; this is it, I live on my own in London, you know?  The repetitiveness of each day feels ingrained to my being, I mean, there’s nothing weird about feeling personally victimised by the Hammersmith and City line every morning even though I used to get lost in the underground; there’s nothing strange about starting dinner at a time that used to be bedtime.

Here’s another thing I’ve been mulling over: I was recently told of a tragic story of a girl who survived an attempted suicide by overdosing with paracetamol, though later on, she spoke of regret over her actions only for it to be too late as her liver was damaged too badly – she died wishing she would live. I can’t even begin to comprehend the complexity of her emotions, I knew regret is always present the very second before death, but I can’t possibly picture what it must be like in her situation. I’ve been reflecting on my own actions too, I wonder if my younger self would have felt better knowing the position I am in today, or whether it would have finally crossed the line. I doubt she’d know the answer, even the present Annie doesn’t really know.

But this is what I am doing now. I am sitting down, and I am going to make myself think. Not about medicine, not about uni, not about lectures and anatomy and assessments. I am listing the facts, like all good scientists do, and this is what I know to be true:

  • I am in medical school in London.
  • Neither of the above was the first choice.
  • I am not sure whether I am coping well or not with the demand of the course.
  • I miss my grandad.
  • I am not having suicidal thoughts, but the things I am learning about are affecting my mental state.
  • I feel overwhelmed with sadness, and nostalgia, and despair.
  • I need counselling again.

If you hate rollercoasters, you’ll know how I am feeling right now. I feel like I am strapped to a rollercoaster, and it’s the second after the ride leaves the station, and all you face is hopelessness and fear. It’s quite lonely really, especially when the people surrounding you believe ‘HOLY CRAP, IT’S THE BEST RIDE EVER’, and you’d rather lose your dominant arm than continue.

And you know what the worst thing is? I am guilt tripping myself! I keep on thinking about how so many people, and those I know personally, would kill (perhaps literally) to be in my place; I know people who have spent their early 20’s trying their damn hardest just to get a place at medical school whereas I got in on the first try, and yet here I am, forcing myself to carry on kicking and screaming.

I know that I am here entirely because I am worthy of being here, I fought for it and someone thought I was good enough. I didn’t bribe anyone, didn’t do any dirty tricks. Someone here in this school believes in me, believes I can graduate, believes I can be a quality doctor. I don’t believe in this, but what do I know?

Now that I’ve mused over it, I don’t think my younger self would be happy with my current position, but I cannot deny that my outlook now is better than it’s ever been. It doesn’t stop me feeling sentimental for another life, but in the end, I know I’ll stick to this. I’ll be happy enough.

I really hate the word ‘enough’.

Best,
Annie

1.

Dearest Gillian,

It’s been a while. I moved to a whole different city to live on my own. Hopefully, you understand why I have been so absent.

I still don’t know what it means to be ‘grown up’ or associate oneself with the word ‘adult’, and I’m a bit terrified to say that I’m getting there, bit by bit. I’m not yet used to eating vegetables voluntarily or forcing myself to exercise or paying rent, but I think these are all signs of maturing, though this only reminds me of cheese, and I cannot yet imagine a block of cheese eating vegetables or exercising or paying rent.

The thought of change still sends shivers down my spine, but it’s definitely hard to live in denial when everything has changed. I lie in my bed and hear noises and think it’s my parents walking, though it most definitely is not. It shatters my heart when I call this foreign space ‘home’ when it is the opposite; I am living in a room that meets the bare minimum of standards and I do not want to be associated with this room more than necessary.

I remember thinking I never understood the meaning of the phrase ‘a big fish in a small pond’, but I understand it now: as a big fish in a small pond, I was comfortable with the knowledge that I knew all there was available to me, and though I wanted to explore more of the world, the change threatened to shake everything I knew then – the big fish was reluctant to leave though it was slowly suffocating; the big fish was scared of being a small fish in a big pond but I’ve now realised it doesn’t need to work that way, as a big fish in a big pond – there will always be bigger fishes and bigger ponds, but this does not erase nor diminish my size. I am still as worthy a fish as I was before even if it appears to be different.

If there is one thing I learnt through philosophy, it’s to never use definitive words in your writing but rather question the subject to leave room for uncertainty. Thus, I have decided to question whether the small fish needs to feel the negativity of the big pond, or if it could learn to embrace the openness, and I’m sure if this big pond was a pond version of London with its constant activity and mind dazzling diversity, it wouldn’t feel so intimidated. They never feel so big when you actually get there.

This, Gillian, is how I became (slightly) okay with change.

Best,
Annie

Song of the Day

The storms are raging on the rolling sea,
and on the highway of regret. 
The winds of change are blowing wild and free, 
you ain't see nothing like me yet.

Well well well, today I have officially finished A level philosophy and I can’t express how glad I am. This might be one of the hardest things I have ever done as the analytical and evaluation skills are required to such a high quality and trying to remain sane when doing that is not so easy, especially for someone who struggles with English on a daily basis. I know I had good grades in GCSE English, but as Hume says, you cannot use that as sound evidence for my achievement in future circumstances. Nevertheless, this song is dedicated to whomever marks my paper: I apologise for my shoddy handwriting (especially on those last two paragraphs) and to make you feel my love in hopes that you will give me the grade I need to go to university. PLEASE.

Song of the Day

As your skin gets thicker,
as you try to figure what's it all about. 

Life passes you by, 
don't waste your time on your own. 

One day it's here and then it's gone.

Well well well. Long time no see dear readers. I can only apologise, but I honestly felt no urge to write. The only reason I’m back is because I have been dying to update this blog with just something, and also because going through the wordpress app brought to attention some drafts that I didn’t hate that much.

I finished college today, I am a mixed bag of emotions. I am about to explode. I am going to publish that poem and mull over my thoughts in bed.

I was so ready to write an essay but I’m so tired. So tired.

 

Sad Song, Sadder Words

I wanted to hear your voice on the
nights with the lone moon for company,
but instead I have stuttered hellos,
with the sort of silence that
reverberates down your spine, and
settles in the place where
my hands used to call home.

I think if my heart could,
it’d beat out the words of our song.
We created our own language with
lingering touches and glancing looks
thinking it was more than enough.
Our song is more endings than beginnings.
The bridge could never save us from the flood.

Sometimes the lyrics are important,
this is what I learnt.