This has actually turned into a mammoth post and I try to avoid anything too long but I will split it up so you can read a bit at a time if you want!
Well I have done all the random posts that I had thought about last night and I am left with the slightly more serious stuff. Looking at the ideas I guess one pops out as the post to be written first, mainly because it explains a bit more about who I am.
At school (between the ages of 11 – 16) I wasn’t very popular. In fact I was a bit of a nerd and my only credibility came from my step sister who was in the same year as me and part of the ‘in’ crowd at school. In my first year of school a girl was bullying me (at that time the ‘hardest’ girl in our year) and my sis laid her out with one punch after she picked on me one time too many. Needless to say, most people left me alone from then on.
Then in the summer before I began my third year my mum moved 10 miles away to live with my step dad and I had to go too. My brother decided not to and moved in with my Dad and there was no way that I could do that to my mum (I was older and a bit more aware of her feelings) so I went off to a new school.
That year was hell for me. It started off well and I had some nice friends who were actually the popular kids. It was strange but ok. Unfortunately I cared a little bit too much about my work and I made other not so popular friends (but they were much nicer people) and it kind of turned on me. The popular kids hated me all of a sudden and I went from being their friend to being the object of their ridicule for over 6 months.
In the summer holidays that year I decided it would be cool and I would be ok going back, that after the summer they would probably move on to their next target. I was wrong. My first day back was hell and that night I completely broke down in front of my mum and begged her to let me change schools. She was amazing and suggested that I go back to my original school with my sister and two brothers. It was great, I was back somewhere where I knew the people and my sister was there to look after me. I was happy again and the next two years went by without any problems. I did well on my exams and it was time to move on to my A levels.
The summer when I finished my GCSE’s was the strangest and best ever. I had a lot of ‘firsts’ in those three months. I met a lot of new people, most of which are still my friends today.
So off I went to a new college, this time I knew no one in the same year as me but the guys I hung out with outside of school for the past two years and over the previous summer all went there so I had some backup! I made friends and it was cool. I never once in the two years that I went there had the piss taken out of me maliciously or had any problems with people at all.
I cannot stress how different these two situations were. I went from having 2 real friends to having over 30 real friends. It was insane and I loved every single minute of it! I didn’t work as hard at my studies as I had done in the past but I still got by and for the first time I was learning about what it was like to let your hair down and have fun. I loved those two years. I made mistakes but only stuff that was the stupidity of youth. I made friends who I am privileged to still have in my life today. I met Sam, fell in unrequited love, fell in and out of lust with plenty of people, discovered dance music and clubbing and so much more.
In 1996 I finished my A levels and got a place at Cheltenham University. I was nervous as when I went I had just turned 18. I didn’t get a place in Halls and ended up lodging with a family on the opposite side of town from my campus which was a nightmare. I loved the course (Psychology) but I had done it at A level and the first year was going back over what I had done before which couldn’t keep me interested. I found it very hard to make friends as by the time lessons started everyone had made friends in Halls and were not interested in me.
I went from being a pivotal person in a huge group of friends to being no one’s friend. I was homesick for the first time in my life and it sucked. I lasted 7 weeks, went home for a few days to try and get it together so I could come back and make a go of it, found a job and only went back to collect my things. The idea was that I would have a year out, earn some money in the real world and then go back the next year. I was home and I had my friends and I was back to my vivacious self. I wasn’t counting on falling in love.
Which I did. With a guy that I had known for a few years but who I had never been close with. He had a girlfriend but they were on self destruct and he saw me as an easy way out I think. I don’t doubt that he cared for me but at the beginning I was footloose, fancy free and available and we had fun.
I fell for him hook, line and sinker. He fell for me a little later but we were very much in love. We moved in together. We were really happy. Then I had a nervous breakdown. I had been getting panic attacks for a long time and they had been getting steadily worse. It started in nightclubs, then when I stopped going it changed to pubs, then I couldn’t go there. Clubs, pubs, cinemas, friends houses, shops, public transport, my own home when we had visitors. Suddenly my world was a very small one, where I could only be at work, in my car or at home alone. I don’t know what made me go to the doctors in the end but I did. Just in time as I wasn’t even leaving the house. He put me on anti depressants, signed me off work and arranged for me to see a councellor. It was hard at first but after a while the tablets made me able to get up and at least go out the door.
My love was there with me all that time. He was my rock and I do not know what would have happened if I hadn’t had him. Perhaps I would have been more resistant, perhaps I would have had no reason to try and get better. I do know that I will be forever grateful to him for his help.
The councellor I saw was amazing. She helped me in ways I never thought possible. With her I admitted things I had never even admitted to myself. We started small, trips in the car, trips to the shops. Going up and up until I could get back to the life I loved and that I wanted with every part of me. I wanted to be back at work and ‘normal’ again.
She told me that something small probably sparked all of this off and one day I would remember or realise exactly what it was. She was right. One day I just remembered a night when I was in Cheltenham when I went clubbing with people I had never met before. I got too hot and fainted. The bouncers assumed I was drunk – carried me out of the back doors of the club and dumped me unceremoniously on the back step and left me there. I wasn’t drunk, but I ended up scared, alone and miles away from home. Perhaps that is why I didn’t stay there, perhaps it was for all the reasons I mentioned before. That one small thing did change me and my life forever though.
In time I got better. I went back to work. I could go out. I could do the things I missed. I stopped taking the tablets and moved on. But I was never that happy, carefree vivacious person that I was when I was a teenager. In time I moved to Brighton with my man and we were happy for a time. I would never be the life and soul of the party again though, and he was all about the party and still is. I prefer going to the pub with friends than clubbing. We became two different people and in the end I had to break it off with him. It was hard as hell, the hardest thing I ever did, but the right thing.
So that is me and that is why I am the way I am. I find it hard to make new friends. I am loyal and loving to a small group of people I am privilidged to have in my life. I can be shy. I still have the occasional panic attack. I miss being that person, I wish I was young and fearless again but I also get incredible satisfaction from doing the smallest things sometimes. I am proud of what I have achieved. Small things like going clubbing and staying all night. Big things like going on holiday to Athens alone and having a wonderful time. . It does hold me back but my head is still held high.