In which I discuss the idea of giving up entirely.

I won’t bother mincing words or spend time using flowery language to describe how things have been for me at the moment. I’m miserable. As someone who loves to write and feels as though it’s easy to express himself and make sense of my thought process, it’s incredibly disheartening to have reached this point in my life. I’m depressed, I can’t be bothered, and everything I’ve worked for over the last ¾ years is coming crashing down around me, and it doesn’t feel as though it’s my fault. I’ll try to find the best ways to try and articulate what the problem is specifically, but in general, it’s my PGCE. It’s not going well, I’m turned off putting in the effort to be a teacher, and all in all, I often feel ready to pack everything in and stop bother. I still want to work with children though, more than anything. Maybe I should start to check my expectations more realistically, and look into becoming a TA? All the benefits of working with children and influencing their lives, but without the politics, stress, and constant fear of being inadequete.

 

Well…I’m not there quite yet. But it’s getting there. It seems unusual, however. Things have really changed in the last 3 and a half months. When I started on my PGCE, this was my thought process:

 

I can not wait to get into teaching and schools. I really want to use my experience of influencing childrens lives in the work that I did at my last position. I want to use all my passion and enthusiasm to deliver the absolute best lessons I can so that the children can really enjoy school in the same way that I did”

 

This is my thought process now:

 

I can’t wait to leave here at the end of the day. Any energy I once had has been systematically drained out of me by a combination of an unsupportive school mentor, a labyrinth of expectations that are so unclear that they seem to change day by day, and an all in all poor experience in my first placement school. I want to give up and become a TA. I hate my life and have nothing to look forward to.”

 

How did it come to this? What happened to erode all my enthusiasm, and destroy any and all confidence I once had? Well, I suppose these are some of the things that spoilt things for me:

 

No timetable

I dont have a timetable at school. When I brought this up with the person I live with, they thought it was a joke. “How are you supposed to know what you’re doing day by day then?” “How are you supposed to know what your class is doing for the week?”. Well…I guess I don’t. I just kind of live as the day goes on. Unless I specfically ask if I can be doing something planned, I don’t really know what I’m going to be doing the next day. Now, I can maybe understand this a little. Primary classrooms are quite dynamic and things can change as and when they need to. But when I say I have no timetable, I mean that NONE of my time is planned. I don’t have any time to spend doing any of my university allocated work. When I brought this up, I was met with what felt like almost hostility. I mentioned this, and how the university suggested I have more time to spend time in school as “non contact time”, which is basically being in the school on placement, but not in the classroom. I can be using this time to plan, update my ePLPP (Online portfoilio) and other non class related activities. When I brought this up, my mentor said to me that I should have just said to her that I need that time to go off and do these things. I can’t think where the blame should lie. Speaking to other people who are associated with previously having, or being PGCE students, they find the very idea of this to be absolutely ludicrous. One explained the idea that it was definetely the schools priority to explain to me exactly what they expected me to do to ensure that I am reaching the potential I need to be. How am I supposed to learn and emulate from this kind of “Wing and a prayer” style of organisation? It’s difficult as hell, and it’s making me distressed.

Confidence lost due to professional matters.

 

A little while before the Christmas holidays I was concerned. I wasn’t entirely sure what was the matter, but it was clear that there was a definite tension and at times, feeling of animosity towards me in the class. As I was leaving for the day, however, I noticed a piece of paper on my mentors desk that had my name on it. Naturally, I was drawn to it and looked at it.

 

On it, it explained that my school mentor was having some concerns about my progression on the course. She felt that I had a lack of iniative, I had a difficult time communicating with other members of staff, and that there was just a general lack of willingness on my part. I was apparently having some problems communicating with the groups as a whole, and I focus too much on one child who might need extra support. I’ve already worked on that. But the point that really struck me was the fact that I just…stumbled across this letter. It wasn’t like it was hidden away, either. It was just left on the side, clear as day where anyone could have seen it. And they did. Me.

 

How do you think I felt about this? The fact was that she had a few issues with my development at school, but couldn’t bring it up with me. These comments were to be directed towards the university and deputy head independent of my own input. Why couldn’t she have brought it up with me firstso I could have adressed it? What ended up happening was me grabbing her at the end of the day, and referring to what she’d written down, and really asked her to give me advice on how I need to improve as I’m going on. After I pulled a few helpful comments out, she wanted to go home, and I couldn’t really argue with it. It was almost the end of the school year, and nobody wants to hang around. I came back to school and everything just seemed…grey. What was the point? She obviously doesn’t think much of me, so I felt very unwelcome in the classroom. Which brings me on to the next point of contention.

 

Us and Them

 

There’s no space for me in this classroom. My mentor has her desk at the front where she sits and does her work. Across the side from her is where the TA sits. They have their own little “area” where they frequently discuss what’s been going on in the classroom, and where they think would be a good area to visit next. I don’t get a chance to get in on this. They clearly have already developed a good working relationship, of which there’s just no part for me to fit in to. Any time I try to join in and fit in with this, I’m made to feel very unwelcome, as I find myself just hovering around, begging for little scraps of attention so I can feel like I deserve to be in the classroom.

 

Discussing this is just bumming me out, so I’ll break down a few of the other more ancillary concerns into a bulletpointed list.

 

  • No extra help with planning

  • Expectations of me are based upon last years student teacher (Who now works in the school and is perfect)

  • I can’t teach whole class lessons. I am not allowed to do this. My mentor feels as though I dont have enough confidence to take on the task of teaching whole lessons, despite the fact that I’ve had 2 oppurtunities to do so, both of which had very positive feedback regarding my actual lesson. I have been relegated, for the ENTIRETY of my second phase (until the end of the half term) to doing group work. That is all I get the opportunity to do now. I am not getting to take any risks with doing whole group lessons, despite the fact that several comments have been raised about how precise and well rounded my actual planning is. Despite this, the TA in the class, who has just recently began her higher level training is being allowed to do full lessons. Yes, you did read that right.

 

The student teacher, me, is doing a lot of the TA style of work, which is effectively a supporting role working with groups, and the TA is allowed to be planning and implementing her own lessons, of which she gets substantial support from my school mentor . How is that right?

 

I’m almost at my wits end, to be honest. I just don’t know where to go from here. I had a support day at my university in which they had to bring me in so that I could address all the issues I’ve been having. During that day, I felt very positive. For a brief moment, all of the worries/concerns/fears I had were gone. Everything felt like it was falling into place, and talking to my subject leaders at university made me feel really confident and eager to get into the swing of things. The action plan seemed reasonable, the goals felt like something I could accomplish, and I just felt like it was worth going through the hard times. Then I got back to school, and the foundations seemed to fall apart. My mentor seemed hesitant to follow it, but agreed because it’s a much easier way of progressing. It’s a sliding scale of objectives to accomplish that are compartmentalised to such an extent that it’s very clear cut exactly what I need to be doing as the next 4 weeks go on. But…I still don’t have the drive.

 

I spoke with my mentor at the end of the day about my general performance review. It was a lot to swallow and think about. After a lot of doom and gloom about my progress, I was at breaking point. Maybe I’m just not good enough, I thought. I even proposed to her “Am I just wasting my time here? Can I really do this and is it worth me carrying on?”

 

Naturally, she couldn’t answer, and said as much. But what she did say was very clear, and resonated with me a great deal. She said that maybe I could have gotten more experience in schools before I applied to train to be a teacher, and that could have helped me in understanding the roles and responsibilities of what it means to be a teacher. Also, that it was clear that to some people, teaching just doesn’t come easy, and that she could see I was having to really put in a lot of effort, and really try hard to do what I need to do if I want to succeed. As she was leaving, she said that teaching can sometimes be something quite difficult to intuit. She didn’t say it in as many words, but the implication was there that sometimes…teaching just can’t be taught. And I’ve come to realise that. Maybe I just don’t have the necessary skills I need to really work in a primary school. I have difficulty expressing and articulating myself verbally. I’m awkward and lack confidence. A lot of the “required skills”…I just don’t have them. And I’m not sure if they’re the kind of thing you can develop after a lifetime of bad habits.

 

I’m still trying my best. I’m working every day to try as much as I can to be the best I can be.

 

I just don’t know if my best, is good enough.

 

And if it’s not…where do I go from here? I used to think the future was golden, and filled with limitless opportunity. But how can I get there when the present is so dark.

 

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How I beat back depression and put my life back on track.

This time last year, things weren’t going well for me. Infact, you could probably say that I hit rock bottom, and you’d be along the right track. At the time, I was having some massive issues with my ex girlfriend, as she was becoming incredibly distant, and forcing herself to move far away from me so she could transition towards this new guy guilt free. At the time, I was pretty blind to what was happening. We’d been together for quite a long time at this point, and I loved her a lot. Despite what was happening, I couldn’t accept the fact that she was intentionally pushing me away for whatever reason. As she never really gave me closure, anything I write is inherently conjecture, but I’ll do my best to assume what was going on by following leaps of logic to what I can imagine would be their logical conclusions. Before I do that, I’ll try to illuminate how things got so bad, with a history as it were. At least of a few things that seem relevant.

 

When I was in school, I had a pretty good time, despite the fact I was part of a crew that would probably be called nerds. But whatever, weren’t you aswell? I never found myself getting intimate or close to anyone because I was too busy playing computer games or something. When I got to college, things got a lot better for me. I was a lot more confident, made a lot of great friends, and all in all had a great time. I had a really great friend called Lauren, who, looking back, I probably really had the hots for her. She was alternative, attractive, and was a confidant when I needed one the most. She had a boyfriend but near the end, was very unhappy with him. Like all teens my age, I wasn’t confident to do anything and let it go. I left college, and abandoned all my friends there because I couldn’t be bothered with them anymore. Exactly the same as High School really. I kept touch with 1/2 friends from either, because I couldn’t really give a shit about the rest. Call me fickle or shallow, but I just wasn’t interested. One of them lives in Canada now. He’s a great guy.

 

After this, I found myself on the inevitable past towards University, as was pretty standard for a middle class white kid. I went there, and that’s when things got pretty bad. For the most part, I enjoyed it. I lived with some great people, one of whom became a pretty close friend, but halfway through the year, things snowballed out of control pretty quickly. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do remember it was around the release of Mass Effect for the Xbox360. It’s not relevant to the events, but I remember it vividly somehow. Anyway, I kind of…snapped. I had a weird breakdown where I became incredibly recessive and found it incredibly hard to leave my flat. I was very nervous about going out, and I became incredibly paranoid about a lot of things. Insomnia developed, anxiety kicked in, and things escalated very fast. It came to a crescendo when I was taking my anti psychotic medication (Haloperidol) and I overdosed on them. I lost my sight and had to call myself an ambulance after collapsing in the street. Being that I lived in a city called Manchester in the UK, a very big student city, people thought I was just tripping balls or something, and nobody helped me. I dragged myself into an alley, called myself an ambulance, and got taken to, had my system flushed, and it turned out that I was overprescribed by a factor of about 5/10 times the strength I should have been on. I never took medication from that day on, and still refuse to.

But after that “episode”, I had to move back home. I subsequently failed the year at University, despite telling my folks that I goofed on one module, so I had to retake the year, I couldn’t bare the shame of telling them I had to drop out due to anxiety and depression, so I lied, got back to Uni the year after, and completely aced my degree to a ridiculous level. It was in my final year that I met my girlfriend I mentioned earlier, and where I’ll get back to my original point now there’s some context.

 

We were very close during our relationship. We lived together for a long time, loved each other, all the main bits from a loving relationship. What happened with her to make her break up with me is something I guess I’ll never know. All I do know is this:

-She met some guy on her course that she became friends with

-He confessed to her one day and asked her out, but she told him she had a boyfriend and was very upset about it. She sat me down, told me about what had happened, and in a very adult way, explained how she saw him as nothing but a friend, and if he was happy, so was she. Things were fine.

-They began to talk more and more. She’d be texting him a lot on the phone, and always hiding things when I was asking. She still claimed that he was nothing more than this guy she knew, and I was ok with it.

-One night her mother called her out on it, and she broke down in tears. She said she’d never do anything to hurt me like that, and how she wanted to spend her life with me. I felt happy knowing that everything seemed to be alright.

-She became more and more isolated and she started to change. She became very quiet, and stopped talking to me really.

-One day as we I was going into University with her, she looked very upset, but angry on the train in. We got to the train station, she pulled me aside, and said that she had to break up with me. It isn’t hyperbole when I say that I cant remember much of it because it shocked me so much, but I probably ended up begging, and I know I cried. I do remember her saying that “She just wasn’t happy in our relationship anymore” and that it was just something she had to do to preserve her own happiness. Like that, everything we’d shared together just kind of ended. A lot of things died that day, and I was naturally very upset.

The next month or so I remember being an incredible haze. I managed to get by with some of the best friends I could have asked for, but I didn’t get out of things without taking some serious losses. I developed incredibly self destructive behaviour, and relapsed back into a state of perpetual insomnia which unfortunately pervades to the time of this writing. I lost about 90% of my friends, as I lashed out at anyone who tried to help me, or just didn’t wanna deal with the outside world. Work was a chore, and everything passed in a sea of grey and faces. My volunteer work as a teaching assistant kept me relatively sane, thankfully. The kids were very good, and their innocence kind of helped me out a lot and got me through a lot of rough times. Between that, and a few great friends, I weathered the storm of the first 6 months or so.

Over time, I managed to learn to live with what had happened, as the breakup hit me in a very surreal way, looking back. What exactly was it that made me so bad post relationship? Was it my past of potential depression? Did I get too invested in her to the point where I let things elsewhere slide? I’m not sure.

But let me get to the main point of writing this entire thing: I got over it, and so can you!

Yeah, I was incredibly upset about the whole thing, but once I came to the conclusion that it was over and wasn’t changing, I managed to make my peace with it. A close friend told me something that stuck with me, even now:

“Before you met her, you didn’t even know she existed. Now that she’s gone, think about the next one that’s out there. You don’t even know she exists either, but she’s out there, and you’ll have better experiences”

It really stuck with me in a meaningful way. The fact that things that are completely out of my control…are just that. No man can determine his own future, in so much as he can prepare for all eventualities. Sometimes you just need to kind of take a deep breath, re-assess your life, and…move on.

And look at me now. I’ve been accepted to a very good university to do my Post Graduate degree in Teaching 7-11 year olds in the next 5 months, and after that, I’ve made the plans to teach English as a second language across SE Asia, to the point where I’ve got a lot of the groundwork already sorted out. Yeah, I had a bad time, but I, like you, can get over things with time.

 

Do I miss the time we spent together? In a way, yes. I miss the intimacy I could share with one person. But that’s not to say I look back on the relationship and despair. I’ll treasure the time we spent together, and be a better dude because of it.

 

Just because things seem bad at the time, doesn’t mean that you won’t get over it. Smile. Be happy. Don’t judge. Learn lots. Be nice. Seek happiness!

 

Thanks for reading!

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And things were going…so well (Prelude)

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The Plan

Recently, I have been forced to kind of re-evaluate my life, and what I plan to do with it in the future. I am in no means forcing myself to dedicate myself towards a set career that I will follow for the rest of my life. I don’t think I’m that kind of person, or moreso, that I was born in a generation in which the concept of a career focused lifestyle is not inherently viable. That’s not to say that I don’t believe people shouldn’t chase a specific dream, or career path, because I think that’s a very noble and mature thing to do. But I believe that’s the kind of work that requires pre-meditated dedication which has been assimilated into their lives from an earlier age. When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be a lawyer, or a doctor, or anything like that. It just didn’t appeal to me, the idea of “How can I plan the rest of my life?”. It depresses the hell out of me when people think like that. I think it’s much healthier to imagine life as “How can I become happy with what I have now?” Is that a question in itself, forcing oneself to really break down what we have, and consider if we’re happy with that? I’m not entirely sure. The pursuit of what it is to be happy has been considered by much smarter people than me, and I don’t think anyone’s really got it “right”. I suppose in a way, happiness is what you make of it. Despite the fact that this might be an incredibly cop-out and generic/clichéd answer, I think the reason why it is, is because it’s appropriate and viable in almost all situations. Most happiness is fleeting, and in a great many situations, boils down to a simple concept.

 

It’s the idea that we aspire towards things we view as rewarding, or things that we feel will make us happy. Sometimes it’s that better job, more friends, a stable relationship, the list is practically endless, due to the subjective nature of the idea behind happiness. I think it’s more the idea that we want to achieve things, and the pursuit of knowledge/ recognition/ carnal pleasures appeal to a great many levels on the hierarchy of needs. I’ll probably need to think more about what it means to be happy to me personally in a future update, as since I got out of my relationship, the one thing which gave me an overwhelming sense of euphoric joy, I’ve been having a relatively hard time finding things that fill the gap and give me the same feelings that did.

 

Which after far too much digression, brings me to the point of writing this piece: The plan I have for my life in the next…let’s say 18 months?

 

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life. There have only ever been a handful of things I’ve wanted to do with my life, outside of just…getting by, and finding happiness. I’ve always wanted to do something with involves reading and writing. That probably sounds incredibly vague, but I know exactly what I want to do, in a lot of ways. When I was younger, I found a lot of structure in a regimented environment, especially formal education. I loved being guided, and driven on, much of the time by people I found incredibly passionate and able. I aspired to be like that in my youth, in such a way that in my later adult life, I could give back in the same way I was given so much. I want to teach other people, and help guide and direct them in the same way I did when I was a child.

 

But that in itself does not necessarily constitute the entirety of my focus. I want to travel, and experience a lot of things that I can realistically only experience. I’ll lay it out, I guess. I want to go abroad, and teach English in a foreign country. More than anything, I guess I’d like to teach in South Korea. Everything about it seems so exciting and interesting. It’s a burgeoning country in which the populace seem more and more willing, and in many ways, deeming it more necessary to learn English. After a LOT of initial research, I’ve realised that there’s a lot of benefits in teaching there. Besides the fact that they will fly you there themselves, and set you up in an apartment which they pay for, the money is probably better than I could get in the UK with a similar situation/job. In South Korea, not only is your rent and flights covered for the year, the take home pay is also very good, clocking in at between 900-1000 PCM, depending on past experience/qualifications. And in a country where the state tax is between 3-5%, there’s a lot of pros as to why I would want to go there. That’s not to say there’s not some hesitations regarding going. Moving away to live an independent life is something that all well rounded people will deem necessary at some point in their lives if they wish to grow as a person and experience their own specific lives. But I’ll be moving to a country where I don’t know anyone, and where I won’t be fluent in the language. Naturally, I’ll try my best to practice and learn, but I still presume the initial culture shock will be jarring, to say the least. But I know there’s a lot of things set in place to ease foreigners into the profession and culture, aswell as a lot of expatriate communities and potential friends to meet over there, so I’m less bothered by that.

 

I came to this decision relatively easy. It seems great over there. People sound friendly, the cities sound exciting, and the aspect of making it out there on my own sounds like the very definition of something that will build character and make me grow up very fast. It’s thrilling to think about. 

 

But I’m not rushing into it. In a way, I’m going to give the UK one more chance before I go over there. I guess “The Plan” is as follows:

 

October/November/December 2012- Keep working my job for the moment. I don’t really like it, but it keeps me paid, and allows me to continue saving and living very safely at the moment. Around about this time I will also reapply for my teaching primary school children PGCE (Post-Graduate certificate of education) in an attempt to gain the qualifications I’ll need to teach in the UK. But even then…I doubt I’ll stay here for too long. Following this will lead in a few paths.

 

January 2013- I’ll find out if I got onto a PGCE course. If I have, then great. I’ll bide my time until September, when I’ll go back to University, do the year long course, and have a lot more possibilities ahead of me in the future. It will also, when I decide to try things in Korea, strengthen my position and prepare me more for what I might face over there when teaching.

 

September 2013- Go to uni, rock it. Unless…

January 2013- I don’t get onto the uni course I want to get onto. This raises issues, but kind of not really. If this happens, I’ll stick at my job, but dedicate my spare time into researching a LOT more about TEFL in Korea. At the moment, I’m leaning towards Incheon or Busan as places I’d love to go to, but I’ll be researching and assessing the job market closer to the time. In a way, I want to do this more, but I’ll give the UK a chance for the rest of this year.

 

Regardless of what happens, it’s my dream to teach English overseas in Korea. Japan sounds incredible too, but somewhat more strict. Not to say I don’t want to challenge myself, but I’ll see when it comes to it. I live for the idea that I might be able to actively participate in someones future, and helping them communicate and express themselves in such a way that I’ve found so key to how I live my life.

 

That is the current plan. I anticipate much change in the future. In nothing but the most interesting and exciting way. After all, the definition of madness is to repeat the same thing, and expect different results. 

 

I can’t keep living my life in this depressing past that’s happened to me. I need to strike out in a big way. This feels like the first step.

 

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On life and other topics

People don’t like to talk about depression. By its inherent nature, it’s a taboo subject to bring up in polite conversation, or social discourse. But why is that? How can something which is intangible by its own virtue be so vehemently opposed by our society as a whole? I’d probably hazard a guess at this:

-People are so caught up in their own problems, that they don’t have the time to listen to other peoples.

This is not a problem, for the majority. Most people don’t have to listen to people when they are upset, lonely or having psychological issues. Due to the fact that contemporary society places somewhat of a stigma upon expressing feelings, or frank and open discussion, the ‘afflicted’ , as it were, feel morally obliged to hide their problems. We feel persecuted by a culture which places an emphasis on instant gratification, and immediate resolution of issues. Feeling down? Why should you have the right to feel sad? In an age with the internet, the world is, literally, at your fingertips. Self diagnose yourself with chronic depression, depersonalization disorder, a little bit of light misanthropy. Hell, while you’re there, you might aswell declare yourself a nihilist. You’re already so far down the rabbit hole, what’s a bit more kindling to add to the fire?

Naturally, I don’t believe this is the case for everyone. Infact, most people probably experience depression as a phase of what can likely be attributed to a momentary bump in their life plan. You’re 24, and you’re still not in a committed relationship, so you’re a completely romantic failure, till the end of your days. You’ve been working the same job for over a year, with no promotion, no respect, infact, you’ve gained naught but autonomy and resentment for a thing you said would only be a stepping stone for greater things. You wonder why all your friends from school moved on to greater things, and you’re stuck in the same place. Why the world is happy, and you are not. Welcome to the machine.

When people think about people who are depressed, or lonely, they naturally imagine these intangible symbols of what they assume the victim to look like. Naturally, your mileage may vary as to what you might believe they look like, but I assure you, you’re generalizing. Anyone can be depressed. Infact, a lot of people probably are, and they’re just not very aware of it. It can manifest itself in many different ways, of which a lot of people have been trained to believe is that of physical desperation, or self destructive mannerisms. Believe it or not, people can hide things very well. Marxist theory posits the idea that nobody truly has a legitimate personality, persay, only varied masks that they use in which to present a series of social affectations. Have you ever noticed how differently people act around different social groups? Or how people act much differently in front of their work colleagues, than they would their close friends, family, or loved ones? We present these varied examples of ourselves, because as a species, or even as contemporary society, we’ve learnt this:

-Give the people what they want.

Not everyone practices what they preach. How could they? People are inherently receptive to self depreciation in scenarios which would seem simple to solve were it presented by a friend or acquaintance. Just broke up with your partner? It wasn’t your fault. They’re the one missing out. You’re a great person, and you have everything to live for, so why should you feel bad about it? The grass is greener, and now you’re free to do whatever you want.

That’s what we tell our friends, right?

So why can’t we ingest that same advice for ourselves, and use it to develop as people in our own right? It’s down to context, and personal attachment, most likely. How can you ever be truly honest to someone, when you can’t even admit your own faults to yourself. They claim that the other person was the one who hurt you, and that you’re better off without them. But how can they REALLY know that? They don’t have the intimacy that you had with the person. Infact, did you? Was the person you fell in love with really the person who was presented to you? It’s hard to know this, realistically. At the end of the day, you have to trust people. It’s hard to do, but also very easy. Learn to love.

In my experience, loneliness can often be synonymous with aimlessness. I’ll try to explain by example.

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty okay person. In school, I was never the most popular person, but I was also pretty universally accepted. I had a few friends that I felt were very close to me, and we all got on very well. In a way, they were there to serve a purpose- that being people to talk to about relevant interests in that part of our lives. When I got to college, I kept none of the friends I made at school, apart from one (and even then, we studied at different institutions). However, I found it very easy to make friends there. No longer forced into a strictly regimented, state mandated curriculum, it was much easier to find people who I could identify with more, with regards to particular passions of mine. I had different social groups, and I liked them all a lot. I made a really close friend there, who I suppose I identified with on a more ‘spiritual’ and intimate level, which is weird, as we were very different people who took none of the same subjects. In a lot of ways, I suppose I was incredibly smitten with them. They were like me in a lot of ways, but they also had something which I struggled to find in life, and defined themselves by. It was passion. They were very passionate about their craft and hobbies, and I think that was what I found so enlightening about them. They had a real spark of creativity which I really vibed off, and it was wonderful. However, they had a partner, seemed quite happy, and I didn’t wanna be the person that ruined that. Because people who do that are the worst kind of people. They have no empathy for their fellow person, which blows. 

Despite this connection however, we lost touch once college ended. I don’t even know why. It was never an active thing, where I thought I was better, or didn’t need them anymore, because I desperately did. It just happened.

University was very different for me. Without getting into explicit detail, I found it tough. At least in my first year. I made one friend who was a great guy, but things happened which lead to us not talking anymore. Again, this just kinda happened over time. It was around this time that things started to go kind of bad for me. I got incredibly anxious socially, and I was on an incredibly potent antipsychotic, and it had awful side effects which included a horrible sense of dread, amongst other things which are either irrelevant, boring, or too upsetting to talk about. Regardless to say, I dropped out of university because of it. I couldn’t leave to go to class anymore, and that was just the end of things. I never explained to anyone what really happened, I just made them deal with the fact that “Something must have gone wrong and I didn’t get the grades I needed”. I got off the medication, and went back. It flew by.

I was acing all of my classes, and enjoying myself a lot. I had a really close friend, who I eventually ended up living with, and that was great fun. In my second year, I was kind of almost in a relationship with someone, but it was never really anything I was too into, so I kinda blew them off. I feel bad about how I did it, actually, I should apologise one day. My final year at uni was when things changed though. I’d rather not talk about the majority of it (at least in this post), but I met somebody wonderful who I fell head over heels in love with very easily. Things happened, we spent a lot of time together, and life was wonderful. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had everything on track. I didn’t know much of what I wanted in life, but I knew she was an integral part of it. Despite this though, it didn’t follow through. I don’t think they would ever admit this reason to me openly, but they met somebody else, thought they’d be happier together and broke things off with me. It was the worst part in my life. All those times when people say that you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it? They’re right on the money.

I don’t hold any malice towards my ex-partner though. Maybe they will be happier with their new found love. Infact, they probably will be. Needless to say, I’m not a part of their life anymore, and I doubt I ever will be. I’ll have to learn from it and move on, I suppose. I am purposefully omitting a large portion of what happened simply due to the fact that it’s somewhat of a sore point in my life, and while I am at peace with it myself, I am not particularly receptive to try and open a dialogue with someone about it. Maybe one day. If reading stoic theory has taught me one thing, it’s that things happen, and they will happen with or without you, so you might aswell accept it and get on with things.

 

I’m not sure when this piece went from being an open post about life in general, to a manifesto, to a memoir, but I suppose that’s what happens when you just need to empty your head after another restless night where you can’t get any sleep. I don’t really accept many people to ever read this, although secretly I wish people would do.

I’ve never been good at finishing my pieces of writing. I always feel like I’ve wrote enough, and because I never have an editing process, it invariably ends up just kind of fizzling out. In a lot of ways, I suppose I am lonely. But it’s due to my own actions in life, or lack thereof. I kinda know what I wanna do in my future, but I’m still unsure as to how I should go about doing such a thing. Especially with my partner having gone, it’s hard to find a new cornerstone, or dependant to rely on to help me out when things get kind of rough. Having no friends you can really rely on to hang out with is kind of upsetting, but I guess it’s just another small phase in life, another thing to test me and see if I can overcome it. I hope to one day have another small knit group of friends, but the older I get, the more I realise it can be kind of tough to do so. I’d even like to meet a new person and try to cultivate a new relationship with them. I think I’m ready again. Plus, the nights get pretty lonely when you’re on your own. Sometimes you crave a warm body next to you. Not just for sex, although I’ll admit that’s pretty great, it’s just nice to know that you’re alive. That you’re sharing intimacy with another person, where you can prove to yourself that by sharing something…intangible, hear their breath, feel their heart beating. It shows that we are alive, and we are taking advantage of the life that is given to us. It’s what proves that we are the very world itself.

In a lot of ways, writing this piece has left me with mixed emotions. I’m filled with a sense of longing for a human connection, and that’s upsetting. But I’m also relieved that I’ve managed to write something that’s been bothering me for a while. 

If you want to know the truth, I don’t know what I think about it. It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you’ll start missing everybody.

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It’s always darkest just before the dawn.

It's always darkest just before the dawn.

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I must make myself be the change I want to be

I’ve not been in a good place lately. Physically and emotionally. I suffered a lot when I had the breakup with Sarah, because she meant a great deal to me. I won’t really bother going into what happened between us, because it’s irrelevant. It hurt me a lot, but I’d rather she be happy and keep on living, than suffer by staying with me. Do I miss her? Sure I do, but I know that life goes on. 2 years ago, I didn’t even know she existed, and I don’t know anything about the next girl existing too. It’s cathartic to know that one day, there’ll be someone else. There’ll be someone after Sarah, how could there not be? I’ve made it work once. and I can make it work again.

 

But I’ll probably need to work at myself to enhance my self confidence. I’m at an all time low after the breakup and subsequent fallout- Especially as what she did after made me feel pretty worthless, but that’s neither here nor there. I need to get on with my life, and make plans. I need to stick to them. This is what I want to do:

-Keep working. Keep making money, and grit my teeth. My job might not be the best, but it makes the money come in, and that’s what I need. I had a great deal of money saved to take Sarah away on a romantic getaway, but that’s moot now, so that’s gone into my pot. The money from this works into my other points.

-Reapply for my PGCE position in December. This is probably the biggest hurdle of all, because depending on what happens with this, I’ll adjust my life accordingly. It will go one of two ways:

~I get on the course. I apply to take it somewhere far away from Manchester, and live and learn somewhere else. I meet new people, get new opportunities and get on with things from there.

~I don’t get on. If this happens, I’ve already got a contingency plan worked out. I’ve always wanted to teach, write, and do SOMETHING with the English language. I’m not a stupid guy, so I’m going to do research. A lot of it. I’m going to research what it’s like to teach English as a foreign language in South Korea and Japan. I will use the money I’ve saved to take some time away, and find somewhere in those places that I like. Somewhere kind of nice, that won’t be hard for me to fit into. Probably an EXPAT district, or a student district. Somewhere like Mokdong, Hongdae or Daejon. When I explore enough, I will get home, apply to teach there, then just get on with life.

 

I can’t keep on moping around now that Sarah’s left. It sucks, yeah. I’m upset, yeah. But I know that in time…it’ll pass. As the days go on, the pain will subside more and more, and it’ll start to hurt less. I’ll move on, I’ll meet new people. I am the constant in my life, and as long as I look after myself, I will get by. A lot of Eastern religions and ideologies talk about this. About the idea that happiness comes from within, and it’s a culture less focused on commercialism and attatchment to objects. How can I be happy, if I’m not happy with myself, with my own life?

I have to be the warm little centre that the world crowds around.

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