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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Setting things straight. (14/06/12-16/06/12)

2 year of my life
A level - the paper version

 Thursday (final exam!)
On arriving home from the little celebration Emma and I had at McDonalds, (despite the fact that she still has a sociology exam to do, oh and a general studies resit...that i got 100/100 on...who does that?) I decided that this was it. My fondness and love of history and politics was displayed through the array of notes blu-tacked (that I hoped wouldn't, but has peeled away at some paint).

 I took down all of my Politics, and Modern British History of 1951-64 but I've kept 1964-2007 next to my bed...

British Politics: 1964-2007 - The Laura May version
I quite enjoy waking up to affirm my own opinions with facts, and remember stuff that i need to remember in order to win arguments at the tea table.

I had to be up bright, and ready for the breezy day. I had an appointment at the hospital with the dermatologist. Like most people, I've suffered from acne since about the age of ten, probably parallel to developing scoliosis. They got really bad this last academic year, (most probably due to stress surrounding college/life) and I gave in and went to the Doctor. I got referred to the dermatologist in December, he put me on tablets and two sets of cream. My acne has cleared up a treat and now I've been discharged and need to just use the cream!
My now "zit-free" face!
Well...almost, there's still the odd "lurker!"
Triumphantly returning home. I found my "to-do" list and completed it. These past few weeks I have done so well to isolate myself away from the outside world. I'm easily distracted, not because I want to be, but because I don't see "distractions" as "distractions"...more than often, they are actual things that need to be done. Though, this year for a few weeks at least, I had to remind myself that in the context of A levels, they  were very much "distractions."

So I filled in my questionnaire for the media training I'm going to have with Back Up on the 18th July. I answered outstanding emails from the few people who actually email me, I responded to the tasks I'd promised to do for Hannah as a member of the youth advisory group; reading some excellent cartoon scripts to help educate young people on how to deal with the everyday social issues that arise when you obtain a spinal cord injury. If I'd have been shown or had access to something like that at the age of 11, It would have dramatically changed my way of thinking!

Slight detour round a mountain...
Becky attempting to lasso me up Latrigg, while Richard uses
his map as
a loin cloth.
I also counted the rest of the offline sponsorship money we've collected in the past few weeks that will go towards my Snowdon Push (7th July). This again, is in aid of the charity Back Up. Our aim is to raise £2200 and we're currently at £1, we're getting there. We've got a quiz night a week on Monday, a few more sponsors from family members and other people's work places. About a month ago now, Emma Reed and I (the loudest people in college) did a sponsored silence for the entire day. I can honestly say that it was one of the most difficult challenges I've ever attempted! We raised about £140 though...I'd much rather climb a mountain any day.
(Snowdon to me = fun)
The weirdest place I've been sponsored though is on top of a tiny mountain; Latrigg near Keswick in the Lake District. I've done that about 4 times, and my friends aren't very experienced in the outdoors so I though it'd be a good day out and might help them realise physically and mentally that they're going to be climbing a mountain in July! As usual, I got spotted. People came over telling me it was "amazing" what i was doing. I wasn't doing anything, they were pushing me! But still...i explained why "I" was doing what "I" was doing and I got a £5 note and a load of coins shoved in my hand!
£12 going in!

Back to Friday...

Completing my "to-do" list apart from "set-up" blog, I sighed in happiness at the corner of my room that's home to my guitars..
My reward. I could finally, selfishly, innocently and without shame pick up my acoustic and play Emmy the Great, Frank Turner and Green Day until midnight without thinking "Shit...revision!!"
So that's what I did, Oh and I wrote that rather long blog post that was very much needed to set the sails.


Ignore the sun, this was a few weeks ago.
(You know, when it was actually sunny?)
The positivity doesn't feel as fresh, the rain and wind are still here and my friends still have exams.
I woke up and got up quite late too, my routine out the way, didn't really get going till 11:30am. I once again embarked upon completing yet another to-do list, emailing links for Snowdon for people that needed me to do so. I also wrote quite a (if i say so myself) professional letter of gratitude to a Rotary Club that gave a substantial donation to our Snowdon fund oh, and there was the free wheel issue...

I snapped my footrest the other week. (Apparently the strongest part of a wheelchair. My wheelchair is also titanium!) So (in a panic a few weeks ago) from college, got in my car, went to da vinci and showed them...
One guy said it would cost me.
Another guy said it wouldn't.
I misunderstood, it did.
They just didn't charge me for the repair that they did.
Embarrassing phone call was made ending with me saying, "Sorry, was only making sure!"
And there was me, going to give them hell.

You're never quite as strong as you sound.

Friday, 15 June 2012

So this is it. Sort of...(end of A levels rant)

I completed my final A level exam yesterday. Government and Politics...To be honest I'd say it was a bit of  a "wobbly Thursday"...Out of all the exams I've done this summer, it didn't feel like it was my best. But still, they're done now and I can live with the thought that the final words I ever wrote in my last ever A level exam were "Guantanamo Bay."

I got rid of English Literature last month, by resitting my As exam for the SECOND time! Despite beginning this blog with the aspiration to study English at Oxford...this year, I soon realised I was lucky to get rejected from so many places. I loved studying "pastoral genres" but after that...all the coursework and frankly "airy-fairy" essay structure, I discovered my true love (as a subject/passion) is history; political history to be precise. So these final weeks, studying just history and politics have been great!
Why did i choose to apply to study English then?
  1. I felt obliged to...(yep, don't do that anymore. It's my life, no one else's)
  2. I didn't feel as confident to assert my opinion as i do now.

    The truth.
Well...before and after my rejections I soon grew out of those insecurities! I began to hate the false atmosphere of English and that entire department and allowed my love to grow in to a confidence within the intense atmosphere that my own and other people's opinions can create in history! I was no longer scared of not being able to "stand up to the boys" or assert my own at the end of term my entire history class voted for me to be named "motor-mouth". That won't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever known me in any situation, particularly history, but this year I found myself not talking complete rubbish because I was nervous...I actually found myself making strong, coherent points that actually made sense!
I'm revealing  a lot about myself here. Though, I suppose by expressing the fact that though I'm confident and daring to try new things and break the mould, on the inside I'm usually extremely nervous and unsure of myself, I'm proving that it's something I'm aware of and I have overcome.
My own uncertainty and ability to appear strong in a classroom where you're not supposed to hold a strong opinion, you're just supposed to "look at things from a different perspective".
Well this year I've learned to look at myself from a different perspective, a real perspective, not marked by anyone else. I started questionin my chosen path last summer, I could take you all to the exact spot and moment. Wearing my "pretty bow-ey dress", next to a pool table, diet irn bru in one hand, the best week of my life behind me and future lifelong friends surrounding me.
My thoughts were,
"English? University straight away? Oxford? all the sitting, thinking, no fun...I've seen so much of the world and myself this week that I can't go back. This was me. This is me."
I did go back.
I had to, and inevitably just like everyone else at Winstanley College, I jumped onto the university bandwagon and made myself into a prospective English Student, all the while knowing deep down that something wasn't right...
I found myself crying and listening to "Who you are" every night in the car coming home...but I told myself I was doing that because, well because I was trying to become who I was.
I wasn't though.
December 16th: Rejected from Warwick
December 23rd: Rejected from Oxford...
...something wasn't right. I didn't want to study English, not at Nottingham, or Queen Mary or Oxford Brookes...i didn't want to study it anywhere...

I needed to take a year out. That was the logical move, that's what everyone else does. They go traveling, they see the world and themselves...I could do that.
Oh wait.
I mean, I always said I'd do it...but afterwards, you know, not so soon.
Then I remembered myself, again.
Sat next to that pool table, unable to speak for the lump in my throat, thinking "Is jumping into this English world or words and lardy-dah reviews really me?"
I was a mess this Christmas.
Not because I'd got rejected from Oxford, but because I had nowhere to go.
I didn't know I was going to do, and there was no one to help me...
Just a few teachers telling me I'd get over Oxford...
But Oxford wasn't the problem! It was something else.

It got to the day before New Year's Eve. And if things couldn't get any worse, i'd figured out David Tennant was getting about reality smacking you in the face.
I logged onto facebook to see if anyone else had written a comment to make me feel better and my mate who's never online was online...I needed a laugh. It worked and his positivity and fact that he was one of the people who made me re-realise me in the summer led me to think..."I can do this."
And so from that misty day of thinking my entire world was over thanks to a stinking university rejection letter, scrabbling at times, i've found myself forming a path, my own one to the real me and what I want to do.
In all honesty I'm still at the beginning, scratching my way out...but that's the point of this. It's always been easy for me to reflect and tell "my story" of how I came such a long way...but I've never really been able to, or wanted to record the times when I am struggling, when I don't know where I'm going and where I'm clinging on to the last remnants of hope, knowing that i've got to keep going...

I'm doing that now.
I've to accept the difficulty of figuring my own way out and not running and hiding for another 3 years because I'm scared of reality.
No, I've got to do this
So i will.

So anyone who reads this, and I doubt anyone will have bothered to get to this point, this isn't an account of some "inspirational girl's" achievements  of being a success.
This is the reality of dreaming, believing and following your heart, with extra hardships and physical obstacles thrown in.

Ending this long ramble in a sub-ironic way...I'll quote a book I studied in English Literature this year, a book about the coming of age; "Oranges are not the only fruit" by Jeanette Winterson. I suppose I was seduced by literature too. The dreams of Fitzgerald's Gatsby, the nostalgic memories of my childhood through pastoral poetry, the strength of Tess Durbeyfield...
I've certainly to some extent, come of age this's not clear. I don't know how or why but I've discovered my strengths, weaknesses and overcome some of them. I've also learned not to be emotionally obliged to people who mean the best but don't always necessarily know it, not for you at least.

I don't necessarily believe in God or demons...but I believe in something saving us and reminding us of who we are. That moment, last summer sat next to the pool table and the day before New Years Eve, before I spoke to my friend, and stormed out of the house, sitting next to a tree and field shouting at my legs to kick and run and feel...there was something in my head and in my heart crying out. It had been shouting for seven years, well now I was ready to listen;

"If I keep you, what will happen?”
"You’ll have a difficult, different time.”
"Is it worth it?”
"That’s up to you.”

 I've chosen to keep it. It was as though I'd tried to suppress "it" through "being clever". I'm still clever, and I think ever since I've let that part of me reappear and evolve into an 18 year old, instead of the 11 year old angry kid standing on a tree branch wanting to break free and demand her right of a childhood back, I've been even more clever, and had the guts to be!

So this, this is me choosing to have a difficult, different time.
This is me choosing to be clever.
This is me choosing to be me, the real me.

“She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it.”
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit