Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Step 1: Ignore everyone.

Yesterday morning I woke up and saw a ceiling that wasn't mine, and that ceiling was the trigger for my mind to compute that this is it. I'm not going home.

A friend moved to Leeds a week before the majority of us moved to our own new places, and we watched him with open mouths as he settled and became a student. We felt like the aliens in Toy Story, "ahhhhhh"ing and "ooooohhhhh"ing as he uploaded photos on Instagram, tagged strangers in tweets, and updated his location after allowing his friend count to go up by about 100. My friend count has gone up by 4. One of them is my mum. But it's weird knowing that friends are gone and there's a unsaid feeling of not being able to talk to them. You can talk to them. They're right there, on Twitter, Skype, and Facebook. But there's a distance now, apart from the literal sense, now that the 19 year bubble of home has been broken and people can't see the end anymore. Those walls that are built around you for 19 years have been crushed down to make way for this whole expanse of NEW. Everyone's looking out instead of in. Old friendships and places and memories are still there, but have been frozen. Like figurines. You can get them out to play, but put them back and don't touch them again for years. There's a horizon now, that wasn't there before, and people want to go out and find it. So you let them. One by one you watch your friends extend their life to new people and places, that was once restricted to you. It hurts, a bit, in a selfish way. Watching people you loved for your own letting other people in. But "that's life", as they say. That's how life works. It's the letting go but keeping in your sights which is tough. A balance. No one wants to be forgotten, but no one wants to stop it if it happens. That's their life, and this is yours, and their horizon might not include you. 

I'm not made for Freshers. The going out, the making friends, the making out, the shit music, the constant drinking, the high heels, the photos, the whole pretend act where everyone acts cool and fine when they're not. I found such comfort last night in the Facebook sidebar showing me flatmates liking photos from, "OMG THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN A GIRAFFE IS IN YOUR FRIDGE WEARING A SOMBRERO" whilst at the Lethal Bizzle gig in a club down the road, while I was eating biscuits and listening to Busted in my room. I won't pretend I like anything to fit in. That's shit. But at the same time, I don't want to not do anything with anyone just to make a point that I don't follow the crowd and don't enjoy the majority of student nightlife. I still want to try new things (NOT DRUGS, MUM. I DON'T MEAN DRUGS) with new people, but uni is what you make it. I'll do the things I like, not watch what the others like. I put my Steps poster up, and my Doctor Who poster, and my Brave poster, and covered my noticeboard in letters and postcards from writers, and quotes, and tickets from amazing nights, and funny stupid photos, and little bits of paper with AG < 3 LJ on, and cut outs of Caitlin Moran's columns. They're the things which sum up my past life and I want them in my future so much it hurts. I hate the present, because those things can't be there right now. I think in the future and I want everything I've planned now, not later. I'm too stubborn and independent and my flatmates just knocked on my door and I pretended I wasn't in. I'm way too happy with my life to let other people in and have a part in that. Essentially, I am awful. 

It's hard starting from scratch with people who have no idea about you. You want them to know every part of your life and everything you are and everything you've done, but to them you're a blank canvas. And that's terrifying. And that's the first part of homesickness, where you want to be held by those who used to hold you together. There has to be a bit of fakery as you try to act as neutral and humanlike as possible, before yelling out, "OH THE" from a private joke years ago, or singing the Doctor Who theme tune as you pour grease down the sink and become the first person IN THE WHOLE ACCOMMODATION BLOCK to block it. Ithankyou, ahem. You prod people with parts of you (steady) and wait with baited breath for a response that, more often than not, isn't what you wanted. But there are the moments where you find someone who gets it, and those moments fill your heart with so much joy that you want to open your mouth and let everything that's you finally pour out and magnetise to this person without them rejecting it. Like a blood transfusion. This person for me said, "Last night was shit. I spent £3 to listen to wanky music and miss Downton Abbey." Shouting, "KLINGON SLINGON" was met with tears of laughter, and I felt comfortable telling my nearly-dying-after-putting-orange-peel-up-my-nose-on-bin-day story within 10 minutes. We spent last night drinking wine and developing a game involving covering the whole floor of the flat in Twister and only being able to move anywhere by playing the game to Benny Hill. "I want to check the post." "Left foot blue." "BUT THAT'S THE OTHER WAY." "LEFT FOOT BLUE THE POST CAN WAIT FOR RIGHT HAND RED JUST DO IT." We're going to watch ParaNorman tonight and go to the pub. This is how we Fresher.

My bubble is in tact, and I'm not ready to let it go yet. But it's transparent and I can see a life out there that maybe I might like. And with a view like this, it'd be silly to not give it a try.



5 comments:

  1. It's going to be fine. It will! It will! And, I'm just you in the extreme of not fitting in with all the freshers things... and I don't have to pretend to not be in, thank goodness, since my parents don't even notice when I'm not in. But whenever you need to, you can come to my house for vegetables, for biscuits, for anything you need. And I promise everything seems better when you know what Terry's Chocolate Orange cookies taste like.

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  2. I'm just starting my second year :O But I spent the first night of Freshers awkwardly playing card games with 2 of my flatmates then watching Doctor Who at like one in the morning because I didn't want to go to bed in a bed that wasn't mine yet! I wasn't really a Freshers type person having not really ever gone out before but I found some friends and settled in quickly. Trust me first year flies by so fast! Best of Luck!

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  3. I think so many people feel exactly lke this (I did; Freshers was way too stressful and blargh) but no-one ever says anything. It's like some weird conspiracy of silence.

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  4. I've never before read such a perfect depiction of being a fresher! How could fresherdom possibly ever live up to the hype? Realising you don't have to pretend to like the same shit as everyone else is liberating! Enjoy.

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  5. This is such a wonderful post, it's made me less nervous about uni and that freshers doesn't have to be some sort of geordie shore debarcle! I'm sad to leave my friends behind but hopefully I'll have even more great memories at uni (if I get there!) Thanks for this piece! :)

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