A Dilemma

A Dilemma

*First-World-Problem Alert*

Hmm. So I’m at home at the minute and…and my mum has pretty much stolen all of my books. No, not “pretty much”, she HAS stolen all of books.

I didn’t notice last night. I was too sleepy and too excited at being home. So sleepy and so excited that I skipped around the whole house and then fell fast asleep on the couch. It wasn’t until this morning that I realised that every single shelf in the house is filled with my books.

When did that happen?

I haven’t been home since Christmas so I’m guessing sometime between then and now.

Hmm.

I don’t know if I should say anything. Does she know that I’m planning on having a library room in the house of my dreams? Probably. Does she know that when that happens I will drive home in a big van and take all of my childhood and teenage books? Probably not.

I get that they were just piling up in my bedroom for no one to see and that they’re probably a lot happier in the shelves Mum has put them in, but it just means that I won’t be able to take them. Because how can I? I know I said I would, but I can’t rip them from their beloved home. If they were still in boxes and sad piles in my bedroom, they’d GLADLY come with me to my new house with a fancy library, but they’re happy where the are now and they’d only be sad and scared if I moved them. AND they wouldn’t know the books of my adult (ish) years. What if those books make fun of them or think them stupid?

For the love of god, what the hell am I talking about? You see? This is what happens when you get writer’s block. You start writing absolute shit. I’d be really impressed if you’re still reading. Really, REALLY impressed.

I’ll just stop now.

 

Staring into the Abyss

Staring into the Abyss

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This photo doesn’t exactly show an abyss, but it does show a big, expanse of space so it’ll have to do. I also apologise for the slightly melodramatic title at 8 o’ clock on a Monday morning, but I’m FREAKING OUT. You see, I’ve just completed my 4 year degree and have my whole life in front of me, and – while this should be cause for celebration – it’s causing me to lose sleep. The big knot of anxiety that told me I was going to fail my exams is now telling me that I’m going to fail life.

Great.

Maybe it would help if the big knot of anxiety got drunk, although then it’ll just come back louder and shriller when I’m hungover. Yeeeeah, alcohol’s probably not the best solution. Who knew? Not my Dad, anyway. Oh yeah, my Dad’s third wife has left him, and now he and my mum are flirting more than ever. Seriously, if they get back together, I’m going to have to go to therapy.

Aaaaanyway, I’m just first world whining. I need to give myself what my Dad calls a damn good talking to and look for a job, get a job, and keep the job.

BUT WHAT JOB?!?!?!?!?! WHO’LL HIRE ME?!?!?!? I CAN’T DO ANYTHING!!!! I STUDIED ENGLISH LITERATURE FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!!!!

No, shut up anxiety. I will not take this abuse. Deep down, I know you’re right, but I’m going to attempt to quash your opinions with books and television. Ooh, I’ve read some good books since I finished my degree – READING FOR PLEASURE DOES EXIST HURRAH. Everyone on my course has been talking about it actually, saying how they can’t help underlining things and thinking What would Derrida say? I smile and nod and exclaim, “I know, right?!”, but really, I didn’t even have that urge at University and I have absolutely NO IDEA who/what the hell “Derrida” is. After four years studying English Literature, ladies and gentleman, all I can say about a book I’ve read is “Yes, good” or “No, bad”. I’m like a caveman with the ability to read.

Anyway, I’m off to complete task one on my to do list: wash car.

It’s good to have goals.

Keep Your Filthy Paws off My Silky Drawers

Keep Your Filthy Paws off My Silky Drawers

 

One day, when I had not long moved into my new flat, I was studying at my desk when I spotted a little secret drawer that I hadn’t noticed before. I opened it and found this – 

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– a drawer filled with the diaries of the previous tenant (!!!) which I immediately started reading because I’m a nosy wee git, but truth be told, they weren’t that exciting. Recipes, to do lists, sketches, and only one diary entry where they talked about how they needed to study more, update their blog, go to the gym, and buy a present for their friend. They seemed like a nice person, intelligent as well, and maybe someone I’d like to meet, but I was definitely expecting something waaaaay more juicy than the things I found.

The thing is, I’ve got a slight obsession with these drawers. I remember my mum unlocking her secret drawer (eugh, sounds a bit dirty) and pulling out boxes filled to the brim with letters and diaries…letters and diaries that I was just dying to read. One day, she actually left the key in the cupboard and I went as far as to pull the letters out of the box and just look at them in their envelopes, but although I desperately wanted to, I never read any – only little, I was still terrified of the wrath of parents! 

My dad had lots of little notebooks as well. He didn’t keep them hidden away though; they were out in the open surrounded by threats of ‘Don’t you go looking in them. They’re private.’

 On my ninth birthday, however, he got me my very own little notebook and so began my secret drawer –

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– a drawer that I like to go back and look through every now and again. 

There’s a play, Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, that shows an old man listening to his old, recorded diaries and while listening to these diaries, he feels ashamed; embarrassed; angry; he calls his old self a ‘bastard’, and switches off some tapes when he just can’t stand to hear anymore what he once said and thought. And I find myself having the same feelings when I go through my old diaries. It’s weird. It’s my writing, but did I really think that? Although, it’s also nice in a way. I’m quite an erratic diary keeper and so each entry was like a jump from one stage of childhood to another. My first diary’s my favourite – the one my Dad gave me when I was nine. It is so brutally honest and says so much more than the hundreds of pages I cover in my later, teenage diaries. 

I actulley know that santa dosn’t exist because I found all the presents in the garege.

On february we are going on a holiday with my famly and the boy I fancie and his famly so I will show off and maybe he will fall for me.

Oh guess what I got a Mobile Phone. But I am not going to tell enyone because I don’t want to.

And my personal favourite – 

I think I am going to have my period soon. I have got hair in other places and I am getting angry.

Towards the end of this diary, however, I started ending my entries with ‘See ya! Joz x’ and that’s when things started to change in my writing. I stopped being so honest and started writing as though it was a letter to someone else and not just myself. I also went back and ripped out pages of things that I not only wanted anyone else to see, but that I didn’t want myself to see either – they were far, far too honest. But now I can’t find those pages and I desperately want them back. My later diaries are absolute RUBBISH! Like Krapp, I’m ashamed, angry, and embarrassed of the things I thought and wrote, of the person I was either trying to be, pretending to be, or was. I want the honesty back. I want those missing pages.

But that’s where books come in. My favourite books have always been the brutally honest ones – the ones that expose those dark, shameful, and embarrassing thoughts and feelings; the ones where the authors don’t let go of that childhood honesty; the ones where the authors have perhaps been tried in court for being too honest, and the ones where the secrets held in drawers are let out.

And so it’s ok that I can’t find my missing pages; it’s ok that I can’t read my mum and dad’s notebooks, and it’s ok that my previous tenant probably took his real diaries with him because I have my books to satisfy my nosy gitiness.

 

Any Other Brians Out There?

Any Other Brians Out There?

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Starter for Ten has got to be one of my favourite books. For anyone who hasn’t read it, it’s about an English Literature student’s first year at University and all the embarrassing mistakes he makes. For those who have seen the film and not read the book, THE BOOK IS SO MUCH BETTER. 

I read it the summer before my first year at University, thinking it would make me a little wiser on what I was about to spend the next four years of my life doing. Before I read the book, I had some pretty idealistic imaginings about what University would be like. I saw myself in a big Hogwarts courtyard, sitting under an oak tree, reading and understanding big, dusty books, before going out with all my new friends, perhaps staying up all night, discussing Life, the Universe, and Everything, and maybe even smoking. I also thought my fashion sense would magically transform.

 And so, for those who’ve read Starter for Ten, you can perhaps imagine my bemusement at the University life it portrays – it wasn’t what I imagined at all. Straight A student, Brian, leaves his home in high spirits, but when he turns up at his new flat, his expectations don’t really meet reality. His flat-mates are douches, he tries to be someone he’s not, befriends the wrong people, loses interest in his course, and is caught between his life at University and his life at home. He generally passes his days in a guilt-ridden, hungover, and self-loathing state. Sounds pretty depressing, right? But I really enjoyed it. After reading it for the first time I thought, ‘Huh, quite a good book’, but during my first few months at University, I read it over and over and over and over again and thought it was absolutely HILARIOUS. I was also comforted in the knowledge that there are other blundering idiots like me out there (yes, I think characters are real people). 

 When I finally got to University, I felt as though it swallowed me up. The first night of Freshers, one of my flat-mates came in and asked me to do up her bra. I think I managed to contain my shock quite well (WHAT. She wants me to do up her bra? I’m not ready for this!!!!) with an air of nonchalance and a casual ‘yeah, sure…’. But this thing had about 10 hooks on it – I didn’t even know bras like that existed – and it took me a LIFETIME to do up. I didn’t even manage to do it up properly…just sort of hooked the first and last hook and left the others open. I was in a state of panic and just wanted that half-naked girl, who was obviously a lot cooler and worldly than me, out of my room. 

 That was the first flat-mate I socially alienated myself from. 

 Any student has probably met people who have said that they get on really well with their flat-mates, but there’s one who keeps to themselves. I was that flat mate. Seriously, I was pathetic. I would only go into the kitchen when I was sure there was no one in there, I spent the majority of my freshers nights in, eating jam roly poly and when I did go out, I made a complete fool of myself. 

 One night at the union, I got dragged into a game of Never have I Ever, which I thought would be quite fun…but after two rounds in, I was pretty sure I was the only virgin there. ‘Never have I ever had sex in a shower’, ‘Never have I ever had sex in a kitchen’, ‘Never have I ever had sex in a pool’…I hadn’t even touched my drink and so vowed that the next one, no matter what it was, I would drink to. ‘Never have I ever had sex in a field’…

 I drank. Not truly comprehending what I was drinking to. 

 ‘What?!’, they all said. ‘You’ve had sex in a field?!’ 

 I froze, a silly, drunken rabbit caught in the glare of incredulous, self-sussed students, thinking my plan to fit in probably wasn’t the best, but then I shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘Erm…I’m from the country…?’ 

 AND THEY LAUGHED AND I FELT LIKE I BELONGED.

 But the next day when I woke up, my mouth feeling like a camel’s armpit and my head thumping, I could vaguely remember other people from my halls playing the game. And I didn’t remember them drinking much. They were obviously fine with the fact that they were still virgins and now, here I was, the slut in halls who had once had sex in a field.

 That was my first attempt at fitting in.

 The next few weeks passed in a haze of staying up late (most likely watching t.v. programmes), missing lectures, procrastinating, hiding from the kitchen, and fearing that I would have to down the King’s Pint in the next game of A Ring of Fire. Basically, like Brian, I passed my days in a guilt-ridden, hungover, and self-loathing state. Also, for the first time since I was about four, I found myself thinking that I wanted my mummy. 

 Smooth.

 But again, like Brian, I survived first year and now here I am, half way through third year. I mean, I’m still non the wiser, but I’ve at least stopped lying and bought a bra with more than two hooks – this one has FOUR!