Dear the Boy Who Hurt Me | An Anonymous Letter

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, abuse.

This is a letter written by an anonymous person who asked me to post it here in order to help others who have gone through a similar ordeal. I have changed nothing from the post they sent me; these are all their own words.


This is my reality of how I was sexually assaulted at the beginning of this year. It was a bretrayal of a best friend. I myself have a blog that you may know of but I don’t want people to know that I’m the girl who was abused so I asked my friend, Elm, to publish it for me to help others or to help myself be able to feel a little more at ease. Just love and respect one other.

* * *

Dear boy who hurt me,
I call you a boy because that’s all you are. A boy. You aren’t a man even how much you think highly of yourself. Or how people around you feel hindered around your loud presence. Even though you’re taller than the most authority figures in my life like my father, your height doesn’t make you a man and the way you treated me made me feel like a little girl.

On several occasions, you would message me or frankly, just plainly say it to my face with this stupid and patronising smile that I was a ‘good girl’ when I gave up and froze. Good girl. It made me feel like a dog almost, like I had no significance to others apart you and your dick. Good girl. It makes me generally feel like there is a sick pit in my stomach gurgling at the word. Good girl. When I hear that word, my heart fills up with a strong emotion; sadness or guilt? I can’t tell.

The moment I closed my eyes last night, I saw your sofa. The red one where in the beginning of our friendship, we used to hang out; drink coco cola, play the PS4 and listen to each other’s worries. I loved your sofa; it represented relaxation at it’s highest. I used to feel relaxed with you.

Last September was when there was a defining line between before and after. September I felt like I had no one around me apart from you, the boy who hurt me. It was a relief to go out for our walks where we would slag off the people who hurt me. You knew I was beginning to lose what I once thought men were. Especially after what my father had done to me and my family. And in December, it was a breaking point.

After my breakup in December, I was in a pretty difficult place. I lost something which I had for a year and a half where I belonged to someone and then, he belonged to someone else straight away after we broke up. You used that. A few hours after saying a sad good bye to another boy that I loved, you would help me get through it with our late night talks in KFC where your jokes and charisma would cheer me up.

The first time is the most clear to remember. The first time when you sexually assaulted me and mentally abused me. In my dream, it went through the events again where you would manipulate me to the red sofa. The beginning of the first time started like how we always used to hang out. We would go to yours and just chill out with other friends. However, this time you pretended to invite others so it wouldn’t cause any suspicions or weirdness about me coming over. The moment I sat down on that sofa, it felt strange. You kept looking over at me with this weird look in your eye almost like a puppy but not cute at all. Sorry wrong description. It was more hunger and madness like you had to have me. Well you’re wrong. You didn’t have to have me.

When you picked me up with your big lanky hands all over me, I told you to get off. It was as simple as that. However, I had this thought in my head that I didn’t want to offend you as you were my best friend and I didn’t want to lose another person. But, however calm my voice was, it was clear that I didn’t want you. But you continued. Sometimes, I touch my lips with hate and disgust how drops of your spit was forced onto my lips and my body. How you forced my top up and grabbed my skin like it had no value.

The next morning after the first time, seeing my body was difficult. In anyone else’s eyes, nothing had changed. Many a few purple bruises around my chest but nothing that would change someone’s attitude. When I managed to look in the mirror, I saw a different person. A person who was stupid. Was pathetic. Was worthless. A person who deserved it.

You apologised to me and I forgave you. I felt like maybe I gave the wrong signals and that, it’s just a misunderstanding. So that’s why I met up with you.

The second time. A time which is harder to think about. This time my other friend couldn’t make it to yours. Let’s just say this time was more aggressive. You grabbed my hands and forced them down you. It was explicit. You showed off, you thought I was impressed by your dick and that I was trying hard to get. I said no, no, no. ‘My dad is going to be here soon’, ‘Look, I’m not good at this’, ‘I’m on my period’, ‘I haven’t shaved.’ Anything to stop you. I remember the moment I froze. It was when I felt my hand cramp under the intense force of your hand and you made me touch you. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and in my head, I still wasn’t annoyed with you. I just felt sad and alone.

But I made it clear that I didn’t want to and that’s what confuses me. You knew I didn’t want to. You even messaged me saying sorry and we even decided that we would just be friends and that I won’t be going to yours any time soon.

The third time. We went to Mcdonalds. I was talking to another boy that I liked. You even said that you weren’t going to ruin that for me. The third time was a few weeks after the second time and I repeatedly told myself that the other times were my fault and that I shouldn’t have given off the wrong signals. After our burgers, you demanded for me to come over…even shouting at me in the middle of the fast food place. I said no and laughed it off…did you seriously think I was going to come over after what had happened previously?You did know but you also knew that I don’t like hurting people. You threatened to message the boy that I liked about the other times and you knew I wouldn’t explain to the other boy what actually happened because I didn’t believe myself that I was sexually assaulted. All I felt was guilt. So I went to yours.

I don’t like talking about what happened the third time. I find it agonising even thinking about it. The moment I got to yours, you grabbed me by the throat where I found it hard to breathe. You pressed down hard on my neck to force my head to go down to your crotch. You gripped my breats under my t-shirt which you commented ‘You’re skinner than I thought you would be’. You got your fingers inside my trousers. You blocked the door so I couldn’t get out. You ignored my screams for you to stop. You ignored how I cried and collapsed under you.

Even after that, I still feel guilty. Despite what my counsellor says and what my friends say, I feel like I deserved it. But I know, deep down inside, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just wanted to have a friend there with me.

You are a dick. A massive one. You think yourself as a man with your low voice and being the tallest boy in the school. You are just a boy. You know what you’ve done and now, you like to show off about it.

You’re sick.

And even though, I feel damaged. I’m getting better. I do have someone that respects me now. I, now, look into the mirror and see someone who is strong and deserves love.

Yes. I do still need to do more work. I do feel that guilt or sadness still but I understand that what you did to me isn’t my fault at all but yours; it was your cowardly act.

So, the boy who hurt me. I’m not going to stay hurt forever. And I’m happy to move on but also, say good bye to your face forever.

Bye,
The young women who you abused.

The Thing About my Identity

In September, I’ll be attending a college for the visually impaired. I’ve made no secret of that on my blog but to be honest, there are very few in this country and just under 150 people attend each at any given time. That means everyone will know each other but also that it possibly wouldn’t be difficult to figure out my ‘real’ identity.

Before, when the question of my identity came up, I reacted a little differently. I was much more defensive and worried about people finding it because I went to a school where, I felt, people would judge you or just didn’t care. Now I’m out – and even as I drew to the end of my secondary school years – I started to relax a bit more. Saying that, now, I’m starting to become quite paranoid about things. It seems silly but I’m eternally afraid that people are going to have this preconception of me that they transfer from blogging to ‘real life’, or vice versa. Does that make any sense?

I’m not so worried about blogging people finding out my real identity. It fills me with fear, of course, but there’s less chance of damaging consequences happening. Unless someone decides to unearth things about me from years ago that exist on the Internet, the blogging world won’t be my problem. I doubt I’ll reveal my identity soon but if it happens, that wouldn’t be as bad.

It’s the other way around that could be a problem. People at the college could, and probably will, find my blog. I don’t exactly do the best job at hiding it and trying to now would take far too long and would go against the openness and honesty that I want on my blog. However, the thought of people potentially discovering it and taking the piss out of me for it really worries me. It’s unlikely that they’d be so cruel but you never know: some people can be immature and laugh first before understanding.

If they do find me and only read a small amount of my posts, they could get varying opinions of me. They could look at my emotional posts and jump to conclusions about my personal life, seeming as some of the people I mention on this blog are VI (visually impaired) and might be known by them. They could find my old posts and think that’s still a representation of me. In short, they could do all sorts of things and sometimes, I’m scared about how I could react. People could really hurt me by using this blog against me and they wouldn’t even know it.

The truth is that I could react very badly. If I’m confronted with people knowing who Elm is, offline, I’d most likely freak out and if someone didn’t understand how important this blog is to me, they could trivialise it. Would that cause me to shut down? Would I then stop posting? I don’t know: I’d hope that I was mature enough to react as calmly as possible but who knows? I’m scared that if someone really drags up old memories, I won’t be able to handle trying to defend myself.

I’m afraid of becoming someone else that I don’t recognise. I’m scared that I’ll be leaving myself behind, almost, and that all my identities will be taken from me by people discovering previously unseen parts of myself. Isn’t this just life, though? I suppose it happens all the time; this is just a big change and I don’t know how to feel about it.

Don’t lose yourself in the mayhem of new beginnings but at the same time, don’t be afraid to change what you define as ‘yourself’. Your identity is fluid and doesn’t always have to be tied down by people and experiences. It’s okay if it changes.

From Elm 🙂

Feminism is BS ☯

Disclaimer: Hi everyone! It’s Elm here. Ally wrote a guest post for me and though I don’t agree with some of the content of the post, I don’t want to ever censor my readers as I fundamentally agree with the concept of female empowerment and respect. I want this blog to be a place of open discussion and so because of that, here’s Ally’s post. She worked really hard on it and I want to thank her for writing it!


Hey y’all! This is Ally from Cute But Awkward, and I’m so excited to show off my bomb skills try to let you like me 🙂 here at the stunning blog of Elm. This is a post about feminism and my take on it, so sit back and enjoy! (how cheesy was that intro, amirite?)


My tagline is about me being a feminist. I used to have a category called feminism. I put that because I thought it made a short and nice category name, right? (I changed it to Girl Power, now) But actually feminism is just something women say when they feel threatened, stumped .etc The Urban Dictionary says this about feminism:

It is pretty hypocritical to expect to be treated special because you are a female (such as tighter laws concerning rape or more leniency if a woman becomes pregnant) yet they get upset when they aren’t being treated exactly like a man. The feminists need to realize that women are not better than men. They are EQUAL. You don’t see any laws that provide special treatment for men do you?

I mean, whoever wrote this should really be writing a guest post here, instead of moi. She knows that there is a clear difference between women empowerment and feminism.

Feminism is when women start posting pictures of the finger up and a pink banner with girls run the whole world on it on Instagram; I mean, that’s just plain old LAME.

Women empowerment, however, tells a different story. It’s when women support women, when somebody starts telling people that periods aren’t taboo, like Amika George (related: #ThePeriodParty +  posts by me, Elm, Astrid and Ash and a lot more); it’s when you get that the two genders are totally equal, that you realize how insanely off on logic you were.

Can I just say, that we have bigger problems in this generation to discuss? I mean, even racism has gone down by the million and I’m a dark-skinned person saying this! Ladies, we are free, slavery is abolished, we can vote and now tell me what crap you want to give me under the name of being a so-called freakin’ “FEMINIST”?!

*a long silence* Yeah, that’s what I thought.

So, I hope you all liked this post. Elm will be sparkling her wonders on my blog too, so don’t miss that!

❤ Ally

Being Open and Other Emotions

As I start writing this, I’m listening to music far too loudly; I’m singing along in a mumbled kind of way and I suppose, for now, I’m content for a little slice of time. Not happy but closer to it than I’ve been for a good few weeks.

Yesterday, in counselling, I was the most honest I’d ever been. In no uncertain terms, I told my counsellor how worthless I felt, how unworthy of anything I thought I was and how, no matter how many people tell me a list of qualities I have, my brain just doesn’t believe them even if I know it’s a little bit true. It’s a complicated issue that has been inside my head for as long as I can remember.

My friends are amazing and I know that what they say is true to them but I get absolutely incredulous when I even think “Oh, you are a good person then?” because my brain refuses to think about the possibility of letting myself fly because I’m terrified of disappointment. As my counsellor said, I keep myself down so that I don’t get disappointed by myself and it’s a fucking horrible way to think and live but it’s what I feel pretty much constantly. As you can tell, I get exhausted by it.

It hurt so much to talk about. Unlike with situations that have happened to me, there isn’t a direct cause to this. It has come about as a result of years of thinking I’m awful and I can’t just change that in a summer or a few months. I need myself and others to understand that this is not simple – I got the closest to breaking down in that session than I have before because it made me feel wretched as fuck and hopeless, too. In counselling, it’s rare that I get really, directly upset about something and show that externally, as I spoke about me and others being unable to understand because I didn’t want to tell them I didn’t believe them in case they gave up on me and left. But here’s the thing: I spoke about it.

Recently, I’ve become quite closed off, keeping rigidly to the view that nothing good will happen, nothing will come of anything so what’s the point of speaking because no one cares – that kind of thing. I broke that yesterday, getting animated and visibly upset – no “blank slate”, no hiding and I lied about nothing. I talked about some of the most terrifying feelings I had, both positive and negative – the distinction being that I hated having the negative feelings but the only thing that upset me about the positive feelings were how much they could fuck me up.

An example of negative feelings that I spoke about in a number of sessions was a time, three weeks ago, when I was walking in my school before lessons started. I listed, systematically and brutally, every single reason why I thought people should hate me, why they already did and why I should hate myself more. It was vicious, almost mentally violent and afterwards, I went to the toilets and sobbed because it hurt so much to despise myself like that. Since then I’ve never got that bad but I refuse to pretend it’s all gone away and I don’t have the energy to shut it all down and fake shit.

I think i’m still recovering from how much stuff I said yesterday. I’m not used, now, to explaining things like this to someone who doesn’t assume my feelings or dismiss them. At the end of the session, I said to her – when she asked – that I knew what I’d done, how open I’d been and that it was something to be proud of but still, I wasn’t letting myself be proud of me because I couldn’t bring myself to be. That’s the best indication I can give as to how my thought processes work.

I don’t quite know where to go from here. I know this was a negative post but there are some good points to it, such as that I know i’m capable of talking. i’m not utterly without reason, hope or clarity of mind.

Currently, i’m not alright, partly because I’m becoming more aware of how I feel but also external circumstances that I’m somehow managing to blame myself for?? However, I’m a hell of a lot more okay than I have been.

When in doubt, remember that people are there to listen. You may not think they care but they will listen to you; try to give yourself a chance more than anyone else.

How easy is it for you to open up?

From Elm 🙂

My Period Experiences | #ThePeriodParty

Do you want to see an end to period poverty and the shame that surrounds talking about periods? I certainly do and so I bring you my contribution to #ThePeriodParty. This post might be a little different to my usual, in that I’ll be talking about my personal experiences with the wonderful “menstrual Cycle,” but that’s the point to this movement. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a little to make a difference, in whatever way I can.

What is #ThePeriodParty?

Set up by the wonderful Ash, this is a movement to inspire people of all ages and genders, to talk about periods, to remove the stigma around them and to spread awareness of the people who can’t afford sanitary products or who are prevented from going to school, spending time doing the things they love or from feeling comfortable because society has not given them the opportunity. You can read Ash’s post for more info and to learn how to get involved; I’ll be putting some ideas at the bottom of this post as wel.

In an effort to help those who don’t feel as comfortable, I’m going to be sharing some of the highlights or not – of my periods over the years. They make me cringe to this day but it’s good to talk about it because now, I can have a good laugh over them.

My Period

I started my period when I was 11, the age my sister started. I couldn’t tell you what happened – I don’t remember precisely what I was feeling – but what I do know is that it took me ages to properly realise how to use a pad because i wasn’t quite sure how to ask my mum or sister. Tampons were another story – I’ll get onto that in a little while.

It was a case of trial and error in finding the right products for me. On the first day of my period, it’s not that bad but for the next 2-3 days after that, it’s the equivalent of of a waterfall and it’s horrendous. That brings me onto my first story…

The Classroom Incident

I was 13, very much prone to embarrassment and still trying to figure out my “cycle.” RE, or religious education, was the last lesson of the day and I remember it being around the second day of my period. I was doing well, congratulating myself on avoiding any “accidents” when I stood up at the end of the lesson.

I was wearing a skirt with no tights on. I stood up and immediately, I knew something was wrong. Turns out that there was blood on my leg and the sheer horror I felt, knowing people could see it (because there was a fair bit of it) caused me to run out of the classroom. I actually ran because I was so embarrassed.

Unfortunately, people remembered it for a while afterwards and so I absolutely refused to talk about my period to anyone until the next one came around. Ever since then, I’ve kept pads in my bag for emergencies.

The Tampon Incident

I’d not had a very good relationship with tampons when I first started. I’d tried to use one when I was 12 and didn’t understand how so I stopped trying. That meant that I couldn’t ever swim whilst on holiday and I had the constant anxiety that the Classroom incident would occur again. When I was 16, I’d had enough. I asked my mother to buy some tampons for me because I didn’t have a clue and I also asked her to tell me how to wear one.

And it didn’t go well. I ended up crying and getting so frustrated with it that i thought I’d never be able to do it. So, what did I do? I looked it up online and when my mum went out, I tried again. It took me a while to figure out how to not stab myself with the tampon, I’ll be honest.

I followed the instructions and somehow managed to successfully do it, but then I had no idea how I’d done it. I couldn’t feel it but then I got irrationally terrified it’d be stuck inside me forever and so I took it out after 2 hours when the recommended amount of time is four. I’ve got much more comfortable with wearing them now and they’re sometimes a necessity if my period is particularly bad.

The Thailand Incident

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been getting really bad cramps. Some have been so bad that I had to go home from school because I could barely stand up. One of the worst times was in the summer of when I was 16, when I went to Thailand.

We’d gone shopping with some of my stepmother’s friends and gone out for dinner afterwards. I felt really off and I ached but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. As we were walking around and the sky got darker and darker, I started slowly to get more exhausted and then the pain started. When this happens, I feel so sick that I utterly lose control of my emotions.

I don’t remember much but I do know that I tried to curl up on the ground at one point and I could barely walk. I was crying, I think, and everything was blurring around me so that I didn’t know where I was. Eventually we got home but I still had no idea what was going on and it felt like something was scooping my insides out with a fork. Since then, it’s only been that bad once. On that occasion, I’d got 5 hours of sleep, hadn’t eaten for 18 hours and was so exhausted that it was the closest I ever got to utterly passing out.

The Crying Incidents

This isn’t a specific incident but a culmination of many. Usually 3 days before my period, the beautiful and kind PMS starts. Mine involves becoming a complete bitch, exhibiting far too much emotion and, well, crying.

I snap at my family, shut down a lot or go to the other extreme and start telling everyone how upset I feel for no good reason. If I think I’m bad now, with a long time to go before my period, it’s nothing compared to how irritating I get a few days before. I feel so sorry for my friends sometimes although what’s good about them is that regardless of whether they get periods or not, they’re so understanding.


There you have it – 4 of my “Period stories”! I hope you ejoyed them and cringed as much as I did.

how you can get involved

If this inspired you, or if Ash’s post did, there are some things you can do to get involved.
You can sign the petition which calls on the government to give those who receive free school meals to also receive free sanitary products.
You can get involved on social media using the hashtag #ThePeriodParty so that anyone – whether they have a blog or not – has a chance to hear about this campaign.
You could start talking about it offline, to people you know from school or work, so that talking about periods can be done everywhere – not just on the Internet.
Anyone can do this – any age, any gender, any period experience – this is about open discussion and spreading awareness.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Ash for being so proactive and using her thoughtful, creative personality to make a true difference. I’m so incredibly proud of her, what she’s done and what she will do. It’s up to us to spread this message and I, for one, will be doing everything I can to help those who need it.

From Elm 🙂

Ways I Deal with Breakdowns

Personally, I have a bit of a routine when it comes to breakdowns. By “a bit” I mean it’s erratic: it changes; it’s sometimes more healthy than other times but there are a few things I seem to do pretty much every time. After feeling absolutely atrocious because of emotions a few days ago and comparing it to a huge breakdown I had in Barcelona, I realised that there were certain ways I dealt with it: I looked back on past “breakdowns” and decided to compile a list of ways I cope. This isn’t a “5 ways to deal” because it’s different for everyone but this is just how, sometimes, I deal with my emotions going haywire. I hope this can help anyone who needs it, like I needed it.

I class breakdowns as any time where I lose complete control of my emotions. I won’t go into what causes them – that’s for another post – but in a way, dealing with them has informed me what causes them. As my mental health has got worse, I’ve had to internalise a lot of things I used to be able to express more and so I hope that writing about this will encourage me to speak up.

Crying

This might seem like an obvious one but there have been times where I’ve felt so terrible but not let myself cry about it. Perhaps it’s cliché to say this but tears can really be a release for pent up emotion. When I let myself cry, although it panics me, it gives me a way to get something out. That’s far better than shoving it all back so that it appears later, worse. I don’t force the tears if I know they won’t fall but I try my best to let them out when I know I need to. If no people are there, I don’t quite know how to deal with them which often forces me to try and ignore them but if people bring my tears out by talking to me, or something happens which means I can’t not cry, I feel a little calmer afterwards. When I cry a lot, it does make me exhausted but it doesn’t end with me feeling angry and like I’m running to nowhere.

Grounding Myself

Part of a breakdown for me is feeling really disconnected with everything. Because of that, when I feel like I’m about to start sobbing or I’m in the midst of it, I often touch objects around me, put my hands behind my back or talk to myself about what’s happening. That last one makes me deal with it and, weirdly, makes it a bit more bearable because I’m proving to myself I’m still here, still able to express myself and still myself. If I’m around someone, I’ll either hold their hands usually or be close to them: when I was in Barcelona, my friend told me to punch a pillow really hard and also held me; the next day, I stood by the wall and pushed against it with my hands to remember where I was because I was alone and couldn’t deal with going to find anyone. In these situations, I do everything I can to remind myself that what I feel is real.

Lying/sitting on the floor

Okay, I know that might seem weird, but I’ve noticed I do this a lot especially when I don’t know how to deal with anything or when my emotions get really bad. Sometimes I can’t really help it if I walk into a room and don’t have the energy to sit on a chair but a lot of the time, it’s purposeful. Previously, I hated myself for it because I thought I was attention-seeking: in Barcelona again, things were getting too much and I went on the floor, someone said “It looked like you did that on purpose,” and I didn’t know how to tell them they were correct without looking attention-seeking. However, I’ve come to realise there’s a bit of a reason: excuse the pun but it’s another thing that grounds me. Shortly before the person had said that, I’d gone to the room I was staying in, sat on my bed and slid onto the floor to try and make myself as small as possible. I did that recently as well and just sat there, with nothing else around me to distract me and just breathed. Depending on the situation, I sit/lie on the floor for different reasons but it always seems to help in some way, without making me feel pathetic.

Talking to someone about it

A huge thing for me is that I need to talk about things or they get locked inside my head. My friend Rapunzel saw the worst breakdown I’ve ever had in front of someone and encouraged me to spend a while just breathing and then to talk about it – and, although I was so upset that I couldn’t form many words, I gave it my best try. Not only does it act as a release but it also gives me closure. Whenever I do talk about it, the next day, I don’t feel so panicked about whatever I broke down about and I can start to deal with it. Dealing with it by myself makes me feel sick because often, there are too many thoughts in my head. Talking to a friend or anyone about those thoughts makes me feel guilty for shoving all my problems onto them but if they’re willing to listen to my ramblings, I’d talk until I couldn’t any more.

Self-Care

Last night, I felt as if I was about to start shaking and that I wouldn’t be able to stop. After calming down and reading for a little, I decided to just relax and not to stress out. I had a shower, put a face mask on, moisturised and started writing. As it always seems to do, it made me feel as if I had a little bit of control over myself and made me as happy as I could be at that moment. At some point, I’ll deal with what was making me unhappy – namely, shitty, unresolved feelings and fear that everybody hates me – but this was a good starting point.

I really hope this helped, even if in a little way. I’m not the best at coping but I’m getting there. Every single emotion I have is a learning experience and with them, I learn more about myself. I’m not perfect but I’m not hopeless, either.

How do you deal with breaking down? Are there any things you’d like to do to help yourself that you don’t do currently?

From Elm 🙂

Why I’m Not Applying for University This Year

Around this time, if you live in the UK and are in year 13 or equivalent, the majority of people will be in the process of applying to 5 universities, getting their personal statement ready, getting references from teachers and finally submitting their application. A fair few people will have already applied, received some offers or even got unconditional offers. I’m not one of those people. Instead, I’ve decided to apply next year.

A year ago, I was all set to do it all this year. I started thinking about open days and in June, I went to my first one in Birmingham. Since then, I’ve gone to 4 more open days, really got a feel for the course I want to do – English Literature and Creative Writing. Although I didn’t work on my personal statement in the summer, I was going to start in September. Why, then, did I change my mind, when everything seemed to be in place?

To explain all this, we’ll have to go back a bit. The first thing to say is that I’m “Severely Sight Impaired” – in other words, I can’t see much at all, or much to be useful. My independence is very lacking; I concentrated on GCSEs so much that I think I let my mobility and drive for independence go to the sidelines. That’s a whole other issue but the point is that I don’t have much independence; just being visually impaired isn’t the sole reason because there are so many VI people who lead independent lives and are happy. For me, instead of going to a special school for Sixth Form, the idea of going to one for a year after my A-Levels finished to increase my independence was suggested to me and I finally started to realise that not only would it be a great idea but it would make me much happier and more confident.

I applied for 2018 entry, got a place on what they call a Pre-Entry Assessment and went there in October. I can honestly say it was such a great experience – I spoke to the teachers there and the people who could really help me to get funding to go. It was then that I started to truly realise that applying to university whilst I was there would be a better option, for reasons I’ll get onto in a minute. After coming back from the assessment, I got a phone call saying that I had a place (in my usual fashion, I was shocked and I think I genuinely squealed?).

Up until 2 months ago, the resolution of applying and deferring held. However, I had some reservations about the whole thing. Firstly, I thought, if I got a place at the college for the year after, I could just apply there and that stress would be reduced. Going there and discussing it with them helped with that: they were supportive and one of the staff members mentioned to me that deferring might actually cause me more stress in case something went wrong. At the moment, the less stress I have, the better.

As well as that practical side of things, I have extremely bad mental health at the moment. In no way is that an excuse to not do something but many things are going on in my life, such as new opportunities but also personal issues, which means that my stress levels are off the charts. University applications have made that so much worse. I know that just delaying it isn’t the answer, that I should work on it, but for me it doesn’t feel like delaying or avoiding. It just feels like I can apply when I personally feel ready.

There are many reasons why applying now would be a good idea and I get that. First, it gets it out the way; it also gives me a goal to work towards. It puts me in the mindset of higher education and also would make my future a little more certain, yet this can all be done next year. This has all been said to me, both by others and by myself, but those arguments don’t convince me. Because I know that I’ll be able to apply next year, that I’ll have more time and I don’t feel right about applying this year, I think that applying next year will be the best option for me. It won’t be the same for many people but we’re all individuals and what works for someone won’t work for someone else and vice versa.

A lot of my teachers have told me to apply this year and defer. I’ve explained some of my reasoning to people; most understand but some don’t at all. However, I know that plans and people and lives change. Hell, next year I might decide I don’t want to go to university at all, that I want to do a different course or that I don’t like the unis I applied to. Also, it means I can apply with the results I already have: motivation of getting a certain grade has never held me up. Because of that, I’m not going to be putting that awful pressure on myself that made me collapse into myself before; I just feel that it might be better for me all round. It will probably make me feel the most healthy, the most put together and the least stressed out of my options.

I want to apply when I know I’m giving myself the best opportunities I can. My personal circumstances – where I know I’m taking a year out next year – have allowed me to do that. At the moment, pretty much everything is uncertain compared to what it was before. That’s okay. Life doesn’t always have to be about certainty.

Whether you apply this year, the next or the year after, remember that you should always put yourself first. There will be things you do, decisions you make, that people won’t understand, where they think you’re not being sensible or that you’re just taking the “easy” way out. Remember, though, that life has a thousand different roads you can go down and it’s fine if your road doesn’t run in the direction you thought it would.

Don’t be afraid of doing something that’s not “typical” of what people usually do. For whatever reason, you might decide that doing what the majority of your friends are doing isn’t for you right now. Consider all your options but most importantly? Don’t let university applications be the most daunting, most terrifying thing ever. You’ve got a life to live besides that, after all.

I hope this has helped anyone, whether that be to realise they do want to apply now or not, or just to let you think a little. I’ve done enough screaming over uni – I don’t want you to do the same if people are being shitty about your decisions.

Are you applying to uni this year? Did you decide to take a year out? Let me know in the comments!

From Elm 🙂

Little Positives

In the rush of life and in the mayhem of everything, I feel like I sometimes – scratch that, always – forget that there are tiny little things I should be proud of myself for doing. It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the huge things you should be doing that we can forget that yes, we’ve done important things but there are also the things that others might overlook. They’re important too; they’re what keep me going.

I saw my Head of Year today and I cried until I felt too hollowed out for words. Seeing her wasn’t as helpful as I’d have liked it to be but she did say something really worthwhile: I’ve done small things recently that are positive. In the pit of negativity I’ve plunged myself into, there are ways of looking at the little bright sparks.

Here’s a list, for you, of a few things that you might not even think are worth mentioning. They’re obvious things but that’s the beauty of it: I’ve done them, I’m still here; I’m still going. That’s what matters.

1. I got out of bed this morning, despite not wanting to.

2. I keep up my skincare routine every day, even when I don’t feel like it, because I know it makes my skin healthy.

3. I read a page of my book for English and when I wanted to give up, I read another page.

4. I spoke to my friends this morning and didn’t make an excuse that I had to do work.

5. I replied to my Twitter messages.

6. I did a little bit of singing a few days ago, just to myself, and felt the smallest thrill of happiness like I hadn’t in a while.

7. I smiled at someone as they walked past; I didn’t even know them but it felt nice.

8. I had an idea for something I might write for the school newspaper and I’m planning to write it down.

9. I didn’t want to disappear much after I cried with my Head of Year.

10. When I got the urge to message someone who’s been messing with my head recently, I didn’t do it.

11. I’m writing this blog post.

12. I have a work plan for this evening – I have an objective.

13. I’m breathing regularly.

14. Things are feeling more real than they usually do.

15. I thought the words “I love you” and didn’t get scared.

If you can take a little inspiration from this; if you can be helped by this or if this makes things feel a little less like everything’s screaming in your head, then it will let me realise that words are as powerful as ever. This list won’t magically help but it’s done a little something for me and maybe, you too. Remember that you aren’t a superhero and every single little thing you do that makes you go “Oh, I’m still going” is worthwhile. Those little achievements are impressive because you’ve completed them and only you know what that means to you.

Don’t sweep over things just because they’re small. They’re still relevant; they’re still things you’ve done. Those little things are what you should be proud of yourself for. I’m certainly proud of you, for simply carrying on as yourself and doing the smallest things which build you up, day by day.

When you start to feel down, maybe have a go at creating a list like I’ve done. It helps to show yourself what you’ve achieved and how you can move forward.

Keep going. You’re not invincible but neither are you someone who gives up, no matter what you tell yourself. Small things can make you stronger, bit by bit. You aren’t stupid for cherishing the little moments. You should smile at yourself for them.

Love from Elm 🙂

Alive with Ideas

Hii!
I have no idea where time’s gone. This week has been a blur: it was Monday, I blinked and now it’s Thursday. I’m so sorry for not posting in what feels like ages; I have no excuse!

Yesterday, something pretty amazing happened. No, I didn’t suddenly solve all my problems; no, I wasn’t swept off my feet by some dashing person (though that would be funny). No: I got really, really excited about work.

I’ve been getting pretty behind on all my subjects which caused me a hell of a lot of stress, not to mention the stress from all the work I have to catch up on from me being sick on Monday. I have to do a bucketload of history, Psychology and too much English to think of but strangely, positively, the English is the least stressful. You’d think it wouldn’t be: I missed my appointment for my coursework (that’s not even called coursework any more) because I was ill. I hadn’t done the preparation I’d needed to do but yet again, life proved me wrong. Everything turned out better than okay.

For our English “Non-Examined Assessment”, we have to compare two texts of our choice on a topic of our choosing. I chose to go down the line of female empowerment in Moll Flanders and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (I’ve only read the second one). Typically, I haven’t done much research on the subject, just the books themselves.

On Thursday, after a series of emails between me and my English teacher, I agreed to go and see her at lunch. Instead of stressing, I didn’t let myself think about it much: I didn’t see friends that day though and spent the entire time “working” or trying to. When the time actually came, my head started buzzing with thoughts of what I’d say and how’d I’d say it. It was the first time – because I’d never been taught by her before this year properly – that she’d really get to see what I was like when I was passionate. She’d get to see a side of me that nobody, not even I, have seen in weeks.

I walked into the English classroom with something like lightness. Despite not really knowing what I was talking about, I wanted to talk about it. I knew that here, to her, I could express my opinion and be happy about that. It’s rare for me to ever do that; I often hide behind the opinions of others because I’m too afraid to show my own thoughts. Here, it was flipped on its head and although I feel quite disconnected from everything right now, then I felt wholly with it, connected and involved with the words I was speaking.

Essentially, we refined my idea into the way female empowerment may be controlled by their relationships with men in the two novels. I remember almost shouting “OH MY GOSH exactly!” when she said a particular point I agreed with to do with Lady Chatterley. I got painfully excited when I started talking about social context, like I never am in class. There, I’m quiet or harsh when I have a point but then? I was confident and I smiled. It was surprising for me because I’m not used to myself being enthusiastic.

After we’d stopped talking about my coursework, we spoke about other literature. I recommended a book to her, honestly squealed about Jane Eyre – would you call it fangirling? Did I fangirl with my English teacher?! By the time we were done talking, we’d been speaking for about half an hour (when it should have taken only 15 minutes) because we kept expanding on topics in a part stream of consciousness.

I forgot what it was like to feel like I knew what I was doing. I utterly neglected the fact of my mind, that it can whir and bring forth ideas like any other. She let me see, through her exclamations of “I love that idea!” that I’m not just a cardboard cutout of an English student.

Yesterday, I think I proved something to myself. I showed myself that I do have feelings, thoughts and worlds of possibility right at my fingertips. Unlike normally, I showed my real, unfiltered personality. Maybe it was only a small part of myself; maybe it was only for a short time; maybe it was only to one person. It doesn’t matter.

Don’t be afraid to show your passions to people. You aren’t stupid, sad or weird for getting excited about things that others might not get excited about. If your heart sings when you think about a certain thing – books, TV shows, things that make you happy – you can show that to people. Don’t hide behind what you think people will think of you because at the end of the day, these are your feelings and they are beautiful.

From Elm 🙂

Trying to Change my Mindset

Often, I set myself up for disappointment.

I prepare my mind for the worst case scenario: “They’re going to cancel on me”, “They hate me”, “It’s really, really not going to work.” I think and think until I feel an awful panic in the back of my mind that what I think will happen. Usually, it doesn’t. Usually, if something happens, it wasn’t what I was hoping for but it was close enough to it: it isn’t a completely hopeless situation because there’s still something left. That’s what’s bearable, when things aren’t great but they aren’t the worst and you can content yourself with that. Your mind hasn’t proved you right so yet again, you can tell yourself that what you thought was illogical and it makes shit more real.

Sometimes, when I hope for something, I really hope for it even if it’s far off. I think of a bad thing that could stop it from happening but I let my mind ignore that; I let it go because I know it wouldn’t happen. Either that or I think it won’t and so it builds like a beautiful dream inside my head. That’s when I’m most happy and least anxious, although looking back that happiness is a frail thing and I don’t trust it; it’s almost wild. That’s because when or if it doesn’t work out, when it doesn’t even get close to working out, I shatter and can’t cope.

My issue is that when I don’t fully prepare myself for a bad situation and it happens to me, I get surprised. I then get angry, telling myself that I should have known, that I shouldn’t have hoped because hoping is useless. I don ‘that allow myself to think, “Actually, this isn’t the end of the world because you can’t prepare for every eventuality.” I just tell myself that of course, it should have been expected – that person hates me, that they wouldn’t ever want to spend time with me and how could I ever think otherwise?

It’s unpleasant and unhealthy, sending me into a spiral of unhappiness. I give up, slowly letting myself believe everything is terrible. If you couldn’t tell, I’m very good at taking emotions to the extreme. However, I don’t do this all the time: I only do it with big disappointments or when something I’d been hoping for for a long time falls through. It’s not everything but it’s to exhaust me and because of that exhaustion, I hardly ever talk about it.

Now that I’ve given you an idea of what I think, I want to tell you that I hate thinking like this. Friends have repeatedly told me that a mindset change starts with me but I’ve always been too afraid and felt way too fragile to even begin to start picking myself up. Outwardly, I often act utterly unbothered (unless it’s very bad) but inwardly, I get used to the feeling of plans not working out and of that crushing sensation you get when you have no idea what to do now.

The solution is not to stop hoping for things. Hope should be a driving force behind what people do; it’s what holds you up and it’s healthy when you don’t rely on it. Neither is the solution to stop dreaming of things that won’t happen: it’s good to do that sometimes because having an imagination is great but I won’t let that take over my life as it’s done before. I have trouble enough distinguishing between whether I’m lying to myself or not and I don’t want to constantly feel that.

Right now, I don’t know what the solution is. I can’t put it in place straight away: yes, I’m sick of feeling disappointed and like I’m weak with it but I can’t make that magically disappear in a day. It’s going to take time and energy on top of the time and energy I devote to other things. It won’t be easy but I’m willing to try.

Perhaps it’ll take days, weeks, months or years. Perhaps I’ll give up halfway through or not even know how to start before. Even though I’ve done that before, it doesn’t mean I’ll do it again so I have to hold onto that to stop myself from disappearing into a well of hopelessness. That won’t do me any good.

If you’ve had a disappointment recently, remember that there is always something else to pick you up and to let you hope again. One disappointment isn’t the end of the world; ten disappointments after one another isn’t either. Don’t give up on hope and most of all, don’t give up on yourself. Only you can get inside your mind and tell yourself that even if this one thing didn’t work out, one day, something will.

One day, you’ll be happy. One day, someone will love you and maybe it’s not the person you won’t now but now is not forever. It’s okay to dream and hope and wish, even when they don’t work because those hopes are part of you. Don’t let that fade away.

How do you cope with disappointment?

From Elm 🙂