Afraid Of School

It’s safe to say that I really didn’t put enough effort into my schoolwork this year, or my exams in general. I say this to people and they act as if I’m joking when in actuality, I couldn’t be more serious. I screwed up work-wise and also emotionally, was sad, upset and angry at myself the majority of the time and I was the reason I had a shit time.

Writing this the night before school starts, I’m feeling especially scared. I don’t want to get into the motivational decline of AS-Levels, especially after all the shit which kicked off at the start of it. I blame myself – not for instigating it – but for letting it affect me and letting it carry on. This will be a rambling post, by the way, but I need to get my anxious feelings out because otherwise I never will.

I need sleep but I’m sat here worrying about the state of my thoughts. I need to pick myself up but I don’t know how; it’s got to the point where I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to be or feel when I return from school. It concerns me to note that I may either feel relieved and motivated or utterly shit, wanting to sob and just fix all of the things that have gone wrong.

Simultaneously, I want to get tomorrow over with and also I want to stay home. Exciting things may be coming up work-wise and in terms of school but I can’t bring myself to be happy about that because I need to cross the hurdle of not doing work first. If I never get motivated, I’ll never do work and that’s the crux of it. It’s not that I don’t do the work to a worrying degree; it’s that I don’t know if I’ll care enough to get stuff done.

When did this all start? Was it at the start of year 12 when French and personal things were affecting me? Was it around December when I realised that nothing was making me happy and that all the work I was doing was pointless? Was it before that when I had the habit of procrastinating and being lazy or was it before any of my exams, when I was so convinced I’d fail that I didn’t do enough revision?

I know that I can do this but I’m terrified, scared, paranoid and I want everything to go away whilst also wanting to be surrounded by happy things to forget about me. I have no idea what (i>exactly is getting me so worked up. I’m shaking, feel cold all over and my eyes are too widened to cry at the minute.

I can succeed in my subjects but that might be at the cost of my feelings and creative mind; I don’t want that. I want to sing, write, have fun and laugh but now, it feels quite far off. If I can balance work and a social life, everything will be okay but I don’t want to screw up again and make people unhappy.

Tomorrow, one of three things will happen: I will panic and lock myself into a work-mindset at the expense of talking to people; I will have a terrible attitude to work but revel in the fact that my friends are there or I’ll find a balance. I’m hoping it’s the last of these three but who knows?

I’m scared but I can’t let it rule me. I’m going to go to sleep but the thought of waking up tomorrow to face a day of self-induced fear is making me procrastinate sleep.

Sorry for the disjointed and fragile nature of this post. Inspiration can strike me at the strangest of times and I needed to get this written before the thoughts disappeared into a flurry of confusion inside my head. In the morning, I’ll look back on this and frown but for now, it’s the best I can do and that best will be enough.

If you’re returning to school now or did last week, I hope everything goes well! Remember that even if you feel a certain way now, it won’t last forever. You still have time to let yourself be happy: there will always be time for that. Being happy can be better than getting top grades in every single subject.

From Elm πŸ™‚

The Problem with Showing People your Blog

As of yesterday, Ivy – one of my best friends – is the only person, besides myself, who knows pretty much everything that has happened over the last year. I spent the afternoon with her in the park, talking, laughing and us both getting embarrassed and morbidly fascinated about the situations that have both happened to us. Having not seen her for about 6 months, we caught up on everything and I told all of the things I had told other people but unlike other people, she was told all of it without me dancing around the subjects.

There are many upsides to showing people in real life your blog, especially when – like me – you talk about your personal feelings and life. One of them is that people get to know you better and understand you; another is that you can show them a big part of your life and another is to show that you trust them with how you feel. However, even if the positives far outweigh the negatives, there is something unavoidable that can happen. You can’t always tell the truth.

Some things I’ve desperately wanted to talk about and others would have been nice to just post a little about. It’s not that I don’t trust my friends: I do more than anything in the world, but there are some subjects I just can’t talk about with some friends and others I can’t talk about with other groups, mainly because I don’t feel comfortable discussing certain things and also because if I did, I’d get other people involved which could escalate the situation. The issue here is that people from different parts of my life read my blog – the VI community, very close friends at school, people I’ve been in relationships with – and I respect them all but not all of them know enough for me to post about it. If I did post about what I really want to post about, it would maybe upset people who still mean a lot to me and I don’t want that. I’m half protecting my own selfish skin and half stopping others from getting needlessly angry at each other… Bloody hell, this is complicated and I can’t even say it plainly!

For me, my blog is a place to let out my emotions. Not being able to let them out has probably caused me to shut down a little, meaning I don’t tell people what I’d want to say on my blog – now I think about it, that’s stupid, because surely if I couldn’t post it then telling people would be a good way to get advice? My mind is completely illogical sometimes. I think that because I don’t have this outlet as much as I’d want to, I subconsciously just refused to open up to the people who I know would listen, e.g my friends and all of you.

It’s not that I’m scared of what my readers would say. It’s because I’m scared of the judgement I’d get from people who I know shouldn’t judge me but would; I’m absolutely terrified of fucking up again and so I just don’t tell people what, maybe, it would be sensible to say. That makes me sad but it’s what comes with showing something I’m really proud of to my group of friends who couldn’t be more supportive but would they be supportive if I told them everything? I hope so but I don’t know if I can take that risk.

Even now, I feel awful for writing this. My legendary “paranoia” is telling me that when people I know read this, they’ll think I hate them and then will start hating me. I never said it was logical but now I’m worried that I’m going to upset someone.

Often, I tell those who’s blogs I read to post what they want to post because it’s their blog and that still rings true. I wish I could take my own advice because sometimes I feel trapped, not because I’ve done anything necessarily bad but because I know, if I had posted honestly about what happened from the beginning, from last May to now, things might have been easier and I might have made a lot of different decisions based on your amazing advice. Who knows, though? The decisions I made felt (mostly) right at the time.

The only times I post about things that may be considered “sensitive” are when I get permission from someone who might read it because that’s just polite and also when all the people reading it in real life know about it because if it was a big thing, which it often would be, I would have told them straight away. An example of that is what happened in October but even then I felt guilty. All of my friends knew but the post itself was so hard to write because I had to get the balance of revealing information and not accidentally making people irritated right, which I wish I didn’t have to do.

I think, after this, I need to start being a little bit more honest. Perhaps I should start explaining to my friends what’s been happening but that would involve me straight-up telling them I lied to them, something I’m uncomfortable with doing. On the other hand, I caused this and so it’s only right I make it better by actually telling the truth and not worrying about judgement.

Remember that your blog is your own and you should only tell people – if your blog’s a place for you to get your thoughts out – if you feel comfortable with them knowing everything. I don’t want you guys to be in a situation where you end up twisting the truth because you feel like you have no other option. I won’t defend myself because it was a shitty thing for me to do, along with a bunch of other things but now it’s all done, there’s no changing it or going back so I have to deal with those consequences.

I don’t regret telling people about my blog or showing it to them. What does make me sad is how that all turned into me avoiding telling people the truth, which meant I physically couldn’t post about it. However, like I say to people all the time, this is my outlet and I shouldn’t be controlled by what others think.

Have you told a lot of people about your blog and what kind of positives, or problems, has that brought you?

From Elm πŸ™‚

I’m Scared Of Losing My Virginity

In the traditional sense of the word, I am a virgin.

I’m not ashamed to say it; I don’t want to hide the fact and I’m perfectly willing to be open about it. You may wonder why I would write a post on this topic if the fact of it doesn’t bother me so much. It’s simple: I’m scared of the idea of “losing” it.

I’ve spoken about sex with my friends before: S recently because he’s listened to my ramblings about the subject, Robin on holiday and at Christmas (she’s been my main source of information and I love her for it), Rapunzel, Wren and Red but there are few people who have heard me plainly say that the thought of having sex for the first time, of losing my virginity if you will, scares the living shit out of me. With friends and with advice, I’ll be as open as I like and I’m not afraid to talk about that kind of thing but the reality is, I have no clue what I’m doing. It’s time I truly admit to myself that I’m nervous of it and that it’s okay to be.

Searching for articles online, watching videos from Youtube and talking to people about my worries has helped me to figure it out but it still doesn’t make sense. I don’t really care about the pain: it doesn’t necessarily have to hurt. I’m only mildly paranoid about pregnancy because I’m aware of birth control – have a look at this if you’re unsure. With the practicalities, I’m not too fussed: you can get good advice with that and also, I know that it – of course – won’t be perfect the first time. Nothing ever is, usually, and that’s okay.

However, the absolute terror comes from my emotions. Or rather, the messed-up confusion that they’ve become. I don’t understand it: what I want, what I’d be comfortable with and who I’d be comfortable doing things with but I’ll have a go at explaining it. I’m so glad I have this platform to express this kind of thing.

Recently or maybe since October, I haven’t trusted anyone really with the idea of physical intimacy. Even now, when I’m over the situations that have happened to me, I have a wariness I can’t shake. Whether I’m in a relationship or not, I feel like to “lose” my virginity, I’d have to trust the person a lot. That trust would be in the sense of being fine around them if something went “wrong”, being able to tell them I didn’t want to do something or trusting them enough that they wouldn’t tell people what happened if I didn’t want them to. They would also have to know me quite well because I have a few personality traits, like paranoia over very very small things, that they’d have to understand to get why I might be scared. With this kind of thing – that goes for physical and emotional relationships – it’s so important to communicate well with the person or people you’re involved with. If they don’t know how you feel, then you could wind up being scared of something and not being able to tell them or they wouldn’t understand.

To gain that trust would take a while for me; I’d be too nervous and would question everything they thought of me because I’m that sort of person. Just to say: if you find that you don’t have to trust the person then that’s completely fine: everyone has their own expectations and thoughts about sex or not having sex. Personally, the idea of letting someone in enough for me to feel comfortable in my body around me makes me scared simply because when I become capable of that, I won’t be able to rush into things which may prolong the nerves. Previously, I rushed into things a lot so I’m almost “used” to that feeling but I need to remember that not everything is about getting Experiences; sometimes, you have to take a step back to examine and figure out your feelings before you do anything.

As of yet, I haven’t been treated like a child for being a virgin except by one person and they don’t count because they treated me like a child in a lot of respects. I’m not necessarily worried about what age I “lose” it: I’m 17 now and as much as some days I’d like to have that experience now so I know what it’s like, building up that trust first is important because if I didn’t, I would feel sick with myself afterwards and I never ever want to feel like that again. I know I would be safe; it’s not about that: it’s about how I may react after.

Often, I call myself “prickly” or “worried” as a general rule. I’m able to get close to people but unlike before, it doesn’t come easily and I don’t always trust that they would actually be there for me. In terms of virginity, leading up to it or after, I have a feeling that I may then block everything out out of fear. This is why I need to have that trust so that if that happens, the person – whatever gender they happen to be – will understand.

Basically, it’s all about trust. I’m scared of myself, of people’s reactions and of that trust disappearing. I don’t know if I would be able to tell one singular person everything that has happened for fear of being judged but I suppose people don’t need to know everything because no one does currently apart from, I think, myself. I know that I will find that person but it’ll take time, time I don’t know how to invest properly.

Whenever I think about the act itself, I get really nervous because of this. I laugh when anyone suggests it because I find it hilarious but beneath that, there’s a lingering terror that it’ll never happen or when it does, I’ll feel wrong or I’ll do something stupid. I suppose, though, that it won’t go perfectly right but that just means that I have something to compare other experiences to. It’s okay for things not to go perfectly. I need to remember that.

How do you feel about losing your virginity if you haven’t, or how did you feel when you lost it? I’m not asking you to comment if you’re not comfortable because this can be a very Personal topic to some people. Just think about it and if you ever need to talk about anything, like your fears and worries, you can email me. I may not be able to necessarily help but I’ll always listen and do my best to give you advice.

Don’t be worried about talking about this. Originally I was scared of posting this because I thought it’d be too mature but for those interested in having sex, this can be an important topic and for those not, it can be interesting to read about. If you want to lose it then that’s fine; if you don’t, it’s also fine. What you feel is personal to you because it’s your and no one should control it, or your emotions, but you.

From Elm πŸ™‚

My “Fear” of Buzzing Insects

Here are a few facts that everyone knows:
β€’ Bees will only sting you if provoked and they die from stinging, meaning they wouldn’t usually do it
β€’ Wasps won’t sting you unless angry
β€’ They’re more scared of you than you are of them
β€’ They aren’t actually concentrated on you – either they’re finding a way out or just flying around
β€’ English flies are harmless. They can’t hurt you. Seriously.

Now, I know all this: when I’m away from something that buzzes, I’m totally fine. I list all the reasons why I shouldn’t be scared. When I hear one? I completely, completely freak out.

I’m asked a lot why I have such an extreme reaction to anything – literally anything – that makes a buzzing sound. My token response – “I’m blind so can’t see where they are or what they are, meaning it could be a wasp and I wouldn’t realise – works in most cases. However, even when I know it’s a fly or a bee that wouldn’t harm me, I have the exact same reaction. I can’t ignore it; everything in me becomes focused on where it might be, listening out for it and avoiding it.

To illustrate this, a situation happened to me today which brought my fear into sharp focus. I was home alone – my sister and dad went to an art gallery which is pretty much useless to me. I had just finished my lunch when I heard the horribly familiar buzz of something – wasp, bee or fly I still don’t know.

After that, I had one of the worst freakouts I’ve had in a while. Some of it was documented on my Twitter but what happened was that for half an hour – perhaps more – I sat in the same seat, shaking so hard and frantically messaging anyone, just to try and keep my mind under control.

I kept on hearing it. It flew into the kitchen, flew around me once and went towards the window. It quietened for a bit – it just stopped – and every time that happened, I stayed stock still because I knew it was still there. After a few minutes it’d start up again, faintly in the living room but soon coming back into the room I was in. Every time I heard it, I would sob “No please!” and gasping – honestly crying out of terror and not even logical terror. At one point, I thought there were two of them; I was unable to do anything. I called my mum, telling her I was bored and wanted to go to hers, trying to minimise my shaking whilst on the phone.

Now I’m out of the situation, it seems strange to me how terrified I truly was. That is until I remember that all the windows were closed and all the doors to the rooms in my house were open. That meant that the insect couldn’t escape but it was able to fly anywhere; i would have no idea where it was. Because of that, I was so scared that I didn’t want to move and then couldn’t. I couldn’t bypass the fear – what if it appeared whilst I was walking? What if it was just inside the other room and I would be faced with it? What if it was right behind my head and when I moved, it’d continue buzzing?

I managed to run upstairs – I spoke to my dad, barely able to stop myself from shrieking when I heard the thing again. When I got into my room and was alone, having slammed the door, I sat there crying in shock for about 10 minutes because I hardly ever react that badly.

I suppose it was because I was alone. Whenever I’m around people, it’s not so bad; I can just talk to them loudly and try to ignore the buzzing. I don’t want to go out into the garden in the daytime just in case – especially if I wanted to do work out there. When I’m in the park, I’m never alone and the insects don’t bother me because if I hear them, I can run as grass and paths are stretched out before me. It’s avoidance tactics at its best.

Luckily, I know it can’t be a diagnosable phobia: I only display a small percentage of symptoms. One key thing is that when I’m away from them, I’m not terrified because if I hear a bee on TV and am assured it’s not in the house with me, I calm down completely and can carry on as usual. It doesn’t affect the entirety of my life or intrerupt everything I do. However, it’s horrible.

My main problem is that people don’t understand. I’m aware that my fear is illogical but if you put me in the same room as an insect which buzzes and leave me, I’ll scream up a storm and would probably resort to tearing at the walls if I felt like I couldn’t get out. People say that they’re harmless and I know that but that knowledge doesn’t transfer into the situation when I’m in it. There’s only one person I’ve found who fully understands this and that’s All the Jazz who has honestly been a lifesaver to me today. Just no know that there’s someone who gets it and doesn’t think I’m either being pathetic or stupid for crying my eyes out because of a fucking tiny thing with wings is such a comfort.

Apart from forcing myself to be around bees or anything that buzzes, there’s not much I can do about my… Rather extreme reaction. It never used to be like this when I was a child – or I don’t remember it being – but nothing traumatic happened involving insects for me so I have no idea why it’s such a huge thing. Maybe it was because I spent so long avoiding them because of the little fear that it’s now grown into something almost unmanageable.

You’re not an idiot for being scared of something. Only you can tell yourself that your fear is illogical or not because only you can describe and experience your personal “brand” of it. To other people, it might not make sense but to you, the heart-pounding, tear-inducing fright makes all the sense in the world.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Putting You in My Shoes

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was going to write a post, explaining a situation that happened recently, but then I realised my words weren’t enough. I could tell you the events in detail, how I felt and what I think, but that’s just my word. I’ve already been through it with a few people, and so I’m too exhausted to explain exactly what happened – not least because I’m paranoid it’ll upset someone. Instead, I want to show you.

Whilst you’re reading this, I want you to really try and imagine the feelings. Step into the situation for a second, because it’s the only way that both you and I can understand it.

You came into the, what is to you, huge room with friends. They’re gone now. You don’t know where, but all you know is they’re gone, and it takes you a second to register that.

Oh, you don’t panic first of all. They’ve just lost you for a second – they thought you’d follow them, that you’d hear their voices and come over to them because you’re good at that, right? You didn’t, because it’s so loud. It’s so, so loud. They’ll come back – it’s just momentary – and anyway, someone will find you. Won’t they? You’re not here on your own; there are people, there are.

There’s the light from the window, and the break in between two windows. You can see that, and look – there’s the space where the benches aren’t. Are those shapes tables or people? There’s an open space in front of you, in between what must be benches, and to your left are some indistinct shapes. They must be people, but they’re not the right ones, because they’ve been standing there too long and they don’t speak to you but would they speak to you anyway? Maybe they are your friends, or maybe they aren’t, and you can’t ask them because you don’t know who they are.

It’s okay. You can just listen, listen – listen! If you listen hard enough, you can hear your friends. Are those them? You don’t know at all, and you’re disorientated now, because they could be anywhere. You can’t move, because you might bump into someone who doesn’t know you, and you can’t do that. They think you’re weird, and it’s embarrassing because you can’t do this. You need to grow up – you need to!

You’re taking deep breaths now, to try and calm yourself down – but there’s nothing to panic about! It’s fine; you’ll find them. But oh god, you’re going to be standing here until the end of break, and you’re alone too. You’re alone, and no one is here; they can’t see you. Their eyes aren’t pointing in your direction, and you can’t get their attention because you don’t know where they are. You can’t ask someone random to help, because you don’t have a clue who’s there, and you can’t be a burden on anyone. You’re going to be here, standing, until the bell rings and then what? How will you get out? How can you if the room’s so expansive?

You feel like you’re about to be sick, but it feels almost muted. You’re boiling, shaking, breaths getting shallower and shallower. Maybe if you cause a scene, someone will notice? They’ll find you? But no! If that happens, you’ll look pathetic, they’ll feel guilty when it’s not their fault and everybody will think of you as the helpless blind child. You can’t but you’re also finding it difficult to breathe. Are you doing this on purpose?

You’re turning your head now, because your eyes could be caught by one of your friends. You don’t even know why you’re doing it, because you can’t see and you’ll never see, but you can’t think straight either. Where are they? Where are you? You don’t know any more, and the voices around you are swelling; you don’t know what they’re saying. You have to be putting this on because you weren’t panicking earlier. You were fine! You need to be fine, think, think, think think think!

You are terrified. You are so scared, because they could be anywhere; they could even be right next to you but you’re too paralysed with worry to notice if they are. They don’t understand, but it’s not their fault because they can’t. You’re on your own, the only blind one in the school that feels this way. Alone, and it’s all you can think about, and you’re almost crying because there’s no one here and you feel like a child again. You remember primary school, where sometimes you were just there on the bench and no one else was, when your best friend wasn’t there because she was busy.

Someone’s come up to you, asking if you’re okay. Who are they? Their voice isn’t that familiar, but maybe it’s one of the new people, or maybe it’s someone you’ve never spoken to before. They noticed, but no no no, they want to help you find your friends. How can you let them do that? It would be mortifying, presented to them like a package, and you can’t. You say you’re fine, but your heart’s thumping, and you ask to get out out out. They know how to guide you, as you clutch their arm and gasp – are people looking? Do they want to help you? They must feel so awkward! God, you’re so scared, and where are you?

You found a friend, but you wanted to get out. Your vision feels like it’s blurring, and you absolutely can’t catch your breath. You’re out of the room now, crashing into a door – shit, where are you? You walk, and there are people, but they’re not the right people because the “right” people are together and laughing and seeing and not crying, because they can walk into a big room and go across it to anyone they like. You can’t.

A teacher finds you, someone that’s quite high up in the school, and your tears run faster because you don’t want this. You can’t make a scene, because people will say you’re blowing things out of proportion. You’re still afraid, saying you’re okay to him whilst tears splash down your face. When he leaves, you turn to the wall and sob and sob and sob, fingers pushing at the bricks, hunched over like a wounded animal because you’re alone, alone, alone.

When they find you, you tell one of the teachers that knows you the best what happened. All throughout, you can’t speak because you’re crying too hard, humiliated and miserable because you’re doing what you promised you wouldn’t. You’re telling people how you feel, and people that might tell your parents, and people that will think it’s bigger than it is. But you feel isolated and you can’t take it any more, no matter how pathetic it makes you feel.

Even for that, you’re petrified. You don’t want this any more. You avoid people, shaking, tears sliding down your cheeks when you remember just how fucking lonely you feel.

Your eyes hurt now. They’re widened, blinking sometimes more than usual, and it hurts. It shouldn’t be like this, at the age you are. Will it happen again?

You’re scared. You’re so, so scared, but you can’t do anything. It would be a little thing to anyone else, but you feel cold when you think about the icy fear you felt, and the sheer horror of feeling like an object, or like the anxious 11-year-old you once were, when you were shoved into an unfamiliar surrounding with people you’d never ever met before in your life, and just expected – expected to be okay. To be normal.

That’s just a little of what I’ve felt. I’m not trying to make you feel upset: rather, as I would want people to do to me, I’ve tried to let you understand something different: a little of what it’s like for one person who can’t see much, who’s put into a situation where they feel helpless, but where they’re too scared to do anything about it.

From Elm πŸ™‚

I’m not Scared to Say What My Fears Are

I’m scared of the future.

I’m scared of not getting a job, because the employment figures for disabled people aren’t so good.

I’m scared that I’ll live on benefits. for the rest of my life, and that I’ll have to compete with everyone to get the job, and not just those with good grades.

I’m scared of hurting people, and of something happening to me that would CAUSE me to do that.

I’m scared of losing friends, and having arguments with them; I’m scared that one day I’ll wake up and hate myself so viciously because of how I treat people.

I’m scared that I’ll rush the physical aspect of my relationship too much.

I’m scared that people will find my blog, from real life, and I’m terrified that then my world would just tumble down and I’d lose the one place I truly love.

I’m scared that one day, someone will use my blog against me and I’ll be powerless to stop them because things stay on the internet. forever.
I’m scared of my paranoia and how it makes me nervous, and I’m always worried that my friends – or anyone – will turn round and get sick of it.

I’m scared of not doing well in my exams, and I’m scared that I won’t do enough revision in these last few weeks.

I’m scared of falling, or dying.

I’m scared of a lot of things that you guys are scared of, too. That’s okay.

I might be scared of many things, but I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not going to hide them; I’m not frightened to stand up and say, “I’m scared of these things, but it’s OKAY.”

I’ll take them, one fear at a time, and deal with them. “Piss off,” I’ll say. What will happen will happen, and I’m still me with all my hopes and dreams and fears and love. I’m still scared, but remember: it’s okay to have fears, but don’t let them rule your life.

From Elm πŸ™‚