Twice in the last couple of weeks I have stumbled across blogs/online repositories belonging to people I used to love. One I haven’t seen in about 2 years (not to actually speak to, glares across a room doesn’t count) and one I haven’t seen since I was 16.
It’s times like this that I hate the internet.
Don’t get me wrong - it’s lovely that we can stay connected with the people that we actually care about. That’s great. But when someone was once important in your life and then ceases to be, it’s very hard to segregate your social circles when they are, to start with, small and all intermingled. It has become inevitable in this day and age that we inadvertently stumble across the online presence of people we would rather not see.
Or in my case - people I am actively trying to avoid.
I would much rather live in a world where some people did not feature.
Well, I once lived in a world where they were important to me. Far more important than they should have been. And the fact that they shouldn’t have been, and that they are not any longer, rips me up inside everytime I am faced with something that reminds me of this.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to build your whole world and idea of happiness around someone’s approval, to believe that you have it and that you are loved and validated in return and then to realise that a vast swathe of it was a lie, and that you were mistaken and deceived?
And sadly, I have been through this more than once. The last time was the most serious and has had the most far reaching consequences for me, emotionally and mentally. And thanks to the internet, it is incessantly difficult to avoid.
There are hundreds, literally hundreds, of days in my life that I cannot bear to look back on, to remember, to think about or to have mentioned in my hearing. Not because they were days when I was unhappy - but because they were days when I thought I was happy, when I believed I was love, when I believed I was valued and I know now that all of them were built on lies.
Having the rug ripped out from under you socially makes you the most distrusting person on earth. Finding out that your judgement was wrong, that you were mistaken, that you were deceived, makes you question your relationship and importance to every single person, constantly, every single day. Even years after those people are gone from your day to day existence. It’s like a legacy. A foundation. It underpins everything you do, because you can’t bear to put yourself in the position where you might get it wrong and have to go through all of that again. And seeing reminders of the people who you got it wrong with is soul destroying.
Today I read the second of those online repositories and it was a curious deadening experience. Because it contained nothing of the person I once valued.
The first one, a few weeks ago, was tough enough - because it was filled to the brim with all the things I valued about her - her vivaciousness, her vitality, her sarcasm, her social wit, her intelligence, her ability to wear her heart on her sleeve, her creativity. It was all there and it was a reminder of everything I believed I had with her and everything I lost. That was sad, but it was also bittersweet.
Because at least that was real.
The second one was… well, it’s made me question everything again.
I loved this person for similar reasons - for their creativity, the light in their face, their imagination, their enthusiasms and talent. For their wit, their analysis, their social fire. I loved them for everything that was inside them, it shone out to me like radiation and reading this today … I can’t see any of it.
Were it not for the name of the blog and the link I would honestly have thought it had been written by someone I had never met. Not by someone I knew. Let alone someone I once loved and believed that I knew better than anyone. There’s nothing left there from the person I once loved. Nothing that made me laugh or reminded me of them. Nothing that jogged a memory of a shared moment. Nothing.
It makes me wonder if they have changed beyond recognition, or whether I never actually knew them at all. Whether I was so blind, so self deluding, so far gone that all of those things were not even there to start with. At least, not with the fire and brightness that I saw.
Was I so desperate and unstable that I actually fell in love with someone who didn’t really exist? Now that’s a soul destroying assumption, because you begin to question whether you’re actually crazy, in that you may have imagined and seen and projected things which were never real.
I would rather not have seen this online space. I would rather it had never crossed into my paths. I would rather not have read about this person’s life and opinions and interests and realised that someone who was once so vitally important to me is now no better than a stranger, and might always have been no better than a stranger, because I made up all the reasons why I loved them in my head and projected them onto them. I hate the fact that the internet weaves us all together with strands that can’t be cut. I hate it.
I could have chosen not to read it.
But then I would have spent vast swathes of time thinking about reading it. Wondering what they said, what was written, was it about me, did they think about me, did they still have anything in them that we once shared?
The sad answer is no they don’t, and I wish I didn’t know that, but it’s better than thinking about it 12 hours a day on the back burner for the next 3 months, which was the only other option available.
I don’t miss this person, I don’t miss those people they are surrounded by, but I miss desperately the image that I had of my life with them, which felt so warm and comfortable, and which turned out to be full of razors. Even looking back cuts deep. I hate the fact that my life with them was a dream, and now when I look back I can’t even see the good bits, I just see myself being humiliated and laughed at for believing in something that was never real. I don’t have any good memories from that time, because even the things that were good at the time were used as sticks to beat me with, by them and by my own perception and logic and damned brain.
To borrow a metaphor, I’m tired of seeing their island on the horizon, because I want to remember it as paradise, and it was actually somewhere deadly. Somewhere that chewed me up and spat me out. I want to remember it being beautiful, but all I remember is that it was poisonous. I want to remember it being filled with light, and all I can remember is how dark it was when that light went out. I want to remember it as the dream, the Neverland, the place of eternal youth and possibility and potential.
But that’s all it is. A Never Land - a place that never existed, and a place which will never exist, and a place which I will never go back to and a place which I will never, truly, forget.
Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha (via thefoolsfate)
Yes. This is why I am in therapy. So that I can stop enduring pain. It is not as constant or harsh as it once was but it is still there even though I have tried to deny it.
Please reblog if you are a girl and have ever been made to feel ashamed of one or more of these things (wanting to prove a point to some asshole):
-your clothing choice
-your amount of make up
-not having sex
-having your period
-not appreciating catcalls
literally all except 2 jfc
Literally all of them.
I went to a terrible high school from the age of 11 to 16.
I went to a school where a boy spat into my face in full view of a teacher and no action was taken against him.
I went to a school where drugs were dealt in the playground.
I went to a school where smoking was habitually ignored both in the school grounds and inside the school buildings.
I went to a school where the uniform was treated as a guideline.
I went to a school where the buildings were in such poor states of repair that panels of corrugated steel blew off the outside during high winds.
I went to a school which was so covered in litter that parts of the grounds were labelled a health and safety risk.
I went to a school where a teacher was violent to a pupil and no action was taken against them despite complaints.
I went to a school where ‘good’ kids were routinely allowed to skip lessons if they were in danger of being bullied during class.
I went to a school where teachers would forget they had classes and turned up 45 minutes late.
I went to a school where non-specialists were assigned to teach the top set of a subject class in their final year before exams.
I went to a school where I did not have some of my books marked for a whole year.
I went to a school where I had my musical instrument stolen from the storage room by an intruder who was not challenged as they walked into the grounds and buildings.
I went to a school where the swimming pool was often out of use due to broken glass in the water.
I went to a school where PE (PhysEd) lessons were cancelled and whole hours were sat sitting in the changing rooms doing nothing while the teachers drank coffee in their staff room.
I went to a school where there were leaks in the roof and dangling live wires protruding between ceiling tiles.
I went to a school where most of the desks were vandalised and broken to the point where kids would get splinters but were still in daily use.
I went to a school where my German teacher had a breakdown and our class were left alone, unsupervised and with no instruction for 2.5 hours a week, every week, for 9 months. Because nobody knew that we existed.
I had no private tutor (apart from my long suffering Dad who made up for the lack of a subject specialist teacher for maths in my final year)
My mother and father both worked long hours and my sister and I were often left to our own devices in school holidays.
I left school with 9 A grades and a B grade.
I got 3 A grades and a B at A-level.
I was interviewed at Oxbridge.
I went to University and I now have a degree, a masters and a professional teaching qualification.
To all the British parents who are disappointed about the school their kids were accepted to: It is not the end of the world. What matters is that you encourage them, nurture them and give them a love of learning.
watching my mad fat diary
so is “college” in england like high school? why are there bells and principals and detention?
*waves* British teacher here.
Our naming conventions for schools are pretty weird, but this might help.
Our schools are split into Primary and Secondary.
Primary and Secondary schools could be Council schools (state funded), Church Of England Primary (joint funded by the church of England and the state - as this is our national religion) or Catholic (which is joint funded by the Catholic Church and State, or in some cases entirely funded by the Catholic Church). There are also private schools, which are nothing to do with the state and which charge high fees to cover the cost of a child’s education.
Primary and Secondary schools have to follow certain government rules, such as a national curriculum, set texts, minimum hours of tuition in particular subjects, coverage in religious education and sex/personal relationship education and a daily act of collective worship which is ‘broadly Christian’ in nature. Private schools do not have to follow these rules.
Primary education covers from age 4 - age 11. Teachers sometimes refer to these as Key Stage One (4 - 7) and Key Stage Two (7 - 11).The old names for these were Infants and Juniors.
Some Primary schools are also attached to a nursery, where there’s government funding available for children aged 3-4 to attend.
Secondary education gets more confusing. Names for secondary schools can include:
High school (normal school with no specialist provision)
Grammar School (academic school which has an entrance exam but is state funded)
College (fancy new name for a secondary school)
Technology College (school which specialises in ICT or practical subjects)
Arts College (School which specialises in art, music and/or drama)
Sports College (School which specialises in sports, dance, and the provision of Physical Education)
Science College (School which specialises in provision of Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
Academy (School which receives devolved funding from the goverment and has more freedom to set their own Curriculum)
There are also Free Schools, which are state funded but run by parents and volunteers.
Most secondary schools cover the ages of 11 - 16. This includes Key Stage 3 (11 - 14) and Key Stage 4 (where students work for two years towards their GCSE examinations and take them at 16)
Some schools include classes up to the age of 18. Aged 16 - 18 is called Sixth Form, or Key Stage 5. Students attending these usually work towards their A-Level exams.
There are also special further education (sometimes called sixth form) colleges, which are very large. Most of the attendees here are 16-18, but they also accept adult learners and offer evening courses. The courses run here include A-Levels, resits for GCSEs, B-Techs and Diplomas, Access Courses (to enable adults to get into higher education), Apprenticeships and I’m sure there’s even more that I’ve forgotten to list. These are generally referred to as Colleges, they’re called Further Education colleges.
Then there’s Universities, which are the degree level providers. They are completely separate to the state funded Education system. Everything up until this point is free to attend for people up to the age of 21 (there are some variations according to benefits, prior achievement etc, but 21 is a common cut off point). But for University, there’s always fees.
So, in summary:
A college could be:
A further education college (aged 16+) - very unlikely to have principals or detentions
A secondary school (aged 11 - 16) VERY likely to have principals and detentions!
A secondary school (aged 11 - 18) VERY likely to have principals and detentions, but less likely to apply punishments to 16-18 year olds as they are free to leave and go somewhere else to continue their education and so the school would lose their funding if they left.
I notice a lot of the people I follow post on this issue of Body Positivity a lot. So I figured I wanted to make this post, after thinking about the issues on and off all day.
About 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with moderate depressive episodes. The state I got to before the diagnosis was quite…
It’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week - so I am re-sharing this, my experience of what it was like to be skinny.
Dyscalculator is a free IOS app calculator specifically designed for people with dyscalculia.
You can easily switch around and drag and drop numbers and the numbers are written out in words underneath where they are written numerically.
You can also choose to have the numbers read aloud to you.
this would have been sweet for when i was in school. heck it might be sweet now.
Downloading this right now. I am so excited.
Mod here. I hope this is helpful for some of you—I’m really psyched to see assistive technology being made specifically for dyscalculics!
Sometimes I think you need a degree in statistics to calculate when to ring the surgery for an appointment with a doctor.
I rang up just now (2.40pm) to enquire about an appointment for Monday only to be told that there’s nothing available with my doctor until March 11th.
But if I ring on Monday morning at 8am they should be able to fit me in for something next week.
I’d love to know what they expect to change between now and 8am Monday, but I despair of asking in case the answer is made of stupid.