Hey. Hi there.
Welcome to my first blog post as part of the people who represent Know You More. This article is an introduction and a confession.
My name is Lucy. I am just shy of 23 and I live in Scotland. I got involved with Know You More as I was finishing up my final submissions for University and started getting down to business about a fortnight ago, when I had finally, finished those final submissions for my final year of uni.
The day I completed my dissertation (gave up on my dissertation) was one I had imagined countless times. I envisioned a sun-drenched afternoon of relief at the end of a very stressful and very busy tunnel of academic despair. When I couldn’t finish off my paragraphs, or find evidence to support my analysis, or remember which book I was actually discussing- I would a version of myself on this day.
I was happy on this imaginary day. I looked relieved. I could see the dark circles that were developing fade with every sip of well-deserved summery cider. And in moments of stress and anxiety I would console my tension headache- begging it to abate so I could push through and meet future me; this version of me- brimming with happiness and pride (annnn a lil’ bit tipsy.)
And the days came and the days went. I managed to secure the same desk daily through a steely possessive glare and silent burnt out intimidation. I scanned musty old books and typed furiously. And eventually- literally “just-like-that”, it was done.
Complete. I held in my hand a respectable A4 document that articulated an argument that I had made up on the spot 11 months prior.
And then I waited.
And then I took the next day off.
And I went for a drink.
And I did all the things I felt I deserved to do and had been looking so forward to.
But I was more confused that I had been throughout the degree in its entirety.
Nothing had changed. Now I have watched the TV, I am familiar with teen dramas, I have read novels, and I have had friends past and present. All of which told me that immediately after I handed my paltry volume of literary analysis to the submissions lady I would have some kind of out-of-body experience. There would be a rush of excitement. An epiphany perhaps. The general consensus was when the dissertation is over, the stress, anxiety, frustration and, yep, anger would be over too.
But it wasn’t- it was perhaps even stronger. I felt angrier because it hadn’t happened to me, I was frustrated with myself because I felt I had done something the wrong way. I was stressed and anxious because I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what the point of four years of hell and 40,000 beans was actually for. As a plus, I was now petrified- more so when people started to throw around terms like “unemployed”, “paying rent” or “real job”.
So I started to lie. I lied to my parents and to my friends. I think I probably lied to my teammates here at Know You More and told then I was really chuffed with myself. I was certainly telling fibs when I went to my office on a Monday explaining I was sorry, but I was foggy headed from celebratory cocktails the preceding Saturday, because, I hadn’t had consumed any. I didn’t go anywhere. I wasn’t hungover. I had not gone out. I just looked terrible from fear, stress and lack of sleep- but that’s not cool- is it?
But- and here is what I realised today- the idea that you will finish up university- or achieve anything else big, I don’t know, a job promotion or getting married maybe- and feel “different” or, actually, feel “better” instantly is (and I have been warned not to swear) utter garbage.
LOAD OF OLD TOSH.
It’s nonsense. It is cockamamie.
It is a downright lie.
It has taken about two weeks for me to get a semblance of clarity. A notion that my future will probably be ok. Today, having successfully ignored work, postgrad applications, my nagging landlord and mother’s phone calls until about 5pm, I was just wandering around my house, from room to room, watching a little bit of The Chase on the sofa, nipping up to bed and reading a bit of my book and thinking about how I can cheat on my diet, I took a break from my pottering and pondering. I decided I needed a break from ignoring my responsibilities and ignoring my life and I opened my front door and I took a cup of tea and I just stood.
I stood on my doorstep, in my dressing gown and I watched the neighbour’s cat. I watched him scale the garden wall until he leapt out of sight. When a bird caught my eye, a little pigeon, denim blue with a shiny purple breast- thankfully both its little pigeon feet and pigeon wings and I watched him bob around for a little bit then I watched him take off. He took off past the local school I can see from my door. He became a little dot as he swerved round the high flats off to the East of me and he disappeared.
When he was no longer visible. I took a drink of my tea and I stood just being. I allowed myself to feel my feet being feet living in my slippers. I felt the slightly annoying- but not annoying enough to fix- the discomfort of my sock digging into my ankles. The wind blew my skin so that goosebumps began to appear on my legs, then my arms and my neck.
And I was being.
And then, I was laughing.
I felt rather happy. I felt actually hysterically happy. I was amongst these little things that make up my environment and we were all breathing and being and I realised that the feeling of relief and delight I felt I had been unjustifiably, deprived off was not magic nor was it something that happened instantaneously.
The ritual of handing in you final submissions is symbolic. It symbolises the release of the vice grip that is a university. That day you are supposed to let go of the pressure you have been putting on yourself but the funny thing is, when that pressure is released, there is a whole new world of pressure just waiting to meet you. Careers. Salaries. Houses. Mortgages. A list could seriously go on for days.
Nevertheless, I am.
I am being.
To a certain extent, I am embarrassed about my attitude the last couple of weeks- the lying about being happy, the fabricated celebratory drinks and generally my snippy retorts to my chums. It’s why I framed this article as an introduction and a confession. I confess I was mugged off, (again, avoiding the swearing.) I felt like something had been stolen from me and all I wanted to do was shout at the next person that congratulated me on, “getting’ all that work done” or “being such a hard worker”. Because it ultimately felt meaningless and did I mention- a complete waste of mullah.
But, I have realised it wasn’t. I was being and now I am still being and nothing will stop me being.
Maybe I will still feel this calm, relaxed way tomorrow morning or maybe my lecky bill will worry me into a nail-biting frenzy- it doesn’t matter. I vow to allow myself to feel such emotions. I am allowing myself to feel a little bit scared and I will not pressure myself into a job I hate or a mortgage I cannot afford.
I will be.
Whenever there is stress-, I will take the time to be on my doorstep.
To be drinking a cup of tea.
Because I am being.