So, I’m back after a long stint away from the keyboard. I’m in my final year of university now and keeping myself incredibly busy. My modules are going pretty well, I believe that my novel should be finished by Christmas. After finishing the first draft and not looking at it for three years, I feel like I’ve now acquired the necessary skills to see what I was doing wrong and put it right. That was my purpose in coming to uni. It wasn’t like I came to Cornwall for the nightlife, or to get away from my family; or to throw money I don’t have in to an elitist institution for the fun of it. No, my aim was to have The Ascendant finished by the end of my stay here. However, my Novel Writing module seems to be just the catalyst I need to get the motions moving. It’s pretty damn exciting.
The summer, much like university, has been a time for transition too. I was working two very different jobs, I lost and found some core people in my life, not necessarily the same ones. It was a roller coaster from start to finish and yet, it didn’t really feel like anything happened. When I was asked what I did over the summer, all I was able to say was ‘work’, and yet, even just from work, I felt myself changing. It had been a couple of years since I’d been in a job and since that experience, I’ve not wanted to go back into retail, or employment. I didn’t like how vulnerable you were when working for someone. I didn’t like feeling like a punching bag for customers and the employer. I haven’t been back inside the shop since. I haven’t even been into the other ones I didn’t work at because all I thought of when I saw them was the bad stuff. How I’d cry, or fall asleep, or both, when I’d get home, if I was lucky. If I wasn’t, then I’d cry at work, making sure I’d shut myself away somewhere first. It can be hard to think of the good when there’s a lot of bad stuff about.
This summer, I was afraid it would happen all over again. I picked up some work as an Avon Rep, delivering to friends, family and the neighbours. I liked that job because I love make up, I liked not working for someone else and I liked meeting new people. That was the first step to gaining my confidence. The second was when my sister offered me a job at the pub where she works. I was hesitant and so anxious that I’d end up with a horrible boss and I’d have to plan a murder or something. Getting into the swing of things and getting to know my work mates took a bit of time but I did get confident and I was pretty good at what I did. The experience of earning money again was a thrill I had forgotten existed. However, I still didn’t have a large amount of money as seeing my friends and family was still top priority, despite having two jobs, because once you go to uni, you don’t really see much of people. You can’t afford to.
The best part was hanging out with my sisters. It’s somehow easy to forget how much you miss them when you’re busy working a lot and you realise just how much you’re not around to see. That’s the hardest part. I was able to have a lot of interesting bonding experiences with my family. The situation with my friends changed a lot too. It’s like the saying goes really: You win some and you lose some. I expected that if something like that ever happened, I would have been a lot sadder than I was. Don’t get my wrong, I was pretty hurt, but I felt a little prepared for it. Like all of the previous arguments we had had begun building up a wall for me. If it had come out of no where, it would have hurt a lot more. And at first I thought: ‘I don’t have any friends now’. Then I had to take a step back from what I’d been thinking, slap myself in the face, and tell myself to ‘Stop being stupid, you’ve got loads of mates’. And I started to talk to and hang out with them more, alongside my family and I realised that when people love you, they don’t expect you to have to put in a load of effort all the time and they appreciate it when you do. When you love them, you want to but it’s not always viable. I’ve tried to show the same patience people show to me, back to them. I feel more secure.
The last phase of this transition was moving house. Same landlord, different house and a lot more problems. Will I ever rent from a private landlord again? No. If being at uni has taught me anything, it’s that landlords are more than happy to rip you off a bit of dolla and they think they are in the position to do so. *
Reflecting over the summer, I see that I have changed. Maybe not physically, maybe not deep down in my soul (I’m still forgetful, forever tired, and at times have difficulty concentrating) but I am wiser. My plans are becoming clearer and I’m coming back out of the shell that I’d put up over the last year. Now I’m back at Falmouth, I’m feeling much better for it. How was your summer? Have you felt a change of self? xo
Feature Picture by Cummings Photography
*I’ll probably write up on this further in the year