Monday, 20 May 2013

Nostalgia for Essex Uni.

You know how it often seems older people fantasise about a past Britain, a Britain that probably never existed, where community spirit overrode personal preference and where people were endowed with sense and a stoicism that we, the youth, don't possess, because we have life so easy? They act as if crime were a modern convention, movement always regressive and the only honourable generation was/is their own? In the same way, I physically ache with longing for the life I've left behind, at the bequest of my demons. Like all nostalgia, it's making me yearn for a past that is far glossier than it actually was. Maybe a platonic idea of what I think my life ought to have been like, created in my head as another way to torture myself for not being all that I feel I should be.

For those who have been following me and SBIWYB for more than a year or so, you'll know that my university life, while fruitful in some ways and eventful in even more ways, wasn't all that... successful. It was more of an experiment than an experience, really. I lived a mostly irresponsible life of drinking, dancing, waking up in strange beds and ridiculous adventures- I have some brilliant stories that you'll hear over a cheeky vodka, one day. In my first year, I fell in love. I also met my best friend and, a year later, met her son when he was born. My worldview expanded and I began to plan and dream of a future I never before thought I'd be a part of. I became grounded and a part of something; living, for probably the first time in my life, a normal- by student standards, anyway- life.

Of course, that's my university experience with nostalgia's gloss and the rose tinted glasses of romanticism. Really, it was a mess of mental illness, alcoholism, sometimes drugs, always irresponsibility, sex and hysterics, set to a soundtrack of indie crap that I'm more ashamed to admit to listening to than the other shit I did. It did involve the introduction of my best friend and the romantic love... but it also involved terrifying that best friend when I was sectioned, one of many times, and the police informed her that due to my mental health I was a threat to her newborn son (oh yes, that really happened), and finishing that romance because it was too much for me to accept and reciprocate- an act I'm sorry for and regret, every day. Nostalgia and romanticism of the past forget the revolving door nature of my numerous hospital admissions during those years; the overdoses, feeding tubes, cuts, burns. How hard that was for my friends, boyfriend, and family who were all hundreds of miles away. It also conveniently forgets all those appeals where I had to plead to stay, the irritating student support sessions every week that I was contractually obliged to attend and the aching loneliness and isolation of my second year.

Yet still... nostalgia is mauling its way through my consciousness. I feel like I've been thrown out of real life and into a vacuum. Existing, plodding, but not doing anything of value. I've always done everything with thoughts of where it'll lead me, I've been brought up to work and that you work your childhood and beyond to better your career opportunities. But I'm not doing that, I'm not being intellectually stimulated or working towards anything concrete. More, it's all about working towards some vague idea of mental health. Sometimes, that's just not enough. I suppose I'm feeling inferiour, to the person I was and could have been. Like I've let myself down by being where I am, figuratively and literally, right now. I'm nostalgic for the life I've left, yes, but more- to the life I could have left had x, y and z not happened. It's not a healthy or useful way of thinking, but I feel like stamping my feet. This is not what was meant to happen. This is not who I was supposed to be.

On a slightly different note, I've never promoted anyone on here before, so you know that the blog Imma link to is something really special. Click on her name to meet Katie, one of the most interesting, witty people I have ever met, and her, quite frankly, brilliant blog.

1 comment:

  1. We all look back with nostalgia... you are right though Rebecca, it isn't a useful or healthy way to think... I do it myself sometimes... mostly about David. Which I know only brings more pain... I guess I have to leave it all in the past.

    Great post as usual girl ;)