Content warning: talk of death.

It is a deeply, profoundly sad fact of life that every relationship you ever have – whether it be with your friend or family, partner or pet, your acquaintance or just a stranger that you nod to as you pass them on the street – will come to an end. One day you will see that person for the last time, and for the overwhelming majority of last times you won’t even know it. Everything might be normal, and as the naive being you are you’ll still believe that you have forever with them.

We take forever for granted. How foolish of us to think it is a concept that applies to us; to go about our everyday lives, make idle small talk and bask in the company of those we love, without the thought that one day this will be gone. There’s so many ways it could happen: perhaps you both leave school, and without seeing each other every day just by circumstance you end up drifting apart; maybe you have a huge fight, and never speak again; they could move to the other end of the Earth, to a place so far away there’s no chance you’ll ever be able to maintain a relationship. Maybe they die, and leave you with the most absolute form of goodbye: one without even the possibility of being undone. And if things work out well for the two of you, they’ll stay in your life for as long as it goes on for; and then you will die, and despite everything, the goodbye still happens.

I suppose everything comes with a price, and the cost of loving somebody too much is that you have to live with the knowledge that you can’t have them forever. You get to laugh with them, share the happiest moments of your life with them, know them deeply and feel like you’ve finally come home. But in return, you have to worry about when that last time will come; when you’ll never again be able to see their smile and be lit up from the inside, never feel the heat of their skin against yours, never stay up late into the night and just drink in their presence. You’ll have to wonder how it will end. Is your relationship really one that will last a lifetime? Are you going to drift apart eventually? Fall out? Or will they die, and will you have to go on living without them there anymore?

I can’t say goodbye anymore. I can’t let go, I can’t let time take its natural course and destroy everything around me. But I have no choice. No matter how much I try to ignore the goodbyes and live in a single snapshot of life where nobody has left me, time continues onwards and the snapshot stretches out until nothing’s the same anymore.

There’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Love, Violet

Those That Have Left This World

Content warning: talk of death.

I’ve always struggled to talk to the dead. Funerals, memorial services, leaving a letter on their gravestone. Texting a number that used to be theirs. I know that a lot of people find comfort in it. But it distresses me. In my mind, trying to communicate with somebody who is dead is just a stark reminder that I am now living in a reality where they don’t exist. They’ll never read my letter; never hear the speech I made to honour them. How can they, when they don’t exist in this world? It hasn’t stopped me from trying, but it cannot bring me comfort.

Death is a concept that I can’t – or don’t want to – comprehend. I fear my own death, even though I know there’s no point. Even though I know people are right when they tell me that I should be fearing the death of the people around me more than my own, because those are the ones that will actually affect me. Even though I understand that when I am dead, I won’t be afraid. Because I won’t be anything. But then I think about what it means to be nothing, and a swell of panic rises up in my chest. I wake up in the middle of the night, and if it is silent, I panic. Because one day I will be dead, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I know I shouldn’t be scared, because being dead is not scary. But I am.

When other people die, it feels so strange. Because death is absolute, and now they are gone. But it doesn’t feel like they’re gone. It feels like with their disappearance, they’ve left a little hole in this world that they were once there to fill, and my mind is trying to patch it over, to get rid of the hole because I don’t want it there. Because I cannot comprehend both their life and their death at once. Knowing that they had an entire other world in their mind that was entirely theirs, that all of the people they ever interacted with are still here and still remember them, that they had dreams, emotions, that they felt hunger and thirst and lust and disappointment, that they had ambitions for the future and people they loved, and a favourite colour and a food that made them gag. And just like that, they don’t. And they leave us with photos and videos of a person we can never see again. Memories we can’t share with them. And it doesn’t feel like they’re gone, because look, here’s a picture of them laughing, and we just spoke the other day. How can they be dead when a moment ago they were right there? Why does it never feel like a story coming to an end, but a book that stops mid-sentence, an ending that nobody will ever read because the final pages have been ripped out?

It took me a long time to realise that maybe a lot of the distress I feel around talking to the dead is that I’m looking at things from their perspective, when they don’t have one. It’s naturally going to be difficult when you’re empathising with someone who has nothing you can empathise with. I’m not looking at things from the perspective of myself, and the other people who have been left behind. When somebody dies and leaves us behind, we feel an urge to talk to them, despite knowing that we can’t. And that’s because we’ve reached the end of an unfinished story, and we crave a real ending. We can’t just have somebody yanked out of our lives without ripping some of the seams. We need to heal. We need closure. And even though they’re gone, they’re still there, drifting all around us. They’re there in the gifts they’ve given us, in the music they loved to listen to. They’re there in the hair they dropped the last time they came into our room, in the smell of the jumper they lent you that you never had the chance to return, in the tears of everyone around you crying for what they’ve lost. You can’t escape them. Little bits of them have been scattered across the Earth. And maybe from their own perspective, they’re gone. But from yours, the actual person was only ever one part of the experience of them.

From an entirely self-centred point of view, you will end. But to the rest of the world, you won’t. Even hundreds, thousands of years after you’re gone, when nobody remembers you by name anymore, there will still be little ripples of you influencing the lives of the living. A little girl running with her hair flying behind her, only there because generations ago you gave a lift to a friend instead of letting him drive home drunk. A family that always makes biscuits from that one old recipe book for Christmas, because that’s what you used to do with your family. Little catchphrases that have evolved over time, stories you told that somebody never stopped telling. A tattoo on your granddaughter’s arm, because those words you spoke to her saved her life. Until this world ends, your echo will travel through it. And this is how we hold on to those that have left this world.

Love, Violet

This Ever-Changing World We Live In

Content warning: talk of death.

I’m back. I’ve taken a pretty long break from writing here. Possibly not my longest ever. But it’s been a while. A lot can change in three months, and yet for me, it’s felt stagnant.

I suppose there’s two main reasons that I haven’t written any posts in so long. Firstly, life is so dull at the moment. At my best, I find myself able to find joy in the most mundane parts of life, but this at the moment is too much even for me. We’re approaching a year since the first lockdown, and Coronavirus still isn’t under our control. I wonder when it will be. If it ever will be. At this point, it seems like we’ll never get rid of it. Maybe it will go from pandemic to endemic, like the flu: less overt, but never gone. Maybe even if it does go, it won’t matter. The effects of it have been world-altering.

But that isn’t the main reason I haven’t been writing. If anything, boredom should have inspired me to come up with even more to write about. After all, this blog has essentially become endless and mindless (or should I say mindful?) rambles. A stream of consciousness. I kind of like it that way. No, the main reason is because, despite feeling hopelessly and infinitely bored, I actually don’t have any free time. I’m in my third and final year of my degree, and it is rough. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard. And being in a pandemic is only slowing me down. With no reward for my hard work, no treat of a day out or a friend coming over to spur me on, I’ve become listless. I’m doing the work that needs to be done, and that’s about it. I’ve long given up on trying to eat right and exercise and sleep at an appropriate time, because I can’t make any of it matter right now. From what I’ve seen of others, this seems to be a pretty mutual feeling nationwide. How do we stay motivated in such a joyless time? So I’ve decided it’s a pointless fight to have with myself. I don’t want to fight with myself. I want to look after myself. And right now, what I and everyone else needs is kindness. Forgiveness. Understanding.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, in the time I have to spare. And I’ve realised that as much as I’m longing for lockdown to be over and life to return to normal, I’m a little apprehensive of when that day comes. It’s all just going to feel so… unnatural. How will it feel to hug someone outside of my household again, after such a long time? How will we know when is the right time to do so? When will we decide? All of us who have been functioning at such a low energy level will suddenly be thrown into the swing of normal life again, and it’s going to take some adjustment. I’ve become so used to never having to leave my house, never having to face someone who isn’t the same five people I see day in, day out. I don’t really care how I look anymore – who’s going to see it anyway? But one day people will, and one day I will most likely return to being self conscious.

And how has this time in lockdown changed me? Because it certainly has. I don’t feel like exactly the same person I was going in to all this. No, actually that’s not true. I’ve never in my life felt like a different person to the person I’ve always been. But I feel like a chapter of my life ended with lockdown, and coming out of it another will begin. I don’t know if I’ll just slip comfortably back into who I was before, once normal life resumes. I long for what I had, but maybe I don’t want everything to be the same. Especially with my Master’s studies around the corner, somehow I feel like I’ve outgrown this place I’m in now. I’m scared of change, but I still find myself fantasising about going somewhere far, far away. Farther than the miles this country has to offer, even. Would I dare?

As you may expect from reading my older posts, I am still spending a lot of time thinking about death. My nights have become disturbed with the thought. In the dark silence, my mind now just immediately goes to thoughts of dying, and not existing, and the fact that one day that will be my reality. It’s a thought I can’t get rid of, and as of yet I haven’t succeeded in comforting myself against it. But one thing it’s making me realise is that I can’t live my life forever unsatisfied. If I’m being pulled somewhere, then maybe I have to go.

I want to start writing on here more regularly again. I’m going to try my very best to find the time.

Love, Violet

Ten Years of Today

Something I like to do a lot is look through my old diary entries. I’ve been keeping a diary since 2006, and I’ve written in it consistently since 2010 (minus a couple of years where I had a lot going on). I’m the most sentimental person out there, and if I could I would hold on to every moment of my life and never let it go. Which, I guess, is why I write it all down. Today is a bad day for me, because I associate it with some bad memories. So I am taking today, and my birthday (May 20th, which just so happens to be almost six months from today), and creating a little snapshot of what the past decade has been like for me, through my diary entries. Let’s start by going back to 2009.

(I don’t write every single day, so for many of the days I’ve just had to pick the closest date to those days that I actually have written on).

20th May 2009 (Age 10)
It’s my birthday today! Ten years old, I can’t beleive it! As soon as I woke up my sisters and we all went into mummy’s bedroom. my presents were:
Harry potter book
gardening set
disco ball
then I went to school. We are having an exam week at school. When I went in everybody sang happy birthday to me. Then they asked me what I had for my birthday. This was annoying. It’s a shame that [Friend] isn’t here today. It’s her birthday too. I’ve also found that [Girl] in reception is five today. For the rest of the day it was a normal day but when I got home there was a big surprise. Mummy and Daddy didn’t let me into the kitchen. So I sat at the dining table. Mummy and daddy came in singing happy birthday with a chocolate cake. After we had all had some we discoed with my disco ball! It was very late when we finally got to bed.

Wednesday 2nd December 09 (Age 10)
The countdown to Christmas has started! I love december. The calenders have been put up, we’ve made an advent chrans and the hall has a christmas tree up. Form 6 (us) got to decorate it! Soon it won’t only be decorations in the hall! We are missing some lessons for choir practice and because form 6 do the games room for the Christmas bizaare. I am painting a tree for pin the star on the Christmas tree. It’s like pin the tail on the donkey. Also, I can’t wait until the Christmas holidays!

Wednesday 12th May 2010 (About to turn 11)
I felt ill again today. Marta was off school.

We had a SATs exam in the morning of course. I’ll be glad when they are over.

I sat alone at break time.

At lunchtime I barely ate anything again. Mr Dent tried to make me smile in tennis.

After lunch we revised. Then it was choir. I didn’t actually sing, because my throat was too sore, but I mouthed the words.

I wonder when I’ll start feeling well enough to write longer days.

Sunday 14th November 2010 (Age 11)
We have plans today. My dad’s going to help Grandpa move into his new home. While he’s away we’re going Christmas shopping for him.

Well. I’m in the car, so if my writing goes a bit wonky, you’ll know why. Amy’s started this conversation about Lady Gaga’s real name. Oops. My writing is going really wonky.

We are taking Amy to her tutorial lesson. I’m glad I don’t need them any more, because I’m in high school now.

I have to go on a walk now, but I’ll be back soon.

Okay. I’m back now.

Marta tripped over. I was sympathetic until she started wailing that it was all my fault. Luckily my mum was on my side about that.

Friday 22nd April 2011 (About to turn 12, on a holiday in Cyprus)
I almost had as much fun today as I did yesterday. We were supposed to go on a long boat trip today, but yesterday it had rained loads, so I was worried that it would be cancelled. Luckily it wasn’t. On the boat there were all these blue things like beds side by side.

I lay down and read most of the time, and when the boat stopped so that we could swim I didn’t because a) it is 4 metres deep and b) It is absolutely freezing. This boy in our group kept jumping in and splashing us all.

Near the end the boat began rocking side to side, and everyone except me went indoors. I stayed out and read until it began to rain, when I went in too.

Friday 11th November 2011 (Age 12 – at this time my chronic fatigue was the worst it’s ever been)
Amy’s [11th] birthday today. I was off school, and I gave ÂŁ5 to my dad to buy her some chocolates. for her birthday Amy got:

– A Kindle
Some books
– Lots of chocolate
– A Beano Annual
– Slippers you can heat up
– A diary and some coloured pens
– A blue giant teddy

One of Amy’s presents was a chocolate orange, only it wasn’t orange flavoured. It was a white chocolate smasher. I am really upset because I asked my dad for it. He bought it for me and my mum, thinking it was for Amy, put it away for her birthday.

Actually, I’m probably just upset because I’m ill and it takes anything to set me off. I wasn’t even looking forwards to eating it that much, but for some reason I am still extremely upset.

I am so BORED. Amy and Marta are being boring, and don’t want to play anything. I think I’ll go for a swing before it get really dark. Actually, it already is.

23rd June 2012 (Just turned 13)
Okay – quick recap on these last few months: I got better and I am going into school full time next week! Yay! Oh and I’m now thirteen.

Today is Marta’s birthday party – her [10th] birthday was yesterday. I got her a pretty coloured bag, two of those jewelled pens in a jewelled box, a red and silver bracelet, a pencil case she admired in a shopping centre, and Amy and I both got her this dress she really wanted.

Wednesday 14th November 2012 (Age 13)
Lily told me something about [Friend] that I didn’t know.

When we were in year 7, [Friend] started up this game with me, Lily and a couple of others. The aim of the game was to play tricks on each other.
Anyway, we did play the game. Four of us put a dead wasp in one person’s locker, and Lily played a couple on [Friend] – she drew a picture of a spider and pretended to give her hot chocolate, which actually had tinfoil and quavers in it.
Well it turns out that [Friend] hated Lily for this, even though she likes her now. It made me feel really bad because I didn’t actually play tricks on her, but I didn’t stop Lily.

We’re friends with her now, anyway.

Wednesday 29th May 2013 (Just turned 14)
It’s weird how quickly time passes sometimes. So much has happened since my last entry.

Firstly, the end of year exams are over!! Finally, I can relax a little. I don’t think I did very well in them – so far I know I got 75% in German, and 56% in Physics and Chemistry. I did well in RS – 18/20 for the first paper and 15/20 for the second but I don’t remember what percentage I got.
Secondly, we are getting ANOTHER kitten! He’s the son of [Aunt’s] cat, Luna. She’s lovely. His name is Ollie, and he’s the darkest, sweetest and cuddliest of the litter. I fell in love with him as soon as I picked him up!
Lastly, I am now fourteen! I got some really great presents for my birthday, including some Sims 3 pc games, a cool board game from Amy called Khet, these tablets from Marta that make sour food taste sweet and a jelly bean machine. For my party we camped in the garden, and we went to a circus with [Amy’s friend] for a special treat. It was quite embarrassing, because my parents had told the circus people it was my birthday, and I had to go into the ring. The only other person who went up was four! To save myself from complete embarassment, I tried to be funny by not saying where I lived. It was a bit pathetic, really, but the audience seemed to find it amusing.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 (Age 14)
Yesterday was Amy’s birthday. Last weekend to celebrate, we went to [Chinese restaurant], which we hadn’t been to in probably years. then on sunday we went rock climbing at Craggy Islands. She got an iPad, would you believe it? Safe to say she was happy.

It was also a sad day yesterday. Last week [Friend] had not been in school, and I found out yesterday that her brother had passed away. I think he had heart problems.
Well, when I heard I felt so terrible that I wanted to hug her, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to make things awkward for her.
She went home at breaktime.

Monday 19th May 2014 (About to turn 15)
It’s my birthday tomorrow!

Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in a really long time. Sapphire came round at 11:30. We spent the day playing on the trampoline, playing WiiU and Minecraft. Sapphire gave me a load of her pets on Chicken Smoothie because she’s quitting. She also showed me a website called Howrse.
We had a barbeque lunch at about 3pm, and then we toasted marshmallows. It was really difficult putting up the gazebo so Grandpa could sit in the shade!

We also looked at some videos of when we were little, and Sapphire showed me how to do a trampoline move – seat drop, half turn and another seat drop. I used this app called Split Pic to take a photo of Sapphire as twins.

I had such a good time. It felt just like old times when Sapphire and I were little kids at [Primary School] who played together every break time.

I also organised for Lily and Sapphire to sleep over the night before my party. on my birthday weekend. Then the next day we can go to Laser Quest together.

I’m running out of space now, so I’ll have to find a new diary. I guess it will be appropriate starting it on my birthday. This diary has lasted almost three years!!!

Anyway, bye to this diary, hello to the new one! 🙂

Saturday 6th December 2014 (Age 15)
I completely forgot it was St Nicholas day today. I spent the morning knitting a scarf for Marta while listening to revision videos and feeling sorry for myself. My mock GCSEs start on Monday, and despite heaps of revision, I feel completely unprepared.

After lunch (and looking in my St Nicholas boot!) I got my mum to test me on Biology, but she fell asleep in the middle of it!

It is so depressing not being able to celebrate Christmas until my mocks finish on the 12th. Then I also have my German oral test on the 18th! We had a choice of doing it before or after Christmas, and only 3 of us chose before. There is no way I’m revising German over the Christmas holidays.

(There are no entries for a while because GCSEs kept me pretty busy. During A Levels I also hardly wrote any – here’s the few that I did write.)

Monday 11th January 2016 (Age 16)
I’ve decided to start writing again. Yay! I can’t be bothered to fill in everything that happened in the last year, but I did my GCSEs. I got 6 A*’s, 3 As and a B. Doing AS levels now – Bio, Chem, Maths and RS.

Today was a pretty good day. I got up early to exercise (that probably won’t last). Maths was easy, RS was a bit dull – we’re doing Descartes presentation and today’s group was a group of 5 – they weren’t very organised.

At break I chatted to Clover – Lily was off sick and Athena went to a different room so it was just us. Then a double free with [Friend] – I revised for the Chemistry test tomorrow. Lunch was boring, but at least the pasta tasted good today.

In Biology, it turned out that our disease ‘quiz’ was a 30-question long test. I got 30 out of 40, which I was pretty happy with.

I was too tired to revise tonight, but I practised piano and cello. Then Marta and I played board games. We’re going to have spaghetti carbonara for dinner. And that’s about it.
So yeah. Life’s good.

Tuesday 19th July 2016 (Age 17)
Well, so far the holidays haven’t been particularly thrilling. Also I’m sick.

I woke up at around 5am this morning because I went to sleep without the cover on (it’s really hot at the moment.) Then I fell asleep again until 10:30. I spent the morning doing futurelearn courses and practising for my Grade 5 piano exam (Saturday). While I was brushing Henry [my dog], the window cleaners turned up. That was awkward because I didn’t really know what to do with them, and I couldn’t find the key to the garage. Then Lily messaged me asking if I wanted to go to Hyde Park, so I guess that’s the rest of my day sorted.

So I went to Hyde Park with Lily and it was so hot that I basically melted: but I found a five leaf clover! So clearly my luck is still growing. I have finally surpassed four leaf clovers.

Thursday 13th April 2017 (Age 17)
I’m not even going to try to update this diary on the past year. So let’s just start from today.

I got up past 10am even though it gives me shoulder pain because I am TOO PHYSICALLY EXHAUSTED to get myself up earlier. After a couple of games of Hearts (which has become a thing recently) it was down to revision (yay)

After lunch I practised piano for about an hour because I’m meant to have learnt my pieces by the end of the holiday. So far I’ve learnt about 5 bars. Oops.

Anyway, now I’m meant to be revising Chemistry. It’s so boring. I’ve constantly been using headache patches for the last few days.

And finally, we return to regular writing, starting from here:

Monday 12th February 2018 (Age 18)
I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for pretty much completely giving up on diary keeping but I mean. Exams. School. I’ve been busy.

I woke up at 10 this morning. It’s got to the point where I literally cannot get up before 10 unless I have a very important reason.

Quick catch up of the last few months:
– I did my A Levels last year (A*A*A)
I spent a summer ignoring Lily and then hesitantly making up with her
I joined [University] and dropped out after a month.
– I got a job as a tutor
– I joined the Open University
– I basically became a much happier person and significantly less of an idiot.

It’s a bit difficult to explain that last point. It happened after the worst few days of my life, where I was fighting with Iris, and deeply, deeply miserable. I hated myself so much. So I did something I’d never really done before. I called my friends and I told them how I was feeling. And they told me that they loved me and I felt a little better.

It seems like kind of an insignificant thing to do, but somehow it helped me reevaluate my entire self. I had all these things which I could only describe as ‘mental blocks’ and now I’ve got rid of most of them. I started letting my friends get closer without feeling uncomfortable; I messaged Eve after two years of not talking to her, because what’s the worst that could happen?; I forgave myself for waking up too late or for missing a day of work; I decided fuck this feeling of regret for not doing more with music – I can do as much as I want with music. So now I’m joining an orchestra, I’ve started learning guitar and I’ve applied for A Level music. Also I’ve gained half a stone.

Basically I’ve turned my life around. and sometimes I worry that this is just a good spell, and something will eventually make me lapse back into all of my problems. But I don’t think it will.

I spent the morning reading A Darker Shade of Magic (by V.E Schwab – Eve’s favourite author) and then I got distracted by my old diarys and started sending snippets to Clover, Hera, and Athena. And then I started writing in this one. Now I guess I’m going to get dressed, get some uni work done and go to my guitar lesson.

Okay so I went to my guitar lesson and that was pretty good. My teacher thinks I’ll definitely be ready for Grade 1 this term. When I got home I did some work for my Essential Maths 1 module, and then finished A Darker Shade of Magic (which was very, very good).

I had my first online tutorial at 8. It was pretty dull because the first unit is ridiculously easy. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone over some of it with [Student], the 8 year old who I teach Maths to.

Late in the evening (after watching a few episodes of How to Get Away With Murder) I decided to try and organise my room more. I took everything off my desk and got rid of everything that ‘doesn’t bring me joy.’ Then I wrote out a list of stuff I want to do to make my room nicer. I think I want to paint my walls white. And a cork board. I definitely want a cork board.

Anyway, I got sidetracked rearranging my bookshelf, and now it’s 1:30am and I should probably sleep.

Sunday 17th June 2018 (Age 19)
Today was a very good day. I got up at 7 so that we’d have time to finish off the party food that we started making yesterday. Amy and Marta decorated the cake and did a very good job of it: it was a cute ladybird, but the face was humanoid and wrinkled and very, very horrifying. At around 10, my dad dropped us off at [Town], where we found Elm. I haven’t seen her in 3 entire weeks, so it was really good to see her again. We went and sat in Costa for a bit while we waited for the others.

After a few minutes, we went outside so that we could spot people coming. Hera and Poppy were the first, and Hera brought Zelda cakes for Clover. We went into the ceramic shop, and everyone else began showing up one by one. I briefly introduced everyone to Elm, and then we chose our items and sat down. Clover gave me an embroidered canvas to hang on my wall, which was beautiful. On the wrapping paper, she had written some of the many nicknames I now seem to go by, including [Redacted].

Elm and I chose to paint mugs, because it seemed like the easiest option. Marta had a teapot. For some reason, her colour choices were dark green and brown, but she made it work. I can’t paint for shit, so I just painted rainbow stripes all around it, and wrote GAY on the bottom. I suggested to Elm that she should make hers My Immortal inspired, so she painted the base blue like limpid tears, then at the top she put black, with purple streaks running down, and red at the bottom.

Iris didn’t turn up until 1, because her mum wasn’t letting her come, but then her dad finally said that she could. She told me that she’d been crying all morning, and then started crying again in front of everyone. Seeing her cry always really upsets me, so I almost started crying too. I’m also an awkward shit when I need to comfort people, so I just hugged her a lot.

Once everyone’s pots were finished, we headed back to my house. My mum and dad had made loads of food, which everyone was happy about, and they also very much appreciated the cake. After we’d eaten, we all went and sat in the summer house. At one point we all ended up squashed on the bottom bunk together, in what we described as a meat pile. Everyone got along, and they all liked Elm, which was really, really nice.

It was a good day today.

Wednesday 26th September 2018 (Age 19)
I got up a bit late this morning, so I had a slight rush to get to my 10am guitar lesson. The lesson was a bit painful.

My throat hurts a lot. I spent the weekend in [Lily’s University] with Lily, and I think I might have got Freshers’ flu from her. Delightful. I felt really ill yesterday, and I had to get through two hours of Skype music lessons, and then a trip to London for Marta’s photography homework on ‘British culture.’

It’s rather annoying, because I’m very busy all week. Today I had my guitar lesson, and then Hera’s coming round soon, and we’re going to a cafe with Clover and Athena. Tomorrow I have a cello lesson, then Eve’s coming round, then a Skype lesson, then tutoring. And then on Friday I’m going to [Elm’s College] to visit Elm. Which I still I haven’t booked. I need a rest.

Unfortunately I can’t have a rest, because now I need to go and make some lunch. Hera will probably want some too.

Saturday 18th May 2019 (About to turn 20)
I’ve been super busy and productive today, and as a result I have major leg pain. In the morning I went swimming with Marta and Sapphire. Then I had my piano lesson, which I was very late for because my mum got held up in a meeting. Then I made lunch for myself and the sisters, started a fire, and wrote an essay for music. And THEN I walked Henry in the park with Amy, Marta and [Cousin], and did some maths revision when I got home.

After all that, I attempted to make arancini for dinner, but unfortunately halfway through the leg pain got too bad and I also started feeling faint, so I had to lie down. Amy, Marta and [Cousin] finished it for me and it was tasty. I’ve been feeling faint a lot recently, which is really annoying because I’ve been eating really well, so I don’t know why. Anyway. Now I’m going to go watch The Society for the second time.

Friday 15th November 2019 (Age 20)
I’ve managed to get through the 13th and 14th November without feeling depressed once. If that isn’t character development, I don’t know what is. For the first time in 3 years, I’m not miserable. I’m actually enjoying the cold and the dark.

Today I have quite a lot to do. I want to get all my music homework done. I also need to get more of my composition done, before my lesson this afternoon. And I need to do some more maths. Topic B2 of Pure Mathematics is technically meant to be finished today, but I’ve only just started it.

I got some work done today, but not enough. Sapphire’s coming round tomorrow and she’s agreed that we can study tomorrow, so at least I should get some more done tomorrow. I have to go and tutor [Student] now.

Tuesday 19th May 2020 (About to turn 21)
My last day of being 20. What an uneventful year I’ve had.

Today’s been really nice. The lockdown rules have been lifted a little, so you can now meet with one person outside of your household. So we met Sapphire in the park for a picnic. We made a LOT of food: falafel, quiche, spinach rolls, tabbouleh, cupcakes, shortbread and potato salad. I didn’t even get to try everything because I filled up so fast. Then Amy, Elina, and my parents went home and I nipped back to go to the loo before returning to the park and playing Smart Ass with Marta and Sapphire. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve brought my rucksack out with me, and that paired with the hot weather gave me major flashbacks to last summer. I spent a lot of that summer traipsing around England (and Scotland even) with my backpack, and I had such a good time. I’m a bit sad that I probably won’t be able to do that this year. Oh well.

I’ve also received some things in the post! I’m going to wait till tomorrow to open them, but it makes me feel really happy that people are actually thinking about my birthday this year. Usually it gets forgotten in the midst of exams. I have a letter from Hera, a Whittard’s box from Lily (!!!) and a letter from someone else who I can’t quite figure out from the handwriting.

I’ve also received my coin books that I ordered. I’m going to put my coins in now, before my lesson with [Student].

And that brings us up to today. Saturday the fourteenth of November, 2020. Or rather the fifteenth, since it’s now 1:30am. This probably won’t be the most interesting post to a lot of people, since it’s all my memories. But that’s kind of this whole blog, to be honest. I never make these posts thinking about the fact that somebody else might actually read them.

It’s strange to think about how much can change in a decade. In ten years’ time, my life now will be just as strange and distant to me as my life as a ten year old feels now. And I’m excited. And I’m scared. I don’t know what the future holds.

But I know that I’ll get through it.

Love, Violet

An Alternate Me

I’ve been faced with an ongoing dilemma for quite a long time now, and it’s centred around the feeling that people don’t like me the way I am. It happens too often that I start talking, telling a story or an idea or whatever’s on my mind in that moment – only to realise, either halfway through or at the end, that nobody cares. They’re just waiting forme to finish so they can give a civilised grunt of acknowledgement and change the subject.

So. Point taken, I guess. I’m boring. Or weird. I annoy people with my topics of conversation. I guess that means I should stop talking? But then if I do that, I neglect people, and obviously it upsets them and I don’t want to do that. It’s almost like they’re expecting an alternate, non-existent version of me to appear. One that makes good conversation. The thing is, that version doesn’t exist. So here’s my problem: if I talk to people, I’m left feeling worse about myself. If I don’t talk to people, I make them feel worse about themselves which subsequently makes me feel worse about myself. It’s a lose-lose. I suppose I could try changing the way I talk to people. But it’s quite difficult to change such a fundamental part of me, and to be honest I don’t want to. It’s taken me so long to open up even a little to people, to feel somewhat comfortable just being myself around them. And right now it feels like my fears were correct: I was right to shut myself off, because the way I am just isn’t right. But. I’m more comfortable in myself now. Even if other people don’t like me, I’ve stopped placing so much of my self worth on that. And to be honest, I actually quite like myself now. It’s amazing progress for me to be able to say that, as I’m sure some of you may have read some of my many self loathing posts on this blog. But I’ve got past that. I enjoy my own company, and even though I by no means think I’m exceptional, I like myself. So I don’t really want to present a different self.

I don’t know if I just haven’t met the right people yet. It’s not like I feel like this all the time. But with nearly everyone I’ve met, I feel it to a certain degree. So maybe no matter who I meet, I’ll always feel like this. Maybe it’s not even true, and it’s just all in my head. It’s not like I can talk about it with anyone, because they’ll just vehemently deny it and inwardly feel guilty that I’ve picked up on the disinterest they hoped they were hiding. I suppose for now all I can do is be more selective about what I say to people, and pray that one day I’ll stop feeling like this.

Love, Violet

One Day There Will Be Nothing

Content warning: death.

I think about my death a lot. I’d go as far to call it an obsession. One that can consume me sometimes. I know it’s pointless thinking about it so much, because it is inevitable, and all I’m doing is wasting the time I have worrying about something that cannot be avoided. But when I look at everyone around me, I wonder how all of them manage to not let it burden them. Maybe it does. Maybe they’re just good at hiding it, like me.

I wonder how I’m going to die. I worry about how soon. Probably, if I’m lucky, it won’t be for a very long time. Not until I’m old and ready, if that’s possible. But accidents happen. I could be hit by a car tomorrow. I could get cancer in my twenties, have a heart attack in my fifties. I could be murdered. I could join the million people who have died of coronavirus. I don’t know how it will happen, but I know that one day it will, and one day I will become a statistic. I hope that it won’t be painful, or frightening. Or soon.

But the how isn’t really the main source of worry, or even the when. It’s just the fact that after I die, there will be nothing. Much as I wish I did, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and never will. Sometimes I think about what it will feel like to be dead, even though logically I know that it won’t feel like anything. Just like I felt nothing before I was born, I will simply go back into that state of nonexistence. Sometimes I can allow myself to be comforted by that thought: there’s no point being afraid, because it’s not something I’ll actually experience. It won’t be painful, or boring, or frightening. But most of that time it just makes me panic more, because then I begin to think about the fact that one day I won’t feel hurt, or bored, or frightened.

It’s got to the point where I can’t live in the moment entirely anymore. Any time I catch myself having a truly nice moment – one where I’m laughing with the people around me, or having a deep chat, or doing something I love – I’ll suddenly be overwhelmed with panic at the thought that these moments are fleeting, that one day I won’t be capable of having them anymore. I’m constantly wondering, with everything I do: when will I do this for the last time? When is the last time I will see this person? Or go to this place I always go? One way another, everything in my life will come to an end. And while most people seem to be able to, I cannot deal with that.

Maybe I feel like this because I don’t feel fulfilled yet. I’m only twenty one, and I haven’t had enough of life. Maybe it’s because of the years I lost to illness, and the desperate feeling I have now to get things done. To not fall behind. To enjoy everything life has to offer. Maybe I have some undiagnosed mental illness. Or maybe I’m completely normal, and everyone feels like this. If that is the case, I ask you: how do you cope? Today I was ill, because of my chronic illness flaring up. I spend most of the day lying around doing nothing. And even though I’m trying to be more sensible about it, I can’t help feeling panicked. That I’m wasting my finite time on this earth, that I don’t even know how much time I have left and so I should be using every last minute of it. When I’m well enough, I fill every moment I have with things. I don’t let myself rest.

It consumes me. In every book I read, every song I listen to, every hour I spend working, every conversation I have, I feel the finiteness of it. How do I carry the weight of mortality?

Love, Violet

Why Do We Have To Grow Up?

It’s a bit of a running joke with people I know that I was a stunted teenager. While other girls my age were having sex and going to parties and doing make up, I was playing pretend games in my head, and making video stars with kids a few years younger than me. Somehow I just entirely missed that horrible hormonal cesspool of fourteen year olds who are just beginning to find their place in the world.

A story that’s brought up a lot is the time my friend Lily and I decided to play The Hunger Games in the park. Toy bows and arrows and everything. We were fourteen, and we loved it. And it’s funny, that I was so stunted. That I was doing things like that at an age where it was no longer socially acceptable or age appropriate. But somehow I feel wrong laughing along with everyone, like I don’t have the right to. Laughing along would be letting everyone know that this is funny and cringe, but it’s fine because I’ve changed now. But how different am I really to that fourteen year old girl who played The Hunger Games in the park? Honestly, if I could do that again now, if I had the time, the energy, and the childish ability to immerse myself entirely into a story in my head, I would jump at the chance.

I didn’t stop playing pretend games because I gained the ability to reflect on how silly I look. I stopped playing pretend games because I lost the ability to pretend. And I would do anything to get it back. There’s so many stories out there about how children are special. Fantasy stories where only children can hear the bells of Santa’s sleigh, where only children can go to Terabithia, only children can see fairies and trolls and elves. And it’s because we all know that children have an ability that we lost long ago. Growing up is interesting, but as you grow the world gradually loses its magic, bit by bit. You learn that Santa Claus isn’t real. That fairies really are only imaginary. That your toys will never come to life, that you’ll never gain the ability to fly or to speak to animals, that everything you hoped is real, isn’t.

Pretend games become silly because now we’re all painfully aware of how it isn’t real. We can’t be immersed anymore. So people who haven’t quite lost that ability, who are a few steps behind everyone, are silly now. And childish. Yes, childish, because they haven’t yet lost what makes them a child. We should be adults now. We know how the world works.

Only we don’t want to give up the magic. So we turn to other ways to pretend. Books and TV shows that transport us to another world, Video games where the pretending is done for us. Dungeons and Dragons, a pretend game which is (debatably) socially acceptable. We have lost the ability to make the magic, so we rely on other means to access it. Some of us who are more imaginative will write stories, be praised for our imagination. Fanfiction: a way to take a pretend world you love and make it your own. Some of us make music, others make paintings. We try our best to access the creative brains we were born with.

It’s never quite the same though. No matter how good you get, you end up agonising over the work you’ve produced, worried that people will laugh at it, or be bored by the story, or cringe secretly because it’s bad. So you make sure to practise and practise, and become good at what you do. It’s great being good at what you do: it just gives you access to more ways to express yourself. But if you don’t have the time or the drive to become good, then you’ll give up, squashed under the watchful eye of others. People can’t paint unless they improve; people can’t sing unless they can sing in tune; people can’t write unless their work is approved by others. As children, we chalked the streets and painted pictures and wrote poems and stories with little thought to other people finding them bad, or finding us sad. We just did it because it was fun, and we enjoyed it. There was no need to impress, because no matter what we produced, there would be an adult around ready to be impressed.

I’m glad for books and video games. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to spend all my time in the real world. But I wish I had the obliviousness and the imagination of my child self, who could spend every waking moment in her own made up world. Who could spend hours alone chatting to my invisible friends (not imaginary. Invisible.). Who could make a delicious meal of mud pie and catkin oatmeal in my Wendy house, who could draw pictures to tell stories, who could effortlessly write poem after poem. Who could play The Hunger Games in the park with her best friend.

Perhaps the end of my childhood is more significant to me than it is to most people, even though I’m sure it’s a big deal for us all. For me, becoming a teenager coincided exactly with becoming bed bound, dropping out of school, and not seeing any of my friends for months and months. While most people at that age are being stripped of their childhood fancies and becoming acquainted with the world how it really is, I was stripped of everything. My life. And when I got a little better, I wanted things to go back to how they were before I was ill, even though I was a teenager now, and everyone else my age had moved on to adult things. Without me. Because I wasn’t there. So really it was a mixture of wanting what I had before, and not knowing how I was supposed to act now, because I’d left for a year and come back to a new world. It became a joke in my class that I didn’t know any innuendos that everyone else somehow knew now. People would come up to me with a new word, educate me. Slowly but surely, I learned what was normal. And eventually, I changed accordingly.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the worlds I left behind. Maybe one day, I’ll learn to return to them.

Love, Violet

Dear Maggie

Content warning: suicide.

Dear Maggie,

You would be sixteen now. My own sixteen was the year things started looking up. I went from being friendless and isolated, to having my first friendship group. To finally feeling like I had somewhere I fitted in. There were lows as well, of course – what sixteen year old would I be without some anguish?

When I look back to being thirteen years old, all I can think of is how little of my life I had lived yet. At thirteen, I was not the same person as at twenty one. I’d never driven a car; never got drunk; never gone away without adult supervision; never kissed anyone. But it’s more than just a checkbox of life experiences. There were things about me I didn’t know; feelings I had never experienced. I didn’t know I was gay. I didn’t know what it felt like to watch the news and the things going on around me, and simultaneously give up on humanity while still wanting to fight for it. I’d never fallen in love. I’d never had my heart broken.

At thirteen, I was a mere prototype of who I am today. But thirteen is all you are.

Dear Maggie,

We never spoke a word to each other directly. We only saw each other from a distance, quietly observed each other’s existence without much thought. It’s strange how one person can have so much impact on your life without ever exchanging a word. I remember the day I found out, three years ago today. I remember sitting at the school piano and playing while I thought of you. I remember walking numbly around the school, trying to keep it together until somebody asked me if I was okay. I remember crumbling, being reassured by the librarian that I wasn’t being stupid, and being hugged by a girl I barely knew. I remember going to my cello lesson, and breaking down again to my teacher. And again when I saw my friends who knew you cry. I remember talking to your best friend, someone who I did and still do love with all my heart, and watching them act stronger than I could despite being five years younger. I remember thinking that this can’t possibly be a world I can live in, where thirteen year olds don’t want to live.

You probably didn’t even know my name, but I’ll remember yours forever.

Dear Maggie,

I don’t believe in an afterlife. My talking to you now isn’t for your benefit at all. Only my own. Maybe to try and soften the idea in my mind that you don’t exist. You existed, and now you don’t. You’ll never get the letters people wrote to you, never see the tears from the people who loved you, never know what happened to all your friends who have had to grow up without you. You’re nothing now.

Whenever I think of you, I think of what could have been. If you’d decided to just keep going that little bit longer, how much your life could have improved. Or even if you’d tried, and somebody got to you in time, and you had the support of everyone who loves you to help you get better. So many people loved you.

But that didn’t happen. And now we’ll never know.

Dear Maggie,

You’ve left your mark on this world. And it will never be the same again.

Love, Violet



Paying My Past Self A Visit

Quarantine is weird. I feel like we’re all going a little off the rails at the moment, each in our own special way. Maybe I’m a minority here, but I’ve kind of been enjoying myself. For the first time in literal years, I have time. Time to get all those little projects done that I’ve been saying I want to do forever, but never got round to, like my painting by numbers that I started two years ago; and knitting a pair of gloves as a thank you to somebody for all they’ve done for me; and writing. But because everything’s so weird right now, I’ve had even more time to spare, even after doing all of those things. And inevitably, it’s transported me back to my childhood. Back to the time when I had all the time in the world.

It started with me getting out all my old Jacqueline Wilson books out of the loft. Those books took up a huge chunk of my childhood. I started with Candyfloss, the most battered, dog-eared book of them all, because of how many times I used to read it. None of my books look like that anymore, because I only ever have time to read books once now. But in the past, every single book I owned was thoroughly mangled. I’d read in bed every night. I’d read at the dinner table, despite my parents’ protests. I’d read on the toilet. God, I miss reading so much.

Next, I resurfaced the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo when I was 16. Year 12. The last year that I had the time and the willpower to participate in NaNoWriMo and actually finish it. I’ve been slowly uploading that story on to AO3 for the past three years, but I’ll always forget and then leave it for another year. Yesterday, I uploaded the rest of it. Except for the last chapter. I’m going to rewrite that one. Back when I wrote that story for the first time, I got through it and then never looked at it again. I never had time to make edits. Unfortunately, having finally got round to reading it, I’ve realised that it definitely needs editing: not just plot-wise, but there’s a load of grammatical errors which I let slip. This is why we proof-read, people!

It feels so strange, reconnecting with all these little parts of me that have just been locked away. I didn’t deliberately lock them. I’ve just been so busy. Even in the summer holidays, when all my schoolwork is done for the year, I fill it up with outings and meet-ups with friends, which are great and I love them, but it really does mean that I have no time at all just to. Exist. Every little part of my life has become about productivity. If I’m not working, I’m socialising; if I’m not doing either, I’m feeling guilty about getting nothing done, about not moving forward with my goal to achieve my ideal life. I don’t even know what my ideal life is. Just that it needs a ridiculous amount of work to get to it. The only breaks I ever gave myself were when I collapsed with sheer exhaustion, and had no choice but to rest.

I’m glad that I’ve had a chance to realise all of this. I don’t know what I can do about it. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the time that I have. Maybe start some volunteer work back up again, at some point. It feels wrong to just be sitting here safely while people are out there risking their lives for us. I’ve been meaning to go back to the vegetable farm I volunteer at (it’s counted as essential work) but for the past week or two my legs have just been aching non-stop. It’s weird. Usually my pain comes and goes. It isn’t just always there, never leaving. I’m starting to worry that it will never go away.

Anyway, I digress. So I’ve realised that my current life is making me into a shell of my former self. At the moment I have a chance to reconnect with who I used to be, but what about when all of this ends? What about when I have to go back to university, and then get a job? I can’t exactly just nope out of life. I suppose all I can really do is remember what I’m discovering right now. Remember that life isn’t entirely about how productive I can be. That mindset is probably just a result of living in a society that cares about nothing but how much they can get out of their workers. We’re taught to think that our lives revolve around work, that we’ll be rewarded if we spend an inhuman amount of time just working, that we’re following our dreams. But for most people, we never reach those dreams. We just get burnt out, struggling day to day to keep on top of everything, to earn enough to survive.

Even hobbies can’t be left alone. What’s the point in doing something fun, if you’re not making money out of it? Turn it into a side hustle! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make money off something you enjoy, if that’s what you truly want to do. If you can find a job that you love, and it’s something that you do for fun anyway, then great! You win at life. What I’m talking about is that feeling of obligation, that this thing you’re doing is a waste of time if it isn’t moving you forward in life somehow. I’ve been making an effort recently to do things for fun that I’m not very good at. I’m not great at writing, and I’m awful at painting, but I’m going to do them anyway because they’re fun. And sometimes, that’s enough.

I hope everyone’s staying safe and looking after themselves. How are you all finding quarantine? Has anything unexpected come out of it for you?

Love, Violet

A Further 10 Journal Prompt Questions and Answers

Hi everyone, not to be all existential crisis on you (I know that that trend is about 5 years out of date now) but I’m feeling that kind of hollowness that you sometimes get as a side effect of being human, but I don’t have the energy or motivation to write about it. So I thought right now would be the perfect time to distract myself with some questions. Prompts from

21. True or False: “I know how to stick up for myself.” Explain your answer.

False. This is something I’ll probably never get the hang of, but I’m trying. I second guess myself too easily. As soon as somebody thinks I’ve done something bad, it makes me question myself and think that they might be right, even when it’s blatantly obvious that I’ve done nothing wrong. Or somebody will say something and it will upset me, but I won’t say anything for fear that I’m overreacting. Also I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings; I go to extreme lengths to try not to do that, and probably a lot of the time fail anyway. At least I try?

22. You just moved in to your dream home. Look out the kitchen window. What do you see?

There’s plenty of things I’d love to look out and see. A forest, but not too close because I think living in one could be a little scary. Mountains would be great too. I wouldn’t mind living on mountains, although the journey to reach anything might get a bit much. The Northern Lights are definitely something I’d never get sick of. Or maybe all I need is a garden with children playing in it (preferably my children and not just some random kids I’ve never met before).

23. Your neighbors are having a party. You only know 1 person who is attending. Will you go to the party?

Absolutely not. If it was a friend then maybe, but I lack too many social skills to go to some garden party where everybody is likely middle aged and interact with people for an extended period of time. Not to mention a chronic illness that makes interacting with new people absolutely exhausting.

24. You just spent all day by yourself. Are you bored?

This is a very appropriate question for the time we’re living in right now. It really depends on the day. Sometimes, when I have the energy, I find countless things to do that interest me: reading books, knitting, cooking, playing music, crafts, painting (by numbers), or even just watching hours and hours of television. But when I’m ill it’s very dull. Not being able to do anything gets old really fast. Today was one of those days, unfortunately.

25. You’ve just met a stranger at a place you frequent. He/she tells you a bit about his/her life. Are you listening intently? Or are you waiting for an opening to talk about yourself? Neither answer is incorrect. Describe how this meeting made you feel.

Again, it really depends on the person. Most of the time I’ll be waiting for an opportunity to exit the conversation gracefully. If I don’t click with someone and the conversation isn’t flowing freely, then I’ll get really anxious. But if the conversation is easy and enjoyable, then it’s a mix of both. I think somebody that you click with makes you want to talk about yourself because you feel like you’re really being listened to and heard, but at the same time they’ll also make you want to listen to what they have to say, because they interest you.

26. You just spent a day at the beach. How do you feel? Energized? Tired? Alternatively, you spent a day in the mountains. How do you feel?

Spending a day anywhere that isn’t my house will definitely leave me being tired. Because. Chronic illness. But something like a beach or the mountains would most likely leave me feeling a fulfilled, satisfied kind of tired. The kind of tired you get when a good day has come to the end, with a little touch of sadness that it couldn’t have lasted for longer.

27. You’re in an elevator and someone you admire walks in. Do you give the person your business card? Why or why not?

No, because I don’t have a business card, and even if I did I very much doubt that anyone I admire will be impressed with me offering them maths tutoring.

28. To show someone you love them, are you likely to use words, actions, or another method?

Actions. This is something I get into trouble with a lot; my friends often worry that I don’t actually like them, because I don’t say it enough. I really try. But I’ve always found it easier to show my love rather than say it. A lot of the time I’ll do things for people without them even knowing that I’ve done it, or what I was specifically aiming to achieve. And that makes it even worse, because they have no way of knowing that I’ve done something for them. I think I have this deep rooted fear that I can’t outwardly show affection towards people, in case they don’t reciprocate those feelings.

29. You’ve just started working at a new job. One of your colleagues is mean/unkind to you. How do you handle the situation?

I’d probably do nothing at all, and just complain about them when I get home from work to anyone who will listen.

30. You walk into a white room filled with white furniture. Does it feel clean or sterile? What does this tell you about the rest of your home. Imagine the room with colorful walls and colorful furniture. How does this change your feelings?

I think it would feel interesting. A little bleak if it was where I was living. But I’ve never seen a completely white room before, so I think there would be some novelty to it. Same with a colourful room. I like it when things are changed up a little. Everything’s so boring usually.

I don’t think I answered these questions very well. But oh well. I’ve been honest, and I’ve tried to put thought into my answers. I hope everyone’s safe and indoors right now. See you all in 12 weeks.

Love, Violet