Thursday, 7 June 2018

On endings

There is an emptiness to it that I did not anticipate. Or perhaps I did, but I didn't have time to consider it before it happened. I was borne to the inevitable ending by anxiety and stress. I kept waiting for it, wishing for it. It came, and then what? The euphoria can only last so long. The impossibly long list of things to do that I put off with the endlessly repeated phrase 'It can wait' now hovers, encroaching. But still I feel I have no purpose. For weeks, months, my life has been the inside of libraries. I did not think I would miss it so much. I am someone who craves routine. I am someone who has never coped well with change.

I went home - I thought it would help. But the walls didn't seem as familiar as they usually do. My bed did not feel like my bed. It has not been harbour for me for so long now. I am no longer an undergraduate, bouncing from home to Oxford and back again. Something has shifted. The house seemed to have shifted too. It felt somehow alien. I walked back from the train station just now along a lane littered with confetti mingling with the dead leaves under my feet, shaving foam congealed on the pavement. Vestiges of euphoria. I saw people with red carnations, giddy, stumbling along the street. I wanted to tell them it won't last.

I read so I do not have to think. I read as I did when I was a child, when I felt so uncomfortable in myself that I lost myself in escapism, in the stories of others. I want to go back there now - to people and places that exist elsewhere, that aren't tethered to this reality. I want to live there for a while. The stories welcome me back as if I hadn't left, into the mind of now this character, now that. I feel my own future stretching ahead, a blurry grey horizon, and I do not want it to come into focus yet, so I tether myself elsewhere.

Someone is ill. Someone is sad. I do not know how to offer comfort. All I have done - all I have been able to do for months - is think about myself. I do not remember how to comfort others. I am angry that my selfishness is noticed, is pointed out like a festering sore. I must learn how to be unselfish. I must learn to cope with change. I must learn that life is not always about having a purpose, about having a routine, and that sometimes you can sit with the change and the emptiness and allow it to happen. Sometimes just existing is enough.

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