Who’s going to hire me? -Embracing your past

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I didn’t expect to be laying in my  wide awake at 4am this morning, followed by wandering aimlessly around my flat. To say my sleep pattern is messed up at the moment is an understatement, my days and nights kind of blur together if I don’t have anything to leave the flat for, I’m in a constant state of write, study, read and possibly eat at some point. I found myself thinking and worrying this morning about getting a job at stupid o’clock in the morning. What if they read about the problems I’ve had this year and don’t want me? What if they do secretly discriminate against me because of my mental health? What if was a prominent theme of the torture my sleepless brain put me through. But, it’s not because I’m dramatic.

I’ve been filling in a few job applications here and there, currently only for roles that I really want and could see myself working in and then there is the box that asks if you have a disability. While I myself don’t like being called disabled because it’s a crappy label, I know that to get help I need to tick it, lately though I’ve found myself  not wanting to tick that box, to hide a part of myself and my past out of fear more than anything. Like many other third years, I’m scared of the unknown and I know that the odds aren’t in my favor. Talking to Ali about it tonight he reminded me that there is so much proof that I can do so much more than a label, and I already have done so much more.

I’ve never been embarrassed or ashamed, and I’m not but I do know there is still a lot of people who are uneducated about my condition, but I’ve managed to educate people through telling my story before. With that in mind, why should I be scared of doing that again? When I saw this quote on Pinterest it made me take a breath, because what’s the point in trying to hide a part of my life or the hardships I’ve faced in the past? There is none. If anything that takes away from what would make me a great employee. I work hard, I persevere. Yes there may be times where my illness kicks my ass and I need a day to get myself better but I’m not a quitter. I got through my final year at university with a healing spine, a ‘broken’ mind and sickness and I think I’ve still done pretty damn great and have never let it affect my two jobs.

Why am I writing this? It’s not to brag. It’s because I know that sometimes you need to see someone else lay everything out. All the good times and all the shit times too and just remember that actually, you may not be ‘normal’, whatever the hell that means, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have a story to tell. To some people I’m an ‘inspirational’ person, which I’ll take but to me it’s just my everyday life, carrying on no matter what because I will not let a label or a box define me. I am so much more than that.

Where do I come from?

We all wonder where we come from, I’m no exception. I’ve been researching my family history on my Mum’s side for a good few years now with my Gramps, I know we’re of Swiss-Italian nationality a few generations back (hence the name) but there’s a point where we get stuck and can’t go back any further, which annoys me. I don’t know as much about my Dads side, even though he’s interested in finding out about them too.

I think it’s important that we know where we come from, if we wish. I have friends who are desperate to track down family, some lost, some they’ve never known and some they will never know. I’m currently obsessed with two shows, Long Lost family and Who Do You Think You Are? I love the past, the history and the things that people find out.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop researching, in an academic sense or in this kind and it will be nice to connect with my ancestors. It’s great being so close to London, so let’s see what we can find…

When the past catches up with you

It was inevitable that at some point in the next few years my past would crop up. I didn’t think the time for this would be in a playwriting workshop that would completely throw me. I was speaking to a friend the other day about things in your past that you could hide at university after becoming a new person and she told me it was harder when unexpected things made you stumble. I found this out in my Creative Writing lecture this afternoon after the topic of bullies came up and the victims. We were supposed to write about our school and write a scene based on it. I had already started to squirm and decided I wasn’t writing the exercise, I wasn’t even going there. It got worse as the lecture went on as descriptions of school days came to light, what the bullies did and I could feel dark mood spreading. People started to laugh at the ‘antics’ finding the mental abuse funny.

Needless to say I left that lecture, I just couldn’t handle it. Quite frankly it’s not funny, it damages lives and can cause suicide. All the little tricks that were played never ever leave you. I know that because it’s still in my damn mind and it still makes me angry. I feel like maybe I should spit ball all those who laughed in the lecture, hide their notes before an important exam, create lies about them or just make them feel useless? Because that people is what it does to someone when you bully them because that is when it’s not funny.

Ask my Mum how she felt when her daughter would hysterically cry and beg not to be sent to school. Ask Ali how it felt watching me struggle for years with how I felt about myself. How about you ask my little sister if she understood why I was so sad when I came home from school. Funnily enough when you bully someone it doesn’t just take over their life but it takes over the lives of the people who love them too.

All this said I don’t hate the people in my lecture, I don’t believe that they are bad people but I was upset. I’m sure if they knew it, wouldn’t have been as funny but that is my whole point. Why should your perceptions change because someone is in the room, surely you should just find it awful in principle?

I’m going to try as hard as I can not to dwell on this because I have been doing so well in getting over my past. I’m finally trying to talk about things and sort out my feelings. Luckily I had a very special friend in that lecture who understood and helped get me out as soon as she could, and for that I am grateful.

It’s just a thought for you guys, although I know many of you will understand why I feel this way.

Always getting ahead

At the age of seven I stood up in front of my Aunt’s wedding reception and sang ‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles. I was not bothered in the slightest I just stood up and sang while adults got all misty eyed and I was none the wiser. Since I was small I’ve always been confident and I’ve been ahead of my class most school years (so much so that at one point they thought I might end up at Oxford or Cambridge). Even at the age of five I couldn’t stand being read too, so instead I’d read to my mum at night, not bothering with silly voices I just wanted to read it. As I got older my confidence as a performer grew and so did my skills in reading and writing I was on top form. Even when I was bullied I may have lost the majority of my confidence but apart from Maths I was generally either one of the smarter ones in my class or at least ahead of what I was supposed to be. 

Why am I tell you all this? Not to show off I can assure you. Once I started Uni I realised I wasn’t the smartest any more and there are things that I didn’t know, even about myself. I’ve been finding parts of Uni a struggle, things I shouldn’t. For me this was really tough, I’d been the smart girl for the past 2 years, what was I now? This started to have a real impact on me, for the last few weeks I’ve been really uncertain. I spoke to people and now questions are being raised about me being Dyslexic. This doesn’t surprise me as I knew I already had tendencies but after a talk with my tutor she said usually brighter children find way to compensate and hide it. It got me thinking and academically I love pleasing people so maybe I held off in the other dyslexia tests? I wont know for a little while but it has been agreed that I will have a test paid for by the uni to see if they can give me any help and find the cause. 

I think I need to relax but I do worry about being behind. I have to be organised, I have to be on time and usually I need to know what’s going on. Sometimes (as I mentioned before) it’s a blessing but it’s also exhausting so I’m trying to take a leaf out of Ali’s book and be more relaxed about things. I need to learn to go with the flow, we’ll see how that works out! Anxiety plays it’s part and I’m hoping when CBT starts working I will be able to be that little bit more relaxed. Apart from worrying about going back to Halls I haven’t had to use CBT today but it’s still going to take time. This is something that I can’t get ahead with, a new way to learn I suppose!