I’ve been struggling recently – feeling vulnerable. Getting better has been a long, and difficult, process and a few months back I felt ready to take on some new challenges, to make a change. But it isn’t easy. Starting a new course has reminded me of those early days of University, and I can’t help but look back on them and be surprised by how strong I was. I packed all my stuff up and moved more than a hundred miles from my family – where I knew no one – and I survived. Not only that, I enjoyed it. I don’t think I could do that now.
And then, I did it again, almost a decade ago – quit my job and decided to train to teach, moved all the way down to the south of London (albeit with beloved housemates in tow). How did I do it? Could it be that I was stronger then? And, if I was, what can I do with the pain of my breakdown? If I can’t say “I’m stronger now”, how can I explain it?
People have spoken to me a lot recently, about what strength there is in being able to speak openly about how you feel; what strength there is in being able to feel as quickly as I do. A lecturer on my course told me that the other students would learn a lot from me, by listening to how I feel. That wearing my heart on my sleeve was my blessing (though he didn’t use those words). It made me angry. I don’t want to be a case study – I don’t want people to learn from me at the expense of my sanity.
But maybe there is something strong in being so openly vulnerable. Maybe I can find a way to live with this emotional honesty (something I can’t seem to control anyway). And, perhaps, I was only stronger back then because I was pretending to be someone I’m not. Someone who cared less, and hid behind a made-up personality. Maybe being me (the real me) is something I should learn to embrace, even if it means being open to heartache.
It scares me sometimes that I am in my thirties and still only just learning how to be human, but maybe that’s the whole wonder of being human in the first place.
don’t be scared, surely? however long you live, I don’t think you ever finish learning how to be human, it always will be a work in progress, just because the human being you are keeps changing, every day