“All the world’s a stage.” – A Letter to My Pre-University Self | An Ode to Life

Friday 21.04.17 – 10.27AM

I’ve just submitted a law essay which I believe has redirected me onto the path to Enlightenment, and I need to stop everything that I’m doing in order to write down what’s in my head. Brace yourselves…

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And then he said to me, ‘Isn’t it funny we’re all just people walking around trying to put on appearances. . .’

‘I’m gonna grow a moustache and start smoking. It’s just another way to meet new people.’


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February 26th 2013 – Sick in Bed

A friend challenged me to write my next blog post
In (Shakespeare’s) sonnet form. Bed-ridden, I force
Coughs, heaving breaths to pass hours and boast
Weak English skills to speak my mind’s discourse.
The sick waits in my chest. Bombs burst black fire
From lungs, pierce heart, grip throat. Within the walls
Of music’s madhouse, quavers cut the air
Mocking the girl who dreams for concert halls,

The gratitude of crowds and a red dress
For her amusement. But I see a sky
Whose plaster grey brings not hope, but distress,
A cup of acid, hassled hair and sighs.
As I’m pushed back down, silenced, far away
The mighty world flies through another day.

The Problems of Sleeping

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It is an undeniable truth that I sleep in a bed which repels all the gravitational pulls of drowsiness.

I get on the bed, my teeth revitalised by a mediocre manual toothbrush I have been using ever since the electric equivalent kept flashing red at me for want of more battery fuel – I left the charger back on Scottish land.

Right, you will get to sleep. You’re clearly exhausted from the walk today. Your body knows it, otherwise your would not have tied your hair up and cleaned your face by now.

The time is 11:00pm or a smidgen after that.

Like a kid determined to impress their teacher in an elementary classroom, nothing is more important than achieving the  right sleeping setup to carry out my project on reveries.

I read a book – Bee Season by Myla Goldberg – to engage the ‘Relaxation’ or ‘Winding-down’ function; it is a Portal though which you can pass only by reading words on a page. I have never seen this scientifically explained but my friends preach that reading is the answer to all the unanswerable questions about sleeplessness:

Oh, I read and then two minutes later, I’m asleep!

After about a page, I can’t keep my eyes open any longer!

A minor chunk of the book is transferred sheet by sheet, from one hand to the other. When I am reading, I consciously analyse the author’s techniques in order to trick myself into believing that there has been a substantial amount of English work completed over the summer. I’ve only read one book.

Hey, nice metaphor. I totally see the relationship between the two images.

Woah, what cheeky sentence structure you’ve used there.

That short sentence really draws attention to its unique quality in a paragraph, producing a dramatic and punchy impact to the text.

I appoint the end of a paragraph as the deadend of the road which I am travelling on, the one that supposedly led me through the Portal. My head feels like those goggly eyes that give the gift of life on any shape you stick them, heavy and stubborn. Yes, Myla Goldberg, your precise and elegant words have helped me.
Apart from my active air-filter, constantly whirring to prevent dust tormenting my 9,126th allergy, the night is quiet. Now is the time.

Isn’t your bed comfy?

The pillow is readjusted. I must savour the holidays, where time isn’t dictated by school.

I shut my eyes, awaiting the slow-motion dive into the subconscious territory, a thing that happened several times earlier in the day, in the car and on a bench of a near-empty exhibition room, fully air-conditioned. Finally at peace…

Anytime now, the dive will happen, just you wait. You won’t even notice it.

Lying on my left side, legs outstretched in a running stance, hands tucked under the pillow – sore neck – roll over, flat on my back like a vampire – continue the cycle and lie on my right side, this part of my body feeling new to being pressed into the bed.

Numerous curse-words in my mind: f****** hell, you’re going to feel s*** tomorrow, get the hell to sleep [overload of exclamation marks].

In my brain, there are about four screens which perform similar duties to crystal balls of fortune tellers. They don’t show the same things every time; last night, they were piecing together the possibilities of my future:

  1. There are random sentences of my non-existant Personal Statement flying around which are meant to entice the Universities’ admissions staff to offer me a place. Everyone says start composing your statement early early early, don’t rush it at the last minute, ughhhh I don’t want to start mine. A list is being written (like Rita Skeeter’s quill and parchment in Harry Potter) of books I need to read for background insight into the subject I am applying for, and the frustrating steps I need to take in order to gain access to these texts.
  2. A week of Summer remains and you haven’t read any of literature set for your classes next year. What will your English dissertation be about, you silly girl? What is the French for bread? What on earth is the pluperfect tense and how do you form it? Where in the house, are those books?
  3. Ugh, you’re looking at yourself playing violin badly. Think of all the scales and double stops you could have done in the time you spent on Facebook today. Tomorrow, you’ll start some decent practise; hey, why don’t I start planning my practise? Why can’t I ever play in tune? NYO Audition, nooooo… School technical assessments, masterclass, got to learn that piece ASAP. Really need to sort out my bow hold. Ooh, I look like I could kill someone when I play violin. You know the other day, that YouTube video on lefthand technique was really interesting. I love music. I love chamber music. But you really need to stop looking like this:

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  4. You did no Maths today; the image of the textbook is glaring at you. You bad girl, look at all those chapters! What the hell is trigonometry again? Think of your future, the moment you tear open the envelope and see you’ve been accepted into the dream institution. You want that, baby… yeah. Actually, what job do I really want? Oh my God, I don’t know what I want to be when I’m older! It was easy for Mum and Dad, how can you possibly know at my age? I have to be happy too.

This globe of never-ending worries is inescapable. Must read more Myla Goldberg to hide from my own life.

Ten minutes later, I repeat the above. Damn that stupid reading-makes-you-sleep method! It’s 02:00am… Oh, I need the toilet actually. Hm, I’m peckish too – descend the stairs and eat some cereal sans milk.

I stare at my baggy eyes in the mirror – my, you’re going to look great tomorrow. I curse this human need to sleep, something which I can’t do. Actually, let’s fight: an all-nighter, so you’ve got that sick feeling in your body the next day. No, don’t look at the window, there’s nothing more soul destroying than the way daybreak laughs at you.

Mum told me as a toddler, I was reluctant to sleep. I wonder if this unfortunate oddity will continue throughout my entire life? Any advice welcome, thank you.