Today, with two exams, the end of Lent term was marked! We will disregard the two supervisions, week backlog of lectures and 2 essays I have yet to complete this weekend and celebrate my SURVIVAL! I thought, naively it turns out, that this term would be better than last working from home, with an idea of how to go about lectures ect. Time and time again I was proven wrong, with each week bringing new challenges and lows. This previous week was the worst one by far, where I was dragging myself through the days. Tired and burnout, work was physically repulsive yet I had exams to sit the coming Friday. So here I am, in one piece and I am so thankful for everything I have and am.
Part of what made this final week exceedingly hard for me was coming to self realisations. I am not a fan of the label ‘overthinker’ because I am of the camp that believes we just don’t spend enough time thinking- its all relative in my opinion. My dependency on abstraction and escapism, negative emotions towards others- all the parts of me that are flawed essentially- stuck out at me. These are things that don’t become exposed until you are made vulnerable. And though, as I’ve told my friends, I am really getting tired of making all these life discoveries and learning the hard way, this week has been a baptism of fire. Something has switched, and I feel quite changed from the Aatqa of last week.
One of the discoveries I have come to is the effect of social media on myself. I am not a large proponent of it myself, having a brief stint on Instagram during lockdown last year then deleting it because it was actually making me anxious lol, and really was only active on Twitter ( my snapchat account exists purely for the nostalgia at this point and serves minimal functional purpose in my life). I became acutely aware of the impact twitter was having on my life, feeling sometimes repulsed and icky just going through my feed. The constant stimulation of the tl and investment in parasocial relationships is so draining for me, and not personally how I want to use my limited time on earth. If I were to look back on my life, scrolling through twitter at 7am would not be up there on my most fulfilling past times- so why do we do it when we can spend time with loved ones, read books, write, exercise – explore. I think there was a point in time when I needed twitter, where I used it to find aspects of myself. But now I have a vague image of my ideals, I think I can take a more targeted approach to such endeavours by using resources more intentionally rather than being fed them through some consumerist, populist algorithm. yh I said it.
Ultimately when it comes down to it, I want to lead a ‘revolutionary life’. It sounds very cringe but just hear me out. The wokeness industry has cheapened the idea, but the way I view it is that I am intent on living life in a way that empowers me to my ideals and philosophies which I identify with. I want to live actively, not passively. I think this is where my interests coalesce in a Venn diagram: revolutionary struggle, spirituality and art – they all tease at the same thing: to develop a deep sense of meaning and self in a world where it is so easy to get pulled into the un’overthinking’ amalgam.
Bit of a pet peeve but I also find it a bit grating when people try to categorise me. Something I get very often is whether I am queer or lesbian. I am not, but try to convince my Spotify that. We need to know ourselves in our true entities, not ideas projected onto us. Detangling and understanding the messiness of being I think is what we need rather than accepting premade frameworks and applying them to ourselves to let us ‘discover who we are’. We are each individual souls on our own journeys.
I may sound a bit obnoxious to those who don’t know me with what I am about to say, but I have struggled alot with being ‘different’, ‘a bit of a misfit’. Honestly I think I’ve been in a bit of self denial about this lately, particularly in first term trying to act ‘normal’ when instinctually I know something is off. I am who I am and that is all there is to it: in the wise words of Princess Nokia ‘I’m a little artsy and I know I’m kinda smart/ I may not have clout, but I’ve got a lot of heart’. This is my reality and those who accept me for who I am are the most important people in my life.
What I’ve learnt this term is that compassion can come in all different forms and we must accept and nurture it, first and foremost from ourselves and from others. To this point I’ve lived through books and ideas with very limited experiences with failure or success in the sphere of social relationships- I’ve always passively passed through entering and leaving neither on good or bad terms. I think with me I am scared of failure, making mistakes and the mess of existence. But I must open myself up to the world, with the knowledge that care and compassion will also follow the hurt. Existence man, future me do let me know if these hypotheses turn out to be true.
To close I just want to talk about a film I watched this evening. Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s ‘The Silence’ is such a beautiful piece of art. It follows a deaf child who needs to earn money to pay the rent for his mother but gets side-tracked by the world. For me it was a film primarily about spirituality and Sufism particularly. Finding symphonies in the cacophony of existence. Making mistakes, sensory overload, quiet still moments, waves and tsunamis. I love how what I read and watch fit into my life, that the time place and context for me to watch this film was so perfect and meant for this evening. Art and small miracles bring us closer to the truth by causing us to question and appreciate. lovelovelove the effect they have on my parasympathetic nervous system tbh.
Ok I lied, to close I want to transcribe an extract from the book I am currently reading titled ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf:
‘As I fold up my frock and my chemise,’ said Rhoda, ‘so I put off my hopeless desire to be Susan, to be Jinny. But I will stretch my toes so that they touch the rail at the end of the bed; I will assure myself, touching the rail, of something hard. Now I cannot sink; cannot altogether fall through the thin sheet now. Now I spread my body on this frail mattress and hang suspended. I am above the earth now. I am no longer upright, to be knocked against and damaged. All is soft, and bending. Walls and cupboards whiten and bend their yellow squares on top of which a pale glass gleams. Out of me now my mind can pour. I can think of my Armadas sailing on the high waves. I am relieved of hard contacts and collisions. I sail on alone under the white cliffs. Oh, but I sink, I fall! That is the corner of the cupboard; that is the nursery looking-glass. But they stretch, they elongate. I sink down on the black plumes of sleep; its thick wings are pressed to my eyes. Travelling through darkness I see the stretched flower-beds, and Mrs Constable runs from behind the corner of the pampas-grass to say my aunt has come to fetch me in a carriage. I mount; I escape; I rise on spring-heeled boots over the tree-tops. But I am now fallen into the carriage at the hall door, where she sits nodding yellow plumes with eyes hard like glazed marbles. Oh, to awake from dreaming! Look, there is the chest of drawers. Let me pull myself out of these waters. But they heap themselves on me; they sweep me between their great shoulders; I am turned; I am tumbled; I am stretched, among these long lights, these long waves, these endless paths, with people pursuing, pursuing.’