I forgot how much I love reading.
Back in February I went through my first ever break up, and it was one of the most emotionally draining things I think I’ve ever been through. I spent weeks bursting into tears at random points in the day and just willing myself to be asleep for as long as I could. Being awake hurt, and being unconscious meant not being awake, so that was better. I stopped eating and I just lost myself in daydreams and fuzziness.
In hindsight, I do think that the breakup was the best thing that could have happened to my A levels. I worked so hard because thinking about numbers meant I didn’t have to think about how I was feeling. Studying fields and motion meant I spent less time feeling left out. I lost a lot of friends during that time as well. My method of getting over it was to hide from the world and wallow in my own self-pity. I stopped going to everything outside of school. Usually I’m a very happy, bubbly person. People didn’t know how to deal with me being sad and they left me to it. Honestly, I didn’t know what a sad me looked like. I didn’t know how to be single after 2 and a half years, and I didn’t know how to come to terms with my new found single identity.
It was really difficult for the first few weeks. I stopped going to everything outside of school. We were in the same school, and had taken some of the same subjects. I’m the kind of person who shows how they are feeling because I can’t stop myself crying. If I needed to cry, I would do exactly that. I would sit next to my ex on the bus and hide behind my hood (really badly, might I add. You can hide your face, but not shaking shoulders) and cry, and I’d get off the bus and go wandering with one of my closest friends and cry at him instead. He was one of my rocks. He was dependable, and I can’t thank him enough for holding me while I sobbed and blubbered about how much I missed everything.
There was one evening which was particularly difficult, and that was the lowest point through it all. That was where I realised I had to make a change. I couldn’t keep feeling sorry for myself. I had to fix how I felt. That was my turning point. I just started to sign up for things left right and centre. I went to London for the weekend with the Big Music Project (blog post here), I went to a residential about youth led grant panels (blog post here). I didn’t give myself any time to stop. My attitude was “Anywhere but here. Anywhere but here”. Travelling was full of revision notes and past paper practise. I would disappear for the odd half an hour to cry and have a breakdown, but I was getting better.
I met so many new people. I made new friends, who I played music around campfires with and played parachute games with and laughed with and smiled with. I had lost so man
y friends, it was nice to make some new ones and learn about different places, and I got to make an impact. I got to give feedback to the Big Music Project so they could improve their funding application. I got to help a project for health improve the ways they work with young people. I made a difference in other areas.
I did so many new things. I had a fear of sleeping out, and it pushed me to get over that. I signed up for the buddy project, and I made a friend who had moved to the UK from Australia, who I got to meet and go places with and I’m so thankful.
I didn’t create much at all. I stopped blogging because I had nothing happy to say. I didn’t write any songs at the time because I would be a blubbering mess after 5 minutes of thinking about it all. I consumed a lot of media. I read blog posts and listened to so much music. I cried to Ed Sheeran and I smiled and motivated myself with Nina Nesbitt and Dodie.
I rediscovered books. I used to read so much and I had lost my love for it. I wanted to go on adventures and meet new people and laugh at new jokes. Cassandra Clare released the new Dark Artifices book, and as soon as exams finished I read that, and I reread the Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. I got lost in adventures in the faerie realm and I was a shadowhunter and I slayed demons and I fell in love with my favourite universe all over again. I remembered why I loved reading and why I loved books so much.
I made my choices for uni. I didn’t end up going. I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay home. I got an apprenticeship and now I’m an engineer. I realised that what I really wanted was to be near my family. My two younger sisters are so important to me, and I love them so much and I wanted
to stay for them. I’m at the age where my parents
are my friends, and they took me to see U2 with them, and we had drinks and we laughed, and I wasn’t ready to leave that behind. All of my really solid friends were staying home, and the apprenticeship I took gave me the opportunity to learn about so many fields of engineering, and that is so exciting.
By September, I felt like I had everything in place. I Slayed my A Levels, got the apprenticeship I wanted, got to stay home, passed my driving test (finally!!!! Zoomzoom), and I was so happy. I realised how cool a life I had and that I could do it on my own. I didn’t need to be with anyone to be happy. I had found peace in my single identity, and I was happy.
Then something unexpected happened; I fell for a friend I’ve known for a pretty long time, and we were seeing more of each other and I was so nervous. I hadn’t had nervous butterflies like this for ages, and I didn’t know how to navigate this sort of situation. I hadn’t had to for more than 3 years, so how could I expect to be able to tell him I like his face, and I never expected him to tell me the same. I was ecstatic and the butterflies grew. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that you don’t know how long these things will last and how long people will stay around for. I don’t know how long this will last, but what I do know is that right now I’m happy, and I know that regardless of what happens, I’ll be okay.
I still read, I love reading. It makes me happy, and I read on the train, and I speed through books. I go on adventures and I get lost and I fall in love and I go through heartbreak all over again. It’s so cool. I’m also eating again. My appetite isn’t what it was in January but it’s there a little more, and I sleep a solid 8 hours every night, and that’s enough sleep. I don’t want any more time away from being awake.
What was the point of this post? I think a few things. To update anyone who cares about my absence why I was absent, to let anyone who is going through a break up that everything will be okay regardless of what your situation is. You will be fine. You will live through it and you will find happiness again, you are on charge of how you feel. Look after yourself and you will be okay. Reach out to your friends, family, go join new clubs, sign up for something new, treat yourself to bath bombs, or do some yoga. You are in control. Stay strong.
Thanks for reading
Love Ashleigh xxx