- ‘The older you get, the more fragile you understand life to be. I think that’s good motivation for getting out of bed joyfully each day.’ – Julia Roberts
- ‘Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.’ – Simone De Beauvoir
- ‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started.’ – Mark Twain
- ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ – Walt Disney
- ‘I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.’ – Florence Nightingale
- ‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’ – Nelson Mandela
- ‘Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.’ – W Clement Stone
- ‘Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.’ – Oprah Winfrey
- ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ‘If you ever think of giving up, remember why you held on for so long.’ – Hayley Williams (of Paramore)
Over the years, I have become a pro at avoidance.
Counsellors and therapists have been left exasperated with me because of the way I weave myself out of situations and wriggle out of any obligations which I know will make me feel anxious. At school, I used to make a concerted effort to avoid any teacher who took an interest in me, anyone who wanted to explore what lay behind my silent, passive exterior. For the most part, I have made my life an extensive game of hide and seek as I have consciously guarded myself against anything which could have the potential to brings things out of me that I would rather conceal. My sealed mouth and over-active mind act as an armour between me and the world, allowing me to pass through life with a minimum amount of confrontation.
Through time this has expanded to the way I dress and present myself. I make an active decision everyday to dress myself in a way that will act as the best disguise and which will reduce any individualism someone could associate with me. Essentially, I try my best to make myself invisible. I wear baggy black hoodies and jogging bottoms which cannot show my figure and cover as much skin as possible. That way I feel safe, for some reason. Protected.
The result of living my life behind a silent barrier is that I have left myself alone and without any interests that could draw me away from the confines of my room. My lifestyle is, by my own design, incredibly isolating. University was supposed to be a new start for me, a chance to re-create myself afresh but as I write this I have not been into any of my classes for the past three days because every time I think about entering a seminar room or a lecture hall I feel physically sick.
By trying to navigate through life as simply as possibly, I have made everything as far away from straight forward as I could have done. Many of the skills people have learnt during their time growing-up and experiencing new things, I have made sure that I have missed out on. I have made dead certain that I would always be on the outside looking in because I have always seen this as the safest place to be, looking at all situations from a distance in order to ascertain any ‘dangers’. Now I am finding nearly impossible to find my way back to a point where I can live without putting extreme restrictions in place between me and everyone else.