Waiting for independence

Sipping coffee opposite the illuminated TV screen on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the dog sleeping in her bed and my grandmother’s hand-made quilt over my post-shower perfumed lap, a strange feeling came over me. I felt a sense of surrealism, disbelief at what is my present life. My feet, though firm on the sofa, felt as if they couldn’t reach ground, as though they couldn’t grip reality.

Two days ago I made my return from a week in Barcelona. In this foreign, urban, exciting land I experienced relative freedom. The money that I had saved for a year funded this week, cementing my independence, and it was I who controlled my own movements, my own nourishment, my own adventures. I spent it in the company of my friends, without supervision, just us. Alone. Independent.

In a week and a half’s time, I’ll be making my way to a festival in North Wales with some friends, camping and drinking to the screaming chords of electric guitars and the not-so-harmonious shouts of lead singers. Again I will be free. For four days, I will once again experience a form of personal freedom.

A week after that, my A level results will be placed in my hand, with the decision of where I will be spending the next four years of my life. Uncertainty clouds this day. Fear and helplessness has pinpointed the date, the 13th of August, in my crazed brain, haunting my dreams.

Frustration at having to work and having to wait for any certainty about my future is slowly killing me. My upcoming week is crazy: I’m volunteering tomorrow, I have another voluntary induction on Tuesday, the dentist on Thursday, work on Friday and Saturday, my grandmother and my mother arriving on that same day and volunteering again on Monday. I guess cramming my life is one way of dealing with the lack of control I have presently.

Barcelona made me realise that I need to travel once I leave university. It sounds so cliché, but I need to have a taste of different cultures for my own self-satisfaction. I want to see France, Italy, but also the East. I want to see India, Pakistan, Eastern Turkey, Syria, down to northern Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine and Israel. I want to buy one of those scratch map posters and be able to scratch off areas that I never imagined I’d see. Slovakia and Slovenia, Australasian islands, even as near home as Scotland and Ireland. I want to work for a year and then experience everything these countries can offer me. I’m just gagging for excitement and for adventure. If I were a man, I would do it right now, take a year out and do it. But, as early morning Barcelona showed me, being a lone 18-year-old girl traveller would not be a safe option.

Perhaps it is this new-found dream of another life that fuels my dissatisfaction in my own. Until that unsavoury date, August the 13th, comes knocking, I don’t know what’s ahead of me. I’m scared but I cannot wait for the imminent independence which I hope this date will bring.


Resolutions and Explanations…

A few weeks ago I decided to make some just-after-mid-year resolutions. They consisted of:

1) Be less self-obsessed

2) Get fitter

3) Stop caring so much when you miss a social event

4) Be more relaxed in general

5) Be free, in life.

Number one was decided upon as I’ve been having that feeling that I talk about myself a bit too much, with both friends and strangers. I don’t know whether you’ve felt similarly, but I seem to find myself saying, “Last night I…” or “Oh yes, I do the same, but I…” or even “I think you should…” If I annoys myself, I can only imagine how painful I am for others to listen to, with all my yacking!

The second is something one can change easily. In order to achieve the 5 hours of exercise a week recommended, last week I went mad. I played tennis for about 3 hours altogether and walked for miles, around 12 hours. Last week I was an athlete compared to my usual standards! My downfall though, is ice-cream. This weather is doing my sweet tooth no favours, and as a result my sporting efforts are lost with a few licks of raspberry ripple and a bite of a flake.

Three is important to me. As I’ll be going to Turkey over the month to come, I’ll have to miss some events, including Maes B in the Eisteddfod (where Tinted and many, many other Welsh-ies will be having a right good party), house parties and, most crucially, the apres-results party. Dun, dun, DUN! Personally, it’s the fact that people are having fun without me that bugs me; I like being involved in an event. Even if I wasn’t a key figure in the event, I was there. I want to forget about this and enjoy my life as it comes, being either able to enjoy myself at parties or miss them because I’m having a good time elsewhere.

The fourth is a funny one: I’m such a tense person when it comes to some things (mostly schoolwork)! Having spent time with WelshNash before, and now being accepted by stoners as a consequence, I’ve seen how relaxed some people are about life; it seems so healthy. Ok, a lot of it is produced by the things they smoke, and perhaps one can be a bit too relaxed, but it seems to me that people are much happier when they don’t give a shit. There are some things that don’t bug me now, like people’s opinion of me (as a crazy Welsh bitch), the way some look at how I dress and if someone calles me names. I don’t give a rat’s backside. Yet when it comes to work, arrangements, or my behaviour, I’m too cautious and take everything a bit too seriously. The holidays help me relax, so hopefully, by the time school greets me again this Autumn, I’ll be as chilled out as a pot of Ben & Jerry’s.

Lastly, freedom. School holidays give a pupil some well-deserved freedom to do what he or she pleases, but many don’t cherish it. They stay at home, doing nothing but texting around to see if someone else is bored, or go and play on their Xbox for twelve hours, not having realised that the sun was out that day and that they missed it. I want to be the complete opposite. I yearn for new experiences (who can’t resist an adventure, exploring in the Peak District?) and my worst nightmare would be a reality if for a day I didn’t do anything productive at all. Happily, I think that this is the resolution that doesn’t need to be written down: I feel that I am free in my life. If I want to do something, I’ll do it! Tomorrow, I’m going to another seaside town on the bus, on my own, for a day doing some arty things in my own company. I’m ecstatic about it. Now, what could be a more adequate description of ‘freedom’?