Wednesday, 13 June 2012

"Opposite of Loneliness" by Marina Keegan

I do not know this girl, in fact H's mom emailed me this this morning with a link to this piece because to quote 'I know you like writing', which I thought was sweet.  Not only do I remember the feelings of starting uni petrified and leaving even more so, I remember the feeling of it being my home. My friends became family, and even if I was sitting alone I didn't feel it as the place was so familiar. My home was the University of Chester. I guess all those who do go to uni and take the big leap of moving away feel the same, if not, you're at the wrong uni.

'The piece below was written by Marina Keegan '12 for a special edition of the Yale Daily News distributed at the class of 2012's commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.' -

We don't have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that's what I want in life. What I'm grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I'm scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.
It's not quite love and it's not quite community; it's just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it's four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can't remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers -- partner-less, tired, awake. We won't have those next year. We won't live on the same block as all our friends. We won't have a bunch of group-texts.
This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse -- I'm scared of losing this web we're in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.
-->But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They're part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn't live in New York. I plan on having parties when I'm 30. I plan on having fun when I'm old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clich├ęd "should haves..." "if I'd..." "wish I'd..."
Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We're our own hardest critics and it's easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I've looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.
But the thing is, we're all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we'll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that's okay.
We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.
When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it's easy to feel like that's slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we've had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.
For most of us, however, we're somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we're on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I'd gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I'd thought to apply for this or for that…
What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it's too late to do anything is comical. It's hilarious. We're graduating college. We're so young. We can't, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it's all we have.

In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn't until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale's administrative building. Of course, they weren't. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.
We don't have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I'd say that's how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don't have to lose that.
We're in this together, 2012. Let's make something happen to this world.
Rest in peace Marina, and thank you for summing up the experience I had yet to find the words for. The rest of us will continue to make something happen in this world.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

My new LBD...

With starting a new job there is always that gap where you will have no money. June is mine. It will be like seven weeks from my last wage to my first wage from this new job and most people would scrimp and save. Well I am not most people. The necessities such as car insurance (which is £1800 may I add) goes out in five days and I have a back up plan for rent, bills etc, but every so often I get an urge to buy something new.

What I realised was missing from my wardrobe is a Little Black Dress. It is said that every girl MUST have one and for some reason I didn't. Maybe because my shoes and bags that I go out with are black, I do have some pink Topshop shoes but they hurt my feet as I really wanted them and they didn't have an 8 only a 7. I've worn them twice. Anyway, I thought as much as it was probably not the wisest thing to do with the money situation and all I just couldn't resist the purchase. And with sale items they are technically giving it away (I like to think this as they have slashed their margins for the sale) it was also free next day delivery and my mama didn't raise no fool.

So a click click click later and I now have an LBD. What dya think?

Image 1 of ASOS Mini Dress with Bow Front 

Also couldn't resist the peach 

Image 1 of ASOS Mini Dress with Bow Front 

£14 EACH. I mean I couldn't believe it. Had planned to send my least favourite back, but having a LBD and a dress in the latter colour that will pop on my dark chocolate skin, for the sake of having an extra £14 in the bank, well on the credit card I thought nah, already paid this months bill and by the time my next one is due I would have been paid. BOOM!


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Bank Holiday Weekend...

So I hope everyone had a great Bank Holiday, mine was enjoyable but packed.

First stop Chester. Chester is where I went to uni and had the best years of my life so what better way to celebrate one of us flying the nest so to speak than where it all began. One of my closest friends is moving to New York in a matter of days for love, I vommed as I wrote this, but the cliche of if she's happy I'm happy comes to mind.
After the clock hit 5pm on Friday, I figuratively flew out the door to get myself prepped. I waited for one of the surprises we had in store. The ginge had come all the way from London, took her six hours which we didnt hear the end of, to see H off, and best of all, H was genuinely in shock, tears and everything.
We went to the Bouverie, a little pub where we all used to drink as students only to find there is now a children's play area and the wine has gone up four quid a bottle which I assume is to pay for this annoying contraption. Still, a tenner for wine is not to be scoffed at and it went down a treat and so did the greasy burger and chips afterwards, also another tradition. Drunken chats about how in our group we have a token ginge, lesbian and black (we could make our very own teen movie) before five of us slept in the same room, I had the sense to shotgun the bed.

Next stop Wales. All week I had plotted with H's Mom to go to her home for a little tea party, where some of her fave people would be. Cue us all to stuff our faces with personalised cakes and party food goodies, gulp wine spritzers and cider. We had also planned to go to the beach, living in this country for twenty four years should have already taught me, never to plan around English weather. A good time was had by all and there is one surprise left for H if it gets here on time. If not we may have to pool all our funds together to post it, a first class stamp costs 60p nowadays so I dread to think the cost of airmail.


Next stop West Midlands, where I am originally from and I couldn't have a four day weekend without a trip home. Sunday consisted of dinner round my friend's Granddad's house and babysitting whilst she went to the gym, the invite was extended but I couldn't miss The Apprentice finale. Well Done Ricky. 

I spent most of Monday lying down before heading to my sister's house to see her and my nephew who I call Bubz and his friend, also like having another nephew. After playing hide and seek and finding them pretty easily I was instructed to build a cardboard digger thing Bubz received as a gift for his birthday. It took half an hour and grasped their attention for five minutes, I recall the same thing happening with a lego police car a month back, but five minutes of silence is bliss. I then found myself hiding under a duvet in my nephew's room for half an hour and listened to them come to the conclusion that I had walked to Tesco as they couldn't find me and Baby Farquhar was still on the drive.

The next day we went to Crystal Leisure Centre, five kids, six adults, two bus rides later led us to the pool of dreams, or sick as Bubz swallowed water and coughed up his chips. Slyly moved away and pretended nothing ever happend. All those wondering about my hair getting wet, don't be silly, I wore a swimming cap and there were a few other black girls who had the sense to do the same.Waves, rapids, slides but it just wasn't as good as I remembered, the kids loved it though.


The end of my bank holiday over, so next stop Manchester. I needed to get back to watch 90210 on plus one before getting settled for work today. Still liking the new job, slowly absorbing the information and hope I grasp all systems as soon as possible just so my poor brain gets a rest.

Oh and some of you may have noticed that I didn't even mention the reason why we had the extra day off in the first place. I was too busy rushing around to watch any of the jubilee celebrations on TV but 60 years on the throne, congrats Liz. Also in the pipeline, Jamaica's 50th year of independence, and I turn a quarter of a century. 2012. BIG year!

P.s. I finished the Hunger Games. Disappointed with the last 2 percent, a bit of an anti climax as it skipped to the future with no warning. I have just downloaded The Facebook Killer- Part 3. The other two had me gripped so I am looking forward to it and also a little scared.

Happy June.