I try not to post too many personal things on my blog because this is a home to dreams and beautiful realities, where the past and present tilt at windmills heedless of the coming future. It is a place where I can pour my passions, express my frustrations, and to cultivate the person that is simply me.
Since my announcement on leaving London I have received an overwhelming response of kind words. Praise that up until this point had been unspoken by anyone other than family and close friends. To have such a support of talented strangers constantly lifting me up has been an incredible privilege and one I hope to continue for many years.
Yet I have found that stellar road into the internet has been unwelcome to me in the past day. The praise far outweighs the criticism but as I am a mere human with weak sensibilities such words are like salt in my already raw nerves. They continuously echo in my mind so that I find myself boxed in a defensive stance of self-protection.
Which is why I am reblogging a photo that has absolutely nothing to do with what I post about. This picture expresses so much of my current mood that I struggle to find words to even illustrate how welcomed they were, so unprepared for the massive surge of *yes* that welled inside me with no place to go but to crash against my shore.
I have wandered my childhood home the past few days numb. I feel disconnected. Please don’t mistake this for unhappiness for I am thrilled to be moving back to a familiar environment, to seek out the warmth and love of my family that I have missed out on for the past three years. It’s good to be around people who believe you can alter the constellations if you would only point your finger, it is a balm to a weary travelled soul.
But the fact is, I am overwhelmed by this move. It’s so sudden. This is a reverse culture shock. After having lived overseas in two very different continents for the last seven years, I feel frightened.
My parents would never pressure me into anything, indeed they let their baby bird leave the nest and fly across the white capped seas to strike out on her own. They have given me more freedom and support than I can ever thank them for, their love is as unnumbered as the stars themselves. No, the fear I feel is my own fault. I have done enough damage to myself with my constant mantra of ‘Straighten up, stop feeling pathetic and overwhelmed. Life moves forward. Accept this change, embrace it. Act normal’. I am not a naturally quiet person, I am constant as Orion and fearless but these past few days (to my shame and to the concern of my parents) I have moved through the motions and felt nothing but fear. I stand before the unknown, weak in my uncertainty and to find that my great escape has been tainted by a few dark souls leaves me feeling all the more miserable.
So let me make this clear for those that write to express their disappointment in my choices. I am not running from London. No one should ever have to defend their dreams to anyone and I refuse to do so now. I am not giving up on my dreams. I am a recent graduate, so fresh that I worry the ink has yet to dry on my degree. I have lived the past twenty-three years as a student and I find that with a Bachelors degree comes responsibilities that I am struggling to accept. I believe I am allowed a short time to flounder before finding my feet again and I would request respect with this ungainly fumble to regain my footing .
I am starting a new chapter of my life and I need to find who I am again. I need to not worry about finding a job so that I can renew my visa. I need to put the struggles of trying to carve out a place to live in a city so large you can barely breathe at times to the side for just a short while in order to find my way again. I am armed with a compass and a map, like a sailor waiting for the clouds to dissipate in order to see the stars, I need a place to get back on my feet and to find what makes me well, me. .
My exam for my Bachelors Degree is at 9:55 BST and what no one knows is that what I am wearing is the same outfit I wore three years ago in Singapore to my interview for acceptance into Wimbledon College of Art. I thought it was fitting to close this adventure with what I wore to start it. Please say a small prayer for me or spare a kind thought. My nerves are dancing down my spine.
I wanted to say I would do something heroic for mankind, something to change history, something big but that would be a complete and utter lie. I want to go back in time and find the person who created self-evaluations.
I don’t normally bother you all with stories about my life but I think what happened today taught me something important and I hope you don’t mind if I share it with you.
I had a really big meeting at Covent Garden, I made it to Waterloo from Surrey and I was cutting it a bit close. The thing you have to understand about London is that everyone is in a hurry. Always. You are always trying to get that extra second in, catch that first tube, get on the train right as the doors close, rushing, always rushing. Londoners never slow down, we can’t because we’ll be late. But for what? If we always rush through life then we forget the important things.
I’m not saying I’m not totally guilty of rushing, and today was no different. I was racing down the stairs at Waterloo to catch the Northern Line when I saw this woman at the bottom with a baby pram. Tiny, blonde lady struggling with a huge pram, smiling at her baby and trying to get up just one step. Men and women alike walked right past her which upset me. My feet started walking before my brain caught up and my mouth opened automatically and I said with my atrocious southern accent which echoed and surprised some of my fellow passengers ‘Hang on there I’m comin’ down to help!’
I figured trains come and go, this is London you can always blame being late on TFL. I grabbed the other end of the pram and smiled. What struck me was how apologetic and shocked she was at me helping her. She kept saying ‘Don’t worry, go for your train. Don’t you need to catch the train? Please don’t be late for me’ and when she realized I wasn’t leaving she started telling me how kind I was and thanking me and just going on about kindness. I smiled at the little baby and said ‘Hello!’ and she giggled. When I turned to go down the stairs I heard her say to her daughter ‘See when you grow up I want you to be like her’. Pretty much set the tone for the rest of my day. I waltzed around with a smile on my face.
Acts of kindness, no matter how small make a day better and brighter. There is no reason to struggle alone, we are put on this Earth to support each other and to constantly work to make this world something more. I didn’t want gratitude, I didn’t help her because I wanted to be some sort of hero, or thanked for being kind. I did it because it was the right thing to do.I hope one person saw what I did and paid it forward.
I am telling you now because I hope one of you reads this and pays it forward.
I’m sure someone will reblog this and be negative about it but I don’t really care. My mother is a strong woman and I am proud to take after her. She raised me to be very independent and it’s one of the reasons I was able to say farewell to my home and move to London alone. I have always known that if I was ever trapped in a tower I wouldn’t need a prince to rescue me, I can save myself.
That said I hope that one day I will find a man who will say something like what is inscribed on this ring. Who knows maybe I will find him and maybe I won’t. I’m only 23, I have time.
England, 18th century AD
'Many are the stars I see but in my eye no star like thee'
The term ‘posy’, based on the French ‘poésy’, describes the amatory verse or rhyming motto with which the rings are engraved. Here the inscription reads: ‘Many are thee starrs I see yet in my eye no starr like thee’.
The practice of giving gold hoop rings engraved with mottoes at betrothals or weddings was common in England from the sixteenth century onwards, and continued until the late eighteenth century. ‘Posy’ rings could, however, be given on many other occasions as tokens of friendship or loyalty, and ‘posies’ are also found on religious and memorial rings. The inscription is generally found on the interior of the ring, hidden to everyone except the wearer. Most of the sentimental mottoes were taken from popular literature of the time, such as ‘chapbooks’ (pamphlets), or from collections on the language of courtship. A few customers would supply their own composition for the goldsmith to engrave.
The outside of the hoop was often decorated to enhance the message or to form part of the message itself. Coloured enamels could be used, or chased motifs, like the sixteen stars on this example. The inscriptions were usually enamelled in black, which makes them easier to read, although very few survive with all their enamel. The language and the style of the inscription helps us to date them.
S. Bury, An introduction to sentimental (London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985)
C. Oman, British rings 800-1914 (London, Batsford, 1974)
O.M. Dalton, Catalogue of the finger rings, (London, British Museum, 1912)
J. Evans, English posies and posy rings (Oxford University Press, 1931)