Monday, 4 March 2013

Whenever I'm asked what it felt like on my last day of school, I never know quite what to say, as it was neither good nor bad.
I remember sitting with the friend I'd walked to school with for the past two years, we sat on the swings and we smelt of vodka and our clothes were covered in mud and our faces covered in red pen. And there we were, adults. I dont remember what we talked about; maybe passed a comment on how we'd never have to run late to school again or how we'd never get in trouble for screaming with laughter in the library again. It all seemed forced. What was more poignant was the silence; we were both thinking the same thing: I'm probably never going to see you again. And maybe it didn't feel too sad because the sun was shining and the slide in the park glistened and the cold hadn't yet set in and the warmth of the summer evening danced upon our limbs. But it was real.
And I knew that maybe this was it. I was moving away to uni and I was going to meet new people and eventually forget about everyone and everything that had happened in the past six years, good or bad. I'd forget about the times my friends and I got kicked out of classes for laughing, or got sent to the headteacher for smoking behind the school garage. I'd forget the drunken exhiliration of that time when we crashed a house party for fun, and maybe even if I was lucky I'd forget the time when I broke down in tears in the middle of science class because my friend told me she didn't like me anymore.
And suddenly the nothingness and irrelevance of the past 6 years hit me. It suddenly didnt matter that a few girls didn't like me. It didnt matter that the boy I liked when I was 15 didn't like me back. It didn't matter that once I was that weird kid who nobody talked to. And it's not about the bad memories you have with the people you hate; it's about the times you spent with the ones you adored. The times you got in trouble together and the friday nights walking home together and that time maybe you were a little too drunk and they were a little bit too judgemental. You can't change the memories you have but you can use them and mould them into the person you are and the one you want to become. It doesn't matter where you've come from or what you've been through, right now you're alive and you have everything you could ever want in front of you. You just have to fucking grab it and never let go. Because you can't change where you come from but you can change where you go.
But what remained in my head throughout the whole 10 minutes we spent sitting on the swings, was that this wasn't the end. It was the beginning. This was the beginning of life for me. I hadn't experienced anything. I was untouched by the world. I still had so much to do; so many people to meet and kiss and laugh with and cry with and fight with. Even now I think of all the people I've met since that evening, and how much they mean to me. And the enormity of how accurate I was back then shakes me, and remains relevant. I have so many people to meet, they just don't know it yet. And me, I have so much I want to do with myself. Maybe in the past I've been hurt and torn down and hurt others back, and maybe I cared too much about things that didn't matter. Maybe I was too quick to look down on people I didn't understand, and wrong to feel upset when someone did the same to me. And maybe I'd been too angry and maybe I needed to fix a lot of things. But sitting there, everything felt do-able. Fixable. And I'll admit that from then and now, a lot of the positivity I felt that day has wiltered. But it's still there, somewhere. I'm just trying to find it, because, metaphorically speaking, I'm not leaving this world without my footprints on the moon.

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