gsnedders

Life is as logical as HTML.

Passing

Tags: January 24, 2011 (1 comment)

Sometime soon this blog will vanish, away from this domain forever.

But it's not a sad parting, but rather one of joy: I can't regret destroying the posts here, which mostly amount of self-absorbed, incoherent, melodramatic rambling. But I guess that's what I get for really strict self-censorship, stripping the posts of any meaningful context to justify their content.

I do intend to start a new blog, over at thereshouldbenored.com, which will be purely technical gibberish. When I get around to starting a blog there depends on when I find blog software I like or get around to writing my own.

So alas, this is the end. Or at least the end is nigh.

Love

Tags: April 10, 2010 (3 comments)

Love is:

  • Relentless,
  • Unflinching,
  • Uncompromising,
  • Self-accepting,
  • Incomparable,
  • Compassionate,
  • Caring,
  • Eternal,
  • Beautiful.

The Past, Part Three

Tags: March 5, 2010 (0 comments)

This is the third part of a bunch of posts that I've finally been bullied into writing after years, and though I hope it is self-containing (it probably isn't: it was written straight after the first two at 3:30am), reading parts one and two is probably helpful.

Love can seem like the solution, but it never is; love is only the start of another problem. It was acceptable. I could ignore it. I will willing to deny myself what I wanted most. I had been too hurt by the power of love just a month before to want to throw myself into the arms of love again.

Yet the dreams wouldn't go away, they'd haunt me each night. She'd always be there. Always. She was there if I needed her. I knew that. Was she in reality? Doubtful. But there was no question about what was on my mind. I loved her. Loved her with a love that was more than love.

The road to recovery is never an easy one, it is full of as many pitfalls as the road you fell down to get to where you are. The hardest challenge of all is acceptance. I'd been depressed to varying levels (at age 15) for the past six or seven years. Depression was nothing new. I could cope with this. I've done it before. I'm still here after all these years. I'll make it through. Nothing's that different this time, I'm just a little worse.

I owe it all to a few of people, Rich especially, for eventually convincing me to go and speak to a GP about it, a mere four months after trying to kill myself for the first time. Making that phone call, that appointment, that was the hardest thing I've ever done. I honestly don't think I've ever found something so seemingly trivial, so menial, so difficult. Even then, it took two appointments for him to get enough of the story out of me to really make a decision (that latter of the two was deliberately placed at the end of the day, and despite being meant to last only twenty minutes, lasted ninety). I was referred to a psychologist in the nearest Children's Psychiatric Unit (around 20 miles away, yay for the NHS).

Meanwhile, back at school, the act of life was increasingly diverting from the enemy within, as my imagination whirled to try and sustain the act, sustaining an act on lie after lie, the act thereby becoming an enemy to the reality itself. Yet, the two would co-exist until I left school out of necessity, for I never wanted to have to explain a radical change to everyone, although the majority of my good friends in my final year would know the real me, not the act.

The act itself may be hidden enough, but there were elements of reality I could not hide: my blossoming love for one girl would be found out by the majority of my friends, and I would eventually be blackmailed into doing something about it (something along the lines of either I did it… or they did it for me). Of course she said no. This was expected. It didn't hurt. But it was never love that needed to be requited. It was always more affection, more I'd be there if she ever needed anything from me. A love that is everlasting.

After a several month wait, I finally got to see a psychologist, though it took a few months more until I ended up with one who I really felt comfortable talking to. He would play a large role in me regaining real trust in people, and being able to really move forward in life.

Exams came, exams past. Another year of school was over.

My final year of school started differently to many of those that went before it: it was around half my lifetime ago that I was in such good mental health, although still far from perfect. I went about the tiresome process of trying to find some friends that I fit in with, properly, for one final time. Somewhat amusing, I fell into the group of girls who were somewhat around the group who had been my friends for the past two years.

Girls still seemed like a slightly different animal, ones that I couldn't associate with too closely, something that goes back to my previous school, where the separation between boys and girls was very marked. It was almost scandalous to be seen as much as talking to a girl, yet alone generally socializing with one. And if you touched one at all… Wow. That would be talked about for weeks to come. I had arrived at secondary school used to far greater separation between the sexes than most, and it took me right up until my final year to really break down that barrier that had been put up around me.

The girls who I spent my time with in my final year would ultimately conclude that I, myself, was a teenage girl. What that means, I'm still not entirely sure, but it must mean something. It became apparent that I manage to relate to them far better than the predominantly male group of friends I had been in before. Do I regret forsaking them to spending my time with a bunch of girls? Not particularly. They were always so much kinder to me, and when any of them were horrible to me they didn't try and hide behind some veil of pretending to be nice to me, but in reality undermining the very ground I stood upon.

At the end of my final year of school, I would for a second time go on the school's annual trip to Hadrian's Wall. I hoped this would be a chance for me to have some fun with the small number of friends I was really close to, almost all of whom were on the trip. As it happened, I became fairly abandoned, seemingly excluded, like all the years before. Nothing could have been a worse attempt at a send-off, but sadly nothing could have been a better summary of my time at the school.

I returned home to have one day to pack, and meet up with one final friend (one of the girls) who to this day I will try and meet up with if at all possibly while in St Andrews, before heading off to Sweden for my first proper full-time job (well, internship really) at Opera Software, thereby giving me chance to make an entirely clean start, with none of my past with me whatsoever.

The Past, Part Two

Tags: March 2, 2010 (0 comments)

This is the second part of a bunch of posts that I've finally been bullied into writing after years, and though I hope it is self-containing (it probably isn't: it was written straight after the first at 1:45am), reading part one is probably helpful.

After spending ten years at my first nursery/school, I moved, aged thirteen, to my second. Nothing could be as radical as it was: going from a (private) prep school of around 100 pupils to a (state) secondary school of around 1700, with my year alone three times the size of my prior school; going from somewhere where there were occasional some fights which resulted in nobody getting hurt at all to somewhere where every week or two a fight would conclude with the police arriving; going from being the tallest person in my old school, who knew every last corridor and passageway within the building, to being moved up a year (moving into the third, of six, year) and being among those taller than me, and being completely lost in a far larger building.

I came to my new school, Madras (no, not in the city of the same name, but in St Andrews, Scotland, and yes, there is a reason for the name), seeking refuge from the endless torment of my previous school. Inevitably, I had my reservations about seeking refuge in a place with a far worse reputation for bullying than where I was before (as it turned out, while some bullying there was far worse, the amount of bullying that went on was proportionately far less for the size of the school).

My first day, although in some ways hectic (as it turned out, a piece of paper had been misplaced, and, uh, there wasn't a timetable for me like I should've been), was essentially all right: I ended up in classes surrounded by fundamentally good people, and almost entirely with fairly nice teachers. Even the bunch of people I got dropped into (by the year head) weren't the total teacher suck-ups I was somewhat expecting to be dropped into…

Despite this good start and a generally good opening week, I would miss the following two weeks from stomach pains, what would be diagnosed as nervous fear of my entirely new environment, though that diagnoses would change radically to the early symptoms of PVFS a few months later. After my return, I would be at school for just another two short weeks before missing the remainder of the term, and the entire next term (of the four per year) with the primary part of PVFS (i.e., sleeping around 15 hours per day, and living on 26 hour days).

Eventually, six months after starting, I would, three afternoons a week, get the chance to finally build my life up from what it was at my previous school. I fell into a group of friends easily enough, and everyone was very welcoming, so at least I didn't feel entirely abandoned, a stranger in a strange land. The rest of the year (an entire five months) would pass uneventfully on this three afternoons a week timetable (missing, as it happened, all my French lessons).

Of course, the school, in its own way, the year ended in June… and the next year started the following Tuesday (the Monday was a teacher in-service training day, i.e., meetings all day for teachers). The summer holidays would start at the beginning of July. It was around this time when I started to move away from the group of friends I had got into five months before (though I would remain with ties to them for the remaining three years) to a new group of friends, who just seemed more fun to be around.

Fourth year passed by and large uneventfully (excluding the eternal hopeless romance) until study leave and the first real exams I had to sit. I already knew that one of the two really good friends I had made was leaving, so gone at least somewhat mentally was one of the two people I really trusted (which, per the previous post, was something I held in highest esteem, as I really like having people I can talk to about almost anything), and the other, just as I was arriving for my first French exam (all four were on the same day, though none over an hour in length), told me he had spoken to the girl who I was at the time hopelessly in love with, and that she had said I was a really nice guy. However, from his tone of voice and his over-reassuring about its authenticity made me doubt the very authenticity he flaunted.

I spent the rest of day (including all of the French exams) trying to reconcile my emotions: one guy I trusted was leaving the school and my life forever, the other had just betrayed my trust and lied to me. How I got the top grade in French that year, based purely upon my exam results, remains a mystery, as by the end up the day I was wondering if one of the very two people who I had very slowly and very carefully got up to having almost absolute trust in had betrayed me, who could I trust at all? Nobody, was the only answer. And how can you live without trust? You can't. That was the first time when I left the house in which I lived with no intention of ever returning, an action that would repeat itself several times per week for the next few months.

Nevertheless, I stayed alive, and would return after study leave to start the next year of school, and to live some of the most surreal weeks of my life. I remember walking down the path, out of school, at lunch with the bunch of people I would have a month prior called my friends, making sure to always be out of reach of them, lest they turn and attack me. I had lost all trust in everyone, and could trust least of all those who I had trusted the most before.

It was these first few weeks of the new year which taught me that living without trust was genuinely impossible, but also it was these first few weeks that introduced me to people in my year whom I had never known before (still a weird feeling to someone who had previously known everyone in his entirely school). It was then that I started to get to know one girl in my year who would become the first person to make me happy after what had happened a month before during study leave (she would remain the only person to do this for many months to come). It was a glimmer of hope, which I clung on to in all desperation, clung on to just strongly enough to survive. The result of her being my source of hope, my sole source of hope, was inevitable: I fell for her, and to this day (two and a half years later) would do anything for her.

The Past, Part One

Tags: February 27, 2010 (0 comments)

Over the past two years I've promised numerous people that I'll write about what happened in May 2007: ultimately, I've decided to split this into four posts, each around a thousand words long (I don't think anyone really wants to read all four thousand words all at once). I'll post them around a week or two apart, and edit them post-publication (instead of my normal practice of things being edited to minutiae over months before publication). As such, they are more or less what I wrote at 12–5 am last night.

September 1995, I walk into the entrance room for the first time, piously holding my mother's hand; my first day at nursery, a day which holds no memories whatsoever for me. This would be my first introduction to two people whom I would spend the following ten years in the same class as, initially at nursery, and then later at the attached prep school. Eventually, we would all leave having reached the top of the school, as the school shut its doors for the final time (with us being in the final year unaffected by this).

The buildings remain, the site now fenced off, all windows boarded up, trapping the thousands of memories of those who passed through them inside. The memories undoubtedly vary from the euphoria of winning in the numerous sports that happened throughout the year, to the terror of being picked on continuously, being mocked and belittled. Sadly, it is to this latter category most of my memories belong; memories in the former are in general all-too-scarce, and primarily from within the first two years, i.e., nursery, where memories in general are scarce.

Inevitably, this has played a part to play in my first act, throwing me on a course that would lead to total breakdown ten years after starting at the school itself (as opposed to the nursery) and two years after leaving. Yet, of course, life is never as simple as it would seem: the action that I broke down upon was seemingly irrelevant, an action that happened numerous times every day, an action life would be very different without. That action, on its own, much like every other occurrence, would have been nothing more than a minor annoyance on its own, but put in combination with the thousands of others, it became the critical point at which all would fall apart and separation of good and bad became meaningless, mere synonyms that differ only insofar as the façade they portray.

Some of the others in my class (in a school of the size it was, the class and the year are one and the same; there were a little over one hundred people at the school for my entire time there) had come to the conclusion by age five that the certain way to get what you desired was violence; I remember once being over at the house another boy in my class, when we were five or so, and the three of us getting into a slight argument about what game to play, which resulted in my head meeting the metal frame of his bed. Even by this time, the mafia-like rule of silence had already prevailed, and I had merely fallen and hit my head by the time I returned to my parents with a plaster on my head.

Of course, it's not only child's games that cause hurt of this kind: my final few years were spent with myself in doubt over how I could possibly fall into the binary categories of straight and gay, as although I was in love with a girl in my class (I was absolutely certain of this, as all young people are, full of naïve hope), I also thought some of the guys were kinda nice… This alone, would eventually be solved with the discovery that sexuality is not a binary choice (thanks Kinsley!), but this was not the primary annoyance. The real annoyance was the affixation of the label gay to me, the word continuously and seemingly endlessly flooding my consciousness with its sheer repetition; sure, it was generally used as an insult (hurtful enough for some unsure of their sexuality), but it seemed to be used disproportionately often to describe me (but, as I was told when I said I thought I was being called names disproportionately, maybe I'm just egocentric).

Even the jester couldn't survive the flood of words and jokes sent towards me, crying an hour before having to go on stage in what would turn out to be my final school play (the next year, when I would play the character that had the scary job of delivering the opening line of the entire play, I would miss both performances, off school with glandular fever). This would result in the headmaster speaking to me, seeing my red, swollen, tearful eyes, asking me what had been going on. As I had learnt, the mafia remained strong, so initially I said nothing. Eventually, however, the truth spilled out bit by bit, but the eventual conclusion of his was something along the lines of just having to get used to people being horrible to you. To someone who has managed to get depressed enough to dream of running away from everyone they know (though never able to work out where to, or how to survive alone, so I never got around to it) before even reaching their teenage years, with occasional wishes of death, saying get used to it was essentially just cementing the thousands of tiny daggers into my heart, an invariable fact of life. Sure, each attack, alone, individually, I could cope with. Hundreds every month, thousands every year… that was too much.

But it wasn't just a small select group that placed all of the daggers, and though there are some that stand out for their perseverance, it was also the very people who I would call my friends who were responsible. In my penultimate year, I would in one English class, after some comment was heckled, run out of classroom in tears. Yet it wasn't just the name-calling and the statements made about me that annoyed me, for it was the very trust that I put in some of my so-called friends that was often betrayed that hurt me the most. Trust is one issue I always held in the highest esteem, and always believed, fruitlessly, that people were inherently trustworthy. (As I would later learn, believing people are inherently untrustworthy is even more painful.)

There again, life is anything but consistent; despite my apparent friends being unkind to me, kids will be kids, and rumours spread about who people fancied, several times apparently girls infatuated with me. A deliberate attempt at malice, putting her down and making her like the one who was excludes; or reality? I never knew. The optimist was yet to die inside of me, and so I hoped it was real, that the rumours were true, and I wasn't the horrible person I was portrayed as by my so-called friends.

However, it was far from an environment in which love could ever prevail: after the first three years, when we were eight, a very clear separation between the boys and girls would start, a separation that would last until the final days of school. Any attempt to ever cross this line would caused endlessly mocking and allegations of love (whenever any couple would seemingly appear, they would be mocked, hundreds of childish rhymes hurled towards them); once in my final year of prep school, I would end up alone with the girls in my class in the common room we had: we were all uneasy, knowing if anyone found me there, it would be the subject of ridicule for weeks to come, despite the fact that several years before, prior to the separation, I spent the majority of my time with them.

My second half of prep school would see the rising of what would become my home in the eyes of my parents — living in front of a computer screen. I had an interesting in computing, I can't deny that, amazed by this single object that can do seemingly anything. Yet this interest was never as great as it seemed, I cared about English as much as I did computing, it was just that computing had a major advantage: the internet had other real people on it; books did not. If I was going to be isolated by the "real" humans around me, left out from parties, from playing together, and other normal childish activities, I may as well surround myself by some semblance of socialization online.

As the psychologist who I would see many years later (after having made what was probably the hardest decision of my life: to go and speak to a GP about depression) always assured me, and always encouraged me to end on, to give me a positive thought on my way out, there is something good in everything. I didn't leave the school entirely beaten: I could hold my own when physically attacked by any of the numerous bullies who would intermittently attack me (though they knew a few simple words were more effective than a thousand punches, and would often make use of this knowledge once I had them pinned down, unable to move); I had one good friend who I had some desire to stay in contact with after leaving; and, I was, as would remain the case for many years to come, hopelessly and irrevocably in love (love fades, but never dies).

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