Thursday, 22 May 2008

Susie is walking

For years I told myself that one day I would buy a travel card and just spend the whole day around London by myself. Getting the tube to places I haven’t been before, and just walking and thinking and enjoying the city. And yesterday, I finally did it. Having been lectured somewhat the night before by my mother that i would never get anywhere in life ever if i never do any work, I was frankly in a terrible mood; and it was at this point I decided to go and be productive in a way that I actually wanted to, doing something I’d always wanted to, taking time to think and sort things out for myself.

And it was fantastic. I got off at Liverpool Street and just walked for an hour, not knowing or giving a crap where I was going, what road I was taking or where it would be going to. I listened to businessmen on mobiles talking about 120 grand as if it was nothing, I watched people walking in their expensive suits and thought about how strange it was that they were walking down the same road as me because it was actually the fastest way to get to where they wanted to be, rather than because they felt like it. At one point I found myself at the front entrance to the Gherkin, and let me tell you, if you think it looks impressive from a long way away, or on those big wide shots of London you see on TV, it’s even more incredible from the very bottom of it looking up. I saw people walking into it and people coming out of it for a fag, and thought how weird it was that that was normal for them. I stroll into my school every weekday, go to the room next to the kitchen, that’s what’s normal and natural for me, that’s my place; but these people, their place is this incredible building, and it’s just as normal for them.

A year ago on holiday in Italy my parents decided that a fun day out for us would be to visit these massive caves, I’ll admit, they were absolutely awesome. But we had this tour guide taking us round and telling us about all the rock formations and things, and she just seemed so unbothered by it. We got to this one cave called the ‘Great Abyss’ (fantastic name, don’t you think?), it was hundreds of meters high, and from the top, you couldn’t see the bottom because it was too dark – pretty cool. And of course we had to climb down the side of it; the stairs were barely existent, hideously steep, and of course wet. I was shaking the whole way down, holding onto anything I could find, just incase my feet gave way and I plummeted to my death. But here’s the thing, the tour guide wasn’t. She was hopping down those stairs like they were hers at home; the fear wasn’t there, the amazement at where we were had vanished – just like those people strolling into the Gherkin, it was all normal to her. And that scared me. It scared me that the incredible can just become regular, just because you do it so often. It scared me that I might end up doing a job which I might well love, but that I would lose sight of how amazing it was; I might even lose sight of it so much that I got bored of it. Is it just me who finds that a horrible prospect?

Anyway, back to London. After a couple of hours, I found a nice bit of grass on the south bank to lie on, it was sunny and I think I may have fallen asleep for a bit. It was so nice, I was pretty genuinely happy there. That’s the thing about London; it makes me happy just being there. Something about the mixture of old and new architecture, the traffic, the busyness, the feel of the place; I just love it. I thought about taking my mp3 player with me so I could listen to music as I walked, but I realised I didn’t want to, I wanted to listen to the city, I wanted to walk around it not as an outsider, not as someone looking in, but as part of it. And yes, I managed it. And I was overwhelmed by a sort of pride about the city, our Capital City. As much as I think that any French person has a connection with Paris, so we have a connection with London. And true, it’s scummy in places, there are huge estates that you recognise from those TV programmes about crime and people trying to turn them around and you’re sure that at least 30 people have been killed on some streets, and it’s polluted and there’s traffic everywhere and the prices are extortionate; but who cares? That’s what makes London what it is, that’s what makes it ours and that’s what makes it great.

After lying on my patch of grass for a while, I walked a little further down the bank, until I reached a sign saying ‘Caution, Filming in Progress’, so I walked a bit further up, and who was there? Only Dustin Hoffman. The actual, genuine, real life Dustin Hoffman. I watched filming for a while, and at one point, he had a break, and I swear we had some eye contact. It was awesome.

After that, I was pretty much ready to go home, and spent the entire journey back trying not to let my new celebrity best friend be the highlight of my day.

Susie is wondering if Dustin Hoffman finds acting normal yet. Right now, acting is one of the few things that makes her happy, she doesn’t know what she would do if it stopped being able to do that.

I genuinely recommend taking a day for yourself. Go somewhere; somewhere new, or somewhere you’ve been a hundred times before, it doesn’t matter. Just go. Think and feel and lie in grass and be happy.

Susie is proud that this is the first time she has described something as liberating, without being sarcastic.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Susie is not where she needs to be

I have 2 German exams this afternoon, they’re the first exams so far that I actually need to revise for; and I haven’t really. I’ve learnt about 25 new words, useful ones mind, and that’s about as far as I think I’m going to take it. Mrs Chaudhri is adamant I should get an A, I think I’ll be lucky if I get a B. I’m still not sure if I’m going to carry it on next year or not.

After this, I have 2 weeks with no exams whatsoever; I have a feeling it’s going to be rather lovely, for a number of reasons. Then of course I have 7 exams in 2 days, all the difficult ones, so I suppose there will be some revision in there somewhere.

A wise and beautiful boy recently taught me the joy of being referred to in a blog, and the coolness of a nameless reference which only the two people involved will understand. I only wish that I could give similar joy to all those people who mean something to me; but if I tried, it would just end up with a big game of Guess Who Susie’s Talking About; equally, I know that most people wouldn’t even get round to reading it. So we’ll leave it for now eh.

Trisha Goddard is on the TV at the moment. I wonder what possesses people to actively choose to portray themselves as angry, uncontrollable idiots on national television.

Susie is going to put on some socks, test her portable cassette player again, and then get into school; this exam is going to be a delight, Susie is quite sure.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Susie is home again

I have very little to say, but it irritated me having such a depressing blog as my most recent entry when actually I’m in a very good mood. I had an absolutely lovely weekend away with church this weekend. We were at a new place, because our much-loved Herne Bay went bankrupt and shut down, and it was absolutely amazing. 220 acres of land and a massive stately home, seriously, incredible. Sally decided not to come in the end, so it was pretty much just me and the boys for a lot of it, but it was really good. The weather was beautiful, the grounds were perfect; we spent half the time walking around with cameras and half the time playing cards. Freaking awesome.

Susie is not even thinking about exams tomorrow, even though she probably should be.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Susie is paranoid

And Susie is quite aware she needs to work on it.

I’m not used to things going right; I’m not used to things going the way I wanted. Especially when it comes to all those stupid things that girls care about more than they should and more than they ever let on. I’m scared of being disappointed by things, I’m scared of things happening that I hadn’t expected. You know, those things that just come completely out of the blue and make you feel sick.

For a while, I don’t think it made much of a difference; but now I’m starting to worry that it really is changing me. I don’t know if it’s a poor way of dealing with it, or just general cynicism, but I’ve found I always convince myself that the worst is going to happen. I’ll play through the worst possible situation again and again in my head until I truly believe that that’s what’s going to happen. That way, I’ll always be prepared for it, right? I can be happily surprised by something but never disappointed.

But even once something has gone right, once my genuine predictions have been proved wrong, I’m still just waiting for something to go wrong. When other people would be happy that for once things are working out, I’m sitting expecting it to be over any minute. I’ll look around for things that might mess things up, and convince myself they’re going to happen; sometimes I think I completely invent some myself.

And I feel like I should try to be more optimistic; I feel like I should only focus on the things that are going right, relax and take things as they come. But honestly? I can’t live like that, I’m terrified of life like that. If I’m not ready for the things that go wrong, then I won’t be able to deal with them when they do, will I?

The problem is, now I think this way of preparing myself for things going wrong is actually causing things to go wrong itself. People think I should change it, deep down I think I should change it; but I think I’m too scared.

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Susie is sorry, again.

Susie is nervous, for some reason. And not the good kind of nervous that I get before I'm about to go on stage; the kind that I thrive on and enjoy, where I shake and my heart beats faster and I know that my body is coursing with adrenaline and I’m excited about what I’m about to do. Not even the kind of nervous I get before an exam, where I accept what I’m about to do but equally accept that worrying about it won’t make it go any better.

No, today I feel the sort of nervous I expect other people feel before either of those things, when I tell them to relax or enjoy it because I’ve never understood how they feel those kinds of nerves. I feel sick, I can’t concentrate, I can’t enjoy things, I can’t even sleep. As soon as I wake up, I start thinking over things and the queasy feeling in my stomach comes back, and I just can’t get to sleep again, and that was something I always used to be able to do. And it’s horrible, and I don’t know exactly why I feel like it, and I really, really wish it would go away.