This is after the heatwave came.
I went to take pictures of Victoria Park, for my spring homage, in recognition of the previous springs I’ve been here, and what they meant to me. (I will try, as hard as I can, not to sneer at myself for my grandiosity. You hear that, insecurity? I can be grandiose if I like. Who cares, apart from you?) It wasn’t what I thought it would be. The pictures were not what I thought they’d be of. I missed the blossom, for starters. The year moved on without me, again. (I always miss the blossom. I keep forgetting it comes out before the Easter holidays, not after.)
I am not the woman who vividly remembers London in the summer of my first year, walking for hours along the canal and through the park, training to go up mountains in Spain. I am not the woman who barely remembers London in the summer of my second year, walking through the park just to get out of the flat, to see if I could tread some feeling into my grief. And I wasn’t here last year, so this year should feel like a treat, and it does, but I’m seeing different things than I expected to.
I feel strange, calling myself a woman, but I’m nearly twenty-three. Surely it’s time?
I can only conclude that the reason why I’ve avoided my blog for so long is because I’m too ashamed to talk about myself. Because that is what I do here. All I do here. Every paragraph of this post so far has started with ‘I’. I still can’t tell if it’s me or my insecurity that’s berating me for that. Maybe I stick too literally to writing what I know, maybe I should take a risk, a leap. But maybe it’s also better to write what I know inside out and upside down and back to front and yet am still utterly bewildered by. Maybe I should relax, since this is my space. I am the no. 1 reader of this blog, that I can guarantee. So why, insecurity, shouldn’t it be for me?
Anyway. I am finishing this post weeks after I first started it, but the walk in Victoria Park doesn’t seem like so long ago. On bad days, I feel like I’ve been stuck in the same fog for as long as I can remember. On good days, I know it’s different fog. I’m bumping into unfamiliar obstacles, using new lights to see the way. I’m holding someone’s hand. Strictly metaphorically, mind. I hate holding hands in public. But nevertheless I had my someone, whose hand I was not holding, that day in Victoria Park. My someone to talk to, and laugh at me, and distract me from my thoughts. My new eyes.
I won’t credit one person, one change with how I’ve grown. I will say simply that I need to have more faith in my own abilities. That if I look for the good in my life, I’ll find much more than I’ve been telling myself there is.
So now I’m sitting on the same sofa, in the same house, with the same illness. But everything has changed.