There are rhythms in my life.
Excluding primary school, where I was overachieving, ostracised and miserable, they go thus:
- Fight for and realise place place in prestigious/competitive institution
- induce mental breakdown
- retreat to comfortable, unchallenging, unprestigeous place
- fight for a more prestigious place
So I got a place in a grammar school and went from being top 3 in my class to being upper middle on a good day, but most of my days were bad days so I slowly sank towards lower middle. I don’t learn or function well when I’m placed in competition with people a bit more talented or just more with it than I am. I get panicky, and don’t function. So I flunked out of my grammar school sixth form with CDDE (or thereabouts) at AS level.
So I got a place in a local HE college. Not the worst place at all, but decidedly middle of the pack. They weren’t trying to funnel me into Cambridge, they just wanted me to pass. I could breathe. I was around people who wanted to do well but absent a superiority complex. I went from CDDE at AS at my top of the league tables “good school” to AAB at AS at my “struggling” local HE. I was still depressed, anxious, and delusional, but I came out with BBB at A2. I wanted to get into UCL. Prestigious. London based. Turns out high income graduates. They rejected me outright. I was accepted into the “Dog of the Russel Group” (still Russel group) and largely forgot about my old friends. I was shedding my social anxiety and I had 18 years of repressed socialisation to burn through. I was going to be an Investment Banker, or a think tank analysist. I burned out after first term and scraped through into second year with 34% and 5 unit resits. But I found my common law husband , who was also struggling, and together we helped each other. I pulled back up and graduated with 57.5% overall, a 2:2, which I’m discovering is the “go fuck yourself dear” catagorisation. Dreams of a high income not quite dead, I got a job stacking shelves at my local sainsburys to clear my overdraft. It is work with its own skillset, but not he most mentally stimulating. I was (and am) surrounded by people who were not arrogant. I lost weight. I continued to mentally recover from the wounds of my childhood. I moved to a new city and half heartedly searched through the trash bank of jobs which are left once you filter out the “mimimum 2:1” specs. I had an interview for a “””graduate job””” last week and I was once more back in that grammar school environment. Bitter bastards with superiority complexes and RP accents and suits.
And I thought to myself, why am I killing myself to get….here? Because my folks want me to get “a proper job”? Because the people I went to school with are creative directors, marketing juniors, and finance analysts and I don’t want to be a till staffer? I work part time and I don’t have much money but I have a lot of time to rest. I’m still recovering. I still don’t know what I enjoy that isn’t just drinking or gaming myself into obliviating the present. I like learning, I really do. I’m teaching myself french for a few house a day in the library just 10 mins walk from my house, which my part time “menial” job pays for. Am I just trying to repeat the same cycle I’ve been bashing my head into for 10 years? Will I crash out of this “graduate” (it is not a graduate role) job after 1 year and have to spend another year picking the pieces of myself back up again?
Why do I want to do what everyone else thinks they should be doing when I’m currently finding out the life that’s right for me?
If the job is offered I will probably accept it because it is more money and consistent hours, and the work itself, having been on a trial shift, is definitely not beyond me. But I think I’m not interested in professional, corporate work. I think in an idealised, probably niave kind of way, that I want to be some kind of self employed artisan. Selling a skill, a constructive skill, not just grinding for Capital. I like the idea of that skill being software engineering. But I’ve got a way to go yet.