Life Experience

I miss…

A video showed up in my Facebook notifications from nearly four years ago, back when I was in first year at university. Even though I’m only in touch with two out of the eight or nine people in that 30 second video, I miss a lot about that year.

It was a difficult year, though, with an awful lot of wasted effort and hard work on relationships, romantic or otherwise, that turned into nothing. It was a year that taught me about people, and how to deal with different personalities, whether they clashed with mine or not. That year taught me how to love someone and how to deal with their absence and the way they crushed out relationships. It also taught me that not everyone is truthful and that people are quite capable of being hurtful without too much of a conscience to hold them back.

What I miss, however, is spending time with different people every day, not knowing who would rock up that evening or who you’d be staying up late with, sharing secrets and chatting about anything and everything. I miss the ridiculous fancy dress outfits and (in a weird way) the drama that surrounded daily life. It’s an interesting psychological challenge to try to suss people out.

I miss going to lectures and learning new things, I miss going to different people’s houses/flats for dinner and I miss going out at least twice a week to let down my hair and party with whoever I was friends with at the time.

I’m an entirely different person to who I was in first year, in 2011/12. Anybody that I knew then, you probably don’t know me now and there’s a chance that we would get on now after we’ve all changed through the last three to four years. Many times, I think about reaching out to those I lost touch with, but then remember it’s probably not worth it. This time in four years I will likely miss the peace of living with friends and the freedom of not having a proper career. Who knows where I’ll be, or even who I’ll be.

So for anybody just starting out at university in their first year, treasure it. You might find it hard, you might find your best friends, you might even find yourself, but take lots of pictures and make lots of memories. Just enjoy the feelings of knowing anyone in the world can impact on your life at this very moment.

Life Experience, University

Dear ‘Ruth’

Vulnerable and eager in the early days of September, 2011, I was looking for someone to trust and to befriend, someone that I could shed all my secrets to, someone who could come with me to compare dresses out shopping, someone who was on the same wave length as me. And I found you; quickly and wholeheartedly you introduced yourself into the void in my life.

Dear Ruth,

Over the last year or so, I’ve really changed; I don’t think I’m even the same person that you used to know and you might not even recognise me. It’s been about three years since we last spoke and this message to you, whether you are aware of it or not, is about how you influenced my life. I want to say thank you, Ruth for everything you did, all you contributed in those delicate few months that we were friends. We did have a good run at the start of university but I had to learn the hard way how you could be so affected by a boy and in turn how you could affect the other people around you, people who I thought were also my friends.

I first questioned your personality when you, despite rummaging through my wardrobe on a daily basis, refused to lend me clothes because there would be no way they would fit me. Being a size 10/12 compared to your slight 6/8 obviously meant that I was too large for you and your designer clothes and I forget now how many times you told me I didn’t eat enough humus or lettuce. You were also keen to tell me that my then boyfriend was a bad idea and even though you thought it was funny to flirt with him and sit on his lap, you still found it appropriate to tell me how pathetic our relationship was. It was important to you to one-up everybody, to be worse off, or on occasion, better. Nobody could have anything without you having more or less. Even though I have a cracked bone in my foot, your size 3 feet are more painful because of your 4 inch size 2 heels. You used to take pleasure in telling me that my university course was not as good as yours and that your course mates were just the best, whereas I’m aware that you no longer speak to yours and I still live with mine. I remember going out with my course friends, and finding that before leaving the house you would lock yourself away with the other housemates, and I wouldn’t see you the next day because you’d all decided to take an early shopping trip together, despite knowing I was in the house and not in a lecture.

Ruth, I could have lived with all of this; everyone has flaws, mine aren’t great and I sometimes wonder why people stick with me, but you took it too far. Deciding that your ex boyfriend who you had dated for no more than two months was the be all and end all was not what I would have imagined you to do. Screaming at me in the middle of a nightclub about how my then boyfriend was talking to other women – oh no! – and then leaving with the other girls was something that I will never forget. Screaming at me in a different nightclub for a second time after we had moved into a house together and then leaving me alone in that nightclub is something that I can never forgive you for. You listened to your ex boyfriend who told you that I was interested in him and you abandoned me in the middle of the night, a thirty-five minute walk from a new home in a new neighbourhood that I’d been told was risky at night. You didn’t believe me when I told you that he was lying, but you had made up your mind. From then on you made the next three days in that house effectively hell. I heard you calling me names to the other girls, I saw you hiding and moving my stuff and I remember you leaving the house unlocked while I was sleeping so you could go on a night out. Part of me wishes I had dropped the deadbolt on the door, but what would have been the point in stooping to your level?

Normally, letters to people are full of forgiveness and sometimes blessings, but I can’t forgive you. What I can do is thank you. Thank you for forcing me to move out of the new house to then live with my real friends. Even though I began paying two rents on two houses in that year, I was happy. Thank you, Ruth, for all your malice because, without it, I may not have met my wonderful boyfriend. I would not have gained stronger relationships with people who are still my best friends. I don’t think I would be where I am today without your vindictive assistance and even though you make me shudder inside and make my heart turn cold when I see you, I thank you for all of that. I sincerely hope that you remember everything that happened, but I can imagine that you continue to have your rose-tinted side of things. Brittany, what a bitch who tried to steal your boyfriend and always left you to see her course friends, you must have felt so hard done by. But, in all honesty, thank you for indirectly bringing me to a better group of people, to a better university life because for the most part, my first year was dampened down by you.

You really showed me what some people can be capable of, and you really, really changed my life. So thank you, Ruth for everything. I don’t assume our paths will ever cross again but for the minuscule amount of time that you affected my life, thanks and I won’t ever, ever forget it. If you are reading this, I’m certain that you’ll know this is you even though Ruth isn’t your real name and I sincerely hope you read it with integrity, attention and with an open mind. This letter to you is my official goodbye, and I can safely say that after writing this, I feel a large weight and concern has been lifted from my shoulders and I can continue to stand tall and proud.

Love Brittany.