Pink Training 2016!

I don’t think I have the words to properly describe what that weekend was but I will try to paint the picture of it as best as I can. It was the most amazing weekend of my life and I can’t be more thankful that I had the opportunity to go. It was the 1st time in a really long time where I was at an event and I didn’t feel insecure at all. For those of you who don’t know, Pink Training is a 3 day long event run by the USI in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community and discussing current issues affecting the community and learning more about other identities that we may not know much about. I didn’t really get too excited about going. Mostly because if I get too excited about something it usually ends up going to shit. I got nervous about going to it alright. I’m not a stranger to being out and proud but it is still a secret to the likes of my parents and family. I made sure when I started college that everyone knew that I was gay, or at the time bisexual. Only one person ever seemed to have a problem with it and they have since ceased in their detest for it.

As proud of my sexuality as I am, there is still issues I always have with it and there is ways in which I hide it. I never think about my sexuality a lot and it is something I always push to the back of my mind. In fact, I thought I might like girls from the age of like 12 and didn’t think it was something I needed to waste my time thinking about so I just forgot about it. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I started to learn about what being gay really was and that I actually could be a lesbian. On a daily basis, I do tend to hide half of my sexuality because of the negative stereotypes and misunderstandings that go along with it. That is the fact that I am asexual and if I tell anyone that they just want to tell me that I’m wrong and when the right person comes along I will change my mind. They think that because I’m asexual I can’t be attracted to girls and my lesbian status is wrong. I am romantically attracted to girls and I do have sexual thoughts towards some of these girl crushes it doesn’t make me any less asexual and being asexual doesn’t make me any less of a lesbian.

So back to Pink Training. We started off by registering. We ended up getting a bag full of free things, a t-shirt which has a quote by Oscar Wilde on it that says “Be yourself;everyone else is already taken”, we got wristbands that say “I’m an LGBT ally”, and we got lanyards where we wrote our name, pronouns, and our college. The pronouns being on them was really wonderful to see because it erases the need to try and awkwardly ask and you can skip right to the stage of respecting what someone’s pronouns are from the beginning. Like if someone asked me what my pronouns are it would make me feel somewhat insecure like I think “Do I not look like a girl?” At the same time that isn’t exactly how I should be thinking because what does it mean to look like a girl but when you are the gender you are and you accept and identify yourself as that gender you just feel like everyone else should be able to see that too. It’s also the fact that as a cis female I have been mis-gendered more than once so I feel really strongly about using the correct pronouns for everyone because that mis-gendering stuff feels really shit.

After registration we got free pizza and then since we had registered so early and that was on for 2 hours we went to the room where the first talk was on in and watched them set up the speakers and microphones and stuff. While this was happening  one of the guys working for USI was just playing a videos on the projecter and we were just pissing ourselves laughing. Eventually the talk was starting so we got our seats up in one of the middle rows of the lecture hall that it was on in. As eager as we were about Pink Training we weren’t eager enough to stay sitting in the front row. I loved the welcome talk so much it was really during that talk that I really started to get excited about Pink Training. Also that my love for one of the USI members is still intact and stronger than ever. We didn’t have really many talks on the Friday it was mostly and introduction so we for all of Friday we just had the welcome talk, icebreakers and then a Lip Sync Battle. On the lanyards we got a important person in the LGBT+ community written on the back of each one e.g. Laverne Cox, Ellen Degeneres,Harvey Milk etc. There was rooms marked with a photo and description of who the person was an whoever’s name was on the back of our lanyards was the room we had to go to for our icebreakers. I got the Panti Bliss room. The icebreaker was a bingo game where it had things like “Is a Ravenclaw”, “Actually likes the taste of vodka”, “Has a crush on someone at Pink Training”. The whole point of it was that we had to go talk to the other people in the room in hopes that we could say yes to one of the boxes on our bingo sheet and we could cross it off and write their name on underneath where we marked it off. It was fun actually and I usually really hate icebreakers. We went back into the main room of the Training which was the Harvery Milk room and we watched the Lip Sync Battle. We learned a lot about Harvey Milk over the weekend and before then I had never heard of him but now I’m really interested to learn even more about him because his story is really interesting and I’ve always been very curious in the LGBT+ community in the 20th century. The Lip Sync battle was amazing but due to unforeseen circumstances it was cut short and we watched the rest of the acts on Sunday. It was hosted by one of the local drag queens and I realized this weekend that I love drag queens. They just make me so happy.

When that finished up we drove back to the hostel to get ready for our first night out in Cork. Unlike most colleges we drove to the event and I think it made it much better because if we had to rely on public transport I’d say we would have missed talks because we would not have gotten up in time for the bus. Also the drives up and down were a really great part of the weekend. We got to the hostel and I was given a top bunk. I didn’t ask for one but I secretly wanted one more than anything. As soon as I got up there I think I was really happy. I was sitting up there Saturday morning and Jodi looked up at me, which was a first, and was like “I have never seen you more happy than when you’re sitting up there. Like you have not stopped smiling since you got up there.” The room was really small but luckily it was only the 6 of us from our delegation that were in the room so it wasn’t that bad. It just meant that I couldn’t always leave the room when I wanted to and I kept having to delay it because there was nowhere for me to walk. I just sat up on my bunk pretending like I was getting ready. It doesn’t take me that long to get ready anyways so it wasn’t that much of a hindrance. I did have to use alternative sides of the bed to get down that weren’t the designated ladder but I didn’t fall once (thank god). While we were getting ready one of my friends in my class sent me a message saying that she showed her friend a photo of me and she thought I was “gorgeous”, which made me feel like this was a joke message because who the fuck would think that about me. I knew it wasn’t a joke because my friend wouldn’t do that but anyways the girl was looking for my number. I knew I didn’t want to give her my number but I still wasn’t completely sure what to do so I showed it to Jodi and she read it out to the room. The entirety of my delegation was like “Message her back right fucking now and get that number!” I messaged my friend back anyway and said I didn’t feel comfortable giving her my number because I didn’t know anything about her bar her first name. Also I didn’t want to be thinking about that while I was going out because I was really hoping this weekend I would get my first ever shift but that never happened. At least some people got that lucky this weekend!!!

So we eventually called a taxi to get into town from our hostel. We had a little bit to pre drink but we had to leave so that we would be in before half past 11 because they had free entry until then. We didn’t make it in in time but entry was only €3 so it wasn’t that bad. So I had my first experience with Chambers and I fucking loooooooved it!!!!! Until I went there I thought I hated nightclubs, I still probably hate most of them but I love Chambers. The music wasn’t bad and I had waaay too much to drink that night. At least I had one drink paid for. That was by a girl that I met at BICS in April and who I referred to in that blog as Hedgehog, so I’m sticking with that as her name for the rest of this too. (Alternative title for this blog was ‘The Return of Hedgehog’ but I didn’t want this blog to be all about her, I think someone else would might a much better one than I ever could about her). I spent all night in the nightclub with my delegation, Hedgehog, and a guy who was at Pink Training that I have been friends with since I was 5 and I had not seen him since March so I was really happy that he was there. I can’t even remember what drinks I had that night but that’s mostly because I wasn’t the one who ordered them. I just gave someone money to get me whatever shot they were getting. All in all Friday was a good night. We got back to the hostel and I went up to my bunk first because somebody wasn’t ready to go to bed yet because apparently one would regret sleeping in jeans, but not me I didn’t regret it someone else felt like they would have and told me I would too. I was literally lying down covers over me and everything and then I hear that Jodi and two of the girls were going out for a cigarette and I sprung out of bed and I was like “Wait for me I want to have one too!!” After our cigarette we went back upstairs and were getting ready for bed. A teddy that Jodi had bought earlier that day was kicked out of the bed. There is a story behind this teddy and it makes me laugh so much. So when we arrived in Cork we were there a few hours before registration started so we went to the Wilton shopping centre. We went into Penneys and you know we were shopping around getting things that we needed like unicorn bracelets and some stuff we didn’t need like fake eyelashes. We were looking at the gift section of the shop where they were selling customized cups and mugs and stuff and Jodi sees this little penguin teddy there all on it’s own and it made her feel sad she was like “Where’s his family? I need to go find his family!” She looked for the family for the bones of 30 seconds and gave up but wouldn’t let go of the teddy. If she couldn’t find his family then he was coming home with her, and that’s exactly what happened. Even though when we were in the queue she did actually see a place where there was a load of these small Christmas teddies, at that point she had developed an emotional attachment to him and had to buy him at that stage because there was no turning back. She walked out of their then and was like “I don’t know why I did that. I don’t need him. I couldn’t leave him there but like why did I just buy him?” Anyways as the day progressed the teddy later became known as Fred, I think it was a very apt name. So when he got kicked out of bed Friday night I felt bad for him. Once he got the name I really felt like he became part of the delegation. Also I usually have a teddy at home so I found comfort in having one while I was there. Especially seeing as I had no person to actually cuddle with, I had to deal with what I was given. I am sure though that anyone who had someone to actually cuddle with there had a much better night than I did. I got really emotional Friday night when I went to bed after my cigarette so I kind of had a bit of a short,silent cry before I actually went to sleep and no it had nothing to do with me sleeping in an unfamiliar place or anything like that I just felt lonely in a room of 6 people.

So Saturday morning was not very fun when waking up. I was so tired but thank god all I had to was throw on a t-shirt and wipe off my make-up. I went to a lot of talks on Saturday but there is a few I regretted not going to. From the ones I did go to though I learned how to run a kick-ass society, the link between repeal the 8th and LGBT+ rights, and decoding bisexual stereotypes. I loved that bisexual talk so much because there is so many stupid stereotypes surrounding bi people and they infuriate me more than anything else so if you think that they are representative of what it means to be bisexual than I will physically fight you you fucking ignorant bastard. We then got a talk from Microsoft because they were sponsoring PT and honestly I couldn’t complain especially when I saw the speaker from Microsoft. As in Jodi, Hedgehog and I were all sitting next to each other and just weak for the speaker, she was insanely pretty and the American accent really helped, or at least it really did for Jodi. We then got a talk from a guy who had a history with the gay rights movement in Cork and really pointed out how much Cork is involved in the movement which I never realised until his talk. We then made our way back to the hostels to get ready for night 2. I decided I would wear a dress because why the fuck not? While I didn’t really feel insecure over the weekend, there was a few points where I felt less secure about myself because of someone else. Someone who I found out is the same clothes size as me, has a really fucking attractive body and then there’s me with nothing to offer anyone unless they want to cuddle a fucking human marshmallow, which no one obviously fucking does. (Sorry that sentence came off angrier than I intended it too.) The people in my delegation really liked the dress when I showed it to them and when I wearing it they said I looked nice. That was the start and end of any compliments I received during the weekend, it’s not like I expected any.

We left the hostel to go to the bar where we were meeting all the other delegates for the Pink Party. There was giant Jenga, finger food, and more importantly there was a bowling alley on the second floor. The place seemed unreal. We had to be at the bar around half 8 after getting back to the hostel at around 7 so there was no time for pre-drinking, much to everyone’s dismay except mine because I’m a lightweight.  So when we got to the bar, Jodi and I went to a nearby off licence so that she could buy a naggin of vodka. It was down a not very well lit alley way and because she was nervous for just the two of us to walk down there she said “Should we get a lad to go with us?” To which I responded being “We don’t need a fucking lad!!!” So we made our way there fine but Jodi had to do a bit of a jog back because she was still a bit scared about that alley way. We got back to the bar and Jodi ordered a 7-up and we went upstairs so that she could go to the bathroom to mix it with her naggin. She was acting as if she was doing something illegal like it felt like we about to plan a heist or throw a cherry bomb down the toilet or something.  We went back down and met up with the rest of our delegation and headed towards Chambers. We made it there just in time for free entry. Also I was happy I wasn’t as drunk as the Friday night because I had to show my age card, student card and lanyard and I would have not been able to do that if I was any more inebriated. I think I had the best night that night because while we were in there I got to meet the USI president and I think I died and went to heaven. I can’t remember the last time I was that incredibly happy. We didn’t even talk for that long. I told her that I saw her at the Education March a few weeks ago and I loved her speeches from that and she immediately goes “Have you contacted your local TD yet? You’d better contact them as soon as you get home. Promise me that.” I told her that I will but we’ll just leave it at that. While I was talking to her and just on cloud nine, Jodi was standing nearby with one of the other USI officers and she says to him “Look over there, look at Sandra.” He goes “What has her so happy?” Jodi just says “Because of who she’s talking to.” I think he then just rolled his eyes. I then had a shot with the USI president and another officer, I think it was sambuca. After I was done with that interaction with the USI president, which two days later I’m still on a high from, I ran straight over the Jodi and hugged her, kissed on the cheek and was like “Thank you so much!!!!!” Jodi then said that even more than when I was sitting up in the top bunk of the bed in the hostel, she had never ever seen me more happy then that moment in Chambers. I don’t know if I had ever been that happy before but I loved it. I love that the happiness hasn’t subsided yet. I also got a selfie with her so I can always relive that moment. We were in Chambers for another while and then we headed back to the hostel.

This is where I brought the happiness to a halt. I don’t know why but I got the idea into my head that I would be cuddling Jodi that night, like why would I think  when I’m you know human marshmallow and all that, but I got really upset when I found out that it was not to be. I had no right to be upset. I had no reason to be upset. I just remember we were both outside our room in the hallway and as I go to the room door I just said like “Go fuck yourself Jodi!” She says to me in a sort of calm voice, “Sandra, stop it. We never said that was going to happen.You can’t get upset about this” Again I go “Just go fuck yourself”. She said “Are you going to be angry at me in the morning?” I kind of smirked because I’m not used to being angry like that and she said straight away “Ha you’re smiling, you’re not mad at me at all.” If anything I think this made me more upset and I don’t know why so I just started saying “Do whatever the fuck you want I don’t care anymore you can fuck off!” Then she said something that kind of broke my heart she was like “Do you want me to start crying?” I completely switched and I ran up to her and I was like “Please don’t cry. I’m sorry. I really don’t want you to cry I was being stupid.” I think I had said sorry but it’s hard to remember. A lot was happening in the space of a few minutes. So then I gave her a hug and she started bawling crying. All weekend I never felt any bit sick but in that moment I actually felt so sick to my stomach with myself. I felt evil. I felt like I had done the worst thing, which I did. I hurt someone who has never hurt me. It didn’t matter that I was drunk, that is no excuse. I was an utter bitch. So while I was hugging her and she was crying she tried to let go and said “I’m fine.” I said in a sad sort of soft voice, “No you’re not.” Still crying she said “You’re right, I’m not” So I hugged her for a bit longer and shortly after that she stopped crying. We did make up before we actually went to bed but I again silently cried myself to sleep but that night it was worse because I knew I had fucked up. You know what I didn’t deserve to cuddle anyone that night. I didn’t even deserve Fred, the penguin teddy, but I had him nonetheless.  I don’t think I said anything about it the next day because we were so busy for most of the day so I think I kind of blocked it out. I thought about it in the car but I didn’t want to bring down the vibe of the car journey home and also I only wanted to say it to Jodi. I sent her a message when I got home because I couldn’t sleep without properly apologising. I am really sorry about what happened and I feel like I am coming very close to strike 3 in this friendship so I’m worried if I fuck up once more that’s it. She’ll say “gone good luck” to me and that’ll be it. I know I’m being a little paranoid but my biggest fear, even more than spiders or the many other things I am extremely fearful of, is losing her as a friend and I will try my hardest to make sure I don’t ever fuck up again because I fucking hate this feeling and I hate what I did. Now all I can do is apologise, prove that it won’t happen again, and try to show her that I’m not a complete fuckwad.

Sunday morning I woke up and everyone was rushing around packing their bags which I had pretty much done all of the night so I know I had time to keep lying there and not doing anything. I think I got hit twice to get the fuck up and then I got a pillow thrown at me by one of the girls and I threw it back at her and was told that if I didn’t get up straight away she would go over to my bunk and attack me. So I sat up immediately and was like “I’m up, you can’t attack me now!” I ended up just throwing my jeans on and sitting up there while I watched everyone else rush to get things done. Like I was ready to go before anyone else really. Yet none of us would have left in time for the only talk I was actually really excited to go to which was “Asexuality 101” the first of our cars that went would have gotten there half way through the talk and I didn’t go then because I’d rather have been in that talk from the start, I couldn’t walk in half way through into that talk. When Jodi knew that I was missing it I just said to her “Well there’s nothing I can really do about it now. It’s fine!” I was in the room for ages with Jodi and Hedgehog and the whole time I was still just sitting up in my bunk. Jodi was like “Are we all ready to go?” To which Hedgehog says “Sure Sandra isn’t ready to go she’s still up in bed!” So I tried to be cool and really fucking smooth and jump over the railing of my bunk on the ground below and I landed successfully. However, I really hurt my shoulders when I jumped from the bed because I was holding onto the railing of both my bed and the one across from it. So when I jumped down I felt like I was going to pull my arms out of their sockets. As soon as I landed I laid down in the bottom bunk until my shoulders stopped hurting which took a couple of minutes. It would have been nice if they were more concerned about the fact that I could have dislocated one or both of my shoulders but sure look and sure listen I was fine. I didn’t need anyone to care. It just shows what happens when I try to be smooth and show off. It ends up making me look stupid.

We got into the college in time for about half an hour of the safe spaces. Each identity had their own room so like there was a gay safe space, a bi safe space, a transgender safe space etc. So I wasn’t really in the mood to go into one of these talks alone,I wasn’t with anyone who was my orientation and I was torn between going to the lesbian space or the asexual space. I just went with Jodi into the bisexual safe space and I really loved it. The speakers in their were amazing and like I really just loved the atmosphere of the room and hearing all the different stories. If anything I think that that was the best talk of PT bar anything that went on in the main lecture hall when we were all together. We had the rest of the Lip Sync battle and it kind of woke us up a bit. Then it was followed by the very emotional goodbye talk. As in the president of USI started to cry towards the end of her speech and I fucking lost it. I couldn’t deal. Also just the idea that Pink Training was ending I was an emotional wreck leaving that lecture hall. We then went and got a group photo taken with us all in our different colour t-shirts that we were given which were made up of the colours the rainbow. We got our lunch and then decided to head off after saying a few goodbyes. We went out to the car and we were there for a bit before we actually left but in a few ways I was very happy to be heading home. We stopped for McDonalds in Mallow on the way home and I found out that I had some sort of drink Saturday night that had brandy in it and I didn’t even know. To be fair I feel like my memory of this weekend is really bad. I honestly think that I drank too much and it’s taking me far longer to remember all the little details that I usually do after a night out.

As relieved as I was to finally get home, it was still a sad time especially since there was no one in my house when I got back. Also as soon as I walked in the door all I could hear was voices inside my head. It started off with just the voices of who I was just in the car with and then it became voices of everything that happened over the weekend whether they were conversations I had been involved in or not, I could just hear all of these different voices and some I did not recognise. They started getting louder and louder and I felt like I was going to break down. All I wanted to do was hit my head and try to get my brain to shut up, but luckily I resisted. Thankfully my mom called about 45 minutes into my crisis and while I didn’t tell her what happened, it did get the voice to start to quiet down and eventually disappear.

I waited for one of my roommates to come home and talked to her for a bit before I went to bed. I slept for 11 hours. When I awoke the Monday morning I think I felt really happy. I never wake up happy unless I have plans in which I’m really excited for. I didn’t get into college until like 20 past 11. I had a really good day at college, even better than usual. I did only go to one of the three classes I had but that’s a normal Monday recently. Jodi actually went to college even though I really thought that she wouldn’t because she didn’t have to be in. We actually saw a lot of each other today which I thought was really weird because I thought that she would definitely have had enough of me after the weekend. In the smoking area I actually congratulated her on surviving the weekend with me. I brought up the fact that I was going to write this blog and she told me not to write some things in this and I respected that and told her I wouldn’t. The main reason being that all throughout Pink Training it was always said that not everyone wants what they were doing at Pink Training out on the internet because the whole point of the Training was that it was a safe space where everyone’s privacy should be respected so that’s why I kept some things out of this. Another big reason being is that she is my friend and if she really doesn’t want me to write something on here then I won’t because what good would that do anyone. It’s not like these things I would’ve have written had any relation to me. She is the only one who has the right to share them. However, she did tell me also tell me not to write about our fight because it would just make her cry, and that’s the only thing I said no to her on. That fight was all my fault. It was me being a complete bitch. This is part of my therapy process. I can’t only deal with the good parts of the weekend, the one bad thing that happened needs to be mentioned too so that it is out of my system and I can actually move on from it because if I don’t I could overthink about it for months and really bring myself down about it.  However, today despite those post PT blues we both got on as normal and I made her laugh a lot which is always my favourite thing to do especially since the most difficult thing for me to do is to get Jodi to properly laugh out loud at something I say instead of just a giggle or something like she usually does. So she was on Facebook and a post came up about Pokemon of which she knows very little about. It was about having hope in yourself because something as useless as a Magikarp can turn into something as strong as a Gyarados. So she found this funny but didn’t fully understand it so I described Magikarp in a way I knew would make her laugh, I said “All Magikarp fucking did was flop around, he did fuck all!!” While saying that I was moving my hands like a fish would moves it’s fins when it’s out of water and flopping all around the place. I gave her a hug when she was leaving and she tried to break off that hug but because today wasn’t the best day for her I knew she needed a longer hug so I didn’t let go for a little bit after that. When she was getting her bag and going to leave she said that she did really need that hug. I honestly think that was the only long hug where it wasn’t because I was being needy, I was actually trying to do it selflessly because I think she needed it more than I did.

I have come away from Pink Training a bit confused like I was when I started college last year. I feel like I could actually be bisexual, with more preference towards women. I’d still be asexual though so like dicks still repulse me more than anything on this entire planet. So maybe I’m not really bisexual but that’s for me to continue to try and figure out. I’m really proud after coming away from Pink Training with questions because I really thought I was at the point where I was dead certain on what I identified as. That’s the thing though sexuality can be fluid so this will probably be a constant thing I question for the rest of my life but at least now, compared to a few years ago, I actually do know that there is women I’m attracted to and I know a few things about them that I’m attracted to. Pink Training is just to help me progress through this journey of sexuality.#ProgressInPink

My Life Isn’t All That Bad!

I use these blogs as a way to vent and tell you why my life is shit. Yeah well that is what life is for everyone, it is shit. I need to remember more often that I actually have a not so bad life. I still wouldn’t say it’s like totes amazeballs but I have a lot of reasons to be happy with the life I’ve been given.

Over the last numbers of weeks, I had become closer to giving up. I expected last week to be my last week ever, despite not having a suicide planned out at all. I know I need to go see someone about this but I just can’t do it. I don’t want them to tell me I’m crazy. I am afraid they will think I am a severe case and send me off somewhere that I will be hold up in for the rest of my life. Yet I have no problem telling non-professionals all my problems. Well I guess not all my problems because I didn’t tell anyone until this blog that I wanted to end my life and the want for that has been building up over the last 2-3 weeks. Why would I tell them though? What good would come out of that? If I told my friends, I would probably just make them upset and that’s the last thing I want. Newsflash to me: They do care about me and they do love me.  So let’s talk about this week and how even though there has been a few awful points to the week, something has turned my mood right around and I can’t help but feel happy.

The week started fine. All my classes were fine on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday we has a seminar on in the college called “Media Madness” where speakers from different forms of Media and with a load of experience and work in the area came to talk to us and answer questions. It was really interesting and I  learned a lot from them and also where I do not want to work in the future. I decided that I would go out Tuesday night and I actually had a really good night. I went pre drinking in one of my classmates house and it was really nice to have like most of our class all together.  When we were going out only half of us who were in the house left while all the others stayed in. We went out and there was only like one of the usual places open so we went there for a little bit. We left to see if the late bar that we’d usually go to was open and it wasn’t so we walked back to where we just were and I looked across the road at the ATM and I saw Jodi. I ran straight across the road and when she saw me she screamed “Sandra!!” in an excited voice and gave me a hug. We all then went back into the bar we were in earlier and stayed there for the next 2 hours. The DJ was actually playing good music for once. I got very drunk that night. I bought a few drinks out but I didn’t order any of them I just give the person ordering the money to get me whatever they’re having. I gave Jodi a €10 to get my drink so I needed €5 euro back. However drunk me thought I had given her a €20 note so I kept saying that I should get a ten back as well as the five but then well I realised that I was in fact wrong, I said I was sorry and I felt kinda bad. We were going up for a drink when Jodi and I’s song, ‘Lush Life’, came on. She noticed it before I did, which rarely happens, and she looked at me screamed and dragged me by the arm back to the dance floor. To be fair the song isn’t played all that often anymore on nights out so that made it more exciting when we heard it. Jodi hugged me a lot that night and also this week in general. What comes to mind from that night though is when we were on the dance floor and there was a guy, I think because I never looked, grabbing onto my and pulling me back and Jodi pushed his hands off and then pulled me into a hug and then asked me if I was ok. When we left the bar we walked home. Well we walked to the house of one of the third years we were out with. I went there for a little bit since it was only a short walk away from my accommodation. They were all kind of falling asleep so I decided that I would go home and that woke Jodi up a little. She was like “What? No your not. On your own? No. We’re walking with you to the corner of the estate at least.” I just told her that it was fine and they didn’t have to walk me there I could get there by myself. I was really happy on the walk home though because I was just thinking about the night and how good it really was. I was so happy actually that I started jumping and kicking my heels together. I did make a bruise on my ankle doing that but it was worth it I think.

The next day at college was not so fun. I got my sketchbook back in Media Graphics and it’s 50% of the whole module and she said mine wasn’t even worth 10%. It just really bothered me and it still does. I nearly started crying while the lecturer ripped into me for my work, or therefore lack of  work in her eyes. I only ate 3 hash browns at around 11am and then didn’t eat for the rest of the day. I wasn’t in the mood to eat. I wasn’t hungry.

Thursday was a much better day even though it was kind of stressful. I had a presentation to do and I was shaking while doing it and I don’t know why I just got really nervous. I finished college at 6 and I had to rush home and get dressed and eat before getting a taxi down to a bus that was bringing us to the Fashion Show that the SVP Society in the college was running in one of the hotels in Tralee. I ended up missing the bus and the taxi driver had to drive me out to the hotel. It cost €11 which I guess wasn’t bad but I wasn’t planning on spending that much to get out there. They had a drinks reception at before the show and I think I had about 6 or 7 glasses of champagne. Later on during the show I had a bottle of Corona  which didn’t really affect me so I was fairly sober. I actually really loved the fashion show it was really entertaining. It probably helped that I knew like half the models. When the show finished I got a drive back with Jodi and one of the other 4th years, who I will call Tab. We went back to Oakfield because there was no way anyone was going out sober. I went to my house and I hadn’t planned for that part so I drank 2 cans that were in my room that my friend left last time he was there so I need to replace those soon. I was supposed to go over to the house that Jodi and Tab were drinking in but I ended up talking to my roommate the whole time we were at Oakfield. I also had to wait for my phone to charge because it was dead after the fashion show because I kept Snapchatting the whole thing. We got a taxi to the nightclub and went in and met the members that we know in the SVP Society who organised the entire event. We probably stayed there for like 20 minutes because the music that they were playing was all shit. So we left and walked towards Hennessy’s, a late bar, which felt like the longest walk ever. Jodi had started crying because the topic of suicide had come up, but it wasn’t by me. She just kept saying “This shouldn’t happen. There is supports out there. There’s not enough being done to tell people about them.”  We had walked a bit and I said that it easily could have been me who committed suicide. She grabbed my hand and said “No it couldn’t have. Don’t say that.” I mentioned how I had been thinking about it and while I said that she wouldn’t let go of my hand. Then she walked ahead a little and Tab came over the me and put his arm around me and was like “Come here to me now, you are loved and people do care about you and it’s not just Jodi.” Then he went on to list people who care about me and he was saying just more things like that. So then, naturally, I kind of started crying. We kept walking a bit, him still with his arm around me and then I just ran up to Jodi and hugged her. I was still crying and she was like “You are loved”. I said that she is loved too, because I always feel like everyone needs to know that they are and it shouldn’t be something that they ever doubt . It was a very long hug and then she started singing “1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive. 6,7,8,9,10 then I let it go again…” I just started laughing and somehow her singing that just made me feel much better and it just made me really happy.We then went into Hennessy’s and we got a drink that Tab is always on about called a Sour Daithi, which I’ve other from other people are meant to be lethal. Tab got ordered me one and after a few sips I had him get me a second one because I liked it so much and it didn’t have a negative effect on me or anything. We danced for a bit. Jodi told the DJ that it was my 21st birthday and if he could play Fifth Harmony. He said he already played so instead he played “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” which I really like anyways so luckily my fake birthday was not ruined. We left the nightclub to go get food. We ended up seeing some of our friends in the place we spent most of the time there throwing chips at each other. Jodi, Tab and I then got a taxi back to Oakfield and went up to my apartment. I went up to my room to get something and as I went to go back downstairs Jodi was sitting on one of the steps. The two of us then went up to my room, and Tab shortly followed. I never have anyone at my house that often so I wanted to show my room off. I managed to make Jodi laugh a lot so I felt great because of that. We then went back downstairs and had a cigarette before Tab and Jodi went back to where they were staying. They gave me a hug each and I told them “Thank you both for tonight!!” I smoked another cigarette, went up to my room, put on my unicorn onesie and went to bed.

I got up Friday morning feeling completely fine. I was a bit tired but I have been like that all week. I was still really happy from the night before that was until I actually got the percent for my sketchbook in Media Graphics sent to me. I got 22% in it, meaning that if I want to pass this module I need to get at least 66% in the next submission. However, I tried not to dwell on it too much. I liked the class that I had yesterday. It was Radio Production 1 and I love my lecturer for it. We were dividing into groups for our half hour radio show projects. We weren’t all in so when I joined one of the groups my lecturer saw that I was in a group with people who are more Tv/Film orientated and said “Ok good you have a radio person, someone who knows how to work the desk.” I got really excited I’m never the radio person. I am as capable of doing radio as any of the other radio people in my class and I shouldn’t be looked over constantly. I even gave ideas to the group in our discussion during class that they and my lecturer were impressed with.  Unfortunately, another radio person has been added to the group so I probably won’t get my time to shine as they will more than likely take over. Oh well, maybe next time eh?

Mental Illness Take 6: What’s New?

This week has been filled with more downs than ups. However, there is moments this week that have made me smile more than I have in ages and they just make me so happy to think about. If only they weren’t overshadowed by the negativity that has surrounded me this week. This has been a very stressful week to the point where I started to bottle my emotions again. I didn’t want to tell anyone what I was really thinking. Everyone has such a busy week, no one would have had time to listen me and my problems.  The main thing that has been lingering on my mind all week is that it has been a year since I got sexually harassed on the bus home one night from college. I didn’t really tell anyone I was thinking about it because at the time that it happened and for a good few months after it, I wouldn’t stop talking about it. I don’t think anyone really understands the extent to how much that affected me and I’m afraid that no one ever will. Since being at college, and especially over the past few months, I’ve had to try and make myself laugh at sexual jokes and innuendos. I was never comfortable with them and never really found them funny. Now I actually do find them funny, for the most part. There is jokes that I will make but it’s more because I know it will make someone else laugh because it’s really witty and quick. Also I like the look on Jodi’s face when I make certain jokes of an explicit nature because it’s really my motivation to keep saying things like that. Also it reminds me that I am actually intelligent. I’ve felt like an idiot my entire life but the friends I have at college make me feel as though I’m actually not stupid. They believe that I deserve to be at college. They have faith in me getting my assignments done and it’s always nice to  know that someone thinks you can succeed when you maybe having doubts about what you’re really capable of.

While I have now gotten used to these kinds of jokes, it doesn’t mean that the topic of sex and all things related to that is something I’m used to or like to talk about. I don’t mind of someone talks about it but in certain situations don’t expect me to want to listen. The way that some people talk about it make me want to physically get sick and I do need to walk away when theses things conversations get too much. I’m not sorry that I need to leave. At least I have the decency to leave instead of telling you to shut the fuck up because sometimes it gets so much that I nearly would do that. It’s worse depending on how I’m feeling that day too.  The last few weeks have been nothing but stress, anxiety and insecurities. Last week was the midterm and usually when I am away from my friends I get fairly depressed and there’s nothing I can really do about it, I just have to sit around and wait for it to pass. Luckily last week, while I had some dark days but not for the whole week. I just tried to focus on getting back to Tralee and getting to escape my parents. I was counting down the days until I got to go back and I left on one of the earliest buses I could. I was really happy to back with all my roommates on Sunday night, and I felt for the first time in over a week that I could breathe. I didn’t feel like at any moment the walls would start closing in on me, which seems to be the only way I can describe my week at home as feeling like. My mom wasn’t suffocating me and trying to get my attention all day everyday but it wasn’t any bit relaxing to be at home except for the fact that I could sleep for as long as I wanted to. While I was tired at the start of the week and needed to catch up on sleep I had missed, I think I slept extra to avoid having to interact with my family.  I know that sounds bad probably but ever since getting the independence of moving away from them, I find my parents to be very pushy with me doing things like last Thursday when I was forced to go clothes shopping. If I was a “normal” girl maybe I would be jumping for joy at the thought of going shopping and having my mother buy what I wanted so long as it was no more than €50, which in Penneys could get you a lot of clothes. I ended up getting a short Ramones top, which I probably won’t where for a long time, a green woolly jumper, and a Harry Potter pajamas. I hate shopping in Killarney. I don’t know why but I always feel really self conscious there as if everyone is looking at me like I have a giant arrow above my head that says “Mentally Unstable”. I get extremely anxious being in that Penneys. I also feel the same way about the TK Maxx in Killarney too. I have been to both shops in Tralee over the last month and I don’t have the same feeling towards them. I don’t feel anxious when I walk in. I think it’s very easy to hate where you’re from because it’s either “boring” or “nothing ever happens here”. I’ve hated where I live for a good portion of my life and if I ever say that to anyway I’m labelled as selfish because how could I hate a place as beautiful as Killarney.  Hate might be a strong word but I do have an immense dislike for the place. More so where I actually live. Home is where you should feel safe and secure. I can’t remember ever feeling like that in my home growing up. My estate was never a safe place. My house wasn’t even safe. Every day and night all the awful, menacing kids (Yes, I have always had a mentality of an 80 year old) would always congregate outside my house. Days on end filled with screaming, yelling, teasing, playing, would make me feel trapped inside my own house. I never wanted to go outside the front of my house when they were around because I was afraid they’d hurt me or start bullying me. They had threatened and teased me before so I always had a constant fear that one day when I was alone in the house that they would break in and would beat me and/or kill me. Bear in mind I have live in the same house since I was born and I started to get scared like this when I was about 5. It was also at that age that I started learning to ride a bike and so one day I was riding it in front of my house and a girl who lived in my estate, who was a little younger than I was, pointed and repeated over and over “BIG EARS! BIG EARS!DUMBO!DUMBO!” I had my hair tied in pigtails. To this day I always have to have my hair long enough to cover my ears and I refuse to cut it any shorter because I’m self conscious about my ears. It’s the main reason as to why I never got my ears pierced because earrings would have just drawn even more attention to them.There was always things being flung at our house, not always intentional but let’s be really it probably was always intentional I just refused to believe that these kids like to inflict panic in another kid who was afraid to do anything and would crawl on the ground when going passed windows in case they were outside and they saw me. It’s not like that anymore but I can’t help to feel nervous that it would happen again. I tend to call both my actual house in Killarney and my apartment in Tralee “home”. I think it’s just a force of habit but if one fit the definition of what a home truly is, I think that the apartment takes the cake.

This week probably started to go downhill when I pulled an all-nighter on Tuesday night and went to be at half 6 only to get up less than an hour later to go to college. I was trying to get work done while simultaneously watching the results of the US Presidential Election Results, which was stressful in itself. However, this night wasn’t bad the only bad thing was that I was getting no sleep and would thus affect me for the rest of the week. Jodi was also pulling an all-nighter so I saw her a couple of times throughout that night. She called me to come over and look at the work that she had done at around 3 am. I went over and after looking at the progress she had made, I stayed over there for over half an hour while she looked through the entirety of the TicketMaster website to see what she could find. We went from looking at Robbie Wiliams tickets, to Nathan Carter Tickets, and from Swan Lake tickets to Dracula on Ice tickets. We then proceeded to watch a video on YouTube called “30 songs you definitely known but don’t know the name of”. I was worried that from watching that we would get into a spiral of watching a load of those types of videos we watched about two. The whole time I was over there we were just laughing the entire time and I don’t know if it was because of the lack of sleep we were both experiencing or the fact that we are both just hilarious. I would like to think it’s the latter. We then went out for a cigarette in the freezing cold and then we hugged, said goodnight and she went to bed while I stayed up trying to keep working but struggling to keep focused. Later on that morning, when I woke up after my 40 minutes of sleep, I find out that Trump actually became president of the US. I still thought I was asleep and really hoped that this was some nightmare, but unfortunately was not part of some fictitious dream but a part of reality that will greatly affect the world for the next 4 years and possibly longer. I can only deal with a certain amount of political talk. I had the great fortune of a sitting around for a few hours with actual Trump supporters inside in the radio studio. I had to keep leaving to go smoke because I was getting so irritated and annoyed mostly because I didn’t get sleep and I really wanted Hilary to win and I’m sick of hearing people trying to justify Donald Trump by saying “You know he actually has some really good policies!” Just shut the fuck up I don’t give a shit. Feel free to think that by all means but don’t expect me to want care about your bullshit political stance.

Thursday is when everything became to much, which is really starting to become a trend.. Shit always seems to go down on Thursdays. I skipped my 11am class because I had to pick an idea for a film project and write a 500 word brief on it by 5pm. I had no clue what to write and it took me hours to pick something. I finally got my idea and I was like “Yeah it’s going to a soap opera version of this play”. I was writing away fine and then one of the lads walks in a sense “Well your film is going to have been amazing because that lecturer hates soap operas!” I slammed my laptop shut and said “What is the point of me even trying?” I was so angry I had the urge to punch the brick wall in the talk studio but I decided against it. Later on when it was only an hour away from when we were supposed to have our 4pm class, which was later cancelled, I still wasn’t done writing my film brief. Derek and I got called into the radio studio to film our segment for our Bang Fm informational video. I messed up my line the first time because I was trying to rush and get through it as quickly as possible. Derek was then like “Do you want me to just say it all?” I was told him yeah that he could just say it all. Then he was did the same way and paused after what would’ve been his line and as if I was supposed to say mine so I was like “I thought you said you were going to do it?” Then he started laughing and so did the other 3 guys in the room. So I stormed out the door and nearly started crying and I got to the R Block and realised I had nowhere to go because I couldn’t smoke because I left my cigarettes in the studio. So I went back and walked straight into the talk studio to where my laptop was and punched the brick wall 3 times with my right hand. I told the lads that I refuse to do to video and Derek can just record it himself. I went back to work. I wanted to get it finished because there was a cool driving simulator thing on campus that day and I wanted more than anything to go over there but I had no time to. Jodi was returning from being over at the driving simulator thing and was walking to the talk studio smiling at me and saw that I was not happy and walked in and immediately was like what is wrong? I explained it to her and she kind of said things that I didn’t really appreciate much until a few hours later. She was reassuring me that I would get my work done. When I asked her a question as to what more I could write her answer actually did help. Then even she though she had just been out for a cigarette she went back out for one when I asked if she would go with me for one. She even understood how much my near crying fit and storming off was brought on and worsened by the lads all laughing at me.  I eventually got my work done and my knuckles on the hand that I punched the wall with began to bruise. I got home earlier than normal on a Thursday since my class was cancelled and ended up going for a nap, which is something I hardly ever do but I really needed one. I got up for a while and went to bed at around 1am and as soon as I laid in bed with my phone off I started to have sleep paralysis again. I think I’ve had it a total of like 5-7 times in the 2 months, and it’s been my first time ever having sleep paralysis when it started September.

Today, as in Friday, was a lot better. I was afraid that the lads would be angry at me for not doing the video and refuse to talk to me but they didn’t seem to hold a grudge. It was the Open Day at the college so we had a busy day ahead of us. Unfortunately I had a shortage of cigarettes for the day and it made the day feel way longer than it actually was. I got some good photos but due to my lack of sleep and the slowness of my computer it can wait til the morning to work on them. I wouldn’t say I did a whole lot today but the atmosphere around the college was nice except I was a little panicked at the amount of people but I tried to ignore it and it worked. I gave a sigh of relief though when the crowds had all disappeared and the halls were fairly empty again. I walked over to Jodi in the hall before she left and she looked at me and said I looked happier today. I was kinda like “I don’t know, I guess so…” She then gave me a hug and it was a long hug, for once. Due to the fact that my brain and every part of my feels like it’s trying to do anything and everything and work at a mile a minute, I think that the hug slowed down all the thoughts and electrical impulses that were being sent from my brain. I couldn’t remember the last I really felt a hug. Most of the time recently I was never mentally present for a hug I would be distracted, but this time was different. I could hear her heartbeat which by right I should hear most of the time when I hug her but I guess I just never pay attention. Then she started singing something and then when after the hug I smiled and said to her “Well I’m definitely happy now!” Never underestimate how much a hug can mean to someone. Also the fact that she noticed my change in mood before I was even aware of it. I didn’t realise that I actually was in a better mood than I was the day before until she said it.