Ever feel like you’ve got it sussed?
No, me neither.
Occasionally I have these moments of clarity; moments where I understand, 100% what I want to do, where I want to be, and how I should go about it. Unfortunately, I haven’t had one of those for a while.
My head is really rather cloudy of late, and I’m struggling to see past the events that are looming, larger than life, right in front of me. Stupid things really, like sending a letter to the bank, or the fact that it’s nearly March. Forefront of my mind, all the time, is the fact that I have so little money I don’t quite know how I’m going to cope. And then there are other issues, like my car insurance being up for renewal, and our study tour in May, and all the assignments I need to finish.
I got the e-mail about my insurance yesterday. So today I thought “well, they always give you a renewal quote that’s way higher than it should be, so I’ll have a look on a comparison site and see what options I’ve got.” And I did just that. But when all the options came up, significantly cheaper than my renewal quote, my brain just blanked out completely and I didn’t understand what I was looking at anymore. All these numbers and tick boxes and “we’ll give you such and such” flew right over my head. I couldn’t even begin to work out which one might be the right one to go with. I’ve got too many things going on in my head at the same time, all clamouring for attention, claiming to be more important than the last thing, trying to grab my brain and turn it into mush.
Of course the main thing holding me back is my brain screaming “but how are you going to afford it?” because at the moment I’m nearly at the limit of my overdraft. I think I have somewhere in the region of £30 leeway at present. I should get paid twice this month, but then I may have to deal with HMRC who will try and take tax off me because I’m now working two jobs, despite the fact that even with two sets of earnings I will still be earning considerably below the tax allowance threshold. Urgh!
Somehow, I’ll have to figure that one out. It’s one of those “as it happens” situations though, because you can’t do anything until it’s been kickstarted by someone else.
My biggest cause for concern/confusion/conflict within myself, however, is to do with finishing college. My course finishes this June, although if assignments and assessments are completed earlier, then we can finish earlier. I have, as of yet, no idea what I want to do when I finish. As usual, I’m sitting in the position of “I’m sure something will come up” because I’m too bloody terrified to do anything else. Just like I sometimes have those moments of complete clarity, I also have interludes of pure terror and absolute mind-freezing fear.
I am scared of the fact that I’m finishing college and everything that comes with it. I am scared that no-one out there will think I’m good enough, that I’ll realise I’ve made a terrible mistake, that I’ll have spent all this time working so hard only to fall flat on my face again, that someone out there will reveal me as a fraud. I am scared of having no money, because I can’t run my car, or fund my activities, or follow my dreams. I am scared of leaving home because I’ll be living on my own and could get murdered in my sleep and no-one would know. I am scared of so much right now.
Most of all, I am scared that I will never amount to anything. That I will let down anyone who’s ever believed in me, that I will disappoint myself by never getting anywhere, and that I will end up a failure.
I know that being scared is an incredibly important part of life, of moving forward and of achieving your potential. Nerves show you how much something matters, fear helps you realise what you can overcome when you apply yourself. I know all that, so I know that these fears I have, all this scared I am feeling, will only force me to work harder, rise higher, and prove to myself that I can do it after all. But it doesn’t prevent my chest from feeling tight and full when I think of all those things I somehow need to overcome. No obstacle is insurmountable, but they sure can look it when you’re standing at the bottom.
One thing I hate most about myself, is how I can rarely just let go and say “yes, that’s the thing I want to do, so I will do it”. I have done that only a few times that I can remember. Once, when I signed up to study horses at Holme Lacy. That was a real “well, why the hell not?” moment, which seemed to put myself into such a state of shock that I couldn’t come up with a sensible counter argument. Another was allowing myself to be a normal girl and enjoy the short and sweet thing I had last summer with a certain young man. And before that; opting to go away for the summer in the first place. Those moments of just doing what I want to do, are very rare for me, because all too often my sensible head kicks in before I even have a chance to fully explore what it is I want.
“No Megan, you can’t afford that, it’s not practical to do that, you’re not ready for the responsibility of that..” and on and on it goes. Stupid, sensible, boring, rational thoughts just cycle round and round in my head. They drive me crazy, and yet deep down I know I’m right, and that all those annoying dull things I’m thinking are the things I need to be thinking. But still, I do get so fed up with myself sometimes.
Unfortunately, as with so many things in this life, most of my rationale comes down to the fact that I have no money. Were I slightly less totally and utterly up shit creek without a paddle of any shape or form when it comes to my finances, I might be able to allow myself to let loose and do the things I want more often. The fact is, however, that even with working two jobs, I am within £30 of the limit of my overdraft and cannot currently see the way out.
This summer I have, once again, the opportunity to go and work in Ireland. The opportunity to be back in a setting that made me smile every day, working with horses I loved and living with some of the loveliest people I know. I already know that the fabulous Ginny is going to be there all summer this year. This is a woman from whom I learned so much last summer. The chance to go and work with her, learn from her, have fun with her, is more tempting than I can put into words. She’s a truly magnificent person, I love her dearly, and cannot think of a better way to spend my summer than to man the yard with her, ride and vault with her, and teach the campers with her. Really, truly, that is what I want to do. My heart is crying out for that. I also know and love the owners, Anita and Athos. Living with them in their home and spending time in their company was such a joy last summer, and when I went back in October, that it is my greatest wish to return for the summer and see them again.
When I think about how scared I am about everything at the moment, it is hard to make sense of anything. Until I think about working on the yard in Ireland and how I didn’t have a single morning where I didn’t want to go and work, or a single day where I wanted to go home. Ginny was an inspirational yard manager and teacher who helped me to feel like I was the best that I could be. That is how I felt while I was working there. I truly felt like the best version of myself. Strange what fulfilling work will do for you. And I want to feel like that again, I want these scared feelings to go away, I want my heart to be filled with joie de vivre, and my exhaustion at the end of the day to be of the very best kind.
So it pains me to be in such a state of conflict over whether or not I should go. Because there really is no question about it. Of course I should. Not only to help Anita and Athos and Ginny, but also to help myself. And yet, there is this question. Because, dear reader, once again money creeps into the equation and my little head starts to fold in on itself and shouts “no no no, I don’t want to think about that.”
Even with the possibility of earning a small amount while I am there, I am still wrestling with the question of whether I can afford it. For a start, it would mean being away from home for a while. This year, I would likely be aiming to head out for eight weeks minimum, to give Ginny as much of my work as possible, and to spend as much time as I could doing something I enjoy in a place I adore. So that would be eight weeks out of my jobs over here. Last year I was lucky, because my manager at the school allowed me to pick my hours back up when I got back. My work on the college yard, however, is a different question. It would be a long shot to expect the yard manager to keep me on the books and allow me to pick up where I left off after two months. I intend to ask the question, but I am not expecting much. Because she still needs the manpower herself, so me going off for a while means she’ll need someone else available. Which means that, not only would I lose out on my pay while I was away, I may also find myself with no work to come back to.
This brings me right back around to those rare moments of “to hell with it” that I talked about earlier. Because there is a part of me that just thinks, “well sod it, if you come back to no job, then you just find one when you get back” while the sensible Megan is standing there looking all pious and self-righteous, resolutely chanting “you can’t afford to lose your jobs, you can’t afford to lose your jobs”.
Sensible me is really annoying. I’d like to throw something heavy at her.
Normally in this kind of situation I’d just eat a load of cake. But we don’t even have any cake.
Sometimes life is a complete and utter arse.