Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Doesn’t take much

Posted by Oli on Friday 26th January, 2007

Ah, well, you can’t have it all going your own way, can you?

After the best part of a week spent luxuriating in the delights of life – happiness, exciting prospects, wonderful surroundings, beautiful people and all the rest of it – I knew that sooner or later things would come crashing back down with a bump.  And bump they did.

Yesterday, as I hoped, we went down to Mazda to order our new car and things seemed to pass off without a hitch.  But low and behold, I get back home this afternoon to find a voicemail message from the dealer telling me that Motability won’t insure an under-25 on a catagory 9 car – so I’m 4 months too early to get the Mazda 6.  How ridiculous is that?

Having phoned Motability, they’ve said I can appeal it in writing and they can take it to their insurers and see if they’ll make an exception, but it seems crazy to have to go through all of that palaver for the sake of 4 months!

But actually, although the whole car thing is a bummer, I have to confess that that’s not really what brought me down this week.  What really dragged me off my happy perch was a visit to Milton Keynes College on Thursday afternoon.

K is doing an access course to get her set for uni entry in 2008 and had to enroll officially before her class on Thursday night, which meant we had to go down in the afternoon and do the enrollment necessaries.

I suppose I should have thought about it ahead of time and prepared myself for it, but I didn’t.  The surprise element may have been a factor in my difficulties, but I can’t blame that entirely.

The problem, largely, is being around groups of teenagers and young adults, hanging out in corridors as they do and being themselves at their supremely judgemental young ages.  I know that this is a MASSIVE generalisation and that not ALL teenagers are hugely judgemental, but I remember being a teenager, at school, and what I would think of people walking past me in the corridor and how much we used to jump on anyone or anything that was “different”.

And, for the first time since my health dipped and O2 became a big part of my life, my worst fears came true – I felt like a total freak.  It didn’t help that we were forced to walk almost the entire length of the campus between two departments we needed to see, which had me not only navigating through huge throngs of students, but doing it even more breathlessly than normal while lugging one of my really heavy black O2 cylinders with me.

I also know that most of the negative vibe I felt I was creating almost entirely within my own mind, but that didn’t make any difference to how I felt, or how I feel about the experience.

It was supremely negative – something which I’m not very used to in my life.  Almost any situation I can look at, take a spin on and come up with a positive side, or a brighter perspective.  Even this blog is titled after my attitude to whatever life chooses to throw at me.  But for the first time in a very long time on Thursday, I felt small, insecure and very, very different.

What made it all the harder is that I’ve spent so long now building myself up and repairing the somewhat fractured self-image I had in my final years at school that I don’t have the coping mechanisms to help me through feelings like those.  I seemed to go into a sort of semi-shock, no use to man nor beast for an hour or so.

I was only lucky in that I had to go straight on to another meeting, this time on friendly turf at the Theatre with Rheya to go over our video shoot, which managed to occupy my brain long enough to push the negative thoughts from my head and start me off on a clean bill when I got back to my own space.

I suppose what I have to take away from the situation is a knowledge of how bad it can get.  Although this may sound mightily pessimistic on the surface, it’s important to me and actually something I find quite positive.  Life is all about the ups and downs and I’ve now got a whole new barometer  for the downs – college on Thursday was tough, and way beyond anything I’ve experienced like that for quite a while. But that also means that i’m unlikely to find another experience like it for a while, either.

And when I think I have, I can just remind myself how bad this was, and almost immediately make myself feel better that it’s not that bad.

I was saying all through the ups last week that I was enjoying them because you never know when the downs are going to come in the roller-coaster of life, and having them to cling to when the week’s got rough has made a big difference.  Where once I would have been bummed out for days by an hour’s worth of bad experience, instead I can focus on all the good things that have happened and are still happening and turn my face away from the rubbish that I don’t need on my mind.

Enjoy the good times and remember the bad – just don’t let them rule your thoughts.

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3 Responses to “Doesn’t take much”

  1. Emmie said

    Sorry to hear you had a Pants Friday. Here’s hoping that a Congenial Saturday will be followed by a Mellow Sunday and an Enchanting Monday, by which time you will be back round for another Super Tuesday!
    Teenagers are odd anyway, that’s their role in life. You only stood out because you were normal ;o)
    Emma xxxx

  2. Suze said

    Oli – think about some of the teenagers we’ve had through our doors over the years! They are the centre of their own world and so caught up in themselves that they won’t have been reacting as much as you felt they were and if they were (which I don’t think is the case)it is becasue they don’t understand.

    At least you can take some comfort in the fact that we are raising awareness and that they are not typical of all ‘teenagers’! Remember those that are right there beside you every week without fail. So many of them are reading your blog every day – they are truely inspired by you. And I don’t say that lightly – they are!

    Suze x

  3. Oli – Enjoy the freedom that Oxygen can give you Kathy and I have been to the Ballet, Theatre, Tennis, Anfield, Concerts (Stones etc..) and many more. Life is normal though a little more organised. She carries hers in a little knapsack and after nearly 8 years still gets some funny looks. But the problem is that for many in the UK the gear has not been user friendly in general. You are young active and like many others should be out and enjoying life with the best gear to enable you to do it. Teenagers are the all knowing reminders of our once high level of stupidity. As we get older we become more confortable with our levels of stupidity!!. Anyway good luck with the Oxygen meeting.

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