The psalm read tonight had the line
"Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning."(Psalm 30)Last night I wept. Tears streaming down my face, a wet pillow, sobbing. Today has been a day of joy, which started this morning. The line stuck with me. (why do I seem to have a life which fits so nicely with the lectionary we use for weekday services? Each daily "urgh" thought seems to be somehow incorporated into that days readings - it is weird)
This time last year, people were almost convinced I wouldn't cope with the workload of my studying for 2010. Told me that they didn't want my degree to be the end of me and were worried I would crack under the pressure and fail and feel very very rubbish.
The OU rang me up to ask whether I realised how much work I was signed up to do. Pointed out that I was doing the maximum credits they will allow without special circumstances and considerations.
My care team suggested I should only do part-time as I didn't want to "go backwards".
However, if someone tells me they don't think I can do something, I'll do it with enthusiasm and vigour to prove them wrong (seriously, I'm so stubborn and bloody-minded I'll do it to prove them wrong as well as for my own benefit). With short term plans this is fairly doable, I get a bee in my bonnet and put my head down and work hard at it.
Longer term plans, like a year worth of studying, is more difficult. The momentum of the "I'll show them" plans invariably goes awry at points.
I think, having started proper at the beginning of February, I dipped mid-April. Did my normal "Why, oh why, oh why didn't I choose music as my life?!" thing.
Got back on track, then had a week in June where I couldn't even open a book. Got back on track (after a whiny session with my mentor in which she persuaded me to open my books with her sitting next to me to prove the pages weren't going to attack me and gobble me up).
August saw me going to Nottingham for a week of maths. Probably the hardest week I've had recently, as it was so full of stuff (including a few evenings chatting about music with my tutor and buying him pints...). But I came out of my presentation at the end of the week with a glowing phrase in my head "We were very impressed with your presentation." because they believed I was going to be rubbish but I wasn't as bad as they thought (they didn't realise I have jobs with a need for leading groups...).
Then the exams led to a mentally weird bit of time as I was stressed. Then one exam went splendidly (I came out grinning as I just had a 3 hour romp through the fields, or rather, through the exam) and then the other was a disaster. It finished at 1pm, by 2pm I was drunk in a pub. At 6pm, I was attempting to hide my rather inebriated state from the youth choir I was standing in front of. Just an awful hard slog. I really thought I had lost the aim for the year in one 3 hour period.
However, from the marks published today I didn't. I've done it. I've done it. I'll pinch myself again and say it again, I've done it. People were concerned I couldn't manage full-time study, but I can. I can. I can't quite believe it.
After bombing out of my conventional uni education and having university security and two nurses rush me to hospital, I thought it was over. My dream of being an academic had been ruined by my desire to self-destruct. However, 3 months in hospital led to me signing up to the OU whilst on day leave (Well, I'm not dead, why bother spending more time sitting around staring aimlessly into space?). I got the books in the post when I was adjusting to having a home again instead of a hospital room, petrified of how I could turn my life back into a life instead of a four-walled existence. Now, I'm going to graduate only 4 months after the majority of my peers. I can't quite believe it.
Yesterday, I sobbed. I was tired, wound-up, sad and missing my life as it should have been. I was missing my grandmothers, wondering how one would have viewed my musical achievements alongside my academic, and the other being so proud of her eldest grandchild being a university maths student. Neither are here. I loved them both, such differing personalities (such differing social backgrounds: one never needed to work due to her father's great wealth and thought nothing of a grand piano in the drawing room and one came from a mining family of 7 in Wales where a tiny council house with two rooms for her two children was one of life's great privileges) yet such wonderfully strong people. Determined, in very different ways. I miss them both dearly, and last night cried for loosing them before I grew into a young woman instead of simply a girl.
Today, I can't believe it. I'll never take my academic perseverance for granted - I'll cherish every day I study (and I plan to take many further years devoted to mathematical studying yet) for once I couldn't.
A year in which I have grown as a person (you will find a pile of buckets to throw up in to your left, I apologise for the sentimental crap). Hugely. Finished therapy for one thing, so am doing life without constant nudging from a psychologist behind me. Turns out it isn't quite as impossible as it first may have seen.
Yes, I have another year of my degree to go. But I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.
Life seemed to be ruined. I had ruined it. Done a pretty spectacular job at ruining it too. I'm here now though, I'm working, I'm studying what I have always wanted to study, I'm teaching, I'm being paid to do music, I'm enjoying things, I'm alive. 4 walls doesn't make an life it makes an existence. Now though, people have their work cut out trying to contain me to 4 walls. And if someone said "stay still" I'm bloody-minded enough to move for the sake of moving/defying a stupid command.
A day of joy. A diploma to add to my list of qualifications. A bunch of distinctions to add to my degree classification which I'll achieve this time next year (and I will, because someone has already said "Don't you think you should take two years to do your third year? We don't want you crashing."). Here is to 2010, a year where I conquered public transport, started going to concerts on my own, studied my damn hardest and it paid off, where I played for my first ever wedding as an organist, where I started performing on the piano again, where I learnt how to stand alone. Stuff isn't always great, but compared to the last decade this year has been amazing. I'm living. *raises glass to the year*
[I know I'm early. Most people evaluate years in 2 weeks time. I have a slightly skewiff year based on current university results and really finished my proper, liturgical year 4 weeks ago. And 2 weeks isn't very long, and I'm perpetually early for things, so... errr... there.]