I knew Plymouth would one day crush me, I just didn't see that it had already happened. I literally lay in bed all day yesterday sulking, crying and playing a load of self-indulgent songs from my ipod (we all do it sometimes, it helps to vent, or so I tell myself) at a single realisation.
In the world, there is something called the "Five degrees of separation" (or six, depending on what you read), which means that somehow, everyone in the world is the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend *counts back to check* that you already know regardless of how you know that person, where they live etc. I think in Plymouth though, I think it's no more than 2 degrees at the very most, and realising that in anything more than a lighthearted "oh so you are so-and-so's sister?" way is beyond awful. I'm actually really worried, I've come so far and I just cannot, cannot, cannot go back. Not now.
When I finished my GCSEs aged 16, I had the worst two years of my life. The long summer was hell, with various 'friends' either making my life hell or, the lesser of two evils, not bothering with me at all. I was depressed, and spent every day of the summer on the internet talking to people online to not feel alone and to feel valid. Sixth form was worse, because those people who dragged me down were suddenly there every day again and seemed to be on some sort of vendetta against me to make my life awful. In English lessons for example, there were only 9 of us in the A-Level class and in our double lesson on Fridays we would take it in turn to bring in sweets. And then, every week except when it was my turn, the people in my group would proceed to pass the sweets round and would purposely not offer me any. No-one would sit next to me in the common room and I spent a lot of my time sat in the computer suite alone because at least there I could send an email or something to make myself feel better about having no friends.
By the final year there, I was barely going because I knew my self-esteem couldn't take any more. In fact, there was nothing left of my self-esteem. The only friend I had there was a girl who I used to go to the school gym with in the mornings, and together we developed anorexia and competed against each other for fitness and weight-loss aims but at least it felt safe because we were the same, we never told anyone what we did and it was our little secret. All of this self-destruction, I still believe now, was down to a few girls whom had been my 'friends', but who had constantly put me down to feed their own self-esteem and then turned on me to stop others from having anything to do with me.
Four years later, I'm sat here now a much stronger person. I have friends, I have a healthy relationship with food against all odds, I'm confident and I'm happy. The girls who dragged me down have nothing to do with me any more, and the ex boyfriend who ruined me last year is out of my life too. This last year has been the cherry on top in the process of sorting my life out and know if I hadn't got rid of those people from my life, I couldn't honestly say I'd even still be alive.
Until today, that is, I believed I was without them. But the 2 degrees of separation mean that I've realised without any facebook stalking (because they popped up on my feed in other people's photos) that they are creeping back in. They are one night away from being back in my lives again; they are in the outer proximities of my social group; they are now friends with other friends of mine they didn't know before and eventually, I can see it now, we will be invited to the same event and everything I've fought so hard to escape will be stood in front of me, gloating and bitching whilst I feel smaller and smaller until I want to cry.
Ex boyfriends too. I have enough trouble avoiding the one I see every time I go to uni that I didn't think to keep an eye out for the other one. He's the one who reduced me to nothing until I ruined our relationship before he proceeded to kick me out, keep all the stuff that was jointly owned and leave me homeless. He hurt me so much I've not even ever dealt with it, I think it's just been repressed and ignored and whilst you could argue that's not helpful, I didn't realise that until recently and even now I have no intention of digging it out again. Again, I just shunned him from my life but again, at some point, he will be there at the same time as me and I'll have to face it. I can see him there, I can see who he spends his time with now and I can see how my social group is starting to slide together with his. This is not the time in my life for this.
I feel so trapped, I feel like I have to watch my step, like I have to watch who I go out with, where and when in an attempt to keep those people from coming back and wreaking havoc in my life again. I know I'm stronger now, a part of me even thinks I could hold my head up high and manage it, but there's that little bit of me which is saying 'why risk that, keep your distance' because inside every one of us, there is still that insecure 16-year-old who doesn't take much knocking down.
I need to get out of here now. I know I can't, I know I have at least 1 month 3 days before I am truly free, but that cannot come soon enough because this city feels like a ticking time-bomb now, waiting to collapse around me and prove that actually, I'm not as strong as I thought. And I want that to be wrong, I want it to prove that I am strong when it happens but I can't take that risk right now because it's taken me four years to get to where I am today and I have better things to do with my life than spend another four years sorting myself out again.
Sorry for the rant but I'm panicking, in case you hadn't noticed. I just don't know what to do other than become a recluse and hide which won't help and it's messed with my brain so much I can feel my heart racing in my chest and my breathing becoming more panicky. I need to find a way to handle this, to keep everything from coliding again. I need a movie-esque (or at least mediocre-TV-programme-esque) plan...