So that�s that then. There isn�t a single member from my father�s side of the family left to intrude into my life � all effectively removed from Facebook. Removed from what little part of my life they had got their claws into. I should have known really, that it would cause such hoopla.
I started getting missed calls from unknown numbers, and then when I actually picked up the phone it was to discover one of my older half-brother�s wanting to know what was going on. And all I could think was, �Do you know how tragically sad it is that the first time you speak to me on the phone or in person, and effectively acknowledge my existence, in thirteen years, is because I removed you from my social networking profile?�
Facebook and other social networking sites have a lot of personal information on them, and it�s taken me a while to realise that the only reason some people, and all of my father�s family, have any idea of what sort of person I am, or any insight into my life, is because of these sites. And, although I have phases were I�m tempted to delete my account, this time I decided I shouldn�t have to. I�m always careful about what I put on there, no phone number or address, but it�s still my opinions, my travels and my images on there for people to see.
I actually use my Facebook for other means than to stalk people. I have academic groups on there for posting joint work and having discussions, I have albums of photos from holidays and all of my Mum�s family on there, I have old friends from when I lived in London on there, and I can keep up with the people who lives miles apart from me, often countries apart.
No, I don�t want to delete my profile. But I can control who has access to this information. And with that decided, anyone who isn�t a positive figure in my life is going to be deleted. I can control who I allow into my life, and this is where it starts. I regret that it caused such a fuss, and ended with me basically explaining to Amber that in actuality, I don�t consider them my family. That I don�t love them, I just felt some kind of obligation to include them. That effectively, blood doesn�t mean that much to me, it�s not thicker than water and family is about more than blood. I�m done with them, with all of them.
All they�ve ever done is impact negatively on my spirit. All they�ve ever done is bring me embarrassment, confusion, shame and hurt. I�m old enough to take responsibility for my actions, and as of now I�m having nothing to do with any of them. For a few days I had this kind of heavy nervousness about me, but now I just feel resolved, and sort of weightless. I�m free to get on with my life and lock them away in a storage box in my mind.
I guess I started this process a long time ago. That�s what Lorna pointed out to me, that I started it all when I decided I wasn�t one of them and changed my name. And she�s right, she�s almost always right anyhow, but I did decide I wasn�t one of them a long time ago and this is just the end of the cleaning up process. She also pointed out that while they were busy calling me a snob and letting me know that I can�t change my blood, they will always fail to understand me because they�re just this mess of street logic, drugs, illegal activities and this idea that family is solid no matter what � like thugs. Love and reality, intelligence and rationality don�t factor into their lives. They will never know why I�ve done what I�ve done, but it�s enough that I know. She said I�m a cut above them, and is it entirely horrible that I agree with her? That I acknowledge our lives are completely and utterly without commonality?
From now on I�m not going to waste my time thinking about them. I�m walking away and I�ve a skip in my step diary.
On to other matters, Roy is back in hospital because he�s not eating and I�m really starting to worry about Mum. She�s not one of those people that can cope with being cooped up, without having tasks to occupy her time, and that�s all she�s been doing for months and the stress is starting to tell. She spoke about applying for a new job recently, and I thought it was a really positive thing because her career has taken a downward turn with all of the time off. I just hope that she goes through with it and gets it, because she�s such a hard worker and she needs to apply herself to something before she has a break down.
I also can�t believe she�s going to be 50 this year. I want to get her something special, though what exactly I haven�t worked out. I�d also like to do something nice for her for Mother�s Day. I should probably check out the exact date this year � I missed it last year (as in, I was stuck in Winchester, not as in I forgot about it). Actually, I�ve just had a look now and it�s at the end of week 8. Okay, so that�s a little inconvenient, but if I have a look at booking the coach tickets early and get some super cheap ones then I�m going to do it. I don�t think I�d be able to live with myself considering I was away for her birthday last year too � what a rubbish daughter I am sometimes.
Well, I�m doing my best to make her proud in other ways, specifically academically. I got two grades back at a 2:1 and while that�s great, and one of them was Judy who is a real hard task master, I was so very disappointed. I get 2:1s when I�m not even trying, and I know people don�t understand my disappointment, but they�re not a challenge and I disappoint myself when I get anything below 68. But�then I got my American Modernity grade back, the one that�s worth two grades and 100% of my module grade and I got a 78!!! (Which for anyone American that�s reading this and thinking, 78 is so not good, it�s the equivalent to an A/A* near enough, and in the highest grade bracket we have) I was so unbelievably happy, that�s the highest I�ve ever received, that�s the highest anyone I know has ever received!
The programme administrator actually left me a voicemail telling me it was ready to collect (this is because I was so eager I sent her three emails and she probably thinks I�m a little touched in the head) and then when I was in the queue outside the faculty building she saw me waiting and started waving, calling out �I can�t wait to see your face, you�re going to be so happy!� and low and behold I squealed like a pig.
I even emailed her after to say I was sorry for being so persistent about getting my grades back, but she told me she was just pleased to see someone that cared about their grades instead of the usual lot who �don�t give a hoot,� and that she doesn�t think she�s seen this lecturer give such a high mark before �cause he�s usually �a real stickler.� Eek � and she sees all American Studies grades so that�s gotta mean something! Plus, the lecturer wrote that he thought it was one of the best essays ever submitted on the module � argh, my heart was flipping out at that. So, that kind of boosted my confidence in huge ways, and has let me know I�m back on track for the possibility of achieving a first in my degree over all.
But, it�s also had this other kind of strange effect on me. Instead of letting me think I�m already working at that grade so I can afford to get lax, I�ve started working harder than ever. I�ve already made documents planning all eight assignments for the semester, four of which aren�t due until May, and I�ve read through all the module guide books so I fully understand what to expect from each module. I�ve lined all the books up for class and stuck post it notes on them to notify me of which week they need to be read by and put them in that order. I�ve also decided I am going to do my homework as and when I get it, and make sure I attend as many lectures as I can stand and actually fully read the books for class.
I�ve even spent the weekend drawing up a timeline for major events in American History, memorised a bunch of it, and read nine articles on the Civil War which were optional for my Southern Cultures class � but I am doing the optional stuff this year because I intend to immerse myself in my studies. I want to know that I�ve done everything I possibly could to achieve the best grades I�m capable of. And, the more and more I research, the more I understand and get passionate about the subject � it�s a win/win situation.
I even totally geeked out by researching and choosing my modules for next year, some of which I�m already excited about, and reading the document on the dissertation (Extended Final Year Project) in American Studies. And, even though my days seem to be going quicker because I�ve spent a lot of time researching, I couldn�t be happier. I mean, everyone knows I�m not a saint, and I don�t always do what I say I�m going to do, but I�m seriously going to try.
I�m not after having some big social life while I�m at university anyhow. I did that when I was younger and I�ve never liked being a social butterfly all that much. I flit from group to group and after a while it becomes a little exhausting. I have my friends in class, my friends at work and my friends at home � I even have other people outside of this from last year, and I don�t need anything else to fill my time, it�s full enough. I�m just so glad I�ve somehow found the determination to make a life style change with regards to my education. All I need now is to make one with regards to my health � but, with the confidence streak I�m riding, it shouldn�t be too long in coming.
I�ve needed this, I really have diary.
So, work is going the same as always. I�m determined to go in at least three times a week and so far I�ve been an angel. I still feel as close as ever to the girls, but it doesn�t feel like a series of co-dependent friendships. I think that�s what�s always gone wrong with me; co-dependency and denial about it. Lissa and Sarah have been over here a few times in the past week and I�ve of course spent the work hours playing catch up with the gossip, and stayed after work to study with Hera. We�ve planned a few nights out this month to celebrate birthdays, and I run into them all the time on campus which is always funny. But it doesn�t feel all messed up and angsty like other friendships have in the past. Maybe it�s because we form a group�it�s a high possibility.
I�ve never known a group of girls so very different form such a strong friendship group. It�s strange, but I love it. I think the fact that there are six of us, and we all complement each other�s personalities, we just somehow�work. I hate that three of us are leaving next year, and I almost wish I could relocate us all to one area after university, but that�s not being very realistic. I have faith, however, that some friendships can withstand distance, and that more friendships like this might await me in the place I work at after university.
Speaking of next year, the plan is now for me and Lauren to get a two bedroom place. A private rental that�s just the two of us. Luke has decided to live with Rob (though he doesn�t like outright saying it), which has put a strain on our friendship, but not in a malicious sense (he knows I feel a little betrayed, but I also realise it�s a partially sensible, if cutthroat move). I think he knows I�ve decided I don�t need him around, and as a consequence he�s trying harder � he�s the one to come to me more often than not, asking if I wanna watch movies or what I�m up to and the annoying shit has been toned down hugely. I�m happy with how things are, I don�t mind if I don�t speak to him for days or weeks, I�m just making myself busy and doing what I want, and it�s making all the difference. I don�t rely on him in the ways I used to, and it�s a big relief for the both of us I guess.
A part of me feels bereft, like they�ve abandoned me by choosing to live together, but I also feel a sense of relief to know I don�t have to see him if I don�t feel like it, and I almost hope our separate living circumstances next year make him appreciate my friendship more. I think it has with Rob � we get on much better living apart, and when he�s here he�s a lot more sensible and a sweet friend � kissing my forehead (I don�t quite know why people have a tendency to do this to me, as though they�re indulging a funny child�ha ha) and offering me drinks. And besides, I�ve definitely had enough of living with large groups of people. I also don�t want another student rental, or to live with people I haven�t lived with before. So, living with Lauren, who is sensible and neat, is the best option. We don�t even have to start looking until the summer, so that�s also a huge relief.
The past few years has made me realise that more than anything I just want my own little place. I want a secure well paid job, something I love that allows me my own space to come home to. I wasn�t cut out for living with other people, or maybe I was, but I�ve never been given the chance to live truly alone. That�s something I won�t change my mind about. I want a few years of solo living and working on my career.
I also thought, if the opportunity arises, I�d still like to work in America for a few years. I�m not entirely sure I�d like to live there, sometimes I think I�m British through and through, but I�d still like to immerse myself in the culture properly, just for a little while, and what better way than to live and work there? It�s not this huge thing I have to do anymore though; it�s just something I�ll do if the chance presents itself.
I applied for the Penguin internship before the semester started. I know the chance of getting it is extremely rare, but it�s worth the rejection just to say I tried. I also know they prefer people to do it in their last year of uni, and all the other internships I�ve found either state that as a prerequisite or else don�t seem worth it (being unpaid and in London). So, if all else fails, I�ll give it another go next year, along with applying for any others I find then too. My plan for this summer is still to work full time to get myself financially stable, and intern with Penguin if I can. If I can�t then I think I�ll just do intensive novel and dissertation research. I�m going to have to do dissertation research no matter what, and I don�t want to let this novel idea slide away from me. I know it�s going to be hard to work like crazy on my university work and research for a novel, but it�ll be worth it.
It�ll all be worth it in a few years when I�ve got the best degree I can, and written this story to the best of my ability. It�ll all be worth it diary.
Did I mention what I was thinking of doing my dissertation on? I�m not sure I did, but I�m excited diary so here goes. I have several ideas, but my primary one is looking at the links between the rise of organised crime, such as Gangsterism, in 1920s prohibition era cities, specifically Chicago and New York, and disillusionment over the American Dream. I also kind of thought that looking at the portrayal of Ancient Gods in contemporary fictional novels set in America might be interesting, focusing on Neil Gaiman�s American Gods and Rick Riordan�s Percy Jackson books. Then the other day I thought it might be kind of interesting to look at the development and significance of the �outlaw� in American film and literature. My strongest feelings are behind the first idea though, so I�m going to wait and see. If I find a lot of research material on it then I�ll go for it, if not then I�ll pick one of the others. Bah.
The more I geek out over something, the more likely I am to get a good grade on it � insight and all that shiz.
Hmm, I haven�t really spoken much about the Christmas holidays have I? I�m going to leave it for another day. I�ll leave this here as a reminder to myself! Now I�m off to watch Utopia and eat my delicious pizza (tandoori chicken, feta cheese and garlic butter � don�t knock it tul you try it!)