Me…But Not Me

Time is a funny thing. I looked back through it and found a story I wasn’t aware I was documenting. It’s not explicitly told. It’s told through online ramblings about books I love and hate. It’s told through body language and things left unsaid. It’s told through me, in my videos from last year – the ones from summer to the end of the year.

In those videos, I’m anticipating the beginnings of university, studying a course I’ve long awaited for. I mention it almost on a weekly basis, eagerly predicting my work loads and ways of life. Now…I can’t imagine my life without uni. It’s what my days revolve around.

In those videos I read different books. I let the hype guide me for too long, and I’m finally finding my footing. Ancient classics, history and mythology made themselves known to me, and my curiosity started to show. Now, I know what I like. I know that fantasy still reigns, but ancient classics, mythology, folklore and legend wins my heart just as much.

In those videos, I look different. My hair is chopped, the fringe a god-awful decision. A year on and it’s grown back, grown out. My style has changed. My makeup considerably better. But that’s not the only reason why I look different…

Because in those videos, I’m not comfortable in my own skin. I hold myself stiffly. I barely move. I draw as little attention to myself as possible, while ironically making videos featuring – well, myself. Now? We’re not 100% there, but I do at least dare to occupy some space in the world. I move, exaggerate, wave my arms while talking, laugh without covering my face every time.

But, there’s also the things you don’t see. The things only I can see in myself.

In those videos, I see a girl who doesn’t know any of the people she talks to today. Not one single person. Everyday – for too long – she’d been by herself, clutching at straws of conversations but feeling resentful to the world for not making friendship easy. She didn’t know her family, felt distant and out-of-place amongst the people who were most loyal. She was lonely. She didn’t want to admit it.

I see a girl who was going through the hardest period of her life in regards to mental health. A girl who barely dared to step outside. Who gradually found it harder to get out of bed. Who had to force herself to eat, but only won 30% of the time. A girl who battled with her own mind so violently, it began to show.

None of this was ever mentioned in those videos – no words could’ve been enough. But I see it. I know it. And as much as I hid it from the world of online, the change is there.

In the space of a year, I’ve been introduced to people who have changed everything. I’ve gotten to know my family, and can no longer imagine being somewhat estranged from them again. I’ve stamped down the worst of the shitty thoughts, and while I still have to violently fight against my mind on a regular basis, it doesn’t rule me anymore. I thrive at uni – if thriving can involve being a lil stresshead at times. I know my own style better. I’ve discovered my reading tastes more accurately. I speak out sometimes. I have opinions. I dare to inhabit space in this world.

All this, within a year. It’s been subtle. I by no means mention these things on a regular basis, because even know that niggling thought remains – “what if people think I want pity, or admiration for talking about these things? What if I come across as massively egotistical for talking about myself so much?” But here we are. It’s happening anyway. Because looking back at those videos and finding that change was a shock to me. It had gone unnoticed. And watching that girl, knowing how completely different the situation was at the time of me filming it filled my heads with so many clamouring thoughts, I had to get it down somewhere. I somehow wish I could ramble on, go into every little detail you both can and can’t see. But even writing this brought tears to my eyes – I’m not sure which emotion it was for. Pain in remembering those feelings I had against myself? Definitely. Pride in knowing this version of me won? Probably some of that thrown in too.

Anything can happen in the course of a year. Or even in the course of months. I know this too well. It took me a year to realign my reading tastes. A few months to settle and thrive at uni. A mere ten days to rediscover the family that have always been there for me, but to actually feel part of it. Who knows what you’ll be doing in a few months time? Sure, society tries to make us plan our futures out from the age of 16 or earlier, but honestly don’t fret. You can’t predict how things will change. And sure, that might be a scary thought. But it always ends up ok, right?

So. Time is a funny thing. And it’s only proven in how my videos show me…but not me.

Until next time,

sign off handle saying "Ashleigh" for A Frolic Through Fiction blog

 

13 thoughts on “Me…But Not Me

  1. This was such a beautiful post, Ashleigh! It’s so difficult to face daily life and people not caring about what is really going on inside… Just a few of them would understand, anyway… I’m so glad you’re feeling a little bit better and I’m so glad you never stopped youtube or your blog because of your mental health! You had to work harder than others, but the content you give us is a real treat! ❤️ Please keep on fighting and let yourself shine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much! ❤ I feel like blogging and booktube was the only thing that kept me sane during that time last year, so I can barely describe how much it means to me. When people say they love my content too, that just goes beyond words ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! It’s silly how writing a little post can make you feel validated or you’re left with some sense of achievement for the day? I don’t know but I love that feeling you get when the post goes live… Even if no one reads it x)
        And of course, there always will be someone to enjoy and appreciate the efforts you make! So much of booktube is focused on YA, I literally struggle to find the ones reading classics!!! So I stuck to them once I have ahahahah (don’t get me wrong I like YA but classics is where my heart is)

        Like

  2. Oh wow, I’m so glad you posted this! I definitely got a bit emotional reading it. I’m so happy you’re doing better and I hope you continue to share a piece of yourself with us. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m not a booktuber but I still related so much to this. Less than three years ago, I was battling severe agoraphobia and could barely leave my house never mind deal with uni or hold down a job. These days, I feel like a totally different person. Sure, I still have anxiety that I have to battle with almost daily but I can actually get out the door and perform my job well, have a social life, etc.

    The internet can still be a scary place but the more people who talk about these things, the less alone we can all potentially feel. Anyway, I didn’t mean for this comment to become so long and emotion-dumping – I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you’re doing better now too! As I alluded in the post I’ve had a slight case of agoraphobia as part of my anxiety, so I know how hard it can be to get past that. I’m proud of you!! And literally send long emotion-dumpy comments any time you like ahaha!

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  4. I’m so glad you’re achieving personal growth – I can relate, but I can’t imagine how strange it must be to see footage of yourself and no longer see yourself reflected in it because of the tiny changes that have occurred. Uni is a huge part of discovering yourself Ashleigh! Wonderful post ❤

    Like

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