I’m going to admit something I have kept a secret for a long time: I’m struggling at university and struggling spiritually. I have left the odd hints here and there about how busy I am, and how unconfident I am of late. University is an experience unlike anything I had hoped to experience, but it has also taught me how to organise my life more effectively. My problem is juggling it all, and the fact that writing academically has knocked my confidence so much that I cannot bring myself to write anything or upload new content. It has been quite the struggle even though I try to stay positive in/with the things I do publish. I am a nutty kind of person, dealing with general mental issues and trying to learn how to socialise. At the moment it’s all rather too much but I am trying to hold it all together the best I can.
As some of you know I’m a second year university student studying English literature which combines history, philosophy, weird algebra styled formulas, basic linguistics, tons of research, writing and reading. I love the course, on paper. I love attending my lectures, seminars and workshops. I also really love the teaching style from some of my lecturers, who are very inspiring and incredibly helpful. Starting the second year I knew it was going to be harder, and a lot was going to be considered as far as timetabling, scheduling and keeping up with the reading lists each week. I had to prioritise how and what I was going to study, and how to write effective essays. I hadn’t banked on how difficult academic writing was going to be but I have been learning all kinds of tips along the way. The annoying thing is coming to the realisation and acceptance that the one talent I had held onto and honed in on was my writing and I was proven to be awful at it. Being shown and told that I don’t know how to write has been heart-breaking and causing a lot of anxiety for me. I’m not sure how or what I’m missing but I wish I could flick a switch and be truly amazing.
I’ve had to start all over again which has meant that my detailed journal entries in my book of conjurations has dwindled. I make sure to write every week without fail, but I don’t go into detail in fear that I’ll not understand my own thoughts later on when I do my six monthly catch up. I do however try to remain positive in my thinking and my actions. Every act is an act of magick after all, so retraining my mind has been the most important thing for me right now. I make sure to pull tarot cards a few times a week, and I meditate at least once and I’ve even started seeing my exercise routines to be a form of magick – diet and exercise is key to maintaining a healthy temple. I know that sounds weird but I’ve never been one who leads two lives. A lot of magick practitioners do lead two lives and that is fine, but for me I like knowing that anything I do, read, watch or take part in is a form of spiritual education or attainment. I allow myself to see magick everywhere, but in doing so I also allow myself to be human in times when the world feels shaky or when the ground is crumbling beneath my feet.
Juggling a spiritual life has been something I’ve worked hard at for a long, long time. It has also been my own thing, in the sense that it was something I created and it suited me. I’ve spent so long being solitary, and a slightly shorter time hearing about and learning from other magick practitioners, and it has been great. I’ve built up a world that was indestructible and fit me and my understanding of the world perfectly. Of late I haven’t been able to talk to other like-minded individuals, and the ones I have tried to have a general chat with are equally as busy so I retreat into my shell and don’t bother. There have been a few folks however who get access to who I am offline and they have shaken up my world so much that I no longer feel confident in the things I had spent so much time and effort building for myself. Just like my writing they don’t see how pushing me here and prodding me there is causing even more of a rift. I feel as though I’m being told what to do instead of just being accepted and left to my own devices. I’ve always been an inquisitive person, but I could never learn to do the things I did if I wasn’t given a chance, and at the same time I would never dream of trying to change someone else’s path unless they were genuinely doing something wrong or harmful to themselves or other people. I’m again crippled and at a loss. Do I continue to trust myself as I have done for so long, or do I learn not to for the sake of being accepted and moulded into something else? How do I cope with it all?
I don’t have an awful lot of time, especially as I thought I’d try to be clever and get as much reading done as possible during term 1. The workload is hefty and somehow, each week I manage to complete everything. I cram daily and on average manage a good 5 hours sleep. The unfortunate thing is knowing my daily rituals have lacked so much. I know I have stressed in the past that something like Liber Resh takes 5 minutes, but back then I didn’t realise how long 5 minutes can be. During my first year I was able to do Resh easily, but this year it has been very bad and I accept that. Our average reading time each week is 40 hours, minus research time and classes, so assuming I can just fit certain tasks into particular hours is impossible. One novel for one of my classes will take an average of 12 hours to read fully and I can’t slot that into “Wednesday reading”, times that by 2 for the remaining 3 classes. Do you see my issue?
I just know I’ll be back on track after my graduation in 2016. For now, it is merely a case of juggling the tiny bit of a spiritual life that I have, university workloads and trying to maintain my sanity. Not being able to do the one thing I held so dearly has caused so much secret anguish, terror and anxiety that it is holding me back. I’m not yet sure what to do, and people know I don’t talk about my problems. The negativity, the loneliness, the stress and those annoying colourful ideas that cross my mind demanding my attention stop me in my tracks. When I do grab the odd few minutes outside of studying and spiritual practice I like to do general human things and upload random selfies (which many have complained about, but I won’t stop because I do those pictures for me and my incredibly low self-esteem, which actually is healing my mind a little), cook a few times a week, squeeze in a couple newspaper articles or Tumblr and Tweet things I find interesting. To me this all makes me feel happy, and that happiness gives me the little push I need to get up and study a little more. I’m struggling hard for something major goal in the future; I don’t know what it will be but I want something I can say I worked hard by myself to attain, something that cannot be taken from me, something of my own doing.
Will I look back on my life and be proud of myself? Yes. Would I be able to remember the times of boredom that struck when I had successfully completed essays or copious amounts of research? Yes. Social life? Nope, I’m not one for socialising as I genuinely don’t know how to be sociable and likeable. I’m in a weird place at the moment. I will try and get back on track at some unknown point, but for now I will have to allow myself to be a regular, not-so-magickal human for a while.
Fingers crossed, Sy