All that is beside the point. The point is that, despite cringing at its cheesiness, I stand by everything that I wrote.
Here are three things that made my day go better:
1. Tennis and post-tennis dinner with Elijah. I must admit that it definitely helped that I won 7-5, 6-4, and that, as he rightly pointed out, my backhand was on fire.
2. Reading Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Cafe and coming across such gems as '[nothing] stops us but our own free choosing. If we want to survive, we have to decide to live'. She was summarising Sartre's existentialist philosophy. If that was the epiphany that dawned upon me over the past week or so, does this mean that I'm as clever as Sartre?
3. Finalising my weekend trip to Brussels with Etienne in the second week of September. It was so efficient and quick. We decided yesterday (when I went over to his to watch the Cincinnati final between Roger and Djokovic in which Roger played an absolute stinker of a match and lost a final in that tournament to Djokovic for the first time in four meetings) to go after all, and today he sent me links to AirBnB options. When I got back from tennis and dinner, I looked at them, picked a few, he told me which one was nearest to the city centre, and I booked it. Just like that. Easy peasy.
Here is one thing that I'm proud of:
It was 1pm. I was blow-drying my hair post-shower, fully intending to go to the library to work on my last chapter before tennis. I stood in front of the mirror, going through the usual motions of blow-drying my hair--dragging a hairbrush through the wet tangles, then brushing under my hair, downwards, as I guide the hairdryer in the same direction, then getting bored of how slow the process was and ditching the hairbrush and using my fingers instead--then felt a tightness in my chest, a shortness of breath, leading to sharp gasps that had displaced my normal breathing.
I tried to stop it. I couldn't stop it. With every deep breath that I tried to take, my breathing became more erratic. Tears soon appeared, and I sat on my bed, hair still wet, letting the time slip away as I attempted to deal with an unnecessary and unwanted emotional setback. During that time, I caught a glimpse of my phone, its screen lit up with incoming messages from Raffael, then Mag.
Friends that I could count on; friends always willing to offer their support. Still, a part of me felt that I couldn't write my chapter, that I was too distracted and upset to focus on it...but this feeling evaporated after getting a cup of filter coffee at Bould Brothers, and I found myself walking back to the library, sitting down, and focusing for long enough to add about 1,000 words to the chapter.
BOO. FUCKING. YAH.
I did not give my emotions what they wanted. I did not indulge. I did not choose the path of least resistance. I did not do what I did all those times when I found myself in a state of near-despair because of Never Again. This time, I rose above it. I saw it for what it was: insignificant, unimportant, incapable of dictating how I spend my time. It was important that I did this; in fact, it is important to make a conscious effort to be a better person by choosing to do so--by deciding to live. I do not live when I'm curled up in bed crying; I live when I sit in the library to work on my bloody amazing and original thesis.
My self-worth has taken a huge hit over the past couple of years, and I wasn't aware of its extent until now. Now, I am regaining control. I am writing my own narrative (even if I cannot sustain a narrative...shit, I suck at writing stories). Nobody gets to dictate how I see and feel towards myself but me.
On that positive note, I am going to sleep. I am so knackered from tennis.