Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Conflict and Resolution: How Being a Bookworm Saved My Sanity

As I mentioned in my last, somewhat emotionally fuelled, post, I've taken quite a few knocks to my confidence recently. The biggest of these, without going into too much detail and turning this post in an elephantine whine-fest, were the results of my AS exams. And how they didn't go according to plan in the slightest.

For me, it was a nasty shock. Without sounding arrogant, I am what many people would call "a bright cookie" - I've not really achieved anything under an A grade in any area of academia for the past five or six years in my exams (even in Maths and the sciences, which was a wonderful surprise). My GCSE results were all A and A* grades, and I'd been doing well in my Lower Sixth year, I'd revised hard for the exams, done lots of extra work for practice . . . I felt confident.

Then results day turned up. My English exam was a D grade.

I've never got a D grade for anything in my life. Let alone the subject I wanted to study for the rest of my life.

I was upset. As in, crying-into-my-pillow-for-twenty-minutes upset. All my hard work, all the stress, all the confidence and high hopes I'd had . . . all gone in a moment.

Oxford was well and truly off my university application list. I'd have to get a re-grade, possibly even re-sit the exam, adding extra work to the already mammoth load that comes with one's final year of school. In fact, I'd have to rethink all my university application.

I'd single-handedly screwed up every facet of my future. And I just couldn't work out how it all went wrong.

While I was curled up in my room, retreated deep into my reality-free bastion of misery, my brain performed a feat of typical inappropriateness - it started thinking about books. I started thinking about all the dark moments when characters have felt like I did then. Sam collapsing in the depths of Shelob's lair, despairing and exhausted; the Pevensie sisters weeping over Aslan's body on the Stone Table; Meggie Folchart hiding in a cave while her father goes to entreat with death for the life of their friend, possibly never to return; Henry V kneeling in the darkness before the battle of Agincourt,  practically weeping under the burden of responsibility he bears for the life of his miserable, starving army.

No matter how sad I was, my situation wasn't half as bad as that. Though perhaps bashing some French soldiers over the head with a broadsword would have made a wonderful release of my pent-up anger and frustration.

I didn't know why I thought like this at the time. I thought I was being silly, childish even, trying to distract myself from the fact that I was a dithering bumberclark. It took me a while to work out that it wasn't the characters' dark moments that were comforting me, but what happened next.

Everyone is entitled to their waily fits. But everyone also has a responsibility to sort themselves - and their respective messes - out afterwards. And that's exactly what these characters do. They don't just sit around and wait for someone to rescue them. They wipe their eyes, slap themselves across the face a couple of times, and move on. And it works. The Ring is destroyed, the White Witch is slain, the Inkworld is saved, and the French survivors are running for Paris in terror.

People have suffered, and their best-laid plans and hopes have been utterly obliviated. But they pushed on. They made it.

And that's what I'm doing now. My sword may be too big, I can't understand the coded riddles on my moth-eaten map, and I'm pretty sure my helmet's on backwards, but I'll be damned if I let that stop me.

People, circumstances, and the cosmos at large can cause our conflict. It's up to us to work for the resolution.

~ Charley R


  1. *HUZZAH!*

    Charley I think you've hit an excelent point - this is why teens need to read! And damn if I wasn't at work, I'd try to make my response a blog post, but I wonder if I can retain the moment after the kids are in bed...

    I guess I"ll have to try, because there's no way I can make what I'm thinking into cohesive statements right now.

    But Horray for you realizing that - yes you may now have to rethink your strategies (what about looking at a college voer here, you know you'd have a 'family' waiting to help *wink*) - but life has not endedm, just hit a darkened valley for climbing out of *Tosses down some rock climbing gear*.

    Go concure your mountain my dear!

    (And giggle fits and huggles of course) :}

    1. *grabs mountain gear* How am I supposed to use this in full armour! Gah!

      Hehe, thank you for the support. I contemplated college in America, but I never took half of the exams they want, and it would be too much stress to take them on top of everything else this year. Maybe I'll pop over in teh holidays, though ;)

  2. There is that philosophic truth I was looking for the other day. I knew you had it in you.

    I sympathize, but I couldn't help being cheered up by all those bittersweet instances that you listed. There might be something wrong with me if I get cheery after remembering death scenes.

    1. Haha, no worries, I do that too. Not that that's any great comfort to you :P

  3. Aww, Charely. Such a blow. :( I'd be devasted too, and I probably still wouldn't be upright thinking about slaying white witches and french soldiers (sorry to anyone french, but I am meaning *historically*...not today...ahem.) But I felt really encouraged reading that post (and I'm not even facing exams!). So thank YOU. For that. Wow.

    Keep holding onto that sword (and who cares if you're helmet's on backwards? In a few years, that'll be considered trendy.) ;)

    1. Hehe, it was, but I like to think I'm fixing it now - and, revleatory news, my teachers think there's a good chance my grade will skyrocket as most of the exams have been marked really unfairly viciously this year. One girl's gone from a low C to full marks already, and I'm hoping I might have a similar turn of fate. Fingers crossed!

      Ah, right you are. Though I'm not sure I can keep on walking into walls for that long. It's getting a little painful!

  4. I just had my exams. They weren't important ones, though. Still. I get horribly nervous. I had an assessment in PE the other day... and got a pretty lousy mark. But like you said, there are much worse things than being bad at PE (though book analogies would just make me feel worse, because just about everyone in books is athletic.) Oh well. Moving on. :)

    1. Hehehe, sorry, you probably didnt' need this little horror story at a time like that! P.E. was my least favourite subject in existence, so I sympathise. But yes, there are far worse things to be bad at than P.E. Take comfort from that at least ;)

  5. PE haters unite! :D
    Sorry about the results m'dear but you know what they say, the sun still rises in the ~opens Google to check where the sun rises~ east and sets in the west every day. Besides...authors don't need qualifications! ;)
    (Do not take this advice to heart and refuse to go to uni. Then I would feel a tad responsible...)

    1. Haha, no worries. I have every intentin of still going to uni, it'll just need a bit of jiggerypokery and elbow grease to get there.

      Love the checking up on the sun's direction - made my day xD

    2. Yees...sometimes I wonder WHY I picked Geography when it came to subject choice...

    3. Hehehe, I just avoided it the minute I saw the number of case studies. Gods that would have killed me xD

  6. It's okay, Charleybeast, it's all sorted out now. But look. If you'd disappeared into a hole in the ground you wouldn't have been there to know that it got better. KBO! Keep Buggering On!