Neck full of mockingbirds

All callin’ your name

I tried to sing it all back

Like I heard it, it don’t sound the same

Sometimes it is like I have already failed, like my hands were always doomed with the inability to hold onto anything. I am watching things happen this week, and much of what I observe I can no longer do. Tutorials, weekly readings and the great balancing act of sleep and essay writing: how do any of you do it? Seriously, I felt nervous just from overhearing the musings of a professor, from a stranger typing on their laptop. It’s not just envy on my part but a deep fear of one day returning to that state, to spinning plates on my forever trembling fingers. I want to remain an observer forever, in awe and transparent, a ghost looking at what could’ve been from a safe distance…

I have a horrible feeling I am a greedy, perverted, selfish, apathetic, cynical, depraved, morally bankrupt woman who can’t even call herself a feminist

Is my want for invisibility selfish? It is a craving I’ve always had; it would make all my words and actions far more inconsequential. I have written a hundred times how much I hope things are never more than passing, especially my fuck-ups. I know my leaving Oxford hurt people, I know things I have said and done must have hurt people, even if that was not my goal. Love is a concept that seems to crumple in my grip – impulse often triumphs over reason. If I think about it long enough, I get confused about how much of my existence is better than my non-existence. I have calculated all my actions at Oxford, at school, at every library, and I still don’t know if my performance as ‘student’ was really any good. In fact I am incredibly uncertain if my performance as ‘person’ has actually been decent thus far. Fortunately, when I am just watching, I do not have to worry about this quite so much. Becoming as small as dust is a weird thing to strive for, but I love the idea of being so tiny that imperfection is a mere irrelevance. When you are microscopic, your flaws must shrivel down with you. This is where I find attraction in invisibility: it would let me embrace a life of collecting quotes and thinking of all the beautiful people. 

You’re there picking out your flaws from 3.A.M ‘til noon

Like the bad kids at school used to do

Well, fuck ’em, ’cause you turned out so kind and so cute

On other days, I am inclined to make sense of my disappearing with a little self-awareness. Sometimes I can see it as a distortion of reality, predominantly caused by my mental health conditions. Some mornings it is even possible to translate the need to disappear into the safer idea of just being in suspension. I want to dissolve the responsibilities I have placed upon myself: duties to be perfect and know exactly what my existence means. I think deep down the need for disappearance is actually a subtle rejection of having meaning. I do not want to be defined as anything yet, or perhaps ever. I prefer living as an abstract shape. The terms wife, girlfriend, student, activist, and even ‘good person’ should not be necessary if they are burdening. Furthermore, my mistakes should not be terminal, and failing to fulfil all these aforementioned roles successfully could be nothing more than a fact of life. Deep down, as long as I manage to be average, I will not have done any lasting harm. At a stretch I could even hope to enjoy the harmless, imperfect experience of being human. In this sense, I don’t have to be quite so uncomfortable with wanting to disappear. It is probably a phase that will pass just as easily as everything else. 

‘Cause you’re not special, babe

I know you feel like your life is one big mistake

I am right there on your side

You’re not special, babe 

The other dimension of desiring invisibility is to feel part of a background, an escapism from my imagined spotlight. There is something ironically social about invisibility, I can see how it lets me melt into both crowds and landscapes. I want to join myself to the world in the most silent ways: breathing, sleeping, and pondering about my humanness. Over the next few weeks I hope to carry this sense of invisibility with me, happily observing Oxford from a sideline. I am going to become a pointless collector, hoarding the things people say before watching them inevitably slip through my fingers. Participating in background noise is one role I can perhaps embrace, especially when I see it as something that brings safety. After all, excluding myself from Oxford University has not been a total failure – in many ways it has given me a profound sense of groundedness.  

Like rock in a hill

Like leaves in a bud 

Like heat in the sun

Like pips in a pear