Outside, today, it is gorgeous. The sky is a white reflective sheet of winter; it might snow again later, which would make me smile, because I've been loving the little, almost shy flurries of snow we've been getting here in London, where you'll be looking up into the sun and suddenly something white and cold will land on your nose and you could swear you heard it apologise. I love this time of year.
I love walking in this weather. I don't suffer the cold, I enjoy it - it energises me, electrifies my skin to an extent; I get far too much simple joy from breathing out and seeing smoke, alternating between pretending I'm a dragon and pretending I'm smoking depending on what kind of mood I'm in. I'd go out without a coat if I had somewhere to put everything I carry in the coat. I like the way the cold makes the world feel somehow bigger, and even in the city reminds me that under all the concrete there is earth that was once countryside like where I live. I don't lament the lack of said countryside, I just like to remember that it was there.
But right now, I don't want to leave my house. Thinking about it has started the panic rising, very slowly. It feels like the speedometer on a vehicle you're driving, just at the point where you realise the accelerator is slightly stuck and remember that the brakes don't work. Are you wondering why you got in and started driving it again? Yes, so am I.
My breathing is a little irregular, my hands are shaking enough that pressing the 'delete' key to erase a word causes a stutter through my whole body. I'm blinking too much, as well, as if tiny repetitive movements will somehow help. They don't.
I have to go in. I made a promise to my singing teacher, who is a deeply wonderful person genuinely and personally concerned for my wellbeing, that I would make it in today. This is why the panic has started so early; I know I'm going in. Any other day I could comfort myself with the thought that I might yet duck out of it, might find myself at the front door and feel that weird invisible barrier thing stopping me from leaving the house. Not today, today it doesn't even matter whether the barrier is there or not. If it is, I've got to walk through it. That's scarier than it sounds.
I don't want this. I want to enjoy this new month, walk out as cheerfully as I always have into that overlap between winter and spring. I don't want to be sitting in my house, looking at it through horrible 1970s windows and whimpering because of a building. Because that's all it is, the Guildhall building, the odd brown-and-white institutional solidity of it, and the years and years of people working harder than I'll ever be able to that are sunk into its walls. It must be so much easier for people who can't feel history or who don't empathise. I don't want to get all "Oh, look, I'm an empath, call me Deanna" about it - I'd look appalling in spandex, for a start - but it's nevertheless true, I do pick up feelings. And the ones flying around the Guildhall aren't just industrious but they're full of first-night-nerves and panic and insecurity and tension and emotion and oh my god, I've never thought about it like this before. Of course they are, because it's a music and drama college. It just sort of hadn't occurred to me.
In any case. I have to go in, I don't want to, I am panicking already and this whole thing has been wrecking my favourite part of the year since September. I'm on drugs I don't want to be on precisely in order to stop me feeling like this. I demand a refund, for my time, for my pain, for my distress. And for the tube fare into college every day. Fuck you, college, with that money I could have bought two new singles every day.