A Poetic Valedictory (or Thnks fr the Mmrs)

May Week (the post-exam week of celebrations at Cambridge, much loved by Daily Mail journalists), as much as I love it, has a bit of a potentially dangerous combination for me. Time to think on my own because there’s no more work, and lots of food. God has been super merciful though and although I have had a couple of mental wrangles, I have been able to eat normally and embrace some of the May Week indulgence. Last night, I reminded myself of how far God has taken me over the past three yearsiof my degree, and words really can’t quite express the extent to which He has literally breathed new life into me. The me now, currently with shocking pink hair, about to don a shiny teal, puffed-sleeve dress from the 80s, bright pink platforms, and dancedancedance, can barely recognise the timid mouse that came here for my interview. Mobility then was confined to shivering. So I think I know, at least a little, of what it means for Christ to be freedom. I can’t thank enough those people who have given me space to come out of black-and-white, and be loud and eccentric again. But I know that none of it was of my doing: only by the grace of God have I been able to come off anti-depressants, stave off panic attacks, and eat seven cinnabons in one sitting. I know this because I was a reluctant recoverer. Like when you feel guilty only for getting caught, I wanted for most of the time the path of least resistance. Sure, I wanted to not be in quite so much pain, but to me that meant being allowed to continue about my self-destructive business unimpeded. I kept my food diary and psychoanalysed myself freely, but it truly was God that did all the fighting on my behalf. So, for getting me through my degree when there were fears about whether I would even do my A-levels let alone graduate, for helping me to be vulnerable and let people in, and for putting into my life people worth letting in, I am thankful beyond words.

(except, I always erode ineffability as far as I can get, so forgive me for this attempt, written in a blink on the back of a receipt before I had time to feel self-conscious)


Dear child mine

Of smiles strained

Over teeth and bones

Too taut

To assure.

Dear child mine

Of white, white canvas

Blanched numb,

You shall fill brim-full


With joy.

Smiles stretched upwards now


You shall dance and spin and skip.

Oh silent one,

You shall raise your voice

In song and shrill.

Little snail,

You shall surge vivacious.

Sallow cheeks,

You shall blossom fluorescent.

Dull eyes,

You shall glitter.


Oh marionette,

It shall burn.

You shall scream self-murder

And pound pillows restless.

This tunnel will cut you

With jagged walls.

That cauterised heart shall bleed.


But He will be your buffer and your bandage.

He will enflesh

These brittle bones.

Prayers unuttered

Yet answered.

He shall melt your cocoon.


Little shadow, you shall shine.



(I didn’t have photos taken of me while I was ill so the picture on the left is of me 10 months into my counselling, buying my first bike for Cambridge, and the one on the right is of me the other day. So it’s not a perfect before and after, but you get the idea)


Prizes again awarded for those who got the Fall Out Boy reference in the title: I am a child of 2005 ‘Pop-Rock’.

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