To whom it may concern,

Every morning I commute into London for university.

There is this particular moment when the train crosses over the Thames when I always feel compelled to look out the window and watch the 9 am light glisten and ripple on the river. It’s become a ritual. Two weeks ago, I had to catch the train early enough to watch the sun rise over the Thames and the beauty! The sun slowly rose from behind the City and – I’m not even joking – four planes flying from Heathrow lined up perfectly around the sun. Like, I knew the day was going to be amazing, but after witnessing that event, it was sublime.

I’m aware I’m still looking at London with rose-tinted glasses but I’m not eager to remove them too soon. I’m enjoying our honeymoon period.

In the last month and a half, I have moved my whole life south, made two new friendship groups, pushed myself out of my comfort zone, met a ridiculous amount of new people, become a university student, launched a magazine and unexpectedly, finally got a grasp on my anxiety and depression.

Two months ago, I was lying in bed, silently and anxiously waiting for this all to happen with baited breath. I was a phantom and I felt like a loser, a sap, a leech.

I don’t think I’ve spoken about my withdrawal here, but this isn’t my first uni gig. I’ve done this before but last year, I moved everything to Brighton because I believed I was called to be a computer scientist and oh boy! was I wrong. It’s unfair to say the course is shit because there are people on the course who loved it and found it challenging and exhilarating but for me, everyday was a living hell. The only reason I chose the course was because after receiving my exam results with the knowledge already that I had to pick a new uni in an hour (long story), I decided to reach for a dream I’d let fly away and I googled ‘Naughty Dog jobs’ and found that they asked for a Computer Science degree for a game designer position.

You can see where this is going.

So, I’m in Brighton, alone on this course, hating my life, avoiding my mother because I didn’t want to report how much I was failing, my mental health falling further and further off the edge and the only thing keeping me sane was; one, drama club; two, newspaper club. Those two clubs were my reprieve and the people I met there are still friends I have today. Birdlessly Magazine is at this point because of Brighton, because I met certain people and without the move, I would not be here writing this. But at some point (December) I had to come to the realisation that I wasn’t paying £9000 pa for societies and solitude.

Although – I didn’t. My mom did. She came the day after I’d met my father for the second time in thirteen years (another long story), and looked at me and told me we were leaving now – and I love her so much for that because I would still be there, pushing and pushing and pushing.

A year later and I’m watching a yellow, bright, smiling horizon cast behind a city I’ve fallen madly in love with and I couldn’t be happier. It’s true to say that, academically and mentally, this is the happiest and serenest I’ve been for ten years. I have had to deal with, and I’ve internalised, so much shit and for the first time in so long, my soul feels light. It’s a wondrous, completely overwhelming feeling because I’m used to constantly listing my worries and my concerns in my head like a tortuous mantra, but now I have nothing to list. Nothing. It’s weird.

My mind is still so stuck in high school and appearances and I hate it because it feels like puppet strings pulling at my thoughts, telling me how to think. I can see that life is grander but my mind can’t. It’s still waiting for turbulence, the inevitable crash. It’s an odd thing to explain but when you did all your developing and maturing in a negative head-space, it affects you in the long run, and like a recovering addict, my body is still trying to accept this new reality.

It’s hard and it’s a process. I still have problems that I worry about but that fear and sensitive awareness is dimming and it’s lovely; it’s lovely to finally be allowed to blossom in the sunlight after being stuck in darkness so long and there are too many people I need to thank who don’t realise that little by little their actions have resurrected my optimism.

November’s issue of Birdlessly Magazine keeps in mind how colours can impact and merge with our lives, resurfacing memories, conjuring retrospection and inciting new tales. Featuring stories of LGBTQ+ mermaid romance, unlikely inspiration, celestial travel as well as collages, paintings, playlists, calls for action, and a further discussion on colourism and race, I am very proud to share with you a wondrous collection of creative work produced by our team.

The colour in our stories may be subtle or intense but it’s touch is ever present; whether that surfacing and linking old memories, three months ruled by uncontrollable chaos versus the peaceful seconds of a commute bathed in the warmth of a sunrise, colour unquestionably plays a humble performance.

Love,

Erin Louise