Eleven days ago I finished my degree. Usually, I don't like odd numbers, so it might have made more sense for me to post yesterday, when it would've been ten days. Today's date, however, marks a very important milestone - so I had to get over my obsession with neatness and write an update. As you can tell from the parentheses in the title, the 'very important milestone' is that which marks today, June 16th, as the beginning of the final month of this mission. To put it more simply: exactly a month from this date, if everything continues to go the way it has been, I will be walking across the stage in the Butterworth Hall to collect my degree.
My primary response to that realisation is wonderment; for once I do believe I might be lost for words. One should never, of course, trust those kind of statements - look at Shakespeare's characters, who say they can't speak and then summarily proceed to waffle on for half a page of blank verse - but, as a theatre student, I think it's my prerogative to take some artistic liberties. Words, after all, are my medium, either as an actress or as an author...but I shall endeavour to put these to good use.
What exactly does 'one month to go' mean? Well, principally, it means that I'm going to try and post an update every day, instead of in the shamefully sporadic manner of which I have recently been guilty - and these updates will consist of a variety of things. As I had a round of botox injections on Friday, my body is noticeably relaxed, which means that I can quite literally step up my training. So, during the part of the month for which I am at home (from the 26th June onwards), I will post video evidence of progress - evidence which has been sadly lacking for some time, as I raced towards other, academic deadlines.
For the next ten days (whilst I am still at uni) there won't be videos, but I have something to offer in their stead. I have repeatedly emphasised how aware I am of the fact that this journey has not been undertaken alone. Far from it - there have been many people, both individuals and groups, who have helped me along the way - and I want to take the opportunity and time that I now have to do proper justice to the impact of those I have not mentioned before. Some of them know, some will be completely unaware - but they all deserve acknowledgement, and I hope to give it to them.
In this vein, I shall also be posting about some of the strategies which have helped me through difficult patches, particularly my stress during exam time. I hope to illustrate in these posts that the lack of activity on this blog did not equate to a deviation from my mission but, on the contrary, that the time I did not spend writing was necessary for other forms of ground work.
Finally, amidst the training videos, the gratitude and the coping mechanisms, there lies a reminder that this project is not all about me and my personal goal. Rather, it is about the potential impact that the achievement of that goal could have on the lives of others. This impact will hopefully be more than just material, in the way that a Starlight wish is more than just what happens on the day, more than the toy or holiday a child receives. If I might be presumptuous, I would hope to show through my mission that, no matter what you're going through, it is possible to make your dreams come true, if only for a flickering moment of joy, like the brightness of the star in the Starlight logo.
The wishes that the charity grant epitomise that sense of possibility, and create precious memories for entire families to cherish - and I am aiming to impact upon that too - which brings me back to the material. Over the last year and a bit, this blog (and all the people who have supported it) has managed to raise £1,755 - 87% of my target amount, £2013. I can't quite believe we've got that far, but we have, a fact for which I will be forever grateful. This means that we have only £258 more to raise to reach that target - and, whilst that still feels like a scarily huge amount, if we've come this far, I think we can do it - just as I think I can walk across the stage. At some point over the next month, like 'The Little Engine That Could', my refrain will morph into 'I know I can' but, for now, the repetition of 'I think I can' is good enough to keep me going - because thoughts are powerful.
So, at the end of this post which marks the beginning of the final countdown, I have a few things to say:
I think I can walk across the stage. I think we can raise the money. I think we can do it together.
Bring on month thirteen of Walkingby2013.