Recently I was locked outside my London house in my underwear. In the UK most doors have no handles and lock automatically when closed. When I slouched out of my room in the clothes I’d slept in, hungover, to deposit the empty whiskey bottle in the recycling bin, I didn’t bring my key. I still think like a Canadian, and believed (wrongly) that I hadn’t just ruined my life. So after the wind blew the door shut I sat down and waited for my housemate to come home and let me back in. That’s the reason my room is now full of empty bottles. That, and emotional problems.

When I was studying in Liverpool I liked to work on my MA dissertation in the library cafe. This glass-fronted cafe had two entrances, one that led outdoors and a secret entrance inside the library. On weekends it could only be accessed from inside the library; the front door was locked. Which hardly anyone knew. My studies were frequently interrupted by students trying to get in. When they failed they would stare in at me with the mixture of confusion and embarrassment that always accompanies those moments when you are stymied by a simple task. HOW did you get into University when you can’t even operate a DOOR, you wonder. You could open doors before you were fully toilet trained.

Before they know it, these students are questioning the futility of their struggles, not just in opening this door but in opening symbolic future doors that lead to successful careers, fulfilling relationships and a clear sense of identity and contentment. I could see this recognition on their faces. The hopelessness and desolation.

Eventually the library guard caught me with the padlock and banned me from the building.

– Jessica Badkeesh