2018: The Year of Being Me

Hello! As it’s nearing the end of the year (HOW is the even possible??!), I thought I’d take the time to think about the year that’s just passed. At the start of 2018, I decided not to set myself resolutions as such and instead I said that this year, I just want to learn to be myself and be happy with who I am. I wrote a post about this back in January, explaining how in previous years, I’ve tried to ‘change’ myself, not drastically but there were always parts of my personality that I was unhappy with and for a long time I wished I could just ‘fit in’ like everyone else. But this year has been all about changing that mindset.

I know learning to accept and love who you are is a difficult challenge and not something you can achieve overnight, but this year I’ve made it my focus and I think I genuinely have made progress towards it. 

I think this year has been a year of big changes, some of which have pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to deal with things I’ve never had to deal with before. But I’m very much a believer in “we grow through what we go through” so although there have been some pretty low points this past year, I know that I’ve become a lot stronger because of them. 

Obviously moving away from home has been a big change and one that I’ve embraced. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve got through the first term of university and am feeling optimistic about next semester, so that must be a good sign. I’d always thought that starting uni would be a fresh start, a chance to start being me without worrying about people’s preconceptions and the “boxes” people at home put me in. In many ways, it has been a fresh start however it’s been harder than I thought to shift the label of being the “quiet one” which I’ve been branded with pretty much since the start of secondary school. However, I have learnt that you can’t fit in with or get along with everyone in life. You meet so many new people at university from different backgrounds, which I have loved and honestly I have made some lovely friends who I can really see myself becoming close to over the rest of the year, but I still find myself feeling out of place in some social circles, but that’s okay because we’re not compatible with everyone.

One big (ish) thing that proves to me that I have become more accepting of myself is that I came out as bisexual to one of my best friends. Albeit it was after having one of many massive breakdown about my identity (because the first half of this year I was in a permanent phase of identity crisis) and everything came pouring out, but I still did it. My sexuality is something I’ve been bottling up for around three years now so it was a big thing that I was able to come out to someone. 

Another thing is that my relationship with my mental health has improved. I’ve had some pretty low points in terms of my mental health this year but I’m learning to accept them as part of me and have started to open up to people a lot more about what’s going on inside my head. For example the other week, I was feeling really down about university and was on the verge of wanting to drop out but I made myself pick up the phone and spent about 5 hours talking to two of my best friends honestly about what was going on inside my head and I’m so proud of myself for doing that and admitting that I wasn’t okay. That gave me the confidence to open up to one of my closest uni friends too about how I’d been struggling with various oppressed emotions from the past few years and honestly I can’t believe I opened up to someone I’ve only known for three months, but it just goes to show how far I’ve come in accepting that it’s okay to not be okay.  Things still aren’t perfect and I frequently wonder if the mess of emotions in my head will be with me forever or if I’ll be able to work through the fog at some point, but I’m proud that I’ve started to accept that I do struggle with my mental health rather than pretending everything is fine.

This has all been a bit of an emotional ramble so far and that’s only about to get worse, but I honestly feel like this year I’ve made a lot of progress towards being happier with who I am and that’s something that I’m proud of. It’s not consistent progress and often feels like I’m taking two steps forward and one step back, but it’s progress nonetheless!

This year has been very much a roller coaster in terms of my personal life and I’ve had to deal with some difficult situations and emotions, but there have also been several high points. This year there have been quite a few moments where I’ve really felt strongly connected to myself and just felt pure in-the-moment happiness and really felt alive, that’s something I haven’t properly felt since the summer of 2016 after finishing secondary school. 

For example, when I went on holiday to Amsterdam with two of my best friends, it felt so freeing to be travelling independently, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  Then when I climbed Snowdon with my family, that was honestly the most breathtaking experience and it really helped to pull me out of a mental health rut and look at life from a different perspective. I’ve also had some pretty powerful experiences with music this year, seeing both Eliza and the Bear and Walk the Moon in concert, two bands which I’ve loved for years. It’s so hard to put into words the feeling of watching bands you’ve grown up with play the songs you love and feeling so connected to all the previous “versions” of yourself who’ve sung those lyrics countless times. This summer I also found clothes that I actually feel comfortable in. It sounds like such a little thing but with all the confusing thoughts I was having about gender earlier on in the year (and still am having to an extent) it just felt so good to feel comfortable in what I was wearing.

It all might sound a bit weird, this “feeling connected to myself” thing, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. I have often felt lost over the past few years and I think that is just a thing with growing up and discovering who you are, but this is the first year that, on a number of occasions, I’ve felt like I belong, like I’ve found who I am inside. And it’ll take many more years or perhaps a life time for me to feel like I can be myself all the time, but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made this year and am looking forward to what the next year holds!

I hope you enjoyed that little ramble-y reflection on 2018. I’m sorry my posting has become rather erratic since starting university and I haven’t been putting as much effort into my blog this year as a whole, but I really appreciate everyone who still reads my posts! You’ve all been as much a part of this year as everything else!

I hope you’ve all had a brilliant 2018 and that the new year will hold many good things for you all. 🙂

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November wrap up!

Hello! It’s December yay!! In two weeks time I’ll be at home, beginning my month-long Christmas break which I am honestly so ready for. Today I thought I’d wrap up November by recapping what I’ve been up to, as well as some things I’m looking forward to in December. Time passes so quickly at university that it feels like I’ve done so much yet nothing at all, so it will be nice to look back at the past month!

Meeting bloggers!

I think I mentioned this in another post but at the beginning of November I met up with Megan, Kel, Eve and Janet and spent the day wandering around London, it was such a  lovely day!

Going home!

My university had a reading week at the beginning of November too which essentially consisted of a week of no lectures to help us catch up on reading and work on our assignments. On the Wednesday of that week my mum and my sister came to visit, I showed them around my uni and we went shopping and ate out in the local town. Then my mum and I got the train home and I stayed until the Sunday. It was so weird being home, it almost didn’t feel like home anymore, but it was lovely to spend proper time with my family. We went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema, we watched our local illuminated carnival even though it was tipping it down and I also went to the Remembrance Day service. I also managed to see one of my friends who had come back from uni too so that was great!

Fantastic Beasts

Me and three of my uni friends went to see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it as the first film was so good, but it was a good evening nonetheless!

Essays…ugh

I had three 2000 essays due in this month which each contribute to 25% of my grade for each of those three modules. Honestly I got so ridiculously stressed whilst writing these essays that it was making me ill as I couldn’t sleep and felt constantly exhausted and dizzy. It was not fun so next time essays are due I definitely need to manage my time better, try not to panic and make sure I’m sleeping and eating properly. 

Birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday! It was so weird not being at home, seeing my family or doing our usual birthday traditions, but I did have a nice day. My family had sent some cards and parcels to me so I did have some presents to open, then two of my uni friends took me out for brunch which turned into a shopping spree!

I also met up with my sister again last weekend as I was so stressed I just needed to get out of uni, so we met up in a town halfway between her uni and mine. Something I’ve learnt whilst being at uni is that sometimes you just need a bit of normality because everything can get overwhelming very quickly, so seeing family or talking to friends from home can really help you to put things in perspective.

So that’s how November panned out, now some things to look forward to in the coming month.

Obviously Christmas break is what I’m most looking forward to – I get to go home for a whole month and I can’t wait! I think coming up to the Christmas period I’ve been more homesick than previously as at this time of year I just want to be around my family. However I haven’t got long to wait! 

I’m really looking forward to just spending evenings with my family, playing board games and watching TV. I’ll also be going to Devon and Yorkshire to visit my grandparents which will be great as I haven’t seen them in about a year.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends from home too as we’ll finally all be in the same place.

I’m sad I don’t have time to do Blogmas this year, but if any of you are, let me know as I’d love to keep up with your posts!

I think that’s all for now, sorry this post has been a bit all over the place!