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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This Year I Will Be Me: Who I Am, Who I Was and Who I Will Always Be

This year I won’t set resolutions, because I don’t want to be a “new year, new me” kind of person anymore. This year – I’ve realised – I just want to be me. Wholly, un-apologetically me.

Of course, there are various things about myself that I would like to change, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from last year, it’s that you can’t force yourself to change. I’ve tried to make myself more sociable, confident and outgoing, I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but no matter how hard I tried, I always fell back to being my usual quiet self. I’ve realised now, however, that is just how I’m meant to be, and how I want to be.

Changes in our personalities and our lifestyles don’t happen because we want want them to, or because we list them as goals to achieve, alongside doing more exercise or studying more for example. It’s true that it is possible to change small things about your personality, but these changes can’t just be ticked off a list or scheduled in to our busy lives. Changes in who we are happen through the things we experience, the actions we carry out, how we think and feel. I have changed a lot last year not because I set my mind to it, but because of everything I experienced – the good and the bad – and how this opened my eyes to the world around me.

This year, I will give myself the space to grow, to experience new things and to allow these experiences to shape who I am and give me a better understanding of life and all that it entails. Last year I lost track of myself too many times – I was too caught up in wondering why I couldn’t be like everyone else, trying to fit in to places where I didn’t realise I had fitted in all along, as me. The only reason I didn’t  feel like I fitted in is because I was always trying to be like someone else. But the truth is, I can’t be like anyone else – and neither can you – because I am me, you are you and we are all unique and wonderful in our own ways. I’ve learnt that my friends like me for who I am, not for who I was trying to be. Through all the clouded thoughts and confusion last year, I forgot this. I forgot how to accept friendship in its purest form, I forgot how it felt to feel loved and appreciated. Those feelings became buried under all the overthinking and mind-trickery. I don’t want to lose this feeling again, which is why I need to be me, and let others see me for who I am.

Of course this year will be hard – there are numerous significant things that will be happening to me, such as taking my A Level exams, finishing sixth form and leaving behind some of the best friends I’ve ever had and moving to the other side of the country for university.  But I am ready for these challenges, I’m ready for the new adventures, all the good times and hard times. I’m ready because I know I can tackle them as me, just as I always have but now I know that throughout my life I have picked up my broken pieces, dusted myself down and fitted them back together, albeit with the help of others along the way, but if I’ve done it many times before then these challenges will not break me beyond repair, that I am certain of.

So I’m not going to say this year I want to be more healthy, happy, confident or whatever else I was planning to, because all I really and truly want is to be myself. My honest self – no pretending to be anyone else. So what I offer to you, 2018, and whatever you may bring, is me. This is who I am, who I was and who I will always be. Just…me.