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.ย 

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.ย  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.ย 

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 lostย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

It’s the end of the year…as we know it!!!

Well hello there. I’m speaking to ye on this the last few days of 2017. And, what a blast this year has been!? I think 2017 has been one of my better years in terms of all the good things (let’s ignore the bad parts shall we?). Tbh I probably say this about every year ever but my memory is atrocious..2016 was thing? Whattt? Sure it’s not all been plain sailing – I finished the first year of A Levels and started the impossibly even more scary and stressful second year, I’ve applied to unveristy (basically signing myself up to ยฃ50,000+ worth of debt – have fun with that future Em!), I turned 18 and many other things happened along the way.

I thought I’d do a little summary of my year, ’cause that’s what bloggers do, right? And I’ve even come up with ~fancy~ headings (that are really just rubbish) for each section. Yup, really stepping up my blogging game here ๐Ÿ˜Ž (jk, maybe next year?)

Places I travelled

Let’s start with travel, not because I travelled a lot or very far this year (what do you MEAN the fridge isn’t a foreign country!?!) but I love exploring new places, no matter how far away or (un)exotic they maybe!

I can’t remember the first place that I travelled to this year, but it could possibly be my trip to Portsmouth to visit my sister at uni in the spring. That was fun, but exhausting, 8 hours on various trains really takes it out of you! Of course, I’ve visited Portsmouth several other times this year, and each time we go to pick up/drop off my sister we spend some time exploring the city – this year we went to the historic dockyard and saw the fancy new aircraft carrier, HMS Elizabeth, which is HUGE.

I also went to Marseille with college – my first trip to France! It was such a fun trip, and I loved the city (though not so much the buses ๐Ÿ˜‚).

Other places I’ve explored this year include Southampton and Exeter as I went to uni open days there, Cardiff for a geography trip (which was really cool because we went in the Welsh government building and…so much #geogbanter) and Bath, which I visited for the first time with my friend in the summer – it’s such a beautiful city!

I also went to London twice this year, I hadn’t been for a couple of years and I couldn’t really remember it so I was very excited to go. We visited cousins and went to watch the World Para-athletics Championships at the Olympic Park. My sister and I loved London so much as soon as we came home we booked tickets to go back a few weeks later. That was the first time we’d travelled that far without our parents so it was quite an interesting experience! (We didn’t get lost…much).

Finally I spent a week in Yorkshire visiting family, which was so relaxing and brought back so many memories of visiting as a child. I went to Leeds festival with my sister and died several times whilst watching some of my favourite bands.  

Book of the year

I haven’t read a great deal of books this year as college and other things have got in the way. But! I did read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time, and surprisingly really enjoyed it, so I think that’s got to be my favourite book I’ve read in 2017 (despite it being released many years ago – I don’t think I read any 2017 releases oops).

Film of the year

It’s got to beeeeeee…Paddington 2! It’s just such a funny and heart-warming film ๐Ÿ˜ and you can’t NOT love it??

Favourite memories

This section is a bit random, but y’know sometimes you just have some random memories that really stand out. I have done a lot more with my friends this year than previous years which has been great, from pumkin-carving, to screaming out 80s songs and dancing on the beach in the rain (don’t ask), going to comic con and meeting two of the original Doctor Who’s, holding a funeral for a watermelon, movie days, and just general sixth form banter and laughing for hours about who knows what. I love my friends and I couldn’t be more grateful for being able to spend 2017 with them. 

Plus, I’ve got to express my love for the blogosphere too right? This year I celebrated my first/second blogoversary (I’ve lost track because I confused myself by changing blogs several times) and I’ve met so many new bloggers as well as strengthening friendships with those I’ve known for longer. Watching musicals with the amazing Unicorn Squard 2.0 and collabing with L for Blogmas have definitely been highlights, and I hope next year I can make more bloggy memories. 

Things I’ve learned

Well, hopefully I’ve learnt a lot more about the subjects I’m studying, but mostly I feel like I’ve really learnt a lot more about myself this year. I feel much more comfortable being me, and I feel like I’m starting to figure out who I am, as stupid as that sounds. I’ve gained a lot of confidence since starting college in general, so it’s safe to say I’m much less shy than I was this time last year. I’ve also learnt that there are people around me who care about me and will support me when I need them to by actually opening up to people, so y’know, that’s good. 

On a lighter note, I’ve learnt that you have to use a lot more semi-permanent hair dye than you think for it to survive more than one wash (I dyed my hair blue a few weeks ago, incase you’re wondering!) ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’ve also figured out some sort of direction that I want my life to take me in (that was rubbish English sorry). I realised back in the spring that languages really are my passion and that I want to study them at uni, alongside politics. I’m not quite sure what I want to do post-uni, but that’s a long way away! I would like to live in France for a bit though (mainly just to have fresh, authentic baguettes whenever I want ๐Ÿ˜‰). 

So yeah, a lot has happened this year! I think that’s most of the highlights I can remember, although there were probably many other good memories too. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about my past year, and I’d love to hear some of your favourite memories in the comments!

I guess I’ll be signing out for 2017 (unless inspiration strikes in the last few days) so thank you for following my journey over the past year, and a happy new year to you all! ๐ŸŽ‰