Today is my 25th birthday. As you’re reading this, I’m having a great time in Brighton with my love. We’re doing all the typical touristy stuff: chilling on the beach, browsing the lanes, playing at the arcade and so on. I’m also trying every bit of vegan food I can find.
However, it was a very different matter in the run up to this day. It’s no secret I’ve been struggling for a while now. A lot has happened in the past two years and I’ve personally had to overcome an awful lot. I’ve been battling with my mental health for years now and I’m only just getting help for it. You may have noticed I’ve been quieter on Twitter, it’s because I’m focusing on trying to get better. I’m going through a weird transitional period in my life and I want to feel like me again. Since being diagnosed, it feels like I’ve been getting the clarity I’ve been seeking my entire life. I’m going through some things and I thought I’d share with you all important lessons I’ve learnt in 25 years.
Life events really change a person
These past two years have been some of the hardest of my life. I feel like I’ve spent 2017 putting my life back together. The most significant live events I’m referring to are unfortunately loss. I lost three grandparents in just under a year, two within five months of each other. I had never experienced death or grief before, ultimately it changes a person. There are things I see in different lights, situations I’ll handle differently and things I just expect now.
Self expression is really neat
24 has been a pretty wild year; I’ve met a ton of people who have inspired me in good and bad ways. There’s been people who have introduced me to new things and there’s been people who haven’t brought out the best in me. I’m forever evolving and that’s always the way I want it to be. Earlier this year, I made a decision to stop giving a fuck about what other people think and start doing things I’ve wanted to for ages. Expressing myself through hair, makeup, fashion and ink has done wonders for me this year.
People come and go, and that’s okay
In 2016, I said goodbye to a lot of people. Some were intentional, some weren’t, the majority were out of my control and hurt a lot. Death isn’t something you can control and as cliche as it sounds, it has shown me that life is too short. When a few people exited my life pretty soon after each other, I spend months feeling miserable and bad about myself. I was made to feel like things were entirely my fault. It wasn’t nice and I acted out in ways I shouldn’t have. Things don’t always work out; some people aren’t compatible and that’s life. I don’t feel bad about leaving exes behind, so why am I wasting time feeling about about past friends? These things happen, learn from them and move on. People come and go all the time.
Getting diagnosed is terrifying
I’ve been seeking a diagnosis for years, so why did it terrify me? I don’t know, I guess it suddenly seemed more real. I knew I probably had anxiety, but they threw depression into the mix as well. It’s scary to think this is just my life now.
Building a life with somebody is wonderful
I used to think love was lame, but boy was I wrong.
Grief is hard and never really goes away
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the people I miss. There’s so much I want to share with them. It’s just gotten to a point where I’ve adjusted my life to work around these feelings.
You’re always stronger than you think
Before I got help last month, I had a huge breakdown. Although it was very draining, it felt necessary in a way? It served as a reminder and felt like the next step. I thought about everything that has happened in the past year or so, and how I’m still here. I think a lot of us need to remind ourselves we’re stronger than we realise. Women are incredibly resilient, we have to be.
Falling in love with yourself is exciting, revolutionary and essential
Learning to love myself is probably going to be something I’ll have to work on for life. It’s hard work sometimes, but definitely worth it.
Beauty standards are literally bullshit
Make your own.
Always follow your gut
I’ve lost count of how many times I didn’t do this and things went tits up. I don’t care what anyone tells you, answer to you and you only.
Minding your business is free
You’ll be happy too. Meddling is messy; focus on yourself and watch your life transform.
Calling yourself out, or being called out, is essential for growth
It’s not always fun, but I promise you’ll learn something. You’ve got to really listen though.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness
Recognising you need help is half the battle. It shows strength to know you need help and even more to ask for it.
It’s important to separate online + IRL
There’s people online who do not give a fuck about your wellbeing. You’re somebody who chooses to put your life online and it’s all a game to them. People will happily watch you fall and pass the popcorn whilst doing so. I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m realising that there is always going to be somebody trying to put you down. It’s exhausting and 100% not worth my energy. Just the other day somebody tried to bring drama to my notifications by tagging me in some shitty negative tweet. It’s important to remind yourself that you don’t need to give an opinion on everything and time offline is good too.
You’re only competition is you
The years I wasted comparing myself to other women upsets me when I think about it. It’s taken me a long time to get there but the only person I want to be better than is myself. Like I said, forever evolving is the goal.
Music is actually important to me
All this thinking about times where I struggled has reminded me of all the great albums that helped me get through hard times. It’s amazing what these things can do for you.
Growing up is tough, but cool
My life is so different now. It’s tough and scary at times, but also really fulfilling in some ways too. Growing up is this terrifying reminder that you can get through things and I think that’s kind of cool. I have some birthday related anxiety, but I’m also excited to see what 25 brings.
There are things I can’t change about myself, it’s about time I embrace them
I recently spoke about this in more detail in a previous post. Adopting this attitude has been hard, but life changing!
There’s more important things than image
Following on from above, there is no point wasting time hating myself or the way I look. There are so many other things to celebrate!
Don’t fuck with anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself
Family, friends, colleagues, strangers, I ain’t got time for it.
People will do the strangest things when they’re threatened
It’ll blow your mind. You’re not above it and you’ll probably disgust yourself at some point too.
You don’t owe anyone shit
You do what you gotta do in this world, you don’t need to justify yourself to anyone.
Some things don’t need to be said
Pick. your. battles!
You are enough ♥
Photography by Kaye Ford