Tomorrow I will turn 22, which means that a whole year has already sped past since my 21st birthday, when I was surrounded by a special set of people who love me. Reaching 22 has made me seriously think about the journey I’ve taken over the past year and I think that it’s a good time for reflection.
Before I turned 21, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life to leave university and follow my true dream of becoming a writer. I closed one chapter in my life, with the support of a great tutor, to open up the next one. I saw my 21st birthday as not only a milestone, but also a fresh start.
After many years of distress, misery, and fake happiness, I needed a fresh start in my life to turn it around, and this was just the time to do it. I was already in counselling when I turned 21, which meant that I had already started to make some changes, but I decided that this was going to be the major turning point.
It was a big struggle in the beginning, as I continued to wrestle with old issues and the inner demons I was constantly fighting. In order to get better, I had to go through a serious emotional detox, which put me through the ringer but it was so worth it in the end. It forced me to face up to what I had been running away from, and now I avoid running from my emotions.
I was able to say things that had been left unsaid for so long that they were killing me slowly, which lifted a weight off my shoulders. I got rid of relationships that were keeping me down and preventing me from moving forward in life. And I’ve stopped fearing the world by getting out of the house, which has opened up doors for me.
Last year, my confidence was next to nothing and now it has risen a great degree, although I still have a way to go. My self-esteem is continuing to increase, although I am still working on looking at myself in a more positive light. But most of all, I am slowly but surely fighting off my inner demons with the strength of the Lord on my side. I’ve stopped believing that I am alone, that I am nothing, that I am not good enough and that I’ll not amount to anything. I can see clearly now that I am God’s child and that makes me special – it means that I am never alone, I am good enough and I will amount to something great.
I also found the courage and got the help to move forward in my writing career, which has resulted in me writing numerous articles, a few press releases and some event reviews, as well as setting up a second blog. Despite me not getting paid yet, I am loving my writing and I would happily do it for free, but in life you need to earn money to survive. I have been able to meet some amazing people, get out of my comfort zone and learn so much more about my borough, which has made me really love Croydon.
There have been some pitfalls along the way and I have fallen down, but God has always been there to pick me back up. I have learnt that I am at the heart of most of my issues, but I have spent so long blaming others that I have prevented the healing process. Although it would be nice to have a guy in my life, I can see that God will send me the right person when he knows that I am ready, which obviously isn’t now.
I have spent more time talking to God and listening for His voice, which has helped me to grow closer to Him, strengthen my faith and understand so much more about myself. I still haven’t entered the baptismal pool, but God is working in me and I feel that my day is drawing closer – I’ve actually started Bible study now. God is also helping me learn to trust again and He is giving me new hope in love, but letting people in is something that I am still working on.
I feel happier than I have felt in many, many years and my smile is actually genuine now, rather than hiding all the pain that I’m feeling. I was finally brave enough to tell my story about my history with self harm, which I have always been so scared and ashamed to reveal. And I’ve really figured out what I want to do with my life, which is to use my writing to work with young people and make a difference – I believe that this is what God wants me to do.
I have developed a whole lot as a person over this past year and many things have changed – this post just scratches surface – but I am proud of what I have achieved and the person that I am becoming. Although I won’t necessarily be starting a fresh on my 22nd birthday, I will be continuing to move forward.