Grateful

Good with Turning 27

Yesterday I turned 27, which is actually kind of strange of me to type, cos it’s weird to think that little me is 27.  Little me you know, with the baby face and all that, but 27 I am and I am good with that.  Very good with that.

Saying that I’m good with 27 is an even weirder thing for me, because I have disliked the thought of getting older for so long.  I hated turning 25 with a passion and although I was fine with 26, the thought of getting older still filled me with dread.  For a long time, the age of 27 disturbed me and I tried to avoid it, especially as it feels even closer to 30, but I’m not feeling too bad about that age either now.  As long as these good genes of mine hold out, I’m still gonna be looking young and I love that.

I also felt really blessed and grateful to God to not only see another year, but to see another day of my life, as I’ve wanted to have my life taken away from me on way too many occasions to count over the past three years.  This earth is a sick, twisted, sad place, which I know I’m not made for and wish I could leave, but I’ve also felt that so many others should be still breathing in place of me, who is often so ungrateful for the breath I have in my body.  That was not the case this year.

I was extremely happy on the day, and I had been in a great place during the days leading up to it, which is always a positive thing.  I’ve also had a positive year on the most part, with a number of amazing things happening and God opening a number of doors.  I got baptised this year, my platform became an official organisation and celebrated three years this year (through God’s help only), I won my first competition with my poetry this year, I delivered my first keynote address this year, and I had my face plastered over a storefront this year.  This is just a snippet of some of my many highlights, and we’ve still got four months of the year to go.

At 27, God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or asked for.  He’s put me on a path I never expected or planned for, but love with all my heart and gives me a reason to keep fighting on.  He’s also blessed me with many beautiful people, who contributed to making my day so special and a whole lot of fun, especially my sister who was there throughout the whole thing.

Usually, my birthday feels like a new chapter, but this year feels more like the middle of a chapter that is still being written, which probably won’t be finished until the new year comes and I am more than good with that.  I just can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings and what other blessings God brings my way, cos I know that I’ve got a whole lot more work to do, more love to spread in the world and more people to empower so that their voices are heard.

I’m only just beginning to tap into my true power and potential.

A Priceless Friend

This is the second individual to get a post solely about them in my series of posts about the beauties who have played a special part in my 2018, simply because they are that special.  She is one of my closest friends, who I’ve always treasured but can take unfairly take for granted at times.  I will always see her at least once or twice in a year, but this year we spent more time together, which was really nice.

Pebbles spoils me more than I deserve, which is not the reason behind why we are so close or why I love her so much.  We’ve been close friends since leaving secondary school, where we were in a number of classes together, bonding over music, High School Musical and Hollyoaks.  She’s been a constant in my life since then.

This year, we met up to eat, play board games, sit in the park and watch movies – I’ve got her to thank for watching Inside Out, which I loved.  Of course, there was plenty of chat and laughter along the way, filling each other in on what was going on in our lives.

However, what made her such a special part of my 2018 was going on holiday together – there is a lot more to this story, but not everyone needs to know it.  We went to my beloved Italy, staying in stunning Sorrento, where we walked through a lemon grove, ate gelato everyday and enjoyed some good shopping.  We also visited the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum – we love ourselves some history – which was a surreal experience.  Although they were amazing to witness firsthand and so much was stunning to look at, it was weird to be in the midst of places that had been completely wiped out and claimed so many lives.

It was great to eat gorgeous food, see beautiful sights and stay in a new place with my friend, but the best thing about our trip was that it made us closer.  Often, trips can make or break friendships, but this trip definitely made ours.  One of my favourite moments was when we had a frank, honest conversation over dinner on the last night, opening up about various things effecting us and speaking up about friendship like we haven’t before.  I felt like I knew her a lot better after that night.

Pebbles and I have been friends for over 10 years, and I wholeheartedly believe that we’re going to be friends for 10 years more and beyond, as long as God grants me the breath in my body.  Friends like Pebs are rare, precious, priceless diamonds – you do not want to lose them.  I’m beyond grateful for a friend like Pebs in my life, and writing this is just a small thing to let her know how much I love and value her.

They Helped Me Through TCFT Croydon

In my last post, I mentioned how Tina took the time to speak to me about TCFT Croydon, so it only seemed right to speak about a number of the special people who were involved in making TCFT Croydon 2018 what it was, especially when it all became crazy stressful.

Putting on TCFT Croydon can be a tough, and at times frustrating, process, which I would be unable to get through without particular people around me.  Tina is always there to support and offer her invaluable words of wisdom, but this was not the case on the final Sunday when she was unable to be there and a ton of things went wrong.  It was like a house of cards, collapsing one card after another, taking me out of sorts and unable to fully enjoy the day.

Photo by Peter Ball.

Nevertheless, there were people there who were able to pull me back from the brink and offer a sense of calm.  Darren gave me time to vent, as well as one of his amazing ‘Darren’ pep talks.  Foteini was there to lend a hand in any capacity, which was a true blessing, especially during lunch time.  My new friend Ellie was a great support, stepping in to take the morning warm up and facilitate the theatre segment, as well as being amazingly encouraging.  Liberty did an amazing job of pulling the music together, not giving me any cause for concern and creating a beautiful song.  And then there was Esi.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Esi more over this year, since initially meeting her at one of my poetry nights last May.  She is a powerful poet and fantastic facilitator, who facilitated the poetry workshops for TCFT Croydon, and then stepped in to work with the visual arts group as well on the final Sunday, after an emergency meant that the visual arts facilitator couldn’t make it.  She got the visual artists to combine poetry with art, and she also worked on a collaborative piece with theatre and music – she was really doing it all.

Most of all, Esi was on hand to give me a pep talk as well, telling me not to be so hard on myself and bring to my attention that I had made a difference in the lives of at least one young person through TCFT Croydon.  She not only encouraged all of the young people and got great work out of them, but she also encouraged me when I needed it most.

Photo by Peter Ball.

TCFT Croydon 2018 got a brilliant kickstart from Lora and Rosie, who led out on the discussion segments on the first Sunday.  I could not have asked for a better pairing, who got exactly what I wanted out of the participants.  Lora also did some amazing work as a theatre facilitator on the following Sunday, which one of the volunteers and participants, John, gained a lot from.

I’m also grateful for the work Cedoux did with the young people who chose visual art, and the work that Alex did with those who chose music.  Cedoux also played a part in laying the foundation of the process with his infamous collaborative arts activity, which is always fun.

I’m extremely grateful for the support of those who were not there on the days, but who made TCFT Croydon possible, including Paula from the Council, Winston from Juvenis and Ruth from Spread The Word – I literally could not have made it happen without them and their generosity.  I’m extremely grateful to Turf Projects, First Floor Space and Theatre on the High Street for providing the workshop spaces.

I am very grateful for all of the volunteers, everyone who provided the lovely food, my mum for helping me to set up and clean, my dad for everything he did throughout the process, my sister for transporting me and to the lovely Glenn (you’ll hear more about him in another post) for being the muscle that helped me carry things.  In fact, I’m grateful to every individual and organisation who was involved and supported TCFT Croydon in any way.

The most important thing about TCFT Croydon is that participants enjoy and gain something from it, which they did, even when I was having a meltdown.  Everyone gave something different to the process, but there were four particular individuals who were ideal participants and made all the stresses of producing this type of project worthwhile.  I’m grateful for them.

All in all, I want to say thank you to everyone who was part of my TCFT Croydon journey in 2018.  I could not have made it happen without you.

Photo by Peter Ball.