My 2015 Journey

2015 was definitely a journey for me, taking me on an emotional rollercoaster, flying me to different destinations, driving me forward in my endeavors and breaking to a halt at times.  I’d been told by some that this would be my year and it was in some ways, but there were times when it was a complete mess.  I found myself feeling happy, excited and loved, but there were times when I felt lost, weak and withdrawn.  Let’s just say that it was an intriguing year.

One of the greatest factors was watching myself grow in confidence and start to develop more self-esteem, which I’ve seriously been lacking over the years.  Going to Bosnia was a major help in developing my confidence, as I was forced out of comfort zone numerous times.  It was nerve-wracking, but so much fun and amazing for my development.  Bosnia also helped a little in developing my self-esteem, but I know that mainly come from studying the Gospels and reading them as if they were just for me, as recommended by Pastor Kelly.

However, there are a number of issues that have continued to rear their ugly head this year.  In fact, I’ve found myself in my third round of counselling, which has been a great help and allowed me to address some of the things I’d pushed to the back of my mind.  There were the continuing issues of self-worth, understanding my feelings, being more assertive and the need for love or attention, which resulted in a regrettable situation that left me in a mess for months.  I’m getting past it now though and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons in the process.

As I told you yesterday in my Top 5 Moments, I was blessed enough to leave the country twice, get my first paid writing job and make a short film to take my youth project forward.  Speaking of my youth project, I was also blessed enough to get myself a logo and domain name, as well as a little help from some funding.  I’ve continued building up my other blog, Young People Insight, and the support has been great.

I also had the opportunity to start writing for Limelight Magazine in Croydon, a lifestyle magazine for young people by young people.  Reporting for Limelight gave me the chance to attend the press day for the stunning Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A.  However, as I started at Limelight, my time writing for Live Mag UK sadly came to a close with the decision to end the online platform, also for young people by young people.  I loved being a part of Live for the past year and I will forever adore them for allowing me to write about my beloved American sports.

Friendships were made, some ended, some were repaired.  Walls and barriers were broken down, disagreements and arguments erupted.  I laughed a lot, I cried a lot.  God gave me the strength to push through the hardships, although there were occasions when I was too weak to fight and gave up.  However, I’ve almost made it through the year and I’ve grown more than I could have imagined and gained more than I ever imagined.

There is more that I wanted to achieve this year and I know that there is more I could have done, but I’ve got to take things one step at a time and be thankful for everything I have achieved.  After all, 2016 is another year and I know that by God’s grace, I’ll be doing a lot more when the new year comes.  I look forward to the journey 2016 will take me on.

A Time for Reflection

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.

Still a Work in Progress

I’d say that my main motto in life right now is “I’m a work in progress”, as it is the phrase that sums up where I am and what I’m going through.

Although I’ve come a long way over the past year and taken numerous steps forward, I still have far to go and there have been times when I find myself taking steps backward.

I still find that I’m not entirely happy within myself, which is a major issue that can affect my mood and self-esteem, but I am determined to change that.

I am a fighter who is naturally full of positive energy, but I need my God to strengthen me, because I do fall down sometimes and find myself in a pit of negative energy.

The constant fighting can become tiring at times and I find myself drained, yet I keep remembering that I am not doing it on my own, because God will always be beside me.

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a work in progress, because I am not perfect and I never will be, but I do want to figure out what is not clicking inside of me, because I need to feel better within myself.

It’s just another step in my journey and you know what I say, may they work continue.