Thirteen to Twenty-Three: Some things that have changed with me

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday, I know turning 23 isn’t exactly a massive milestone but with everything up in the air with where my life is heading at the moment I’ve been reflecting a lot on aspects of myself that have grown and changed over the past 10 years. So here are just a few of the important things that have positively impacted my sense of self, I’m sure some of you will be able to relate to some of these!

  1. I don’t need my diaries anymore

Since my first day of high school in 2005 I have been keeping diaries, they began as a way to document my life so I would never forget a memory (good or bad) but that didn’t last long. Pretty soon I began using my diary as a way to work through my feelings because I didn’t know how to express them to the people around me. For some time, I wrote in my diary almost every day because I felt so lost, so distanced from my own sense of self that writing about me was the only way I felt like an actual person who existed with thoughts and feelings. Now, I don’t feel so confused about who I am and I am a lot better at expressing myself out loud to others so I no longer feel the need to hash things out with myself in a diary. I actually forget I have a diary nowadays and entries can be a whole month apart. Maybe when I go back to the UK I will treat you all to some of the hilarious extracts…

2. I can make decisions now!

If you asked me to describe myself in one word a few years ago I would probably have replied “fickle”. My indecisiveness stemmed from two places; the first was from not wanting to be responsible for anything that involved other people and the second was from not trusting my feelings in the slightest because my anxiety clouded my judgement. Although I am still a little crap at dealing with my emotions because everything I do comes from a place of logic, I don’t doubt myself anymore. I don’t care if the restaurant/film/event I have picked for myself and my friends to go to is shit because it’s not worth worrying about. Telling myself not to worry so much took a long time but learning to not care so much has made me a lot happier.

3. I love my body.

Everyone has insecurities and they definitely aren’t helped when people point them out. Yes, I have dark hair on my arms and my face. Yes, I have acne and it makes my nose pretty red. Yes, I am so pale that I am almost luminous at night. These are just some of the things that people have made comments to me about through my teenage years and back then one word about any of my insecurities would play on my mind for weeks and weeks and cause me to do anything to erase or hide whatever unflattering thing I was being teased about. Now, I really couldn’t give a fuck if I tried. I love every inch of myself and that took me telling myself to do so every day for years but was it ever worth it.

4. I am more forgiving and patient.

I’m still not that patient when it comes to some things but I have a lot more time for people than I used to. Most notably, I have a really good relationship with my parents now. I know most teenagers go through a phase of being unreasonably angry with their parents but when I was a teenager I felt like I had fully accepted that I would never have a good relationship with my parents. I have never been so happy about being wrong. I also try to be a lot more compassionate and understanding towards others who don’t act or think like I do, that’s still difficult sometimes but I’m trying!

5. I no longer have crippling social anxiety.

I remember the first house party I ever went to began with me shaking uncontrollably and feeling like I was about to vomit. I then began to panic more because I didn’t understand why I felt like this. Anyway, this kept happening and I kept struggling through and it stopped me from doing a lot of things I wanted like going on dates and tainted other experiences that I was originally looking forward to. I kept trying to push myself through it and eventually I stopped having panic attacks, probably not the best way to deal with anxiety but I am just thankful that nowadays I don’t often feel that way.

There is still a lot of things I need to work on but sometimes it is good to look back at what you have achieved so far and how much you’ve grown as a person and give yourself a little credit. Self improvement is hard and it takes a long time but the pay off is more than worth it and for now, I am pretty happy with who I am.

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2 thoughts on “Thirteen to Twenty-Three: Some things that have changed with me”

  1. I loved this post! It’s such a good feeling to look back on all of the growth, change, and life experience that has brought you to where you are. Happy birthday!

    Like

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