Life Lessons: #1
Ever wondered why a specific thing in your life has happened?
As a nineteen-year-old, you may say that my life hasn't started yet, or maybe that you think I'm still ignorant of life and its life troubles. In fact, most will agree with this. I partially agree with this myself; yes, I am still experiencing life but what life has taught me in the nineteen years and six months that life is a wonderful platform where you can create your own story with the free will of choosing people how they affect your life, too. For whatever reason, you will always think 'why is this happening?' or 'what is the purpose of this [insert] lesson?' Majority of us will think life is cruel, but in reality, it can be used either way. You can either use your life experiences as a foundation to grow more; spirituality, physically, mentally. I have experienced all three of them that's for sure.
I have grown to accept my good and bad days. When I was fourteen till I was sixteen, I experienced a really bad sprout of depression and anxiety. I wasn't particularly enjoying school and nor was my home life much better. The only things that got me through it were friends and books. That may sound cliche, but it is true. Mental health was a topic that was sacredly spoken about back in 2012. It is sad to think about that phase of my life was caught up in wanting to look prettier and liked, instead of studying more to be smarter and respected. I was still going through puberty (despite being an early bloomer age 10): the discovery of makeup, braces, acne... It sucked, of course, but that was a phase, then I realised that looks didn't matter at age fourteen, all I had to be worried about was my grades and what I was going to do for the rest of my life until I retired. It is a difficult time to talk about because I haven't really spoken about it myself. I was depressed, sad, angry, resentful. I was crying every day. It is making me feel emotional thinking about it, as I rarely think about it.
As an escape, I used the Internet platforms such as Tumblr and Facebook to express my feelings. I found it pretty tough to talk about my feelings to my family, never mind to my friends. I got most of the toxicity in my body out on the open, and, by age fifteen, I was about to sit my GCSE exams in 2014, I realised that this negativity was going to destroy my future and that would be something to be sad about, never mind if my eyebrows were too thick or not because I didn't wax them. My grades in school were pretty good, I was predicted to pass most of my exams, except for maths, science and Spanish. I was still reading books such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones at the time, so I have to thank the authors for creating a reality to help me escape my own. Thankfully, I had the passion for reading, thanks to my granny.
I can't lie, though, I do have my good and bad days. My good days when I am so excited for life when I am so positive and happy what I have. I am grateful for the family I have, I am grateful for the friends I have but somedays, it seems my efforts are worthless or they aren't going to pay off in the end. And that thought pretty sucks. The topic of mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when if you've experienced similar to me. It is not a weakness, it's a sign that you have been strong for too long. As the years go by, and when I see mental health being spoken about, I feel relief. It makes me happy that people won't feel as alone as I once did. I am not ashamed to admit that I spoke to a couple of hotlines to get me through my really bad days.
I often wonder why I had that phase of depression and anxiety, I then realised that past experiences had overwhelmed me. I was too pressured to think about my future, and if I so happened to get a bad mark in my tests was an automatic fail in my life. I had no self-esteem or confidence in myself, my teachers would tell you that I rarely spoke in class unless I was spoken to. As I left a few classmates behind when I was going into sixth form, I slowly opened from my shell because I had a chance to make new friends which happened, I slowly gained confidence and self-esteem that I was, indeed, worth it.
When I look back at my past, when I was fourteen, I want to hug my younger self. I really do. I never want to be in that dark place again, it's scary because it's inside your head. No one can hear your thoughts, they assume by your looks and expressions. I want to hug her and explain to her that yes, some things happen and it sucks but it's all about growth. I don't know if people will agree, but it changed me for the better. I realised, no matter what I go through, I will always become stronger at the end of the light.
I thought I'd never been that person who would be into fitness or be keen to eat healthily. I also believed that losing weight was easy, well, I was surely proven wrong! It is so hard to change habits that have been around for years. For example, I would have eaten chocolate bars for my breakfast, lunch, after dinner, and surely well after 9pm. I didn't end there either, I had crisps, sweets and greasy food all the time. At age fourteen, I didn't care much about my weight, simply because I never went out (again, confidence and self-esteem issues.) and I never cared what I had on my back, and, I was pretty slim until I reached sixth form. My weight was never a concern until a year ago when I struggled to breathe anywhere, like walking upstairs in a building would have been in stitches. I thought it was my asthma, so I went to the doctors. Bless her, I think she was afraid to say something about my weight because she was hinting about it now that I sit back and think about it.
The breaking point was when I was in New Look looking for new jeggings at the beginning of this year. I tried a size 16 on and it wouldn't go past my thighs. So, naturally, I went to look for a size 18, but I couldn't find it. The sales assistant said, "Oh, size 18s are in the plus size section." My cheeks burned. I was only 18 years old! I understand that are women who are different shape and sizes, but I was embarrassed. I could tell that the sales assistant and my mum was embarrassed too, I was too upset to acknowledge at the time. I put off my weight as 'baby fat', instead, I weighed 17 stone. I couldn't fit into pretty dresses or pretty things, and I was going out with my friends who were able to fit in dresses. It was time to change.
My family had been encouraging me to go to the gym as soon as they knew my weight was bringing me down. I refused until this point until I got a personal trainer who has been training me since May. He has been amazingly patient with me while I try and attempt to break my habits, weight loss is not only a physical challenge, it is also a mental challenge. It isn't fun, and sometimes I think, "maybe I'll love myself" but that's not why I started. I wanted not only my looks to improve, but my confidence and self-esteem too. I wanted to love myself again. There were so many reasons for me to get active again, to treat my body the way it meant to be treated. A healthier lifestyle, not just a diet.
My granny fell ill -- quite ill. So my doctor carefully encouraged me to keep going at the gym, she commented how good my skin looked. I had finished my acne treatment at the hospital, and my confidence raised from 1% till 30% because I wasn't afraid of how I looked anymore. I wouldn't have to wake up with dread of how bad my face looked, or how much makeup I would have to apply to hide the acne scars, the redness and all the pimples and boils around my face. Exercising and the gym gave me something to control -- my granny wasn't going to get any better.
This is the last possible things I thought I would do. The question 'what happens when you die?' never occurred to me. I had lost my maternal grandfather at the age of three, I wasn't close to him but I had a lot less of memories with him compared to my granny. All my life, I had been interested in the "paranormal", always loved the idea of a woman with her crystal ball telling me of who I'm going to marry, who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with, and how I'll meet him. The tarot cards were somewhat taboo, given my family are Christians so it wasn't really discussed. Of course, it wasn't until my granny was in the last stages of her life when I began to become really interested in the afterlife. I had been studying religious education for seven years, but that question was never answered as much as it did with psychics of how your soul leaves before you die, so you don't feel any pain.
I have to admit that brought me comfort to know that my granny wasn't going to be in pain anymore and that she would be with my grandfather, her family and friends again. Becoming "spiritually awake" as you would say, helped my grief a lot. I researched up to all hours about it, watched youtube videos, binged read blogs about the afterlife. Many of you may think I went crazy and probably took a meltdown of the fact I was going to lose the most important person in my life. I seriously asked myself if I was taking a breakdown, but I was trying to gain some control of the situation. To be prepared. I have family members who are psychic and enjoy their opinion. I love being open minded to this kind of things, but weirdly, a few nights before my granny passed away, I saw smoke from a cigarette in the living room.
It was weird since I was the only person in the room. I blamed it on lack of sleep. It was as if someone was smoking, only the fumes were present. I shook it off and fell asleep. A few days later, the night carers that looked after my granny while we went home, said that she saw her mother at the end of the bed. My granny had told me when her mother died, she saw her mother at the end of the bed just smiling.
I knew it was almost the end.
After my granny's passing, I have mediated. I have spoken to her, she came me the night she died to say she was OK and I woke up so calm. I later dreamt of her and my grandfather laughing and so much in love. I knew she was okay, and I know there will be people that will doubt this. Believe me, I have asked myself this time and time again.
I now own a tarot deck, yes they are accurate.
Since I became a "spiritual" person, I am so much happier with my life purpose even though I don't know what that means yet. For now, I am still happy to explore.
It is quite odd that all of this link up. Maybe it's faith? Maybe it was meant to be?
Or maybe it's simply the first volume of life's lessons.