It Gets Better
This is sort of a tough one but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Maybe it’s the 10 year challenge that’s been popping up everywhere - which, for the record, I didn’t take part in, no judgement if you did. But thinking about where I was a decade ago - & longer ago - and how much change and growth I’ve been through has made me come to the conclusion; if I can do it, anyone can. Fair warning, there’s a whole lot of corny-ness coming.
It sometimes feels funny to complain about past problems, especially when you’re so grateful for other aspects of your life. It can also be really hard to talk about difficult times you went through when you know people that went through much, much worse. But I’ve come round to taking my own advice on the subject; just because you think someone had it ‘worse’ it doesn’t negate your feelings, and just because it wasn’t all bad, you shouldn’t feel guilty for your feelings about the hard stuff.
I was a really, really, angry teenager. Throw anxiety, depressive cycles, panic attacks, and an eating disorder into the mix and you have a ball of confusion, a lack of self confidence, and a young person who’s trying their hardest to “figure it all out” and just can’t seem to. I can remember in those times thinking that it would never get better, and I became complacent at times and accepted that life was just going to be one horror after another after another forever. But I was wrong. And I’d really like anyone struggling right now to know that I was wrong, and that it so, truly does get better.
Everyone’s issues are different and they find help in different ways (I’m also highly aware that I’m not a doctor, Communication Design does not equal med school degree) but to the confused teen who doesn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you one is coming. All of a sudden you wake up one day and it sort of slaps you in the face, you can do whatever you want, there aren’t any rules, you can build any life you choose. Want to leave your home town, change your whole life, become the person you’ve dreamed of becoming? My advice would be to write down every last thing that you want and form an attainable plan of how you can get it. Write down a financial plan of how much money it would take to get you to the city you want to live in, and start applying to jobs there. Write down any goal you can think of and brain storm ways of how to get it. When you have a set of, say, 10 baby steps spread out over time, things seem so much more achievable than when you just look at the end goal.
When I was younger I never dreamed I could be this happy with my life, or this self assured. Never did I think I’d be able to walk into a room full of people and not list the exact reasons why every other person in there was better than me in my head. Never did I think I could leave the house without makeup, or go to a gym by myself, or feel amazing after a job interview, or be genuinely excited for something that was upcoming instead of filled with worry about all the things that could go wrong. Back then, I was filled with self doubt, and had a confidence level of about 0%.
Surround yourself with people that build you up, but most importantly you have to build yourself up. I’m so grateful for the select people in my life that turned it all around for me, and saw value in me, but I know that at the end of the day I had to be willing to accept change in how I believed in myself. And you know what? Looking back I really value the time of confusion that I went through because it’s when I did my most growing and found out who I was and grew into who I am now. I’m not afraid of the bad days anymore because I know the good ones are always right around the corner, even if they’re just out of sight.