Here is my first post of 2021, I’m sorry it took so long. I’ve been trying to get the posts sorted but it’s been so difficult to write down how I’ve been feeling. I’m furious how long it’s taken to sit down and write this, even more so that I’m currently writing this four hours before I turn twenty-two- here we go…
Birthdays are so important to me, I guess that’s something I never really talk about or explain. Around my 11th birthday my anorexia was pretty rough, I was breaking, and my therapist and doctor sat me down and told me about the long-term consequences. I was struggling to gain energy and my days were occupied revising for private school 11+ exams, I kept how I was a secret. I got told at the age of 11 that I might never have children, there is nothing I ever expected to hear especially not at such a young age.
Since my eleventh birthday I’ve spent every year trying to make up for that one day. Every year I cry on my birthday, it’s become a perfect tradition and I’m wondering if my 22nd will be the year to break it. (I’m writing this the night before my birthday- so really, it’s anyone’s guess to what happened). I always spend my birthday with my friends or family, ever since I was born and for the first year, I won’t be doing that, and it feels like I’m cheating the whole system. It’s almost as if I am trying to speed up the process of growing up so it’s over quicker.
I spent my whole youth trying to grow up, get out of the metaphoric hell that was high school and by the time I’d become an adult most of my memory had faded and I struggled to remember anything but the memories that still keep me up at night. Every birthday to me was another step towards being old enough to live my life by myself, how I wanted, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. My 19th birthday was the first year I did my birthday away from my family, I was in Plymouth at university and I remember genuinely missing our family traditions- I didn’t get to sit at the bottom of my parents’ bed and open all my cards and presents surrounded by the cats and my family. I spent my 20th and 21st birthday at home with them to make up for my 19th.
The problem with getting older is you drift, and tradition loses its power- things that were so important become mediocre and you get on with what’s going on in your own life forgetting how things were when you grew up. I’m cautious of the fact that I’m on the border of full-adulthood, I’m getting closer and closer to finding a career that will drive me to being the woman I’ve dreamt of and I’m getting closer and closer to moving away from my hometown- to leaving London and to being happy to do so.
I wasted my teenage years growing old, despite what people say I matured before I left school. I’ve not matured since I left high school and began university because I had no reason to mature, life knocked me about since and I’ve learnt a lot, but nothing has forced me to grow up. I always find it quite ironic that after trying to kill myself five times I can have such a fear of death but in a way, it explains why I never succeeded, part of growing old is accepting that death could be on your doorstep at any point. I don’t want to look back on my life and think I wasted years growing up so I could live to be terrified to live for fear of death. Every experience I have, everything that has happened to me has happened for a reason and without all of it, including the trauma, I don’t think I will have become the woman I am now. The incredible woman I am now.
I always had some huge plan for my life, I expected by this age I’d be in a relationship getting engaged. Planning some sort of future with a house in the near future and kids. Life had different plans for me; I am happy though. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a relationship person, perhaps the right person will come along but if it doesn’t, I’m okay. Before I turn 23, I will be living in a different country (Scotland but still), I’ll be living alone, hopefully working and a masters graduate working on her PhD. This is my future; my future isn’t some make believe fairy tale where you find your prince charming and spend the rest of your life being mediocre. My future is big, and it includes adopting (I will be joining the adoption list before I turn 25 and I can’t wait to be a mum), owning my own house before 30 (doing a PhD for the following 6 years has pushed that back from the goal of 25) and maybe some surprises along the way.
Most importantly though I beg the following years bring mental wellness. I’m sure that my luck isn’t going to magically change and that things won’t continue to cloud me and my life, but I don’t want to spend my time dwelling on it anymore. I spent so many years depressed, and I still am. I can’t even explain how infuriating it is to be consistently drained with yourself and your mind, I just want it gone. I want to be some miracle recovery story but it’s not as easy as that. There is no miracle recovery story, you get one life and I’m not planning on losing it to my depression.
I hope in my clouded brain I managed to portray how my growing older isn’t terrifying, the more you spend thinking about how terrible it’ll be the more it’ll become. In times of harshness and especially through coronavirus I’ve often found it calming to remember that we are on this earth to die, we are not living but mere waiting to die. It’s how we choose to spend that time that makes our life complete, me I choose to spend it making memories with my friends and family. I choose to make something of the trauma I’ve put up with and allowed to swallow me whole.
So, with that complete here is my birthday post. In the words of Taylor Swift – I don’t know about you, but I am feeling 22.
Also, quick edit before posting, we cried on our 22nd birthday. It was a positive cry though, I’m so grateful for my friends and family making today my favourite birthday in a long time.