My Battles

My birthday blog (Part One)

Introduction

Hello and welcome to the first part of my birthday blog!

Tomorrow (19th May) is my birthday, so I wanted to create a blog where I talk about everything that has happened in my life since my 21st birthday last year. My birthday also falls on #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek too which is why creating a blog post like this is extra important right now.

This year has brought me some of the most memorable moments of my life, the most difficult and the most enjoyable ones too. From losing the closest people I have in my life to becoming unemployed and depressed. I can really say over the past 12 months I have truly experienced rock bottom. Although with some help, thanks to some truly special people who surround me each day I am slowly becoming a better version of myself. All I can say is I’m lucky to be where I am today and I owe it to every person who has been there for me when I needed them most.

The year 2020 hasn’t been off to the best starts for everybody. We have learned more about ourselves than ever before during this lockdown and hopefully it makes us cherish everything a little bit more once this is all over. Writing from my experiences, what you feel right now will not dictate how you feel tomorrow. Each day is different and you are met with new objectives and obstacles that we must battle. This is why you should always take one small step everyday to help make a better tomorrow. Life will never get easier but you can be stronger and more prepared for it.

21st Birthday Rewind (May 19th 2019)

This time last year I just hosted a large house party with around 35 friends attending before going to Nottingham’s well renowned gay club Propaganda. (sadly closed down. this week for good). As any 21st birthday, it is a landmark age where you become a fully fledged adult and need a big celebration to match it. I did just that and more, spending well over £500 on decorations for the house on the big day. To add more excitement to the day, I also sent off my last piece of coursework and I had officially completed my journalism university course. As an avid Eurovision fan I was also very excited for the annual singing competition the next day too on my actual birthday.

Not everything was so joyous, as when we got to Nottingham somebody broke into our house and threw my Xbox and television outside my bedroom window leaving the cracks of broken electronics on the pavement until I returned the next day.

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Despite some complications of arrangements, some clashes and literal crashes I would consider it a very successful 21st birthday. This is why I sympathise with anybody celebrating their 18th or 21st birthday during lockdown, but I assure you it will be worth the wait.

Graduating (June 18th)

On the 18th June 2019, I graduated with a 2:1 studying Journalism at the University of Derby. I can honestly say it was the best three years I could have ever envisioned whilst studying at the university and I’m honoured to be apart of the illustrious alumni.

Likewise to my birthday, my deepest condolences go out to everybody graduating this year, please do not let this lockdown discourage your hard work and your achievement. You don’t need a ceremony to warrant your accomplishment.

For me though graudation was extra special as I was the only person in my close family to have graduated. Seeing how proud my family was of me that day will be a memory i will always cherish, most importantly now because it was the last big moment I shared with my Nan.

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That day made everything I endured during the three years worth it. The friends I made, the independence I experienced and the chances I was given would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the University of Derby and I would do it all again in a heart beat.

A colourful summer (June 2019 – September 2019)

In the summer of 2019 I had a lot to be thankful for and be excited for what is to come in the future. Currently working at my university job at Pizza Hut I transferred to the store in the Bullring when I returned home. I met some really incredible people during my short stint there and still remain friends with the people I worked with.

In the summer I was told I got the job of becoming a teacher assistant at a secondary school starting in September, with the option to train to become a full-time teacher the next year too with SCITT. With plenty of things to look forward to in the future, the summer of 2019 seemed to be the best one yet.

One thing is for sure the summer of 2019 was the most colourful one. This is because 2019 was officially the year I began attending pride festivals. An LGBTQ+ members paradise, pride is where each city plays host to a weekend celebrating the breakthroughs and milestones achieved by influential LGBTQ+ members around the world from the past, present and the trail makers of the future. Although overall it is a celebration of acceptance and togetherness. Pride is a place where you can proud of who you are and what you represent.

I attended 2019’s Brighton, Newcastle and Manchester pride and they were such special occasions which I’m honoured to have been apart of. From the parade to the festival, it was beautifully put together, the feel good atmosphere was like nothing I have experienced before. I’m very thankful for Jessica, Rosie and Neely for accompanying me to each event, it was really amazing to have shared these sort of memories with somebody. This also goes out to every incredible and inspiring person I met during my time at each event, I learned a lot about myself each weekend and I made memories that will stay with me forever. If you have never attended a pride festival and are contemplating to do so, please take my advice and do it. Sadly majority of pride festivals have been postponed this year due to Coronavirus but trust me each one will be worth the wait, you won’t regret it.

Sadly it was not all joyous as my grandad passed away on the 17th August after a short battle with a terminal illness. Thank you for all the memories Grandad, I will make sure your legacy continues and hope I can make you proud.

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My venture into teaching (September – October 2019)

After a summer of many memorable moments drew to a close my next chapter began, employment life after university. As stated earlier I began my job as a ‘Teacher Assistant’ at a secondary school which is something I never even imagined would be possible few months prior. Through my whole life I was a student finally graduating in the summer only to be right back at a school but as a teacher come September, it was a big leap indeed.

Despite being a complete different avenue as to what was expected once completing my studies, becoming a teacher was a childhood dream of mine. Ever since I got sent out of a class and shouted at in year 8 I wished for one day I would have the same power as the teacher did. I can confirm in my tenure at the school I did get that chance and it felt wonderful.

Like my summer job at Pizza Hut I met some incredible people during my tenure. From the schools team of TA’s and guidance teams who helped me whenever I needed as a new starter before new staff members joined who were like my best friends at work Lisa and Tegan. A special recognition to my car-ride bestie Joely, I really do miss our sassy early morning car drives into work it helped me get ready for any task ahead of us.

Teaching was an incredible experience for myself and i’m very thankful for the school for giving me the opportunity I will always remember it. Not only letting me learn how to become a full-time teacher with first hand training, allowing me to become a coach for  the schools football team and start up a journalism extra-curricular showed their fantastic faith in me.

Although sadly it was only a short stint because of my personal life got too much. This is because on the 14th October I received the worst news of my life, my best friend passed away suddenly in her sleep only a day after she stayed at my house the week prior. My whole world crumbled and nothing seemed important or worthwhile anymore, I can’t express how much it broke me. I quit my job, went into complete isolation and still to this day I don’t think I will ever be able to get over the hurt I feel everyday knowing Jessica is no longer here with us. Although this was only the beginning of the most difficult period of my life.

Overview

This has been my life documented from May 19th 2019 all the way up to October 14th 2019. As you know that is only half the story. The next blog will cover the other half that truly changed my life completely. Loss, Lockdown and love just to name a few topics that will be raised.

Tomorrow I will upload part two of my birthday blog on my actual birthday and I hope it will be an interesting read for everybody. The article will openly discuss everything I have went through in the past six months of heartbreak, loss and overcoming my inner demons.

Not only is tomorrow my birthday, it will also be my six months anniversary with my boyfriend Owen. This is where you will see a more uplifting post as he really picked up the pieces when I thought they were truly shattered for good. He makes me a better person everyday and I couldn’t have spent lockdown with anybody better than him and his amazing family.

But all of this is for another day, I hope you enjoyed this post, I appreciate all likes, comments and shares to hopefully help others going through the same as me. For now though I bid you goodbye and stay tuned for the birthday blog part two tomorrow.

Thank you! x

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