This academic year has been the hardest yet. A never ending rota of exams, essays and a forever looming dissertation has lead to a messy whirlwind of memories that can only be looked back on fondly, as lessons learnt and then filed away into the dark recesses of Facebook.
Its impossible to recount everything I have learnt about myself (and others) in a blog, nor would it make very interesting reading. However, what i do want to share is this;
These last few months have shown me the need for self confidence, self-discipline and self-promotion; what i will ironically call 'The Selfies'.
Self-Confidence has never come easily, despite promoting a persona suggesting such. The inner strength gained this year actually came from fighting that urge to undermine myself. It was having to tell myself that I was good enough, that I could achieve what I set out to achieve and that if I surround myself with negativity of course i'm going to be down! (DUH) Self- confidence came from looking in a mirror and saying I m more than my image, it came from looking at the scales and saying i'm more than my weight, it came from looking people in the eye, acknowledging the faults they see in me; accepting them, smiling, apologizing then moving on.
The friends and family who accept me for my flaws and, occasionally snorting laughs, means more than any shallow number, comment or action.
This was epitomized on my 21st Birthday, it was a turning point for me. To know people cared, wanted to spend time with me and made such a thoughtful effort brought me close to tears several times, and apparently led to many drunk protestations of love. Friends from across the country, uni friends with a lot of their plate (and limited funds), my sister (beyond words amazing) and my family all visiting and presenting me with a memory box they had been keeping for 21 years.. i was speechless at the amount of love shown. It encouraged me to love myself too.
Self-Discipline was necessary not just in academia but also for self-preservation. Deadlines, Exhaustion and Anxiety meant that in all spheres it resulted in a cliched 'Keep Calm'approach. It was recognizing the panic, recognizing my needs and recognizing that everything isn't perfect all the time. we go trough life believing everything should be perfect, balanced and without difficulty, if its difficult we're doing it wrong. I wanted to reach deadlines, I wanted to sleep and I wanted to live without fear and I did all of those things. I reached deadlines by having the discipline to start early and have confidence in my ideas. I slept, I allowed myself to say no to people even though I felt like i'd let them down and I'd lose them. Some of them I did lose, and I miss them but lack of sleep meant I was missing my sanity and my sparkle (good ol' sparkle). In no way did I want to be selfish, it was self-preservation. I mourn the loss of possible experiences or possible friendships but the ones I found though a great seminar group and setting up a football team would never have been achievable otherwise. They made me sparkle.
Self-Promotion links to both the above. Self-promotion in believing in myself, Self-discipline made time for the dreaded job applications and the fulfillment of my potential. Its a very American thing to jump in head first and have the balls to proclaim ' Yes I am right, Yes this is what I want and 'Yes'. Just saying Yes opens a lot of doors, ones you never knew existed, or ones you thought were locked. Yes is like knocking or finding a key you thought you'd lost. Saying Yes and just trying...its positive, it drowns out the negative. It led to one of the best opportunities i've had in a long time.
Self-Confidence= Yes I am Me
Self-Discipline= Yes I Can Do It
Self- Promotion= Yes I am Me and I Can Do It
With graduation looming its time for a Sparkle 're-boot'....
Peace and Love x