An awful start to the year. As midnight struck on the morning of January 1st 2016, a Cinderella story it certainly was not. I felt every emotion except happiness. There I was stood in a room full of people, completely off-my-face drunk, hugging the boy I’d known since I was three and the girl I’d met yesterday. Who even were these people? Lol, I had no idea. Were they my friends? Probably not. I had spent the previous three weeks begging my boyfriend not to go. He had agreed at first, but I could tell he was sad so I sucked it up. Worst. Decision. Ever. (Maybe not ever). I spent £20 escaping to another party and as much as I hate to say it, I had the best time. I knew one person at this party, a guy I worked with, but the rush of running around the streets linking arms with a group of girls I’d only just met, I just felt so so free. I’m smiling just thinking about it now. I missed my boyfriend that night and I would’ve given anything for him to have been able to feel that freedom with me. I think this is the moment I first realised that sadly, it was time for us to go our separate ways.
By far the worst month. I had spent the past 37 days constantly thinking about how much more I wanted, and knew I could get from life. Another room full of people, however this time they were family and I joined them in celebrating my Dad and Step-mum’s 10th wedding anniversary. Man it was incredible. A DJ, a sweet trolley, a slide show of their best memories, but most importantly, 98% of the people they loved in the same room at once. My dress was red and sparkly and the photographer certainly loved it. But over a year later and I still can’t bring myself to even take it out of my cupboard. A terrible thing happened that night, something that sent me into a hurricane of emotion. Four days later I broke up with my boyfriend, and I think it’s fair to say, I had also broken up with the world.
I spent this month running away from everyone who tried to help me. Looking back now, the level of fear that I felt is still indescribable. I was blamed for breaking his heart, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t. Worst of all, the people around me never quite grasped the concept that everything I was saying I felt, the happiness, the freedom, the relief – it was all lies. All I wanted to do was hide away from the world, I wanted it all to end, for it to be one very, very bad nightmare. Today, there’s a giant piggy bank that sits in the corner of my room. It fills up the corner that I spent a few solid days curled up in. I used to sit and stare at the uneven paintwork and get angry because it should have been fully painted with grace and precision and care. It deserved so much more; we all did.
At the start of April I made
possibly one of the worst decisions a mistake. I laugh to myself about it now because that’s all it was; a mistake. And do you know what, I had spent the previous eighteen years tiptoeing around even the thought of making a mistake so I think I’ll allow myself to have this one. You wouldn’t believe the drama that surrounds a smashed bottle and an exchange of insults fueled by drunken anger. It was my bad to be fair. I should’ve stayed at home, but I can guarantee that if you were in my position – you probably wouldn’t have either. All I wanted was for all the whispering, the backstabbing and the unnecessary scapegoating to stop. I was so tired, and the little energy I did have was for my family; to support them through the traumatic experience we were going through. I didn’t understand why, why people hated me so much. So many people had broken up before, why was my breakup such a big deal? The truth is, it wasn’t. It was just something for people to talk about, to get involved in, to have an opinion on – and as teenagers, well that’s something we live on; gossip.
‘A month of loneliness’ I think is probably the most accurate way to describe May 2016. I sound like I wallow in self-pity, trust me, I really don’t. I know that people have had and still do have it off worse. But my problems last year were still real, they still hurt and they still left me wondering if being alive was even worth it. Think back to those high-school set movies, with cliques and bullying. It was no movie for me. I think my most vivid memory is walking into the common room to find all of the tables joined together, everyone sat around laughing, joking – they were happy, oh so happy. There was no room for me. I left school early that day and drafted an email to my head of Sixth Form telling him that this would be my last week. It was the cruelest thing I had ever experienced, branded as a “psycho” and belittled to feel like I was worth less than nothing. I spent the rest of the year questioning if I deserved it.
Why didn’t I tell anyone? I did. If you did then surely the school would of at least dealt with it? Yeah, I thought they would have too. In fact I was confident that after spending six years at that school they would’ve tried to help me. More fool me. Now aged 19, I completely agree that teenage squabbles do in fact “blow over”. But this was not a squabble, this was torture. It’s probably the right time to mention that at the time all of this was happening, I was suffering from a seizure disorder. The seizure’s themselves weren’t anything new to me, I’d had this condition for a long time. But the environment they were happening in wasn’t pleasant.
Close your eyes. Imagine your Sixth Form or College social area, where everyone is gathered, where you’ve had food fights and the best of memories. Now imagine yourself sat on a chair or stood by the sink. You can see yourself, already struggling but still fighting against all odds. Now your body starts moving, jerking uncontrollably. You’re watching this from the outside ok, because that’s how it felt. Uncontrollable and almost like it wasn’t even me it was happening to. You’ve hit your head and you can feel it pounding like someone is constantly poking you in the eye. You can just see feet. Lots and lots of feet. You think that they’re moving towards you, because despite whether I like someone or not, I’d never leave them alone and helpless. Well they did. One or two people stayed. Everyone else left the room whilst reviewing my performance. That’s all it was to them; a performance. “She’s faking it”, “it’s for attention”, “what an idiot”.
It’s important to mention that there were good moments throughout these months too. My little sister turned 14 years old which is just crazy in itself, I received an A for my second year English Coursework and I set up a JustGiving page which raised over £1000. I guess the reason for only mentioning the bad bits is because when someone says “2016”, that’s all I think about. Anyway, throughout all of this I had been organising our Sixth Form Leavers Ball. Yes, I organised a party for all the people who essentially ruined my life for a good few months. Mug? 100%. It was an awful night, I wanted to leave as soon as it started, but I’d worked way too hard not to see it through. I had forgotten my ID which made it so much worse because it was a sober awful. I do remember smiling at one point because a teacher told me I’d done a “great job”. I didn’t smile because of what they said, I smiled because I already knew it.
At the end of July I went on my first holiday abroad with a friend, but that’s a whole other story…
I had started a new job earlier in the year which was honestly one of the greatest things I could have done. It was a place full of people I didn’t know, and it was nice to turn up to somewhere so blank. No history, no opinion, no embarrassment. It was my place and I guess that’s why I was so happy to spend my entire summer working there. I earned hella dollar and then spent it all getting drunk and treating myself to presents. What a way to live. I received my A-Level results and I’ll tell you one thing, the only reason I cried that day is because the thought of magically getting amazing grades was the only think keeping me going. I knew deep down that in reality they weren’t going to be great, but I had just hoped that after everything, I could turn around and say “I did it”. A harsh reality hit because I didn’t do it, but it doesn’t mean I won’t.
By the time that Autumn came around things had blown over (pun intended). I returned to Sixth Form to start a third year. This year was going to be different though. Everyone else had left bar like two guys from my year. I was only studying Graphic Design and therefore my attention was focused purely on achieving. It still is. I bought my ex-boyfriend a birthday present because it felt wrong not to. We were on good terms at this point and it was nice to have him back as a friend, because he was my best friend before my boyfriend and I’m sure many of you out there know what it’s like to lose both of them. Everything was good.
The latter months of 2016 were full of nights out. October saw the rekindle of my two best friends and I and I think patching things up with them is probably my favourite part of last year. They’re still by my side today and we’ve actually just booked a holiday. I kissed a few people and drunk way more than I should have. I don’t regret it, I mean I wouldn’t do it again, but it was fun and that’s all I wanted.
In November I experienced the reality of “actions have consequences”. I still to this day justify the things I did with the reasoning that respect works two ways, and again I don’t regret anything I did. But I probably deserved the Instagram tags and the Twitter beef. Lesson learnt.
knows knew me would tell you that December is my favourite time of year. I hope that one day I’ll get as excited for my birthday and Christmas just like I used to. But it was the month I’d been dreading and tried everything to avoid. I didn’t go out on my birthday weekend to celebrate, I went out to get blackout drunk. And I did, get blackout drunk that is, but my ex-boyfriend turned up, kissed me for a bet, kissed my best friend and once again found a whole new way to hurt me. A week later I sat in McDonalds car park on the phone to him, and in that twenty minute conversation I must of had some giant mental revelation. I cut off all ties after learning of a few things he’d done earlier that year. Ask me if I know him and I’ll tell you that I used to. I hold onto the better memories, because I know that heartbreak changes a person. Christmas day came around and I spent the it working, which to be honest was the best distraction for me. I had a great day, it was exhausting and my sister was disappointed after she had waited the whole day to open a bottle of prosecco, only for me to fall asleep within half an hour of getting home. I don’t even like prosecco anyway. The next week was full of festive family fun and I spent New Years Eve at home with a pizza and Netflix.
I learned so much about so much in 2016. It was a hell of a year, emotionally, physically and mentally and I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy. There’s so much more to my story, but some things are better left unsaid. All I will say is that no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you find yourself crying on the bathroom floor at 3am, or how many ways you think about ending it, it will be worth it. Today, I’m happy. Don’t get me wrong, I no longer trust like I used to and I cry rarely purely because I have no emotion left to give. But I know that one day I’ll be at ease like I used to and I’ll have so much love to spread. As for now, I’m happy just being that little bit wiser. Forgiven but never forgotten.
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