21

I turned 21 today, and I have a lot of thoughts about that.
Stranger Things season 2 also came out today and I also have a lot of thoughts about that but I’ll discuss those with my friends when everybody’s had a chance to watch it.
Today, I have legally, in the view of every country in the world, become a free adult, and boy has it been a journey.
I’m not going to write about what I’ve learned in the past 21 years, because I wrote a whole book about that (pls buy it when it’s ready I worked really hard on it and cried a lot), so I’ll just discuss this past year alone.

As I approached 20, something shifted in me, and everybody around me felt it, mostly my boyfriend at the time. We’d been together almost 5 years, but it had to end, and when it did, I was afraid. This was the first time since I was 15 that I’d been alone, and I didn’t know how to be alone in a world that wasn’t populated by bored teenagers. Instead of growing up and learning how to be a single 20 year old woman, I reverted back to being a 15 year old girl with the confidence, experience and perceived knowledge of a 20 year old woman, which was a recipe for disaster, to say to the least.

In the past year, I have learned a lot. About how the world works, and about myself. I have fallen in and out of love at the drop of a hat, numerous times, in the last 365 days. I went through some shit, like, loss, on multiple levels.
I lost my arrogance, in that my beliefs were rocked to their very core and I had to overcome things I never thought would happen to me.
I lost my definition of myself, and had to start creating a new one from scratch.
That meant that I also lost friends, because this year is the year I finally started becoming the person I want to be, and that person refuses to be walked over or disrespected.
I lost my dignity a number of times, but I also lost my fear of losing my dignity.
I have been hurt so many times in the past year alone and yet I’m not afraid of opening up anymore. When I was 15, I was terrified of people, and of the mere idea of love, because all I had known was betrayal and heartbreak (buy the booook). I have experienced those things thrice over in the past year, but here I am, still willing to let people in.

I also gained a lot, though.
I gained the most incredible friends I could have hoped for, and a new appreciation for life – in the past few months I’ve literally only thought about killing myself once which is an insane record for me. (I’m not going to sugarcoat what it’s like to live with depression and PTSD, if that sentence made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry but I wont partake in the brushing under the carpet of mental illness anymore.)
I gained confidence in my abilities to do whatever I set my mind to, and this year was the year that I did what I’m passionate about.
I organised a music festival (with the help of said incredible friends), I wrote a book (ahem), I started writing music again and for once I’m actually proud of it, and I gained the ability to stand up for myself, to push for what I want, and to say no.

20 was the year that I followed my dreams, and I’m hoping 21 will be the one when I chase my aspirations.

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