Sliding into womanhood was just as awkward as 13 going on 30 said it would be. I'm not sure if I was fully prepared for the journey that was about to be the rest of my life, but how do you really prepare for something like this anyway? I love that saying about enjoying your childhood because you have your whole life to be an adult, children will never understand how precious those years are until it's too late.
At 24 my thoughts on womanhood are
A. It's a slow process of self-acceptance
B. It's the time you become your true self
C. It's the time you know that carbs are the reason you've put on but eating them anyway
Gosh I still feel 16, the only difference is that when they ask for my I.D as I buy my vodka, I actually have it now. This version of 16 is not quite how I remember it, it includes bills, stress, anxiety and the disappointing teenage boys have grown into disappointing teenage men.
I assumed that naturally at 24 I would have my sh*t together, own a home, be working my dream job and maybe have one child by now. In reality, my sh*t is no where near together, I live at me mams and I don't even know what my dream job is. I can confirm that at actual 24 I still don't really see myself as a 'woman', not completely anyway and the only thing in order in my life are the unread books on my bookshelf.
Let's break down the realities of womanhood, shall we?
So pre 'womanhood' we had a lot of friends, and if you still do then that's amazing. Back in the day,our biggest struggles evolved around a boy not texting us back and not having enough cash to buy everything in Primark. As you do at that age, I naively assumed that everyone I knew then would be in my life forever.
I love thinking back to how stupid I was, because as a teenager you think you know everything when in fact real life is about to hit you in the face like a ton of bricks, and it did.
I've had 'friends' trying to move in on my boyfriend, I've had 'friends' literally never talk to me again because there life evolved around their boyfriend, I've had friends... wait maybe I'm spilling too much tea. Eventually you realise that you just don't mesh with everyone like that, not everyone has the same morals as you and the way you were raised and your beliefs are just too far removed from some of the people you surround yourself with.
The evolution of friendship (see blog post on this here) isn't about who is right (usually me), and who is wrong, it's about us growing as women, becoming the best versions of ourselves and sometimes that includes having to release some people from our life.
As we get older our lifestyles and priorities change, as they should. Priorities are an important factor here because what may seem like the most important thing in the world to you may not be for someone else and that doesn't make their lifestyle decisions 'wrong' or 'bad'. Right now my priorities are my loved ones and my career but that may not be the same for everybody. Priorities change overtime and so do people, it's a process we have to be mature enough to understand.
In reality we wouldn't have the space in our lives to keep close bonds with everyone we have encountered or had a good relationship with. Some people are in your life for just a season and not a lifetime and that's ok. I wrote a whole post on 'letting people go' and it made me realise that it is ok to change, to become your authentic self and that some great friendships aren't supposed to last forever.
It's apart of the womanhood process, realising the kinds of people you enjoy being around and who you allow into your space. Focus on that, it's best to have 4 amazing friends than 20 questionable ones.
THE WORKING WORLD
If there's anything I was mentally unprepared for it was the working world. I was that girl who always knew what she wanted to do, at childhood a teacher and then in secondary school a Magazine Editor and that was that, or so I thought. I assumed I would work hard in school and college and then my next steps would include me being offered multiple Magazine Editor jobs, lol, so wrong.
No one quite explained the unpaid internships, never ending work experience, being denied work experience because you in fact need work experience to get work experience or that I would have to start at the bottom of the barrell and work my way up.
If The Devil Wears Prada added a little back story to Mirander Priesly maybe I would've been a little more clued up. Despite it looking like I took the 'easy route', I have a lot of work experience, published articles and have worked with some amazing companies in magazine journalism, PR and social media.
I am happy with my journey so far because it is 'very me' and I like being me. I have always been a creative person and I like routine with a bit of excitement to it. Like most people I hate answering to people and I like planning my own schedule. Here I am figuring out this freelance lifestyle and I am very much enjoy it so far.
Treating this blog like an open diary means I've documented the struggles of this lifestyle too. I've mentioned how much I miss a steady pay check, not knowing how much I'll make each month and having to rely on myself to stick to deadlines. No job or journey is easy, the key is to work hard at what you want to do and not to allow this world to shape you into think you have to take a certain career path.
In 2018, there are so many opportunities being created for people from so many different walks of life. As a woman in 2018, it's ok to change your plan and be the boss of your own life. I feel like there is so much pressure about starting a family and getting married, where is that same energy for us to get promotions or to become a CEO. This is a no judgement zone, if your career is your priority, that's amazing and if you want to start a family, do you boo.
Spoiler: Rom coms are not real life and if you run off and leave your glass slipper or 'perspex heels' behind you, the best you might get is a 'Twitter do your thing'. My idea of love pre-womanhood was very much unrealistic but I think you need those few years of unrealistic happiness before heartbreak turns your life upside down and gives you a quick reality check. I have always been a sucker for love and I've been in such pointless situations in the name of 'love', but who hasn't?
When you do get into that first real relationship, you'll know the difference. By real I mean a mature one that consists of two people who genuinely want to be together and two people who mesh together really well. I think a lot of us know that not everyday will be amazing when we are in long loving relationships but It's easy to forget that everyone is living life the way they were taught and everyone has their own set of ideas, living habits and priorities etc.
I matured in my relationship when I took a closer look at my own problems and my own toxic behaviour. In the beginning it is the easiest and most natural thing to put the blame on the other person when any problems arise. We naturally only see the world from our own point of view and believe that our way is the correct way.
When you begin analysing your own behaviour, noticing factors that need changing and making a conscious effort to understand your partner you will start realising that it isn't always 'him' or 'her', sometimes it's you and others' it's just a breakdown in communication.
My spiritual journey was the main aid in fixing my broken ways when it came to relationships. No matter how big or small, we all have baggage, traumatic life situations and triggers. I had to look deeper into my own and try to find a way to heal before I could expect someone else to fix or deal with me.
'Why should my partner today have to deal with my toxic behaviour caused from from past relationships and my family home?' Is what I thought to myself, and so I tried to separate all of the relationships in my life and not put the blame on others from someone else's wrong doing.
This understanding only works if two partners are willing to work on themselves separately and are willing to be open minded enough to know that working on yourself doesn't mean you're perfect. It doesn't mean I'm never going to be insecure again or I'm never going to give you an attitude because I had a bad day today, it means I am acknowledging my behaviours and I am trying my best to be a better me. It is also up to you to be open-minded and wait on your partners process and journey to becoming a better them.
I know myself a lot better than I did 5 years ago and it makes it so much easier for me to deal with problems in relationships. The main things I took away from including my self-reflection into my relationship is communication, forgiveness, the importance of apologising, knowing when and what to ignore and not bringing your outside stress and past relationship baggage into your union.
Womanhood has taught me that a relationship is more than love and wanting to be together. It's a bond that must be worked on everyday, like a flower you need to nurture and feed your relationship in order for it to grow.
MIND, BODY & SOUL
I didn't even know that anxiety was the word to describe how I was feeling because I had never experienced anything like it before. School was pretty good at explaining mental health and depression but it was just something I had been taught and it didn't really mean anything to me in my life at that time.
The summer before University I started feeling very anxious, at the time I had no clue why but thinking about it now, it's very obvious. I was moving away to a new city, luckily with a friend and my boyfriend but I knew I was about to truly be on my own. There was a lot of things in my life I hadn't dealt with, I didn't even know they needed to be dealt with until I couldn't get that anxious feeling to go away.
Being out of your comfort zone and being away from people who are just like you makes you start questioning yourself a little. When I was away at University I began trying to understand why I was the way I was and in general I wanted to be a better and healthier minded person. By second year I battled with depression towards the end of the year, I just wanted to go home and be with my family but I had to complete this course that I didn't even feel I was good enough to study in the first place.
By the time it was nearly time to come home from the summer I knew it was time to try and make some positive changes, I wanted to feel happy and free again. I embarked on a spiritual journey (find out more here), I read self help books everyday, I began meditating, I hung out with different people and slowly but surely didn't feel as anxious anymore but this isn't a fairytale and I wasn't 'fixed' instantly.
I struggled with depression again the following year and I hope I don't again but I know that it is possible because it doesn't just 'go away'. I wouldn't