2016 has been one of the biggest years of my life, I think I have developed so much and I have had so many experiences and opportunities that I am thankful for. I am leaving 2016 feeling lucky and content, and I wanted to reflect on the moments where I have been the proudest over the year. Every month I do a post about the events of the month and when they come together they make a nice reflection of the year, although I haven’t really mentioned things that happen over the space of the whole 12 months. Things that are little day to day but add up to huge things that I am so very proud of. So this post is all about singing my praises, and I’m not too good at doing that, but sometimes it is good to share achievements and it’s an amazing record.
So this time last year (at the beginning of 2016) I set myself three New Years resolutions
- Say yes to more
- Feel comfortable in my own body
- Succeed and feel content with my GCSE results
Now these are all pretty large resolutions considering the first two involve changing something about myself that I really struggled with, and the last one involved the very top grades.
Say yes to more
I was always the person that turned down opportunities, I am a person that is a creature of habit and I don’t like trying new things for the risk of them going wrong. On top of that I am quite an anxious person and I sometimes find it hard to put myself in new situations or situations that I can’t leave easily because I’m scared I will be scared… Sounds silly to write but I can’t word it in any other way.
As much as I enjoyed 2015, I felt almost trapped because I was doing the same things with the same people. Those things made me happy and I was comfortable but I craved change (for the first time in my life) and wanted to broaden my horizons a little bit. So I decided to say yes to more things. I didn’t make my resolution ‘say yes to everything’ because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to it so I thought to instead make little changes, say yes to more and just see what came out of it. In short, I can’t explain how much it has changed my life and I don’t say that lightly.
I have made so many new friends in 2016, and now my support network is not only the people I loved in 2015 but also so many more. I am so lucky to be surrounded with so many kind and hilarious people, that understand me and accept me for who I am. If I hadn’t had said yes to certain events and get togethers etc I wouldn’t have been able to meet my group and feel so content now. I’m so glad that I am going into 2017 filled to the brim with laughter and a group of such supportive friends.
On top of that I feel like I have really got a hold of my anxious thoughts this year and I feel like I am a lot bigger than they are, so much so that I joke I have had a personality transplant! There was a time in my life where I didn’t do certain things because I felt anxious, and now there are very few things I don’t do even though I often have a little niggle in my head… I choose to look past it and fight it as opposed to not experiencing something. I’m not perfect by any means and I still have my moments (let’s all think back to the time when I had a mini breakdown in the middle of Manchester airport in June) but on the whole I am like a new person. I put all of this down to saying yes and proving to myself that everything can be okay and you can enjoy yourself.
I hadn’t really thought about how far I had come until the other day when one of my closest friends turned around and said to me ‘I’m so proud of how far you have come, I can remember when you wouldn’t sleep away from home’ that I actually realised that I have really achieved something, so much so that the people around me realise that I have changed and helped myself. It was only a small comment but it is certainly one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me and in that moment I felt like I had conquered something.
Feel comfortable in my own body
I love fashion and beauty, and it is something that I am so passionate about but until this year I have never felt truly comfortable in my own skin. Like many other girls and women, body image is something that we all worry about and everyone on this planet has moments where they feel self conscious about what they look like. I think something that really helped me is remembering that everyone feels the exact same way, and more often than not they are worried so much about their own issues to even care about what you are doing with your image. I never look at someone else and think ‘I don’t like that about them’ so why do I constantly think people do it about me?
My stomach is something that I have never been happy with, it’s not toned and when wearing tight clothes it isn’t completely flat. I always avoided wearing tight fitting clothes for that reason but this year I have really enjoyed wearing more ‘bodycon’ style pieces and I love that I now have the confidence to just do something because I like it. The same with crop tops, when I was on holiday it was too warm so I decided to wear a crop top (because nobody there knew who I was so I felt comfortable going out of my comfort zone) and by doing that I realised I really like it. Since then I wear cropped styles a lot and I love it. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t not do something that you want to just because you compare yourself to other people, because at the end of the day everyone has their ‘thing’ that they don’t like about themselves, and the more people accept it the happier everyone is.
Leaving school and leaving uniform behind in 2016 was the best thing in the world because with presenting myself how I want to present myself comes with confidence and that spirals into positivity in many other areas. I was scared that when I went to college I would struggle with seeing everyone else doing their own thing and feeling like I need to meet standards and look a certain way, however it couldn’t have turned out any different. Instead I have been surrounded by people who are so willing to do their own thing (like I mentioned in my sixth form post there is every hair colour and fashion statement under the sun) and its inspired me so much.
For me, blending in is not what I do and instead I want to feel content enough in myself to stand out and do what makes me happy. I have learnt that when I try to blend in and do what everyone else is doing I feel uncomfortable because I’m comparing myself to people who are trying to be the exact same, so I decided to just do what I want and from that I have become so comfortable in who I am and what I do… Because I’m just being me and I feel confident because I look in the mirror and see exactly what I want as opposed to trends and everyone around me.
If that is posting a photo of myself looking like a mermaid, then so be it. If that’s me wearing huge false eyelashes to college then so be it. I think people wrongly think that a dressed up image is a mask because you are self conscious and although it is to a point, I love feeling empowered and confident by looking exactly how I want to look like. A good example is me wearing glitter pigment and bright purple eyeshadow to some meetings I had the other day, I knew it was so contextually inappropriate (it would have been perfect for a nightclub but maybe not for a progress meeting) but I felt so f***ing fabulous so why the hell not?
Succeed and feel content with my GCSE results
Anyone who knows me knows that I am an academic, and I’m equally a perfectionist so this was a very big goal for me in 2016. Due to me being a perfectionist, feeling ‘content’ with my results is a very very hard thing to do because anything below the best I can’t say I’m content with. But more on that in 2017.
I can honestly say that February to June was a blur of caffeine fuelled nights, pushing myself to absolute extremes in order to achieve what I wanted to. Once I get something in my head I’m doing it and there was no way I was stopping until I saw the grades I wanted on the results paper. And I can honestly say that I did it, and opening the envelope is probably one of the proudest moments of my entire life. Seeing my goal become a reality made 5 months of sacrifices and 12 hour days worth it, it made the ‘military operation’ that my friends joke it was worth it.
Ultimately I came out of my GCSEs with 5A* grades and 5A grades. It was hard to do, but I can say I tried my best and I couldn’t have done any better for me. It also gave me the boost I needed to push myself at college, because it proved to me that working hard comes with rewards. Particularly in my business studies, I came out with 99% in my GCSE and that gave me so much confidence to walk into business studies A level and know that I can do it.
So they were my three biggest achievements in 2016 and I’m so happy to say that I succeeded in all of my new year resolutions. However something that was very unexpected in 2016 but I wanted to touch on was my social media and how much happiness it has brought me this year. I went into the year thinking that I wanted to work on my makeup artistry and I have done that, but equally it has come with me feeling so supported and like I have a little audience. I appreciate that to a lot of people it is small, but I am constantly overwhelmed by the amount of people that message me and comment on my posts. It’s not all about the numbers and attention should never be a reason for someone doing something but just this morning I was looking on the ‘top nine’ craze that is going around Instagram and it blew me away just to see the amount of likes that I have received this year, I truly don’t deserve it and I’m so grateful of every single person who supports me day in and day out… Whether you go to my college or half way across the world.
One thing that has happened numerous times this year and every single time it makes my day is when people recreate my work. I don’t see myself as influential in the slightest, but when people send me photos of my work it makes me so happy that I have inspired someone to be creative. These are some of my favourites that have been sent to me this year!
2016 has been a crazy whirlwind but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I am so proud that I can sit and write about my achievements, I think this has definitely been a year of success for me and I hope I can say that this time next year as well.
What are your greatest achievements this year? Let me know!