“In 2019, I hope that I treat myself with respect and realise that I am worth more than I make myself out to be. I hope that I become unapologetic for who I am and stop saying sorry so much. But most of all I hope for 2019 to be the year of self-validation where I learn to love myself as freely as I love others.”
Those were the closing words to a post I wrote little over a year ago when I was looking back on my experiences of 2018. I had definitely gone through a lot that year and I’m proud of the way I talked about my reality and the ups and downs that life had thrown at me. People have commented on how open I am about my depression and anxiety, not just on my blog but it person too. I try not to shy away from them as I’m a huge advocate for removing the stigma around all mental health issues.
There were some parts of ‘The Best and Worst Year of my Life,’ that I found a bit hard to read as all I could hear was how disappointed in myself I was. At one point I literally used the phrase, “I feel like I failed myself.” Whilst I lost myself a little during the year, I never lost my determination and the confidence that things could improve. I wish 18 year old Becca could see me now because it did get better. Whilst I haven’t completely kicked my issues to the kerb, in comparison to a year ago, I’m thriving. As you can see from the aforementioned blog post conclusion, my goals for 2019 were self-centred but for all the right reasons. I’ve been a pushover all my life and it was vital that I stopped putting other people’s wants above my needs if I was to ever make myself remotely happy.
At the start of 2019 when I was motivated to make a change in my life, my body wasn’t quite on the same path as my mind. My lungs had other ideas about enacting plans for self-improvement and I was diagnosed with pneumonia and pleurisy in late January. It was a strange feeling, crippling pain aside, because whilst I wasn’t on the verge of death, they were the most serious illnesses I’ve ever had. It was the first time in years when I really had to pause my life in order to recover and not just push through the pain. I sat in the same chair for over a week barely able to shower or make myself food because it hurt too much to move. From the painkillers, antibiotics and the fact that my lung was swollen, I was weak and vulnerable, not a great way to start my year.
Even when I’m perfectly healthy, I’m not very strong. Being 5′ 3″ and barely weighing 8 stone, I’m a very petite person so if the wind is strong I will struggle to walk further than 10 metres. And whilst I’m not particularly bothered by my size a lot of the time, it’s the comments I receive (often from strangers) about my stature, that make me feel uncomfortable. I’m physically more fragile than I care to be which is one of the reasons that I started boxing in 2019. I was fed up of feeling frail whenever someone made a comment about the size of my waist and I wanted to be physically stronger. I also knew that exercise was supposed to be good for mental health so really it was two birds, one stone. Training was amazing and whilst I didn’t go to as much as I would have liked, I do feel tougher than before, physically and mentally. Boxing encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and I haven’t looked back. Punching a guy twice my size, no matter how feeble it may feel to him, makes me feel like a badass and I want to keep this feeling around.
I shared my progress on Instagram and people were actually interested! My post-training selfies peaked my viewer count which I never expected when I was literally dripping in sweat. People were asking me questions about training, why I started etc and it never struck me as something that people would be interested in, especially when I looked like such a mess. Having around 300 people see my story was encouraging, so much so that I ran for committee in the upcoming academic year and you are now reading a post of a future publicity officer of EUBC! I have so many ideas on how I want to spread the word of boxing and I’m hoping to post more about it on my own platforms too, so watch this space.
Having that engagement on Instagram was amazing but also a little bizarre. I’m a small person in this world, rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things but yet people were taking the time out of their day to read blog posts about my interrail trip or how my 2019 was. Did I just break the fourth wall? Yes I’m looking at you, for whatever reason you stopped to read this blog post, I just wanted to say a little thank you. I sound like an oxymoron within myself claiming that I don’t care what people think of me and for the most part that is true, but I love it when people listen to me. Despite the small space I occupy in this world, I still have very large opinions, mainly about coffee shop interiors or a Parisian lifestyle. It’s nice to think that I feed some people’s curiosity in this world, and despite my lack of posting sometimes, I still adore you all.
Speaking of my interrail trip, 2019 was full of adventure for me. Summer in particular was amazing as I travelled across Europe by train with some of my closest friends, exploring six new cities that I had never set foot in before. My wanderlust has been increasing as I moved to Edinburgh and it was wonderful to fully experience a new kind of adventure. Mainland Europe aside, I explored more of Scotland too. The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail took me to different cities and even just parts of Edinburgh I’d never been before. I thrived off the freedom that I had without uni in my life and it gave me a glimpse into what my life could be like if I work hard to acheive my goals. I fully intend on having another incredible Summer in 2020 with another interrail trip lined up as well as time to fully commit to my blog and Instagram.
At the start of 2019 I was very much wrapped in my relationship at the time and relied on their validation for feelings of self-worth. When I was dumped it hit me hard but after a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I realised that others’ opinions ain’t worth shit (unless you rely on them to vote for you on committee). I’d spent too much of my life depending on the thoughts of others and it had made me miserable. A few years ago I was told that I had a weird laugh and I hated that I still thought about it multiple times a week and tried to suppress my giggles. I took the Summer for me and the rest of the year followed suit in trying to overcome my insecurities. It took a while and I feel like there is still more for me to do but I’ve become far less apologetic for the things that I enjoy and caring less and less on how it affects the opinion that others have of me.
Looking into 2020 (even though I’m a little late in writing this post), I want to continue looking after myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m going to keep buying myself flowers, taking myself out for brunch and burning my favourite candles on a Tuesday instead of saving them for a special occasion. I used to be terrified of turning 20 because I thought it was a very ‘adult’ age to be. Given everything I learned about myself in 2019, I know that I’ve been etching out a new era for myself and it’s time to kick it all of with a party. I’ve outgrown myself and I want to shed the skin of an insecure teenager that relied on the opinions of others to feel validated and to instead embrace the confident badass that I know I can be.