In just under a month’s time I’m going to be pushed out of my teenage years into my 20’s, a proper adult? Maybe. But it is a slightly scary concept. There’s no doubt that teenage-hood has been a rollercoaster full of emotions, happiness, sadness and everything in-between. I’ve definitely learned a lot of things about myself in the midst of my teenage years and since I share a lot about my life online these days, I thought I’d share the things I’ve learned with you.
I think there’s something incredibly rewarding and somewhat liberating about admitting something to yourself, whether it be acknowledging when you’ve done something wrong, when you’ve done something right or when you’ve learned something new about yourself and who you are during a certain point in your life. So, here are just a few of the things I’ve learned about myself and who I am during my teens.
I’VE LEARNED ABOUT MY LIMITATIONS
One of the main challenges I’ve faced as a teenager, apart from living with deteriorating eyesight, is living with Chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. I was diagnosed with the condition when I was 15 years old, right at that pinnacle moment in teenagehood when everything’s changing (typical), and it definitely brought a fresh set of challenges to my door. I had to sacrifice a lot at that time (not to be dramatic) but I had to cancel plans with my friends and even refuse to do things such as go for short walks because I just didn’t have the energy to do so. I had to stay home from school often because I was bed-bound on a lot of days and this meant I fell behind with a lot of work, especially in my first year of sixth form. I’ve had to prioritize what’s important to me quite often in my time as a teen but it definitely taught me a lot about what my limitations were and still are. I feel like I can balance the condition so much better these days because of the fact that I’ve grown up learning what my limitations are.
I APOLOGISE TOO MUCH
I’m the kind of person who will apologise if someone else spills a drink on me or if someone walks into me so I’ve found myself apologising A LOT during my time as a teenager, saying sorry for things I really didn’t need to apologise for. Ever since I started my teenage journey, I’ve apologised for things such as being too quiet, being too indecisive and 1001 more things that I didn’t need to be sorry for. I’ve learned that I don’t need to apologise for who I am because I’m not a bad person. Sure, the S word might still slip into a few sentences from time-to-time when it doesn’t need to but I’m still working on it. I apologise for the things that matter and that is what counts.
I NEED TO OPEN UP:
When I was thinking about all the things I wanted to write in this post, this was one of the first things I thought of. I’ve said it so many times on my blog in the past but I really do need to open up about how I’m feeling and what I might be going through, not necessarily online but to those around me. This is something I’ve tried working on in the last couple of years but I still have a lot of progress left to make and it’s definitely something I’ve struggled with in my teenage years. I experience quite a few struggles, as does anyone, and I will admit that I often struggle in silence. I know how bad that can be and I know it’s something I need to improve on but I guess sometimes I just don’t know how to reach out, who to reach out to and how to word how I’m feeling. I think that acknowledging this in my last couple of years as a teen will definitely help me work on it in my 20’s or at least we can hope.
I LOVE BEAUTY AND FASHION
My twelve-year-old self would not have even thought about picking up a lipstick but now I can’t leave the house without applying my favourite shade. I was also a fashion novice at that time (not that I’m an expert now) but I’ve definitely found my love for beauty and fashion during my teenage years and I find so much enjoyment in both.
I’M AT MY HAPPIEST WHEN I’M AT A CONCERT
I’m not going to lie, the thought of concerts used to make me feel quite anxious, I think it was just the idea of being in the middle of such big crowds, I still get a sense of anxiety rushing through me just before I enter a venue but something I’ve learned about myself since attending my first concert last year is that I feel genuinely happy when seeing my favourite artists live. I’ve now turned into quite the concert junkie, something I never imagined would happen when I entered my teenage years.
I WANT TO RAISE AWARENESS
When I started my teenage years, I started gaining a better understanding of how sight loss was affecting my life. The misconceptions and lack of awareness surrounding it seemed to become more apparent to me in that time. This made me realise how important it was, and still is, for me to raise awareness of sight loss and my passion to do so started to steadily increase as I grew up. However, I knew I didn’t have the confidence to raise awareness and tackle the stigmas in person and that’s where the idea for My Blurred World came from. I sat down one day and created this little corner of the internet with the aim of raising awareness and hopefully helping and motivating others and then the rest is history.
I HAVE REASONS TO BE PROUD OF MYSELF
I’m the kind of person who will always let everyone around me know that I’m proud of them whether it be my friends or my family but one thing I’ve learned about myself recently is that I don’t ever acknowledge the times when I should be proud of myself. I guess the reason is that I don’t want to seem big-headed or arrogant in any way but I feel like everyone should give themselves a pat on the back every now and then. I’m proud of myself for starting this blog, for all the opportunities its lead to, for being featured in a magazine, for being shortlisted for awards, for starting an Open Uni degree and for the marks I’ve received so far. I’m also proud of how hard I work to try to reach my goals and quite frankly I’m now proud of how I’ve learned to tell myself that I have reason to be proud. (Definitely said proud too many times in that paragraph).
I’VE LEARNED HOW TO ACCEPT MY DISABILITY:
There’s no denying the fact that I’ve experienced ALL the emotions when growing up with sight loss. I’ve gone through spells of feeling frustrated, upset and lonely, those emotions still occur from time-to-time but there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel like we all need to express them sometimes. I’ve learnt a lot about my vision impairment in the last few years and I’ve given myself time to accept it. I’ve learned how it affects me in the best and worst ways and I’ve learned how to accept it and keep a positive mindset when thinking about it.
I VALUE KINDNESS AND EMPATHY
I think they’re two of the most important traits a person can have. I find that I get along so much better with those who are kind and empathetic towards others. Even a little of both traits whether it be to a stranger or a loved one, can go a long way for both of you.
Even though I’ve faced quite a few medical diagnoses’, health challenges and other personal challenges during my time as a teenager, I still consider myself to be lucky and it’s one of the main things I’ve learned. I’m lucky that I finished school and achieved good grades, I’m lucky that I secured a good job for a year after leaving sixth form, I’m lucky for all the opportunities I’ve received through creating my blog and most importantly, I’m incredibly lucky for my amazing friends and family and for everyone else who support me. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am.
We all learn different things about ourselves during different times in our lives. I often think about the things I’ve learned and the things I’m still learning as I approach my twenties, they definitely provide me with plenty of food for thought. I think it’s important to reflect on what things you learn as you make your way through your day-to-day life, even the little things that you might not consider to be significant.
The things we learn have a great impact on shaping us as people and that’s why I think it’s important not to dismiss anything about the things we learn about the world around us aswell as ourselves. Take some time to think about important things you’ve learned, whether it be from someone else or something you’ve learned about yourself, has it changed you or your mindset in any way? Let me know one thing that you’ve learned about yourself recently, I’d love to hear from you.