This is what 20 looks like.

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I started writing this the day before I turned twenty, because I mean, it's my last day being a teenager. Lots of people don't care about turning twenty but I really really do. It's honestly felt like my teenage years have lasted forever. I'm writing this and I know that my perspective is tainted by a lot of negative things, but I guess this post will be something interesting to look back on, years later even.
It's weird talking about myself so much, it's safe to say that this is my most personal blog post. I wrote a personal one already this summer, some of you have probably read it. I guess all I can say is that I had to get my thoughts out at the time and I guess this post is the same thing. It's going to be a long one!
With a smile on my face I can remember teasing my cousin Cían on his turning thirteen, two years before I did. Thinking that being a teenager was incredible because to my eleven year old self, being a teenager was that big leap towards adulthood. Not only did my age have the ending -een to it, I also would be starting secondary school. Whaaaaat?

Of course, I navigated the most part of my teenage years in secondary school and it was an interesting experience. You go through puberty, you sit the most disgusting of state exams, but YET we survived them. I can remember how weary I was during my leaving cert year, having to sit down at my metal table. At the time, I remember thinking "even the birds are more free than I am". (Well, obviously Eilis, birds don't take exams). From fourth year onwards my confidence suffered a lot for various reasons and it's still at the same low level four years later. This is something I promise to myself to work on because even though it scares me write it, I probably am better than I think I am.


The sun always shines above the clouds.
Paul F. Davis


A still 19 year old me's view.
I suppose my 20th year of life was interesting is that it all came to head this summer. I finally cracked so to speak and spilled a lot of things that I hadn't spoken about before. Even to my parents, things that I had not spoken about, even through I had been going through them for years. It was a really scary, alienating but ultimately rewarding (I think) experience.

The early months of 2015 were absolutely beautiful. My days consisted of late night movie days, walks along the river Shannon. Limerick is almost otherworldly at night. I remember walking along the river and call me strange, night time has an almost magic to it. I began my second semester of college, Watching the world renew itself as winter gradually gave way to spring. I remember watching the eels migrate in their hundreds up the river towards the estuary. I can remember running through the snow with blankets wrapped around ourselves after huddling in a cocoon in a house where the phrase "It Never Stops" really was true! I can, to some extent, look back on those memories with a smile. But it does tend to hurt because I won't be in that position ever again, things won't be as carefree. I probably will not hang out with that same group of people like that ever again. It might not seem the same way, but I was so lucky to spend time with a great group of people.

Daylight follows a dark night 
- Proverb

Looking at it now, this time last year I was in a much better place. But honestly, what can you do?
These last few months of my teenage years have been bewildering. One thing I've learned in my twenty years of life is how forgiving a person can be. How forgiving I can be. The emotions I'm able to feel for such a small person is very strange.

In August 2015 I started a visual diary and some of you might have seen me carrying it around college. I want to fill it with words that others have said, writing that speaks volumes to me, words that soothe me when my 20 year old mind is buzzing with so many thoughts that I feel like my head is about to explode. Writing this, I know the river Shannon is flowing and I think that today, my 20th birthday (I still can't believe it) I'll take a long walk and just remember that I am so lucky to be alive, despite all the crap that life can throw at you year after year. And for all of you, reading this that you're still alive, even though there probably have been times when you wanted to give up everything.

"The sun is always rising somewhere"            
    

I was told to fill pages with colours, words and emotion and I will do just that. I will do it for myself. I'm going to fill this visual diary with pictures, words from my friends, art and if I show you the diary I hope that it gives an impression of what I'm like as a person.

I just want to say to those who I have lost contact with, those that I no longer have contact with anymore, (I'm sobbing as I write this, because I can think of so many names), those who I held and still hold dear and the people in my life that have died, just know that I am still thinking of you, and I really really hope you're okay whatever you're doing, I hope that you're safe and learning new things. With or without me. Just know, that at the end of the day I'm an average sized girl, with a love of words, films and examining the world around me and that I probably DID NOT ever want to lose you and I'll always regret it.

Writing this, you'd swear I was dying or something, but I guess, while leaving your teenage years, it's almost like you're saying goodbye to a part of you that you'll never get back again.
This was really really hard to write and I hope you don't mind me saying the things that I have said. I really really just want my twenties to be a happier period of my life. It will take work and time, I know, I know, I know.

But, a quote I love almost summarizes a human's life:


"Storms, they will come. But I know that the sun will shine again"


Those words may come across as cheesy to you, but in the last few weeks I've become obsessed with words,  quotes and writings to do with the sun. Why the sun? Because the sun is always constant, no matter what rain, hail or snow batters the earth it always rises, even when you don't see it. Without the sun, the earth would be plunged into darkness. So even when you think there is no sun, it actually does exist. This something I need to focus on, myself. Walu is the Aboriginal sun goddess and recently I've been researching symbols from different languages, cultures and religions. The one that symbolizes light and hope for me the most is the sun.

I could write a list of the people I know who have saved me the past few months. I know who I can count on. Despite all the crap I've thrown at them they've stuck with me and for that I am so grateful. I will do my best to be there for you all in equal measure and just know that I'm so so incredibly lucky to have you all and I love you all dearly.

I can't say I am qualified to give anyone advice, despite being alive for twenty years.
I've so much to learn, but it's really scary when you think, I've been alive for two whole decades?
In two whole decades, I have seen America have their first African American president, seen Nelson Mandela die, watched as Ireland became the first country in the world to vote in same sex marriage by popular vote, Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest. So many amazing events have happened in twenty years.


If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm
- Frank Lane

I'm writing this and I've got a lump in my throat because I know for a fact that I'm still fairly down about different things in my life and it going to be a struggle for a while. Birthday or no birthday I'll probably feel very sad at different points today. It's life I guess and no day is perfect. You can't control anything really. I'll find myself wishing for past memories to be a reality or for imaginary scenarios where I'm actually properly happy again with no worries. A life unplagued by a mind that overthinks quite a lot of things. My heart aches as I write it.

In the past twenty years I've been bucked off horses, as a child I once stood on a slide while naked as cars drove past on the main road, at four years old I washed my hair in the toilet, I cried once when I lost my wellies in a muddy field. Once upon a time, a younger me presented my mother with a bucket of earthworms fresh from the garden. Twenty year old me still owns the teddy bear that she got the day she was born.

If I've ever hurt you in any way, I am truly sorry. I hate conflict, whether it's causing it or being part of it. I've made plenty of mistakes in the past few decades and for that I apologize. Life is just going to be a learning experience isn't it?

EXPOSING MY SIDEKICK "MAMMY BEAR"
 (OH GOD)
So dear twenties, please be good to me. I can't ask for a perfect life, I can only do my best to shape it as best I can but I hope that at least some of my hopes, dreams and wishes can work out.
If you've managed to read all of this, thank you. I know it's extremely rambly, probably sad at times, but I did want to write this as I think TWENTY is a pivotal age. I wrote a piece for a magazine and sent it off a few days ago. I hope it'll make it to internet in some or form, possibly edited. But I ended the piece like this:

"Right now, my glories may be overshadowed by life, but in the end, the sun will rise and I WILL try again. And when I find myself again, I can promise you, it will be GLORIOUS"


THANK YOU.

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2 comments

  1. It's funny how an age can signify so much when it's really just another moment in our lives that we, for some reason, perceive as special. I feel like as we grow older our mind expands, and I can never imagine mine expanding any further because the world is so complicated already, but it always does. I can't imagine how many words and thoughts and feelings are filling your twenty year old mind right now. I love your teddy bear and your visual diary.

    -M
    The Life of Little Me

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I feel so young and old at the same time, and my head is in fact buzzing with thoughts. What will life be like, a year from now? Who knows? I added your blog to my list because it's really interesting.

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