A little glimpse of positivity (yes, you read that right!)

My Facebook has a weird feature where it tells me my ‘memories’. The only one that’s vaguely interested me is a post I made at University about how much I shouldn’t drink as much vodka and listen to as much Paul Simon (status: don’t drink vodka, but listen to much more Paul Simon).However yesterday a picture came up, it wasn’t particularly exciting, it’s actually quite weird- it was me eating a bowl of pasta in a Kung Fu Panda mask which was originally a picture from 2008. 
 
Everyone is talking about New Years and New Starts- and I do think if you want to try something new or wipe a slate clean that January seems a good time. However, the New Year always leaves a little space for reflection. In our family, we call New Years Eve, Old Years Night so it is already loaded with thoughts of what has gone before to lead us to where we are now and the decisions we make. Just before the New Year, I told a friend I hated looking back as it made me sad, and as soon as I finished the conversation I kicked myself. And yesterday, when I saw this picture, I kicked myself a bit more.
 
That picture was taken from a hostel- or temporary accommodation for homeless families, specifically women escaping violence- a place my siblings and I spent more time than most, but less time than others. I remember having to show up at our Deputy Head’s door and say we were homeless again- after she had found us a house after our last bought of homelessness. I sat my AS levels whilst we were homeless, and my amazing big sister sat her A levels- after she’d sat her GCSEs not long after being made homeless a previous time. We got amazing results, she went to her first choice University and later that year, I got an offers from all of the universities I applied to. My siblings are my absolute best friends and inspiration- I turn into a different person when I’m around them, but I think that’s just myself (a thing I try and hide from everyone else). Although not the place to go into everything, it was these experiences which somewhere in my mind reminds me that so much of our lives are outside of our control. Bad things happen, and good things too, but they are not my fault and nor could I do a thing to stop the most- a sentiment I really need to remember.
 
After we sang Auld Lang Syne, and we proceeded to give everyone a little kiss and a cuddle, my step-mum (which is really an insult as she’s simply a mother in very sense of the word) looked at me and said ‘This year will be better’ and I burst into tears. I should say I cry at everything that is vaguely a little bit emotional, and as I passed around the rest of my family they weren’t the least bit surprised I was crying. 
 Last year may have been incredibly difficult, but yesterday and today I realised how much myself (and my amazing siblings) have achieved for ourselves over the years. We went to University and achieved, or decided it wasn’t right and thrived and achieved elsewhere. Last year I got my first proper graduate job, and I was great at it- even though I later left it due to other circumstances. I moved into a new place, in a city where I didn’t know many people and made a little life for myself, made friends and explored new places. I made friends with the local karaoke man (obviously), taught Australians how to Gay Gordon and also achieved my Competent Crew qualification for sailing a passenger vessel. I got my first archaeology job, then my second and then my third. I drove a transit van down the M6 and drove every day for two months. I started writing again: blog posts, poetry, letters- some of which I’d like to share when I feel confident enough in them. Other good things have happened too. I got asked to be bridesmaid for my gorgeous friend’s wedding next year, my lovely friends let me live in their flat whilst I was between places – which enabled me to stick around Edinburgh a bit longer and almost every day I hear from my wonderful family, and this Christmas period has reminded me how supportive they are. 
 
As a result of this picture and my experience, I have decided to take a small break from heritage and harness my interest and passion for housing provision, education on homelessness and governmental and local council policy on temporary accommodation (although grateful for the roof and safe space, some of our allocations were entirely inappropriate) and begin volunteering with Shelter and Scotland Women’s Aid to learn more about this sector. 
 
I wish everyone a truly Happy New Year. Today I’m having a positive day, I’m trying to remember and hold onto the idea that I do have a level of control to my direction, life and making myself happy. I hope writing this down will help me remember this. 

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