Firstly, we want to thank every single person who has offered kind words and encouragement over the past few weeks. We read every word and think of you all as friends. Thank you also for your patience; we have been pretty absent but rest assured, there are great things in the works! These are the hardest days we’ve faced together, so besides holding each other close, nothing else has seemed like a priority.
I’m just about finished with my college course, which means it’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life. I am endlessly grateful for everything this year has taught me, and I’ve grown in so many ways. The first of the following pictures was taken at the beginning of the college year, and the second just the other day. Perhaps the most evident difference is the weight gain, but let me tell you, that’s just the start of it. I am stronger and more resilient in all ways possible. I may not be there yet, but I’ve regained the colour in my face, the energy to cope with daily life and most importantly, my sense of self. The list could go on and on.
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Anyway, I thought I’d share with you a handful of my goals for this summer:
Educate myself about blogging.
I figured this summer is the perfect time to kick start this blog properly, and there’s so much for me to learn. As you may have seen via my Mum’s Instagram, we are now armed with a new (and hopefully speedier) laptop, which is so exciting. I have an image in my head of what I’m trying to create, and so many ideas to work with. A lot of our blog design so far was created by the lovely Carissa at Oh Wild, and we love the simplicity of it. That said, there’s so much we want to add. It would be awesome if I could leave for university with our blog up and running fully, and that way we can each contribute our own posts from our own devices regardless of where we are in the country. I expect to spend many hours educating mama on how a laptop works, too.
Love my brothers and sisters.
I like to think that my brothers and sisters know how much I love them. Probably to the point where they’re thinking “okay, Sal. We get it.” But I want to spend this summer soaking up as much of them as I can. I’ll only be a train ride away next term, but it’ll be the first time I’ve lived anywhere without them. As you can imagine, living with so many little humans is loud, chaotic and stressful at the best of times. Heck, I can’t tell you how often I think “get me out of here!” But I love each of them unconditionally. Somebody once said to me “it must be like having ready-made friends!” and I love that. I consider them each as friends. Of late, I’m so conscious of how I speak to them, what I show them, and the messages I convey. I know that I’ll shape and influence them whether I like it or not, but I’ve chosen to see that as a privilege, not a pressure.
I often feel conflicted about moving away from home, since our family dynamic means that in a lot of ways, I am a parent figure to them. I can’t just up and leave, surely? But then I remember what I’m trying to teach them, and I know it’s the right thing. I want to show them how despite everything, you’ve just got to pursue your dreams. You owe it to yourself to be brave and go with your heart. I hope to come home brimming with stories and lessons to share with them. I’ll make them so proud of their big sister.
Smash the sh*t out of my eating disorder.
For those of you who don’t know, my mental health has been an ongoing battle for much of my life. I’ve managed, using more strength than I knew I had, to maintain some sort of eating stability this college year. But after long conversations with my team, we realise that there’s still a lot to work on. I’m faced with just four months before I move to a new county and leave behind the doctors and therapists who have treated me for years. I’ll no longer have Mum to remind me “porridge is not dinner” or “your plate is filled with vegetables”; I’ll have to do this entirely by myself.
So, we’ve come to the conclusion that I should go into treatment for a couple of months to get the most intensive support possible. Not inpatient; I’ll come home at night. For me, there’s a lot of shame and guilt associated with this decision. Does it mean I’ve failed, since I’ve been unable to make a full recovery by myself? Does it mean I am lazy, half-hearted or unmotivated? Realistically, no. It means I’ve suffered for years of my life with a stubborn and at times life threatening disease, and overcoming it is going to require as much support as I can get. In fact, giving up the control I’ve had over eating, drinking and exercise is brave, and I’ll try to remember that. It’s a huge commitment, but I vow to give myself the best possible shot during this round of treatment. No cutting corners, skipping meals, being deceitful. I will take control of my own future and I will not self-sabotage yet again. I’m so sure of it; just watch me!
Everyone’s summer goal, right? But for years, summer break has been a pretty miserable and isolated time for me. September just couldn’t come quickly enough. This year I’m doing things differently. I already have fun things planned for the coming months, and I can’t wait to do things I enjoy, with the people I love. I may even take off my coat once or twice, who knows.
Oh, and take care of the practical stuff.
If you’ve ever been faced with the chore that is student finance, you’ll feel my pain. This, combined with finding myself a place to live, creating a student bank account and all that other jazz, has me just about losing my marbles. The woes of being a grown up, hey.
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I’m terrified about the future. As in, ‘hand me a pillow to bury my face and scream into’ kind of terrified. Show me a twenty-year-old who isn’t, I guess. But while I’m more excited than I am afraid, and more motivated than I am dejected, I know I’ve got to take this jump.
What is something you’re working towards this summer? I’d love to know.
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