I remember when I was 18 I was seeing this guy, and I adored him.
I was on my gap year. I didn’t want to go to uni at the time, I had no work ethic or drive, and I put no thought or energy into getting a place at the uni I was going to. I went to the interview hungover and completely wung it.
The whole thing felt very forced and I wanted to rest. I only applied to uni because people pestered me to. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
I ended up staying home because going to uni didn’t feel right. This boy must have been put in my life to persuade me to stay. I thought I would get with him, have a normal 9-5 job, he would be the thing that makes my life happy, and I would just settle down as regular people do.
In my very lost and young naivety, I didn’t think twice about growth, housing or the next 80 years of my life- the huge chunk of freedom I would be compromising and missing out on. I was thinking small.
One morning, I was really stressed and anxious.
This boy said to me “if you have any reservations about going, I suggest that you don’t go”.
It wasn’t because he particularly cared about me and wanted me to stay- but it was actually a genuine insight into the way he saw life.
And honestly, it made sense to me- because I used to think like that too.
I didn’t think about my potential, my desires, what would make me happy, how I would pay the bills in a way which fulfilled me. I was 18! While I’ve always been mature in the head, how was I expected to be mature in life?
You can tell someone about all the things they haven’t lived through yet until you’re blue in the face. They haven’t experienced it yet. And until they’ve experienced it and got that depth, they won’t know what it’s like.
Because all I had known was school and social hierarchy, my entire life was based around what I thought people would think of me.
I orchestrated myself in a way that marketed me to people I wanted in my life.
My life revolved around everybody else but me.
Tweet this, never say that, post this picture but crop and edit it this way. That’s too opinionated, that’s too risky, don’t even think about it.
And that drove me insane, as it does to anyone. My existence was basically based around getting validation for doing nothing in particular.
That is small thinking. Miniscule. And I wasn’t made to be miniscule. So naturally, ladies and gentlemen, I had a breakdown.
The boy sacked me off but kept playing me like a fiddle, I left my zero-hour contract job because my hours got faded out, my friends all moved away and seemed to be growing up, I woke up in the morning and had no reason to get out of bed.
My elders disapproved of me hugely. It felt like everyone hated me, I hated everyone for their lack of understanding- and next thing you know you’re hysterically crying at your mums house (who you haven’t spoken to for months on end) talking about how you don’t want to be alive anymore.
Being 18 is not pleasant. Cut the wains some slack.
My Mum gave me a hug, and she told me that I was better than this. She told me to disconnect from all social media for three days, and just be entirely in my own company. Don’t do anything for three days. Meditate. Listen to spiritual advisors on YouTube. Just stop listening to the chatter.
So that’s what I did.
One night in those three days I was up at 3am and my head would not shut up.
I was up worried about this boy, wondering why he didn’t love me, if I could ever make him love me, thinking about where and how it went wrong. I was smoking one cigarette after the other just for something to do with myself (I don’t smoke anymore). I was then thinking ‘what am I supposed to do now? How will I fill the days? What am I meant to do?’. Tarot cards were flung across the place and nothing was making sense. I would listen to one video on youtube after the other, but it was just constant noise up there.
I don’t know if any of you have ever felt that type of chaos, but it’s just like tornado of energy and thoughts. There’s so much going on in your head that you just can’t do anything- and it’s so exhausting.
So I sat on this mattress on the floor, and I closed my eyes to try to shut everything up channel the answer.
What should I do?
And my head heart and spirit was screaming at me to write.
I was waiting for another voice. A spirit guide, or God, because I didn’t trust what I was hearing. But then I thought if I’m not getting any other advice then maybe that is God.
(As time has gone on I realised that ‘God’ is basically your own inner voice. If you’re looking for validation from an external thing, it’s because you don’t trust yourself.)
In my cynical and depressed brain I thought ‘oh yeah sure, what will that do?’- but it’s not about what it will do it’s about following your guidance and basically just doing as you’re told.
So at a loss for any alternative ideas, I sat down and wrote a blog.
I always wanted to be a blogger or something like that. I’ve always wanted to just get paid to be in weird and wonderful situations, learning, soaking up knowledge, looking for a story. But I never had the drive to write before.
It was mostly because I never wanted to be seen. I thought ‘what if people take the piss?’, and ‘what if it fails?’ and ‘what if nothing comes of it?’ and all these small thinking pointless thoughts were stopping me from living my life all together.
The blog was called ‘Hurting and Healing’ and it was all about depression and how to come out of it.
Basically writing myself out of the hurt.
It was like I was channelling the words. They were just flowing.
So I put it on my blog (back when I had that wordpress called chilloutalready (https://chilloutalready.wordpress.com/) and I let it sit there for a few days.
I wasn’t doing much in these three days, so it was really hard not to check my phone. But I was in MY head. MINE. It gave me time to disconnect from the idea of what people thought of me, and I began ordering my thoughts for the first time ever. That’s 18 years of crap floating about that I hadn’t been properly introduced to.
When those three days were up I checked my phone and there were HUGE amounts of people checking to see if I was okay. I loved the attention, I won’t lie.
But I got some friends to read over my blog. At the time I was friends with a lot of people who needed it, and they loved it, and I got the encouragement to post it.
I posted it, absolutely terrified about what people would think. What this boy would think.
But in my head, I needed to post it.
I wanted my comeback to be shocking and not pathetic. I wanted to make my words matter by being in silence for longer than usual.
I posted it, and it led to the most amazing journey.
I’m not exactly ‘at the top’ but I’m a different person to the girl I was back then, and I see that as a pivotal moment because that’s when I started to think big.
In life, we have almost a checklist of things that we’re destined to do- and whenever we feel stuck it’s because we’re thinking too small. It’s like we’re in purgatory for as long as it takes until we crack and go “FINE!! I’ll do that think I keep thinking of doing!!”.
It’s not about fear, or how you look, or how other people think of you, or how you sound. It’s not about what it will lead to, and honestly it’s not even about strategy. It’s about checking the next thing off the list so your soul can carry on it’s journey through life, the way it was meant to.
In short, keeping my blog as my thing has been like an unapologetic declaration of who I am. My blog is me, and from writing it I learned that I am the one that’s in control.
I can choose to focus on people taking the piss and telling me I’m too big for my boots, or I can focus on the people who message me telling me how much I help them and how much they relate to me.
I can choose to show the world what I can do, or I can go unnoticed and shut myself off from huge opportunities that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of.
I can choose who is good enough for me. I can choose what I value in a person, I can choose what treatment I get from people, I can choose to be respected and admired and valued.
That’s the only difference between thinking big and thinking small.
Now, I won’t take advice from people I wouldn’t trade places with.
And I think that “if you have any reservations, don’t do it” as a philosophy is probably not the best one- in general terms.
If you’re thinking big, the motto to live by is ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’- because we never know when we’re out of chances.
Just make sure that whatever you do feels right.