I grew up trying to fit in where I naturally, by skin tone and height, stood out.  I remember trying to conceal the pain as they changed the lyrics from ‘It’s a brown girl in the ring‘ to ‘It’s a black girl in the ring’ with giggles and laughter;  standing next to the fence and explaining I was just a darker brown not the same black as the fence.  And hunching down under some mistaken belief that I could make myself shorter. 

And non physically, I got knocked back on idea after idea that I tried to pursue until I stopped trying.   I started a school newspaper (axed after 1 issue), cooking classes (surprising to think of now) and was determined to forge a career in writing (told to rethink).

It left its scars and when I was younger I used to tell myself off for being weak, for not ignoring what they said and for not being emotionally stronger. But with age comes wisdom and I forgave myself: I was a child, s**t happens and what is important is the lessons I learned and what I do with the time going forward.

I forced myself to stand straight.  I learned to love the face that looked back at the me from the mirror.  I started to see beauty and possibilities and not regret and unfairness.  I learned that it’s ok to regret, be sad, be upset and to feel but that it’s not alright to dwell.  I learned to embrace, mourn and move on with the lessons that life has taught.

It’s not a foolproof system or by any means or chance something with I do with perfection but it makes me appreciate the differences that make me, me and makes everybody them.  And I am, more than any time before, completely comfortable with me, inside and out.

So in honour of tomorrow, I have attempted to note down 10 lessons of life that I have learned in 31 years.

  1. Make decisions and carry them out.  Don’t ride your life on the wave of other people’s choices.  
  2. Make time for the people that you care about and who care about you.  Too soon you may loose someone  you were always meant to spend more time with. 
  3. It’s ok if you don’t match up to that ideal of where you thought you would be when you were a kid.  If you still want what you wanted then, make a plan, work for it but don’t berate yourself. 
  4. Someone else’s glory doesn’t take away from your own shine. Celebrate their success and use it to inspire you. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail.  It’s temporary, you get over it and you’re left with a lesson you would never have got otherwise.
  6. Be selfish with your time.  Sometimes you need a bit of time for yourself.  Take it.
  7. It’s ok to be scared, sad and happy.  Emotions are meant to be experienced. 
  8. If you can’t use you key to get in the front door, learn how to cut a new key or try a different door.   If it doesn’t work one way, try another way.  
  9. Trust someone.  Let there be at least one person in your life that you can be your whole self with.  
  10.  Love yourself.


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