By TashaAs a rebel-from-birth/atheist/mild anarchist, my life has always had me walking in the opposite direction from most people. I was different from my friends at school, oddly so. I specifically shunned the mainstream popular culture and general hobbies and interests they followed together. In retrospect, I wonder why I was in that group at all. This led me to believe that I was weird and different, and my schoolmates didn't shy away from bullying me to remind me. I believed what people were saying and doubted myself in almost every way. I didn't finish Sixth Form, didn't go on to university and generally had no idea what I was doing with my life. Cue; a steady line of unsuitable relationships, bouncing between jobs and never really having the confidence to do anything about it.
2018 was the hardest year in my not-easy life. In 2018 my stepfather died of cancer, having been diagnosed only months previously. Just after that, my slightly-abusive partner broke up with me, and I was essentially forced to move out of our shared flat in London. I ended up borrowing a large amount of money from my grieving mother. I was at the lowest point in my life. I had no faith in myself or my ability to handle anything anymore. I wasn't grieving my stepdad yet because I was numb from all sides crumbling around me.
What changed me was a brand new friend I had met maybe a week before my break up. He was the most honest and straight-talking person I had encountered, and he gave me a good verbal shaking. We ended up having a weird romantic tryst for a while, but it ended because I was not emotionally stable or aware of the damage I was doing to myself (to this day, we are still friends and I think we will be for a long time). I wasn't acting like my normal self, and I think, looking back, that I was on a fast path to self-destruction. The turning point was the day I had a random notification from an airline company, advertising a massive sale. I had not been on a foreign holiday in 9 years, the last with my real father when I was 16. That notification was the sign I had been waiting for. I immediately booked a flight to Italy as my best friend lived there with her family and had already extended an invitation for me to visit. That holiday was a huge defining moment for me. It was the first time I had left the country on my own. It was my first holiday as an adult, and it gave me the confidence to hope.
Since that random notification from an airline company, my self-confidence has barely wavered. So much has happened since then but the funny thing is now, I know that I can handle anything. I don't doubt my decisions, my judgements or my ability. Since that notification, my life has changed so completely that I do not recognise myself from the frightened little girl I was only a few years ago. I still have those days when something happens that takes you by such shock that you feel you can fall down. But the difference is that now, I always stand back up. I always get back on the proverbial horse. It is now clear to me that the voice in our heads that says we can't do something is asking us to prove it wrong. It is telling us to prove everyone wrong, but especially ourselves.