I used to dream big. I had confidence that everything would work out for me. I was going to travel the world, be a huge success, have a wild social life, get married, live in a beautiful house and have 5 children.
Naturally things change.
My dreams are smaller now. I will take being able to afford the train fare to see my family over travelling the world. I will take finding a job that doesn’t cripple me in terms of stress over being a big success. I will take no longer having social anxiety around being in large crowds on nights out. I will take being in a fulfilling relationship with the boy, even if it results in no ring on my finger. I will take owning a house of any description over a dream house.
I will take the ability to be a good mother to one healthy child over enough for a football team.
My life is in limbo at the moment. I can’t go on holiday or buy a house or get married whilst I am still in debt. I can’t progress in my career whilst I still find a way to sabotage any success that comes my way. I can’t consider doing something normal like celebrating my birthday whilst I am afraid to socialise.
I can’t conceive a child when my menstruation cycle is messed up due to my weight.
My life is small. I ran away from my home town as the thought of remaining there and living there forever like my dad had done, living a small life with unfulfilled dreams, becoming ‘stuck’ was more than I could bear.
My dad told us stories of the many occasions when he tried to run away from home.
I was lucky. I could go to University on a grant when the loans I accrued were a third per year of what they are now. I could move and try out independence in a safe way, with the security of University behind me. My Dad went to University as a mature student. Our lives might have been different if there were more options for my Dad when he was younger.
The options were limited in my home town. A good percentage of the girls in my year were pregnant before the age of 18. Fine if that’s what you want, but I couldn’t help feeling there was something more to do first.
My life is small. But that’s ok. I have reset the parameters of success. I feel success when I can make it to the end of the day without crying. When I make it to the end of the day without taking a ‘chill pill’ (propranolol) . When I am in a large crowd and it’s only when I return home that I realise I didn’t freak out.
And I can still complete an N64 Zelda Game with the mad skills.