Recently, I met a lovely new blog friend by the name of Ashley who was full of lovely comments, lovely writing, and one question: Tell me about you! Likes, dislikes, where I grew up… the whole thing. I thought about my content over the last little while, and I realised I hadn’t really talked about my life much. I’d posted Christmas mixes, reviewed movies , cried a bit about animal welfare and talked about the state of the music industry, but I hadn’t really said a whole lot about me.
Maybe because I don’t really make a habit of talking about myself. I’m a listener – a reader, a supporter, a commenter and a bit of an introvert. I love to follow stories about other people’s lives – and writing about mine, I guess, kind of seemed a little narcissistic! But over the last month I’ve been blessed to have made new friends – and my About section kind of sucks – so I thought why not. Why not introduce myself to everybody properly – without making them dig through my writing of five years ago. (Please don’t do it, it’s frightfully embarrassing.)
I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, a little town a bit north of London. Most of my childhood was spent with the neighbours’ kids, coordinating talent shows, making up dances, doing stuff for WWF, taking ju-jitsu, swimming and going to stage school on the weekends. I remember getting my two front teeth knocked out at school, and having them grow in horribly misaligned. Along came the braces, which carried me through senior school and tranformed me from a stage-loving Spice Girls wannabe into a quiet, studious girl who kept her mouth shut and tried not to get bullied.
I was twelve when my parents decided they wanted to move to Canada, and fourteen when we landed in Winnipeg. I went through high school as the Quiet Foreign Girl in a school so drastically different than anything I’d ever known. I was used to white blouses, navy trousers, elasticated ties and being told to take my second pair of earrings out. Here there were kids with mohawks, girls with pink hair and every kind of imagined high school stereotype there in front of my eyes. It was here I had my first boyfriend, my first heartbreak, and made my first attempts at becoming the self-confident girl I’d been before the move. I walked in a fashion show, sang in a punk rock band, and cut all my hair off for grad. (Look closely, you’ll see the word “REGRET” branded on my forehead.)
I went to university with every intention of becoming an English teacher. I’d graduated from the International Baccalaureate Program (for nerds) with great marks, and a passion for learning. I moved out at the end of my first year, certain at the age of nineteen I was ready to be independent. My parents thought it was a terrible idea, my dad tried to talk about Real Finances, but I was defiant and stubborn and had to do it my way. Don’t you ever want to go back to your younger self, and give them a good shaking??
I moved in with my then-boyfriend, and my scholarly efforts lasted all of two years before a bad breakup, having to move back onto my parents’ sofa in the basement for a few weeks and struggling to make any money at all at my near-minimum wage job. But those first two years of university taught me valuable life lessons, and was where I first met my best friends, and my husband to be!
Sweet and I dated for about a month and a half; we broke up (I was devastated; he was perfect, even then!), Kyla and I had a fight about something lame and we didn’t talk for years. Those in-between years were full of tough times, naivety, nasty flatmates and dangerous relationships. It was in those in-between years that my parents split up too; and as a result I gained an enormously close relationship with my father, but lost almost all contact with my mother.
I was engaged before (not something I like to admit to; it pains me to even think about how horribly different my life could’ve been) to someone who seemed perfect; said all the right things, looked the part, got along with everybody, and who gradually destroyed any sense of self I ever had. I was young, and desperate not to be alone, so I put everything I had into salvaging the relationship. I cut out my friends and family so I could fix when things went wrong – including his lies, his drug use, his physical abuse and his arrest. I was utterly blind to reality, and when he finally ended it (one Christmas after I’d just had throat surgery), I was in the worst place I’d ever been. I had no support network and was absolutely terrified at the prospect of coming home to an empty apartment, having to fill endless hours of solitude. I didn’t know how to function.
Like a miracle, Kyla came back into my life and provided hope and support when I couldn’t see. Sweet came back into my life and after spending a little time together again, decided (after much pleading on my part) to give it another go, and here I am today in a much better place, with amazing friends, an incredible fiancé, and a wonderful job that’s given me the chance to push myself out of my comfort zone, really find out who I want to be, and give me every opportunity to get there.
I’ve gone from being a little performer to training in figure skating, swimming and ju-jitsu. I’ve developed a chronic pain condition over the last few years that’s forced me to say goodbye to sports, as well as social activities like dancing and bowling. But I’m working on getting better. I’ve travelled back home, visited the USA once or twice (including a visit to a Star Trek convention in MN!), dyed my hair red, blonde and black, made good decisions and bad decisions. I’ve dressed up as comic book heroes, Edward Scissorhands, and characters from video games (yes, I was once a WoW nerd!). I miss being in university but try and learn at every opportunity I can. I love to read and have self-taught myself graphic design, which has allowed me to work in creative roles I love. In the last year or two, I’ve learned the true meaning of friendship, learned how to use bad experiences as opportunities for growth, and can look back at how a tumultuous journey has landed me exactly where I want to be. I don’t want to go all Rascall Flatts on you, but I just wanted to share a little bit about where I’ve come from.
Now your turn. Fire me off an e-mail and tell me your life story. Who you are, where you’ve been, and how you got to where you are now. There’s so many of you I’m really enjoying getting to know through your blogs, but I absolutely want to know more about you as people! What better way to head into a new year than with a wave of wonderful new friends?
Note: I seriously contemplated including picture evidence of a Major Life Trauma – the time I thought it would be a good idea to home-dye my hair from black to blonde. There’s a really flattering picture of a girl with a bright orange ponytail out there somewhere, which may or may not resurface at a later date. But not today. 🙂