I’ve always perceived myself to be a person of immensely contrasting characteristics. I’m chatty and sociable, but also thoroughly enjoy my own company. I’m active and often full of energy, but also a sucker for a lazy day. I have many interests and hobbies to keep me occupied – and am notorious for finding entertainment in the most unlikely places – but I can also get bored quicker than a toddler with a new toy.
Four weeks ago, I boarded a plane that I’d booked less than 12 hours before its wheels lifted from the ground at Jersey Airport headed for the UK. I’d flung any items of clothing I could reach into a suitcase following the phone call I’d been expecting, but dreading, from my parents; “come home Bex, it’s time”.
This poem is one I have written for and dedicated to my grandmothers Margaret Thompson and Brenda Lancashire. The love and care they showed towards my grandads Douglas Thompson and Keith Lancashire, despite the awful effects of Alzheimer’s they saw in return, was remarkable – even on the hardest days imaginable, they were true to the vows they had made. I love, admire and respect you both more than you’ll ever know.
Loss is a soul-shaking sensation. And coping is its unpredictable cousin. The two often travel inseparably, one looming in the shadow of the other – an all-consuming barrier on your path – making it near impossible to predict how they’ll manifest themselves within you when they strike, or which direction they’ll shoot you off in as a result.
The memory on my phone is always full because of how many pictures I take. Selfies, sunsets and screenshots all contribute to the bursting seams of my iPhone storage – too precious to be deleted, yet not precious enough to ever be viewed again. But only a handful are deemed worthy enough to be placed on the mother of all social media podiums – the Instagram feed.
My best friend and I both recently had our hearts broken. I’m talking one of those unexpected, completely one-sided, open mouth crying, searching for answers and getting none kind of breakups – x2.
We’re fast approaching the end of the most turbulent year of my life so far. The highs were higher than I could ever have dreamed, and the lows lower than I thought possible.
Some memories I’ll lovingly look back on in the future, others need the door of 2018 closing firmly in their face. But the optimist in me reassures herself that with every roller coaster of emotions comes an educational ride. So, here are 12 important life lessons I’ve learnt in the last 12 months…
Insecure. It’s a word that’s been contaminated to sound like a disease. Like it’s a black and white diagnosis that you either test positive or negative for. Like people should keep their distance to protect themselves from catching it. Like openly admitting it’s a part of your life means voluntarily exposing the tremendous weight of the baggage you haul around with you.
When I go on nights out, I hide a pair of flip flops in a bush outside the club. There, I said it. I’m pathetic with heels, and I can’t afford to spend a fortune riding round in taxis every night. So, when I’m ready to leave, I simply retrieve my flats from their hiding place and begin my comfortable journey home. It’s not cool, and to most people it’s probably quite strange (especially those who’ve witnessed it). But it’s me, it’s my choice and it’s my life, and if there’s one thing I’ll never be caught apologising for – it’s that.