Stopping a poisionous past shaping your future

I just want to thank everybody that took time to read through my last post about my toxic relationship. I had so many messages telling me I was brave and how they felt bad I had to go through something like that, but honestly my aim wasn't to get any pity or to hate on my ex. Toxic relationships are common and a lot of people don't even realise they're in one until they read someone else's experience and my aim was to help anybody that was currently in one or to prevent people from going through one and I think I did that. I received messages off people I'd never even spoken to saying that it had opened their eyes and inspired them to get out of something poisonous.

Following on from that post, I wanted to talk about the after-math.

As I've written about in many different posts - I've moved on, I've changed and over-all I am happy in my life, and definitely ten times happier than I was a year ago, however I still do struggle. Most of which nobody will notice, unless you're closest to me and unfortunately the one's closest are the one's suffering the most.

I don't think I realised how messed up my head had got from that relationship until I was completely out of it and was dealing with the after math. Unless you've been through it yourself you won't know about any of it. It's all good and well saying "you're out of it now, you can move on and be happy" but what about everything you have to rebuild?

I got into a new relationship approximately 4/5 months after my last one ended and I don't think there is a range of time you should stay single because if that was the case I'd still be single now. You don't know when someone is going to come into your life and is willing to accept all your flaws and try and help rebuild you.

Remember you're no longer a victim
I was lucky enough to find somebody that was willing to have patience and help me grow, but I have to remember I'm not the only person in this relationship and I no longer can use the excuse 'someone else messed my head up so you're going to have to suffer the consequences' because it's not fair on your partner. It's likely he hasn't had the best experiences too, so you've both been victims to something but you can't let that be an excuse on the way you both behave.

Remember the person that made you insecure
I am probably the most insecure person I know. As much as I know my boyfriend loves me, I'll still question everything and over-think the smallest of things. Your new partner isn't the one that broke you, he's trying to make you better so don't take out everything from your past on his actions. My biggest insecurity is other girls. In my past I was made to feel like a competition and I never won, I was never good enough. So stupid things, like my boyfriend liking stunning girls photos or speaking of girls highly, does actually bother me as much as I tell him it doesn't. It shouldn't bother me because I know he's with me for a reason and there are other girls in his life but I automatically over-think it and come to some crazy ideas that he'll end up leaving me for these girls. It's not going to happen but over-thinking and being insecure can send your mind mad.

I do believe I'm getting there with not sounding like a psycho-girlfriend because I definitely never want to be one. If I want the freedom to be able to like pictures on Instagram and having male friends I can discuss with him I'm going to have to accept that he can do the same.

Stop comparing the two 
You need to begin to look at your new relationship as if you've never been in one before. Your past relationship isn't what true love is. Your past was mental abuse. It was one person taking advantage of you loving and caring for them more than anything. That is not a relationship.
My new relationship over-all is everything I've ever hoped for and more. It's two people being able to be happy. It's support and comforting from both sides. It's being able to argue without thinking that's it, that's the end. It's making memories you're both enjoying. It's mutual love.

There's been occasions where I've looked at this relationship and wondered what if it's going to be like the last? Because there was a time in my last where I was happy, at the beginning. It's natural I'm to think that. I'm scared and I'm worried because I don't want to go through that again but if I kept thinking like that I wouldn't get anywhere and neither would the relationship.

I'm in love and I should just enjoy it for as much as I can. I'm being treated like I should be treated so my partner should be treated the way he should be treated too. Why should he be getting punished for another guy's actions?

You're going to argue
These relationships that don't go through arguments and disagreements don't exist it's all an illusion on social media and TV that makes you think everyone is 110% happy and agree with each other all the time. We're not clones, we're human and we're bound to disagree on stuff. We have our own opinions and sometimes they clash. My boyfriend and I have over 20 years of thoughts and experiences each, we've gone through our own shit and we both think differently so we'd be mad to expect to agree on everything. So when these arguments do happen, don't look at it like they're going to leave you because it's a disagreement. I've looked at it like it's the end of the world many times. I've apologised for having my own opinion sometimes and even he has told me I need to stand my ground and have my own mind. Apologising for something you shouldn't be sorry for, just to make peace with someone, is not healthy.

Wanting space isn't a bad thing
Me and my boyfriend only saw each other once a week at one point and that's why it worked so well, but he came to stay with me for a week and I got so attached to him that after it I just wanted to see him all the time and became this needy, annoying girlfriend that relied on his cuddles to cheer me up and that is not who I wanted to be. I wanted to be able to cheer myself up. We decided to have a week of not seeing each other and I think it makes you appreciate your other-half more. It's not a bad thing to want to have time for yourself.

Do your own thing and be you
You'll want to do stuff with your partner but it's important to have stuff you do for yourself. Maybe stuff that he/she isn't interested in so it's purely your thing. I go to gigs quite a lot and that's my thing because we have very different tastes in music and he isn't really into going to see bands live and being in a mosh-pit so it works out well for me. It's good to be able to enjoy things without the other person being around. You don't have to speak 24/7 too. I let my past take over sometimes with this. If I open a message that's not even a message you can reply to (like a few laughing faces or "okay babe") I'll find something random to continue keeping the conversation going, something completely irrelevant that I don't even want or need to talk about just because I'm worried he'll be annoyed if I leave him on read. It's honestly so stupid that I go about it like that but it's just something I've been through and have to learn to stop doing. I think I'd be doing him a favour not texting him all the time anyway.

The key thing is to fight through it. You got yourself out of a toxic relationship, don't allow it to continue controlling your life.

Jennie x 

Removing yourself from a toxic relationship

I was 16 when I got into my first "real" relationship. Young and naive, I wanted to have a relationship that everyone envied. To be honest, I achieved that. Over three and a half years I was told countless times how my relationship was perfect and we seemed happy and in love. The key word there is seemed. Nobody knew what happened behind the photos I posted on social media.

When you get into a relationship this young you don't realise that you're still growing yourself and with that comes change. The first 9 months of the relationship were good - looking back, it was normal, I still felt like me. It's when I went to college everything changed. He became paranoid that I was going to cheat because I was in an environment he wasn't familiar with. Thinking about it the paranoia could've been due to the fact he got into a habit of smoking weed. Never-the-less I didn't feel comfortable going to college. My good morning texts changed to "what are you wearing today?" and the message I'd always receive when I got home would be "did you speak to any boys today?" To which I gradually realised that "a top that didn't cover my bum" and "yes, I spoke to my male photography tutor today" were not acceptable answers.

My friends became less and less. My only best friend lived in Wales and whenever she came back now and again I had to ask permission whether it was okay to spend time with her. On one occasion I lied and said we'd gone to the cinema when really we'd gone for a few cocktails because I was too scared to deal with the backlash of trying to explain that I'd been drinking alcohol around other men.

When I started working I couldn't enjoy things like the Christmas party because men would be there so I always found an excuse not to go like I was ill or I couldn't get there. It's like I wasn't trusted and there was no reason not to trust me - I'd always been 110% faithful. I was being punished for nothing.

Looking back, he could do anything. He went on nights out where I wouldn't hear from him. I'd be told how attractive girls from his work were but he never complimented me, making myself never feel good enough for him. He chose drugs over me, I paid his way out of drug debt and paid off holiday's we had planned together. I even bought myself my own Christmas card once so I could show my family that he did actually care about me when he didn't actually give a shit. Everything was taken out on me, if I didn't agree with him (which was most of the time) I would have the worst day.

I gradually lost the person I was. I had no friends. I only had my family and eventually he began to question why I wanted to spend so much time with them, even to the point where he'd get jealous if I'd be spending time with my nephew who was 3/4 at the time. I had no confidence to do anything. I didn't go for jobs I was offered. I was made to feel like I couldn't make myself up anymore because I'd be gaining attention from men that weren't him so I eventually lost any sort of beauty I ever had.

I would cry at least 5 out of 7 days in a week. None of us were happy in this relationship yet every time I tried to leave he'd beg for me to stay. He'd make it out like he couldn't live without me and that he was going to change and every time it was a lie and it didn't happen.

One day, a week after a holiday from hell, which yes I plastered all over Facebook as being the best holiday of my life, I plucked up the courage to just leave. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. Not only was I leaving a person and a family of people I'd spent so much of my life with, I was potentially breaking someone's heart and hurting somebody and although I was already mentally broke by him I still felt like an awful person for doing that to somebody I once loved.

The next few months were incredibly confusing. How do you enjoy freedom when you're not used to it? I improved my friendship with my best friend, met new people, trained my brain into becoming more confident and created a complete new look for myself.

My biggest fear about leaving that relationship was being alone, but everyday was filled with people I loved. I got a lot closer to my family. I think Leeds Festival was an eye-opener of how happy I was. That festival for 3 years was miserable for me - arguing and crying during some of my favourite bands. Last year I finally got to enjoy it and had one of the best weekends of my life.

I didn't think I'd fall in love with anyone else for a long time, not for years. I thought I needed a while to better myself, on my own. I got into a relationship in October and I've fallen in love with someone I can call my best friend too. We don't plaster everything online. I'm not controlled. I'm encouraged to better myself, train hard, go for my dreams, travel, make new friends, be positive. This person entered my life at exactly the right point. I don't feel the need to be plastered all over his social media because I'm loved and appreciated enough in his real life. A private relationship is a happy one.

I'm still growing. I still have trust issues, I still question a lot in my head, I'm still very insecure about myself and I still have a lot to learn but leaving a toxic relationship was the proudest moment of the last few years.

If you're in a toxic relationship now, especially if you're young with no real responsibilities to stay in it, leave it as soon as you can before you lose yourself completely. It's hard and it'll take many attempts but you won't regret it. In ways, I thank him for putting me through it all because it's made me a stronger person now but I pity him - that he was that insecure with himself that he had to break me.


My selfish year

All my life I've put other people's feelings before my own. Turning 20 I think I started to realise that you've got to be selfish in this world if you want to have a positive life. When you're like me and you care too much for other's feelings you end up getting taken advantage of and it's always you that'll suffer. Thinking about it, you have to live with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year for the rest of your life so really you should do everything to put yourself first, especially for your own happiness.

The end of 2016 I went through many changes that was really the starting point for my better life. So this year I'm going to focus on nothing but myself. The past couple of months I've been increasing the things I love and cutting out the things that were holding me back or putting me down in order for me to have a positive life. 

Making positive changes
Moving into the flat last year was a big change that I was incredibly apprehensive about but it's made my life a lot better. I now have a lovely room for the first time in years, I'm in the centre of my town so everything is incredibly close and I get to have my friends round more often because it's so convenient. I started my new job in the new year. For a start, the fact I managed an interview was a big deal for me because of how shy and nervous I can get but what makes the job better is I get to work with my mum, meaning I see her a lot more often and my wage has made me a lot less worried about my finances. 

I've recently begun a healthier lifestyle. I've been trying for years to become healthier but I was never in the right mind-set or surrounded by the right people. Now I feel I can actually do this. I've cut out so much bad food, started eating better, working out more often and drinking loads more water. I've got my boyfriend motivating me every single day, making sure I do my squats and I've got my mum at work coming on this journey with me. Every time I've told someone that I want to be more healthy their immediate response is "you don't have any weight to lose" which, although I know they're only being nice, is so frustrating to hear because my reasons for a healthier lifestyle isn't just for weight loss but it's also for muscle gain, it's to stop feeling groggy all day and having loads more energy.  

Giving myself my own space is always important for me now. Sometimes I just want to have a bath, get into bed and watch a film on my own. "Me time" is so important. I used to be someone that felt like I needed to be around people all the time so I never got lonely but it is possible to be on your own and not feel alone. Constantly surrounding yourself can be incredibly over-whelming. It's important to make time for self-love. Once a month I go and treat myself to acrylic nails. So many people tell me it's a waste of money but I love how excited I get to go to my nail lady, sit their for an hour and a half chatting away and coming out with a beautiful set of nails. It's small things that can make yourself a lot happier. 

This year I want to see more places and do more of what I love. I have trips to Liverpool. Dublin, Lanzarote and Santorini planned and hopefully some more to places throughout the UK. I love live music so I'm going to Slam Dunk and Leeds Festival as well as seeing many bands live including Avenged Sevenfold and You Me At Six, two of my favourite bands. Again, this is another thing people think I waste my money on but there's not many things that top how happy I get from seeing my favourite bands live. 

Cutting out the negative 
Being selfish doesn't mean you can't be there for somebody but there comes a point where you physically can't help anyone anymore and if their problems are draining your own energy then move yourself out of the situation and distance yourself. You owe nobody but yourself anything so don't feel like you're being a nasty person for removing yourself or not getting involved in something. The past few months I realised a lot of people I thought were my close friends only bothered to come to me because they knew I listened and cared about them enough to want to help them but when it came to anything else, they weren't around. 

If you read my earlier posts you'll know I went out a lot last year. I realised in November that I just wanted to cut down a bit. Going out all the time started to become boring, I felt like I'd waste my weekends because I'd usually be hungover for the majority of it and I'd also be wasting so much of my money. I took a complete month off going out and over Christmas and New Year I went out 4 times but actually was able to manage my money and realise my limits when it came to alcohol. I wasn't enjoying being that mate that was always the most steaming and the most embarrassing. I'm actually enjoying spending more nights in with a good film than I am going out these days. 

I've made my circle very, very small. I haven't cut people out as such but I've definitely distanced myself. Everyone seems to know everyone's business these days. Social media is a big factor in this actually. When I'm frustrated, annoyed or upset I'd immediately post my feelings as a tweet for all 850 of my followers to see. Why? Because it's like an outlet, a bit like a diary. The advantage: You're letting off steam. The disadvantage: People who don't even know you now know more about what's going on behind closed doors. One of my new years resolutions was to cut back on how much I interact on social media. It's a toxic place full of irrelevant opinions. Your own boyfriend could like another girls picture and even though it doesn't bother you because it's just a picture, you'll get told by another girl that doesn't know your relationship, she'll list why you should agree with her that it isn't right he does that and then you'll over think something as small as picture, that didn't actually bother you to begin with. I could honestly rant all day about the psycho girlfriend stereotype but I think I'll leave it for another post. Keeping myself a lot more private has helped a lot though. I used to share every single argument I had with pretty much all my friends because I felt like I needed their opinions but usually it makes it so much worse and handling it on your own and being more mature by not informing half of your group and escalating the situation ten times more means it's usually sorted a lot quicker with less stress.  

So 2017 is my year. The year I get myself comfortable in my own body. The year I get a positive mind. The year I finish my driving lessons, pass my test and get a car. The year I see as much of the world as I can manage. The year I let nobody get in the way of my goals. 

lots of love
Jennie x

Developing myself in 2016

Year round-up posts usually come at the end of December so it's a little odd that I'm posting mine mid-way through November. I think I'm just at the right stage where I want to draw a line under 2016 and I want to share everything I learnt on here. Everything I achieved. Everything that changed me, because it's no secret that this was probably the biggest roller-coaster year of my life so far.

I entered 2016 with more confidence than usual. My blog had just been re-designed so I started getting more opportunities and my job was going great, I'd been given a pay rise. But that was it. That's all I had going for me and looking back I think I knew that wasn't enough for me to be happy.

I was lonely even though I wasn't alone and I was miserable. Everything was the same. The same routine. The same people. The same places. There was no excitement in my life and I had nothing going for me. I think this was when I first started to develop myself.

As a Christmas reward from work I got given driving lessons and even though I'm still learning now I'm proud that I'm actually getting the hang of it. None of my parents have ever driven so driving to me was completely new and to be honest I thought that I would never get the hang of it, but now I'm practically ready to do my test. As it was my biggest new years resolution to learn how to drive I'm glad (and shocked) that I've stuck to it.

I started to get fit at the beginning of the year. Working for a fitness brand and having to post inspirational fitness quotes to motivate other people when you're the laziest of shits is difficult. So I started doing the T25 and actually lost a bit of weight for my holiday in May. It was after that that I became lazy again and just stopped. I'm disappointed with myself in a way because I was doing well and I just let myself go again, but I've started to feel the motivation to get back into it recently and if I book myself a holiday for next year then that'll make me want to sort my body out.

In February I started to see more bands live. Everyone who knows me knows I have a bit of an addiction to live music but in 2016 I went to so many gigs. In 2015 I wasn't able to see a lot of bands play because I was unemployed for half the year so I made it my mission to go to as many as I could afford. I saw Foals/Everything!Everything! and Enter Shikari in February and they were both amazing gigs to start the year with. I could look at them both negatively for several reasons but that doesn't overpower how happy their music made me on those nights. Then in April, me and my mum made a last minute decision to go and see Muse and honestly, even though I was so poor after that show, it's a memory with my mum that I'm glad I got to make. Me and Rach went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that was probably the biggest highlight of my year. Not only was the music incredible but it was just a memorable weekend. Falling into mud a dozen times, walking ten miles for a shuttle bus after falling in a ditch and then queuing for 2 hours to get onto the bus with nothing but some tin foil to keep me warm was worth it because I still cry laughing at the memories we made. I've ended the year seeing The Sherlocks, You Me At Six and one of my favourite bands, Bring Me The Horizon live and they were all incredible. BMTH was actually the best gig I've ever been to, and I've seen Foo Fighters 3 times so it says a lot doesn't it.

I'm really bored of mentioning the toxic relationship I was in but it's got to be mentioned because leaving it was the best thing I did in 2016. It's a big thing when everyone around you tells you they're proud of you. Even my mum didn't think I could do it and to be honest I didn't even know I could do it. The thing is, you've got to leave when you're ready to. You could have a thousand people telling you to leave but you won't be able to until you yourself can do it. Nobody knows your mind and nobody knows your heart like you do.

That's when the real change began. Before May I didn't really have anyone. I had one friend that I didn't get to see very often and I was terrified of being alone. I'm so lucky to have a close family but at this point I think what I needed was people a bit like me around me, to help me find myself. I got so close to my best friend Rachel after this and honestly she changed my life. She welcomed me into her group of friends and I feel like I'm part of a second family now. I made my own friends too. I genuinely have never felt so comfortable around people like I do around the people I'm with now. It's mad to think about who I have in my life compared to this time last year. I've rekindled old friendships and made new amazing friends. I don't go a day without laughing and somebody is always there for me whenever I need a cry and they always let me know when they're proud of me. That sort of friendship is priceless. I'm going to shout out the best girl friends I could have because I know they're going to read this and will want a mention - Rachel, Beth, Laura, Hannah and Mollie. 

There was a few people I re-kindled with and it didn't work out but that's okay. I said in my last post, not everybody is compatible and so just because I got on really well with somebody at one point doesn't mean I will now. People change drastically and personalities clash and you shouldn't feel bad for cutting people out because they might not be right for you.

I went downhill too for a while. I went out every single weekend for weeks and thought I was "happy" when all I was actually doing was jagerbombing my emotions away. It's all fun and games until you throw up on your mates and wake up on your mum's sofa with no idea how you got there. Going out and drinking is fun but not remembering any of the night is not and that was a big lesson I learnt the hard way this year.

I did a lot of travelling. I only left the UK once, when I went to Lanzarote, but I've been all over England and Wales. I went to York for the day to review York Dungeons with Izzy. That was an experience and a half, we were both still drunk from the night before and had to get on four coaches that day. It was tragic but hilarious. I took a trip to Brighton with my dad at the end of July. That was a really good weekend because Brighton has always been the place me and my dad went to when I was growing up so going back now and spending quality time with him was a lot of fun. I also ate so much Italian food for three days which was probably the best part. Obviously I went to Leeds Fest at the end of August and that meant going to Leeds because we stayed in a hotel in the centre. We actually saw quite a bit of Leeds, mostly on the final day when we went for food and did a bit of shopping before getting our train home but I think I'd like to re-visit for the day to see it properly. Two of my best friends live in Cardiff so for my 20th birthday I went to stay at Rachel's uni house for the weekend and had a night out with Laura and Mollie too. That weekend was so much fun and I can see myself seeing a lot more of Cardiff seeing as I've always got somewhere to stay now. Mid-October I went to see You Me At Six with Beth in Liverpool so we made a night of it and had one of the best nights out I've ever had. Our plan was to spend the day after looking around Liverpool but we just went back home instead because we were rough as hell. I'll be back though because Laura lives there and I want to try her mum's scouse (it's like a stew apparently).

I'll never regret going to new places, or re-visiting places. I think sometimes you just need to leave everything for a while and be somewhere new, away from everything that's bothering you. I have so many travelling plans for next year. I was speaking to one of my friend's about travelling the other day and what he said was so relevant - "we can literally do whatever we want. I just thought about like the idiocy of booking random flights to see someone I've never met in a  brand new country but you know what fuck it. I'm not gonna sit around and be a boring bastard that's just set in the way of life. I have plenty of time to start life properly so fuck it, let's wing it." And although that doesn't completely work for me it makes a lot of sense. Going out into the world and actually experiencing it will never be a regret.

And now the year is coming to the end and I'm in a good place. My sister had another baby at the beginning of the month so I now have another nephew. I've got the best people around me. I'm in a happy relationship with someone that genuinely cares and supports me and even though I found trusting somebody incredibly hard, I'm glad I didn't let the past stop me from being happy.

I moved into my new flat with my dad and although it doesn't quite feel like a home yet, it's getting there. I was really worried about leaving the home I'd grown up in but you've got to get out of your comfort zone and change stuff, especially to keep your life exciting. I wasn't happy in my old house, I was hanging on to old memories and that's all I was staying for but I've left now and I still have those memories and I'm happier being somewhere new starting a new chapter. I'm on the look out for a new job at the moment and although I don't have much in the pipeline, I'm not worried because it'll work out.

So that's my closure for 2016. There's still a month left to go but I'm ready to focus on attempting to make 2017 extra special. I have so much planned that I'll let you know about by the end of the year.

lots of love
Jennie x 

Turning 20

When I was 17 I wrote this post listing all the things I want to do before I'm 20. Back then I thought I had plenty of time to do all those things but in reality they've flown by. I've scanned over the post and to be honest I haven't achieved a lot of them and I don't really care. My life has changed a lot, particularly in the last year, and a lot of those things would've been impossible for me to achieve anyway so it's nothing I'll dwell on. Instead I wanted to put together the lessons I've learnt in my teens, the important ones anyway, because my teenage years were a whirlwind and I've learnt a lot.

Don't rely on someone else's happiness to make you happy

When you're close with someone, whether it's a partner, friend or relative, I think because you care about that person so much you feel like you have no right to be happy if they're not, like if they're going through a hard time. It's definitely hard to be happy anyway but relying on them to be in a good mood to be in a good mood yourself isn't fair on anyone. At the end of the day you're not the person going through it and you have no reason to be unhappy too unless it's happening to you as well. For a long time I relied on someone else's mood to determine my mood and in all honesty it's draining. You can't predict how someone's going to feel or when something shit will happen to that person. They might be having a bad day but it doesn't mean you are. If they got sacked from their job and you got promoted why should you feel bad? You shouldn't. Show some sympathy, give them some encouragement and get on with your day.

GCSE's, A-Levels and University isn't the be all and end all

At school I was practically told that if I don't go to university then I'm not going to get far. It's not true. I did okay in my GCSE's - 2 A's, 4 B's and 3 C's (bare in mind I went to a school that made you feel stupid with a C when in reality it's actually pretty good especially when they're in subjects that you don't understand). Throughout high school I'd been convinced that staying on at my school's sixth form and going to university would be the right thing for me but it wasn't. The summer after my GCSE's I was worried throughout it all because I realised I really didn't want to go to the sixth form I'd chosen. I'd been told going to the college in my town wouldn't get me into university and going to a grammar school sixth form would definitely get me in. But the subjects I'd chosen at this sixth form weren't the ones I wanted to do. Originally I wanted to do Media, Photography, English Language and ICT and they'd decided they didn't want to do the ICT or Photography courses anymore so I had to pick Sociology and Computing instead. Computing would've definitely baffled my head so I'm glad I decided just before getting my GCSE results that I'd try and get myself a last minute place at my local college where they did all the subjects I wanted to do. I got in and spent a year doing my AS Levels before realising they weren't for me either and I really didn't want to go to university. I struggled in college because I wasn't great at making friends. I'm so shy when I meet new people so I just felt awkward all the time. I'm glad I went because I made two good friends there that I'm still close with now so it wasn't all negative. I really wanted to make some money and had seen a friend get a place at The Juice Academy. A job in social media never ever crossed my mind. You don't really get taught about social media in school unless it's about cyber bullying and getting told off for posting pictures in your school uniform online so I never ever would've thought I could work in it. I've always been someone who uses a lot of social media, I'd been on Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Instagram all through my teens (like pretty much everyone now) but I was one of those annoying people who wrote EVERYTHING on there (I still kind of do) so I thought I'd give it ago. I got a place in the 6th Cohort and started doing a social media and digital marketing apprenticeship for a recruitment company. This didn't go as I expect it but it was another lesson that I'm glad I learnt. The course wasn't for me and the company was based far away, I also got ill around this time which affected everything and so I decided to quit. Being unemployed wasn't fun but it gave me time to focus on my blog and during that time my blog actually started doing well - getting paid opportunities and working with brands was exciting and motivated me into continuing working in social media. I then got lucky and a local job came up to do their social media and digital marketing and I've been here a year now and learnt so much. My jobs good, my blogs going good and I didn't need university for any of it. Jeez that was a lot to write about, hope you're not asleep yet.

You don't need to keep somebody in your life if they add nothing

I think when you're growing up you feel like you have to have someone in your life because they're in your "circle" or because you've known them so long etc. You shouldn't feel like you have to keep someone in your life because of this. Cutting out the toxic people from my life was one of the best things I've ever done. If someone makes you feel worse or doesn't better your life in any way then you don't need them.

Some people become incompatible 

I think between 16 - 20 my character changed a lot and a lot of people's does. I was compatible with so many people when I was 16 that I'm definitely not with now. If you're in a relationship from school a lot can change when you leave because there's a lot happening and there's a lot you want to do. During this time I changed so much because so much was going on. Your life whilst you're at school is so different from the time after it where you start having responsibilities and maturing. People mature at different speeds too and I definitely think this is a big reason why a lot of teenage relationships don't last forever. Just because you care about someone or once loved them and share a lot with that person shouldn't be a reason to stay together. Don't be scared that they'll be alone or you'll be alone because you're cutting them out of your life - just because you're incompatible with each other doesn't stop you from being compatible with someone else.

Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone won't hurt you

For a long time I was someone that didn't like change. The thought of moving on from high school and having to make new friends was scary enough. Making new friends is actually one of my biggest fears if I'm honest. I'm always worried I'll say the wrong thing or annoy someone. Recently I was put in a situation where I needed friends because I didn't really have any and it honestly hasn't been that hard. Like I just said you'll be compatible with someone and I've found a few people that I'm really compatible with and I didn't have to act a certain way with them I've just been myself. There's been a lot of things recently that I've had to step out of my comfort zone for - moving house, travelling alone across the country, letting people in, potentially changing my career. All of these are so scary for me to do but have ended up working out well for me and even if they didn't there's always a way to fix it. I'd never regret taking a risk but I'd regret not taking it and always thinking "what if?".

The quality of the friends you have is more important than the quantity

In school especially I think it's people's priority to have as many friends as possible and being popular was a good thing. The last few months I've finally realised the quality of my friends is much more important than having loads of them. I like having friends that will tell me when I'm wrong but also praise me when I've done well. Having supportive friends is so important to someone insecure like me and I think I've finally got a good handful of those sort of people in my life. I'm not part of a "group" and I don't want to be. My best friends are actually scattered around the country and only a couple of them are close with each other. I've been part of a group before and it doesn't work well for me, they turn really bitchy and one-sided.

Life is like a book, when it goes wrong start a new chapter 

Turning 20 was definitely a new chapter in my life. I'm moving out of my childhood home next week and it's scary as shit but it's also exciting because it's a fresh start. There's no reason to dwell on anything. So much has gone wrong for me but I've just picked myself up and started again and having this new approach has helped my mind so much.

You notice your imperfections before anyone else does. Remember that

When I was in school I got picked on for a few things about my appearance. Since then they've been the things I'm most insecure about and when I've met new people I've always been scared that they notice them straight away and I'll be picked on all over again. It's sad really because these things I wasn't bothered about until I was told they made me ugly and I was reminded pretty much everyday. Realistically people do notice them but as you grow up you realise nobody you want in your life is cruel enough to tease you about your insecurities. Remember, everybody has flaws not just you. Everyone will have something that they're insecure about too.

Having a good balance of being busy and chilling out is key

This was an important one for me. I used to have too much time on my hands and nothing to do and then suddenly I decided to start doing a lot and that lifestyle drained me. I've got to a point now where I do enough during the week but also take some time for myself - having baths, listening to music, going on walks and getting that balance right has been key for my mind to be happy.

You can always improve yourself

Have no shame in admitting your flaws. I'm still building my character, every single day. I have a goal of what sort of person I want to be and I'm definitely still getting there. If there's part of your character that you don't like then change it. I used to be so bad at taking criticism and would get easily offended if someone pointed out something they didn't like about my personality, when really they're just trying to help me out. Now I've started taking their advice and bettering myself.

You can't make someone better who doesn't want to get better

This is probably the biggest lesson I learnt. Automatically when you care about someone you want to do everything you can to make them better but when they don't want to get better and don't want to help themselves you're not going to be able to fix them. You're not a magician and you won't get anywhere. It's sad because you hate seeing that person be that way but at the end of the day it's their choice if they want to fix themselves and if they don't you won't be able to make them.

So now I'm starting my next chapter, moving house, new people in my life, potentially a career change and I can't wait to see what else my twenties have to offer.

lots of love 
Jennie x